Progressive Calendar 08.21.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2010 23:00:49 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   08.21.10

1. Community gardens 8.21 10am
2. Keynes/capitalism 8.21 7pm

3. Stillwater vigil  8.22 1pm
4. Peace picnic      8.22 1pm

5. Peace walk        8.23 6pm RiverFalls WI
6. Mary Shepard      8.23 6:30pm
7. World water wars  8.23 7pm

8. Rethink Afghan    8.24 6:30pm
9. Full moon walk    8.24 7pm

10. Dave Lindorff  - Mosque/GOP racists, Dem hypocrites & media scumbags
11. Seumas Milne   - The transformation of Latin America: a global advance
12. John Pilger    - Why Wikileaks must be protected?
13. Mark Weisbrot  - Does the US really want better relations with Chavez
14. Sam Wellington - Classism in America
15. Dr Susan Block - Sex at dawn / Our promiscuous prehistory
16. ed             - Bumpersticker

--------1 of 16--------

From: Joan Malerich <joanmdm [at]>
Subject: Community gardens 8.21 10am

SATURDAY, AUGUST 21, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Go to  for great information about the
Community Garden Program
Brochure lists community gardens in MINNESOTA and also maps the gardens.

Opportunity to meet with coordinators of gardens and to apply for a plot
AND to get some good ideas for your home garden and/or community garden.
Gardening Matters at 612-821-2358
E-mail:  gardeningmatters [at]

--------2 of 16--------

From: Tom Dooley <fellowcommoditydooley [at]>
Subject: Keynes/capitalism 8.21 7pm

British economist John Maynard Keynes sought to save capitalism from
itself. Retired school teacher Dick Taylor explains whether he did or not.

Sat Aug 21 7 PM Mayday Books 301 Cedar Ave Mpls 55454
ph 612 333 4719

See map: maydaybookstore [at]
FFI Tom Dooley 651 645 0295

--------3 of 16--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 8.22 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

--------4 of 16--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Peace picnic 8.22 1pm

Peace Picnic: "Bring the Troops Home!"
Sunday, August 22, 1:00pm Minnehaha Park, Picnic Area 2, 4801 South
Minnehaha Park Drive, Minneapolis.

Do you or someone you know have a family member that is on active military
duty? Do you wish to join with like-minded people to create a balance of
advocating for the rights of your family member and helping bring about an
end to the war? Come and meet other family members of military personnel,
and find out how they work for peace. You can be both supportive of your
loved ones and work for peace. Join others for information, food and great
conversation. Sponsored by: Military Families Speak Out (MFSO). Endorsed
by: WAMM. FFI: Email mfso-minnesota [at]

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Press Release: IPAC Statement on Troop Withdrawl

The Iraq Peace Action Coalition states that the partial withdrawal of U.S.
troops and rebranding of the remaining 50,000 troops as "trainers," is not
the end of the occupation and war in Iraq.  This is reminiscent of the
early years of the war in Vietnam when U.S. troops were called "advisers,"
which did not mean the U.S. was not involved in the early phase of a war.

The national statement by Veterans for Peace and other groups (attached
below) thoroughly lays out the facts.

Visiting Iraqi artist and writer, Ghalib Al-Mansoori, recently said,
"Iraqis have lived and are still living through hell.  We have less than 3
hours of electricity in Baghdad and our water is unsafe to drink without
filtration.  The "partial withdrawal" the U.S. has promised by the end of
August, 2010 is of no significance to Iraqis since U.S. intentions have
not changed."

The Iraq Peace Action Coalition calls for the immediate withdrawal of all
U.S. troops in Iraq back to the United States, and not to a redeployment
in Kuwait or Afghanistan.

On Sunday, August 22 at 1:00 p.m., there will be a Bring the Troops Home
Peace Picnic at Minnehaha Park, Picnic Area 2, across from Sea Salt
Eatery, 4801 South Minnehaha Drive, Minneapolis, sponsored by the
Minnesota chapter of Military Families Speak Out. Local peace activists
will be there available for questions regarding this false rebranding and
redeployment of U.S. troops.

For more information: Coleen Rowley, 952-456-0186 or Joe Callahan,
For more information on the picnic: 952-238-8309

--------5 of 16--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 8.23 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

--------6 of 16--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Mary Shepard 8.23 6:30pm

WAMM Remembers Mary R. Shepard
Monday, August 23, 6:30 Sabathani Community Center, Third Floor,
Conference Center, Room J, 310 East 38th Street, Minneapolis.

WAMM members are invited to come together at an informal gathering to
remember Mary R. Shepard, WAMM co-founder. Come celebrate Mary's life and
contributions to WAMM and the peace movement. Bring a story to share about
Mary. Beverages and light snacks will be provided. Sponsored by: WAMM.
FFI: Call 612-827-5364.

--------7 of 16--------

From: Christine Frank <christinefrank [at]>
Subject: World water wars 8.23 7pm


Based On The Book By Maude Barlow & Tony Clarke
Narrated By Malcolm McDowell
Executive Produced by Mark Achbar (The Corporation)
& Si Litvinoff (The Man Who Fell to Earth)
Produced, Written & Directed By Sam Bozzo

With increasing heat waves and droughts due to global warming & changing
hydrological patterns along with the gross pollution of our water ways,
the construction of mega dams and the corporate privatization of
freshwater, this film is a must-see.


