|Progressive Calendar 03.26.11||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2011 01:56:38 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.26.11 1. Post-carbon 3.26-27 8:30am 2. Mpls Green Party 3.26 10:30am 3. MN budget/poverty 3.26 12noon 4. CUAPB 3.26 1:30pm 5. Northtown vigil 3.26 2pm 6. Lights out 3.26 8:30pm 7. Auschwitz/Zionism 3.26 9pm 8. John V Walsh - Impeach Barack Obama/ A challenge to antiwar liberals 9. Salon.com - Nader, Kucinich call Libya action "impeachable" 10. Steve Share - Public workers turn out in record numbers at Mn rally 11. James Petras - Billionaires flourish, inequalities deepen 12. ed - War & Obama diagrammed 13. ed - Impeach cobbler 14. ed - Obama happening --------1 of 14-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Post-carbon 3.26-27 8:30am Training for Transition Building Resilient Communities for a Post- Carbon World March 26 and 27, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Location TBD. A weekend training workshop designed for people who are thinking of creating a transition initiative or who have already begun. Facilitated by Ethel CotÃ© and Louis Alemayehu. Cost: $255.00. FFI and to Register: Visit www.goodworkinc.or g, call Mao Moua, 612-293-8195 or email training [at] goodworkinc.org. --------2 of 14-------- From: Susan Leskela <sleskela [at] comcast.net> Subject: Mpls Green Party 3.26 10:30am The next Fifth Congressional District Green Party membership meeting will be Saturday, March 26 from 10:30-12:30 at Walker Library in Uptown at Hennepin and Lagoon. Membership meeting agenda: 10:30-10:35 Finance report 10:35-11:35 Bylaws amendments 11:35-11:40 Break 11:40-11:50 Introductions and announcements 11:50-11:55 Events report 11:55-12:05 Steering Committee elections - one open seat 12:05-12:30 Reports from elected officeholders Sue Leskela Treasurer, Steering Committee --------3 of 14-------- From: Julie Johnson <followmhp [at] mhponline.org> Subject: MN budget/poverty 3.26 12noon Health, Housing, Poverty and the Minnesota Budget 12-1pm, Saturday, March 26 1st Congregational UCC Anoka; 1923 3rd Avenue; Anoka, MN 55303 Please join policy experts and community members Saturday for the first in a series of community meetings; this conversation is with Rep. Jim Abeler on the Health and Human Services Budget. Registration Link: https://www.thedatabank.com/dpg/325/mtglistproc.asp?formid=meet&caleventid=19350 Details: Visit http://mhponline.org/images/stories/docs/policy/state/2011/flyer032611.pdf. Sponsored by the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition, Catholic Charities Office for Social Justice, the Minnesota Housing Partnership and the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless --------4 of 14-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: CUAPB 3.26 1:30pm Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue South http://www.CUAPB.org Communities United Against Police Brutality 3100 16th Avenue S Minneapolis, MN 55407 Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867) --------5 of 14-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 3.26 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------6 of 14-------- From: lydiahowell [at] comcast.net Subject: Lights out 3.26 8:30pm Will You Turn Out Your Lights on March 26? On March 26, 2011, turn off your lights at 8:30 pm for Earth Hour, a worldwide collective display of commitment to protect the one thing that unites us all--the planet. <http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/site/R?i=p_m7aN6x1ZEhQE5S0oQoZQ..>View online version | --------7 of 14-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Auschwitz/Zionism 3.26 9pm "Never Again for Anyone" (part 1) Author, activist and Auschwitz survivor, Dr. Hajo Meyer (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajo_Meyer) on the wide difference between Zionism and Judaism, the disconnect between Judaism and the modern state of Israel and the role of "the Holocaust religion" in justifying the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Lakota activist Coya White Hat-Artichoker opens. Sara Kershnar of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network moderates. (Feb. '11) 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. 