Progressive Calendar 03.12.11
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2011 07:32:34 -0800 (PST)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   03.12.11

1. Cost of war      3.12 10am
2. Fascist US?      3.12 7pm
3. Academic freedom 3.12 9pm

4. God's women      3.13 9am
5. Ireland resists  3.13 10am
6. Music v Israel   3.13 2pm Lake City MN

7. Class war        3.14 9am

8. Bill McKibben - Koch brothers and US Chamber: our mortal enemies
9. John Hallinan - Our unwillingness to make rich pay their share
10. Jackie Smith - Revolutions: democratic abroad, authoritarian at home
11. Hudson/Sommers - Steal everything and sell the people into slavery
12. ed           - bumpersticker
13. ed           - bumpersticker
14. ed           - bumpersticker

--------1 of 14--------

From: Doris Marquit <marqu001 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Cost of War/WILPF 3.12 10am

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom presents a Coffee
With Discussion

The Cost of War: Financial and Spiritual Bankruptcy
With Tom White of Veterans for Peace
Saturday, Mar. 12, 10 am-noon, Van Cleve Community Center, 905 15th Ave. SE,
Minneapolis

Tom White will explore the disparity between spending for the military and
spending for growing U.S. domestic needs. Tom, a St. John's University
graduate in economics, sees his peace and justice work as an outgrowth of
his spirituality. In 2000 and 2004, he was an International Election
Observer in El Salvador.

PUBLIC INVITED
free, refreshments, time for questions & discussion
FFI:  <http://www.wilpfmn.org> www.wilpfmn.org OR 651-645-6992


--------2 of 14--------

From: jtmiller jtmiller <jtmiller [at] minn.net>
Subject: Fascist US? 3.12 7pm

Working Democracy Discussion Forum
"What is Fascism? Is America becoming Fascist?"
Saturday, March 12, 7:00 pm
at Mayday Books - 301 Cedar, West Bank


--------3 of 14--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Academic freedom 3.12 9pm

"Scholars for Academic Justice"

University of Minnesota sociologist Dr. David Pellow on academic freedom.
From highly publicized tenure fights like Ward Churchill's and Norman
Finkelstein's to the federal case of local graduate student/activist Scott
DeMuth, currently in jail, we discuss the chilling effect on professors
and students since 9/11/01 and why academic freedom is relevant to all of
us.

MTN 17 viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on Minneapolis Television Network (MTN)
Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow!
Households with basic cable may watch.

TODAY, 3/12, 9pm and Tues, 3/15, 8am
"Scholars for Academic Justice"


--------4 of 14--------

From: Minnesota Atheists <web [at] mnatheists.org>
Subject: God's women 3.13 9am

Sunday, March 13, 9:00am-10:00am "Atheists Talk" Radio AM 950 KTNF in the
Twin Cities or stream live at http://www.am950ktnf.com.

"God's Woman Problem"  with Jen McCreight.  Mike Haubrich
(http://quichemoraine.com/category/mikehaubrich) hosts.  Contact us during
the show with questions or comments at (952) 946-6205 or
[17]radio [at] mnatheists.org. Links: mailto:radio [at] mnatheists.org


--------5 of 14--------

From: greenpartymike <ollamhfaery [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: Ireland resists 3.13 10am

Sun. March 13th, 10 am on KFAI RADIO's WAVE Project
Ireland- 800 Years of Resistance in Songs
hosted by social justice activist MICHAEL CAVLAN

KFAI 90.3fm Mpls 106.7 fm St.Paul
ONLINE: Live-streaming & archived for 2 weeks after broadcast
http://www.kfai.org  on the WAVE PROJECT page

[We are Irish-assured the program will seem somewhat less than 800 years
long. How much less? Well, this might be a good time to knit that sweater
for Uncle Charlie, polish your silver and brass, or build that 10-deck
house of cards. -ed]


--------6 of 14--------

From: Bill McGrath <billmcgrath52 [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Music v Israel 3.13 2pm Lake City MN

Sunday, March 13, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.: "Put a Little Love In Your Heart,"  a
presentation of live folk-rock-soul music from the 1960's. Location:  Oak
Center General Store, 67011 HWY 63, Lake City, MN 55041. This venue is
roughly halfway between Red Wing and Rochester. Admission at the door is
$5 to $15, whatever you feel you can donate.

