Progressive Calendar 10.23.09
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 2009 15:02:54 -0700 (PDT)
           P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    10.23.09

1. Zinn history/CTV    10.23 12:30pm
2. Palestine vigil     10.23 4:15pm
3. RCTA/immigration    10.23 7pm
4. Moyers/Gaza         10.23 9pm

5. Bioneers conference 10.24-25 8am
6. Peace walk          10.24 9am Cambridge MN
7. Solar water heating 10.24 9am
8. Rank choice voting  10.24 10am
9. EXCO free education 10.24 12noon
10. Hands off Honduras 10.24 1pm
11. CUAPB meeting      10.24 1:30pm
12. Northtown vigil    10.24 2pm
13. Climate chg/Mound  10.24 2pm
14. Copwatch training  10.24 4:30pm
15. Potluck/Sekou      10.24 6pm
16. Immigration myths  10.24 6:30pm

17. Ronnie Cummins     - The organic revolution
18. Stephen Lendman    - AARP's tradition of betrayal/cash in, sell out
19. Russell Mokhiber   - The single payer caucus and Obamacare
20. PC Roberts         - Super rich are laughing/the US as a failed state
21. Alexander Cockburn - All the populism money can buy/guillotine 'em?
22. Missy C Beattie    - Tracks of our tears/gainful employment
23. ed                 - Dear enemy  (haiku)

--------1 of 23--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Zinn history/CTV 10.23 12:30pm

Our World In Depth Special: Voices of a People's History
Special on St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN, Channel 15):
Voices of a People's History

Winona LaDuke, Howard Zinn, Lou Bellamy, Dipankar Mukherjee, Sarah Levy,
Tou Ger Xiong, Isabell Monk O'Connor and Melvin Carter III tell the
stories of unsung people who have shaped history...  listen to the words
of Michael Kiesow Moore, Chief Joseph, Emma Goldman, Sojourner Truth,
Susan B. Anthony, Eugene Debs, Bartolome de las Casas, Bartolomeo
Vanzetti, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr. and more.  Includes
musical performances by Prudence Johnson and Jearlyn Steale.

Performances of Voices of a People's History are based on the book by
historian and activist Howard Zinn.  Filmed at the College of St.
Catherine (1hr,28).

Friday, 10/23 @ 12.30pm
Thursday, 10/29 @ 10.30pm
Friday, 10/30 @ 10.30pm
Saturday, 10/31 @ 3.30pm
Sunday, 11/1 @ 3.30pm


--------2 of 23--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Palestine vigil 10.23 4:15pm

The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the
intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo
starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs
available.


--------3 of 23--------

From: Stephanie Bates <Stephanie.Bates [at] americas.org>
Subject: RCTA/immigration 10.23 7pm

hyphe-NATIONS
Join a site specific community based art project dealing with immigration
and displacement in our diverse Twin Cities Community.

October 23, 7pm
Free food and child care provided
Pangea World Theater
711 West Lake Street
Suite 101, Minneapolis, MN 55408

For more information contact: Vanessa Mercado 612-822-0015
vanessamercadotaylor [at] gmail.com


--------4 of 23--------

From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org>
Subject: Moyers/Gaza 10.23 9pm

Investigating the Attacks in Gaza
Bill Moyers Journal: "A damning report from the UN Human Rights Council on
the violence in Gaza late last year has put Israel on the defensive. Bill
Moyers talks with the man at the center of the storm, Justice Richard
Goldstone, who, despite working with many pro-Israel groups and Israeli
institutions in the past, has drawn intense criticism from some of
Israel's supporters for his report, which said Israel's Defense Forces, as
well as Hamas, may have committed war crimes in Gaza earlier this year."


--------5 of 23--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Bioneers conference 10.24-25 8am

Complete schedule: http://www.nbconference.org
[10.24: 8am register; 9am program]

2009 Northland Bioneers Conference:
Solutions frame environmental challenges
By Lydia Howell, TC Daily Planet
October 20, 2009

Starting in 1989, at a now annual national conference in San Rafael,
California, Bioneers has become a growing environmental movement,
interweaving sustainability with the planet and social/economic justice..
This year eighteen cities, from Houston to Detroit, will participate, with
the Fourth Northland Bioneers Conference, October 24-25, at Willey Hall on
the West Bank campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

"It's all solutions oriented," is conference co-producer, Oram Miller's
mantra.

"Our focus is, 'What can I take home with me? What can I do about it?'
We're asking how nature solves problems," co-producer Emily Barker,
emphasizes.

"People from all cultures and genders are in the mix with people from
around the world, "Miller explains. "Early in the process, we wanted to
emphasize youth. All ages are on the steering committee and we've made it
affordable for students to come."

The term "bioneers" merges pioneers and biology. Bioneers say they are
shattering past stereotypes of environmentalists as "middle-class whites"
through a global perspective. Among the speakers at the Minneapolis
gathering:

 *  Arturo Sandoval explores what Latin America and Mexico cultures
    can teach us about sustainability.
 *  Gwich'in Elder, Sarah James, from Alaska talks about how
    climate change is already impacting indigenous peoples in the
    Arctic and their response.
 *  Lily Yeh shares her Rwanda Healing Project, applying it to
    environmental justice.
 *  Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui describes the Surui people's fight
    for the Amazon Rainforest.
 *  Panels led by youth, include Brower Youth Award winner, Kari
    Fulton, talk about the youth climate movement.

Keynote speakers are Jonathan Foley, Director of UM's Institute on the
Environment and Susan Hubbard, CEO of Eureka Recycling.

