|Progressive Calendar 10.23.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2010 22:19:04 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 10.23.10 1. Stillwater vigil 10.24 1pm 2. Pentel/governor 10.24 2:30pm 3. Green schools conf 10.24-26 4. Redistricting 2011 10.25 9am 5. Immigration laws 10.25 10:45am 6. Peace walk 10.25 6pm RiverFalls WI 7. River design 10.25 6:30pm 8. Amnesty Intl 10.25 7pm 9. Nice gals/FBI raid 10.25 7pm 10. Gelderloos/video 10.25 7pm 11. TroublWaters/free 10.25 7pm 12. Save North High 10.26 4:30pm 13. Rovics/Gelderloos 10.26 5pm 14. Erlinder/Dafur 10.26 6:30pm 15. Mike Whitney - Vive la resistance! Thank god for France 16. Mark Weisbrot - Why French protestors have it right 17. Dave Lindorff - Up the revolution! Arise, ye homeowners of America 18. John Walsh - Punish Obama; ignore the scare tactics 19. ed - Pigskins (haiku) --------1 of 19-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 10.24 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 --------2 of 19------ From: PRO826 [at] aol.com Subject: Pentel/Governor 10.24 2:30pm Ken Pentel for Governor Sunday, October 24th 2:30pm-La Asambleas de Derechos Civiles Candidate Forum Incarnation-Sagrado Corazon de Jesus Catholic Church 3800 Pleasant Ave S., Minneapolis --------3 of 19-------- From: Alliance for Sustainability <sean [at] afors.org> Subject: Green schools conf 10.24-26 Oct 24 to 26 - 1st Annual National Green Schools Conference, Mpls http://www.greenschoolsnationalconference.org Mon Oct 25 - 8 am to 6pm Green Schools National Youth Summit, Central Lutheran, Mpls, FREE Meet 100 student leaders from across the state and the US www.greenschoolsyouth.org/Youth_In_Action/The_Youth_Summit.html -- From: Joe Nathan <jnathan [at] macalester.edu> Subject: District, charter educators & students cooperating to share info about green schools Give several hundred district and charter school teachers from Minnesota and 49 other states, businesspeople and students an A for making our planet a priority. Theyre coming together October 24-26 in Minneapolis, for what they describe as the nations first conference bringing together schools, non-profits, government and corporate partners to help encourage the growing National Green Schools Movement** Abby Fenton of the Will Steger Foundation, who is helping plan the Youth Summit, wants students to know that they can attend this part of the conference at no cost. (For info, go to www.greenschoolsyouth.org and * http://www.greenschoolsnationalconference.org (*1-800-280-6218)** Conference speakers will share experience and research, including Research showing that certain types of studying about the environment can and have helped improve test scores There are a variety of new, emerging jobs in this field that students can consider. Using green building techniques can save significant dollars for public schools, by allowing them to use less energy Existing buildings also can be modified in cost effective ways to reduce energy costs District and charter public schools are developing intriguing curriculum that helps students learn about the environment, and the controversies in this field Ron Bratlie, formerly an administrator in the Elk River school district is doing a workshop at the meeting. He'll share the districts experience in constructing two green buildings. Bratlie will explain that going green isn't just about the school buildings: GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technologies should be used to green your district: save time, money, and energy in areas of site selection and planning, transportation, student services, facilities, public relations, demographics, bond and levy elections. Bratlie told me, Communities have the ability to build better buildings with a better environment yielding better students costing less to operate at no additional cost. We need to re-think our approach to facilities. School boards must voice expectations for building performance goals to the professional that they hired to design, build, and then measure the results achieved. James Steckart, Director of the Northwest Passage Charter in Coon Rapids also will be presenting at the conference. He told me last week, America has always been on the cutting edge of innovation...the green movement is the next stage in that evolution. Green sector jobs have the potential to revitalize our economy by creating highly skilled workers, while at the same time reducing our dependence on foreign energy sources and promoting a healthy world to leave to our children. He continued, Schools need to be the leaders in teaching our young people these concepts, skills and ideas through innovative and hands on learning. We see the energy light up in our students eyes when they are given the chance to learn something relevant while providing a chance to better their world. The Green School Conference and the forming of the Minnesota chapter bring resources and ideas together supporting these concepts. Conference organizers suggest that people attending might include different disciplines/job titles who may not normally attend a conference together: such as administrators, facility managers, school CFOs/business officers, school board members, teachers, purchasing officers, school lunch managers, transportation managers, business/community leaders, parent, students, and policymakers. Sounds like a great opportunity, and terrific collaboration. --------4 of 19-------- From: TruthToTell <andydriscoll [at] truthtotell.org> Subject: Redistricting 2011 10.25 9am TruthToTell Mon Oct 25 @9AM: REDISTRICTING 2011: First, Consider Your Cities - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/Online @KFAI.org And now it begins - at least at the local level. The battle over who is represented by whom for the next ten years is under way with discussions about the upshot of population growth or shrinkage in some districts as well as shifts from one district to the next - or several miles away. As the 2010 Census figures are compiled for presentation early next year, coalitions are forming to ensure that statewide redistricting is seriously reformed after decades of Legislative redistricting wound up in the courts - and still safe districts for incumbents were the outcome. When once we thought it possible Minnesota's eight Congressional districts might be whittled to seven by the Census outcome, it now appears we'll hold the eight by a very slim margin - as little as 1,500 souls. Minneapolis has a question on the November 2nd ballot asking whether the city's Charter Commission should be the body to redraw City Ward and Park District lines, unlike the political-party-appointed Redistricting Commission, which ten years ago found itself under a cloud for its DFL-heavy redistricting out of Green Party incumbents and other anomalies which landed the entire process in court. [I learned never to underestimate DFL selfish meanness. If you want a free knife, turn your back on the DFL. -ed] This time out, the struggle is over whether the Charter Commission, itself questionably representative of the city as a whole, is likely to properly redraw the city's lines