3/26, 9pm and Tues, 3/29, 8am "Never Again for Anyone" --------8 of 14-------- Impeach Barack Obama A Challenge to Tea Partiers and Antiwar Liberals by John V. Walsh March 24th, 2011 Dissident Voice The time has come for those who claim high regard for the U.S. Constitution to show that they mean what they say. The time has come to begin impeachment proceedings against President Barack H. Obama for high crimes and misdemeanors. The United States has initiated a war against Libya, as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has conceded. When one country bombs another, which has not attacked it nor posed any immediate threat to it, that is an act of war. No "humanitarian" rationale justifies such an act. Only an act of Congress suffices according to the United States Constitution. Barack Obama has violated that provision of the United States Constitution, which he swore, falsely it is now apparent, to defend and protect. Barack Obama has committed this greatest of impeachable offenses. Other offenses related to torture and violation of the civil liberties of U. S. citizens may emerge as articles of impeachment are drawn up. Many Tea Party candidates and paleo-conservative and libertarian Republicans, such as Rep. Ron Paul, won office by declaring their high regard for the Constitution. Rep. Paul stated in advance of the attack on Libya that a Congressional declaration of war was necessary according to the provisions of the Constitution before an assault could proceed. If these Republicans do not act now to begin impeachment following the lead of the very principled Dr. Paul, their words meant nothing, and they should be turned out of office. Similarly antiwar liberals such as Dennis Kucinich backed candidate Barack Obama because of his promises of peace. But President Obama has given us ever more war. His pledge to end the war in Iraq by 2009 turns out to be an empty promise, and he has widened the war in Afghanistan. He has also ordered the bombing of Pakistan, another act of war not authorized by Congress. If such liberals are genuine agents of peace, they too have an obligation to follow the lead of Kucinich who has used the term impeachment with respect to Barack Obama's behavior to initiate impeachment proceedings. Otherwise they are poseurs, and they should be turned out of office. Barack Obama can himself be called as the first witness to the hearings on his impeachment, so obvious is his crime. In 2008 as a candidate for the presidency he replied as follows to a question from the Boston Globe's Charlie Savage. Savage: In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites - a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?) Obama: .The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.. High members of his administration agree and might provide ancillary testimony. Vice President Joseph Biden has declared: The Constitution is clear: except in response to an attack or the imminent threat of attack, only Congress may authorize war and the use of force. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was of the same opinion. If the country is under truly imminent threat of attack, of course the President must take appropriate action to defend us. At the same time, the Constitution requires Congress to authorize war. I do not believe that the President can take military action - including any kind of strategic bombing = against Iran without congressional authorization. Barack Obama has further isolated the U.S. in the world by going to war against Libya, contrary to his claims of being a part of a broad international effort. This can only do more damage to our country, bleeding now with so many problems. Consider the vote in UN Security Council. Michael Lind informs us of the demographics and power relationships lying behind the UN vote as follows: In the vote to authorize war against Libya, the U.S., Britain and France joined by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal and South Africa. Abstaining from the vote were five countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and Germany. What do the five countries that registered their opposition to the Libyan war have in common? They make up most of the great powers of the early twenty-first century. A few years back, Goldman Sachs identified the so-called "BRIC's" - Brazil, Russia, India and China - as the most important emerging countries in the world. The opponents of the Libyan war on the Security Council are the BRIC's plus Germany, the most populous and richest country in Europe. Including the United States, the Security Council nations that voted for the no-fly zone resolution have a combined population of a little more than 700 million people and a combined GDP, in terms of purchasing power parity, of roughly $20 trillion. The Security Council countries that showed their disapproval of the Libyan war by abstaining from the vote have a combined population of about 3 billion people and a GDP of around $21 trillion. If the U.S. is factored out, the disproportion between the pro-war and anti-war camps on the Security Council is even more striking. The countries that abstained from the vote account for more than 40 percent of the human race. The countries that joined the U.S. in voting to authorize attacks on Libya, including Britain and France, have a combined population that adds up to a little more than 5 percent of the human race. The situation appears worse the more one regards it. Lebanon's government controls only