"At Bioneers, I want to talk about, how do we get to the point of slowing
ourselves down so that the pursuit of our physical comfort, security and
pleasure doesn't end up being the EXACT thing that THREATENS our comfort,
security and pleasure," Hubbard says. "Bioneers is an emerging culture of
social and scientific innovators. They're creating ways to have comfort,
security and pleasure but, not do it neurotically in a way that's hurting
us. That's a dialog all the speakers are part of, from food to arts."

The conference includes screenings of national speakers to roundtables of
local activists, including Michael Pollen (author of "The Omnivore's
Dilemma") on re-designing our food system, "green"  architecture, and
clean energy; Dr. Andrew Weil on environmental health and medicine, and
taking on the controversial issue of population; Joanna Macy on spiritual
activism and freeing ourselves from the dependencies and delusions of what
she calls "industrial growth society."

Emily Barker highlights a core value driving bioneers, "Recognizing the
interconnectedness of us all, between all peoples---and animals, too.
Recognizing that what we do has impact on people on the other side of the
world. We have to work together if we're going to be successful to not
destroy ourselves and the planet."

Complete schedule: http://www.nbconference.org
Willey Hall
West Bank, University of Minnesota,225 19th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN
55455


--------6 of 23--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Peace walk 10.24 9am Cambridge MN

every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street


--------7 of 23--------

From: Laura Cina <laurac [at] mnrenewables.org>
Subject: Solar water heating 10.24 9am

Solar Energy:Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Solar Water Heating
Saturday, October 24, 2009, 9:00am - 3:45pm
Century College 3300 Century Avenue N. White Bear Lake, MN, 55110
$90.00 for MRES members/$100.00 for non members

In joint cooperation, Century College and the Minnesota Renewable Energy
Society have developed a new one-day introductory course for homeowners
and people interested in learning the basics of how to design a solar hot
water heating system for residential applications. The essentials of
creating domestic hot water from solar radiation are covered. You will
learn to evaluate solar site resource, when solar hot water is the right
solution, the economics and incentives for solar hot water, and system
design principles. System components, system sizing, solar thermal panels,
storage tanks, heat exchangers, and plumbing connections, will be all
explored. *You will receive .72 CEUs for attending.*
For more info: http://www.mnrenewables.org/node/346


--------8 of 23--------

From: Stephanie Bates <Stephanie.Bates [at] americas.org>
Subject: Rank choice voting 10.24 10am

Coffee Hour - Saturday, October 24, 10am

In 2006, Minneapolis voters adopted Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for
municipal elections. The Resource Center of the Americas has endorsed this
important voting reform, which leads to greater voter participation and
opportunities for communities of color, more choice for voters, better
campaigns and better representation.

Minneapolis is using RCV (also called Instant Run-off Voting) next month
to elect our Mayor, Council Members, Park Board Commissioners, and Board
of Estimate and Taxation members. Also next month, St Paul will be
deciding if it will use RCV in future elections. Join us for a hands-on
demonstration of Ranked Choice Voting, electing our favorite Latin
American president!

Learn about how to vote and how your vote is counted under ranked choice
voting. Sign-up to help educate other voters before November 3rd.

Jeanne Massey, Director of FairVote Minnesota, is our featured presenter.
She can answer any question you may have about Ranked Choice Voting.


--------9 of 23--------

From: David Boehnke <dboehnke [at] gmail.com>
Subject: EXCO free education 10.24 12noon

Help Create Free Community Education at the EXCO Reflection Brunch

Experimental College of the Twin Cities (EXCO) Reflection Brunch
October 24, Noon - 2pm
Brian Coyle Community Center
420 15th Avenue S. Minneapolis, MN  55454

Have ideas for free community education? Come share them over brunch!
Bring your thoughts on how we can improve EXCO: a free experimental
college dedicated to transforming education on the principal that everyone
can teach or take classes and all classes are free. We offer 40+ free and
open classes each semester. Learn more at www.EXCOtc.org
<http://www.excotc.org/>.

What do you like, what you would improve, what ideas to you have to make
EXCO the best it can be!  EXCO is an all volunteer run organization so it
can't happen without the participation of folks like you.

Planning on attending? Let us know so we can get the right amount of food!
Questions? Contact Callie crecknagel [at] gmail.com or David 651-315-4222.


--------10 of 23--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Hands off Honduras! 10.24 1pm

Protest: "U.S. Hands Off Honduras! No Support to the Coup!"
Saturday, October 24, 1:00 p.m. Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue, Mpls

"The people of Honduras have bravely and massively resisted the June 28
military coup that removed President Manuel Zelaya. They have carried out
huge protests and strikes. The military has responded with brutal
repression including tear gas, clubs, and gunfire. They have arrested many
people, killed many people, and closed down all independent news media.
The U.S. has continued funding the Honduran government, and has criticized
President Zelaya as irresponsible for trying to return to Honduras to
resume his rightful place as president, while they have not condemned the
repression. Groups of U.S. legislators have traveled to Honduras in
support of a phony "election" set for November 29. All supporters of human
rights should demand a change in this policy, in the name of solidarity
with the Honduran people. Stop the Repression! Restore Political Rights!
Close the School of the Americas!"

Sponsored by: the Anti-War Committee. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Visit
www.antiwarcommittee.org.


--------11 of 23--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com>
Subject: CUAPB meeting 10.24 1:30pm

Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue
South http://www.CUAPB.org

Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)


--------12 of 23--------

From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 10.24 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday
2-3pm


--------13 of 23--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com>
From: Danene Provencher  PRO826 [at] aol.com
Subject: Climate chg/Mound 10.24 2pm

International Day of Climate Action - October 24
Climate Action Roundtable in Mound

More than 1,780 communities in 141 countries have scheduled events to draw
attention to the rapid increase of carbon in the earth's atmosphere on
Saturday October 24. These events are in conjunction with 350.org's
International Day of Climate Action, an organization formed by Bill
McKibben, a well known environmental enthusiast.

