|Progressive Calendar 03.07.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2010 01:59:17 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.07.10 1. Stillwater vigil 3.07 1pm 2. Mississippi river 3.07 2pm 3. Detention vigil 3.07 2:30pm 4. Black Panther/Cuba 3.07 3pm 5. Water rights/women 3.08 10am 6. Peace walk 3.08 6pm RiverFalls WI 7. David Zirin - How sports attacks public education 8. Billy Wharton - Thousands march in NYC during March 4th Day of Action 9. R Mokhiber - Top 10 ways to crack down on corporate financial crime 10. Mark Weisbrot - A damage control mission/ Hillary in Latin America 11. Missy Beattie - Wake up; don't wait until it happens to you 12. R Tremblay - The moral dimension of things --------1 of x-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 3.07 1pm A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2 p.m. Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be positive. Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers. If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it. Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to <http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/ For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560 --------2 of x-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> from Alayne Hopkins <alayne [at] thefriends.org> Subject: Mississippi river 3.07 2pm The Mighty Mississippi - Lectures, Discussions & More Saturdays & Sundays, March 7 - April 3 Central Library, 90 West Fourth Street, Saint Paul James J. Hill Reference Library, 80West Fourth Street, Saint Paul This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 651-222-3242 or friends [at] thefriends.org Join local photographer Chris Faust (Nocturnes) on Sunday, March 7, 2 p.m., at Central Library (4th floor meeting room), for a look at his river pictures, particularly focused on how humans affect the river landscape. Faust is a nationally recognized artist, and the recipient of several grants and awards, including a McKnight Foundation Fellowship, Bush Fellowships and awards from the Graham Foundation. --------3 of x-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Detention vigil 3.07 2:30pm Vigil: "Dignity, Not Detention" Sunday, March 7, 2:30 to 3:00 p.m. Ramsey Detention Center, 425 Grove Street, St. Paul. Join others at a monthly vigil in support of just treatment of detainees and all immigrants. Sponsored by: Interfaith Coalition for Immigration, the Advocates for human Rights and others. Endorsed by: the WAMM Immigration Committee. --------4 of x-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Black Panther/Cuba 3.07 3pm Video and Discussion: "The Eyes of the Rainbow" Sunday, March 7, 3:00 p.m. Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue South, Minneapolis. "Eyes of the Rainbow" is a documentary about the life of Assata Shakur, the Black Panther leader who escaped from prison and was given political asylum in Cuba, where she has lived since 1984. The movie visits with Assata in Havana and she tells us about her amazing story and her life in Cuba. "In the struggle of the African American people, many women's voices in the past and the present have always called for social justice, women who throughout the years have shown integrity and firmness in their principles. For this reason, "The Eyes of the Rainbow" is dedicated to all women who struggle for a better world. - Filmmaker Gloria Rolando. Childcare available. Light snacks provided. Sponsored by: Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Call 612-823-2841 or visit www.frso.org. --------5 of x-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Water rights/women 3.08 10am March 8th, 2010 -- 10 am-11 am on KFAI's International Women's Day Host Dixie Treichel -"Women and Water: Art, Awareness & Action" Guests from Women and Water Rights: Rivers of Regeneration discuss the involvement of women in management of local and global water resources, including a month long series of events and guest speakers. KFAI 90.3fm Mpls/106.7 fm St.Paul Live-streaming & archived for 2 weeks after braodcast: http://ww.kfai.org --------6 of x-------- From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net> Subject: Peace walk 3.08 6pm RiverFalls WI River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from "Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact: d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls, Wisconsin 54022 --------7 of x-------- How Sports Attacks Public Education by David Zirin March 6th, 2010 Dissident Voice It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. - Frederick Douglass On Thursday, I was proud to take part in a student walkout at the University of Maryland in defense of public education. It was just one link in a National Day of Action that saw protests in more than 32 states across the country. I am not a student, and haven't been since those innocent days when Monica Lewinsky mattered, but I was asked to come speak at a post walkout teach-in about the way sports is used to attack public education. It might sound like a bizarre topic, but it's the world that students see every day. At the University of Maryland, as tuition has been hiked and classes cut, football coach Ralph Friedgen makes a base salary of 1.75 million bucks, which would be outrageous even if the team weren't two-steps past terrible. Friedgen also gets perks