Proceeds go to MN Beak the Bonds, a campaign to get our state government
to divest from Israel.

There will be short talks by a Jew, a Muslim and a Christian, all of whom
have spent time in the West Bank. In late afternoon, there will be a
social dinner, primarily mid-eastern. Bring some food to share, if you
choose. Event will finish with belly dancers. [Now we're getting
somewhere. -ed] More information: (507) 645-7660.


--------7 of 14--------

From: TruthToTell <andydriscoll [at] truthtotell.org>
Subject: Class war 3.14 9am

TTT THIS WEEK: MARCH14-9AM: THE WAR ON PUBLIC EMPLOYEES: MYTHS AND
REALITIES - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.ORG
CALL AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION Monday morning: 612-341-0980

The ultimate example of what can happen when wealthy owners and managers
ignore the human condition and exploit their workers to the maximum
happened in many venues, but one of the worst was the fire at Triangle
Shirtwaist Factory http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/trianglefirein New York
City 100 years ago this month, trapping garment workers, mostly young
immigrant women, many of them Jewish, needing to escape and killing 146 of
the 500 who worked there. Managers had locked the exits to prevent theft
by employees, who worked six days a week, weekdays for nine hours a day.
The foreman who held the key escaped another way. This week's show honors
this anniversary even as public employees across the country are fighting
to save their bargaining rights/ http://host.madison.com/wsj/- even after
agreeing to share in the pains of cuts to benefits and pensions
Republicans claim are necessary to balance state budgets.

So. Now it's done by a contrivance of excising the provisions requiring
Democratic participation in the legislation, Wisconsin's senatorial
Republicans have passed their long-held-up bill
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_8747fa04-4a74-11e0-8e6b-001cc4c03286.html* essentially
dumping collective bargaining for public employees. The state's Democratic
senators had skipped for weeks to prevent this very vote and it worked as
long as it was tied to the budget bill. They've gone home now.
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_e026bccc-4b38-11e0-8e55-001cc4c03286.html*

This week's guests:

PETER RACHLEFF http://www.macalester.edu/history/faculty/rachleff.html  -
Labor Historian and Professor of History, Macalester College
http://www.macalester.edu/

GLADYS MCKENZIE Business Representative,AFSCME Council 5
http://afscmemn.org/ and affiliates

BARB KUCERA EditorWorkday Minnesota http://www.workdayminnesota.org/;
Director, Labor Information Office, UofM

MARY CATHRYN RICKER President,St. Paul Federation of Teachers
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Saint-Paul-Federation-of-Teachers/141258096681

The astounding thing about all thisis the entrenched arrogance behind
this nationwide rightwing effort to kill unions. Wisconsin is but one of
the more volatile battlefields in this war on unions (and I hate military
metaphor). Fifteen other states are out to do the same thing. This is what
raw nerves in a declining economy hath wrought and the wealthy backers of
this tsunami of cultural division between middle-class working groups
pitting public workers - including teachers, police officer, firefighters
and any number of those who serve us against each other in a scramble for
equity know all to well how easy this has been. Setting one worker against
another is a long-time practice by corporate managers and powerful
politicians who know that dividing and conquering is the way to hold onto
the levers of power and the money that goes with it.

Contempt for public employees among unemployed and private sector
workers'whose pensions and health care have disappeared in the phony
shortages created by the same rightwing giving tax breaks to the wealthy
is now running rampant through the culture. The wealthy right is surely
rubbing its hands with glee as Fox News and other right wing talk shows
serve as the megaphone for assertions that all public workers are leeches
on society, unwilling to work or given benefits and perks no one else
receives.