Among these events, a Climate Action Roundtable is scheduled on Saturday
October 24 from 2 - 4 p.m. at the Mound Depot, 5801 Bartlett Blvd next to
the Mound Bay Park.  The event is free. All are welcome. Come join the
discussion on what we can expect as our planet warms, and actions we might
take to adapt.  Additional information 952-473-7863.

About 350.org
350.org is an international campaign dedicated to creating an equitable
global climate treaty that lowers carbon dioxide below 350 parts per
million.

350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for
carbon dioxide - measured in "parts per million" in our atmosphere. [For
more on the science of 350 visit 350.org/science]

Although current levels are already at 390, if we put a high enough price
on carbon that we stopusing so much, while also ensuring poor countries a
fair chance to develop, we will be able to reverse course, develop a clean
energy economy and prevent serious, long-term damage.

About October 24
In December, governments will be convening in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the
United Nations Climate Change Conference, in order to create a new climate
treaty. The International Day of Climate Action on October 24th is the
best chance we'll have to influence the treaty before negotiating
positions solidify.

On October 24th communities will gather at thousands of places around the
world - from the Taj Mahal to the Great Barrier Reef---to draw attention
to the need for a dramatic international agreement to reduce carbon
emissions and set us on a rapid path to 350.

if you can't attend, check out wmgwag.org and consider the action
alert on the Home Page.
Also, check out other gatherings in areas of interest at: Map of Actions |
350.org <http://www.350.org/map>

Danene Provencher West Metro Global Warming Action Group, Inc.
www.wmgwag.org Mound, MN
Danene Provencher PO Box 182 Mound, MN 55364 952-472-7863 or email
pro826 [at] aol.com


--------14 of 23--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com>
Subject: Copwatch training 10.24 4:30pm

COPWATCH TRAINING AND PRACTICE
Saturday, October 24, 4:30 p.m.
Walker Church, 3100 16th Ave, Minneapolis

We'll hold a training for people who want to get involved in copwatching
either formally through CUAPB or in your own neighborhoods.  We'll go over
your rights in general, your rights as a copwatcher and keeping yourself
safe, how to copwatch, what to document.  Then we'll head out to the
homeless shelter to practice what we have learned and to provide a measure
of protection for people most affected by brutal policing.


--------15 of 23--------

From: Intermedia Arts <info [at] intermediaarts.org>
Subject: Potluck/Sekou 10.24 6pm

The America Project Twin Cities
Singing the Legacy of Sekou Sundiata
Potluck Dinner & Community Sing
6PM Saturday, Oct. 24

This month, Intermedia Arts is proud to host Singing the Legacy of Sekou
Sundiata: The America Project Twin Cities, a series of community events
including Art Treats lunches, citizenship dinners, a film screening,
potluck dinner, and community sing; all designed to inspire and ignite our
passionate ideals around citizenry, civic work, and active engagement in
civic life.

The highlight of our celebration will be on the evening of Saturday,
October 24th, when we invite you to join us for our very first Potluck
Dinner and Community Sing from 6-10PM.

This will be an evening like no other;  it's a celebration, a dinner, a
party, a sing-a-long ... it's a coming together through poetry, song, food
and storytelling to honor and carry forward the legacy of poet, artist,
musician, theater artist and teacher Sekou Sundiata.

Join us for an incredible night of community, song and creativity as we
re-imagine and re-define critical citizenship, creativity and civic
engagement - with T. Mychael Rambo, dVRG, David Friedell, Sandy Agustin,
Reggie Prim ... and more!

Seating is limited and reservations are required. Make yours today!

Call (612) 871-4444 or email Info [at] IntermediaArts.org. Reservations are
FREE with a potluck contribution or $5 without.


--------16 of 23--------

From: Carol Koepp <carolkoepp [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Immigration myths 10.24 6:30pm

They Take Our Jobs and 20 Other Myths About Immigration
Speaker: Author, Aviva Chomsky
October 24, First Unitarian Society, 900 Mount Curve, Mpls. 55403
Program begins at 6:30 w/ music
Ms. Chomsky at 7:00
Reception and book signing 8:15 - 9:00
Free


--------17 of 23--------

A Great Sequestering
The Organic Revolution       [good news]
By RONNIE CUMMINS
CounterPunch
October 23-25, 2009

Beyond the gloom and doom of the climate crisis, there lies a powerful and
regenerative grassroots solution: organic food, farming, and ranching.
Even as politicians and the powerful fossil fuel lobby drag their heels
and refuse to acknowledge that we have about ten years left of "business
as usual" before we irreversibly destroy the climate and ourselves, there
is a powerful, though largely unrecognized, life-force spreading its roots
underground.

Millions of organic farmers, ranchers, conservationists, and backyard
gardeners (supported by millions of organic consumers) are demonstrating
that we can build a healthy alternative to industrial agriculture and Food
Inc. Our growing organic movement is proving that we can not only feed the
world with healthy food, but also reverse global warming, by capturing and
sequestering billions of tons of climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases in
the soil, through plant photosynthesis, composting, cover crops,
rotational grazing, wetlands preservation, and reforestation.

The heretofore unpublicized "good news" on climate change, according to
the Rodale Institute and other soil scientists, is that transitioning from
chemical, water, and energy-intensive industrial agriculture practices to
organic farming and ranching on the world's 3.5 billion acres of farmland
and 8.2 billion acres of pasture or rangeland can sequester 7,000 pounds
per acre of climate-destabilizing CO2 every year, while nurturing healthy
soils, plants, grasses, and trees that are resistant to drought, heavy
rain, pests, and disease. And of course organic farms and ranches can
provide us with food that is much more nutritious than industrial farms
and ranches - food filled with vitamins, anti-oxidants, and essential
trace minerals, free from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs),
pesticides, antibiotics, and sewage sludge.

