Progressive Calendar 09.17.10
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2010 15:34:25 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   09.17.10

1. Peace walk         9.18 9am Cambridge MN
2. Arabic classes     9.18 9:30am
3. KFAI/planning      9.18 10am
4. NAFTA scam         9.18 10am
5. CUAPB              9.18 1:30pm
6. Northtown vigil    9.18 2pm
7. Working democracy  9.18 7pm
8. Saturday ceili     9.18 7pm

9. Stillwater vigil   9.19 1pm

10. Peace walk        9.20 6pm RiverFalls WI
11. Religion v peace? 9.20 7pm

12. Les Leopold   - Poverty rises as Wall Street billionaires whine
13. Johann Hari   - Suffocating the poor: A modern parable
14. Jim Goodman   - The food crisis is not about a food shortage
15. M Rothschild  - Feingold implies Roberts & Alito lied under oath
16. Mark Weisbrot - The future of the internet
17. ed            - Lop-sided butts (haiku)

--------1 of 17--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Peace walk 9.18 9am Cambridge MN

every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street


--------2 of 17--------

Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2010 13:17:13 -0600
From: Mizna <mizna [at] mizna.org>
Subject: Arabic classes 9.18 9:30am

Arabic Language Classes
THERE ARE STILL VACANCIES.  SIGN UP AT MIZNA.ORG
Saturday, Sept. 18th.
Arabic I      9:30-11:30 a.m.
Arabic II     11:45-1:45 p.m.


--------3 of 17--------

From: lydiahowell [at] comcast.net
Subject: KFAI/planning 9.18 10am

KFAI RADIO--Love it Change It
Sat.Spt.18, 10AM to 2PM
KFAI RADIO: first of 3 Strategic Planning Pulbic INPUT mEETINGS
Heart of the Beast Theatre
1500 East Lake St, Minneapolis
FOOD PROVIDED

KFAI RADIO 90.3 fm Mpls 106.7 fm St.Paul
ONLINE: http://www.kfai.org


--------4 of 17--------

From: Jason Stone <jason.stone [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: NAFTA scamm 9.18 10am

Coffee Hour: The High Cost of Free Trade in the Americas 9/18/10
10:00am-11:45am
At the Resource Center of the Americas
Presented in English

Description:
There are few policy areas that affect the everyday lives of people
throughout the Americas more than trade. The fallout across borders from
NAFTA & CAFTA have been severe. High rates of unemployment, depressed
wages, loss of family farms, labor and human rights abuses, limited access
to essential medicines, compromised environmental regulations, and many
other ills have shown us that there is nothing free about free trade
agreements. Join us as we connect the trade dots, from Minnesota to Mexico
and beyond, and discuss how we can push for a more just trade model as
outlined in the TRADE Act, so that past mistakes are not replicated and
the benefits of trade are shared with those who do the work.

Speaker: Jessica Lettween
Jessica is the Director of the Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition, a coalition
of more than 30 organizations across the state that promote the benefits
of a fair trade system that, through the trading of goods and services,
can achieve economic justice, support human and worker rights, promote
healthy communities and protect the environment. Jessicas professional
background is in organized labor, having worked for four years at the
North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters and for two years with
the AFL-CIO. She holds an undergraduate degree in Spanish and Latin
American Studies and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Advocacy
and Political Leadership at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Contact Information: jlettween [at] citizenstrade.org


--------5 of 17--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com>
Subject: CUAPB 9.18 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)


--------6 of 17--------

From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 9.18 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday
2-3pm


--------7 of 17--------

From: jtmiller jtmiller <jtmiller [at] minn.net>
Subject: Working democracy 9.18 7pm

Working Democracy Discussion Forum
Strategy for Change: How can the free system of workers' economic
self-government be achieved in today"s America? Read "Strategy for
Change": http://newunionparty.org/Strategy_for_Change.html.
and come for the discussion on Saturday, September 18, 7:00 pm
at MayDay Bookstore, 301 Cedar, West Bank  612-333-4719


--------8 of 17--------

From: Mike Whelan <mpw4883 [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Saturday ceili 9.18 7pm

MONTHLY CEILI AT THE CELTIC JUNCTION, SEPTEMBER 18
7PM-10PM, $5 person, $20 max per family, no advance tickets available.

The Twin Cities Ceili Band will be brewing up the classic ceili band
sound for you and Mike Whalen will call the dances!  The Twin Cities
Ceili Band is Tom Juenemann (box), Cory Froehlich (piano), Kathleen Green
(fiddle), Tom Lockney (banjo), and Tim McAndrew (snare), pictured below
with guest artists Chad McAnally (whistle) and Randal Bays (fiddle).

