Progressive Calendar 11.01.10
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2010 04:16:04 -0700 (PDT)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   11.01.10

1. College/K-12/$$   11.01 9am
2. Persian Gulf      11.01 4pm
3. Peace walk        11.01 6pm RiverFalls WI
4. Uhcan-mn mtg      11.01 7:30pm

5. Ecology           11.02 11am
6. Vote Amber        11.02
7. Speakout vs FBI   11.02 6pm
8. Salon anniversary 11.02 6:30pm
9. GP election party 11.02 8pm
10. Amnesty Intl     11.02 7pm

11. Tam McGehee    - My issues - candidate for Roseville City Council
12. David Rosen    - Class war dares not speak its name in America
13. David Macaray  - Lobbyists for the ruling class /Chamber of horrors
14. Daniel Ravents - The figures: worldwide concentration of wealth
15. Anderson-Connolly - Obama/politics of misrule/Karpian moment 3
16. Linh Dinh      - Prone pioneers
17. ed             - Bumpersticker

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

From: TruthToTell <andydriscoll [at] truthtotell.org>
Subject: College/K-12/$$ 11.01 9am

TruthToTell Mon, Nov 1 @9AM: COLLEGE ATTAINMENT: A Plan for Inclusion?
- KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/Online @KFAI.org

How in heaven's name can Minnesota possibly achieve a 75% rate of
high-schoolers attending college by 2020†when the very survival of the
state's pre-school through senior high school system is in dire straits -
facing a questionable future given recent budgets and a disastrous
combination of†higher education tuition increases and†K-12 budget cuts
and shifts over the last few years?

Moreover, the drop-out rates among large percentages of our kids of color,
especially, would seem to work severely against any notion of successful
educational attainment by anywhere near the 75% advanced as a goal
by†Growth and Justice Policy Research http://growthandjustice.org/†group
and its partner in this enterprise, the†Minnesota Minority Education
Partnership (MMEP) http://www.mmep.net/.

But 75% remains the goal - or rather a challenge - issued by the coalition
to this season's major party candidates for governor. How did they
respond? Tune in Monday morning and find out - just in time for Tuesday's
elections.

What is it about Minnesota that results in such a disgraceful set of
statistics?†What have we done to our public education system that our
state's best and brightest are too often sent to schools that segregate
them from kids of color, leaving the public schools deprived of the needed
resources to graduate everyone who walks into a public classroom and
receives a solid education? Money, yes. But irresponsible public policies
and decisions have slowly but surely undermined what was once regarded as
the country's finest.

What to do about generating both the public will and the public pressure
to act in the enlightened self-interest to adequately fund and invoke
policies that favor the state's economic future through education? TTT's
ANDY DRISCOLL¬†and†LYNNELL MICKELSEN†talk with a few of the leaders in
this effort.

REP. CARLOS MARIANI-ROSA http://www.mmep.net/Staff.html†- State
Representative and Executive Director,†Minnesota Minority Education
Partnership (MMEP) http://www.mmep.net/

JENNIFER GODINEZ http://www.mmep.net/Staff.html†-†Associate Director,
Minnesota Minority Education Partnership (MMEP)  http://www.mmep.net/

DANE SMITH http://growthandjustice.org/Staff.htm†- President, Growth and
Justice Policy Research http://growthandjustice.org/


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

From: Beth <SclickAce1 [at] aol.com>
Subject: Persian Gulf 11. 01 4pm

Great Decisions: The United States and the Persian Gulf
Monday, Nov. 1, 4-5:30 p.m.
Edina Library

Registration required. Call 952.847.5425. Iran, Iraq, oil and terrorism
remain top priorities in U.S. foreign policy. What is the approach of the
Obama Administration? Speaker is Robert J. White, the Star Tribune
columnist on foreign affairs and national security from 1993-2003 and
editorial page editor from 1982-1993.


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

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Peace walk 11.01 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


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

From: Joel Albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org>
Subject: Uhcan-mn mtg 11.01 7:30pm

Next UHCAN-MN mtg is monday Nov,1, 7:30pm, Walker Church, 3104 16th ave
S., mpls (near Bloomingtom ave and lake Street)

1.Welcoming our new UHCAN-MN intern,Jamie

2.our critique of the 2010 federal legislation, messaging, and why the
Co-op Health Care section of Obamacare and its generous funding is a good
first step for MN.

3.UHCAN-MN Tabling and cholesterol/BP Health Screenings,Health Fair for
Artists 10am to 2pm sat Nov 6, at Cedar-Riverside Peoples' Center, 425
20th Ave S. Mpls 55454. We need help w/ this.

additional items for the agenda ?
come for the coffee, tea, snacks, stay for the conversation,
thanks, joel


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

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Ecology 11.02 11am

November 2: American Association of University Women St. Paul Meeting.
10:15 AM: New Member Coffee Chat. 10:45 AM: Meeting Begins. 11 AM:
Hardwood and Ecology and the Environment. Noon: Luncheon. 1 PM: ERA
Movement Re-Energized.