Public educators have long been under assault from a publictold to be
suspicious that these union workers work just nine months of the year and
earn amazing sums when their salaries are combined with their benefits.

The facts bespeak the lies perpetrated by these forces whose divisive
rhetoric successfully placed them in office by the frustrations of a
public needing scapegoats for their economic hardship. Public employees,
including teachers, even after figuring in benefits have total
compensation levels falling far short of comparable private sector jobs.
But, of course, not many comparable private sector jobs even exist anymore
- not to mention the fallout of 50 years of corporations and politicians
convincing the middle class that these workers, along with immigrants and
people of color, are out to kill them and their kin, denying them the jobs
that have actually been shipped overseas or replaced by technology.

The uprisings
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_260247e0-4ac4-11e0-bfa9-001cc4c03286.html* in
all of the states out to scuttle their public employee unions and to
discredit public education even further are testament to the power of
people who have finally had it with all of this. It may not unite them
with their private sector brethren right away, but the underlying power of
showing people that their neighbors are part of this may turn the
political games to their advantage.

TTT's ANDY DRISCOLLtalks with a labor scholar, reporter/analyst and those
on the front lines of public employment about why this has come to a head.
Did we actually need the arrogance of a Scott Walker and a John Kasich
(Ohio) to bring this seedy business out in the open? How might public
sector advocates link with Tea Party activists and others who rail against
them to come to a meeting of the minds? What role has mainstream media -
and that includes the networks as well as Fox News - added to the plight
unions and public workers face these days?

Race and genderplay a critical role in this, as well, women and people of
color, not surprisingly, making up more a percentage of public employees than
they do the private sector.


--------8 of 14--------

Koch Brothers and US Chamber: Polluting Our Earth and Our Democracies
Wisconsin Workers and Enviros Everywhere Face Same Enemy
by Bill McKibben
Published on Friday, March 11, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

Among other truths made completely clear by the showdown in Wisconsin: the
outsized role of the Koch brothers in American politics.

Charles and David, the third and fourth richest men in America, first
gained notoriety in the fall, when a remarkable expose by Jane Mayer in
the New Yorker showed how they'd funded not only the Tea Party but also
the hydra-headed campaign to undermine the science of global warming, all
in the service of even more profit for their oil and gas business.

But it was in Wisconsin that the down-and-dirty details of their operation
began to emerge - they'd not only funded the election campaigns of the
governor and the new GOP legislature, but also an advertising effort
attacking the state's teachers. They'd helped pay for buses to ferry in
counter-protesters. We were even treated to the sight of new Governor
Scott Walker fawning over them in what turned out to be a hoax phone call.
The Kochs are right up there now with the great plutocrats of American
history, a 21st century version of the robber barons.

The trouble is, they don't care. And they don't really have to care. Their
business is privately held and answers to no one. Last week their
spokesman said they would "not step back at all ... This is a big part of
our life's work. We are not going to stop." So those of us who care about
things like the climate will need to go on tracking them. But we'll also
need to pay attention to their ideological twin, the Pepsi to their Koch.
It's the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Unlike the Koch brothers, everyone's heard of them. That's because there's
a chamber of commerce in almost every town in America - they're the local
barbers and florists and insurance guys, the folks who arrange the annual
chili cook-off or the downtown Christmas lights. You know why Lindbergh's
plane was called the "Spirit of St. Louis"? Because it was paid for by the
by St. Louis Chamber of Commerce.

But that's not the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The U.S. Chamber is a
hard-right ideological operation, which provides massive funding to
conservative Republicans, including the new GOP majority in Wisconsin. If
you want a sense of just how far right: Glenn Beck held a telethon on
their behalf, and donated $10,000 of his money. "They are us," he said -
and an executive of the chamber called in to thank him. The U.S. Chamber
of Commerce spent more money lobbying in 2009 than the next five biggest
players combined; they spent more money on politics than either the
Republican or Democratic National Committees. They're the biggest elephant
in the jungle.