Mike teaches the simple steps to newcomers, and then walks you through
the dances. The experienced folks lend a hand as well, so don't be shy!
 This is a great community and family event, join us!


--------9 of 17--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 9.19 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to
<http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/

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


--------10 of 17--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Peace walk 9.20 6pm RiverFalls WI

River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on
the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from
"Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact:
d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022


--------11 of 17--------

From: mjshahidiusa [at] aol.com
Subject: Religion v peace? 9.20 7pm

Religion and World Peace: Can They Co-exist?
A Public Speakers' Corner moderated by Congressman Keith Ellison
Monday, September 20th, 2010, 7-8:30 P.m.
At the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis 900 Mount Curve Avenue,
Minneapolis, MN In Lower Assembly

In commemoration of the United Nations International Day of Peace
Open and free to the public

Is religious warfare threatening our world?
Please come and speak about your view, idea and plan.

Organized by the United Nations Association of Minnesota Harold E. Stassen
Division Co-sponsored by the Social Action Committee of the First
Unitarian Society of Minneapolis.

For further information, please contact M. Jay Shahidi,
mjshahidiusa [at] aol.com , 612-328-1913, or, Karen Monahan,
karenejam [at] yahoo.com


--------12 of 17--------

Poverty Rises as Wall Street Billionaires Whine
by Les Leopold
Friday, September 17, 2010
Huffington Post
Common Dreams

The ranks of the working-age poor in the United States climbed to the
highest level since the 1960s as the recession threw millions of people
out of work last year, leaving one in seven Americans in poverty. The
overall poverty rate climbed to 14.3 per cent, or 43.6 million people, the
Census Bureau said yesterday in its annual report on the economic
well-being of US households. Gulfnews.com

While 43.6 million Americans live in poverty, the richest men of finance
sure are getting pissy. First Steve Schwartzman, head of the Blackrock
private equity company, compares the Obama administration's effort to
close billionaires' tax loopholes to "the Nazi invasion of Poland." Then
hedge fund mogul David Loeb announces that he's abandoning the Democrats
because they're violating "this country's core founding principles" -
including "non-punitive taxation, Constitutionally-guaranteed protections
against persecution of the minority, and an inexorable right of
self-determination." Instead of showing their outrage about the spread of
poverty in the richest nation on Earth, the super-rich want us to pity
them?

Why are Wall Street's billionaires so whiny? Is it really possible to make
$900,000 an hour (not a typo - that's what the top ten hedge fund
managers take in), and still feel aggrieved about the way government is
treating you? After you've been bailed out by the federal government to
the tune of $10 trillion (also not a typo) in loans, asset swaps,
liquidity and other guarantees, can you really still feel like an
oppressed minority?

You'd think the Wall Street moguls would be thankful. Not just thankful -
down on their knees kissing the ground taxpayers walk on and hollering
hallelujah at the top of their lungs! These guys profited from puffing up
the housing bubble, then got bailed out when the going got tough. (Please
see The Looting of America for all the gory details.) Without taxpayer
largess, these hedge fund honchos would be flat broke. Instead, they're
back to hauling in obscene profits.

These billionaires don't even have to worry about serious financial
reforms. The paltry legislation that squeaked through Congress did nothing
to end too big and too interconnected to fail. In fact, the biggest firms
got even bigger as they gobbled up troubled banks, with the generous
support of the federal government. No bank or hedge fund was broken up.
Nobody was forced to pay a financial transaction tax. None of the big boys
had a cap placed on their astronomical wealth. No one's paying reparations
for wrecking the US economy. The big bankers are still free to create and
trade the very derivatives that catapulted us into this global crisis.
You'd think the billionaires would be praying on the altar of government
and erecting statues on Capital Hill in honor of St. Bailout.

Instead, standing before us are these troubled souls, haunted by visions
of persecution. Why?

The world changed. Before the bubble burst, these people walked on water.
Their billions proved that they were the best and the brightest - not
just captains of the financial universe, but global elites who had earned
a place in history. They donated serious money to worthy causes - and
political campaigns. No one wanted to mess with them.