of representation. (Under state statute, all Charter Commissions are appointed from pools of self-selected applicants by the chief judge of the appropriate district court of jurisdiction, in this case the¬ Chief Judge of the Hennepin County District Court.) Saint Paul's Charter Commission is itself the city's redistricting commission (Disclosure: your servant was a member of that body for eight years back in 1990 and was part of the redrawing of St. Paul's Ward boundaries). Many think that's enough. But, again, with chief judges appointing (Ramsey County, in this case), can it be as representative of the city's diversity or not? And yet, how to ensure diversity, anyway? TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN query those zeroing in on this issue - some for the coming referendum in Minneapolis, the others for Saint Paul or the statewide planning process quickly coming into place for 2011 and 2012. GUESTS: KEESHA GASKINS - Executive Director, League of Women Voters of Minnesota MIKE DEAN - President, Common Cause, Minnesota BARRY CLEGG, Chair, Minneapolis Charter Commission and Attorney, Gray Plant Mooty JOHN VAN HECKE - Chair, Saint Paul Charter Commission and Executive Director, Minnesota 2020 --------5 of 19-------- From: Bonnie Watkins <bonnie [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Immigration laws 10.25 10:45am October 25: Minneapolis Branch American Association of University Women Meeting. 9:30 AM: Monday Interest Groups. 10:45 AM: Supporting Fair and Just Immigration Laws. 11:45 AM: Announcements. Noon: Luncheon. 11:15 PM: Global Political Trends and the World Financial Crisis. --------6 of 19-------- From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net> Subject: Peace walk 10.25 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 --------7 of 19-------- From: Elizabeth Dickinson <eadickinson [at] mindspring.com> Subject: River design 10.25 6:30pm About Saint Paul's Great River Park In 2009, Saint Paul received funding from the Minnesota Legislature to create a new vision for how we live, work, play, commute and connect with the Mississippi River. A master plan for Saint Paul's 17-mile river valley will deliver a prioritized list of projects that will restore natural habitat and ecology, create economic vitality and provide better connections to the river. Saint Paul Parks & Recreation is leading a Great River Park Master Planning design team, made up of national and local partners and consultants. For more information: greatriverpark.org City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation and SAINT PAUL RIVERFRONT CORPORATION Community Design Forum #2: River Gorge and Valley Monday, October 25 and Thursday, October 28 6:30-8:30pm Ohage Boulevard, Harriet Island, Saint Paul (directions) With tremendous citizen input from the first Community Design Forum held October 11-14, the Great River Park Design Team will now focus on the Gorge and Valley stretch of the Mississippi River in Saint Paul, which runs from the I-94 Bridge to the High Bridge. Share your ideas and visions for these special places on the river Monday night; review how the Design Team brings your ideas to life at Thursday night's Concept Review session. Mark your calendar: In November, the Design Team will focus on the Downtown and the Floodplain stretches of the river (from the High Bridge to just above the I-494 Bridge). Community Design Forum #3: Downtown & Floodplain November 8 and 10, 6:30-8:30pm Wellstone Community Center 179 Robie Street, Saint Paul (directions) --------8 of 19-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 10.25 7pm Augustana Homes Seniors Group meets on Monday, October 25th, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the party room of the 1020 Building, 1020 E 17th Street, Minneapolis. For more information contact Ardes Johnson at 612/378-1166 or johns779 [at] tc.umn.edu. --------9 of 19-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Nice gals/FBI raid 10.25 7pm Discussion: "What Are Nice Gals Like Us Doing Getting Raided by the FBI?" Monday, October 25, 7:00 p.m. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2730 East 31st Street, Minneapolis. Recently, the FBI has raided anti-war activists and offices in several cities, including Minneapolis. Several have received subpoenas to appear before a grand jury this month. All have refused to testify, on the advice of lawyers, and are at risk of further prosecution and jail. Speakers will be: 71 year old anti-war activist and co-chair of WAMM, Sarah Martin, who was subpoenaed; Meredith Aby, school teachers and member of the Anti-War Committee whose home was raided; and lawyer and Holy Trinity member, Ted Dooley. Sponsored by: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and WAMM. FF: Call WAMM, 612-827-5364. --------10 of 19-------- From: Christine Frank <christinefrank [at] visi.com> Subject: Gelderloos/video 10.25 7pm a free 3ctc screening of: an "our world in depth" video of author/activist peter gelderloos speaking on the politics and science of climate change and its holistic solutions monday, october 25, 7:00 pm mayday books 301 cedar avenue south west bank, minneapolis So far, 2010 is proving to be the warmest year on record, indicating that the planet continues to warm due to interminable fossil-fuel combustion. There have been many extreme weather events around the world, most notably the horrendous floods and subsequent human suffering in Pakistan caused by shifts in the monsoon rains and rapidly melting Himalayan glaciers. Also, there has been a very active Atlantic Hurricane season brought on by record warm sea surface temperatures four degrees above average and the influence of a La Nina. Minnesota entered the record books this year and came in first with the most twisters of any state because of the customary "Tornado Alley" having shifted northward onto the High Plains and into the Great Lakes Region. This forum is being held as part of the October actions leading up to the COP 16 Climate Conference to be held in Cancun, Mexico in late November & early December when a global agreement may or may not be reached on greenhouse gas emission reductions. The event is sponsored by the Climate Crisis Coalition of the Twin Cities (3CTC). It is free and open to the public. The Clean-Energy Vigil to Cool Down the Planet takes place on the plaza outside the bookstore (Weather permitting.) at 5:00 PM, followed by the 3CTC Business Meeting at 6:00 PM. All are welcome. For more information, EMAIL: christinefrank [at] visi.com or PHONE: 612-879-8937. --------11 of 19-------- From: lydiahowell [at] comcast.net Subject: Troubled Waters/free 10.25 7pm special free screening of troubled waters: a mississippi river story monday, october 25, 7:00 pm parkway theater 4814 chicago avenue south minneapolis followed by a panel with representatives from the insitute for agriculture & trade policy friends of the mississippi river land stewardship project mary turck, editor, twin cities daily planet, who covered the story Pre-Register Online at <http://www.iatp.org/>http://www.iatp.org ¬†Unfortunately, they have already filled the seating