like a $50,000 bonus if none of his players are arrested during the course of the season. Ground zero of the student protest movement is the University of California at Berkeley. Over at Berkeley, students are facing 32% tuition hikes, while the school pays football coach Jeff Tedford 2.8 million dollars a year and is finishing more than 400 million in renovations on the football stadium. This is what students see: boosters and alumni come first, while they've been instructed to cheer their teams, pay their loans, and mind their business. The counterargument is that college athletic departments fund themselves and actually put money back into a school's general fund. This is simply not true. The October Knight Commission report of college presidents stated that the 25 top football schools had revenues on average of $3.9 million in 2008. The other 94 ran deficits averaging $9.9 million. When athletic departments run deficits, it's not like the football coach takes a pay cut. In other words, if the team is doing well, the entire school benefits. If the football team suffers, the entire school suffers. This, to put it mildly, is financial lunacy. A school would statistically be better off if it took its endowment to Vegas and just bet it all on black. If state colleges are hurting, your typical urban public school is in a world of pain with budgets slashed to the bone. Politicians act like these are problems beyond their control like the weather. ("50% chance of sun and a 40% chance of losing music programs".) In truth, they are the result of a comprehensive attack on public education that has seen the system starved. One way this has been implemented is through stadium construction, the grand substitute for anything resembling an urban policy in this country. Over the last generation, we've seen 30 billion in public funds spent on stadiums. They were presented as photogenic solutions to deindustrialization, declining tax bases, and suburban flight. The results are now in and they don't look good for the home teams. University of Maryland sports economists Dennis Coates and University of Alberta Brad R. Humphreys studied stadium funding over 30 years and failed to find one solitary example of a sports franchise lifting or even stabilizing a local economy. They concluded the opposite: "a reduction in real per capita income over the entire metropolitan area. Our conclusion, and that of nearly all academic economists studying this issue, is that professional sports generally have little, if any, positive effect on a city's economy". These projects achieve so little because the jobs created are low wage, service sector, seasonal employment. Instead of being solutions of urban decay, the stadiums have been tools of organized theft: sporting shock doctrines for our ailing cities. With crumbling schools, higher tuitions, and an Education Secretary in Arne Duncan who seems more obsessed with providing extra money for schools that break their teachers unions, it's no wonder that the anger is starting to boil over. It can also bubble up in unpredictable ways. On Wednesday night, after the University of Maryland men's basketball team beat hated arch-rival Duke, students were arrested after pouring into the streets surrounding the campus. In years past, these sporting riots have been testosterone run amok, frat parties of burning mattresses and excessive inebriation. This year it was different, with police needing to use pepper spray and horses to quell the 1,500 students who filled Route 1. In response, students chanted, "Defense! Defense!" At the Thursday teach in, I said to the students that I didn't think there was anything particularly political or interesting about a college sports riot. One person shot his hand up and said, "It wasn't a riot until the cops showed up". Everyone proceeded to applaud. I was surprised at first that these politically minded students would be defending a post-game melee, but no longer. The anger is real and it isn't going anywhere. While schools are paying football coaches millions and revamping stadiums, students are choosing between dropping out or living with decades of debt. One thing is certain: it ain't a game. Dave Zirin is the author of the forthcoming Bad Sports: How Owners are Ruining the Games we Love (Scribner). He can be reached at: edgeofsports [at] gmail.com. --------8 of x-------- Thousands March in NYC During March 4th Day of Action by Billy Wharton March 6th, 2010 Dissident Voice Thousands marched through midtown Manhattan yesterday as part of the March 4th Day to Defend Education, to protest the latest round of budget cuts being imposed by New York City and State. The crowd was remarkably diverse - university students who faced tuition hikes, high school students whose free Metrocards were being revoked, teachers arguing against school privatization and transit workers enraged at the firing of 1,000 of their fellow workers. Different perspectives, but one demand - stop cutting the budget and start taxing the rich. My day began at Brooklyn College, a part of the City University of New York. Students and faculty there organized a day-long teach-in about the cuts. About 150 students participated and most seemed to be engaging in their first political act. The spirit that you can make a political struggle and win had yet to develop, but participants were engaged. CUNY