In 2006, U.S. carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuels (approximately
25% of the world's total) was estimated at nearly 6.5 billion tons. If a
7,000 lb/CO2/ac/year sequestration rate were achieved on all 434 million
acres of cropland in the United States, nearly 1.6 billion tons of carbon
dioxide would be sequestered per year, mitigating close to one quarter of
the country's total fossil fuel emissions. If pastures and rangelands were
similarly converted to organic practices, we would literally be well on
our way to reversing global warming.

But we need an organic revolution in ranching and livestock production, as
well as farming and forestry. We need to drastically reduce meat
overproduction (77% of all U.S. agriculture resources are devoted to
raising animals or animal feed), and over-consumption (a leading cause of
obesity, heart disease and cancer) and ban methane-belching factory farms.
As the Rodale Institute points out, organic livestock raising practices,
including rotational grazing, manure management, methane capture for
biogas production, and improved feeds and feed additives, can drastically
reduce livestock-related emissions and, because of the massive acreage
currently devoted to livestock production (nearly 2.5 times greater than
croplands), can safely sequester approximately 60% of the total greenhouse
gases that humans, animals, cars, and industry are pumping out every year.

This Organic Revolution, or "Great Sequestering," made possible by a
global grassroots movement with the power to transform the marketplace and
public policy, is perhaps the only short-term strategy or solution at hand
that can buy us the precious time we need to radically reduce energy use
and greenhouse pollution and build a green economy. Although politicians
and the coal and utilities industry claim that sequestration of massive
carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants is on the horizon,
there is little or no scientific evidence to back this up. Sequestration
of CO2 in the soils of organic farms and ranches, on the other hand, is a
proven fact.

Before carbon sequestering forests and grasslands were ravaged by
chemical-intensive industrial agriculture (and industrial forestry), soil
organic matter generally composed 6-10% of the soil volume, three to six
times the 1-3% levels typical of today's industrial agriculture soils. In
other words, taxpayer subsidized, chemical-based industrial agriculture,
factory farms, and unrestricted grazing (along with industrial forestry)
have turned the earth's soil (which still contains three times as much
carbon as the entire amount of CO2 in the atmosphere) from being a
climate-stabilizing carbon sink into a massive and dangerous source of
global warming.

Given our escalating climate emergency, the burning question is how do we
move organics in the U.S. from being the 4% alternative in the marketplace
to being the norm, and organic acreage from being 1% of total cultivated
land to the majority of farmland, pasture, and rangeland? The answer of
course is that we must sound the alert, offer up our practical solutions
and rapidly transform public consciousness and policy. But the Via
Organica, the road to get there, will be long and arduous. The majority of
Americans must not only stop buying chemical, GMO, globally sourced and
so-called "natural" food, and switch to organic and more locally and
regionally produced products, but we must also rise up as a political
movement and change public policy. We must literally force the politicians
and the corporations to put a halt to our "business as usual" destruction
of the climate and public health, and instead move to an ethical and
scientifically grounded policy and practice that promotes health,
conservation, greenhouse gas reduction, and organic sequestration. Please
join and support the Organic Consumers Association and the climate change
movement http://www.350.org as we carry out this life or death campaign.

Ronnie Cummins is director of the Organic Consumers Alliance. He can be
reached at: ronnie [at] organicconsumers.org.


--------18 of 23--------

Cashing In, Selling Out
AARP's Tradition of Betrayal
By STEPHEN LENDMAN
CounterPunch
October 23-25, 2009

Founded in 1958 for aged 50 and older Americans, AARP call itself "a
nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization (dedicated to) improv(ing)
the quality of their lives," even though from inception it sold insurance
to earn royalties - now to its 40 million members in all 50 states, the
District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands while
claiming a mandate to:

-- deliver "value to members through information, advocacy and service;"

-- work "tirelessly to fulfill its vision: a society in which everyone
ages with dignity and purpose, and in which AARP helps people fulfill
their goals and dreams;" and

-- speak "with one voice - united by a common motto: 'To serve, not be
served."

Today its branches include:

-- AARP Foundation focusing on "education....service, (and) legal advocacy
efforts;"

-- AARP Services, providing "marketplace access to services that people
need and want" related to "health and financial products, travel and
leisure offerings, and life event services;"

-- AARP Financial, Inc. providing "financial advice and education, and
managed AARP-endorsed financial and insurance products," that include
health care and other insurance as well as equity, bond and money market
mutual funds sold to members;

-- AARP Global Network of "likeminded, nonpartisan, national organizations
(in five countries) working to meet the needs of older adults around the
world;" and

-- NRTA: AARP's Educator Community (formerly the National Retired Teachers
Association) comprised mainly of "educators and school personnel dedicated
to educational opportunities, advocacy, and service."

On March 9, 2009, Roll Call's Katie Kindelan's article titled, "Defining a
Future at AARP" described the organization as "perhaps the nation's most
powerful and well-funded advocacy" group, both inside and beyond the
Beltway, impressively headquartered in a 10-story, 500,000 foot DC
building.

Nonprofit in name only, "AARP is the equivalent of a Fortune 500 company,
employing a staff of 2,419 employees, (incurring) $1.16 billion in
operating expenses and overseeing annual revenues (well above) $1
billion," around 60% of which comes from so-called Medigap supplemental
insurance sales.

According to Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), "Some of
these products are total rip offs," so bad, in fact, that AARP was forced
to withdraw its Essential Health Insurance Plan and Essential Plus Health
Insurance Plan, developed by United Health Group and sold to 44,000 of its
members.

