|Progressive Calendar 12.07.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2010 02:39:23 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 12.07.10 1. Zirin/sports 12.07 5pm 2. Climate change 12.07 5pm 3. WILPF party 12.07 5:30pm 4. Speak easy 12.07 6:30pm 5. Energy past oil 12.07 7pm 6. Chris Hedges - Happy as a hangman 7. Rich Broderick - Free market puts Ireland on starvation diet .. again 8. ed - Fungus (haiku) --------1 of 8-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Zirin/sports 12.07 5pm "Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love" Author of "Bad Sports" & avid sports lover, Dave Zirin humorously recounts stories uncovering the devolution of team owners and their negative impact on the games fans love. Given ongoing attempts by Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf to convince the local public to buy him a new stadium "or else", Zirin's book and commentary are extremely well timed. (Nov., 2010) 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, 12/7 @ 5pm & midnight + Wed, 12/8, 10am "Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love" --------2 of 8-------- From: Alliance for Sustainability <sean [at] afors.org> Subject: Climate change 12.07 5pm Tues December 7 from 5 to 7pm From Cancun to Minnesota: Reclaiming a People's Agenda for climate Change -- Midtown Global Market, 920 East Lake St in the former Jade Restaurant, http://www.iatp.org/events/#mncancun --------3 of 8-------- From: Doris Marquit <marqu001 [at] umn.edu> Subject: WILPF party 12.07 5:30pm wilpflogoMnWILPF 2010 Winter Party Tuesday Dec. 7 5:30-7:30 pm Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, MN Metro Branch, cordially invites you to celebrate Winter & our history of peace-making 1920 S. 1st St., Minneapolis Highrise east of 7 Corners, just north of Humphrey Institute, U of M West Bank. From South Washington Ave., turn left at 19th Ave. S. Take the first right onto S. 2nd St., turn right at S. 1st St. Before the Tower you will pass a parking lot on the left. Park in visitors' section; register car in building entry. Appetizers, wine, juice, coffee, & tea provided. Just bring yourself - plus a guest or two if you wish (don't you know someone who should learn about WILPF and its history of working for peace & justice all over the world?) Video: the historic 1995 Peace Train, a 3-week journey across Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Great Steppes of China organized by International WILPF to bring 230 women and 10 men to the 4th UN Conference on Women in Beijing. Stops along the way were made to meet with women's groups and bring their messages to the Conference. --------4 of 8-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Speak easy 12.07 6:30pm This Tuesday, Dec. 7 will be Open Conversation. patty [A day that will live in famy.] 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. --------5 of 8-------- From: Alliance for Sustainability <sean [at] afors.org> Subject: Energy past oil 12.07 7pm Tues Dec 7 from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m."Beyond Oil Addiction: Sustainable Energy" First Tuesday Dialogues - Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church - 145 Engler Blvd., Chaska, MN 55318 With Ken Bradley, Program Director of Environment Minnesota, and Rebecca Lindberg, CEO of a solar company here in Minnesota, led the discussion. Free http://www.shepherdofthehillchurch.com/ --------6 of 8-------- Published on Monday, December 6, 2010 by TruthDig.com Happy as a Hangman by Chris Hedges Common Dreams Innocence, as defined by law, makes us complicit with the crimes of the state. To do nothing, to be judged by the state as an innocent, is to be guilty. It is to sanction, through passivity and obedience, the array of crimes carried out by the state. To be innocent in America means we passively permit offshore penal colonies where we torture human beings, some of whom are children. To be innocent in America is to acquiesce to the relentless corporate destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species. To be innocent in America is to permit the continued theft of hundreds of billions of dollars from the state by Wall Street swindlers and speculators. To be innocent in America is to stand by as insurance and pharmaceutical companies, in the name of profit, condemn ill people, including children, to die. To be innocent in America is refusing to resist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that are not only illegal under international law but responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of people. This is the odd age we live in. Innocence is complicity. The steady impoverishment and misery inflicted by the corporate state on the working class and increasingly the middle class has a terrible logic. It consolidates corporate centers of power. It weakens us morally and politically. The fraud and violence committed by the corporate state become secondary as we scramble to feed our families, find a job and pay our bills and mortgages. Those who cling to insecure, poorly paid jobs and who struggle with crippling credit card debt, those who are mired in long-term unemployment and who know that huge medical bills would bankrupt them, those who owe more on their houses than they are worth and who fear the future, become frightened and timid. They seek only to survive. They accept the