|Progressive Calendar 04.21.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 21 Apr 2010 15:25:20 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 04.21.10 1. Union democracy 4.21 6pm 2. White people/f 4.21 7pm 3. Food, Inc./TV 4.21 9pm 4. William J Astore - American kleptocracy: naked theft --------1 of 4-------- From: Andy Hamerlinck <iamandy [at] riseup.net> From: "Leah Lindeman" <uniondemocracymn [at] gmail.com> Subject: Union democracy 4.21 6pm Fundraiser and Social Hour for National Union of Healthcare Workers Please join us to meet and hear SAL ROSELLI, Interim President, National Union of Healthcare Workers Wednesday, April 21, 2010 6:00 PM Minneapolis United Labor Center Room 215, 312 Central Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis, MN Parking behind the building Learn more about this historic struggle for democracy in the American labor movement. NUHW is the new California union that was born after SEIU imposed a disastrous trusteeship on SEIU-United Healthcare Workers-West, its third largest affiliate, in late January 2009. Since then, NUHW has shown the makings of a principled and powerful, vibrant and democratic workers' movement. Over 100,000 caregivers have stood up to fight for union democracy by filing petitions for elections! This inspiring achievement tells a powerful story about the kinds of organizing victories that are possible when a union is run by and for its members. All friends of union democracy and reform are urged to attend for a lively and informative discussion. And, please join us in providing critical financial support for this important workers' movement. Hosts: UNITE HERE Local 17 Mayday Books Joe Callahan, ATU Local 1005 Gillian Furst, Retired member, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Ethical Practices Committee Cherrene Horazuk, Chief Steward, AFSCME Local 3800 Erik Jensen, Steward, Teamsters Local 320 Mick Kelly, Member, Teamsters Local 320 David Larson, Professor of Law Leah Lindeman, Former SEIU Organizer Doug McGilp, Retired Steward, Teamsters Local 1145 Greg Poferl, Retired National Business Agent for American Postal Workers Union and Associate Member Education Minnesota Dave Riehle, Chairman Emeritus of UTU Local 650, Labor Historian Jack Stuart, Professor, Minneapolis Community and Technical College Phyllis Walker, President, AFSCME Local 3800 *Organizations listed for identification purposes only If you cannot come to this event, but want to contribute to this important struggle, you can donate on-line at www.FundForUnionDemocracy.org or send a check to: Fund for Union Democracy, 465 California St., Ste 1600, San Francisco, CA 94104. Contributions to the Fund are not tax deductible. All contributors shall remain anonymous. The Fund does not accept contributions from healthcare employers. --------2 of 4-------- From: UMN Human Rights Center <humanrts [at] umn.edu> Subject: White people/f 4.21 7pm April 21, 2010 - American Indian Cultural House Film Series: Qallunaat: Why White People are Funny. Time: Doors Open at 6:30pm Film at 7:00pm. Cost: Free and open to the public. Location: Bell Auditorium 10 Church Street SE Minneapolis, MN 55455 Synopsis: What's so funny about white people, otherwise known as Qallunaat to the Inuit? Well, among other curious behaviours, Qallunaat ritualistically greet each other with inane salutations, repress natural bodily functions, complain a lot about being cold and seem to want to dominate the world. This documentary is a collaboration between filmmaker Mark Sandiford and Inuit writer and satirist Zebedee Nungak. Zebedee is CEO and head researcher of the mythical Qallunaat Studies Institute (QSI). According to Nungak, "Qallunaat ought to be the object of some kind of study by other cultures. The more I thought about the way they have studied us over the years it occurred to me, why don't we study them?"; In its use of archival clips, Why White People Are Funny pokes as much fun at the illustrious history of NFB documentaries as it does at society in the south. Of course, well before the NFB came into existence, and at least as early as the classic 1922 feature "Nanook of the North,"; white society has been fascinated with native subjects, studying them as exotic specimens, documenting their cultural and social behaviours. That tendency to frame a world of Eskimo "others"; dominated both film Why White People Are Funny brings the documentary form to an unexpected place. Those who were holding the mirror up to Inuit culture finally have it turned back on themselves. The result is not always pretty, but it sure is amusing. From the Inuit point of view, visitors from the south are nothing less than "accidents waiting to happen."; Why White People Are Funny is a humbling portrait of what it must feel like to be the object of the white man's gaze. Fresh and original, this documentary has that rare ability to educate with wit. 2007, 150 min 59 s The American Indian Cultural House will be hosting a film series March 24 and April 21. The purpose of the series is to raise public awareness and celebrate the works of American Indian and First Nation films and videos that break and/or challenge racial stereotypes. The development of this series is intended to provide leadership opportunities to students who participate in the American Indian Cultural House. Students learn what goes into organizing community events and build collaborations with departments and other student organizations. --------3 of 4-------- From: Christine Frank <christinefrank [at] visi.com> Subject: Food, Inc./TV 4.21 9pm PBS BROADCAST FOOD, INC. ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE EXPOSING OUR SYSTEM OF INDUSTRIAL FOOD PRODUCTION CO-PRODUCED BY ROBERRT KENNER & ERIC SCHLOSSER OF FAST FOOD NATION AND DIRECTED BY ROBERT KENNER AIRS TONIGHT ON "POINT OF VIEW" WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21ST, 9:00 PM TO VIEW THE TRAILER: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_20613.cfm THE ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION IS HOLDING HOUSE PARTIES THIS EVENING WHILE WATCHING THE FILM UNDOUBTEDLY ORGANIC SNACKS WILL BE SERVED. YUM! --------4 of 4-------- American Kleptocracy: How Fears of Socialism and Fascism Hide Naked Theft by William J. Astore Wednesday, April 21, 2010 TomDispatch.com Common Dreams Kleptocracy -- now, there's a word I was taught to associate with corrupt and exploitative governments that steal ruthlessly and relentlessly from the people. It's a word, in fact, that's usually applied to flawed or failed governments in Africa, Latin America, or the nether regions of Asia. Such governments are typically led by autocratic strong men who shower themselves and their cronies with all the fruits of extracted wealth, whether stolen from the people or squeezed from their country's natural resources. It's not a word you're likely to see associated with a mature republic like the United States led by disinterested public servants and regulated by more-or-less transparent principles and processes. In fact, when Americans today wish to critique or condemn their government, the typical epithets used are "socialism" or "fascism." When my conservative friends are upset, they send me emails with links to material about "ObamaCare" and the like. These generally warn of a future socialist takeover of the private realm by an intrusive, power-hungry government. When my progressive friends are upset, they send me emails with links pointing to an incipient fascist takeover of our public and private realms, led by that same intrusive, power-hungry government (and, I admit it, I'm hardly innocent when it comes to such "what if" scenarios). What if, however, instead of looking at where our government might be headed, we took a closer look at where we are -- at the power-brokers who run or influence our government, at those who are profiting and prospering from it? These are, after all, the "winners" in our American world in terms of the power they wield and the wealth they acquire. And shouldn't we be looking as well at those Americans who are losing -- their jobs, their money, their homes, their healthcare, their access to a better way of life -- and asking why? If we were to take an honest look at America's blasted landscape of "losers" and the far shinier, spiffier world of "winners," we'd have to admit that it wasn't signs of onrushing socialism or fascism that stood out, but of staggeringly self-aggrandizing greed and theft right in the here and now. We'd notice our public coffers being emptied to benefit major corporations and financial institutions working in close alliance with, and passing on remarkable sums of money to, the representatives of "the people." We'd see, in a word, kleptocracy on a scale to dazzle. We would suddenly see an almost magical disappearing act being performed, largely without comment, right before our eyes. Of Red Herrings and Missing Pallets of Money Think of socialism and fascism as the red herrings of this moment or, if you're an old time movie fan, as Hitchcockian MacGuffins -- in other words, riveting distractions. Conservatives and tea partiers fear invasive government regulation and excessive taxation, while railing against government takeovers -- even as corporate lobbyists write our public healthcare bills to favor private interests. Similarly, progressives rail against an emergent proto-fascist corps of private guns-for-hire, warrantless wiretapping, and the potential government-approved assassination of U.S. citizens, all sanctioned by a perpetual, and apparently open-ended, state of war. Yet, if this is socialism, why are private health insurers the government's go-to guys for healthcare coverage? If this is fascism, why haven't the secret police rounded up tea partiers and progressive critics as well and sent them to the lager or the gulag? Consider this: America is not now, nor has it often been, a hotbed of political radicalism. We have no substantial socialist or workers' party. (Unless you're deluded, please don't count the corporate-friendly "Democrat" party here.) We have no substantial fascist party. (Unless you're deluded, please don't count the cartoonish "tea partiers" here; these predominantly white, graying, and fairly affluent Americans seem most worried that the jackbooted thugs will be coming for them.) What drives America