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

From: Amber Garlan <agarlan [at] hammclinic.org>
Subject: Vote Amber 11.02

Vote for single-payer health care I am trying to get Rep. Betty McCollum's
attention, and sometimes the only way to get a politician's attention is
to run against them.

I want Rep. Betty McCollum to co-sponsor HR 676!  In the state of
Minnesota, Senator John Marty has written an excellent single payer health
care plan called the MN Health Plan.  My state Rep. Carlos Mariani and
state Senator Sandy Pappas have co-sponsored the MN Health Plan.

I am not asking anyone for donations, door knocking or lit dropping, just
blacken the circle in the Congressional potion of the ballot for the
write-in candidate, and then write in Amber Garlan.

No money, no phone calls, just write my name, Amber Garlan.

Peace,
Amber Garlan
Single Payer now! Everybody in, nobody out, health care for all!
Costs less and covers more!


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

From: Meredith Aby <riot369 [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Speakout vs FBI 11.02 6pm

Speakout: Resisting FBI Repression
Tuesday, November 2nd @ 6PM - Hanson Hall 209 @ University of MN

On Friday, Sept. 24th five Minneapolis activists homes were raided, along
with two houses in Chicago. Fourteen anti-war & Int'l Solidarity activists
throughotu the country were issue subpoenas to serve before a grand jury.
This witch hunt is, in its most basic form, a war against the ideas
against activists throughout the country. One SDS member and U of M
workers were amongst those targeted by the raids. Join us for a panel
discussion about fighting back against the repression of ideas and
building a growing movement despite the repression! Organized by U of M
sds.  FFI: www.umnsds.wordpress.com


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

From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: Salon anniversary 11.02 6:30pm

Tuesday, election day , but also Open Conversation night at the salon,
plus a party to celebrate the beginning of the 9th year of salons - each
Tuesday for 8 years.  Does anyone want to bring a cake?  Wine?

Dave Thune will be having an election night party so we will break up our
salon about 8 but he has invited any of us who want to stay to do so and
have some of their wine and treats.

Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.


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

From: Amnesty International group 37 <lundx061 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 11.02 7pm

Saint Cloud Area Amnesty International meets on Tuesday, November 2nd,
from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the St. Cloud Public Library, 1300 W. St.
Germain, Saint Cloud. For more information contact Jerry Dirks,
320-251-6491 or jerry.dirks [at] gmail.com.


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

From: Susan Leskela <sleskela [at] comcast.net>
Subject: GP election party 11.02 8pm

Tuesday, November 2 ∑ 8:00pm - 11:30pm
Nomad
501 Cedar Ave.
Minneapolis, MN
Created By Dan Craigie for State Representative, Jim Ivey
More Info Join Annie Young for Auditor, Dan Craigie for State
Representative, and the Green Party of Minnesota at the Nomad World Pub on
Nov. 2nd to watch election results live!
Event is open to the public and guests are encouraged. No cover will be
charged.
Witness history with the Green Party.

You will receive one free drink (Soda or Tallgrass IPA) if you mention you
are with one of the campaigns.


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

From: Tam McGehee <tam [at] mcgehee.info>
Subject: Here are my issues - candidate for Roseville City Council

Vivian R. wrote this on Roseville Information Forum today about me.
"....Tam McGehee has been dealing with these issues for years, and has
made her position clear; strict interpretation of the environmental laws,
and contracts with developers that protect the tax revenues of city
residents and school districts and do not provide unnecessary or
unwarranted subsidies to developers. The other candidates have not been
involved in the matter as long as she has."  This is surely accurate.

In addition, however, I have also fought for the preservation of our
neighborhoods by opposing lot splits, "minor subdivisions" within existing
neighborhoods, and a reduction in lot size.  I support a "line item"
budget process that allows the City Council to actually review what is
already being spent and adjust those expenditures accordingly.  It is very
important that we hold down taxes and provide essential services.  The
Council can only fulfill its obligations in this area with a line item
budget.

Lastly, as Roseville has one of the oldest populations of all the suburbs,
it is very important that we are constantly enhancing and recruiting
programs that provide services for seniors.  I am particularly supportive
of programs that enable seniors to stay in their homes as long as they
wish.  All of this can and should be done with an open, respectful process
that provides many avenues for citizen input.


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The War That Dares Not Speak Its Name
Class War in America
By DAVID ROSEN
October 29 - 31, 2010
CounterPunch

The great unspoken two words of American political discourse are class
war. The moral and political premise of the modern, post-World War II
"American Century" is that the U.S. had overcome class divisions and
struggle. Everyone, or nearly everyone save the very poor and the very,
very rich, was absorbed into a vast, undifferentiated middle class. [See
"The End of the American Century?: Suffering the New Normal,"
CounterPunch, September 10-11, 2010.]