part of its territory. Gabon is a statelet with a mere 1.6 million people, smaller than many American cities. And the UN ambassadors of two of the countries who sided with the U.S., Nigeria and South Africa, were not present when the vote was scheduled to be taken. Ambassador Rice had to leave the Security Council chamber, find them and usher them in herself. Partisan considerations should not impede the move to impeach Barack Obama. When George W. Bush was president, many on the Democratic Party Left called for his impeachment. They must do the same for President Obama who has more clearly violated the Constitution than President Bush since he did not even seek the dubious Congressional "authorization" which George W. Bush asked for and received. If the Left cannot do this, its credibility will be in shambles, and quite deservedly so. On the other side clearly there is reason to indict Bush, and some on the Left are calling for that as are certain authorities in European countries where the former President dare not go. But at the moment Barack Obama is in charge and capable of greater damage if he is not stopped by impeachment. Impeachment of Barack Obama can no longer be avoided. Both Right and Left have good reasons to impeach Obama. With this coalition it may be possible to get the ball rolling and at long last impeach an imperial president. If it can be done once, the warning will be there and it will be the first step in curbing our imperial presidency. President Barack Obama has violated the U.S. Constitution and employed the armed forces of the U.S. as a king's army. The U.S. made its revolution to escape such a predicament, and if this usurper of Congressional authority is not stopped and punished, these crimes will continue under each succeeding executive. This must end and it must end now. Impeachment proceedings must begin at once. John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar [at] gmail.com. --------9 of 14-------- Nader, Kucinich call Libya action "impeachable" War Room - Salon.com BOTH SAY PRESIDENT OBAMA OVERSTEPPED HIS CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY BY GIVING GREEN LIGHT TO INTERVENTION IN LIBYA Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich made a similar statement today. In particular, Kucinich castigated Obama for pursuing military intervention in Libya without congressional authorization: President Obama moved forward without Congress approving. He didn't have Congressional authorization, he has gone against the Constitution, and that's got to be said. It's not even disputable, this isn't even a close question. Such an action ... is a grave decision that cannot be made by the president alone. Kucinich's and Nader's arguments against the constitutionality of Obama's authorization of force are based on an interpretation of the War Power Act. Passed by Congress in 1973 - after a decade-long quagmire in Vietnam - the legislation requires the president to inform Congress within 48 hours of any U.S. military attack where national security is not at stake. President Obama submitted such a letter to House Speaker John Boehner today. Beyond that, the Act mandates that the commander in chief seek congressional approval after 60 days of military action. --------10 of 14-------- Wisconsin-style attacks spawn record turnout in St. Paul Public workers turned out in record numbers at Tuesday's rally. BY STEVE SHARE, WORKDAY MINNESOTA March 24, 2011 "We will not let Minnesota become the next Wisconsin," said state snowplow driver Mike Lindholt, addressing a large and energized rally of public employees at the state Capitol Tuesday. Proposed legislation that brings Wisconsin-style attacks on public workers to Minnesota helped fuel a record turnout for AFSCME Council 5's rally at the Capitol rotunda. Some 1,500 people attended the rally, then fanned out to meet with lawmakers during the union's annual Day on the Hill. "We're gathering here at the state Capitol to not just fight for public workers, but to fight for the middle class of Minnesota," said Eliot Seide, AFSCME Council 5 director, addressing the rally. AFSCME has advocated the state take a balanced approach to solving the state's budget crisis - by raising revenues - and not take the cuts-only approach proposed by the new Republican majorities in the Legislature. "Just like Wisconsin, public employees are not the cause of this crisis," said rally speaker Christine Main, a member of AFSCME Local 517, who works as an employment counselor for Washington County. "This budget crisis is a tax crisis caused by tax cuts for the rich." AFSCME supports Governor Mark Dayton's proposed budget, which would increase income taxes on Minnesotans earning more than $130,000 per year. Public workers in Minnesota already have made sacrifices, speakers at the rally said, accepting wage freezes, taking unpaid furlough