Sponsored by the Climate Crisis Coalition of the Twin Cities (3CTC).
Free & open to the public.  The Clean-Energy Vigil to Cool Down the Planet
takes place on the plaza outside the bookstore at 5:00 PM, (Weather
Permitting), followed by the 3CTC Business Meeting at 6:00 PM.  All are
welcome.  For more information, EMAIL:  christinefrank [at] or PHONE:

--------8 of 16--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Rethink Afghan 8.24 6:30pm

Pax Conversational Salon: Film Screening: "Rethink Afghanistan"

Tuesday, August 24, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 West
Seventh, St. Paul. Critically acclaimed by Thomas Hartman as "a
brilliant masterpiece," Rethink Afghanistan discusses key issues
surrounding the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, such as the
impact on Pakistan, and the financial costs of the war. Endorsed by:

--------9 of 16--------

From: Sue Ann <seasnun [at]>
Subject: Full moon walk 8.24 7pm

Full Moon Walk at Coldwater Spring
Tuesday, August 24, 2010  at 7 PM
Corn on the Cob. Sweet Corn. Popcorn. Grits. Succotash. Corn Pone. Baked
Creamed Corn. Corndog. Corn Pudding. Whiskey.

Corny jokes limited to one per.
Traditional group howl!
Visit the last sacred spring in the Twin Cities.**

*Directions*: Coldwater is south of Minnehaha Park, in Minneapolis. From
Hwy 55/Hiawatha, turn East (toward the Mississippi) at 54th Street, take
an immediate right, & drive South on the frontage road for -mile past the
parking meters, *through* the cul-de-sac, *through* the main gate & *past*
the brick abandoned building. Follow the curvy road left & then right down
to the pond, next to the great willow tree.

--------10 of 16--------

Republican Racists, Democratic Hypocrites and Media Scumbags
The Mosque Saga
August 19, 2010

The saga of the Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan, deceptively
dubbed the "Ground Zero Mosque" by a right-wing clique with the avid
support of Rupert Murdoch and his New York Post and Fox TV Network,
exposes the right in America as a bunch of charlatans, hypocrites and
plain old garden-variety scumbags.

New York, the ultimate melting pot of cultures, races and religions in
America, has no problem with a Muslim center being set up in Lower
Manhattan. (It is not, let me note, being built on the site of the World
Trade Center, or even next door. That area is reserved for strip clubs,
bars etc., and a big hole in the ground that nobody can figure out how to

The community center, which will include a Muslim mosque and a
multi-religion chapel, is blocks away from the site of the old Twin
Towers, which, if you've lived in Manhattan as I did for years, is
described locally as "across town."

The biggest hypocrisy about this right-wing fake scandal is that the
people making all the noise are the same right wing ranters who are always
complaining about the Federales interfering with local people's right to
do things their own way.

So here we have New Yorkers, who after all were the ones who had to endure
the attack on their city back in 2001, and who did most of the dying in
that attack (and who continue to die from it, thanks to all the asbestos
and other toxins released by it into the environment and into rescuers'
lungs), deciding that it is quite legal and proper for a Muslim group to
build a community center in Lower Manhattan, and then we have a bunch of
outsiders - Senators, Congresspeople, would be presidential candidates
etc., most of them Republicans who piously insist that local control is
next to godliness on the virtue scale - saying that this is a scandal, and
that it cannot be allowed to happen.

What kind of crap is that? New Yorkers, who aren't afraid of Muslims
because there are hundreds of thousands of them living in all five
boroughs, riding the buses and subways with fellow New Yorkers, working
with them, riding the elevator with them, sharing lunch with them, and
being friends with them, have their own zoning laws and their building
permit process, and this community organization went through all the steps
and got the needed permits, and now they have every right under local law
to build what they are building where they want to build it.

What business do these outsiders have to complain? By what kind of
intellectual gymnastics (I hesitate to use the word intellectual in the
same sentence with the word Republican, but I guess I have to here) do
these scumbags figure that they should have any say in any of this? And
don't tell me the New York Post is a local publication. It is so under the
thumb of Australian Rupert Murdoch (okay, he bought himself a US passport,
but he's about as American as Kim Jong-il).

Second of all, these hypocrites are normally all about how government has
no business interfering with religion. But here we have a religious
organization trying to do something for the community, and these same
hypocritical scumbags are saying no, because it's not a Christian or a
Jewish organization. Sorry folks, but if you have freedom of religion, it
means all religion. You don't get to pick and choose which ones have
freedom from government intervention and control. You've either got it or
you don't.

And don't get me going on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Of all the
gutless scumbags in Congress, he's the worst, because all he's doing by
jumping on this racist, anti-Muslim Republican bandwagon is just a cheap
play for right-wing yahoo votes in his race for re-election in Nevada.

DAVE LINDORFF is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new
independent, collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper. His
work, and that of colleagues John Grant, Linn Washington and Charles
Young, may be found at

--------11 of 16--------

The Transformation of Latin America is a Global Advance
by Seumas Milne
Thursday, August 19, 2010
the Guardian/UK
Common Dreams

The radical tide is about to be put to the test in Brazil and Venezuela.
If support holds, it will have lessons for all of us

Nearly two centuries after it won nominal independence and Washington
declared it a backyard, Latin America is standing up. The tide of
progressive change that has swept the continent for the past decade has
brought to power a string of social democratic and radical socialist
governments that have attacked social and racial privilege, rejected
neoliberal orthodoxy and challenged imperial domination of the region.

Its significance is often underestimated or trivialised in Europe and
North America. But along with the rise of China, the economic crash of
2008 and the demonstration of the limits of US power in the "war on
terror", the emergence of an independent Latin America is one of a handful
of developments reshaping the global order. From Ecuador to Brazil,
Bolivia to Argentina, elected leaders have turned away from the IMF, taken
back resources from corporate control, boosted regional integration and
carved out independent alliances across the world.