The fiction that America is a nation without class, a lie since its
inception a half-century ago, gets more and more untenable as actual class
struggle daily intensifies. It's time to accept the simple yet profound
fact that America is in the midst of class war - and the super-rich, the
American sector of the global oligarchy, is winning.

Class struggle is being explicitly fought out in France and Britain. In
France, it is expressed as mass and often-violent resistance, with blood
on the streets. In the U.K., it's being imposed as a ruling class demand
for austerity through huge public-sector layoffs, cuts in public services
and little overt resistance. In Germany and the U.S., the mediating
lubricants of legal niceties and political parties continue to contain and
blunt direct class conflict.

The far right throughout the West is the only political tendency engaged
in explicit class warfare. Progressive tendencies have been effectively
absorbed within the legislative agenda. However, among the far right,
politics is seen not merely as an end in itself (i.e., the capture of
state power), but as a means to a greater end: the utilization of state
power to impose legislative, economic and moral discipline on the body
politic.

The Tea Party is a popular movement engaged in (mostly) nonviolent class
warfare. It is the voice of the vulnerable Christian white lower- and
middle-classes. Their world is in crisis, collapsing around them. Their
once-enviable race-based social privileges no longer provide protection
against the vicissitudes of corporate capitalism. In response, they have
retreated into the secure fortress of rage and aligned with the
ideological and moral absolutism promoted by factions of the super-rich,
the very sector responsible for their immiseration.

* * *

Class struggle has long been a feature of American political culture. Such
battles marked the earliest period of national formation, including the
New York Tenant Uprisings of 1766, Shay's Rebellion of 1786 and the Whisky
Rebellion in the 1790s. They flared throughout the 19th century, including
the Workingmen's Movement of the 1830s and Nat Turner's Revolt in 1831 as
well as the post-Civil War populist battles at Haymarket and Homestead in
the late 1800s and Coxey's Army of unemployed workers in 1894. They
continued throughout the first-third of the 20th century culminating in
the veterans' Bonus March, farmer's Penny Auctions and CIO strikes of the
1930s.

Class and class war were forcefully suppressed during World War II and
effectively disappeared with the integration of union labor and
Taft-Hartley legislation following the war. The domestic program of
prosperity and anti-communist McCarthyism combined with a foreign campaign
of Cold War military intervention and Marshall Plan economic renewal
served as a two-pronged bulwark for a revitalized capitalist order.

This new world order's ideological value system that absorbed class war
was articulated by a group of "post-Marxist" liberal intellectuals that
included Daniel Bell, Sidney Hook, James Burnham and Irving Kristol.
Backed by the CIA's Congress for Cultural Freedom, they provided the
rationale for the American Century. As Bell wrote: "Abundance ... was the
American surrogate for socialism."

And abundance America got, at least for a couple of decades following the
war. With the onset of the 1970s oil crisis and recession, the American
Century began to unravel. By the mid-'80s, abundance was a thing of the
past. As David Bloom, a Harvard economist, warned in 1986: "There has been
a thinning of the middle class... . As society becomes more polarized, it
has more 'haves' and 'have-nots,' with fewer in between." [Time, November
3, 1986]

Since the Reagan Revolution, abundance for the middle class has
increasingly been replaced by debt. With Reagan, the gloves came off in
America's long contained class war. Today, the promise of the American
Century is fading and the rich are getting ever richer and the working
middle classes are being ever more squeezed.

* * *

In an 1894 poem, the English author Lord Alfred Douglas referred to
homosexuality as "the love that dares not speak its name". In 1895, Oscar
Wilde was tried and found guilty of sodomy; during the trial he was asked
to define the line of the Douglas poem, thus popularizing the expression.
A century later, in much of the West homosexuality is a love that no
longer is afraid to speak its name.

A century ago, class war was acknowledged as a distinguishing feature of
American modernization. Vast industrial trusts led by Standard Oil ruled
America's economic and political system; and the tycoons who ran them were
mockingly referred to robber barons. Given this oppressive situation,
class war was an accepted political concept, embraced by Muckrakers,
radicals, unionists and ordinary working people. Everyone knew that the
only way to fight both the trusts and robber barons was through class
warfare.

Today, class war no longer dare speak its name. Manufacturing has given
way to financial capital as the defining sector of the global economy. And
one of Standard Oil's progenitors, Citibank, strongly influences the
decisions determining federal economic policy. Sadly, today's super-rich,
whether members of the country club set, contributors to the Republican
party, subsidizing a right-wing think tank or financing the "populist" Tea
Party movement, are rarely derided as robber barons.