pathetic scraps tossed to them by the corporate elite. The internal and external corporate abuse accelerates as we become every day more pliant. Our corrupt legal system, perverting the concept that "all men are created equal," has radically redefined civic society. Citizens, regardless of their status or misfortune, are now treated with the same studied indifference by the state. They have been transformed from citizens to commodities whose worth is determined solely by the market and whose value is measured by their social and economic functions. The rich, therefore, are rewarded by the state with tax cuts because they are rich. It is their function to monopolize wealth and invest. The poor are supposed to be poor. The poor should not be a drain on the resources of the state or the oligarchic elite. Equality, in this new legal paradigm, means we are all treated alike, no matter what our circumstances. This new interpretation of equality, under which the poor are abandoned and the powerful are unchecked, has demolished the system of regulations, legal restraints and services that once protected the underclass from wealthy and corporate predators. The creation of a permanent, insecure and frightened underclass is the most effective weapon to thwart rebellion and resistance as our economy worsens. Huge pools of unemployed and underemployed blunt labor organizing, since any job, no matter how menial, is zealously coveted. As state and federal social welfare programs, especially in education, are gutted, we create a wider and wider gulf between the resources available to the tiny elite and the deprivation and suffering visited on our permanent underclass. Access to education, for example, is now largely defined by class. The middle class, taking on huge debt, desperately flees to private institutions to make sure their children have a chance to enter the managerial ranks of the corporate elite. And this is the idea. Public education, which, when it functions, gives opportunities to all citizens, hinders a system of corporate neofeudalism. Corporations are advancing, with Barack Obama's assistance, charter schools and educational services that are stripped down and designed to train classes for their appropriate vocations, which, if you're poor means a future in the service sector. The eradication of teachers' unions, under way in states such as New Jersey, is a vital component in the dismantling of public education. Corporations know that good systems of public education are a hindrance to a rigid caste system. In corporate America everyone will be kept in his or her place. The beating down of workers, exacerbated by the prospect that unemployment benefits will not be renewed for millions of Americans and that public sector unions will soon be broken, has transformed those in the working class from full members of society, able to participate in its debates, the economy and governance, into terrified people in fragmented pools preoccupied with the struggle of private existence. Those who are economically broken usually cease to be concerned with civic virtues. They will, history has demonstrated, serve any system, no matter how evil, and do anything for a salary, job security and the protection of their families. There will be sectors of the society that, as the situation worsens, attempt to rebel. But the state can rely on a huge number of people who, for work and meager benefits, will transform themselves into willing executioners. The reconfiguration of American society into a corporate oligarchy is conditioning tens of millions not only to passively accept state and corporate crimes, but to actively participate in the mechanisms that ensure their own enslavement. "Each time society, through unemployment, frustrates the small man in his normal functioning and normal self-respect," Hannah Arendt wrote in her 1945 essay "Organized Guilt and Universal Responsibility," "it trains him for that last stage in which he will willingly undertake any function, even that of hangman". Organs of state repression do not rely so much on fanatics and sadists as ordinary citizens who are desperate, who need a job, who are willing to obey. Arendt relates a story of a Jew who is released from Buchenwald. The freed Jew encountered, among the SS men who gave him certificates of release, a former schoolmate, whom he did not address but stared at. The SS guard spontaneously explained to his former friend: "You must understand, I have five years of unemployment behind me. They can do anything they want with me". Arendt also quotes an interview with a camp official at Majdanek. The camp official concedes that he has assisted in the gassing and burying of people alive. But when he is asked, "Do you know the Russians will hang you?" he bursts into tears. "Why should they? What have I done?" he says. I can imagine, should the rule of law ever one day be applied to the insurance companies responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans denied medical care, that there will be the same confused response from insurance executives. What is frightening in collapsing societies is not only the killers, sadists, murderers and psychopaths who rise up out of the moral swamp to take power, but the huge numbers of ordinary people who become complicit in state crimes. I saw this during the war in El Salvador and the war in Bosnia. It is easy to understand a demented enemy. It is puzzling to understand a rational and normal one. True evil, as Goethe understood, is not always palpable. It is "to render invisible another human consciousness". Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his book "The Gulag Archipelago" writes about a close friend who served with him in World War II. Solzhenitsyn's defiance of the Communist regime after the war saw him sent to the Soviet gulags. His friend, loyal to the state, was sent there as an interrogator. Solzhenitsyn was forced to articulate a painful truth. The mass of those who serve systems of terrible oppression and state crime are not evil. They are weak. "If only there were vile people ... committing evil deeds, and if it were only necessary to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them," Solzhenitsyn wrote. "But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?" The expansions of public and private organs of state security, from Homeland Security to the mercenary forces we are building in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the burgeoning internal intelligence organizations, exist because these "ordinary" citizens, many of whom are caring fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, have confused conformity to the state with innocence. Family values are used, especially by the Christian right, as the exclusive definition of public morality. Politicians, including President Obama, who betray the working class, wage doomed imperial wars, abandon families to home foreclosures and bank repossessions, and refuse to restore habeas corpus, are morally "good" because they are loyal husbands and fathers. Infidelity, instead of corporate murder, becomes in this absurd moral reasoning the highest and most unforgivable offense. The bureaucrats who maintain these repressive state organs, who prosecute the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or who maintain corporate structures that perpetuate human suffering, can define themselves as good - as innocent - as long as they are seen as traditional family men and women who are compliant to the laws of the state. And this redefinition of civic engagement permits us to suspend moral judgment and finally common sense. Do your job. Do not ask questions. Do not think. If these bureaucrats were challenged for the crimes they are complicit in committing, including the steady dismantling of the democratic state, they would react with the same disbelief as the camp guard at Majdanek. Those who serve as functionaries within corporations such as Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil and carry out crimes ask of their masters that they be exempted from personal responsibility for the acts they commit. They serve corporate structures that kill, but, as Arendt notes, the corporate employee "does not regard himself as a murderer because he has not done it out of inclination but in his professional capacity". At home the corporate man or woman is meek. He or she has no proclivity to violence, although the corporate systems they serve by day pollute, impoverish, maim and kill. Those who do not carry out acts of rebellion, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, are guilty of solidifying and perpetuating these crimes. Those who do not act delude themselves into believing they are innocent. They are not. Copyright 2010 Truthdig, L.L.C. Chris Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and a weekly columnist for Truthdig. His newest book is "Death of the Liberal Class." On Dec. 16 he, Daniel Ellsberg, Medea Benjamin, Ray McGovern, Dr. Margaret Flowers and several others will hold a rally across from the White House to protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and attempt to chain themselves to the White House fence. More information on the Dec. 16 protest can be found at www.stopthesewars.org. --------7 of 8-------- To Hell or Connaught The Free Market Puts Ireland on a Starvation Diet ... Again By RICH BRODERICK CounterPunch December 1, 2010 Johnny O'Broderick was my first direct ancestor to emigrate from Ireland to the United States, eventually sending back enough money for his wife, Mary, to book passage and follow him a few years later. In making the trek from his home in County Clare to the port where he debarked for New York, my great-grandfather would have passed through a landscape that was picturesque, bucolic - and post-apocalyptic. In the 1870s, that part of Ireland was a sparsely-populated underworld of abandoned shanties, crumbling stone walls separating overgrown fields, and weedy, frost-heaved roads leading to nowhere. Ireland was still reeling from the after-effects of the Great Famine, which began a failed potato harvest in the fall of 1845 and whose end is usually dated to 1850, some 160 years ago this fall. The cause of the blight was a fungus that originated in the Americas and then spread by way of shipping lanes to Europe and Ireland. While it attacked and destroyed newly harvested tubers wherever they were grown, its effects on Ireland went beyond lost revenue and the temporary uptick in hunger seen elsewhere. >From this remove, it is difficult to comprehend the central role the potato played in the life and survival of Ireland's tenant farmers, in particular those who inhabited Connaught, the traditional name for the part of the country where indigenous Irish