Both the scale of the transformation and the misrepresentation of what is
taking place in the western media are driven home in Oliver Stone's new
film, South of the Border, which allows six of these new wave leaders to
speak for themselves. Most striking is their mutual support and common
commitment - from Cristina Kirchner of Argentina to the more leftist Evo
Morales - to take back ownership of their continent.

Two crucial votes in the next few weeks will put the future of this
process to the test. The first are parliamentary elections in Venezuela,
whose Bolivarian revolution has been at the cutting edge of Latin
America's renewal since Hugo Chavez was first elected president in 1998.
For all his popularity at home, Chavez has been the target for a campaign
of vilification and ridicule throughout the US, European and
elite-controlled Latin American media - which has little to do with his
high-octane rhetoric and much more with his effectiveness in using
Venezuela's oil wealth to challenge US and corporate power across the

Forget his success in slashing the Venezuelan poverty rate in half,
tripling social spending, rapidly expanding healthcare and education, and
fostering grassroots democracy and worker participation. Since the
beginning of the year Venezuela's enemies have smelled blood as his
government faltered in the face of drought-triggered power cuts, a failure
to ride out recession with a stimulus package - as Morales's Bolivia did -
and growing discontent over high levels of violent crime.

So expect a flurry of new claims that Chavez is a dictator who has stifled
media freedom and persecuted bankers and businessmen, and whose
incompetent regime is running into the sand. In reality the Venezuelan
president has won more free elections than any other world leader, the
country's media are dominated by the US-funded opposition, and his
government's problems with service delivery stem more from institutional
weakness than authoritarianism.

If Chavez's United Socialist party were defeated next month it would
certainly put his re-election in 2012 - and Venezuela's radicalisation -
in doubt. But that is looking increasingly unlikely. The economy is
picking up, a national police force is finally being established and,
crucially, Chavez last week dramatically defused the threat of war with
the pro-US government in Colombia through a regionally brokered

Even more critical will be the presidential elections in Brazil in
October. Brazil's emergence as an economic powerhouse under Lula's
leadership has underpinned the wider changes across Latin America. Less
radical than Chavez or Morales, the Brazilian president has nevertheless
also poured cash into anti-poverty campaigns and provided vital support
for the common project of continental integration and independence.

Barred from standing for a third term, he has thrown his popularity behind
his chief of staff Dilma Roussef, if anything more sympathetic to the
Bolivarians. Unable to attack Lula's economic record, her main rightwing
opponent, Jos Serra, is now effectively running a campaign against Chavez
and Morales, denouncing Lula's support for them, his refusal to recognise
the post-coup government in Honduras and attempts to mediate between the
Iran and the US. So far that looks unlikely to work, and Serra is trailing
her badly in the polls.

If both Brazilian and Venezuelan elections are won by the left, the US and
its friends may be tempted to look for other ways to divert Latin America
from the path of self-determination and social justice it took while
George Bush was busy fighting his enemies in the Muslim world. For all
Barack Obama's promise to "seek a new chapter of engagement" and warning
that a "terrible precedent" would be set if last year's bloody coup
against the reforming Honduran president Manuel Zelaya were allowed to
stand, there has been little change in US policy towards the region. The
Honduran coup was indeed allowed to stand - or, as Hillary Clinton put it,
the "crisis" was "managed to a successful conclusion".

The clear message was that the radical tide can be turned and the fear is
now that another of the more vulnerable governments, such as Paraguay's or
Guatemala's, could also be "managed to a conclusion" in one form or
another. Meanwhile the [congenitally evil -ed] US is attempting to shore
up its military presence on the continent, using the pretext of
"counter-insurgency" to station US forces in seven bases in Colombia.

But direct military intervention looks implausible for the foreseeable
future. If the political and social movements that have driven the
continent's transformation can maintain their momentum and support, they
won't only be laying the foundation of an independent Latin America, but
new forms of socialist politics declared an impossibility in the modern
era. Two decades after we were told there was no alternative, another
world is being created. [Speed the day - ed]

 2010 Guardian/UK
Seumas Milne is a Guardian columnist and associate editor.

--------12 of 16--------

Why Wikileaks Must Be Protected?
by John Pilger
August 19th, 2010
Dissident Voice

On 26 July, Wikileaks released thousands of secret US military files on
the war in Afghanistan. Cover-ups, a secret assassination unit and the
killing of civilians are documented. In file after file, the brutalities
echo the colonial past. From Malaya and Vietnam to Bloody Sunday and
Basra, little has changed. The difference is that today there is an
extraordinary way of knowing how faraway societies are routinely ravaged
in our name. Wikileaks has acquired records of six years of civilian
killing for both Afghanistan and Iraq, of which those published in the
Guardian, Der Spiegel and the New York Times are a fraction.

There is understandably hysteria on high, with demands that the Wikileaks
founder Julian Assange is "hunted down" and "rendered". In Washington, I
interviewed a senior Defence Department official and asked, "Can you give
a guarantee that the editors of Wikileaks and the editor in chief, who is
not American, will not be subjected to the kind of manhunt that we read
about in the media?": He replied, "It's not my position to give guarantees
on anything". He referred me to the "ongoing criminal investigation" of a
US soldier, Bradley Manning, an alleged whistleblower. In a nation that
claims its constitution protects truth-tellers, the [goddam -ed] Obama
administration is pursuing and prosecuting more whistleblowers than any of
its modern predecessors. A Pentagon document states bluntly that US
intelligence intends to "fatally marginalise" Wikileaks. The preferred
tactic is smear, with corporate journalists ever ready to play their part.