Today's robber barons know that the media matters and have effectively
bought-off the popular opinion makers. Stylishly groomed corporate
executives and financiers, who are morally no better then slick thieves,
have become celebrities. They are flattered on reality TV shows, praised
on business programs and voyeuristically celebrated by the popular media.
The American media knows better then bite the hand that feeds it.

Class, and especially middle class, is an effectively slippery category in
American political discourse. It refers to everyone and no one. The U.S.
Census Bureau does not use or define "middle class," but has set the
median income for a family of four in 2008-2009 at $70,000. A 2008 Pew
Research survey found half of all Americans describe themselves as middle
class.

Most Americans recognize class struggle in, on the one side, the ceaseless
reports of high-levels of unemployment, increasing foreclosures and
mounting unpaid bills and, on the other, in the skyrocketing stock market
and unspeakable bonuses paid to financial wheeler-dealers. This presents
one very powerful representation of class difference, but obfuscates the
deeper conflict over the growing polarization of wealth in America.

According to NYU economist Edward Wolff, wealth is becoming increasingly
concentrated. In the 15 years between 1983 and 2007, the share of wealth
owned by the nation's top 1 percent households grew to 34.6 percent from
33.8 percent; and the top 20 percent of U.S. households in 2007 controlled
85 percent of the nation's wealth, up from 81.3 percent in '83. The fate
of America's vast "middle class," the remaining 80 percent, has only
gotten more dire: in 2007, it controlled 15 percent, down from 18.7
percent in 1983.

It is time for Americans to reclaim the concept of class war. This needs
to be done for two reasons: first, to actively combat the great squeeze
ruining the lives of untold millions of Americans faced with financial
catastrophe; and, second, to end the campaign by the super-rich (in league
with government tax policies, subsidies and other give-aways) and the
media to keep alive the fiction of America is a classless society free of
class war.  [Get those rich bastards! Sic 'em! -ed]

David Rosen is the author of "Sex Scandals America: Politics & the Ritual
of Public Shaming" (Key, 2009). He can be reached at drosen [at] ix.netcom.com.



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

Turbo-Lobbyists for the Ruling Class /Chamber of Horrors
By DAVID MACARAY
October 29 - 31, 2010
CounterPunch

Many people - including working men and women - still regard the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce as a patriotic, pro-American organization.  And why
wouldn't they?  It's been around long enough to have become a household
name, and it's masterful at running a public relations campaign.  As for
its role in politics, I've even heard people describe the Chamber as "a
booster or cheerleader" rather than an actual participant.

They couldn't be more wrong.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is not only a
"participant," it's a driving force, a juggernaut, an ideological
king-maker.  By aligning itself with America's plutocracy and free-market
fundamentalists, the Chamber of Commerce has become a virtual clearing
house for anti-progressive politics.

Since the early days of the Reagan administration the Chamber has
funneled, literally, billions of dollars into efforts to defeat
candidates, neutralize movements, and kill legislation that seek to
strengthen or protect the middle and lower-middle class.  Which gives a
whole new meaning to the term "booster". [The St Paul Chamber of Commerce
intervened in a recent Roseville election with tens of thousands of
dollars, re-electing the slimy pro-developer mayor. -ed]

Think of any progressive policy, and it's a good bet the Chamber has
opposed it: the minimum wage, enacting the EFCA (Employee Free Choice
Act), bolstering the NLRB, campaign reform, healthcare reform, immigration
reform, elimination of corporate tax loopholes, meaningful reform of
financial institutions, more stringent safety regulations the mining and
oil drilling industries, etc., etc.  The list is endless.

Hard as it may be to believe, the Chamber of Commerce has even weighed in
on labor reform in faraway China.  They oppose it.  Why?  Because raising
the social consciousness of Chinese workers could eventually cut into
corporate profits.  There's no limit to their scope.  You name a
progressive idea, and the Chamber has campaigned against it.

The Chamber regularly opposes any attempt by the U.S. government and
organized labor to level the playing field when it comes to us competing
with foreign businesses that are being subsidized (legally or illegally)
by governments looking to expand their own national economies.

Now why would a U.S. institution support policies that benefit foreign
corporations but hurt the American worker?  The answer is simple:  Because
multinational conglomerates and Wall Street bankers stand to profit from
such arrangements, and because, in truth, the complaints and hardships of
American workers, no matter how valid, are irrelevant.

Therefore, it was no surprise that the Chamber opposed the Obama
administration's decision to assess duties on the "dumping" of foreign
paper.  On October 22, the USITC (U.S. International Trade Commission)
finally recommended that the Dept. of Commerce begin anti-dumping measures
against China and Indonesia by levying duties on their coated paper
imports.

Taking the position that assessing duties on foreign paper represented
government interference in the so-called free market (and had the
potential to instigate a trade war with China), the Chamber opposed the
measure.