PNHP calls AARP "part of the problem and not part of the solution. It is
nothing but an insurance (and financial) broker disguised as an advocacy
group - and they will never take on the health insurance industry. (It)
represent(s) the insurance industry (and its own self-interest) rather
than (its members and) the public welfare in discussions about health
reform."

As a result, it's largely profit-driven offering 17 types of insurance
reaping hundreds of millions annually in royalties. Millions more from
selling drugs; other products and services including mutual funds; plus
federal subsidies exceeding $80 million annually; and annual membership
dues of $16 per year, $43 for three years, or $63 for five x 40 million
members.

It's also active on Capitol Hill with a 50-person staff and a 2008 $28
million lobbying budget, much like major corporations and for the same
purpose - profits at the expense of member interests, unaware how they're
ill-served by an organization claiming to be their advocate.

 AARP's Role in Enacting the Controversial Medicare Prescription Drug,
 Improvement and Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 - the So-Called Part D

Costing tens of billions annually, passage came only after initially being
defeated, followed by a three hour all-night suspending of proceedings to
exert pressure and offer bribes because passage assured PhRMA big profits
at the expense of seniors extorted top dollar for prescription drugs, not
the substantial savings government-negotiated prices would have delivered.
Yet AARP was one of its staunchest advocates.

In an email later revealed, the organization's associate executive policy
director, Chris Hansen (a former aerospace lobbyist), assured Bush deputy
assistant to the president, Barry Jackson, that he was on board with only
minor issues to resolve. He said: "We know that there may be details that
we will message differently but we are together on the big goal."

The deal was struck, and in succeeding weeks, AARP leaders worked closely
with House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to
draft a final bill. On November 22, 2003 the House passed it. The Senate
followed three days later, and on December 8, it became law after George
Bush signed it as "an important step toward fulfilling a longstanding
promise to older and disabled Americans" who later learned they were
swindled by the administration, Congress, and their premiere advocate that
betrayed them for profits, its ties to PhRMA, and greater political
influence in Washington.

At the time, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich explained that AARP's CEO,
Bill Novelli, had "a long history of supporting individual responsibility
in health care and doesn't want seniors dependent on government handouts."
Novelli, in fact, invited Gingrich to join an advisory panel to discuss
AARP future strategies, including insurance and other products and
services it might sell. He also endorsed Gingrich's book, "Saving Lives
and Saving Money" by writing in its forward: "Gingrich's (marketplace
medicine) ideas are influencing how we at AARP are thinking about our
national role" in the health care debate. Whether or not "one agrees (with
his) policies, the book has interesting and important ideas about
transforming the American health care system" to assure it remains a
private for-profit system, not one run by Washington.

Novelli also expressed concern about "how (Medicare) is financed and
operated," the program AARP opposed in the 1960s, after which it supported
the major 1988 Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act expansion, aligned with
the Republican-controlled Congress in 1995 on health issues, backed the
1997 Medicare Reform Act that let recipients choose between private health
insurance plans, and was comfortable with a free-market approach after
Novelli became CEO in June 2001.

His background foretold his advocacy. His November Group initiative for
Richard Nixon helped devise attack ads against George McGovern in 1972. In
the 1980s, his Porter-Novelli PR firm helped the drug industry. When he
left in 1990, his clients included Bristol-Myers, Ciba-Geigy, Hoffman-La
Roche, SmithKline Beecham, and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
Association.

As AARP CEO, Novelli began centralizing control at the top, away from
greater grassroots input attuned to local needs and interests. He also
hired Republican-leaning staff, including former Boeing executive Chris
Hansen as chief lobbyist, who along with Novelli and Mike Naylor (a former
John Deere and AlliedSignal executive) orchestrated AARP's position on
Medicare Part D. They then worked closely with Republican leaders to pass
it.

According to advocates for universal single-payer coverage and others,
passage of the 2003 law potentially marked the beginning of the end for
publicly-financed Medicare and clouded the future of employer-provided
coverage. AARP played a crucial role, much like today in the debate over
health care reform. Its siding with free-market ideologues destroys its
credibility as an advocate for seniors.

                  AARP's Support for Obamacare

Its initiative Health Action Now calls "this crucial moment (the)
opportunity of a lifetime to fix our broken health care system. President
Obama has promised health reform before the end of the year but we need to
make sure that Congress follows through."

It asks individuals to email "decision makers" about the the health care
crisis and concludes:

"America needs you to take action to ensure that everyone has a choice of
health care they can afford. I urge you to commit to working on a
bipartisan basis to pass legislation that will provide all Americans with
affordable health care choices and strengthen Medicare and improve
long-term care services."

Based on other public and internal messages, it subtly endorses hundreds
of billions of Medicare cuts over the next decade as a first step toward
ending Washington's responsibility entirely by shifting the obligation to
states that, in turn, will force their residents to bear the burden
through higher taxes, on their own, or for those who can't afford it, get
no coverage when they most need it. That's Obamacare's promise, the one
AARP endorses with thousands of its members dropping their memberships
from an organization mindless of their interests.