On 31 July, the American celebrity reporter Christiane Amanapour
interviewed Secretary of Defence Robert Gates on the ABC network. She
invited Gates to describe to her viewers his "anger" at Wikileaks. She
echoed the Pentagon line that "this leak has blood on its hands", thereby
cueing Gates to find Wikileaks "guilty" of "moral culpability". Such
hypocrisy coming from a regime drenched in the blood of the people of
Afghanistan and Iraq - as its own files make clear - is apparently not for
journalistic enquiry. This is hardly surprising now that a new and
fearless form of public accountability, which Wikileaks represents,
threatens not only the war-makers but their [snarky ass-kissing -ed]

Their current propaganda is that Wikileaks is "irresponsible". Earlier
this year, before it released the cockpit video of an American Apache
gunship killing 19 civilians in Iraq, including journalists and children,
Wikileaks sent people to Baghdad to find the families of the victims in
order to prepare them. Prior to the release of last month's Afghan War
Logs, Wikileaks wrote to the White House asking that it identify names
that might draw reprisals. There was no reply. More than 15,000 files were
withheld and these, says Assange, will not be released until they have
been scrutinised "line by line" so that names of those at risk can be

The pressure on Assange himself seems unrelenting. In his homeland,
Australia, the shadow foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has said that if her
right-wing coalition wins the general election on 21 August, "appropriate
action" will be taken "if an Australian citizen has deliberately
undertaken an activity that could put at risk the lives of Australian
forces in Afghanistan or undermine our operations in any way". The
Australian role in Afghanistan, effectively mercenary in the service of
Washington, has produced two striking results: the massacre of five
children in a village in Oruzgan province and the overwhelming disapproval
of the majority of Australians. [Well, so long as most of the *richest*
Aussies like it, it's jsut fine. -ed]

Last May, following the release of the Apache footage, Assange had his
Australian passport temporarily confiscated when he returned home. The
Labor government in Canberra denies it has received requests from
Washington to detain him and spy on the Wikileaks network. The Cameron
government also denies this. They would, wouldn't they? Assange, who came
to London last month to work on exposing the war logs, has had to leave
Britain hastily for, as puts it, "safer climes".

On 16 August, the Guardian, citing Daniel Ellsberg, described the great
Israeli whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu as "the pre-eminent hero of the
nuclear age". Vanunu, who alerted the world to Israel's secret nuclear
weapons, was kidnapped by the Israelis and incarcerated for 18 years after
he was left unprotected by the London Sunday Times, which had published
the documents he supplied. In 1983, another heroic whistleblower, Sarah
Tisdall, a Foreign Office clerical officer, sent documents to the Guardian
that disclosed how the Thatcher government planned to spin the arrival of
American cruise missiles in Britain. The Guardian complied with a court
order to hand over the documents, and Tisdall went to prison.

In one sense, the Wikileaks revelations shame the dominant section of
journalism devoted merely to taking down what cynical and malign power
tells it. This is state stenography, not journalism. Look on the Wikileaks
site and read a Ministry of Defence document that describes the "threat"
of real journalism. And so it should be a threat. Having published
skilfully the Wikileaks expose of a fraudulent war, the Guardian should
now give its most powerful and unreserved editorial support to the
protection of Julian Assange and his colleagues, whose truth-telling is as
important as any in my lifetime.

I like Julian Assange's dust-dry wit. When I asked him if it was more
difficult to publish secret information in Britain, he replied, "When we
look at Official Secrets Act labelled documents we see that they state it
is offence to retain the information and an offence to destroy the
information. So the only possible outcome we have is to publish the

John Pilger is an internationally renowned investigative journalist and
documentary filmmaker. His latest film is The War on Democracy. His most
recent book is Freedom Next Time (Bantam/Random House, 2006).

--------13 of 16--------

Does the US really want better relations with Hugo Chavez
Mark Weisbrot
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Common Dreams

While President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and the new president of
Colombia, Manuel Santos, met in Santa Marta, Colombia last Tuesday and
agreed to normalise relations after a fierce diplomatic fight, there are
no indications that such detente is on the cards for Venezuela and the
United States. Washington, it now appears, may not even want to maintain
ambassadorial relations. This could be a significant turn toward the worse
for the United States' already rocky relationship with its third largest
oil supplier.  Back in June, the Obama administration announced the
appointment of Larry Palmer, president and CEO of the Inter-American
Foundation, to replace the current ambassador in Caracas. The Venezuelans
gave their initial approval. But then came the US senate confirmation
process. Although there were no major problems in Palmer's testimony
before the Senate on 27 July, Palmer was subsequently asked to respond to
questions from Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the senate
foreign relations committee.  Palmer's answers to these questions were
presumed to be for the senators and not for the public, but a week later,
they were posted on Senator Lugar's website. Unfortunately, Palmer wrote
some things that a candidate for ambassador would not say publicly about
the host country. He referred to "morale" in the Venezuelan armed forces
as "considerably low", and to "clear ties between the Venezuelan
government and Colombian guerrillas". There were a number of other remarks
about Venezuela that most governments would consider quite unfriendly or
even insulting.  Alan K Henrikson is director of diplomatic studies at the
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University; in a telephone
interview, he said:

"While we would expect candid answers to queries from a Senator that were
supposed to be confidential, the publication of such comments - considered
hostile and demeaning by the host country - is extremely unusual. Many
countries would not accept as ambassador, someone who made such comments
while being considered for appointment."

