|Progressive Calendar 10.23.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|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. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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