|Progressive Calendar 08.18.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 15:39:40 -0700 (PDT)|
Progressive Calendar 08.18.10 P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 08.18.10 1. Airport Town Hall 8.18 6:30pm 2. Pentel on KFAI 8.19 9am 3. Eagan peace vigil 8.19 4:30pm 4. Northtown vigil 8.19 5pm 5. Como Av bash 8.19 5pm 6. FCC/open internet 8.19 6pm 7. Palestine vigil 8.20 4:15pm 8. Merriam potluck 8.20 6:30pm 9. Peace walk 8.21 9am Cambridge MN 10. UnivAv parade #1 8.21 10am 11. Hormel strike an 8.21 11:30am 12. CUAPB 8.21 1:30pm 13. Northtown vigil 8.21 2pm 14. Sheldon Richman - The ugly truth / None dare call it tyranny 15. PC Roberts - Without a revolution, Americans are history 16. Joe Bageant - Understanding America's class system 17. ed - Joy for sadists (haiku) --------1 of 17-------- Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2010 20:29:14 -0500 From: Ron Holch <rrholch [at] q.com> Subject: Airport Town Hall 8.18 6:30pm I just received this email from Barbara Haake, I know that it is the quietest time of the summer and many of you may be on vacation or thinking about one but it is imperative for officials to realize that this is still an important issue to many in our community so please, if you can, attend this meeting. -Ron Holch I just received this information that MAC (Metropolitan Airports Commission) is going to hold a Town Hall Meeting regarding our AC/B airport this Wednesday, August 18th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Blaine City Hall, 10801 Town Square Drive, Blaine 55449. The meeting is a presentation to tell you, the public, about AC/B airport's existing operations, the complexities of running an airport and to address community concerns. A question and answer session will follow. Please let everyone know who are on our list of CCNM members, all your friends and neighbors who have had any comment about the operations at AC/B airport OR who have helped us to work against any expansion at our airport of its runways going beyond the legally required limit of 5,000 feet long at a minor airport (AC/B MINOR airport). We all have said we need to be vigilant in what is happening at the AC/B airport and this meeting held by MAC that runs the airport is an important one. We need to attend this meeting so we can all stay current with what is happening that would/could affect our neighborhood/community. As I said, I just received this notice and I am on the AC/B Airport Advisory Commission. I am very disappointed that the notice or info was not sent to me earlier - or I would have changed some very important meetings I have to attend on Wednesday evening - the very night this AC/B airport Town Hall Meeting is occurring. I serve on the Rice Creek Watershed District (RCWD) Board of Managers and we have scheduled interviews with applicants who would like to be our next RCWD administrator - those interviews are with five people - held from 3 p.m. through 8 p.m. on Wednesday the 18th. Please let me know what happens at the meeting. The more people who go to this meeting, the better. It lets MAC and the supporters of any AC/B airport expansion know that the people are still united in making sure our airport maintains its MINOR status and that the runways at AC/B airport do not expand in length beyond the legal limit of 5,000 feet. Our message is simple - no further expansion of runways at the AC/B airport (and continue to limit/monitor the flight activity at the airport during night time/early morning times). Remember - we have to keep our eye on Key Air's operations, too. They are the ones who wanted a 6,000-foot runway at the AC/B airport along with Anoka County. Go to www.ccnm6.com <http://www.ccnm6.com/> website for the past history on what our concerns were just a year ago...concerns that we feel will not go away as long as the AC/B airport is in our midst with its 1,900 acres. Barbara Haake; 3024 County Road I; Mounds View, MN 55112-4309; 763.786.1022 --------2 of 17-------- From: PRO826 [at] aol.com Subject: Pentel on KFAI 8.19 9am Hello Pentel for Governor supporters, Ken Pentel will be on the KFAI radio show, CATALYST with Lydia Howell, tomorrow, August 19th at 9am. Visit kfai.org to listen to the livestream or it will be on their archives for up to two weeks under the program and shows link (CATALYST) if you live outside of the metro area and cannot reach the signal to listen. Also, Ken will also be interviewing with Lori Studavent from the Star Tribune. Ken, Erin and their campaign team are gearing up for the MN State Fair. As mentioned before, we have a great location on the fair grounds and hope to deliver our message to as many visitors as possible. Shifts are still available for those who can work a four hour shift. Feel free to click on the volunteer link of the kenpentel.org website if you can help out. In September, Ken will be traveling on bike around the southern loop on MN. The rest of the campaign team will be organizing for the GOTV (Get Out the Vote) efforts. More information will come, and I encourage you to send me your ideas after Sept 7th on how to promote the Ken Pentel/Erin Wallace campaign and to get the Ecology Democracy Party mandates and issues out to the public. Again, some things you can do for the Ken Pentel for Governor campaign are: Write Letters to the Editor Contact radio/TV stations and insist on inclusion Host a House Party Volunteer for the State Fair Download campaign literature from our website and share in your community Design your own Pentel for Governor lawn sign or window sign or Share any other creative ideas with the campaign on how to promote it. Yes We Ken! Danene Provencher Co-campaign Manager Ken Pentel for Governor _www.kenpentel.org_ (http://www.kenpentel.org/) --------3 of 17-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 8.19 4:30pm PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------4 of 17-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 8.19 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------5 of 17-------- From: MetroIBA <info [at] metroiba.org> Subject: Como Av bash 8.19 5pm A joint venture of the St. Anthony Park Community Foundation and MetroIBA Thursday, August 19, 5-9 p.m. The Como Avenue merchants of North St. Anthony Park invite you to enjoy an evening of local food, music and wine tasting. Special visits by The Pedal Pub and The Magic Bus Café. Bugalow Pottery will have its doors open for wannabe potters. Ken invites you to come and throw a pot! Thanks to MetroIBA members Bibelot Shops, Speedy Market, Park Midway Bank, EyeDeals, The Little Wine Shoppe and Micawbers' Books for making this such a successful summer series! --------6 of 17-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: FCC/open internet 8.19 6pm Public Hearing: Free Speech and Open Internet Thursday, August 19, 6:00 p.m. South High School, Auditorium, 3131 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis. Senator Al Franken recently told a crowded convention of bloggers that free speech in America is at risk if we stand back and let "four or five mega-corporations effectively control the flow of information." Calling Net Neutrality "the