Begun in 1912 as a modest, loose-knit association of various commercial
and trade organizations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is, today, the
largest lobbying entity in existence.  Fact:  Each year the Chamber spends
more money than any other lobbying group in the world.  That bears
repeating:  The Chamber of Commerce spends more money than any lobbying
group in the world.

If the implications weren't so dire, the Chamber's slavish willingness to
serve America's masters and perpetuate the myth of "trickle-down"
economics would be almost comical.  After all, there's never been a
wealthy customer the Chamber didn't like, or a powerful profit-center it
wasn't willing to fight for.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich noted that the top twenty-five hedge
fund managers on Wall Street earned $3 billion or more each.  Wretchedly
excessive as those figures are, their income tax bite, according to Reich,
averaged out at less than 17-percent.  Yet the Chamber has spent millions
of dollars trying to extend George W. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest
Americans.

People wring their hands over the emergence of the Tea Party movement, but
the big dog in this fight is clearly the Chamber of Commerce - further
empowered by the Supreme Court's Citizens United vs. Federal Elections
Commission (FEC) decision, which allows moneyed interests to whale on the
political process.

The Chamber of Commerce is a turbo-lobbyist dedicated to one,
single-minded goal: the preservation and prosperity of the ruling class at
the expense of the middle and lower-middle class.  There's a name for
that.

David Macaray, a Los Angeles playwright, is the author of "It's Never Been
Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor". He served 9 terms as president of AWPPW
Local 672. He can be reached at dmacaray [at] earthlink.net


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

What the Figures Say
Worldwide Concentration of Wealth
By DANIEL RAVENTS
CounterPunch
October 29 - 31, 2010

Studies on poverty and the poor abound but studies on wealth and the
wealthy are not so plentiful. Around the world, university departments of
Sociology, Politics, Philosophy and Economics, academic publications in
the social sciences, a host of government departments, statistical
institutions, a lot of city councils, periodical publications,
international organisms, and so on, churn out vast quantities of reports,
studies, doctoral theses, statistics and articles on the most incredible
aspects of poverty. Some are good and useful. The well-known spokeswoman
and founding member of ATTAC, Susan George, sums up the situation with no
little sarcasm. "The poor? Let them eat the research!"

The rich are better protected from awkward investigations that might
expose in any well-documented way the increasingly greater inequalities
that are made possible and encouraged by the political and economic design
of our societies. In some countries of Europe, even where the banks have
been the most reckless in their lending policy, blame for the crisis is
shifted to the workers in the name of "high labour costs". The next step
is to rebuild the banks' loan reserves at the expense of the workers with
new policy and laws permitting private companies and the public sector to
cut wages, sack workers at will, scale back pensions and slash social
spending. This has only deepened the social divide and is nothing short of
class war. However these moves are dressed up (the impossibility of doing
anything different, economic realism (sic), or even, surreally, as
left-wing policy), the economic policies of the last few weeks are
designed to benefit the rich with a counterpart logic of further privation
and inroads on the already precarious living conditions of the poor and
the working classes.

Since data on the rich are so scant, documents like the annual report
published by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini on wealth and its deforciants are
of unquestionable interest when it comes to finding out about the present
state of things. The very well-known company Merrill Lynch was acquired
two years ago by the Bank of America for 44,000 million dollars.
Capgemini, a company that is rather less famous than Merrill Lynch, with
more than 90,000 employees around the globe and a declared gross income of
8,400 million euros in 2009, states that it provides consultancy,
technological and outsourcing services. Merrill Lynch and Capgemini work
for the rich. It is not surprising, then, that they need to have good
knowledge of the main target of their business. Hence they produce annual
reports on the situation of the rich and their wealth, providing extremely
interesting data. The last available report on world-wide wealth was that
recently published by the two companies in 2010, offering data from 2009
and previous years. They have also published an "Asia-Pacific Wealth
Report". The data discussed below come from these two reports and the
world report from 2009.

The Merrill Lynch and Capgemini reports offer definitions of the rich on
whom their reports are based. Some are designated as HNWIs (High New Worth
Individuals), while others are UHNWIs (where the U stands for Ultra). The
former are those who have assets of over a million dollars not counting
primary residence, collectibles, consumables, and consumer durables. Hence
these reports aim to assess what the rich have in terms of ready cash and
assets that are easily and rapidly turned into cash. The same definition
applies to the Ultra-HNWIs but their assets start from 30 million dollars.
These definitions make it clear that they refer to people of a much
greater effective wealth than the starting level of one or thirty million
dollars, as adding the excluded assets would show.