has a rich tradition of student activism to draw upon. Three moments stand out. The first came in the 1930s when students created a vibrant free speech movement to secure the right to make politics openly on campus. This was followed by the 1969 student strike at City College by the Black and Puerto Rican Student Organization, which forced the opening of the CUNY system to all New Yorkers who wished to receive a college education. Next up were the tuition and open admissions struggles from 1989 until 1997, where another diverse student movement exploded onto the scene to defend the right to higher education for all. >From the history of struggle offered at Brooklyn College, I moved to the office of embattled Governor David Paterson in midtown Manhattan. Paterson may be dogged by scandals in Albany, but today he faced a vibrant crowd united by a total rejection of his budget proposals. Sure the speakers droned on for hours and most in the crowd had tuned them out after 20 minutes, but the clear message offered by the mere presence of people from so many parts of the city and so many causes, was that Paterson's hustle about everyone "pitching-in" during a fiscal crisis was being exposed as a farce. There is plenty of money in New York City - you could feel it oozing from the businessmen in expensive suits who hurled insults at the demonstrators while continuing their journeys back home to Long Island. Protestors wanted to get at this wealth, not for individual self-aggrandizement, but to ensure that our city provides the services poor and working class people need. Once we were liberated from the short-term of oppression of speechifying, we hit the streets. It is good to march in the streets. There is a sense of freedom it offers that is punctured only by the ever-present squadrons of police. And there were plenty of police - on horses, motorcycles, hanging off the side of buildings, inspecting, watching, directing. Today, though, there were more of us than them and there was a level of outrage to the protest that kept the police at bay, fearful that a provocation might grow into something they would have trouble controlling. So we marched and chanted and spoke with each other united together by a sense that this could be the first round of a longer struggle to reclaim our city. Is a new movement being born? Hard to say this early. If there is something brewing, it might be very interesting. The pressure of the cuts are coming down so hard, they are affecting so many different parts of our city and they are throwing so many people into politics, that any new movement might have a very broad base. We might not just have a student movement here, a community movement to defend schools there and a workers movement to defend public sector jobs. What may emerge, what many of us hope will emerge, is a broad movement that aims at democratizing New York City. This road, as they say, will be made by walking. Billy Wharton is the editor of The Socialist magazine and the Socialist WebZine. He can be reached at: billyspnyc [at] yahoo.com. --------9 of x-------- An Interview with Criminologist Bill Black The Top Ten Ways to Crack Down on Corporate Financial Crime By RUSSELLL MOKHIBER March 5 - 7, 2010 cp Ninety-five percent of criminologists study blue collar crime. Five percent study white collar crime. Of the tiny minority who study white collar crime, ninety five percent focus on the individuals who rip off the corporation. We are left with a small handful of criminologists - think Edwin Sutherland, John Braithwaite, Gil Geis - who have studied or are studying - corporate crime. That would be crime by the corporation. Bill Black is one of the most prominent of those living corporate criminologists. His specialty - control fraud. Control fraud is when the CEO of a company uses the corporation as a weapon to commit fraud. Bill Black is a lawyer and former federal bank regulator. He's the author of the corporate crime classic - The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry (University of Texas Press, 2005.) Black says there are steps we can take as a society to control corporate crime - in particular financial crime. In an interview with Corporate Crime Reporter last week, Black laid out his top ten. Number ten: Hire 1,000 FBI agents. Pass legislation (HR 3995) introduced by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur that would fund the hiring of 1,000 FBI agents to investigate white collar crime. Number nine: Appoint a chief criminologist at each of the financial regulatory agencies. "Each agency needs someone who understands white collar crime," Black said. "If you don't understand fraud schemes, if you don't understand how accounting is used to run these scams, you will always have a disaster in the making". Number eight: Fix executive compensation. Black would tie executive bonuses to long term corporate performance. Number seven: Target the top 100 corporate criminals. "We need to do a top 100 priority list - the way it was done in the savings and loan crisis," Black said. "The FBI, the Justice Department and the regulatory agencies got together and put together a list of top 100 companies to target. There was a recognition that these were control frauds. The top executives were using seemingly legitimate savings and loans as their weapons of fraud. And that is why any serious look will