On its Health Action Now web site, AARP headlines "Myths vs. Facts
(saying) Don't Let the Myths About Health Care Reform Scare You," then
follows with misinformation and outright distortion of the facts by
claiming:

-- Obamacare won't ration care;
Fact check:
-- proposals call for hundreds of billions in cuts over ten years with
near certain greater amounts to follow;

-- billions in waste will be eliminated;
Fact check:
-- the above cuts will eliminate essential services, thus assuring less
care, not more;

-- lower drug prices;
Fact check:
-- no mandate exists to cut them, just a non-binding promise on existing
products and none whatever on new ones;

-- "the so-called 'public plan' option (will) give American consumers
choice if they can't find affordable, quality coverage in the private
insurance market;
Fact check:
-- most people won't qualify for a public option, and the one discussed
will provide fig leaf cover for a weak and ineffective plan, not
high-quality care for its recipients;

-- Obamacare guarantees "all Americans a choice of health care plans they
can afford;"
Fact check:
-- choices will offer poor options, not quality care;

-- reform plans "will NOT give the government the power to make life or
death decisions for anyone regardless of their age;"
Fact check:
-- hundreds of billions in Medicare cuts and restricted expensive
treatments will do it for them;

-- "Health care reform will help ensure doctors are paid fairly so they
will continue to treat Medicare patients;"
Fact check:
-- doctors already are unpaid and $200 billion in new cuts are proposed;

-- "None of the health care reform proposals being considered by Congress
would cut Medicare benefits or increase your out-of-pocket costs for
Medicare services;"
Fact check:
-- Obamacare assures both;

-- "Health care reform will reduce costly, preventable hospital
readmissions, saving patients and Medicare money;"
Fact check:
-- less care assures more illness, not less, and higher costs to be borne
by recipients;

-- "Rather than weaken Medicare, health care reform will strengthen the
financial status of the Medicare program;"
Fact check:
-- proposed cuts, along with new ones, will weaken and eventually destroy
Medicare as well as other social safety net protections because Washington
prioritizes banker bailouts, other corporate subsidies, trillion dollar
defense budgets, militarizing America, and servicing growing hundreds of
billions in debt obligations;

-- "The President and Congress have committed to producing legislation
that will be paid for so it won't saddle our children and grandchildren
with debt;"
Fact check:
-- growing debt obligations place a lifetime burden on future generations
to pay for them; and

-- "If we do nothing to fix health care, families with Medicare or
employer-based health coverage will likely see their premiums nearly
double in the next seven years;"
Fact check:
-- private insurers are assured unrestricted freedom to raise rates and
will take full advantage as they've always done.

Nowhere under "Myths vs. Facts" does AARP suggest the only real reform
solution that's off the table and undiscussed by the administration,
Congress, the major media, or by organization officials as a fundamental
human right - universal single-payer coverage assuring everyone in, nobody
out. Instead, Washington, in cahoots with powerful providers and AARP,
highjacked the process for greater future profits by charging more,
providing less, making a dysfunctional system worse, and cheating growing
millions with promises they know are hollow.

It's become traditional at AARP, cashing in at members' expense after
advocating to "improve the quality of their lives." Will more dropouts
follow over concerns about its betrayal? Very likely as Washington
steamrolls toward an end of year resolution that will erode health care
coverage for most Americans and deny it entirely to millions under the
mantle of reform and AARP's endorsement. Its tradition continues.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on
Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at
lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net.

[If you are a member, leave. If you aren't, never join. -ed]


--------19 of 23--------

The Single Payer Caucus and Obamacare
The Weiner Charade
By RUSSELL MOKHIBER
CounterPunch
October 23-25, 2009

What would Democrats do if they were serious about single payer?

The 88 members of the House who support it - The Single Payer Caucus -
would get together and say - we're not going to vote for Obamacare.

(By the way - that's 88, down from 89 - because Congressman Kendrick Meek
(D-Florida) wants to be the next Senator from Florida, and has withdrawn
his support for HR 676 - the single payer bill in the House.)

Since Obama can't pass Obamacare without the 88 members of the Single
Payer Caucus, their opposition would put an end to the current debate.

And start another one.

And single payer would take center stage.

Even on Fox News.

The pharmaceutical and health insurance corporations would be thrown out
of the room.

And we'd have a people's debate about single payer - up or down.

No corporate meddling.

But the Democrats who say they are for a single payer health care reform
are not serious about single payer.

Even the best of them - from Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) to Donna Edwards
(D-Maryland) - are not serious about single payer reform.

All they want to do is to give Obama a legislative victory.

No matter how awful the legislation.

No matter its impact on the American people.

So, instead, they support the Weiner Charade.

Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) is pushing to get a vote on single payer
in House.

He says Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has promised him a floor debate
and vote on his single payer amendment.

But the insiders know this is a charade.

It's a way to make single payer forces feel good - hey, we got a vote on
the floor of the House.

Without getting anything accomplished.

So where does that leave single payer activists?

What to do?

Urge your member of Congress to vote against Obamacare.

And start from scratch.

Onward to single payer.

Russell Mokhiber is editor of Single Payer Action.

[Truth in advertising: ObamaCare = ObamaDoesntCare -ed]


--------20 of 23--------

The Super Rich are Laughing
The US as Failed State
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
October 22, 2009
CounterPunch

The US has every characteristic of a failed state.

The US government's current operating budget is dependent on foreign
financing and money creation.

Too politically weak to be able to advance its interests through
diplomacy, the US relies on terrorism and military aggression.

Costs are out of control, and priorities are skewed in the interest of
rich organized interest groups at the expense of the vast majority of
citizens. For example, war at all cost, which enriches the armaments
industry, the officer corps and the financial firms that handle the war's
financing, takes precedence over the needs of American citizens. There is
no money to provide the uninsured with health care, but Pentagon officials
have told the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in the House that every
gallon of gasoline delivered to US troops in Afghanistan costs American
taxpayers $400.

"It is a number that we were not aware of and it is worrisome," said Rep.
John Murtha, chairman of the subcommittee.

According to reports, the US Marines in Afghanistan use 800,000 gallons of
gasoline per day. At $400 per gallon, that comes to a $320,000,000 daily
fuel bill for the Marines alone. Only a country totally out of control
would squander resources in this way.