According to the Merrill Lynch and Capgemini definitions there were 8.8
million HNWIs in the world in 2005, a figure that rose to 9.5 million in
2006 and 10.1 million in 2007. In 2008, with the onset of the economic
crisis, the figure dropped to just below 2005 levels, with 8.6 million
HNWIs around the world. By 2009, it had risen again to 10 million, almost
the same as in 2007, the year before the crisis. In these years, the joint
wealth of these individuals worldwide was 33.4 trillion dollars in 2005,
37.2 trillion in 2006, 40.7 trillion in 2007, falling to 32.8 trillion in
2008. In 2009, with the crisis now full-blown, it rose again to 39
trillion. To grasp what these quantities really mean, it might be
instructive to consider that they equal some three times the GDP of the
United States and, depending on the year, between 30 or 40 times that of
Spain. In a word: spectacular.

The select group of the Ultra-HNWIs consisted in 2009 of only 93,100
people scattered around the planet. Around one in every 75,000 people in
the world is an Ultra-HNWI. One interesting datum is that they account for
35.5% of the total wealth of the HNWIs, while representing only 0.9% of
this group. In other words, these world champions of wealth have assets
worth 13,845,000,000,000 dollars - more or less the GDP of the whole of
the European Union.

According to the most recent data, from 2009, some 53.5% of the all the
HNWIs in the world are concentrated in the United States (almost 2.9
million), Japan (almost 1.7 million) and Germany (861,000). Australia
boasts the not-inconsiderable figure of 174,000 HNWIs for the same year,
which situates it in eleventh place on the world.s rich-list.

How will the crisis affect this wealth? It will be interesting to see what
Capgemini and Merrill Lynch make of the 2010 data. For the time being, it
would not be unreasonable to expect that, after the first stumble, it will
be all wine and roses. There are two points that support this assertion.
First, the forecast made by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini is that by 2013,
the HNWIs will have managed to accumulate fortunes (recall this excludes
primary residence, collectibles, consumables, and consumer durables) of
the order of 48.5 trillion dollars, which if the pundits of these two
companies get it right, will multiply the worldwide HNWI wealth by almost
60% in five years. For the moment, 2009 was a good year for the rich. The
second point comes from the 2010 report exclusively devoted to the rich of
the "Asia-Pacific" region. The most interesting figures from this report
show that by 2009 the wealth accumulated by this set of HNWIs also rose to
recover the 2007, pre-crisis levels, while their numbers increased by
25.8% and their joint wealth by 30.9% vis-a-vis the previous year. In
2009, Japan concentrated 54.6% of all the HNWIs in the region and 40.3% of
their wealth.

The Merrill Lynch and Capgemini report concludes, "Around the globe, then,
the creation of HNWIs and wealth is likely to depend heavily on the
success each country has in managing the nascent economic recovery while
driving expansion and handling ongoing domestic and global challenges in
financial conditions." To put it more bluntly, in the words of Michael
Hudsonn, this means "using the bank crisis (stemming from bad real estate
loans and negative mortgage equity, not high labor costs) as an
opportunity to change the laws to enable companies and government bodies
to fire workers at will, and to scale back their pensions and public
social spending in order to pay the banks more." Nothing less than class
war.

Daniel Ravents can be reached at: daniel.raventos [at] gmail.com


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

Obama and the Politics of Misrule
Our Third Karpian Moment
By RICHARD ANDERSON-CONNOLLY
CounterPunch
October 29 - 31, 2010

In 2008, after a financial seizure that was the inevitable consequence of
40 years of rising inequality, a spectre was haunting America - the
spectre of economic reform. Yet by means of skillful misrule Obama and the
congressional Democrats managed to avoid direct contact with that most
dangerous wraith of redistribution. At long last the November election
conjures the magic powerful enough to finally dispel the demon, freeing
Democrats to speak boldly of economic reform without the slightest danger
of seeing the actual transfer of resources from the plutocrats to the
citizenry. Bewildered liberals will soon forget the betrayals by Obama and
the 111th Congress and will direct their fear and hatred back toward the
Republican beast.

Here I pay homage to the insights of Walter Karp on the Politics of
Misrule. In Indispensable Enemies Karp describes the failures, certainly
in comparison with the promises and expectations, of two other reformist
periods - the New Deal of FDR and the War on Poverty of LBJ.

Of FDR Karp wrote, "An overwhelming Democratic majority, seemingly eager
to follow his lead, split into warring factions; a coalition of Southern
Bourbons and obstructionist Republicans, although numbering together no
more than some 130 members, swiftly seized the legislative helm and
blocked virtually all further reform. At the very height of its power and
prestige, the New Deal came to a dead stop in one of the most remarkable
reversals in American history".

Karp summarizes the record by noting that "First, Roosevelt almost never
fought for reform until it was forced upon him by overwhelming popular
pressure, whereupon he saw to it that the reform enacted was as minimal as
he could make it. Second, the major legislation which Roosevelt proposed
under no specific reform pressure cannot be called reforms at all".