First Amendment issue of our time," Senator Franken urged everyone to join him in a fight against the corporate power grab to take control of our Internet and stifle free speech in the 21st century. Featured speakers include, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. This hearing is the community's best opportunity to take up Senator Franken's call and urge FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn to protect free speech online and make the open Internet accessible to everyone. The FCC is now considering whether to preserve Net Neutrality and protect the open Internet. Commissioners Copps and Clyburn need to hear that only real Net Neutrality guarantees full access to information. Without your voice, the agency could do the bidding of powerful phone and cable company lobbyists who want to break the open Internet and replace it with a gated community that serves their bottom line. Now's your chance to tell the FCC, "Real Net Neutrality means phone and cable companies can't control the Internet." Sponsored by: Free Press, Main Street Project and the Center for Media Justice. Endorsed by: the WAMM Media Committee. FFI and to RSVP: Visit www.savetheinternet.com/mnhearing. -- From: "Misty Perez Truedson, FreePress.net" <info [at] freepress.net> Cut your vacation short. Tell your boss you need to leave work early. Whatever you have to do, do it -- because the FCC is coming to Minneapolis. FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn are going to be in town next Thursday, Aug. 19, for a public hearing on the future of the Internet. You have to be there. Net Neutrality is in serious trouble, and we need to make sure the FCC acts to protect it. We can't let corporations like Comcast, Verizon and Google turn the open Internet into their private playground. Here are the details: WHAT: Public Hearing on the Future of the Internet DATE: Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010 TIME: 6:00 p.m. LOCATION: South High School Auditorium, 3131 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis Go here to register now http://free.convio.net/site/R?i=cKPlJ3gboTPDyQ5zjtoUww.. The event, co-hosted by Free Press, Main Street Project and the Center for Media Justice, is free and will include comments from the public. Don't miss this chance to tell the FCC why the open Internet is important to you. In a recent speech, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken called Net Neutrality "the free speech issue of our time." Without Net Neutrality, the Internet could go the way of cable TV, dominated by the largest companies, with higher prices, fewer choices and more limited access for consumers. We need the FCC to stop the corporate takeover of the Internet and make Net Neutrality the rule of the road -- once and for all. Please register for the event http://free.convio.net/site/R?i=x8ZxnD5vtakb1lioe1AYUA.. now and make your voice heard on Thursday, August 19. --------7 of 17-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine vigil 8.20 4:15pm The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs available. --------8 of 17-------- From: "Krista Menzel (Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace)" <web [at] MPPeace.org> Subject: Merriam potluck 8.20 6:30pm 2010 Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace Potlucks We hold a monthly potluck at a member's home or go out to dinner together - usually on a Friday at 6:30 p.m. Friday, August 20, 2010 Please e-mail info [at] mppeace.org or call Anne at (651) 647-0580 or Krista at (651) 641-7592 for more information. http://www.mppeace.org/events/ --------9 of 17-------- From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Peace walk 8.21 9am Cambridge MN every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street --------10 of 17-------- From: John Slade <slade [at] micah.org> Subject: UnivAv parad e#1 8.21 10am Come One! Come All! Come and enjoy the First Annual University Avenue Community Parade! Saturday August 21 10 AM to 11 AM University between Western and Marion! Public Assembly at Western Park 11:15! We want a better University Avenue! We want a more unified University Avenue! The light rail is coming and we want to celebrate our community, and show our pride! And we want you to celebrate with us! We will be going from Jackson School, along Thomas to Virginia, along Virginia to University, along University to Galtier and along Galtier to the Western Sculpture Park and the Hmong Arts and Music Festival! After the parade, we will have a Public Assembly on the main stage at the Music Festival. We will be speaking about what brought us out from 11:15- 11:45! This parade has been organized by concerned citizens and community groups, including the Metropolitan Interfaith Coalition on Affordable Housing (MICAH), the Aurora-St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation (ASA NDC), the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT), the District 7 Planning Council, the St. Paul Council of Churches, the Sibley Bike Depot, the University Avenue Business Association, and more. We have been brought together by concerns over the light rail, and want to show our care, concern, and pride in the University Avenue communities. We are still accepting registrations, if you wish to participate in the parade! (Contact Vaughn Larry at ASANDC at 651-222-0399 or blkchef56 [at] yahoo.com ) We would love to see you either in the crowd, in the parade, or at the Hmong Arts and Music Festival! For further information, contact John Slade at slade [at] micah.org or 651-491-2084 St. Paul Issues Forum now contains the following files John Slade Dayton's Bluff, Saint Paul Info about John Slade: http://forums.e-democracy.org/p/5DTbsEHYNSYIexttiRGBMI --------11 of 17-------- From: Peter Rachleff <rachleff [at] macalester.edu> Subject: Hormel strike an 8.21 11:30am Please join us. There will be a car caravan leaving Mayday Books on the West Bank at 11:30AM on Saturday. For more information, call Peter Rachleff at 651-696-6371. The Austin United Support Group, which has continued to meet weekly since the strike, invites all of us to join them this Saturday, August 21, at the Austin American Legion, from 2PM on, in an observation of the 25th anniversary of this historic labor struggle. In August 1985, 1700 meatpacking workers, members of UFCW Local P-9, struck the flagship plant of George A. Hormel and Company, in Austin, Minnesota. These workers had taken a wage freeze in 1977 as part of a bargain to get Hormel to build their planned state-of-the-art plant in Austin, where they had been operating since the 1920s. When contract negotiations began in 1984, workers and union officers were shocked that, far from offering wage increases, corporate management was seeking to follow the prolonged wage freeze with a 23 percent pay cut! Moreover, although hundreds of workers had been injured in the new plant (work had been radically reorganized), management refused to include a safety study as part of the new contract. The local, contrary to advice from their international union and its packinghouse division, made plans for their first strike since the one that had