But then came the crash. And the things changed for the big guys - not so
much financially as spiritually. Plebeians, including me, are asking
pointed questions and sometimes even being heard, both on the Internet and
in the mainstream media. For the first time in a generation, the public
wants to know more about these emperors and their new clothes. For
instance:

. What do these guys actually do that earns them such wealth?
. Is what they do productive and useful for society? Is there any
connection between what they earn and what they produce for society?
. Did they help cause the crash?
. Did these billionaires benefit from the bailouts? If so, how much?
. Are they exacerbating the current unemployment and poverty crisis with
their shenanigans?
. Why shouldn't we eliminate their tax loopholes (like carried interest)?
. Should their sky-high incomes be taxed at the same levels as during the
Eisenhower years?
. Can we create the millions of jobs we need if the billionaires continue
to skim off so much of our nation's wealth??
. Should we curb their wealth and political influence?

How dare we ask such questions! How dare we consider targeting them for
special taxes? How dare we even think about redistributing THEIR
incomes... even if at the moment much of their money comes directly from
our bailouts and tax breaks?

It's true that the billionaires live in a hermetically sealed world. But
that doesn't mean they don't notice the riffraff nipping at their heels.
And they don't like it much. So they've gotten busy doing what
billionaires do best: using their money to shield themselves. They're
digging into their bottomless war chests, tapping their vast connections
and using their considerable influence to shift the debate away from them
and towards the rest of us.

We borrowed too much, not them. We get too much health care, not them. We
retire too soon, not them. We need to tighten our belts while they pull in
another $900,000 an hour. And if we want to cure poverty, we need to get
the government to leave Wall Street alone. Sadly, their counter-offensive
is starting to take hold.

How can this happen? Many Americans want to relate to billionaires. They
believe that all of us are entitled to make as much as we can, pretty much
by any means necessary. After all, maybe someday you or I will strike it
rich. And when we do, we sure don't want government regulators or the
taxman coming around!

Billionaires are symbols of American individual prowess and virility. And
if we try to hold them back or slow them down, we're on the road to
tyranny. Okay, the game is rigged in their favor. Okay, they got bailed
out while the rest of us didn't - especially the 29 million people who
are jobless or forced into part-time work. But what matters most is that
in America, nothing can interfere with individual money-making. That only
a few of us actually make it into the big-time isn't a bad thing: It's
what makes being rich so special. So beware: If we enact even the mildest
of measures to rein in Wall Street billionaires, we're on the path to
becoming North Korea.

Unfortunately, if we don't adjust our attitudes, we can expect continued
high levels of unemployment and more people pushed below the poverty line.
It's not clear that our economy will ever recover as long as the Wall
Street billionaires keep siphoning off so much of our wealth. How can we
create jobs for the many while the few are walking off with $900,000 an
hour with almost no new jobs to show for it? In the old days, even robber
barons built industries that employed people - steel, oil, railroads. Now
the robber barons build palaces out of fantasy finance. We can keep
coddling our financial billionaires and let our economy spiral down, or we
can make them pay their fair share so we can create real jobs. These guys
crashed the economy, they killed billions of jobs, and now they're cashing
in on our bailout. They owe us. They owe the unemployed. They owe the
poor.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was no radical, but he accepted the reality: If
America was going to prosper - and pay for its costly Cold War - the
super-rich would have to pony up. It was common knowledge that when the
rich grew too wealthy, they used their excess incomes to speculate. In the
1950s, memories of the Great Depression loomed large, and people knew that
a skewed distribution of income only fueled speculative booms and
disastrous busts. On Ike's watch, the effective marginal tax rate for
those earning over $3 million (in today's dollars) was over 70 percent.
The super-rich paid. As a nation we respected that other important
American value: advancing the common good.

For the last thirty years we've been told that making as much as you can
is just another way of advancing the common good. But the Great Recession
erased that equation: The Wall Streeters who made as much as they could
undermined the common good. It's time to balance the scales. This isn't
just redistribution of income in pursuit of some egalitarian utopia. It's
a way to use public policy to reattach billionaires to the common good.

It's time to take Eisenhower's cue and redeploy the excessive wealth Wall
Street's high rollers have accumulated. If we leave it in their hands,
they'll keep using it to construct speculative financial casinos. Instead,
we could use that money to build a stronger, more prosperous nation. We
could provide our people with free higher education at all our public
colleges and universities - just like we did for WWII vets under the GI
Bill of Rights (a program that returned seven dollars in GDP for every
dollar invested). We could fund a green energy Manhattan Project to wean
us from fossil fuels. An added bonus: If we siphon some of the money off
Wall Street, some of our brightest college graduates might even be
attracted not to high finance but to jobs in science, education and
healthcare, where we need them.