today is, in fact, business -- just as was true in the days of Calvin Coolidge. But it's not the fair-minded "free enterprise" system touted in those freshly revised Texas guidelines for American history textbooks; rather, it's a rigged system of crony capitalism that increasingly ends in what, if we were looking at some other country, we would recognize as an unabashed kleptocracy. Recall, if you care to, those pallets stacked with hundreds of millions of dollars that the Bush administration sent to Iraq and which, Houdini-like, simply disappeared. Think of the ever-rising cost of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, now in excess of a trillion dollars, and just whose pockets are full, thanks to them. If you want to know the true state of our government and where it's heading, follow the money (if you can) and remain vigilant: our kleptocratic Houdinis are hard at work, seeking to make yet more money vanish from your pockets -- and reappear in theirs. From Each According to His Gullibility -- To Each According to His Greed Never has the old adage my father used to repeat to me -- "the rich get richer and the poor poorer" -- seemed fresher or truer. If you want confirmation of just where we are today, for instance, consider this passage from a recent piece by Tony Judt: In 2005, 21.2 percent of U.S. national income accrued to just 1 percent of earners. Contrast 1968, when the CEO of General Motors took home, in pay and benefits, about sixty-six times the amount paid to a typical GM worker. Today the CEO of Wal-Mart earns nine hundred times the wages of his average employee. Indeed, the wealth of the Wal-Mart founder's family in 2005 was estimated at about the same ($90 billion) as that of the bottom 40 percent of the U.S. population: 120 million people. Wealth concentration is only one aspect of our increasingly kleptocratic system. War profiteering by corporations (however well disguised as heartfelt support for our heroic warfighters) is another. Meanwhile, retired senior military officers typically line up to cash in on the kleptocratic equivalent of welfare, peddling their "expertise" in return for impressive corporate and Pentagon payouts that supplement their six-figure pensions. Even that putative champion of the Carhartt-wearing common folk, Sarah Palin, pocketed a cool $12 million last year without putting the slightest dent in her populist bona fides. Based on such stories, now legion, perhaps we should rewrite George Orwell's famous tagline from Animal Farm as: All animals are equal, but a few are so much more equal than others. And who are those "more equal" citizens? Certainly, major corporations, which now enjoy a kind of political citizenship and the largesse of a federal government eager to rescue them from their financial mistakes, especially when they're judged "too big to fail." In raiding the U.S. Treasury, big banks and investment firms, shamelessly ready to jack up executive pay and bonuses even after accepting billions in taxpayer-funded bailouts, arguably outgun militarized multinationals in the conquest of the public realm and the extraction of our wealth for their benefit. Such kleptocratic outfits are, of course, abetted by thousands of lobbyists and by politicians who thrive off corporate campaign contributions. Indeed, many of our more prominent public servants have proved expert at spinning through the revolving door into the private sector. Even ex-politicians who prefer to be seen as sympathetic to the little guy like former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt eagerly cash in. I'm Shocked, Shocked, to Find Profiteering Going on Here An old Roman maxim enjoins us to "let justice be done, though the heavens fall." Within our kleptocracy, the prevailing attitude is an insouciant "We'll get ours, though the heavens fall." This mindset marks the decline of our polity. A spirit of shared sacrifice, dismissed as hopelessly naive, has been replaced by a form of tribalized privatization in which insiders find ways to profit no matter what. Is it any surprise then that, in seeking to export our form of government to Iraq and Afghanistan, we've produced not two model democracies, but two emerging kleptocracies, fueled respectively by oil and opium? When we confront corruption in Iraq or Afghanistan, are we not like the police chief in the classic movie Casablanca who is shocked, shocked to find gambling going on at Rick's Caf, even as he accepts his winnings? Why then do we bother to feign shock when Iraqi and Afghan elites, a tiny minority, seek to enrich themselves at the expense of the majority? Shouldn't we be flattered? Imitation, after all, is the sincerest form of flattery. Isn't it? Copyright 2010 William J. Astore William J. Astore is a TomDispatch regular; he teaches History at the Pennsylvania College of Technology and served in the Air Force for 20 years, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He may be reached at wjastore [at] gmail.com. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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
- (no other messages in thread)
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.