Despite their claim to represent three million American businesses, more
than half their budget comes from just 16 companies. They don't have to
identify them, but it's pretty easy to guess who they might be, since the
chamber has devoted much of its time to thwarting any effort to control
carbon emissions. For instance, they filed a brief with the EPA demanding
they not fight global warming because "populations can acclimatize to
warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological, and
technological adaptations."

And here's the thing: Unlike the Kochs, the Chamber has some real
vulnerabilities. Though thanks to the Supreme Court they can keep their
secret flow of money going, their credibility depends in part on the idea
that they're representing all those millions of businesses. That's why
we've launched a big nationwide campaign: "The U.S. Chamber Doesn't Speak
for Me." Businesses big and small are already joining in - a thousand in
the first week - making the case that in fact capitalism can adapt to new
sources of energy. Capitalism's great virtue, after all, is supposed to be
nimbleness and flexibility.

Those of us who work on climate change have spent years trying to figure
out why Congress pays no attention to what's clearly the most dangerous
issues the earth faces. For years we thought we simply needed to explain
the crisis more skillfully. But in the last year the truth is becoming
clearer: Hidden in the shadows are the guys with money who pull the
strings. We need to illuminate those shadows, with the Kochs and even more
with the U.S. Chamber.

Originally published at GreenBiz.com.

 Bill McKibben is Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College,
co-founder of 350.org, and a TomDispatch regular. His most recent book is
Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.


--------9 of 14--------

Crisis is Our Unwillingness to Make Rich Pay Their Share
by John Hallinan
Published on Friday, March 11, 2011 by The Capital Times (Wisconsin) The

U.S. corporations are sitting on $2 trillion in cash - trillion, not
billion. The same people who shipped millions of jobs overseas, caused the
financial crisis, and pay themselves multimillion-dollar bonuses every
year are now sitting on a mountain of cash. Yet both state and local
governments feel the need to give them more tax cuts. To what end? So they
can create more profits and sit on bigger piles of cash, so they can play
monopoly as they buy each other out, or so they can give themselves even
bigger bonuses? There is no indication that they are interested in doing
anything to spur the economy.

In December we heard the Republicans tell us that people making over
$250,000 per year couldn't afford a 4 percent tax increase, and it would
be terrible for the economy to increase their taxes. Thirty years ago they
were paying 70 percent in taxes. Now they pay half that, but a 4 percent
increase is just too much to bear.

Now we are told that state workers making $40,000 to $60,000 per year are
stealing the state blind. The same workers who for the last two years have
taken over a 3 percent pay cut in the form of furloughs are now told they
haven't sacrificed enough. Now they must forfeit 7 percent or more of
their pay, and give up their right to negotiate their future. What is
appalling is the state workers were willing to give up the money to help
out the state. All they asked was to keep their right to negotiate. Yet
the wealthiest [useless parasites -ed] in our country aren't willing to
give up anything to help our country out of the financial mess they
created.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan told the biggest lie ever perpetuated on the
American public. He condemned Jimmy Carter for running a $40 billion
deficit, and then told everyone he could cut taxes and balance the budget.
Voodoo economics - that's what George H.W. Bush called Reagan's economic
plan. He was right, and by the mid '80s the budget deficit had ballooned
to over $200 billion.

Of course it was the [undeserving -ed] rich who walked away with virtually
all of the Reagan tax cuts. During the last 25 years the Republicans have
doubled down over and over again, giving more and more tax cuts to the
rich. While the rich have gotten incredibly wealthy, the poor have gotten
poorer. It is a reverse Robin Hood economy where we take from the poor and
give to the rich. It has been the greatest transfer of wealth in the
history of our country - the 400 richest have more than the 155 million
poorest.