Of course, this pursuit of the common good won't be easy for the
billionaires (and those who indentify with them.). But there's just no
alternative for this oppressed minority: They're going to have to learn to
live on less than $900,000 an hour.

 2010 Huffington Post
Les Leopold is the author of The Looting of America: How Wall Street's
Game of Fantasy Finance destroyed our Jobs, Pensions and Prosperity, and
What We Can Do About It, Chelsea Green Publishing, June 2009.


--------13 of 17--------

Suffocating the Poor: A Modern Parable
They democratically elected a president to stand up to the rich and
multinational corporations - so our governments have him kidnapped
by Johann Hari
Friday, September 17, 2010
The Independent/UK

Today, I want to tell you the story of how our governments have been
torturing and tormenting an island in the Caribbean - but it is a much
bigger story than that. It's a parable explaining one of the main reasons
how and why, across the world, the poor are kept poor, so the rich can be
kept rich. If you grasp this situation, you will see some of the ugliest
forces in the world laid out before you - so we can figure out how to stop
them.

The rubble-strewn island of Haiti is now in the middle of an election
campaign that will climax this November. So far, the world has noticed it
solely because the Haitian-American musician Wyclef Jean wanted to run for
President, only to be blocked because he hasn't lived in the country since
he was a kid. But there is a much bigger hole in the election: the most
popular politician in Haiti by far, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He's not there
because, after winning a landslide election, he followed the will of the
Haitian people who demanded he take on the multinational corporations and
redistribute enough money that their children wouldn't starve - so our
governments had him kidnapped him at gunpoint and refuse to let him back.

But we have to start a little earlier if this is going to make sense. For
over two centuries, Haiti has been effectively controlled from outside.
The French enslaved the entire island in the eighteenth century and worked
much of the population to death, turning it into the sugar and coffee
plantation for the world. By this century, Western governments were
arming, funding and fuelling the psychopathic dictatorship of the Duvalier
family - who slaughtered 50,000 people - supposedly because they were "our
friends" in the fight against communism.

All this left Haiti the most unequal country in the world. A tiny elite
lives in vast villas in the hills, while below and all around them, the
overwhelming majority of the population live in tiny tin shacks with no
water or electricity, crammed six-to-a-room. Just 1 per cent own 50 per
cent of the wealth and 75 per cent of the arable land. Once the Haitian
people were finally able to rise up in 1986 to demand democracy, they
obviously wanted the country's wealth to be shared more fairly. They began
to organize into a political movement called Lavalas - the flood - to
demand higher wages and higher taxes on the rich to build schools and
hospitals and subsidies for the half-starved poor. This panicked the
elite.

And nobody panicked them more than a thin, softly-spoken, intellectual
slum-priest named Aristide who found himself at the crest of this wave. He
was born into a bitingly poor family and became a brilliant student. As a
priest he soon became one of the leading exponents of Liberation Theology,
the left-wing Catholicism that says people shouldn't wait passively for
justice in the Kingdom of Heaven, but must demand it here and now. (The
current Pope tried desperately to stamp out this "heresy".) Aristide
explained: "The rich of my country, a tiny percentage, sit at a vast table
overflowing with good food, while the rest of my countrymen are crowded
under that table, hunched in the dirt and starving. One day the people
under the table will rise up in righteousness."

On this platform, he was elected in 1990 in a landslide in the country's
first free and fair election, taking 64 per cent of the vote. He kept his
promise to the Haitian people: he increased the minimum wage from 38 cents
a day to $1, demanding the multinational corporations pay a less insulting
wage. He trebled the number of free secondary schools. He disbanded the
murderous national army that had terrorized the population. Even the
International Monetary Fund had to admit that over the Aristide period and
just after, Haiti's Human Poverty Indicator - a measure of how likely your
kids are to die, starve or go uneducated - dropped dramatically from 46.2
per cent to 31.8 per cent.

But why would foreign governments care about a small country, the poorest
in the Western hemisphere, with only ten million inhabitants? Ira Kurzban,
an American lawyer based in Haiti, explains: "Aristide represented a
threat to [foreign powers] because he spoke for the 85 per cent of his
population who had never been heard. If that can happen in Haiti, it can
happen anywhere, including in countries where the [US and Europe] have
huge economic interests and extract natural resources. They don't want
real popular democracies to spread because they know it will confront US
economic interests." Oxfam called this phenomenon "the threat of a good
example."