capacity of the theater, but you can still get on a waiting list. ¬†Good Luck! This film on the pollution of the Mississippi River Basin and Gulf of Mexico with agricultural & urban run-off was suppressed by public relations Vice President Karen Himle, who arbitrarily yanked it from screenings at the Bell Museum and Twin Cities Public Television. As a result of efforts by environmental groups and members of the media, 2500 emails have been released under the Minnesota Data Practices Act and are being analyzed by those interested in knowing why this outrage has occurred. Despite the apology that was on the front page of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the heavily censored emails tell the real story of Himle's virulent hostility toward the film and the truth it tells of the poisoning of our aquatic and marine ecosystems by agricultural chemicals and nutrient overloading. Himle's flagrant suppression of academic freedom and her labeling of peer-reviewed science as nothing but "propaganda", shows her utter disregard for the integrity of the scientists, who participated in the making of the film, and its director, Larkin McPhee, who is an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker. Could it be that this self-appointed arbiter of the "truth" is in the back pocket of agribusiness giants, who have good reason to take offense? After all, they depend upon land grant institutions such as the University of Minnesota to promote their unsustainable, industrialized form of food production through extensions services to farmers and gardeners as well as many corporate-funded, multi-million-dollar research programs. Find out for yourself if this film "vilifies agriculture", as Dean Allen Levine of the UMN College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences claims. According to Alan Muller, who offers a brief critique below, it is available on DVD through the Data Practices Act from the U of M. A few years ago, 3CTC/Climate Change Coaliton--Twin Cities¬†held a forum with MN PCA Whistleblower Paul Wotzka, who spoke on the high levels of Atrazine that he found in Southeastern Minnesota's streams.†We would like to follow up on that with a future screening of Troubled Waters despite its apparent shortcomings on issues such as the burning of biofuels. ---------- From: Alan Muller [mailto:amuller [at] dca.net] Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 9:58 PM To: Minnesota burner interest list : Subject: "Troubled Waters--A Mississippi River Story" available on DVD For those who may be interested, I got a DVD of this via a Data Practices Act (FOIA) request to the President of the U of M.†The person responding was Susan McKinney, susan.mckinney [at] ogc.umn.edu. It's about 58 minutes. My reaction: Technically well done and easy to watch. It makes well the connection between unsustainable agricultural practices in the upper midwest and water quality problems in the Gulf of Mexico, explains the grim future of Lake Pepin, negative consequences of the "Farm Bill" .... There are some nice examples of better practices. There is nothing "unfair" to ag interests. If widely circulated in may be consciousness-raising. I feel quite critical of a section offering an unexamined, unbalanced endorsement of "biomass" (wood, oat hulls, switchgrass) burning. (Plainly enough, nothing, whether it be trees, or switchgrass, or whatever, can be intensively cropped without tending to create some of the same problems now experienced with corn and beans.) This problem might be invisible to the U, itself deeply involved in the irrational promotion of "biomass." Perhaps the makers also were not clear that there is a lot less energy in 10 gallons of ethanol than in 8 gallons of petroleum. The film does not get into regulatory problems: That the present fragmented, narrowly-focused, compromised, Clean Water Act process isn't addressing the overall problems effectively. This is not likely to change without major Federal intervention: whole-Mississippi "<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_maximum_daily_load> TMDL," seriously enforced. See, for example, that the <http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/water/water-types-and-programs/minnesotas-impaired-waters-and-tmdls/tmdl-projects/upper-mississippi-river-basin-tmdl-projects/project-upper-mississippi-river-bacteria.html>Mississippi water quality impairments acknowledged by the MPCA don't address the problems of the Gulf. It's probably not realistic to think this would happen absent Federal coordination. Real action may now be happening for the <http://www.epa.gov/chesapeakebaytmdl/> Chesapeake Bay, with a similar multi-state problem, after decades of delay and excuse-making: <http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2010/sep/25/bayy25-ar-524311/>EPA releases draft Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan "The states and EPA have reneged on promises over the past 27 years to clean the Chesapeake, suffering few consequences beyond a still-dirty bay." "Things are different now that President Barack Obama has made the cleanup a priority, EPA officials say." Will environmental interests in the Midwest and Gulf states demand similar action on behalf of the Mississippi and the Gulf? Alan Muller Energy & Environmental Consulting 113 W. 8th Street Red Wing, MN, 55066 Box 69 One Stewart Street Port Penn, DE, 19731 302.299.6783 alan [at] greendel.org --------12 of 19-------- From: lydiahowell [at] comcast.net Subject: Save North High 10.26 4:30pm Subject: TUES: OCT.26:Rally to SAVE NORTH HIGH @ School Board Meeting, 4:30pm - spread the word! PROTEST to SAVE NORTH HIGH at the School Board Meeting TUESDAY, Oct. 26 4:30pm - Rally outside the School District Headquarters 5:30pm - March into the Board Meeting LOCATION: 807 Broadway Ave. NE, Minneapolis Despite widespread community protests, the Minneapolis Board of Education is set to vote on the proposal to close North High School at their November 9th meeting. But with a growing tide of community opposition, and an election in two weeks, Board members face growing pressure to step back from this attack on the students and the wider North-side community. Now is the time to step up the pressure on the Board. With an all-out community mobilization, we can stop this! Help spread the word! Invite friends to Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=105558649509611&num_event_invites=0 WE DEMAND: 1) Withdraw the proposal to close North High; instead re-invest and re-build North High 2) Re-establish a "home-zone" for North High to boostenrollment 3) In partnership with parents, teachers, and students, develop an aggressive, fully-funded plan to boost enrollment at North 4) Immediately open a dialogue with teachers, students, parents, and the community to create a community-based public school Sign the the Petition "Don't Close North High" http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/savenorthhigh/ Send a letter of protest to all School Board members: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/stop_the_closing_of_north_high --------13 of 19-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Rovics/Gelderloos 