Ballooning government deficits weren't a problem when Republicans were in
the White House, but with a Democratic president, it is suddenly a crisis.
The recession we've been living through proves the fallacy of Milton
Friedman, Reaganomics, Ayn Rand, Alan Greenspan and the rest who told us
that markets are self-correcting and regulation is bad. Banking
regulations kept this country out of serious recession for 70 years, but
once the regulations were repealed it took only a decade to bring the
world's economy to its knees. Yet Republicans refuse to acknowledge how
wrong they were as they continue to try to gut government regulations.

Every time a politician tells you he wants to make the government more
business friendly, what he's really telling you is that he wants to
increase taxes on your children and grandchildren. Every environmental law
that is weakened will mean a cleanup to be paid for by future generations.
Every bad business practice that is endured will be funded by taxpayers
having to clean up the mess at some later date.

Now we are told that everyone must sacrifice to bring state and federal
government budgets in line. But somehow the sacrifices once again all fall
on those at the bottom of the economic ladder. Once again businesses are
given tax cuts, money is found to increase spending on roads, but
education, health care and help for the poorest in our society are cut.

There isn't a financial crisis at either the state or the federal
government. The crisis is our unwillingness to ask those who have gained
the most from our society pay a fair and equitable share from the wealth
this society has allowed them to accumulate. It is the honest, Christian,
and patriotic thing to do.

 2011 The Capital Times
John Hallinan is a Stoughton, Wisconsin resident.

[Eat the rich. Or they will eat us. -ed]


--------10 of 14--------

Published on Friday, March 11, 2011 by CommonDreams.org
Amid Democratic Revolutions Abroad, Authoritarian Revolutions at Home
by Jackie Smith

As Egyptians and other democracy advocates around the Middle East
celebrate their gains in winning concessions from authoritarian regimes,
at home we are witnessing a revolution of authoritarianism. Republican
governors across the country are seeking to simultaneously seize authority
from state legislatures and undermine the ability of ordinary citizens to
affect the decisions that shape their lives.

In Wisconsin, Scott Walker's controversial legislation proposes not just
to eliminate worker rights and benefits but also to undercut legislative
oversight of key decisions. Similarly, in a highly under-reported
development, the Michigan legislature just advanced a bill that would
allow the state to take over struggling municipal agencies. Emergency
financial managers trained in corporate management logic would be
empowered to end existing contracts, take over pension plans, reorganize
departments, restructure debt, and dissolve or consolidate fiscally
troubled towns and schools. The justification for their decisions is based
on economic efficiency, not community well being. But as a writer in the
Michigan Messenger asks: "What values will guide these individuals or
firms as they work to balance budgets? How will a manager decide whether
to sell off an ice rink or a library?"

Since the oil crisis and economic decline of the 1970s, capitalist elites
in this country have been systematically working to undermine the voices
of labor and popular groups and to advance an ideology that said that
whatever is good for business is good for the country. Thus, we have seen
unprecedented growth in corporate profits and executives' benefits at the
same time as workers' wages have remained stagnant. Today we see levels of
inequality that rival those at the time of the great depression.

Corporate elites have used their political influence to systematically
reduce the power of labor unions. What we're seeing in Wisconsin,
Michigan, Idaho, Ohio, and elsewhere reflects a renewed offensive in this
ongoing war to abolish people's rights to form and join trade unions. In
the early 1970s roughly 30% of the workforce was represented by unions. In
2010 less than 7% of private sector workers and less than 12% of all
workers are unionized. Unions remain essential to helping secure decent
wages and working conditions for all workers - not just those represented
by unions.

What many don't know is that unions today are also defending some of the
most vulnerable segments of our population. Although African American
workers tend to have higher unemployment rates than other workers, they
were more likely to be represented by unions when they are employed. Also,
women disproportionately occupy the positions in the public sector - such
as education and health care - that are more likely to be unionized. Our
nation's persistent gender and racial gaps in wages reflect this weakened
power of unions to help remedy the inequities of power and wealth in this
country (see Economic Policy Institute analyses at www.epi.org).