So after Haiti had experienced seven months of democracy, the US toppled
Aristide. Ordinary Haitians surrounded his home, calling for his return -
and they were fired on so indiscriminately that more ammo had to be sent
from Guantanamo Bay on Cuba. Their bodies were left in the streets to be
eaten by dogs as the advances were repealed one by one.

In 1994, the Clinton administration agreed to return Aristide to power -
provided he castrate his own political program and ignore the demands of
his people. They made him agree to privatize almost everything, freeze
wages, and sack half the civil service. Through gritted teeth, he agreed,
and for the remainder of his time in office tried to smuggle through what
little progress he could. He was re-elected in an even bigger landslide in
2000 - but even his tiny shuffles towards redistribution were too much.
The US and French governments had Aristide kidnapped at gunpoint and
dumped him in the Central African Republic. They said he was a "dictator",
even though the last Gallup poll in a free Haiti found 60 per cent
supported him, compared to just 3 per cent backing the alternative imposed
on the country by the US.

The human rights situation in Haiti then dramatically deteriorated, with a
massive campaign of terror and repression. The Lavalas Party was banned
from running again, with most of the country's democracy activists jailed.
There were huge military assaults on the slums which demanded Aristide's
return. A US Army Psychological Operations official explained the mission
was to ensure Haitians "don't get the idea they can do whatever they
want."

The next President, Rene Preval, learned his lesson: he has done
everything he was told to by corporations and governments, privatizing the
last remaining scraps owned by the state, and using tear gas to break up
strikes for higher wages. The Haitian people rejected the whole rigged
electoral process, with turn-out falling to just 11 per cent. Today,
Aristide is a broken man, living in exile in South Africa, studying for a
PhD in linguistics, banned from going home.

This is part of a plain pattern. When poor countries get uppity and tried
to ask for basic justice, our governments have toppled them, from Iran
wanting to control its own oil in 1953 to Honduras wanting its workers to
be treated decently in 2009. You don't have to overthrow many to terrify
the rest.

It doesn't have to be this way. This is not the will of the people, in the
US or Europe: on the contrary, ordinary citizens are horrified when the
propaganda is stripped away and they see the truth. It only happens
because a tiny wealthy elite dominates our foreign policy, and uses it to
serve their purposes - low wages and control of other people's economies
and resources. The people of Haiti, who have nothing, were bold and brave
enough to campaign and organize to take power back from their undemocratic
elites. Are we?

 2010 The Independent/UK
Johann Hari is a columnist for the London Independent. He has reported
from Iraq, Israel/Palestine, the Congo, the Central African Republic,
Venezuela, Peru and the US, and his journalism has appeared in
publications all over the world.


--------14 of 17--------

Why the Hunger Continues ...
The Food Crisis is Not About a Food Shortage
By JIM GOODMAN
September 17 - 19, 2010
CounterPunch

The food crisis of 2008 never really ended, it was ignored and forgotten.
The rich and powerful are well fed; they had no food crisis, no shortage,
so in the West, it was little more than a short lived sound bite, tragic
but forgettable. To the poor in the developing world, whose ability to
afford food is no better now than in 2008, the hunger continues.

Hunger can have many contributing factors; natural disaster,
discrimination, war, poor infrastructure. So why, regardless of the
situation, is high tech agriculture always assumed to be the only the
solution? This premise is put forward and supported by those who would
benefit financially if their "solution" were implemented. Corporations
peddle their high technology genetically engineered seed and chemical
packages, their genetically altered animals, always with the "promise" of
feeding the world.

Politicians and philanthropists, who may mean well, jump on the high
technology band wagon. Could the promise of financial support or
investment return fuel their apparent compassion?

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) an initiative of the
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation
supposedly works to achieve a food secure and prosperous Africa. While
these sentiments and goals may be philanthropy at its best, some of the
coalition partners have a different agenda.

One of the key players in AGRA, Monsanto, hopes to spread its genetically
engineered seed throughout Africa by promising better yields, drought
resistance, an end to hunger, etc. etc. Could a New Green Revolution
succeed where the original Green Revolution had failed? Or was the whole
concept of a Green Revolution a pig in a poke to begin with?

Monsanto giving free seed to poor small holder farmers sounds great, or
are they just setting the hook? Remember, next year those farmers will
have to buy their seed. Interesting to note that the Gates Foundation
purchased $23.1 million worth of Monsanto stock in the second quarter of
2010. Do they also see the food crisis in Africa as a potential to turn a
nice profit? Every corporation has one overriding interest -
self-interest, but surely not charitable foundations?