10.26 5pm The finale of the recent David Rovics concert in St. Paul featuring "The Internationale", "Song for Francis Hughes" and "Life is Beautiful". Plus, excerpts of a talk delivered by international activist and author Peter Gelderloos filmed at May Day Books in April. Given the proliferation of recent FBI raids and subpoenas forced upon local anti-war activists, Gelderloos' commentary on state repression and the War on Terrorism is especially relevant. This show is dedicated to the several Twin Cities activists who, over the last 3 years, have faced charges or investigations relating to the dubious "War on Terrorism". SPNN 15 viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts on St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm, midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow! Households with basic cable may watch. Tues, 10/26 @ 5pm & midnight + Wed, 10/27, 10am "Rovics at the Black Dog/Gelderloos on State Repression & the War on Terror" Stream shows @ http://ourworldindepth.org --------14 of 19-------- From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: Erlinder/Dafur 10.26 6:30pm Peter Erlinder on "Darfur and the International Criminal Court: the reality behind the facade" Pax Conversational Salon Tuesday, October 26, 6:30 to 8:30pm Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 West Seventh, St. Paul. Peter Erlinder: Professor of Law at William Mitchell College of Law Lead Defense Counsel at the UN Tribunal for Rwanda Past National President (93-97) of the National Lawyers Guild Recently released from a Rwanda prison New additional longer (auto)bio: Academic Career: Prof. Peter Erlinder began his preparation for legal academia repairing garbage trucks and performing "hands-on environmental upgrading" in the alleys of the Southside of Chicago, where President Obama began his career as a community organizier and Michelle Robinson Obama was raised. He attended Georgetown Law School and graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law. He was a Bigelow Teaching Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School and on the Clinical Faculty at IIT/Chgo-Kent before joing the Wm Mitchell College of Law Faculty in 1982. He has been a visited and lectured at Columbia U; U. of Wisconsin; ; Geo. Wash. U; U of Texas; Waseda U (Tokyo); U of Paris; Erasmus U, The Hague, and others. He is the Director of the International Humanitarian Law Institute, St. Paul, MN. Publication: He is the co-author of the three-volume treatise Criminal Constitutional Law (Lexis/Nexis) and author of numerous academic articles, which have been cited by the Supreme Court of the United States, various States, and many lower federal and state courts. His commentaries are carried by domestic and international media, such as the New York Times; Washington Post; Chicago Tribune, major Minnesota dailies; International Herald Tribune; the Guardian; BBC; CNN; CBS; PBS; Al-Jazeera; CBC, etc. He is President of the Association des Avocats de la Defense (ADAD- defense lawyers of the UN-Rwanda Tribunal) ; Lead Defense Counsel-UN Rwanda Tribunal; past-President of the National Lawyers Guild; Founder of the National Police Accountability Project; founding Board Member, National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom (to oppose "secret evidence" deportations) and National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (opposing pre-textual prosecutions of Muslims and politically-motivated "material support" prosecutions; Legal Advisor, Somali Justice Advocacy Center. Legal Practice: Practice: first successful criminal defense of Vietnam Veterans suffering psychological effects of war (PTSD); first Inter-American Human Rights claim against Peruvian Fujimori dictatorship use of " faceless judges" (Dr. Abimael Guzman); defense counsel post-9/11 for Omar Jamal and many members of Minnesota's Somali community; U.S. counsel for families of Japanese students killed by US submarine off Hawaii; counsel for Minnesotans civilly-incarcerated for life without jury trials or chance for release; defense counsel for the Cuban Five, Cuban anti-terrorists convicted on false-espionage charges; defense counsel for Palestinian-academic/activist Dr. Sami al Arian, acquitted of "terrorism charges" but incarcerated; Muhamed Warsame, longest pre-trial detainee in US history (61/2 years in solitary confinement post-9/11); Muslims facing politically-motivated charges; political activists facing poltically-motivated repression on "material support" and other charges; won first acquittals at UN Rwanda Tribunal on conspiracy and planning to commit genocide charges; and, numerous clients without power or privilege, whose fundamental constitutional or human rights have been violated, the vindication of which contribute to protecting civil liberties and democracy for all of us....as a matter of principle. Prof. Peter Erlinder Wm. Mitchell College of Law St. Paul, MN. USA 651-290-6384 Contact: Gena Berglund gena [at] bergberg.net 651-208-7964 --------15 of 10-------- Vive La Resistance! Thank God for France By MIKE WHITNEY CounterPunch October 22 - 24, 2010 Thank God for France. While American liberals tremble at the idea of sending an angry e mail to congress for fear that their name will appear on the State Department's list of terrorists, French workers are on the front lines choking on tear gas and fending off billyclubs in hand-to-hand combat with Sarkozy's Gendarmerie. That's because the French haven't forgotten their class roots. When the government gets too big for its britches, people pour out onto to the streets and Paris becomes a warzone replete with overturned Mercedes Benzs, smashed storefront windows, and stacks of smoldering tires issuing pillars of black smoke. This is what democracy looks like when it hasn't been emasculated by decades of propaganda and consumerism. Here's a blurp from the trenches: Headline: "French Energy Sector Crippled by Nationwide Strike... French energy facilities are close to total disruption in the wake of nationwide strike against the raise of the retirement age.....France has been hit by numerous protests across the country against a controversial pension reform that would rise the retirement age to 62 from 60....On October 22 morning 80 protesters blockaded Grandpuits oil refinery outside Paris, key supplier for Charles de Gaulle and Orly international airport." (The Financial) Shut 'em down. Take note, Tea Party crybabies who moan about restoring "our freedoms" while stuffing the backyard bunker with seed corn and ammo. Glenn Beck won't save you from the "mean old" gov'mint. Liberty isn't free anymore. If you want it, get out of the barko-lounger and organize. The amount of freedom that any nation enjoys is directly proportionate to the amount of blood its people spilled fighting the state. No more, no less. The man who is willing to accept the blunt force of a cop's truncheon on his back is infinitely more praiseworthy than the leftist/rightist scribe crooning from the bleachers. The state isn't moved by lyrical editorials or prosaic manifestos. It responds to force alone, which is why it takes people who are willing to "throw themselves on the gears" of the apparatus and stop it from moving forward. Unfortunately, most of those people appear to live in France. The resistance is steadily building in France. The budding rebellion is cropping up everywhere - "secondary schools, train stations, refineries and highways have been blockaded, there have been occupations of public buildings, workplaces, commercial centers, directed cuts of electricity, and ransacking of electoral institutions and town halls..." And the big unions are calling for more strikes, more agitation, more ferment. For more than a week, transportation has been blocked across the France due to the protests by students and workers. Sarkozy's popularity has plummeted. 