tell you the same thing about this most recent crisis as well. The criminal justice referral process has collapsed at the agencies". Number six: Regulate first. "When you desupervise or deregulate an industry, in fact you are decriminalizing control fraud. The regulators are the ones who make the bulk of these cases. I'm not saying they can do it alone. In the current crisis, the FBI had no meaningful support from the regulators. You have regulators denying they were regulators and saying that there could be no fraud because the rating agencies were handing out high ratings. That kind of naivete is ideologically driven. You will not have effective prosecution with that kind of regulatory regime". Number five: Bust up the FBI partnership with the Mortgage Bankers Association. "Now we have the FBI standing with what it calls its partners - the Mortgage Bankers Association," Black said. "But the Mortgage Bankers Association - that's the trade association of the perps. So, the FBI is partnering with the perps". "The result is - we have seen zero prosecutions of the specialty non-prime lenders that caused the crisis," Black said. "The mortgage bankers are going to position themselves as the victims. This has been so successful that the FBI now has a mantra. They are saying there are two kinds of mortgage fraud. Fraud for profit and fraud for housing. And neither of them is control fraud. They have effectively said - control fraud is impossible. Even though it was the entire story behind the savings and loan crisis, the Enron wave, and the creation of the most recent housing bubble". Number four: Get rid of Ben Bernanke as chair of the Fed. Replace him with Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz. "Ben Bernanke should not have been reappointed as head of the Fed," Black said. "He was the most senior regulator. And he was an utter failure. Under President Bush, he was President of the Council of Economic Advisors. So, he was a failure as a regulator. And he was a failure as an economist". Number three: Get rid of too big to fail. There are about 20 banks that have assets of $100 billion or more. They are considered too big to fail. "You do three things," Black says. "First, you stop them from growing. Second, you shrink them (to below $20 billion in assets.) You create the tax and regulatory incentives where they have to shrink below the level where they pose a systemic risk. And third, you regulate them much more intensively while they are in the process of moving from a systemically dangerous institution to a more leaner, smaller, more efficient, less dangerous institution". Number two: Create a consumer financial protection agency headed by Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren. "The sine qua non for success as a regulator is independence," Black says. "So, it's a very bad sign that Congress is moving away from an independent regulator". 'As we speak, news is breaking that they are moving away from housing the regulator at the Treasury Department. Now they are talking about putting it at the Federal Reserve. The Fed is an independent regulator. Unfortunately, it's an independent anti-regulator. I called putting it at the Treasury a sick joke. Putting it at the Fed is also a sick joke. They are both recipes for failure". Number one: Fire Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Office of Thrift Supervision chief John Bowman, Fed chief regulator Patrick Parkinson, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Chief John Dugan. "Tim Geithner was testifying before Congress a couple of years ago," Black said. "And in response to a question from Ron Paul (R-Texas), Geithner said . 'I have to stop you right there - I've never been a regulator". Well, that's true. But you are not supposed to admit it". "Can you imagine. This is the President of the New York Fed, testifying about the greatest failure in banking in the history of the nation. And he is so completely out of it - the mindset of capture is so complete, that he says 'I've never been a regulator.' This is the ultimate capture. You don't even think of yourself as a regulator". "Ben Bernanke in October 2009 appointed Patrick Parkinson as the top supervisor at the Fed," Black said. "He's the guy who, under Alan Greenspan, led the Fed charge against Brooksley Born when she wanted to regulate credit default swaps". "Patrick Parkinson, on behalf of the Fed, testified that credit default swaps should be left completely deregulated". "The reasons? If we regulate them, they will flee to the city of London. We should be so lucky, of course". "And two, fraud can't happen in credit default swaps, because the participants are so sophisticated. This is the most astonishingly naive model of white collar crime by people who know nothing about white collar crime and don't study it at all". "John Dugan's sole priority and all of his passion as OCC director has been pre-empting state efforts to protect us from predatory lenders," Black said. "And John Bowman should be fired," Black said. "The OTS got in bed with the industry most openly". [For a complete transcript of the Interview with Bill Black, see 24 Corporate Crime Reporter 10(12), March 8, 2010, print edition only.] Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter. --------10 of x-------- A Damage Control Mission Hillary in Latin America By MARK WEISBROT CounterPunch March 5 - 7, 2010 Hillary Clinton's Latin America tour is turning out to be about as successful as George W. Bush's visit in 2005, when he ended up leaving Argentina a day ahead of schedule just to get the hell out of town. The main difference is that she is not being greeted with protests and riots. For that she can thank the positive media image that her boss, President Obama, has managed to maintain in the region, despite his continuation of his predecessor's policies. But she has been even more diplomatically clumsy that Bush, who at least recognized that there were serious problems and knew what not to say. "The Honduras crisis has been managed to a successful conclusion," Clinton said in Buenos Aires, adding that "it was done without violence". This is rubbing salt into her hosts' wounds, as they see the military overthrow of President Mel Zelaya last June, and the United States' subsequent efforts to legitimize the dictatorship there, as not only a failure but a threat to democracy throughout the region. It is also an outrageous thing to say, given the political killings, beatings, mass arrests and torture that the coup government used in order to maintain power and repress the pro-democracy movement. The worst part is that they are still committing these crimes. Today nine members of the US. Congress - including some Democrats in Congressional leadership positions - wrote to Secretary Clinton and to the White House about this violence. They wrote: "Since President Lobo's inauguration, several prominent opponents of the coup have been attacked. On February 3rd, Vanessa Zepeda, a nurse and union organizer who had previously received death threats linked to her activism in the resistance movement, was strangled and her body dumped from a vehicle in Tegucigalpa. On February 15th, Julio Funes Benitez, a member of the SITRASANAA trade union and an active member of the national resistance movement, was shot and killed by unknown gunmen on a motorcycle outside his home. Most recently, Claudia Brizuela, an opposition activist, was murdered in her home on February 24th. Unfortunately these are only three of the numerous attacks against activists and their families .... Secretary Clinton will meet Friday with "Pepe" Lobo of Honduras, who was elected president after a campaign marked by media shutdowns and police repression of dissent. The Organization of American States and European Union refused to send official observers to the election. The Members of Congress also asked that Clinton, in her meeting with Lobo, "send a strong unambiguous message that the human rights situation in Honduras will be a critical component of upcoming decisions regarding the further normalizations of relations, as well as the resumption of This was the third letter that Clinton received from Congress on human rights in Honduras. On Aug. 7 and Sept. 25, Members of Congress from Hillary Clinton's own Democratic Party wrote to her to complain of the ongoing human rights abuses in Honduras and impossibility of holding free elections under these conditions. They did not even get a perfunctory reply until Jan. 28, more than four months after the second letter was sent. This is an unusual level of disrespect for the elected representatives of one's own political party. For these New Cold Warriors, it seems that all that has mattered is that they got rid of one social democratic president of one small, poor country. In Brazil, Clinton continued her Cold War strategy by throwing in some gratuitous insults toward Venezuela. This is a bit like going to a party and telling the host how much you don't like his friends. After ritual denunciations of Venezuela, Clinton said, "We wish Venezuela were looking more to its south and looking at Brazil and looking at Chile and other models of a successful country." Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim responded with diplomacy, but there was no mistaking his strong rebuff to her insults: He said that he agreed with "one point" that Clinton made, "that Venezuela should look southwards more ... that is why we have invited Venezuela to join MERCOSUR as a full member country." Ms. Clinton's right wing allies in Paraguay's legislature - the remnants of that country's dictatorship and 60 years of one-party rule - are currently holding up Venezuela's membership in the South American trade block. This is not what she wanted to hear from Brazil. The Brazilians also rejected Clinton's rather undiplomatic efforts to pressure them to join Washington in calling for new sanctions against Iran. "It is not prudent to push Iran against a wall," said Brazilian president Lula da Silva. "The prudent thing is to establish negotiations." "We will not simply bow down to an evolving consensus if we do not agree," Amorim said at a press conference with Clinton. Secretary Clinton made one concession to Argentina, calling for the U.K. to sit down with the Argentine government and discuss their dispute over the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands. But it seems unlikely that Washington will do anything to make this happen. For now, the next crucial test will be Honduras: Will Clinton continue Washington's efforts to whitewash the Honduran government's repression? Or will she listen to the rest of the hemisphere as well as her own Democratic Members of Congress and insist on some