Food shortages are seldom about a lack of food, there is plenty of food
in the world, the shortages occur because of the inability to get food
where it is needed and the inability of the hungry to afford it. These two
problems are principally caused by, as Francis Moore Lappe' put it, a lack
of justice. There are also ethical considerations, a higher value should
be placed on people than on corporate profit, this must be at the
forefront, not an afterthought.

In 2008, there were shortages of food, in some places, for some people.
There was never a shortage of food in 2008 on a global basis, nor is there
currently. True, some countries, in Africa for example, do not have enough
food where it is needed, yet people with money have their fill no matter
where they live.

The current food riots in Mozambique were a result of increased wheat
prices on the world market. The UN Food and Agriculture organization,
(FAO) estimates the world is on course to the third largest wheat harvest
in history, so increasing wheat prices were not caused by actual
shortages, but rather by speculation on the price of wheat in the
international market.

While millions of people go hungry in India, thousands of kilos of grain
rot in storage. Unable to afford the grain, the hungry depend on the
government to distribute food. Apparently that's not going so well.

Not everyone living in a poor country goes hungry, those with money eat.
Not everyone living in rich country is well fed, those without money go
hungry. We in the US are said to have the safest and most abundant food
supply in the world, yet even here, surrounded by an over abundance of
food, there are plenty of hungry people and their numbers are growing. Do
we too have a food crisis, concurrent with an obesity crisis?

Why is there widespread hunger? Is food a right? Is profit taking through
speculation that drives food prices out of the reach of the poor a right?
Is pushing high technology agriculture on an entire continent at that
could feed itself a (corporate) right?

In developing countries, those with hunger and poor food distribution, the
small farmers, most of whom are women, have little say in agricultural
policy. The framework of international trade and the rules imposed by the
International Monetary Fund and World Bank on developing countries, places
emphasis on crops for export, not crops for feeding a hungry population.

Despite what we hope are the best intentions of the Gates Foundation, a
New Green Revolution based on genetically engineered crops, imported
fertilizer and government imposed agricultural policy will not feed the
world. Women, not Monsanto, feed most of the worlds population, and the
greatest portion of the worlds diet still relies on crops and farming
systems developed and cultivated by the indigenous for centuries, systems
that still work, systems that offer real promise.

The report of 400 experts from around the world, The International
Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development, is
ignored by the proponents of a New Green Revolution, precisely because it
shows that the best hope for ending hunger lies with local, traditional,
farmer controlled agricultural production, not high tech industrial
agriculture.

To feed the world, fair methods of land distribution must be considered. A
fair and just food system depends on small holder farmers having access to
land. The function of a just farming system is to insure that everyone
gets to eat, industrial agriculture functions to insure those corporations
controlling the system make a profit. [The corporate swine snort to get
even more obscenely fat. So millions die - who gives a pig's crap?  It's
the American Way.  -ed]

The ultimate cause of hunger is not a lack of Western agricultural
technology, rather hunger results when people are not allowed to
participate in a food system of their choosing. Civil wars, structural
adjustment policies, inadequate distribution systems, international
commodity speculation and corporate control of food from seed to table -
these are the causes of hunger, the stimulus for food crises.

If the Gates Foundation is serious about ending hunger in Africa, they
need to read the IAASTD report, not Monsanto's quarterly profit report.
Then they can decide how their money might best be spent.

Jim Goodman is a dairy farmer from Wonewoc, Wisconsin.


--------15 of 17--------

Feingold Slams Supreme Court over "Citizens United," Implies Roberts and
Alito Lied Under Oath
by Matthew Rothschild
Friday, September 17, 2010
The Progressive
Common Dreams

Sen. Russ Feingold recently slammed the Supreme Court and strongly implied
that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito lied, under oath,
to the Senate during their confirmation hearings.

In a speech on Sept. 10, Feingold, the chair of the Senate Judiciary
Subcommittee on the Constitution, denounced the "Citizens United" decision
that the Court handed down earlier this year.

Feingold called it "a lawless decision".

That decision allows corporations to give unlimited contributions in favor
of, or in opposition to, a candidate so long as those contributions aren't
coordinated with a candidate's campaign. It treats corporations the same
way it treats individuals. (See
http://www.progressive.org/mrapril10.html.)

But, said Feingold, "they are not the same as us. They do not have the
same rights as all of us. And that decision is wrong on the law, and wrong
for America, and an enormous danger for the political process".