  It didn't take long for this to be all over the news, especially in
Venezuela. President Chavez announced on 8 August that Palmer was not
acceptable, and appealed to President Obama to appoint another ambassador.
According to congressional sources here, the Lugar questions to Palmer and
the leak of his answers is seen as a "setup from the right". But there is
no indication so far that the Obama administration is going to replace
Palmer with another choice.  Washington is a city of diplomatic intrigue,
and there is an interesting "whodunit" aspect to the diplomatic row. Was
this leak simply the work of Lugar's office, or was it done in
collaboration with officials in the State Department who wanted to torpedo
the nomination?  Whatever insider game is going on, the sabotage of this
appointment is yet another clear indication that Washington is not ready,
or willing, even to try to normalise relations with Venezuela. Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton's gratuitous public insults to Venezuela - widely
condemned when Chavez engages in the same behaviour towards the United
States - are another indicator that high-level officials here do not want
to normalise relations.  What the Obama administration doesn't seem to
realise - or perhaps care about - is that this will also alienate most
other governments in the region. The administration's strategy is almost
always oriented toward the media, and it may succeed in convincing most of
the media that any fight with Venezuela must be the fault of Chavez. The
Washington Post editorial board wasted no time in hysterically blaming
Venezuela for the problem.

But every Latin American diplomat will see - given the offensive character
of Palmer's written statements - that Venezuela cannot accept this
nomination. Like the Obama administration's efforts to help the coup
government in Honduras gain international legitimacy over the past year;
its continuation of the Bush administration's trade sanctions against
Bolivia; and its expanded military presence at seven military bases in
Colombia and now in Costa Rica, this diplomatic fight will sow distrust
and further erode what is left of Washington's credibility in the

 2010 Guardian/UK
Mark Weisbrot is Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy
Research (CEPR), in Washington, DC.

--------14 of 16--------

Staggering Along the Periphery: Classism in America
by Sam Wellington
August 19th, 2010
Dissident Voice

"The rich are different than you and me," F. Scott Fitzgerald once
famously penned in his short story "The Rich Boy". Fitzgerald observed
that, since the rich are born into wealth, it shapes their worldview -
gives rise to an air of superiority and confidence - so that even if they
do fall upon hard times or "sink below us," they still manage to think
that they are better than the rest of us. Whether Fitzgerald intended it
or not, what he essentially described was a type of mindset that is
somewhat akin, in its logic, to racism - that being the notion of

In America, today, we are surrounded by classism. We are immersed in a
culture that treats it with the same acceptability that its iniquitous
cousin enjoyed not so long ago. What's more, because of how history played
out over much of the 20th century, with the struggle between totalitarian
pseudo-communism in the Soviet Union and capitalism here in the U.S., the
idea of class struggle has long been considered somewhat of a taboo

The failure to acknowledge the phenomenon has not made it any less real.
On cable news programs, entitled wealthy members of Congress rail against
welfare entitlements or unemployment benefits for the alleged indolent
legions that have found themselves out of work since 2008. On the
Internet, popular websites clandestinely snap photos at mega stores
frequented by the permanent underclass for the sole purpose of snickering
derisively at the less fortunate. From an insular perch somewhere in the
nation's suburbs, the children of the elite (and perhaps what's left of
the middle class) laugh at the clothes, at the physical traits, at the
behavior of a class of people that, to them, must seem like some sort of
fiction. After all, who needs empathy when you've got luck or birthright
on your side?

I live in a small town just outside of the Washington, DC metro area - far
enough away to preclude it from being considered a true suburb, but close
enough to still observe the proximate effects of being so near the
wealthiest region of the country. Only recently have we seen an influx of
government agencies into the area, and with it the flow of taxpayer money
that eventually makes its way into the various (and nefarious) contractor
coffers. Long before that subsidy, however, has existed a core of wealth
that dates farther back than the Civil War.

Like many small towns in America, the monied class in this town has always
made up its governing bodies, planned its direction, and divvied out its
finances in ways that it best saw fit. When a wealthy Pennsylvania
businessman willed a significant portion of his fortune to the community
in the 1890s for the expressed "benefit of its poor children," the ruling
class saw fit to erect an exorbitantly costly neoclassical high school
that catered to those fortunate enough to have been able to attend school
in the days before truancy laws over-ruled farm work and when segregation
ruled supreme. To be sure, classism and its cousin are no strangers to
this town.

My morning commute through this community enviably consists of a stroll
through the sleepy downtown en route to my temporary office. Scattered
about are sundry reminders of its historic past: its strategic importance
during the Civil War, the pre-Revolutionary days, or its once formidable
textile industry. The names of the who's who of the wealthiest families
still adorn the facades of many of the old storefronts, some of which have
now been converted to bars and restaurants serving up the typical yuppie
fare: sushi, microbrews, imported this and that (elites of any political
slant love imports). Each new establishment, part of the town's latest
attempt at revival, is constructed with its own gated eating area and the
occasional security guard - necessary accoutrements for excluding the less
desirables that befoul the old town landscape.

Though less desirables have always existed downtown, their appearance has
become more frequent in the last few years. Even before the housing
collapse, I had observed the gradual arrival of more new faces panhandling
on main street, many having migrated to the area from New Orleans in
search of work following Hurricane Katrina. Their numbers, however, have
dramatically increased since 2008.

These down and out are easily evident by their countenance: drawn faces,
hollow eyes, and none of the confidence that Fitzgerald observed in the
topic of his novel. Many have been out of work for years, no doubt, but I
tend to notice newcomers to the scene. One such individual, we'll call him
Christopher, started appearing sometime last fall. I remembered
Christopher because he had once been a host at a local franchise diner
over near the interstate. As recently as 2008 he could be observed, with
his thick black tussled hair, walking back and forth between work and home
in his white button down shirt and navy blue trousers. He had seated my
wife and I on a few occasions.