65% of people surveyed don't like the way the French president is handling the strikes. 79% of the people would like to see Sarkozy negotiate with the Union on terms and conditions, but he won't budge. Thus, the cauldron continues to boil while the prospect of violence rises. "STRIKE, BLOCKADE, SABOTAGE" This is from an anonymous striker: "In each city, these actions are intensifying the power struggle and demonstrate that many are no longer satisfied with the order imposed by the union leadership. In the Paris region, amongst the blockades of train stations and secondary schools, the strikes in the primary schools, the workers pickets in front of the factories, people create inter-professional meetings and collectives of struggle are founded to destroy categorical isolation and separation. Their starting point: self-organization to meet the need to take ownership over our struggles without the mediation of those who claim to speak for workers. We decided Saturday to occupy the Opera Bastille. This was to disturb a presentation that was live on radio, to play the trouble makers in a place where the cultural merchandise circulates and to organize an assembly there. So we met with more than a thousand people at the "place de la nation., with banners stating "the bosses understand only one language: Strike, blockade, sabotage." (end of communique) The action was met with predictable police violence and mass arrests. The pension turmoil is not limited to France either. US pension funds are underfunded by nearly $3 trillion. Will US workers be as willing as their French counterparts to face the beatings (to defend "what's theirs") or will they throw up their hands and appeal to Obama for help? There's no question that Washington elites have joined with Wall Street to offload the massive debts from the financial meltdown onto workers and retirees. Nor is their any doubt that they will invoke (what Slavoj Zizek calls) a "permanent state of economic emergency" to justify their actions. That will allow them to move ahead with so-called "austerity measures" that are designed to impoverish workers and strip popular government programs of their funding. The trend towards "belt-tightening" merely masks the ongoing class war which is aimed at restoring a feudal system of royalty and serfs. This is from an article by economist Mark Weisbrot: "If the French want to keep the retirement age as is, there are plenty of ways to finance future pension costs without necessarily raising the retirement age. One of them, which has support among the French left - and which Sarkozy claims to support at the international level - would be a tax on financial transactions. Such a 'speculation tax' could raise billions of dollars of revenue - as it currently does in the U.K. - while simultaneously discouraging speculative trading in financial assets and derivatives. The French unions and protesters are demanding that the government consider some of these more progressive alternatives." But the retirement age is not really the issue at all. This is about union busting and "putting people in their place." It's about "who will call-the-shots" and in whose interests will society be run. The French are fighting back against this "oligarchy of racketeers" and the ripoff system they represent, while, namby-pamby Americans are neutralized by signing their umpteenth petition or venting their spleen at a Palin rally. Vive la France. Vive la Resistance. Mike Whitney lives in Washington state and cvan be reached at fergiewhitney [at] msn.com --------16 of 19-------- No Need to Raise the Retirement Age Why French Protestors Have It Right By MARK WEISBROT CounterPunch October 22 - 24, 2010 The demonstrations that have rocked France this past week highlight some of its differences from the United States. This photo, for example, shows the difference between rioting in baseball-playing versus soccer-playing countries. In the U.S., we would pick up the tear gas canister and THROW it - rather than kick it - back at the police. More importantly the French have decided to take to the streets in the millions to defend hard-won retirement gains - including large-scale strikes and work stoppages. French populist rage is being directed in a positive direction, unlike in the United States where it is most prominently being mobilized to elect political candidates who will do their best to increase the suffering of working and middle-class citizens. (It must be emphasized, since the media sometimes forgets to make the distinction, that only a tiny percentage of France's demonstrators have engaged in any kind of property damage and even fewer in violence, with all but these few protesting peacefully.) I have to admit it was perplexing to watch the French elect President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, a man who campaigned on the idea that France had to make its economy more "efficient" like America's. In reality, he couldn't have picked a worse time to peddle this mumbo-jumbo. The housing bubble was already bursting in the United States and would soon cause not only our own Great Recession but also drag most of the world economy into the swamp with it. So much for that particular model of economic dynamism. But Sarkozy had a lot of help from the major media, which was quite enchanted with the American model at the time and helped promote a number of myths that formed part of his campaign. Among these were the idea that French social protections and employment benefits were "unaffordable in a global economy," and that employers would hire more people if it were easier to fire them, and if taxes were cut for the rich. Sarkozy has recently abandoned one of his most politically unpopular tax cuts for the rich, but there may be others. But he had also promised not to raise the retirement age for the public pension system. This has contributed to the mass outrage at his current proposal to raise it from 60 to 62, for those taking the reduced benefits, and from 65 to 67, for full benefits. (In the United States Social Security system, most people opt for the reduced benefit that is available beginning at age 62; full benefits are available, for those born after 1959, at 67.) Once again most of the media thinks the French are being unrealistic, and should just get with the program like everyone else. The argument is that life