concessions regarding human rights, including the return of Mel Zelaya to his country (as the Brazilians also emphasized)? This story may not get much U.S. media attention, but Latin America will be watching. Mark Weisbrot is an economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. This article was originally published by The Guardian. --------11 of x-------- Don't Wait Until It Happens to You Wake Up By MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE March 5 - 7, 2010 CounterPunch United States of America, wake up. Our foreign policy is atrocious. A-T-R-O-C-I-O-U-S. An atrocity. In a nationalistic frenzy to avenge the deaths of the 9/11 victims, we invaded Afghanistan and, then, Iraq, killing many more civilians than we lost on that September morning when two planes were used as weapons to take down symbols of prosperity in NYC, when one plane cratered a field in Pennsylvania, and yet another pierced the Pentagon. Questions have gone unanswered despite an investigation that was a travesty. And why wouldn't we be suspicious given the information available about Operation Northwoods, a template for the events that shattered the security of our country and set in motion a neocon/fascist plan that is destroying democracy? The death toll of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan soon will hit 5,400. More than 41,000 have been wounded, many with traumatic brain injuries. We have murdered at least a million Iraqi and Afghanistan civilians, displaced about four million, and destroyed the infrastructure and the environment of those who have survived our weapons of mass destruction. We are using more drones under the leadership of a president who many believed (and still do) was a peacemaker, despite his proclamation that Afghanistan is the "right war". The price tag for this debacle is hundreds of billions of dollars and has not been pay-as-you-go, except for those who've paid with their lives. Iraq is still exploding. Afghanistan is exploding. Pakistan is exploding. Hillary Clinton, post-menopausal and estrogen deficient, is exploding, as well, hot flashing countries whose actions aren't nearly as threatening as our own ATROCITIES and human rights abuses. But this is WAR. "Let me be clear," says Obama, frequently - almost as often as he invokes 9/11. After the "wham bam-underwear" attempt to take down a passenger aircraft, President Oblahblah promised not to "succumb to a siege mentality that sacrifices" our civil liberties for security. But the continued articulation of "terrorism," "terrorism," "terrorism" is designed to create a siege mentality necessary for us to cower and become inert lumps as Wall Street Money Lords enrich themselves while raping our present and future. We're supposed to be afraid so that we detach from and are inured to the dying of our troops thousands of miles away, hardened that those who return are so damaged that they are either abusing their loved ones or blowing their brains out, in record numbers.and so fearful that we have little compassion for the men, women, and children our weapons kill. We are required to be afraid, encouraged to park in front of our television sets and watch mindless shit like "The Bachelor" and really care about the angst some crybaby wimpster is feeling because he's fallen "in love" with four women, then, two women, then, one woman. In fact, it's "surreal" that he's "connected" on so many levels. Later, we turn off the light, thinking of possibilities because we live in the US of A. We have opportunities, chances to pursue happiness and to acquire money - not as much as the Banksters who've worked "hard" for their bonuses, but enough to buy a bigger television set and a couple of automobiles. And then we go to sleep and dream of this someday-soon bonanza, ignoring the real message from our corporate-owned politicians: "Go bone yourselves". Yes, this is the other War, like the one in Iraq that's just been named Operation New Dawn. Certainly, it's our new dawn here at home, and it is frighteningly, starkly dark. Call it the War against the American People - waged on all but about one percent of us. We have wars on many fronts - overseas and in our communities. Those on foreign soil are killing Muslims and anybody who lives on land with resources we think belong to us because we're the USA. We're even taking advantage of an epic tragedy in Haiti because oil reserves are in our sights. We don.t just set the bar; we are the bar. Hoist the flag. Our government, through its military, mercenaries, and alliance with billionaires, has delivered seismic desolation with its assault on multiple countries and cultures, including our own. The War at Home and the Wars abroad are hurling people into poverty and desperation, loss of jobs, home foreclosures, and no healthcare. Got Cobra? Probably not, since it's as expensive for a family of four as the price of gold. All of the trespasses, the violations, are criminally reprehensible and, oh, so very personal. You may not realize this truth until it happens to you or to someone you love. Because you're Dancing With the Stars, right now, or dreaming of being one. Wake up. Wake up. 