In addition, the arguments being made by Republican officials to justify
restrictions on citizens basic human right to organize (see Article 23 of
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) don't stand up to scrutiny.
They claim that by denying workers' rights they will increase employment
and raise wages. However, states that now have legislation that impedes
unionization haven't seen increased growth, and their wages are lower than
those in states without such legislation (see http://www.nd.edu/~hlsp).

If Americans want to continue enjoying democracy, we need to resist the
cost-benefit logic that guides these legislative challenges. This logic
has been used for decades to justify a systematic shift in the
organization of power in our society, allowing corporations and the
wealthy to turn their financial might into disproportionate political
influence. By reducing people's rights and undercutting legislative checks
and balances, we set the stage for even greater segregation in our country
between the haves and have-nots. At a time when our ailing economy is
leaving growing numbers of people behind, politicians are leaving more
people and communities to fend for themselves in the name of government
"efficiency".

Jackie Smith is a sociologist at the University of Notre Dame.s Kroc
Institute for International Peace Studies (South Bend, Indiana, USA). Her
most recent books include Social Movements for Global Democracy and, with
multiple co-authors, Global Democracy and the World Social Forums.


--------11 of 14--------

The Plan to Steal Everything and Sell the People into Slavery
Wisconsin Death Trip
By MICHAEL HUDSON and JEFFREY SOMMERS
CounterPunch
March 11 - 13, 2011

On Wednesday evening, in a veritable Night of the Long Knives, Wisconsin's
integrity was brutally murdered on the floor of the state Capitol in
Madison. On 9 March, integrity and trust built up over a century was
obliterated as Wisconsin state senators quickly reversed course and
cleaved its budget "repair bill" in half. Financial items require a
quorum, thus, collective bargaining was split off from the budget repair
bill and voted on separately so as to permit its being voted on now. Even
so, this still broke the state's open meeting law requiring 24 hours'
notice to ensure transparency. Instead, the Wisconsin senate Republicans
pulled out this new legislation without advance notice and began voting,
leaving only a stunned Democratic legislator, Peter Barca, to read the
open meeting law out loud to prevent the senators from voting. The senate
voted over his objections anyway.

The Wisconsin brand has always centered on integrity. This was really
about the only distinctive comparative advantage the state could lay claim
to. Now, it is gone. With collective bargaining abolished, huge issues
remain beyond labor. The privatization of public assets is now on the
agenda, with the yet-to-be-voted-on budget repair bill.

Wisconsin is a state that invented Progressive Era Republican rule in the
19th and early 20th centuries under such progressive populists as Robert
LaFollette. Under their tenure, rent-seeking from the public domain and
similar insider corruption were checked by a strong public sector anchored
in integrity. The state's long history of reforms nurtured a prosperous
middle class and made it a model of clean government, solid
infrastructure, trade unionism and high value-added industry managed by
socialists and the LaFollette Progressives.

Fast-forward to Scott Walker today. Representing a new breed apart from
Wisconsin's earlier Republicans, he is seeking to re-birth the
asset-grabbing Gilded Age. A plague of rent-seekers is seeking quick gains
by privatizng the public sector and erecting tollbooths to charge access
fees to roads, power plants and other basic infrastructure.

Economics textbooks, along with Fox News and shout radio commentators,
spread the myth that fortunes are gained productively by investing in
capital equipment and employing labor to produce goods and services that
people want to buy. This may be how economies prosper, but it is not how
fortunes are most easily made. One need only to turn to the 19th-century
novelists such as Balzac to be reminded that behind every family fortune
lies a great theft, often long-forgotten or even undiscovered.

But who is one to steal from? Most wealth in history has been acquired
either by armed conquest of the land, or by political insider dealing,
such as the great US railroad land giveaways of the mid 19th century. The
great American fortunes have been founded by prying land, public
enterprises and monopoly rights from the public domain, because that's
where the assets are to take.