expectancy is increasing, so "we all" have to work longer. However this is a bit like reporting half of a baseball score (or soccer if you prefer). On the other side is the fact that productivity and GDP also increase over time, and so it is indeed possible for the French to choose to spend more years in retirement, and pay for it. France's retirement age was last set in 1983. Since then, GDP per person has increased by 45 percent. The increase in life expectancy is very small by comparison. The number of workers per retiree declined from 4.4 in 1983 to 3.5 in 2010. But the growth of national income was vastly more than enough to compensate for the demographic changes, including the change in life expectancy. The situation is similar going forward: the growth in national income over the next 30 or 40 years will be much more than sufficient to pay for the increases in pension costs due to demographic changes, while still allowing future generations to enjoy much higher living standards than people today. It is simply a social choice as to how many years people want to live in retirement and how they want to pay for it. If the French want to keep the retirement age as is, there are plenty of ways to finance future pension costs without necessarily raising the retirement age. One of them, which has support among the French left - and which Sarkozy claims to support at the international level - would be a tax on financial transactions. Such a "speculation tax" could raise billions of dollars of revenue - as it currently does in the U.K. - while simultaneously discouraging speculative trading in financial assets and derivatives. The French unions and protesters are demanding that the government consider some of these more progressive alternatives. It is therefore perfectly reasonable to expect that as life expectancy increases, workers should be able to spend more of the lives in retirement. And that is what most French citizens expect. They may not have seen all of the arithmetic but they can see intuitively that as a country grows richer year after year, they should not have to spend more of their lives working. An increase in the retirement age is a highly regressive cut that will hit working people hardest. Poorer workers have shorter life expectancies and would lose a higher proportion of their retirement years. Workers who have to retire early because of unemployment or other hardships will take a benefit cut as a result of this change. And of course this cut would not matter to the richest people who do not rely on the public pension system for most of their retirement income. France has a lower level of inequality than most of the OECD countries and is one of only 5 - out of 30 OECD countries - that saw inequality decrease from the mid-80s to the mid-2000s. It also had the largest decrease in inequality in the group, although all of it was from the mid-eighties to the mid-nineties. The country has until now resisted at least some of the changes that have rolled the clock back for working and especially low-income citizens in the high-income countries. The European authorities (including the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund) are currently accelerating these regressive changes in the weaker Eurozone economies (e.g. Greece, Spain, and Ireland). All of these institutions and many politicians are trying to use the current economic problems of Europe as a pretext to enact right-wing reforms. Polls show more than 70 percent support for France's strikers despite the inconvenience of fuel shortages and other disruptions. The French are already sick of right-wing government, and that is also part of what is generating the protests. France has a stronger left in than many other countries, and one that has the ability and willingness to organize mass protest, work stoppages, and educational efforts. They are fighting for the future of Europe, and it is a good example for others. Hopefully, here in the United States, we will be able to beat back any proposed benefit cuts to our much less generous Social Security system, that are looming on the horizon. 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 article was originally published by The Guardian. ---------17 of 19-------- Up the Revolution! Arise, Ye Homeowners of America, You Have Nothing to Lose But Your Mortgages! By DAVE LINDORFF CounterPunch October 22 - 24, 2010 The American Revolution, for all the pious talk about freedom and the Rights of Man, was at bottom simply a matter of people not wanting to pay their taxes. It was about rank self interest, and it was a powerful movement. That rank self-interest could spark a new revolution - hopefully one that will still also advance the cause of freedom and the Rights of Man. Two issues are rushing to the fore that could have most Americans grabbing pitchforks, guns, shovels, bats, mop handles, and whatever else they have handy that could be useful in the streets. The first is Social Security, and the angry mob is going to be the Baby Boom Generation whose members, myself included, have paid 13-15 percent of income into the Trust Fund now for over 40 years, expecting that at 66, we could retire and collect our pensions. Now the greedheads on Wall Street and their toadies in Washington are trying to say that we shouldn't be able to count on that money. They want to make us wait until we're 68, 69 or 70, and they don't want to give us cost-of-living adjustments. They say that the money's going to run out before we die (unless we oblige them and starve), even though the reason for that is that they've been stealing all that money and giving us Treasury Bills in return, which they now plan on refusing to honor, saying it would mean raising taxes on our kids. (Actually those T-Bills could be retired by taxing the rich, and leaving our kids alone.) Anyhow, when we hit 66, let me tell you: if our money isn't there, or if we get to 76 and they try to take it away (and right now I'm supposed to be able to count on collecting $22,000 a year when I retire), we'll be ready to take out Washington and Wall Street. And we could do it, too. Some in my generation, remember, spent a few years in Vietnam, and they got the skills. Me, I'd be willing to take lessons. But that's only part of it. The other is the housing fiasco, and that's an even bigger cause for rebellion. See, that was our other bastion for retirement. All these years, Americans have been fed this comforting myth that our homes are our castles, and that the best investment we could make in life was to invest in the "American Dream" of home ownership. Then Wall Street, having already stripped the industrial base down to the concrete pads, looked around and saw this huge pile of real estate ripe for the taking. They couldn't just steal our property outright, though. After all, we all had these deeds on file with the local county Deeds Office. But we all had mortgages. And they figured out a way to steal these. They created derivatives, called Mortgage Backed Securities. They took our mortgages and they chopped them up into little pieces, which they then bundled into tranches and started