Without naming any names, Feingold said that George W. Bush's Supreme
Court nominees "came before the Judiciary Committee and promised me, under
oath, that they would follow precedent, that they would be neutral umpires
calling balls and strikes. Well, of course, they did the opposite".

He was clearly referring to Chief Justice Roberts, who famously said at
his confirmation hearing on September 12, 2005: "I will remember that it's
my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat".

And Feingold also appeared to be speaking about Justice Alito, who
testified on January 10, 2006, that "courts should respect the judgments
and the wisdom that are embodied in prior judicial decisions". Alito
added: "It's important because it limits the power of the judiciary".

Said Feingold: "These people who pledged to follow precedent overturned a
law signed by Teddy Roosevelt in 1907, proposed and backed by Fighting Bob
La Follette. And it's been the law of the land for 100 years that
corporations cannot use their treasuries to directly impact elections".

Feingold said the stakes are high. "We have got to overturn this
decision," he said. "That means President Obama needs another appointment
either in this term or a second term or this democracy will head
dramatically in the wrong direction".

Feingold was speaking to a crowd of about 700 people at the Barrymore
Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin, at the kickoff event of FightingBobFest,
http://fightingbobfest.org an annual gathering of progressives. A partial
transcript of his speech is below. Or you can view it here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch

Sen. Russ Feingold's Speech on the Citizens United Case
Delivered at FightingBobFest on Sept. 10, 2010

"It was in the early 1990s, under some Democrats, where the bright idea
was cooked up, 'Well, gee, why don't we let corporations and unions and
wealthy individuals give unlimited campaign contributions to the political
parties independent of the campaign finance limits that had been put in
place in the 1970s?'

This was the beginning of soft money. . . . There was no controlling legal
authority to prevent a corporation from giving a million dollars Monday
night to the Democrats and a million dollars Tuesday night to the
Republicans, and on Wednesday have a vote to pass a lousy trade agreement
that sends our jobs overseas. That.s exactly what happened with the
unlimited campaign contributions. This was a growing cancer in our system.

That's why John McCain and I and others succeeded in banning those kinds
of contributions. . . . And the right and the corporations were absolutely
fit to be tied. They couldn't believe we'd actually achieved something on
a bipartisan basis for the American people.

And they started to plot, and they started to work. And of course a
certain guy named George Bush became President by a vote of the Supreme
Court. And they got some judicial appointments. People that came before
the Judiciary Committee and promised me, under oath, that they would
follow precedent, that they would be neutral umpires calling balls and
strikes.

Well, of course, they did the opposite. They took every opportunity they
could when it came to the campaign finance laws to destroy everything but
the ban that McCain and I got into place.

So what did they do? They did the Citizens United case. Now just about
everybody I've talked to said this is one of the worst decisions in the
history of the United States Supreme Court. These people who pledged to
promise precedent overturned a law signed by Teddy Roosevelt in 1907,
proposed and backed by Fighting Bob La Follette. And it's been the law of
the land for 100 years that corporations cannot use their treasuries to
directly impact elections. It's always been the law for 100 years. In
1947, conservatives weren't very happy that they weren't the only ones
limited, so they managed to get through a provision in the Taft-Hartley
Act that said unions couldn't do it, either. And so it continued, and it
was understood that that was impossible to do in the United States. That's
why they were looking for other ways to do it; that's why they wanted to
use this soft money scam. Court case after court case after court case
reaffirmed that these statutes were valid and a foundation of our system
of government.

So what did these five justices say? They said, 'Actually we went back and
checked with the founders of the country. And the founders apparently
believed that corporations were exactly the same as us, and that a
corporation has every right the same as us, and therefore you cannot
restrict their ability to buy an election'.

It's a lawless decision by our highest court.

But four justices disputed it, led by John Paul Stevens, a 90-year-old
justice in his last major decision. He went up to the bench - and they
usually just announce their decision - and he made these guys listen to
him for 20 minutes as he summarized his brilliant 80-page decision,
disputing that the corporations are the same as us.

They are not the same as us. They do not have the same rights as all of
us. And that decision is wrong on the law, and wrong for America, and an
enormous danger for the political process as we go forward.

It's the Supreme Court. It's a court case. How can you get people to
understand and feel what this means for them? Well, I've been amazed at my
town meetings. People who I thought would never want to bring up this
subject say, "What in the heck was that decision?" Across the board. Even
tea party people think it's a bad decision.

And all you got to tell people is this is what it means. If you go down
the street, and go into, let's say, a BP gas station and buy $10 of gas,
that money can now for the first time in 100 years be immediately placed
on television to defend candidates who defend Big Oil, and big insurance
companies, and the pharmaceutical industry. That's what it means.