The last couple of years have not been kind to Christopher. He lost his
job at the diner and has been essentially lingering around town ever
since. To be honest, when I first began noticing him wandering about the
area, he was barely recognizable. Gone was the thick black hair he had not
so long ago, replaced by frazzled gray and a beard to match. His
constantly-averted eyes looked tired and his new uniform was more dirty
t-shirt and jeans. Now, instead of seeing him from time to time on his
walk to work, he can regularly be observed sitting at the picnic tables in
the courthouse square fumbling about with an old cell phone. The phone has
long since been disconnected, but he manages to charge it up and play
games on it to pass time. He says he tried looking for work for a while,
but with nothing but a high school diploma under his belt and only menial
work experience, his chances of landing a job are slim. Unemployment ran
out long ago, and he would not say where he was living.

In some ways, Christopher is lucky, at least he has a high school diploma.
Approximately twenty-five percent of downtown residents don't even have
that much. It's a sad irony that less than fifty feet away from where
Christopher and others like him spend their days wasting away, the young
professional set dines on $75 dollar steak dinners, sucking down martinis
and assorted imports like the final days of Rome - or the American empire
in its twilight. For them, apparently devoid of any emotional
intelligence, the concern is more for how to rid the downtown of
Christopher's presence, lest he undermines its revitalization, rather than
understand what caused him to end up there in the first place.

For many across America, Democrat or Republican, it does not matter,
addressing the ills brought about by classism is subversive to an embraced
ideology that has taken root in our country over the last few decades.
Merely identifying it brings about charges of class envy or, oddly,
discrimination towards the rich. To the wealthy classes, while tempered
sympathy for the poor is permissible, it should only be doled out with the
understanding that every human being is responsible for his or her own
plight. Economics, like nature, is selective. Like the idea of social
Darwinism that the wealthy clung to one hundred years prior, this notion
is absolute bunk meant to reinforce a flawed system that favors the few.
As the Great Depression once taught us, people are often powerless victims
of economic circumstance. In turn, the effects of each circumstance
affects each of us differently, depending on a whole set of variables.

I suspect that, coupled with ideological indoctrination, the distance
between the depression of the 1930s and the present has given the masses a
false sense of security. Though history rarely repeats itself so
precisely, the future is not immune to encores bearing at least some
resemblance - nor is it implausible that future circumstances may even go
beyond the level of past catastrophes. Indeed, the disappearance of the
Great American Middle Class did not begin in 2008. No, its descent began
decades earlier as a significant amount of economic data now shows. As we
enter into the most severe downturn that has existed since the 1930s, that
descent will undoubtedly accelerate. and another irony will become

For all the members of the middle class that have participated in the
classist pastimes that once belonged exclusively to the rich, for all the
former middle class that spent themselves into oblivion trying to be more
than they could ever afford to be, it's time to recognize classism by its
true colors. It is, in effect, a device born of a system brought into
being by an elite ruling class, and used to manipulate the middle class,
itself a victim, into becoming a willing accomplice to that system's
emplacement. Such bigotry, whether derived from the shade of one's skin or
the size of one's wallet, is eating away at the foundation of our society.
The object of our derision should not be those who have been most
adversely affected by our perverse economic system, but the system itself.

Sam Wellington is a freelance author whose work can be found at his
website, Midnight in the Land of Plenty. He has an MA in International
Affairs from American University, and a BA in History.

--------15 of 16--------

Sex at Dawn
Our Promiscuous Prehistory
August 19, 2010

What is it about the nature of human sexuality that virtually all
civilizations throughout history have tried like the dickens to suppress?
Why is sex so often such a problem when it really *should* be a pleasure?
Why might your otherwise devoted husband rather masturbate to porn than
have sex with you?  Why might your normally modest wife fantasize about
being consensually gangbanged by the Brazilian soccer team?  Why do so
many happily married people risk everything they love and cherish to go
off and have an affair?

These are some of the big questions that Drs. Christopher Ryan, Ph.D. and
Cacilda Jeth, M.D. address in their hot new book, Sex at Dawn: The
Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality. With provocative wit, yet intense
seriousness of purpose, they gather together up-to-date research from
various scientific disciplines to reveal a side of ourselves that is wild,
scary, exhilarating, egalitarian and, without a doubt, non-monogamous.

Sex at Dawn also addresses some of the little questions like:  Why does a
man tend to thrust during intercourse (to displace a rival's sperm through
active suction)?  Why does a woman tend to moan (to let other possible
partners know she's hot)?  Is there a way to understand our non-monogamous
sexual urges and fantasies as natural and useful instead of perverse,
immoral or dysfunctional?  Ryan and Jeth say yes.

The evidence is voluminous, but the repression of it is tremendous.
Soare - we ready to confront such scandalous biological truths about our
hunter/gather sexual nature?  Since Sex at Dawn recently hit the the New
York Times Best-Seller List, it seems that yes, by golly, we are.  At
least, some of us are, from Newsweek's Kate Dailey, who calls the book "a
scandal in the best sense," to Seattle-based sex guru Dan Savage, who has
dubbed Sex at Dawn "the single most important book about human sexuality
since the Kinsey Report".  Then again, Australia's Sunrise on 7 tried to
paint the book as a threat to marriage, morality and all that society
holds dear, which, considering the source, only proves the irrefutable
power of its message.