trading like bonds. These tranches were designed to have varying risk levels, which they accomplished by putting "good" mortgages - those that were expected to be repaid regularly - with "bad" mortgages - those likely to default. But since it's really a guess whether any particular mortgage, good or bad, is going to default, they didn't really put individual mortgages into individual tranches. They put them all into an electronic data base called MERS, for Mortgage Electronic Registration (sic) System, and then shifted them, or pieces of them, around as needed when they wanted to create a good tranche or a bad tranche or a mediocre tranche. This meant that they had to deliberately sever the chain of ownership of the repayment note formerly attached to those mortgages - because it's the note, which is signed at a closing, that actually entitles the holder collect payments on a mortgage, or to foreclose on a defaulted property. Get this now: What I'm saying here is that the banking industry deliberately broke the chain of ownership on all the mortgages that have been securitized, not just on those famous subprime mortgages you've been hearing so much about. In other words, if you, like most Americans who are not renters, own a home and have been dutifully paying off a mortgage, it's almost certain that your local bank, which issued that document now in your safe deposit box and on file at your county's Deeds Office, no longer holds the note. It has long since been lost, perhaps even tossed into some shredder, and so nobody has a clue who has a right to foreclose on your home. In fact, nobody does have that right. If you were to go to your bank and demand to see your mortgage note before you pay them another goddamned dime (which I'm planning to do, out of curiosity, next week at my bank, which is now on its fourth new sign since the little community bank that issued my mortgage back in 1997 was first taken over), chances are they wouldn't be able to produce it, and wouldn't have any idea how to find out who, if anyone, has it. That means that, at least in most states in the United States, including my state of Pennsylvania, nobody could legally take my house if I just decided that I'm through paying mortgage payments. According to a recent survey by American CoreLogic, one quarter of all mortgaged homes in America today are worth less than the amount owed on the mortgage. This is thanks to the reckless behavior of the banking industry. The tens of millions of homeowners in that situation, along with the tens of millions more who have seen the value of their property plummet, could just march into their bank, demand to see their mortgage repayment note, and, if it's not produced, march back home and stop paying off that mortgage. That would be one hell of an economic stimulus! For me, it would mean about $1200 a month in extra cash every month. For the banks, though, this must be a nightmare scenario. That's why the stock market swooned today, dropping 1.5% like a rock on news that a group of rather prominent investors that had bought $47 billion in mortgage backed securities from Bank of America were demanding that the nation's biggest bank buy them back. Those securities were issued by Countrywide Financial, which went bust and was taken over by B of A, and they are basically worthless today, Buying them back at face value would be a huge blow to B of A, whose shares slumped 4.4% on news of the bondholders' demand. But that's just the start. It's just one bank, and it's the suckered holders of the securities - primarily investment house PIMCO, hedge fund Blackrock and, get this, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. These supposedly sophisticated investors are trying to get their money out before the proverbial shit hits the fan, because they know all these mortgages, which B of A has been calling "assets," and which still get listed on the books at their face value, are in truth essentially worthless. But B of A is just the tip of the iceberg. All the "too-big-to-fail" banks and most regional banks are in the same situation. And American homeowners haven't yet gotten the word - because the corporate media is keeping it pretty well covered up, out of concern no doubt for all the banks that buy advertising - that really they don't owe these wretched banks that brought on this economic crisis anything at all. When they do get the word, things are going to start getting really interesting. We may get a real tea party, instead of this fake one funded by the Koch Brothers and Fox TV. Only instead of dumping tea in Boston Harbor, we'll be dumping bales of mortgages. In fact, here's a proposal: Want to see our elected officials sit up, take notice, and stop treating the bankers so nicely? Let's have a national mortgage protest month this December. Everyone should skip a mortgage payment during the holiday season and instead send in a note to their bank saying that they are not paying on their mortgage until the bank produces proper documentation - a properly signed and notarized mortgage note - to prove that they owe the money and to whom it is actually owed. If angry French people can take to the streets and shut their country down over an effort to impose regressive changes in their retirement program, we Americans should at least be able to organize a national protest by mail! DAVE LINDORFF is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, collectively-owned, journalist-run, alternative online newspaper. --------18 of 19-------- Punish Obama Ignore the Scare Tactics. There is no Tea Party by John Walsh October 21st, 2010 Dissident Voice "There are many things that I have publicly said that I support the Obama administration on. I support Obama's decision to send troops to Afghanistan. I support Obama's decision for drones. I support Obama's decision to treat the American who is recruiting terrorists on American soil, who is hiding in Yemen, I support the decision for our intelligence agencies to do whatever it takes to take him out." - Christine O'Donnell, GOP Senatorial Candidate from Delaware Why does no one on the Left say it outright ? Obama and his Democratic Party gang should be punished mercilessly in the November elections. If they escape such punishment, then they will continue to break every real and implied promise to their base; and the goals of an end to wars and a decent, secure life will continue to be trampled under foot. Let us remember that Obama was not, and is not, simply the candidate of the Democrats. He was and is the candidate of the most "liberal" or "progressive" wing of the Democrat Party, the candidate of "Progressive" Democrats of America, of Norman Solomon, of Medea Benjamin, of Michael Moore and on and on. If this wing of the Democrat Party betrays the hopes of its supporters, then surely there is nothing decent remaining in the Party. And so it has become apparent in the last two years. The people understand this fact far better than the pundits of the liberal "Left," at the Huffington Post, The Nation, etc; and the people have already registered their discontent. A striking fact bears this out. Since 