Almost thirty years later, following several wars and vigorous popular
disruption embodied in the civil rights movement, the menace of reform
again seemed imminent.  In 1964 Johnson had large legislative majorities
behind his promise of a "war to end poverty". What was the result? "A few
months after the election, Johnson's 'Great Society' was deep in an Asian
war; after a brief spate of trumpery legislation - the 'poverty program,'
for example - Congress became balky and unmanageable. In 1966, Johnson's
great legislative majorities were reduced and the Great Society was dead".
Poverty today stands around 15%, an obscene level even using the
officially-sanctioned underestimates.

The tepidity of both the New Deal and Great Society have long been
recognized. The true insight of Karp is his explanation. Instead of
treating presidential missteps as honest mistakes by otherwise brilliant
politicians he recognized that "these blunders were not blunders at all,
that each was the deliberately chosen means for achieving the very end it
achieved: bringing reform to a halt". [Amen. The Dems don't love us. They
love the rich. Let the rich vote for them. Let the people vote against
them. -ed]

I argue that we have witnessed in Obama and the 111th Congress the third
Karpian moment in the last 80 years. "Another reform President, another
landslide election, another landslide Congress, another stunning
reversal".

Of course would-be reformers - FDR, LBJ, Obama - never renounce reform -
they are thwarted, they are outmaneuvered, they are betrayed, they are
deceived. Despite their best intentions they simply can not do that which
they earnestly desire.

Enter Karp's indispensible enemies. In periods of popular demand for
reform the President will need - indeed may have to cultivate - plausible
excuses for failure. "The indispensible enemy may make an instant
appearance. Or it may be a permanent presence, like the obstructionist
wing of each national party. The enemy may even be a single individual".

Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Johnson had theirs but who or what were the
indispensable enemies of 2008-2010? The prime enemy was Obama's pledge of
bipartisanship and the power Obama thereby bestowed upon the
obstructionists. It is important to recognize that this stance was as
gratuitous as revocable. Few would have challenged an interpretation of
the 2008 election as a repudiation by the citizenry of the Republican,
indeed neoconservative, agenda. Absent this posture Obama could have
adapted almost instantly to the highly partisan facts on the ground.

Obama all but verified the Karpian hypothesis in his Rolling Stone
interview. Describing the period of transition into office Obama admitted,
"we realized that we weren't going to get the kind of cooperation we'd
anticipated. The strategy the Republicans were going to pursue was one of
sitting on the sidelines, trying to gum up the works, based on the
assumption that given the scope and size of the recovery, the economy
probably wouldn't be very good, even in 2010, and that they were better
off being able to assign the blame to us than work with us to try to solve
the problem".

So why did Obama keep trying to work with those he knew were trying to
"gum up the works"? There seem to be three options: (1) Obama is
unintelligent; (2) Obama is irrational; or (3) Obama rationally acted in a
manner he knew would not produce the ostensible results.

Obama is more plausibly a Kenyan than a blundering dunderhead. We must
therefore take as the more reasonable interpretation of events that Obama
intended to sabotage his reformist agenda or, more accurately, Obama had
no such agenda and merely employed reformist rhetoric. [Exactly. -ed]

The President, of course, is not the only Democrat with indispensible
enemies. The Senate has the filibuster, an institution so sacred that is
has not been altered since 1979. Or perhaps the Democrats are deeply
committed to the democratic principle that 11% of the country's population
- those in the 21 least populous states - should exercise veto power over
the other 89%.

The House of Representatives, of course, is in the most enviable position:
it has the luxury of passing whatever bills it may wish with the complete
assurance that no reform will ever survive the Senate.

The attribution of repeated Democratic failures to honest mistakes against
devious enemies seems to require a certain level of gullibility among
liberals, whether professional or lay. [Their manufactured gullibility
is infinite, -ed] But this delusional condition is
greatly aided by the cruel logic of the lesser of two evils. Again we turn
to Karp and his assessment of the New Deal: "That a stricken citizenry was
nonetheless grateful is due largely to the fact that the apparent
alternative to this meager slice was the Republicans' no loaf at all".

Obama's successful misrule over the last two years ensures that wages and
employment will stagnate, that corporations will grow more powerful, and
that another political-economic crisis will occur a few years henceforth.
If the left in this country remains committed to the Democrats and the
two-party system then there is every reason to expect it to be also our
Fourth Karpian Moment.

[Walter Karp (1934-1989) is well worth seeking out. -ed]

Richard Anderson-Connolly is an Associate Professor of Comparative
Sociology at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. He can be reached
at: raconnolly [at] pugetsound.edu.


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

Prone Pioneers
by Linh Dinh
October 30th, 2010
Dissident Voice

Don't sit. Don't lie. I mean, lie all you want to, especially if you're
sitting in office, but don't sit or lie on a San Francisco sidewalk
between 7AM and 11PM, should Proposition L pass this week. Repeated
offenders could be fined up to $500 or jailed for 30 days.