culture - including the Irish language - held out longest against English inroads; during his 17th Century attempt to exterminate the Irish, Oliver Cromwell declared that he would send all the Irish "to hell or Connaught!," the two locations apparently interchangeable to his Puritan way of thinking. In the mid-19th Century, tens of thousands of tenant farmers had to turn over virtually every grain of oats or barley they harvested to absentee-landlords, most of whom lived in London or Dublin and rarely set eyes upon their holdings. These farmers and the kind of large families we now know are produced by rural poverty subsisted on a monotonous but nonetheless nutritious diet of potatoes and buttermilk: like beans and rice, this combination provides almost all the amino acids needed by the body. They did so, these peasants, because even in the one or two acres of sandy soil on which they were expected to grow everything they necessary for survival, it was possible to harvest enough potatoes - a remarkably productive crop - to meet basic needs. It is estimated that a typical adult Irish male in pre-Famine days could be expected to consume up to 14 pounds of potatoes a day. Despite poverty and persecution, the potato enabled the Irish peasantry to thrive after a fashion, so much so that on the eve of the famine, the country had a population of approximately six million. But within five years some 1.5 million Irish had starved to death or died of the diseases that follow in starvation's wake - flu, dysentery, typhus and typhoid fever. Another 1.5 million emigrated - fled - with tens of thousands dying of hunger and hunger-borne illnesses on so-called Coffin Ships awaiting clearance to sail. When the famine finally sputtered out, Ireland was left with a population half its former size - 3 million as opposed to 6 million in 1845. To a casual observer, the famine might seem like a natural disaster triggered by the rise in global trade and commerce. But it was more than that. Like New Orleans after Katrina, the Great Famine was a natural disaster augmented by a man-made catastrophe, the toll in death, disease, and dislocation made exponentially worse by political decisions taken at the top; in fact, almost all the famine deaths can be laid at the feet of of a heartless, laissez-faire ideology known in the 19th Century as economic "liberalism" (not to be confused with political liberalism with its calls for tolerance, individual liberty, and universal human rights). Today that heartless - and sublimely stupid - ideology has once more reared its Social Darwinist head under the name of "neo-liberalism." How can we be so sure that economic policy - and not God's will - was responsible for most of the deaths in Ireland? A simple review of the history of those five awful years will suffice. When the Tory government of British Prime Minister Robert Peel learned of the crop failure in 1845, it acted decisively and effectively to forestall the worst, ordering several shiploads of corn from the United States, which was then distributed for free to the Irish through a famine commission Whitehall established before the onset of winter. As a result, many Irish went hungry but almost no one died of starvation that first year. But, to the incalculable woe of the Irish, Peel's government would fall the following summer, victim of its own success in bringing relief to the hungry. In particular, its attempts to repeal the Corn Laws, which kept the price of the grain it was importing unnaturally high, alienated the government's base among England's great landholders. In July, 1845, Peel was replaced by Whig Prime Minister John Russell, an economic "liberal." When it became clear that the potato crop was going to fail again in 1846, Russell banned the free distribution of corn to the Irish. Such a move, according to the tenets of economic liberalism, violated the workings of the free market; government largesse, Whitehall believed, unjustly punished England's grain factors - companies that sold and shipped grain for profit. It also rewarded "dependency" on the part of the "undeserving" Irish. Henceforth, the starving Irish would have to earn money to pay those grain factors for corn the factors received at cost from the English government. A system of make-work projects was created. Many of these were road building endeavors in which Irish laborers were paid a set number of shillings for every foot of right-of-way they graded on a given day. Unfortunately, then as now, economics was an inexact science practiced by men unwilling to alter ideology in the face of empirical evidence. As the blight wore on year by year, inflation set in and the price of grain shot up. The wages for the make-work projects, however, did not. Over time, the shillings the laborers earned could purchase less and less food. Growing hunger rendered the laborers weaker and weaker. As a result they could put in fewer and fewer feet of road bed every day. A vicious death spiral started to swirl, with thousands of laborers literally dropping dead on the job, at the ragged end of unfinished famine roads. It took Ireland well over a century to recover from the impact of the Great Famine. But ironically, the very same ideology is getting ready to wreak havoc on the island again. Only three years after being hailed by the neo-liberal commissariat as a shining example of laissez-faire