1970, the turnout in Democratic primaries has been dropping inexorably as the Democrats piled betrayal upon betrayal. And this year, according to data compiled by American University, the "average percentage of eligible citizens who voted in Democratic primaries was the lowest ever. The average percentage of citizens who voted in the GOP statewide primaries was the highest since 1970.. . Democratic turnout was 8.3 percent of the eligible electorate, lower than the 8.7 percent of the electorate who voted during this period in 2006 and continuing [an] almost linear descent in Democratic primary turnout since 20.7 percent voted in the party's primaries in 1966". Why? It is a simple reflection of reality. In his 2008 campaign Ralph Nader patiently and exhaustively documented how the Democrats have become more and more like the Republicans with each passing year, and so it is not strange that the response of the electorate to both parties has ranged from disinterest to disdain. So what remains for the Dems? How can they scrounge up some badly needed votes this November? Scare tactics is about all they have left - which I might add is also the only thing the Republicans offer. If your email inbox is like mine, it is brimming with pleas from the Dems to fill their campaign coffers so that they can save us from the Tea Party, from China and a handful of shadowy billionaires. The Tea Party is especially useful in this regard. It is great for the Republicans because it gives the appearance that the GOP has some connection to real people at the grass roots. But for the Dems the Tea Party is even more bountiful since it is pictured as a mass movement, racist to the core and about to plunge the country into a fascist abyss. However, as Anthony Dimaggio and Paul Street report in an article entitled "The Tea Party Does Not Exist" in Black Agenda Report, "The white nationalist Boogie Man that has the NAACP and the Democrats on the run isn't a bonafide social movement, at all, but a top-down creation of media and millionaires. The Tea Party is generally drawing much smaller crowds than the leftish U.S. Social Forum, but garners far more coverage from a corporate media that portrays the phenomenon as "rising up from the grassroots against establishment politics... All indications are that the Tea Party is poorly organized and funded at the local level". Yes, there is anger aplenty out there as there should be, but it has not yet found a mass organizational basis, certainly not in the Tea Party. And neither the liberal "Left" nor the Right, neither Dems nor Republicans, with their basic loyalty to the elite of Finance and the project of Empire, are in a position to tap that anger which is after all directed at their masters. The other bogeymen conjured up by the Obamanites are the Koch brothers, libertarian conservatives who draw the poorly penned ire of Frank Rich and Jane Mayer whose accounts are masterpieces of lies by omission. As Justin Raimondo has pointed out in a very informative essay, "What Rich, Mayer, and the other chroniclers of the 'Invisible Hands' behind the libertarian-conservative movement elide from their pocket history is the one factor that sets the Kochs apart from post-cold war conservatives (and liberals), and that is their untrammeled anti-militarism. The Cato Institute, which was started with Koch money, stood almost alone in Washington against the first Iraq war [.pdf], and staunchly opposed the more recent invasion - just as they oppose Obama's wars in Afghanistan and beyond. Cato has also stood up for our civil liberties, opposing the PATRIOT Act, and the whole panoply of post-9/11 repressive measures initiated by the Bush administration and expanded by Obama. Right after 9/11, the Koch brothers gave the ACLU $20 million to fight off the Bushies' assault on the Constitution (George Soros gave half as much). .. The Kochs stand at the end of a long albeit virtually unknown tradition. The American Liberty League, which Rich and his ideological allies disdain, was financed by many of the same businessmen who later founded the biggest organized peace movement in our history, the America First Committee. A thoroughgoing anti-interventionism motivated these men". Now isn't that interesting? And might those who despise war and Empire not find a lot more in common with the Kochtopus than the Obamanite Dems? Obama is racing about the land in unseemly panic, railing against "the failed policies of the Bush administration" - presumably the policies of waging war, bailing out the banksters while neglecting job creation and mortgage foreclosures, handing over the health care system to the murderous moguls of the health insurance industry, spying on antiwar activists, continuing the extraordinary renditions to torture chambers all over the globe, increasing military spending and on and on. There is no danger of returning to those policies since Obama never abandoned them. They are now the failed policies of the Obama administration. Just listen to Christine O'Donnell, the Wicked Witch of Delaware: "There are many things that I have publicly said that I support the Obama administration on. I support Obama's decision to send troops to Afghanistan. I support Obama's decision for drones. I support Obama's decision to treat the American who is recruiting terrorists on American soil, who is hiding in Yemen, I support the decision for our intelligence agencies to do whatever it takes to take him out". And she is no exception, as Glenn Greenwald points out: "In addition to Christine O'Donnell's effusive praise for Obama's Terrorism and war actions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, Bush CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden has repeatedly praised Obama's "powerful continuity" with Bush/Cheney in these areas; torture choreographer Condoleezza Rice came out of a meeting with the President on Friday and praised his foreign policy and hailed him as "a defender of America's interests"; and one of the most ardent defenders of Obama's assassination program is the incomparably unhinged anti-Muslim fanatic Andrew McCarthy of National Review". So what is to be done? You are probably flooded with desperate pleas from Dems for money and support. If there is not a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, then I submit neither deserves a dime nor even a nickel. Since there is no lesser evil, there is no lesser evil for which to vote. And if you feel betrayed by Obama and his minions, then let November 2 be the day of reckoning. John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar [at] gmail.com. --------19 of 19-------- Pigskins Let's all help kick the rich through the goal posts of life. Steel-toed shoes work best. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress for governor now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 Research almost any topic raised here at: CounterPunch http://counterpunch.org Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org Common Dreams http://commondreams.org Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones
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