While the US government squanders $400 per gallon of gasoline in order to
kill women and children in Afghanistan, many millions of Americans have
lost their jobs and their homes and are experiencing the kind of misery
that is the daily life of poor third world peoples. Americans are living
in their cars and in public parks. America's cities, towns, and states are
suffering from the costs of economic dislocations and the reduction in tax
revenues from the economy's decline. Yet, Obama has sent more troops to
Afghanistan, a country half way around the world that is not a threat to
America.

It costs $750,000 per year for each soldier we have in Afghanistan. The
soldiers, who are at risk of life and limb, are paid a pittance, but all
of the privatized services to the military are rolling in excess profits.
One of the great frauds perpetuated on the American people was the
privatization of services that the US military traditionally performed for
itself. "Our" elected leaders could not resist any opportunity to create
at taxpayers' expense private wealth that could be recycled to politicians
in campaign contributions.

Republicans and Democrats on the take from the private insurance companies
maintain that the US cannot afford to provide Americans with health care
and that cuts must be made even in Social Security and Medicare. So how
can the US afford bankrupting wars, much less totally pointless wars that
serve no American interest?

The enormous scale of foreign borrowing and money creation necessary to
finance Washington's wars are sending the dollar to historic lows. The
dollar has even experienced large declines relative to currencies of third
world countries such as Botswana and Brazil. The decline in the dollar's
value reduces the purchasing power of Americans' already declining
incomes.

Despite the lowest level of housing starts in 64 years, the US housing
market is flooded with unsold homes, and financial institutions have a
huge and rising inventory of foreclosed homes not yet on the market.

Industrial production has collapsed to the level of 1999, wiping out a
decade of growth in industrial output.

The enormous bank reserves created by the Federal Reserve are not finding
their way into the economy. Instead, the banks are hoarding the reserves
as insurance against the fraudulent derivatives that they purchased from
the gangster Wall Street investment banks.

The regulatory agencies have been corrupted by private interests.
Frontline reports that Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, and Larry Summers
blocked Brooksley Born, the head of the Commodity Futures Trading
Commission from regulating derivatives. President Obama rewarded Larry
Summers for his idiocy by appointing him Director of the National Economic
Council. What this means is that profits for Wall Street will continue to
be leeched from the diminishing blood supply of the American economy.

An unmistakable sign of third world despotism is a police force that sees
the pubic as the enemy. Thanks to the federal government, our local police
forces are now militarized and imbued with hostile attitudes toward the
public. SWAT teams have proliferated, and even small towns now have police
forces with the firepower of US Special Forces. Summons are increasingly
delivered by SWAT teams that tyrannize citizens with broken down doors, a
$400 or $500 repair born by the tyrannized resident. Recently a mayor and
his family were the recipients of incompetence by the town's local SWAT
team, which mistakenly wrecked the mayor's home, terrorized his family,
and killed the family's two friendly Labrador dogs.

If a town's mayor can be treated in this way, what do you think is the
fate of the poor white or black? Or the idealistic student who protests
his government's inhumanity?

In any failed state, the greatest threat to the population comes from the
government and the police. That is certainly the situation today in the
USA. Americans have no greater enemy than their own government. Washington
is controlled by interest groups that enrich themselves at the expense of
the American people.

The one percent that comprise the superrich are laughing as they say, "let
them eat cake".

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan
administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be
reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com


--------21 of 23--------

All the Populism Money Can Buy
By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
CounterPunch
October 23-25, 2009

Across the country, last weekend there were anti-war demonstrations,
modest in turnout, but hopefully a warning to Obama that war without end
for reason in Afghanistan, plus 40,000 more troops to Kabul, is not why
people voted for him.

I spoke at our own little rally in my local town of Eureka, California. My
neighbor Ellen Taylor decided to spice up the proceedings by having a
guillotine on the platform, right beside the Eureka Courthouse steps. It's
in the genes. Her father was Telford Taylor, chief U.S. prosecutor at
Nuremberg.

When she told me about the plan for the guillotine, I wasn't sure it was a
good idea. But Ellen said she wanted to reach out to new constituencies
beyond the committed left, and what better siren call than the swoosh of
the Avenging Blade? A hundred years ago, people liked to stress the
similarities of the American and French revolutions. Mark Twain composed
the most passionate defense of the Terror ever written in A Connecticut
Yankee in King Arthur's Court. But then, after 1917, the French Revolution
was seen as the harbinger of Bolshevik excess and it grew less popular.

Up on the platform, I took the guillotine issue head on. In the Terror,
only 666 aristocrats had been topped in Paris in what is now the Place de
la Concorde; 1,543 throughout France. The reward: a decisive smack on the
snout of the land-holding aristocracy; durable popular power for peasants,
workers and the petit bourgeois: M. le patron and M. le proprietaire
stepped into history.

Here, in America, the corporate class is now entirely out of control,
lawless and beyond the sanction of prosecutor, juror or ballot box. If
corporate lawbreakers felt that somewhere along the line the retribution
of the guillotine might await them, it would concentrate their minds
marvelously, and cow them into lawfulness.

I got some cheers, and a charming young hippy, Brooklyn, mother of three,
told me she wanted to move to France forthwith. Ellen asked the
executioner, Michael Evenson, to put the contraption through its paces.
She invited the crowd to call out designated victims - CEOs of the major
banks, billionaires of note. Michael hitched the blade up six feet, and
down it came with quite a satisfactory thwock.

Three days earlier, Goldman Sachs announced $3.1 billion in third-quarter
profits, and set aside $5.3 billion for bonuses. Since G-Sachs is only
still in business because of public bailout money, the bonus payments
really make people mad. On the whole, Americans aren't keen on axe blades,
preferring the lynch mob's rope, but if the target had been the board
members of Goldman Sachs, I'm sure they'd make a generous exception,
particularly after Lord Griffith's remarks were widely quoted on this side
of the Atlantic. Griffiths, vice chairman of Sachs International, told an
audience at St. Paul's Cathedral last Tuesday that the public should
"tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity for all. I
believe that we should be thinking about the medium-term common good, not
the short-term common good ...."

