Progressive Calendar 03.07.10
From: David Shove (
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

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From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
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

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560

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From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
from  Alayne Hopkins <alayne [at]>
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]

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.

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From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
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.

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From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
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,

"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

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From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
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:

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From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at]>
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] Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022

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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]

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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

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]

--------9 of x--------

An Interview with Criminologist Bill Black
The Top Ten Ways to Crack Down on Corporate Financial Crime
March 5 - 7, 2010

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

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

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

"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

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

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

'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
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

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

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
March 5 - 7, 2010

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

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

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]

--------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

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] Check Dr. Tremblay's coming book
The Code for Global Ethics.


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   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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