established the union in 1933. The local leadership built a thick internal organization of committees responsible for a range of activities, mobilized their retirees, reached out to UFCW locals at other Hormel plants, solicited the support of union activists in the Twin Cities, and across the country, and hired consultant Ray Rogers of Corporate Campaign, Inc. With Ray, they developed a strategy that emphasized the economic links between Hormel and a series of banks, and they saw their own members as their greatest resource. Local P-9 was ultimately defeated by corporate obstinancy and its support from other business interests, court decisions, the National Guard, an unsympathetic media, and its own international union which was supported by a labor bureaucracy at the highest reaches of the nation's unions. But the local's struggle inspired tens of thousands of workers, not just in the U.S. but across the world, who were beginning to feel the economic and political lash which would drive a new corporate global strategy in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, a strategy which meant that workers everywhere would have to work harder and would receive even less for it. The Hormel strike came to symbolize the fight back against this new corporate agenda. Today, twenty-five years later, we can assess the costs of the defeat of this union, these workers, and the victory of this corporate agenda -- in the triumph of greed on Wall Street; the export of millions of manufacturing jobs to Mexico, China, Vietnam, and the other low wage, unregulated regions of the world; the dispossession of millions of small farmers and the pressures on them to migrate in search of work; the shredding of the "safety net" in the U.S., from public education to public safety; the loss of economic security, from pensions healthcare benefits, and vacations to the loss of jobs themselves; the rise of political movements and terrorist organizations infused with anger and bitterness; and the encouragement to turn on each other in outbursts of racism and anti-immigrant nativism. The mural on the outside of the Local P-9 union hall, designed by national labor artist Mike Alewitz and P-9 rank-and-filer Denny Mealy, and painted by more than 1oo volunteers, included a banner: "If Blood be the Price of Your Cursed Wealth, then by God We Have Paid in Full." Indeed. But the fight continues, in Austin and elsewhere. This anniversary celebration is an opportunity to renew relationships of solidarity and friendship, to build new bonds, to reflect, to develop new ideas, strategies, and visions. Please join us. There will be a car caravan leaving Mayday Books on the West Bank at 11:30AM on Saturday. For more information, call Peter Rachleff at 651-696-6371. --------12 of 17-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: CUAPB 8.21 1:30pm Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue South http://www.CUAPB.org Communities United Against Police Brutality 3100 16th Avenue S Minneapolis, MN 55407 Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867) --------13 of 17-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 8.21 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------14 of 17-------- None Dare Call It Tyranny The Ugly Truth By SHELDON RICHMAN August 18, 2010 CounterPunch Thanks to Wikileaks and heroic leakers inside the military, we now know the U.S. government has killed many more innocent Afghan civilians than we were aware of heretofore. We also know that American military and intelligence personnel roam Afghanistan assassinating suspected bad guys. Sometimes they kill people they later acknowledge weren't bad guys at all. "Bad guys," like "Taliban," is implicitly defined as anyone who resists the U.S. occupation force and the corrupt puppet government it keeps in power. What other atrocities are our misleaders and misrepresentatives committing in our name? Let's get something straight: to be an enemy of American occupation, bombing, and "nation building" is not the same thing as being an enemy of America or its people. It's time Americans understood that. When you invade another country and people there object, even forcibly, they are not aggressors. You are. To understand this, imagine our being invaded by a foreign military force. Would resistance be aggression? The U.S. government goes to appalling lengths to deny this truth. It is about to try before a military commission a young Canadian, Omar Ahmed Khadr, who was taken into custody in Afghanistan eight years ago when he was 15 years old. The charge? War crimes, among them "murder in violation of the rules of war," which lawyer Chase Madar calls "a newly minted war crime novel to the history of armed conflict". Khadr was captured after a four-hour firefight between American forces and so-called militants in the village of Ayub Kheyl near Kabul, during which the Afghans' homes were flattened by 500-pound bombs. One American died later from wounds inflicted by a grenade. Reports conflict, but Khadr was shot several times in the chest and back, then later was found under the rubble, unconscious and seriously wounded - he lost an eye from shrapnel. Taken to Bagram Airbase, where the U.S. government maintains a prison, Khadr received some medical treatment and was interrogated about his role that day. He was thought to have information about al-Qaeda, since his father was a jihadist and knew Osama bin Laden. Khadr says he was denied pain killers, subjected to what can only be called torture, and forced to do hard work, aggravating his wounds. It was only after this torture that he said he had helped the militants because America was at war with Islam. Despite Canada's request, Khadr was transferred to the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was again tortured and kept in solitary confinement for long spells. He claims that because of the torture he gave false confessions, including that he threw a grenade. Later he said he had no recollection of throwing a grenade and was in fact rendered unconscious by an American-caused explosion. Unfortunately, the presiding judge has refused to exclude Khadr's statements made under torture and other cruel treatment, such as threats of gang rape. Militarily commissions are as much the travesty of justice that candidate Obama said they were in 2008. But now he's in charge. Even if Khadr threw the grenade and killed an American, how can that be a war crime? At worst his actions look like self-defense but at any rate, fighters in combat aren't typically charged with murder. Is the American military to be permitted to go anywhere the politicians wish and expect the people of the invaded countries meekly to accept their fate and pledge allegiance to the United States? Would we receive an invader that way? The U.S. government and its well-paid military contractors have an agenda in the Middle East and South Central Asia that has nothing to do with the welfare or safety of average Americans. On the contrary, it is bankrupting them and has made them targets of revenge. There's a simple way to keep American military personnel safe: bring them home. [That bastard -ed] Obama has shown himself to be worse than his predecessor and the neoconservative empire enthusiasts. His promises to leave Iraq and Afghanistan are hedged so thick that we can expect the occupations to continue for many years ... all in our name. Despite Obama's words, the death and destruction at America's hands are not nearing an end. Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation (www.fff.org) and editor of The Freeman and TheFreemanOnline.org. He is the author of Tethered Citizens. --------15 of 17-------- "Without a revolution, Americans are history." How Close is America's Demise? The Ecstasy of Empire By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS August 16, 2010 CounterPunch The United States is running out of time to get its budget and trade deficits under control. Despite the urgency of the situation, 2010 has been wasted in hype about a non-existent recovery. As recently as August 2 Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner penned a New York Times column, "Welcome to the Recovery". As John Williams (shadowstats.com) has made clear on many occasions, an appearance of recovery was created by over-counting employment and undercounting inflation. Warnings by Williams, Gerald Celente, and myself have gone unheeded, but our warnings recently had echoes from Boston University professor Laurence Kotlikoff and from David Stockman, who excoriated the Republican Party for becoming big-spending Democrats. It is encouraging to see some realization that, this time, Washington cannot spend the economy out of recession. The deficits are already too large for the dollar to survive as reserve currency, and deficit spending cannot put Americans back to work in jobs that have been moved offshore. However, the solutions offered by those who are beginning to recognize that there is a problem are discouraging. Kotlikoff thinks the solution is savage Social Security and Medicare cuts or equally savage tax increases or hyperinflation to destroy the vast debts. Perhaps economists lack imagination, or perhaps they don't want to be cut off from Wall Street and corporate subsidies, but Social Security and Medicare are insufficient at their present levels, especially considering the erosion of private pensions by the dot com, derivative and real estate bubbles. Cuts in Social Security and Medicare, for which people have paid 15 per cent of their earnings all their lives, would result in starvation and deaths from curable diseases. Tax increases make even less sense. It is widely acknowledged that the majority of households cannot survive on one job. Both husband and wife work and often one of the partners has two jobs in order to make ends meet. Raising taxes makes it harder to make ends meet--thus more foreclosures, more food stamps, more homelessness. What kind of economist or humane person thinks this is a solution? Ah, but we will tax the rich. The rich have enough money. They will simply stop earning. Let's get real. Here is what the government is likely to do. Once Washington realizes that the dollar is at risk and that they can no longer finance their wars by borrowing abroad, the government will either levy a tax on private pensions on the grounds that the pensions have accumulated tax-deferred, or the government will require pension fund managers to purchase Treasury debt with our pensions. This will buy the government a bit more time while pension accounts are loaded up with worthless paper. The last Bush budget deficit (2008) was in the $400-500 billion range, about the size of the Chinese, Japanese, and OPEC trade surpluses with the US. Traditionally, these trade surpluses have been recycled to the US and finance the federal budget deficit. In 2009 and 2010 the federal deficit jumped to $1,400 billion, a back-to-back trillion dollar increase. There are not sufficient trade surpluses to finance a deficit this large. From where comes the money? The answer is from individuals fleeing the stock market into "safe" Treasury bonds and from the bankster bailout, not so much the TARP money as the Federal Reserve's exchange of bank reserves for questionable financial paper such as subprime derivatives. The banks used their excess reserves to purchase Treasury debt. These financing maneuvers are one-time tricks. Once people have fled stocks, that movement into Treasuries is over. The opposition to the bankster bailout likely precludes another. So where does the money come from the next time? The Treasury was able to unload a lot of debt thanks to "the Greek crisis," which the New York banksters and hedge funds multiplied into "the euro crisis". The financial press served as a financing arm for the US Treasury by creating panic about European debt and the euro. Central banks and individuals who had taken refuge from the dollar in euros were panicked out of their euros, and they rushed into dollars by purchasing US Treasury debt. This movement from euros to dollars weakened the alternative reserve currency to the dollar, halted the dollar's decline, and financed the US budget deficit a while longer. Possibly the game can be replayed with Spanish debt, Irish debt, and whatever unlucky country is eswept in by the thoughtless expansion of the European Union. But when no countries remain that can be destabilized by Wall Street investment banksters and hedge funds, what then finances the US budget deficit? The only remaining financier is the Federal Reserve. When Treasury bonds brought to auction do not sell, the Federal Reserve must purchase them. The Federal Reserve purchases the bonds by creating new demand deposits, or checking accounts, for the Treasury. As the Treasury spends the proceeds of the new debt sales, the US money supply expands by the amount of the Federal Reserve's purchase of Treasury debt. Do goods and services expand by the same amount? Imports will increase as US jobs have been offshored and given to foreigners, thus worsening the trade deficit. When the Federal Reserve purchases the Treasury's new debt issues, the money supply will increase by more than the supply of domestically produced goods and services. Prices are likely to rise. How high will they rise? The longer money is created in order that government can pay its bills, the more likely hyperinflation will be the result. The economy has not recovered. By the end of this year it will be obvious that the collapsing economy means a larger than $1.4 trillion budget deficit to finance. Will it be $2 trillion? Higher? Whatever the size, the rest of the world will see that the dollar is being printed in such quantities that it cannot serve as reserve currency. At that point wholesale dumping of dollars will result as foreign central banks try to unload a worthless currency. The collapse of the dollar will drive up the prices of imports and offshored goods on which Americans are dependent. Wal-Mart shoppers will think they have mistakenly gone into Neiman Marcus. Domestic prices will also explode as a growing money supply chases the supply of goods and services still made in America by Americans. The dollar as reserve currency cannot survive the conflagration. When the dollar goes the US cannot