free market success, Ireland is on the ropes, the victim of the speculative bubble triggered by neo-liberalism's unvarying prescription for growth and prosperity - low taxes on corporations and the rich, elimination of any meaningful regulation of finance and banking, and an intentional blurring of the lines between commerce and government. Two years ago, when boom turned to bust, the Irish government stepped forward - as did ours - and, instead of allowing the banksters and financial scam artists both inside and outside Ireland to pay for their own folly, agreed to bail out the financial markets to "restore confidence." Today confidence has yet to be be restored, But as punishment for indulging in the same drunken behavior as did most of the industrial world, the Irish face draconian punishment. In return for an EU bailout worth a measly $115 billion, the Irish government - for the moment led by the former finance minister of the previous government (i.e., the one that got into bed with the banksters) - has agreed to the harshest tax hikes and budget cuts in the nation's history; the move will result in the loss of some 25,000 government jobs, escalating fees for schools, universities and government services, sharp reductions in government-backed pensions, and a 15 percent reduction in the country's minimum wage. If that weren't bad enough, the bailout also stipulates that Ireland's budget deficit shall not exceed 3 percent of GDP (an EU rule flouted by most EU members); by way of comparison, the U.S. budget deficit currently stands at about 20 percent of GDP. And with Ireland's GDP in freefall, this 3 percent rule means that, far from being able to fund stimulus programs to get the economy moving again, the Dublin government will have to continue cutting its budget year after year as far as the eye can see. This is the kind of savage austerity package usually levied by the IMF on developing nations in the Southern Hemisphere. That the austerity boom is being lowered on a western country which until recently boasted one of the fastest growth rates in the world is surprising to say the least, and a clear sign of just how ruthless the neo-liberal elites can be when it comes to turning on - and devouring - one of their own at the first sign of weakness. The larger lesson to take away from this? Simple: The pro-lifers have it right. The spectre of a "culture of death" does, indeed, haunt the world. But that culture isn't about abortion. The real culture of death is globalized neo-liberalism - the ideological descendent of the "liberalism" that depopulated Ireland in the 1840s. Neo-liberalism is just free market idolatry by another name - a fetishistic belief in the mysterious power of the market to make wise decisions about who and what posess any value. n the mid-19th Century, when capitalism was still in its adolescence, perhaps there was an excuse for embracing such nonsense. Today, there can be no excuse. The history of the past 160 years has time and again revealed the utter lunacy of thinking the world will conform to free market precepts. "Ideology contradicts psychology," Camus said. To psychology, let us add common sense. And common humanity. Like liberalism, and the imperialism to whose predations it gave ideological cover, neo-liberalism demands that we act from the conviction that the world and everything and everyone in it are nothing more than dead objects, "resources" to be exploited, exhausted, and excreted when no longer of any "value." While we commonly describe as "materialistic" the Stage 4 Consumer Capitalism that neo-liberalism lauds and promotes, it is important to note that this ideology is, in fact, anti-materialistic; is, in reality, inimical to the material world that provides the very basis of human survival. Neo-liberalism deals in abstractions - money, resources, debt, capitalization - not in tangible reality. It operates at the behest of a class of vampires and addicts who harbor delusions that, when the end comes, they will be able to escape to some gated fantasy land where they and theirs will be safe from the ecological collapse they have precipitated. Touring the West of Ireland during and after the Great Famine, travelers often compared what they witnessed to the End of World. In the 1840s, that apocalypse was confined to one region of a small, impoverished, ruthlessly colonized nation. This time around, few if any will starve - but many will certainly go hungry - because of Ireland's contemporary turmoil. Even so, the crisis is merely another benchmark on the path to a much wider, global collapse - not just financial, but, as during the Great Famine, ecological as well. And this time around, there will be no New World to which survivors can escape. This time around, global capital is outfitting the entire planet as a vast Coffin Ship to be set adrift, lifeless, upon the ether. Rich Broderick lives in St. Paul and teaches journalism at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. Rich is a writer, poet, and social activist. He can be reached at: richb [at] lakecast.com This essay originally appeared in TC Daily Planet. --------8 of 8-------- Fungus - you may not like it now, but you'll find it will grow on you. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - 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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