Throughout history the world's most successful economies have been those
that have kept this kind of primitive accumulation in check. The US
economy today is faltering largely because its past barriers against
rent-seeking are being breached.

Nowhere is this more disturbingly on display than in Wisconsin. Today,
Milwaukee - Wisconsin's largest city, and once the richest in America - is
ranked among the four poorest large cities in the United States. Wisconsin
is just the most recent case in this great heist. The US government itself
and its regulatory agencies effectively are being privatized as the "final
stage" of neoliberal economic doctrine.

A peek into Governor Walker's so-called "budget repair bill" reveals a
shop of horrors that is just the opposite of actually repairing the
budget. Among the items listed in the bill until Wednesday night were
selloffs of state power generation facilities - in no-bid contracts
notoriously prone to insider dealing.

The 37 facilities he wants to sell off that produce heating and cooling at
low cost to the state's universities and prisons. Walker's budget repair
bill would have unloaded them at a low price, presumably to campaign
contributors such as Koch Industries - and then stick the bill for
producing this power at higher rates to Wisconsin taxpayers in perpetuity.
(And this is all being sold as a "taxpayer relief" plan!) Invariably, this
will make its way into new legislation once attention is diverted from the
current controversy.

The budget bill also plans to tear down the Wisconsin Retirement System
(WRS). This is not New Jersey, where a succession of corrupt governments
have underfunded (read: stolen) the state pension system in order to shift
resources to pay for budget shortfalls in general revenues caused by tax
breaks for the rich. The WRS is one of the nation's most stable,
well-funded and best-managed pension systems. Although Wisconsin is not a
big state, the WRS has amassed $75bn in reserves, and pays out handsome
pensions to its public retirees, without needing new public subsidy. The
Walker bill has language providing for tearing down this system, raiding
its assets to pay for further tax cuts for the rich (especially property
owners), and then throwing Wall Street a meaty bone as public employees
would be shifted to 401k plans handled by money managers on commission.

In a separate proposal, Governor Walker would start privatizing the
University of Wisconsin's two flagship doctorate-granting campuses.
Ironically, the land grant universities - of which Wisconsin has long been
among the best - were created by protectionist 19th-century Republicans as
an alternative approach to British free-market doctrine, which dominated
the prestigious and largely anglophile Ivy League universities. These
universities, like their German counterparts, taught a new economic policy
of state management and public enterprise that formed the basis for
subsequent US and German development.

Walker would kill off this tradition, and return intellectual production
to the highest bidder.

Other proposals suggest selling off Wisconsin's public northwoods lands
with their cornucopia of mineral and timber wealth. And much more is said
to be in the works.

So Walker's war is not only against the Democrats and labour, it is
against Wisconsin's Progressive Era institutions. His policy threatens to
pauperize the state and deal a coup de grace to Progressive Era
institutions and impoverish the state's middle class. Contra John Maynard
Keynes's gentle suggestion of "euthanasia of the rentier", it is the
middle class that is being euthanized - throughout North America and
Europe.

Michael Hudson is professor of Economics at the University of Missouri
(Kansas City) and chief economic advisor to Rep. Dennis Kucinich. He has
advised the U.S., Canadian, Mexican and Latvian governments, as well as
the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). He is the
author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy
of American Empire (new ed., Pluto Press, 2002). He can be reached via his
website, mh [at] michael-hudson.com.

Jeffrey Sommers is a professor at Raritan Valley College, NJ, visiting
professor at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, former Fulbrighter
to Latvia, and fellow at Boris Kagarlitsky.s Institute for Global Studies
in Moscow. He can be reached at jsommers [at] sseriga.edu.lv.


--------12 of 14--------


 Eat the rich. Or they will eat us.


--------13 of 14--------


 Life in the fascist lane
  Mussolini Hitler Koch


--------14 of 14--------

 Things don't go better with Koch

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   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
                     over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02
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                          vote third party
                           for president
                           for congress
                           for governor
                          now and forever


                           Socialism YES
                           Capitalism NO


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