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 --------12 of x-------- The Moral Dimension of Things by Rodrigue Tremblay March 6th, 2010 Dissident Voice When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it. - Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850), French economist Certain hierarchs of the Catholic Church in Latin America used prayer as an anesthesia to put the people to sleep. When they cannot dominate us with law, then comes prayer, and when they can't humiliate or dominate us with prayer, then comes the gun. - Evo Morales, President of Bolivia (July 13, 2009) The single most important quality needed to resist evil is moral autonomy. Moral autonomy is possible only through reflection, self-determination and the courage not to cooperate. - Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) German philosopher Why do political leaders seem to be lying most of the time? Why is uncontrolled greed so prevalent in corporate rooms? Why do wicked men wage wars of aggression and become indifferent to the killing of innocent people? Why does materialism seem to trump everything else? Why do we have the uneasy feeling that our society is going in the wrong direction? The very fact that we have to raise such questions may be a sign of the times. Indeed, when the stench of moral decay becomes overwhelming, bad things inevitably follow. Historically, it can be shown that when the moral environment in a society is deteriorating, problems tend to pile up. We are presently living in one of those times, characterized by deep and entrenched political corruption, by routine abuse of power and disregard for the rule of law in high places, and by unchecked greed, fraud and deception in the economic sphere. The results are all there to see: Severe and prolonged economic and financial crises, rising social inequalities and social injustice, increasing intolerance toward individual choices, the disregard for environmental decay, the rise of religious absolutism, a return to whimsical wars of aggression (or of pre-emptive wars), to blind terrorism and to the repugnant use of torture, and even to genocide and to blatant war crimes. These are all indicators that our civilization has lost its moral compass. With all these throwbacks to an unpalatable past, it is not surprising there is a resurgence of interest nowadays for questions of morality and of ethics. The contradiction between modern problems, new scientific knowledge and the inadequacy of our prevalent source of morality or of ethics, which are mainly religion-based, has led a humanist like me to write a book, The Code for GLOBAL ETHICS, Ten Humanist Principles, [ISBN: 978-1616141721] prefaced by Dr. Paul Kurtz and published this year by Prometheus Books. The book is a down-to-earth discussion of ten basic humanist principles for our new global context. Why such a renewed interest in the moral dimension of things? -First, partly because many of our problems and threats are not only severe but they have also become global in nature. -Second, the fact that we seem to be unable to solve our global problems might also be because our scientific and technological progress is advancing much faster than our moral progress, with the consequence that problems arise faster than our moral ability to face them and to solve them. -And third, this is also partly due to the fact that the old religion-based rules of morality are of little help in solving these new problems, basically because they belong to the past and because, unfortunately, they have not incorporated new scientific knowledge. Indeed, humans' vision of themselves in the Universe has been forever altered by three fundamental scientific breakthroughs: Galileo's proof, in 1632, that the Earth and humans were not the center of the Universe, as suppposed holy books have proclaimed. Darwin's discovery, in 1859, (On the Origin of Species) that humans are not some god-like creatures unique among all species, destined to live forever, but are rather the outcome of a very long natural biological evolution. And, the Watson-Crick-Wilkins-Franklin's discovery, in 1953, of the structure of the double helix DNA molecule (Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid) in each of the 46 chromosomes in human cells, and the devastating knowledge that humans share more than 95 percent of the same genes with chimpanzees. I would add, also, that ongoing research about how the human brain functions has cast new light on how some phenomena, such as different thoughts, including religious thoughts, are generated in different zones of the brain. Therefore, nobody can claim anymore that the Earth is the center of the Universe; nobody can claim that humans are unique in the scale of things; and nobody can claim that the human body and the human mind are two unrelated entities. This knowledge has tremendous consequences for our moral stance. My best hope is that we will avoid falling back into an age of obscurantism and of decadence, and that we will be able to build a truly humanist civilization for the future. Rodrigue Tremblay is a Canadian economist who lives in Montreal; he can be reached at: rodrigue.tremblay [at] yahoo.com. Check Dr. Tremblay's coming book The Code for Global Ethics. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 Research almost any topic raised here at: CounterPunch http://counterpunch.org Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org Common Dreams http://commondreams.org Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones
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