                         A Promiscuous Dawn

I discovered Sex at Dawn on Twitter - where the cyber-hunter/gatherers
meet and feast on each other's tweets - thanks to Bonobo Handshake author
Vanessa Woods (a previous guest on The Dr. Susan Block Show). It's
appropriate that our kissin' cousins the bonobos led me, swinging from
Twitter tree to tree, to Sex at Dawn.  In fact, the bonobos themselves, as
well as the Bonobo Way of peace through pleasure, all but embody Ryan and
Jeth's concept of a prehistoric human forager community where "fierce
egalitarianism" once ruled, war was virtually unknown, paternity was not
an issue and possessiveness was not a problem - after all, what is there
to possess when you're always on the move and U-hauls haven't been

Most otherwise topnotch evolutionary psychologists, primatologists and
anthropologists - like Drs. Helen Fisher, David Buss, Frans de Waal, Owen
Lovejoy, Matt Ridley, Steven Pinker, Robert Wright and such notables -
come up with flip, vague or convoluted ways to explain away unpopular
evidence. They seem to be trying to squeeze the square peg of monogamy
into the round hole of humanity.  Ryan and Jeth have chosen a more
well-rounded term to characterize the essence of human sexuality as
practiced by our prehistoric progenitors: promiscuity.

That's a loaded word in common parlance, but when Ryan and Jeth say
"promiscuous," they don't mean reckless, uncaring, libertine screwing
around.  Rather they impart the sense of its Latin root, "miscere," which
means "to mix," implying that our ancestors enjoyed what biologist Alan F.
Dickson called "multi-male/multi-female mating systems," involving ongoing
erotic, caring relationships with a mix of selected members of their
close-knit tribe.  I imagine this promiscuity could take many different
forms; perhaps one approach might involve serial romances with three or
four partners at any given time, erotic skin-to-skin encounters with
several others and an orgy around the fire every Saturday night.  Sound
like fun to you?

It did to me, so I asked Ryan to send me a review copy in preparation for
our radioSUZY1 interview which would take place, appropriately enough, at
dawn in Barcelona where he and wife/co-author Jeth reside.  As soon as the
400-page tome arrived at the Institute, I devoured it like a hungry
forager who had just stumbled upon the Tree of Knowledge, laden with
luscious fruit.  Then I read it again, slowly, savoring the pages like an
after-dinner liqueur. Sex at Dawn is a sheer pleasure to peruse, and not
only because it eloquently backs up theories I've been espousing for years
with mountains of carefully compiled evidence (which I can now use to
thwart enemies of pleasure). This is a book whose time has come - and with
all the reverberating tweets, excited postings and passionate reactions
(I'm not the only one who's reading it twice), it seems to be coming again
and again.

                      Farmers and Golddiggers

But back to Ryan and Jeth's thesis: homo sapiens (that's us) did not
evolve in monogamous, Flintstonesque, nuclear families, with or without
the white picket fences, as so many people, corporations and institutions
in the "Marital Industrial Complex" - from couples counselors to
congressmen, religious preachers to science teachers - preach and teach.
Rather, we evolved in 20-150 person hunter-gatherer groups in which nobody
owned property (nor much of anything at all), and normal adults would have
been engaged in multiple ongoing sexual relationships with different group
members at any given time, quite like our closest living relatives: common
chimps and bonobos.

Why is the sexuality of our ancestors some 100,000-200,000 years ago such
a huge deal to us now - even to those of us who don't care about history,
let alone prehistory?  Because the human body (featuring, of course, the
human brain inside that body) evolved under these prehistoric conditions
to be, essentially, what it is today: a highly social, communicative and
very sexy beast.

So how in civilized tarnation did we come up with monogamy?  With blood,
sweat and a lot of tears.  After hundreds of thousands of years of
nomadic, promiscuous foraging, some 10,000-12,000 years ago, a human
revolution took place that spread throughout the planet.  This was a
revolution like no other before or since; though it didn't alter human
anatomy, it fostered a monumental change in the human way of life.  This
revolution was the advent of agriculture.

With agriculture came a relatively reliable source of food for which you
didn't have to hunt or search.  You simply had to cultivate it.  Sounds
awesome, huh?  Seems like it would make life a lot easier now that you
didn't have to chase down your lunch through the bushes every day.  That's
a fine theory.  The reality is that farming didn't make life easier at
all, say Ryan and Jeth.  On the contrary, the Great Agricultural
Revolution spawned a much more demanding, oppressive, property-oriented,
greed-driven, envy-stricken, brutal, stressful lifestyle.

Of course, it also meant that a lot more babies would survive than did in
hunter-gatherer days.  Farming increased fertility and lowered the rate of
infant mortality, generating population explosions that led to the
creation of great cities and elaborate cultures.  Yet, the host of new
diseases farming unleashed, coupled with the less varied nutritional diet,
actually worsened adult human health.

Farming also generated a need for a military, to protect "your" property
and/or make war on your neighbors if you felt like taking their property.
It spawned governing bureaucracies to make property-conscious laws against
stealing and adultery.  And it favored certain aggressive individuals
(almost always men) who took "possession" of land, resources and animals,
including their fellow homo sapiens.  Yes indeed, the agricultural
revolution involved the domestication of human beings - a farmer's slaves
and hired workers, as well as his "own" children and his "own" wife or
wives - right along with his other domesticated animals.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, this time while standing up on
Ryan and Jeth's mammoth mountain of evidence: Farming is the root of all

Or as Sex at Dawn so eloquently explains: The Bible got it backwards. Adam
and Eve weren't kicked out of a Garden into the wilderness as punishment
for their sins.  They were kicked into one.  Upon eating from the Tree of
Knowledge and learning the mysteries of agriculture, humanity was swept
out of the wilderness, the wild jungles, forests, savannas and untamed
coastlines and plopped down behind a Neolithic lawn mower in a garden,
aka: The Family Farm.