finance its trade deficit. Therefore, imports will fall sharply, thus adding to domestic inflation and, as the US is energy import-dependent, there will be transportation disruptions that will disrupt work and grocery store deliveries. Panic will be the order of the day. Will farms will be raided? Will those trapped in cities resort to riots and looting? Is this the likely future that "our" government and "our patriotic" corporations have created for us? To borrow from Lenin, "What can be done?" Here is what can be done. The wars, which benefit no one but the military-security complex and Israel's territorial expansion, can be immediately ended. This would reduce the US budget deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars per year. More hundreds of billions of dollars could be saved by cutting the rest of the military budget which, in its present size, exceeds the budgets of all the serious military powers on earth combined. US military spending reflects the unaffordable and unattainable crazed neoconservative goal of US Empire and world hegemony. What fool in Washington thinks that China is going to finance US hegemony over China? The only way that the US will again have an economy is by bringing back the offshored jobs. The loss of these jobs impoverished Americans while producing oversized gains for Wall Street, shareholders, and corporate executives. These jobs can be brought home where they belong by taxing corporations according to where value is added to their product. If value is added to their goods and services in China, corporations would have a high tax rate. If value is added to their goods and services in the US, corporations would have a low tax rate. This change in corporate taxation would offset the cheap foreign labor that has sucked jobs out of America, and it would rebuild the ladders of upward mobility that made America an opportunity society. If the wars are not immediately stopped and the jobs brought back to America, the US is relegated to the trash bin of history. Obviously, the corporations and Wall Street would use their financial power and campaign contributions to block any legislation that would reduce short-term earnings and bonuses by bringing jobs back to America. Americans have no greater enemies than Wall Street and the corporations and their prostitutes in Congress and the White House. The neocons allied with Israel, who control both parties and much of the media, are strung out on the ecstasy of Empire. The United States and the welfare of its 300 million people cannot be restored unless the neocons, Wall Street, the corporations, and their servile slaves in Congress and the White House can be defeated. Without a revolution, Americans are history. Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com --------16 of 17-------- Understanding America's Class System Honk If You Love Caviar! By JOE BAGEANT August 17, 2010 CounterPunch How about them political elites, huh? Five million bucks for Chelsea Clinton's wedding, 15K just to rent the air-conditioned shitters -- huge chrome and glass babies with hot water and everything. No gas masks and waxy little squares of toilet paper for those guys. Yes, it looks big time from the cheap seats. But the truth is that when we are looking at the political elite, we are looking at the dancing monkey, not the organ grinder who calls the tune. Washington's political class is about as upwardly removed from ordinary citizens as the ruling class is from the political class. For instance, they do not work for a living in the normal sense of a job, but rather obtain their income from abstractions such as investment and law, neither of which ever gave anybody a hernia or carpal tunnel. By comparison, the ruling class does not work at all. Moneywise, Washington's political class is richer than the working class by the same orders of magnitude as the ruling class is richer than the political class. This gives the political class something to aim for. To that end, they have adopted the ruling elite's behaviors, tastes and lifestyles, with an eye on becoming members. Moreover, it is a molting process that begins with the right university and connections, and culminates in flying off to Washington with the rest of your generation's most privileged and ambitious young moths. They make enough dough to at least fake it until they make it. Fifty-one of the 100 members of the US Senate are at the very least millionaires -- probably more than that, since multi-million million dollar residences and estates are exempt from the official tally. For instance in the House, Nancy Pelosi's net worth is either $13 million, or $92 million, depending upon who is counting. Why they bother to shave such large numbers is a mystery. Thirteen million, ninety two million, the difference is not gonna change our opinion of Nancy. Our opinion being that the broad is loaded. More than loaded. The comparatively poor members of Congress, like Barney Frank, are near millionaires. His publicly declared net worth is $976,000. For the life of me, I cannot see how they get by. Along with the habits, the political class adopts the ruling class's social canon and presumptions, especially the one most necessary for acceptance: That the public has the collective intelligence of a chicken. OK, so it may be very hard to disprove that at the moment, but we must maintain at least some egalitarian semblance here. Anyway, as a group, the political elites think, look and act alike, and act toward their own interests. That makes them a class. Screw the proles, just count the money This political class stands between all of us down here and the tiny minority in the ruling class waaaaaay up there, wherever the hell up there is. No use to squint. You can't see it from where we are. That comes in mighty handy in denying the existence of a ruling class. On the other hand, you do not need to see an egg-sucking dog in action to know what to expect -- or not to expect. The track record of the political class is an open book. As the layer of millionaires buffering the elites who pay for their campaigns, they've done their jobs. They approved the Bush administration's massive tax cut for the rich. They dropped the per-child tax credit for families with incomes less than $20,000. They "reformed" prescription drugs right out of Medicare. They reformed health care into hundreds of billions of increased profits for the insurance industry. However, the American political class' finest moment came in September 2008 when the financial greed machinery of American investment houses went tits up. The Republican and Democratic parties, major corporations, and manufacturers of US opinion came together in one of the greater bipartisan efforts in modern US history. There was nothing to do, they all agreed, but buy up $700 billion in "toxic asset" investments. "Otherwise," they prophesied, the world would end. Meaning that the ongoing national Ponzi scheme they have always sold to the American people as the US economy, would finally crash. And in case there were any skeptics out there among the unwashed, the public was reminded just how much they stood to lose -- which