|Progressive Calendar 09.17.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|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. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress for governor now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 Research almost any topic raised here at: CounterPunch http://counterpunch.org Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org Common Dreams http://commondreams.org Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones
- (no other messages in thread)
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.