Across the land, new laws are being introduced to criminalize our most
vulnerable and destitute. In Santa Cruz, one can now be arrested for
sleeping outdoors, including "in, on or under any parked vehicle," between
11PM and 8:30AM. Venice Beach is also banning sleeping in parked vehicles.

Punishing our most desperate for being desperate is not only cruel, it's
also a self defeating proposition. The homeless can't pay their fines, and
if you jail them, it's only a waste of tax money. Take Boulder, which has
a law prohibiting camping outside overnight. Like all of our other
municipalities, Boulder doesn't have nearly enough beds in its shelters.
In the last four years, Boulder has handed out over 1,600 tickets to its
homeless. Hundreds have been arrested when they can't pay up. After a
night or two in jail, they end up on the streets again. The idea, I think,
is to chase these people from Boulder altogether. They can become someone
else's problem.

As this depression becomes more undeniable, as more homes are foreclosed,
more jobs evaporate, more businesses shut down, as our homeless population
explodes, you can count on seeing more laws passed against helpless people
sitting, camping or maybe just coughing on the sidewalk. Each city and
town will try to dump its economic casualties onto the next. The homeless
of Manhattan can trek over to Newark. Those in Newark can shuffle to
Manhattan. While we're at it, we should pass laws against curling up in a
dumpster or being frozen to death outside.

We already lead the world in incarceration rate. More than one percent of
American adults are jailed. With many more to be locked up, expect more
prisons to be privatized. Lowest bidders will get the contracts. Privately
run means more efficiency, means trimming costs. Just pack them in and,
instead of sloppy joe, just feed them soy burgers or whatever. There's a
growth industry for all you investors out there.

Sign displayed by some bongo banging guy in Boulder: "Sleep is an
Involuntary Action. Which is NOT ILLEGAL". Yet sleeping on the sidewalk,
even when you have nowhere else to sleep, is already illegal in many
American places. During too late late capitalism, just about any street
activity is illicit or a nuisance. Don't beg. Don't peddle. Don't busk.
Don't even loiter. Just walk straight in to that big box store, why don't
you, and be a good American.

Emerging from a Bart station in San Francisco, I saw two men tap dancing
quite magnificently to a rapt crowd of tourists. Dollar bills filled their
donation bag. Everyone was having a good time until an unsmiling,
shades-wearing cop appeared. Show's over. Edward Jackson, one of the
dancers, knew his nemesis, "Why do you always do this to me, Bob?" Hearing
no answer, Ed continued, "Don't you have anything better to do than
stopping a black man from making an honest living?" Still no answer. "Why
don't you go down to the Tenderloin and arrest all those crack smoking
junkies?! How am I going to pay my rent if you don't let me make an honest
living? What do you want me to do, go mug somebody?!"

A transplant from Detroit, Ed later told me that he had been dancing in
downtown San Francisco for more than a decade, and that he made several
more times than his wife, with her straight job in a retail store. Unlike
most of us, Ed can't be fired, but he can certainly be thwarted by a
policeman.

If we can't make a dime on the street, will Big Brother leave us alone if
we just putz putz around in our own backyard? Not so fast. In Michigan,
House Bill 6458, introduced by two Democrats, Gabe Leland and Mike
Huckleberry, will prohibit farming in any city with a population of
900,000 or more. Why didn't they name Detroit outright, since it's the
only one that qualifies? And what's going on here, exactly?

Urban farming is about the only positive development in Detroit right now.
If more Americans planted their own vegetables and raise their own
chickens, ducks and rabbits, etc, even in the cities, they wouldn't have
to rely on the toxic factory farms, but Detroit is the only American city
without a supermarket chain, so access to food, even crappy stuff, is
already limited. With factories gone, jobs gone, can't a person plant an
odd cabbage without being branded a criminal?!

There seems to be a pattern here. In Chicago, school cafeterias are banned
from using vegetables grown on school ground, by the children themselves.
Big Brother is even messing with the Amish. Dan Allgyer, of Kinzers, PA,
has been harassed by our Food and Drug Administration for supposedly
selling unpasteurized milk, a charge he denies. Even if he was, I'd rather
drink milk from any Amish farm than the diseased product on supermarket
shelves.

As all of our interlocking systems unravel in the years ahead, each of us
will have to become more self-sufficient and resourceful. Each community,
each neighborhood, will finally be introduced to itself. For better or
worse, you will be welcomed home. You will be home, at last. As we stagger
forward, don't scorn the ones who are currently scraping by on the fringe,
the day-laborers, odd job men, buskers, the peddlers pushing carts, even
the homeless, for they are the point men, the pioneers of our time.

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories and five of poems, with a
novel, Love Like Hate, scheduled for July. He's tracking our deteriorating
socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.


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

                          -----------------
                           Squash the rich
                          -----------------

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