was everything. Deep in the boiler room, the Goldman Sachs black bag crew had wired up the "economy" with enough explosive "financial instruments" to take out every working mook's home, or retirement savings, which the medical industry was already sucking up at an alarming rate. Something had to be done before the health care industry got it all, and repo the family ride. Yessiree, it was gonna be a "systemic collapse," by god, and if you needed proof, just look at the way both George Bush and Barack Obama agreed that some American corporations were too big to let sink, therefore it was time for the public to start bailing out the boat. Meanwhile, the royal economists were unanimous in that this "rescue" was going to require another 10 trillion bucks somewhere down the pike -- a very short pike. So it must all be damned serious and we gotta do this thing. Right folks? In an unusual display of common sense, the American public said "Bullshit," by margins of three or four to one, depending upon region. That did not bother political and economic elites much. What the fuck do the proles know anyway? Then, in midstream, the political and economic owning classes switched horses, after realizing there was more gravy for the kingpins in buying up banks and big industries. It was unconstitutional, but what the hell, that's what Supreme Courts are for. The proles mumbled and peered into their TV sets for explanations that never came. Of course, partisan opposition being what it is these days -- a blood-soaked ditch of snarling hyenas -- Obama's election meant the GOP needed to denounce the new Democratic president for display purposes. Or at least shit in the Oval Office, and then blame him. So most Republicans holding office in 2008 were forced to argue publicly against "troubled asset relief," "stimulus packages," and the huge bailouts. Besides, somebody had to unfurl the motley banner of a "self balancing free market," at least widely enough for the GOP to hide behind in the back room where the real deals are always cut. The place where the weapons companies propose systems, using congressional representatives and generals as sales reps. Where it is understood that, as John Kenneth Galbraith pointed out near the end of his life, when it was safe to tell the truth, "stockholders are just appendages, someone to hold the bag for the corporations, and stocks are just gambling chips for hedge funds and Wall Street," and for the suckers who think they can actually outwit High Frequency Trading -- a.k.a. High Speed Fraud. (Thanks to reader Brent B. for sending me that one). Ah, but I have digressed. What else is new? The main thing is that the smoke has now cleared, the money is in ruling class coffers, and a spin the bottle game for a few prosecutions is underway to entertain the crowd for the next few years. Public burnings in the national town square of media always draw a crowd. Bwaaaaaa! Obama won't let us play Fortunately, for both parties, there is no such thing as an American political memory. That Lindsay Lohan dated fellow rehab client, snowboarder Riley Giles, yes, that can be remembered. That the Republicans signed off on similar, if smaller giveaways under Pappy Bush and Clinton -- well, that may as well be ancient Egyptian history. So is the fact that the both parties forced banks to make high rate home loans to people who people who did not qualify, because the inflated home values during the expanding bubble would make billions for big investors who knew when to get out. Should they stay too long at the fair and go bust, they would set up the howl of "too big to fail." The administration, which has no more a clue to what makes the economy tick, would then rush them pallets of money. That's what a banker calls a win-win situation: when the banker holds both ends of a winning deal. Meanwhile, elite Republicans still needed a beef with the new black guy on the block who had just kicked their ass and was still very popular at the time. The best they could come up with on the bailouts was that they had been allowed too little input. "Obama won't let us play with him. Bwaaaaaa!" A smokescreen of course, since he was doing exactly what they would have done, handing Republican bankers every bit of money the people had and a helluva lot they didn't have, but could make payments on for the next, oh, 100 years or until the final miserable, smoking collapse, whichever comes first. In the end though, nobody in Washington disputed the ruling class's right to dictate policy. After all, the political class agreed with the ruling class's major premise: The public does not know shit, never has, never will. Also that it is best not to get the public too riled up, not because the public has any power (power is money in America and the elites have it all now), but because elected officials would have to answer brainless questions from people such as Tea Partiers. Or Ron Paul cultists. Gawd! Howard, won't you please come home America has always had a ruling class, and it has always bullshitted the world that it doesn't. But at least the ruling class of the past was interesting and varied, because diverse sorts of Americans were getting rich. You had Texas wildcatters in the "oil bidness." You had Southern cotton and tobacco aristocrats guzzling bourbon, fondling their stock portfolios and their black maids. You had industrialists and California and Florida real estate hotwires, Boston Brahmins and New York financiers. There was the bootlegging inside stock trader Joseph P. Kennedy, not to mention Prescott Bush moving financial assets around for the Nazis during WW II. They were products of varied educations, or in some cases, no education. They came from many regions, back when America still had distinct cultural regions, before it was completely homogenized and stratified for maximum capitalist efficiency. Whatever they may have been, they were seldom dull. I would love to have known Howard Hughes, a man who could direct a film, and build the largest aircraft ever built, the 200-ton, all-wood Spruce Goose, not to mention the busty Jane Russell's underwire bra. Stop and consider Bill Gates and the other colorless puds of today. Almost makes you miss the robber barons. Think Tony Hayward gives a shit? You hear it all the time these days: The top one percent of Americans own more wealth than the bottom 45% of the rest of Americans combined. I have seldom met an American who thought this is a good thing, and seldom met one who understood how the ruling class got so rich. Simply put, it was through constant cultivation of bigger and more labyrinthine government, creating legal and technical complexities to sluice money nationally and globally in their direction, and to cover their asses in the process. The results are such things as 3,000 page health care bills (defining which corporate elites get which parts of the cake), or the 2,000-page NAFTA and its 9,000 tariff product codes. Once the public was buried in such a maelstrom of legal paperwork, computer transactions, modeling, etc., it was easy to argue that the world had become so complex that the skills and brains to operate it were