Left and liberal commentators have talked yearningly about a new populist
fever raging in the American body politic, prompted by the spectacle of
bailouts for bankers but foreclosures and the dole for everyone else. I
can't say there's much sign of populism in any energetic form. Look at
movies from the Thirties, like Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and there's
a real edge to the anger of that time Capra felt it artistically important
to convey. These days, the anger is formulaic. Over the weekend, the
liberal opinion makers at the New York Times - Bob Herbert and Frank Rich
- chewed out Goldman Sachs. Growled Herbert:

"Even as tens of millions of working Americans are struggling to hang onto
their jobs and keep a roof over their families' heads, the wise guys on
Wall Street are licking their fat-cat chops over yet another round of
obscene multibillion-dollar bonuses - this time thanks to the bailout
billions that were sent their way by Uncle Sam, with very little in the
way of strings attached".

The Obama administration promptly rushed to cover its left flank by
announcing it's planning to impose cuts in executive pay at seven
companies with substantial bailout funds. The U.S. senate's parlor
populist, Bernie Sanders, dutifully proclaimed that the Obama
administration deserve praise for "taking an important step forward in
trying to control the obscene compensation packages of the top executives
on Wall Street".

Note the meek qualifier, "trying". The truth of the matter is that the
Obama team has managed the tricky shot of giving more bailout money to the
banks than the cumulative dispensations of all previous U.S. governments,
while at the same time NOT giving any significant debt relief to ruined
homeowners, a huge slice of whom is poor, black and Hispanic. Obama is not
seeking to reform the financial system, and it would be beyond miraculous
if he did, since the contrivers of the present mess - Lawrence Summers, et
al - were given a welcoming clap on the back by the new president, as he
stepped into the White House and told them to get on with the job. This
amazing bailout for the existing corrupt system - as if Lenin had used the
October revolution to restore the Romanovs - has been engineered without
significant opposition from organized labor or the left-liberal end of
Obama's own party.

Of course, people curse the bankers and their political flunkeys as they
watch their 10Ks atomize, their homes go, and their jobs disappear to
China. They smolder as they watch the parade of Murdoch's demagogues on
Fox, flirting and toying with the theme of Obama's assassination. The
Obama administration dares to go to war with Glen Beck, apparently the
only enemy it feels capable of confronting, at least at the time of
writing. The gossip site Gawker calls on its readers to turn in all
discreditable information about Goldman Sachs executives. The liberal talk
host Olberman calls on his audience to rat out Beck. Neither invitation
has thus far yielded any significant harvest.

Alas, American populism needs the octane of cash. During the Clinton
scandal, Hustler supremo Larry Flynt wanted his audience to rat out
high-ranking Republican sinners. He offered $100,000 cash rewards, and the
dirt rolled in. Populism has to be cash-based these days. Maybe that was
Ralph Nader's point. His first work of fiction, 700 pages long, is titled
Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us.

Alexander Cockburn can be reached at alexandercockburn [at] asis.com


--------22 of 23--------

Tracks of Our Tears
Gainful Employment
By MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE
CounterPunch
October 23-25, 2009

It is difficult to be optimistic during these times. Especially when you
read about a woman with ovarian cancer whose husband has lost his job and,
therefore, has no health insurance for his family. With limited options
and a wife whose illness requires treatment, the husband makes a
decision - to join the military. He enlists in the Army with the certainty
of multiple combat deployments, unless he is severely wounded or is killed
during his first tour of duty, so that his wife can continue her own
battle, against disease.

Call me a cynic, but when the recession/depression descended near the end
of George Bush's eight-year rape of our country's financial and moral
scaffolding, I added the Wall Street debacle to the litany of US
imperialist expediencies. One failure to regulate the paper vapor was the
contrivance to avoid reinstatement of conscription. So much better to have
the out-of-work filling the quotas at military recruitment centers. Let's
face it, a draft just might result in American moms and dads choosing to
march in the streets to say no to war instead of hypnotically reaching for
the remote to watch the season's next top something or to listen for the
cue of a laugh track. (Yes, we are even prompted to laugh.)

But we should be crying. For those who have to make such a difficult
choice, one that demands a lengthy departure, for months at a time, a year
or longer, and not just to a nearby location, but a distant separation,
thousands of miles away from a sick loved one. And from the children.

We should be crying for those who have lost their jobs (identity) and,
thus, their health care, and, perhaps, their homes to this design, a
reprehensible scheme that preserves endless fodder for endless war for
endless employment with poor pay and a high risk of maiming, traumatic
brain injury, and post traumatic stress disorder, if not death. But, of
course, there are the benefits, including travel to an exotic land,
ravaged and savaged by our weapons of mass terrorism, where babies are
born with unthinkable deformities as a result of the chemicals we have
unleashed on the environment. [The face of the unimaginably evil American
rich. -ed]

And we should be crying for the displaced, those refugees who have fled
for safety in other countries, or those who have stayed, witnesses to the
disfigurement of their children, relatives, friends and land.

And we should cry for the dead in these places we invade and occupy under
the guise of bestowing freedom and democracy.

We should be crying that our violence brings limitless sorrow, despair,
and suffering.

We should be crying that our inhumanity diminishes us, is criminal, and
continues in our names.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public
Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush
Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families
for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her
nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,'05, she
has been writing political articles. She can be reached at:
Missybeat [at] aol.com


--------23 of 23--------

 Dear enemy: thanks
 for everything you don't do.
 Please do less. Way less.


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   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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