What do they want? They want us to start picking Democratic toothpaste
companies and Republican toothpaste companies? That's what we're going to
have to do if the law says that corporations can use your money to
directly influence elections.

Now we're trying to do something about this mess. We can only go so far in
the Congress because it's a constitutional decision. But we're trying to
pass something. We've got 59 votes. We need one more. It's called the
Disclose Act. It's pretty weak tea. It doesn't even deal with the danger
of foreign money coming in through this decision. It just says that you
should have to disclose who you are. So Exxon can't say we're the Family
Friendly People. They have to say they're Exxon.

"I don't want to kid you. Even if we pass it, it's only a tiny step. We
need to overturn this decision. We need to overturn this decision. That
means President Obama needs another appointment either in this term or a
second term or this democracy will head dramatically in the wrong
direction. We have got to overturn this decision. And as we strategize to
do whatever we can do, between now and then, to limit the effects of this
decision, I want you to know that I'm committed to this cause because I
think it goes to the very core of our democracy.

--Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin).

 2010 The Progressive
Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.


--------16 of 17--------

Net Neutrality, Free Speech and the Net
The Future of the Internet
By MARK WEISBROT
CounterPunch
September 17 - 19, 2010

The mass media remains, in the 21st century, one of the most powerful
forces blocking social and economic progress. It is because of the mass
media that tens of millions of Americans are convinced that budget
deficits are more important than the lives ruined by unemployment, or that
Social Security won't be there for them when they retire. Or that their
government's occupation of Afghanistan, and its hundreds of military bases
around the world, are protecting the "national security" of U.S. citizens.

All of these destructive myths - and many more - could be dispelled within
a relatively short time if there were a free marketplace of ideas, instead
of the "free press for those who own it" model currently in place. Of
course, other falsehoods would persist for much longer; ideas, once widely
accepted, can have great inertia. But during the last two decades the
Internet has introduced a degree of competition in the world of mass
communications, which although still quantitatively small, is nonetheless
unprecedented. An interactive process has been set in motion, whereby the
Internet and the blogosphere act as a check on the mass media, sometimes
breaking important news that would otherwise go unnoticed or unreported
(in systems with direct censorship such as China and also in limited
democracies like the United States); and sometimes influencing the
journalists who produce the mass media. This process has the potential to
accelerate with the development and spread of Internet technology, for
example with Internet television; and of course with advances in literacy
and education.

This is rare in the history of technology, and especially in the
technology of communications. Almost all prior innovations -- radio,
television and motion pictures - have mostly made it easier for the few to
control the many - like pilotless drone military planes.

This progressive contribution of the Internet is reliant on the principle
of "net neutrality": that Internet service providers treat all packets of
data the same. An individual blogger's challenge to the Washington Post
can be downloaded by anyone at the same speed as the content of the
multi-billion dollar corporate newspaper itself. Intelligent readers can
decide for themselves who is correct.

The Federal Communications Commission has been considering what its role
and rules should be for enforcing net neutrality, and in early August
Google and Verizon put forth their own proposal on these issues. These two
big corporations, along with others, are likely to have a considerable
influence on the FCC and Congress, and their proposal has elicited a
torrent of criticism. It exempts wireless and other "online services" from
net neutrality, and has other big loopholes.

There is now a clear and present danger that the road will be paved to a
fragmented Internet where service providers can determine what people will
see on the Web, and carve out a "non-neutral" sector. As Senator Al
Franken from Minnesota has noted, defending net neutrality is "the First
Amendment issue of our time".

America's great concentrations of wealth - more concentrated than at any
time since the 1920s - already dominate the Internet. But not nearly as
much as they dominate the vast majority of information that Americans
receive from more monopolized info-tainment/ news outlets such as TV,
radio and what remains of the newspaper industry.

A coalition of organizations including MoveOn.org, Color of Change, Free
Press and Credo Action is calling on Americans to lend a hand and preserve
this one remaining mass medium of free speech and equal rights, before it
is remade in accordance with corporate needs. We the people need the
Internet as we know it in the battle of ideas; we had better fight for it.

Mark Weisbrot is an economist and co-director of the Center for Economic
and Policy Research. He is co-author, with Dean Baker, of Social Security:
the Phony Crisis. This column originally appeared in the Sacramento Bee.


--------17 of 17--------

 Huge gold bars in right
 back pockets gives the pigrich
 odd lop-sided butts.


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