extremely rare and those who had them were fucking geniuses. These are people who dwell in such airy realms that we should pay them vast amounts of money and never question their decisions. That's how we got such oblivious duds as Timothy Geithner (who never held a nongovernment related job in his life) running the Treasury, and tens of thousands of the Empire's pud whackers, ranging from petty legal commissars, on up to the Alan Greenspans of this world -- a bumbling arrogant old fart who never had a clue but understood the rules: Look enigmatic and blow whichever administration is in power. In fact, capitalist natural selection for mediocrity is how British Petroleum got Tony Hayward, who was unfortunate enough to be tossed out of the boat onto the media beaches of public awareness in his briefs. If ever there was a specimen of the slimy corporate salamander, we saw it in sniveling nakedness right there. Reportedly, the salamander will receive $18 million, plus annual pension payments totaling $1 million per year, the possible forfeiture of which makes good news copy to cover BP's ongoing negligence, theft and intimidation. So the public howls and throws eggs at the straw man, who has been making $1.6 million a year and is now sitting on his yacht "trying to get his life back." Does anybody really believe Tony Hayward gives a shit? Oh, there may be some news of BP's demise, its "absorption" by another corporation or something similar to Enron, sold off piecemeal to other massive corporations at a bargain prices, while everyone was watching the saga of the mediocre white collar criminal, Ken Lay. You'd think we'd learn. Corporations do not go away; they just morph along, sucking up generation after generation's money. The rabble at the gates You never hear them say it, but neo-conservatives understand that they have a mean streak down inside. They also know if they want to share in the national plunder, they must win hearts and minds. They must look pious and sound right while lying through their teeth and picking our pockets. In other words, they have an astute grasp of American politics and business -- which are the same thing, of course. Most educated American liberals, however, believe simply being progressive makes them, by default, the nation's saviors -- morally and intellectually right in all things. As proof, they read more and, allegedly, are more open minded than most conservatives, except when it comes to their daughter dating a redneck named Ernest who lives in a trailer court behind the strip mall. They are certainly among the educated class in a country known for its lousy schools and a dull, sated and unquestioning public. Education and access to education are now our fundamental class delineators. Higher education is now for the privileged. And that privilege, almost regardless of profession or career, is a future that depends on government. Liberal or conservative, it matters little. In fact, this privileged class votes Democratic more predictably than the working class, Hispanics or Blacks. So when educated liberals look up from their copy of The Nation or the Jon Stewart show, they behold a chilling sight: Beefy mobs waving teabags and demanding tax cuts to help pay for new schools and bridges, Sarah Palin emerging from the ashes of the McCain campaign to become the high priestess of the uncurried tribes, with a Mormon named Glenn Beck exhorting millions of fundamentalists to seize the country. They feel that something has gone terribly wrong with America. Immediately they conclude that it is the American people's fault through their backwardness, incomprehension and misdirected anger, and that maybe it serves them right for not rallying behind the flying progressive standard. (I've been plenty guilty of this myself over the years, and am now a recovering American liberal, well on my way not to conservatism, but toward a strumpetocracy, government by strumpets. It's a real word, Google it.) Not that the progressive flag was actually flying; American liberals threw down their standard 40 years ago in the rush for comfortable technical, teaching and administrative jobs in government, universities and non-profits. "Ah yes," they wailed, the people have let us down. They are absolutely disgusting!" liberals agreed. And they still agree. Read the comments on Huffington Post or Daily Kos. Or look at the arrogance of Barack Obama's characterization of American heartlanders "clinging to God and guns." Which we do. However, implicit in his statement was that both God and guns are indicators of an ignorant loser class. When opponents scalded him for his remarks, he justified them by pointing out he had said, "what everybody knows is true." Meaning everybody in his class, the educated liberal class. Hard to believe their predecessors were the point men and women for the Scopes trial, the eight-hour day, unions, anti-McCarthyism, Cesar Chavez, Negro civil rights. Big dogs eat first The ruling elite stays in power through the patronage both parties offer their supporters. They hang onto or follow their party's leaders much the same as remoras cling to big sharks, and pilot fish accompany sharks, happy to get the leftovers. Both parties provide their activists and followers with livelihoods, through programs or legislation that just happen to make the rich richer. One good example is the psychologists, doctors and social workers who initiate the process of getting half the country on anti-depressants or mood stabilizers, a term that should scare the hell out of anyone who grasps the concept of the corporate state. They get their jobs through government funding, or research that defines behaviors as illnesses requiring powerful psychoactive drugs. One new favorite is ODD, oppositional defiant disorder, in which children act like -- surprise, surprise -- the young assholes that children can sometimes be. Teenage rebellion becomes a psychological disorder. Diagnostic manual symptoms include "often argues with adults," an unheard of behavior of teenagers calling for antipsychotics such as Risperidone. Side effects of Risperidone include a mild speed like buzz, a super erection lasting hours, lactation and suicidal tendencies. Phew! Big Pharma makes billions more in the name of alleviating the people's suffering. Obviously many millions are indeed suffering, but if that is the case, then American society is suffering. Never will it be asked publicly just what psychic anguish our society is suffering from. Because the answer is capitalist industrial commodity disease, and the psychic pathology of Americaness. That would mean consulting Mr. Marx, who predicted much of it, or Arthur Barsky, who brought the definition up to date. For Americans, self-examination is not just rare, it is nonexistent, which one source of our pathology. Missing from our national character is love of the common good, and our collective civic responsibility toward one another. But if we acknowledged collective responsibilities to the individual members of our society, then we would have to deal with the issue of class in this country. Better to medicate the entire nation. To do that, you need big