With farming, the "family" was born, complete with Father knowing best and
Mother being barefoot and preggers, presumably with only Father's
offspring.  Before the agricultural revolution, paternity was not an
issue.  Since prehistoric human females, like bonobos, hid their estrus,
the mechanics of conception were a mystery.  Nobody could be sure whose
father was whose, just as no chimpanzee male knows whose baby his current
favorite female is carrying (this, by the way, is how chimp kids escape

Ryan and Jeth theorize that our prehistoric ancestors may have believed
that it took several men's sperm to make one baby (studies show that some
forager tribes still believe this).  Thus, all the men in any given tribe
felt more or less the same level of responsibility for and kinship with
all the children (also like bonobos and common chimps).

As soon as farmers started breeding plants and domesticated animals,
learning exactly how "sex makes babies," they applied this knowledge to
their own sexual relationships.  Paternity went from being a great unknown
to being a great big deal. One of Ryan and Jeth's main points here is that
the male obsession with paternity and the female obsession with finding a
breadwinner are not innate human sexual nature.  They are not as old as
humanity.  They are a reaction to the modern, post-Neolithic world.

                         Choosy or Floozy?

With this newfound knowledge of paternity, men cultivated ownership of
"their" women and children.  The elite practiced polygamy while the
majority developed monogamy, in order to "guarantee" paternity.  This way,
you knew your kids were "yours" and you could force them to work on your
farm and then pass that farm down to them - the lucky little bastards - so
that you might feel some sense of immortality, as you died prematurely,
victim of diseases from which your forager ancestors never suffered.

With the Agricultural Revolution, the natural promiscuity of "mixing"
lovers was turned into the grave sin of "cheating" or "infidelity," for
which the punishment - especially for women - ranged from ostracism to
torture to public execution.

Thus chastened, ladies learned to hide their desire, along with their
lovers.  And civilization developed the notion that human females are
naturally "choosy" and reserved about sex.   Ryan and Jeth reference
Advice Goddess Amy Alcon's over-confident statement that "ancestral women
who successfully passed their genes onto us...[were] choosy [about]
weeding the dads from the cads" as a prime example of an ill-informed
"sexpert" writing about sex; they then proceed to utterly demolish it with
illustrations and recent studies from 12 different branches of science.

Though you'd think it would have been dashed by common sense.  If females
are indeed the "choosier," more sexually reserved gender by nature, why
would men throughout history have gone to such great lengths to control
the female libido?

And isn't it funny how we generally don't assume that motherly love should
be confined to one child.  So why do we believe that sexual love must be
confined to one lover?

 Pleasure, Violence & The New Promiscuity (Much Like the Old Promiscuity)

Sex at Dawn doesn't present any brand new findings or even any
particularly new ideas.  It's the way in which Ryan and Jeth bring
together old and recent findings and ideas to support their thesis that is
so valuable and extraordinary.

I was particularly delighted to read their reference to my favorite
developmental neuropsychologist and mentor, Dr. James Prescott, whose
landmark 1975 paper, "Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence,"
demonstrated that the deprivation of pleasurable physical touch,
especially during the infant and adolescent years, leads people to
violence and war in 49 cultures.

Ryan and Jeth also quote The Lifestyle: Erotic Rites of Swingers, by my
old friend Terry Gould, with regard to the WWII Air Force officers and
wives who started the modern swinging couples "lifestyle" in 1940s
suburban America with their secret "key clubs".  (Gould devotes another
chapter in The Lifestyle to following me and my Bonobo Gang of friends and
lovers around a 1996 Lifestyles Convention as we party and discuss Ethical
Hedonism and the Bonobo Way.)

That same year, Gould introduced me to the concept of the "sperm wars"
that go on inside a woman's vagina (explained more thoroughly in "Sperm
Wars: Cuckolds, Hot Wives and Evolutionary Biology"). So even if women
aren't so "choosy" about with whom we have sex, at least our reproductive
tract is somewhat selective.  That is, through a series of biological
hurdles and the phenomenon of sperm wars, the female genital system only
allows the strongest - or best positioned - sperm to win the prize of
fertilizing the egg.  Of course, this assumes that a woman has sperm from
more than one man inside her - or, at least, that she is anatomically
built for that purpose - which flows right into Ryan and Jeth's thesis
that the human body has evolved to practice promiscuity.

And they weave it all together - stats and studies on everything from porn
to prairie voles, balls to bukkake, vibrators to vampire bats, cuckolds to
cougars, Melanesian Wedding Orgies to Victorian morality, instant lust to
lasting love - to support their idea (which holds very close to my idea)
that the human body and the human mind and that general all-around crazy
thing that we call human behavior all reflect both our true highly sexual
nature and our very promiscuous prehistoric past - one which seems to have
also been a relatively peaceful past, much like the Bonobo Way of peace
through pleasure suggests that it would have been.

This is not to suggest that we should all live in polyamorous households.
Personally, I love being married - to just one husband.  And the Sex at
Dawn authors, themselves married for over 10 years, aren't overtly
advocating anything except opening our minds to the evidence of our innate
promiscuity and the way in which it influences our lives.

But that doesn't mean that others won't use Sex at Dawn to validate their
open marriages and polyamorous adventures.

More power to them.

Dr. Susan Block is a sex therapist and author of The 10 Commandments of
Pleasure, occasionally seen on HBO and other channels.  Commit Bloggamy
with her at  Email your comments to her at
liberties [at]

--------16 of 16--------

                           Fingerprint the Rich


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