government. In the process, the already rich get richer and the rest of the middle class commissariat becomes more dependent upon the rich. As conservative editor and writer Angelo M. Codevilla, pointed out in a July 2010 article: "By taxing and parceling out more than a third of what Americans produce, through regulations that reach deep into American life, our ruling class is making itself the arbiter of wealth and poverty." A third is more than enough to tip the scales at their will. Keep 'em dazzled with foot work Meanwhile, there are the rest of us. That great throng of squawking, family loving folks, professionals and peasants alike, libertarians, patriots, people who worship god and those who loath religion -- people who still believe that hard work is the road to success despite the evidence, people who know differently because they sell used cars or work for the US Post Office -- citizens who rightfully suspect that government taxes merely feed the beast, or who believe, again rightly, that no politician truly represents their interests, and that the government is now in the business of social engineering for economic purposes. Fundamentalist Christians, gays, small businessmen, Hispanic Americans, organic farmers, pro-lifers and abortion supporters, union workers in the North and Southern anti-unionists, school teachers and stump preachers -- we all feel threatened by our government. At the same time, in order to keep revolution at bay, and the military in cannon fodder and defense industry in contracts, we have been heavily indoctrinated to believe America leads the world in all things, and that the rest of mankind lives less prosperous, less free lives, coveting our "lifestyle." In short, they are lesser people. Still though, we have in common that none of us like the idea of a ruling class. We did not from the very beginning. Yet, we no longer take effective action, because it has become impossible to identify what we might do to change anything. Instead, we react to events. That is what the ruling class wants, because if we are reactive, then outcomes can be controlled by controlling the stimuli. Keep 'em dazzled with foot work. So the stimuli keep coming at us faster than we can think. And they are presented as fate, or the result of "fast changing world events," or a banking collapse no one could have predicted -- things to which we must respond immediately. Most of us just give up. Which again, is what the ruling class wants us to do -- become a uniformly pliant mass. Because the revolutionary destruction of the current economic system, bad as it is, would crash the country's economy even more quickly than the current process of theft, we are not likely to see an outright revolution that overthrows the ruling class. Look at the sorry assed "Tea Party Revolution," which will have to be allied with the GOP (which its backstage leadership has been anyway) in 2012 if it wants to be even a small factor. Media noise about the Tea Party doth not a revolution make, and it certainly does not overthrow the ruling class, who do not mind the wrath of the rabble, so long as it does not get in the way of the money. And besides, the ruling class holds all the money, not to mention the media that informs the populace as to what is going on in our country. It controls our health care, our banking and retirement funds. It controls our education or lack of education, and it controls the price, quantity and quality of the food we eat. It controls the quality of the air we breathe, and soon, through pollution credits, even the price they will pay for that air. Most importantly, it holds concentrated legal and governmental authority, not to mention the machinery of both parties to grant itself more authority. In the face of all this stands a very diverse public, which regardless of what some might claim behind a few beers, is not about to take up arms or use force to unseat the ruling class. When your life and your family are so utterly controlled by persons and forces that you cannot even see, you don't take such risks. That's not gutlessness. It's common sense. Therefore, you are left with a rigged game called legislative action. This is an invisible power process, masked by another process called public relations strategy, which feeds it into yet another process called media, that makes "news decisions," as to what you need to hear or see. And there's plenty you don't need to hear. For instance, NPR, the New York Times and thousands of other outlets refuse to use the word torture to describe waterboarding, preferring instead "aggressive interrogation methods," unencumbered interrogation, free interrogation, or similar euphemisms. NPR's justification for sugarcoating US torture is, ""the word torture is loaded with political and social implications." Ya think? Truth is a hard road to travel After decades of hyper-militant consumerism and its attending alienation, and a national consciousness spun from pure capitalist bullshit and mirrors, it is testimony to the American people that they can still see to piss straight, much less recognize any sort of truth whatsoever. Yet, a portion of Americans are beginning to grasp the truth about what has happened to their country -- that it has been bought and paid for by an elite class in a nation that is supposed to be classless. They are beginning to realize that, when it comes to actually governing our country, we are powerless as individuals -- even members of the political class -- and serve the overall will of its true owners. It's been that way so long we've become conditioned to accept it as a natural state, something we cannot change, and do not even know how to question, because, like the atmosphere, it's just there. The higher truth is something we recognize when we encounter it. We may not have the right words, or all the facts, but we can feel it in our bones. Intuition is the first glimmer in the distance. It goes unsaid that we always have the choice of not looking in truth's direction, or not looking for it at all. Seldom is it a pleasant sight, which is the chief sign that it is truth. Even the best of it arrives to the sound of ominous bells. I think about that young reader, Brent B., who takes time to email me now and then. Today he wrote, summarizing the only thing of which I am certain: It's a hard thing to know the truth in this world, it's like something inside of you dies, but sometimes you still have to know it. Joe Bageant is author of the book, Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War. (Random House Crown), about working class America. He is also a contributor to Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance from the Heartland (AK Press). A complete archive of his on-line work, along with the thoughts of many working Americans on the subject of class may be found on ColdType and Joe Bageant.s website, joebageant.com. --------17 of 17-------- Sadists believe plants feel. Mow the yard, trim the hedge, cavort and cackle. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 for governor 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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