days, and increasing their contributions to their pensions. "What's the fix?" Seide called out to the crowd in the rotunda. The crowd roared back, "Tax the rich!" AFSCME also is opposing Republican-proposed cuts to Local Government Aid to Minnesota's cities and counties. LGA helps local government fund basic services like police, fire, and road repair. Previous years' budgets already have slashed LGA. "The cut in state aid to cities and counties is destroying the public services middle class families like you and me depend on," said AFSCME Local 66 member David Leonzal, a City of Duluth utility worker, addressing the rally. "For three years, we've been working under the same pay rate," he added. AFSCME Local 920 member Yvette Young, who is a clerical worker at the Minnesota Department of Health, spoke to the rally about several bills attacking the pensions of state employees. "An average AFSCME pension is about $13,000 per year," she told the rally. With Social Security, this is the difference between dignity and poverty when we retire." AFSCME Local 221 member Mike Lindholt, who drives a snowplow for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, took State Representative Keith Downey, R-Edina, to task for comments Downey made urging cuts to state government to "strangle the beast." "Here we are, Representative Downey," Lindholt proclaimed at the rotunda rally. "Take a good look. We are not beasts." The crowd chanted, "We are not beasts!" "The Republicans and Tea Partiers like to carry around a copy of the Constitution. Maybe they should read it some time," Lindholt said. He cited First Amendment rights about the right to free speech, the right to free assembly, and the right to petition the government about grievances. "If that isn't the right to form a union, I don't know what is." "This is not just an assault on union members and public employees," Lindholt said. "It's an assault on the middle class." "They are going after unions because they want to drive down the wages of everyone in the middle class," Lindholt said. "We're not going to let cheap labor conservatives pit private workers against public workers," Seide said. "They want public workers and private workers to fight" so they will be distracted from the real problem, he said. "The real problem is that the richest Minnesotans are not paying their fair share of taxes." To illustrate that point, AFSCME prepared giant checks in the amount of $3.2 billion for delivery to Governor Dayton and legislative leaders. That's the additional amount in state income tax that people earning more than $130,000 a year would pay - if they paid the same effective tax rate as middle income families. And that additional tax revenue would go a long way to solving the state's $4.2 billion budget deficit. Following the rally, AFSCME members broke into small groups to attend scheduled meetings with legislators. Members dressed in AFSCME green shirts seemed to be everywhere in the halls of the Capitol and State Office Building. "This is the biggest Day on the Hill ever," said Mike Buesing, president of AFSCME Council 5. At a gathering at the Crowne Plaza Hotel before the rally, Buesing asked members who were attending their first AFSCME Day on the Hill to raise their hands. About one-half of the crowd raised their hands. One first-timer was Diane Larson, St. Cloud, who is a member of AFSCME Local 753 and works as a library technician for St. Cloud State University. "It was a big call for our local to send as many people as we could," she said. "I figured this was the most important year to go." "With all the anti-union bills that are there right now... I felt it was important for me and my family to come," said Matt Stenger, St. Peter, a member of AFSCME Local 404 who works as a security counselor for the St. Peter Regional Treatment Facility. AFSCME has identified a list of "50 toxic bills" currently proposed at the Legislature which attack public employee wages and benefits, public services, and collective bargaining rights of all workers. Steve Share edits The Labor Review, the official publication of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation. Learn more at www.minneapolisunions.org View more photos at the MRLF Facebook page. Copyright: © 2011 Workday Minnesota The Twin Cities Daily Planet is an edited news source produced by professional journalists working in collaboration with citizen journalists from the local community. We publish original reported news articles, articles republished from media partners, and some content (Free Speech Zone articles, reader-submitted blog entries, comments) that is moderated but not edited. --------11 of 14-------- Billionaires Flourish, Inequalities Deepen as Economies "Recover" by James Petras March 24th, 2011 Dissident Voice The bailouts of banks, speculators and manufacturers served their real purposes: the multi-millionaires became billionaires and the later became multi-billionaires. According to the annual report of the business magazine Forbes there are 1,210 individuals - and in many cases family clans - with a net value of $1 billion dollars (or more). There total net worth is $4 trillion, 500 billion dollars, greater than the combined worth of 4 billion people in the world. The current concentration of wealth exceeds any previous period in history; from King Midas, the Maharajahs, and the Robber Barons to the recent Silicon Valley-Wall Street moguls of the present decade. An analysis of the source of wealth of the super-rich, the distribution in the world economy and the methods of accumulation highlights several important differences with major political consequences. We will proceed to identify these specific features of the super-rich, starting with the United States and follow with an analysis of the rest of the world. The Super-Rich in the US: the Biggest Living Parasites The US has the most billionaires in the world (413), better than one third of the total, the greatest proportion among the "big countries" in the world. A closer look also reveals that among the top 200 billionaires (those with $5.2 billion and more) there are 57 from the US (29%). Over one third made their fortune through speculative activity, predators on the productive economy and exploiters of the property and stock market. This is the highest percentage of any major country in Europe or Asia (with the exception of England). The enormous concentration of wealth in the hands of this tiny parasitical ruling class is one reason why the US has the worst inequalities of any advanced economy and among the worst in the entire world. Speculators do not employ workers, they secure tax loopholes and bailouts and then press for cuts in the social budget, since they do not require a healthy, educated workforce (except for a tiny elite). In 1976 the top 1% held 20% of the wealth; in 2007 they commanded 35% of total wealth. Eighty percent of Americans own only 15% of the wealth. The recent economic crises, which initially reduced the total wealth of the country, did so in an uneven fashion . hitting the majority of workers and employees worse. The Bush-Obama bailout led to the economic recovery, not of the "economy in general", but was confined to further enhancing the wealth of the billionaires - which explains why the unemployment/under employment rate has hardly moved, why the fiscal debt and trade deficit grows and the state lowers corporate taxes and slashes federal, state and municipal budgets. The "dynamic" sector composed of parasitical capitalists employ few workers, exports no products, pays lower taxes and imposes greater cuts in social spending for productive workers. In the case of the US billionaires, their wealth is largely accrued via the pillage of the state treasury and productive economy and via speculation in the information technology sector which houses one-fifth of the top billionaires. BRIC's New Billionaires: Exploiting Labor of Nature The leading emerging capitalist countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) hailed by the mass media for their rapid growth over the past decade are producing billionaires at a faster rate than any bloc of countries in the world. According to the latest data in Forbes (March 2011), the number of billionaires in BRIC increased over 56% from 193 in 2010 to 301 in 2011, exceeding that of Europe. The high growth of BRIC has led to the concentration and centralization of capital, in every case promoted by state policies which provides low interest loans, subsidies, tax incentives, unrestricted exploitation of natural resources and labor, the dispossession of small property owners and the give-away of publicly owned enterprises. The dynamic growth of billionaires in BRIC has led to the most egregious inequalities in the world. Among BRIC, China leads the way with the greatest number of billionaires (115) and the worst inequalities in all of Asia, in sharp contrast to its Communist past when it was the most egalitarian country in the world. An examination of the source of wealth of China's super rich reveals that it has resulted from the exploitation of labor in the manufacturing sector, speculation in real-estate, construction and trade. China has surpassed the US as the world's biggest manufacturer in 2011, as a result of the super-exploitation of labor in China and the growth of parasitical financial capital in the US. In contrast to the US, China's working class is making significant inroads into the profiteering of its manufacturing and real estate elite. As a result of working class struggle, wages have been growing between 10% and 20% over the past 5 years; protests by farmers and urban households against state sanctioned evictions by real estate speculators have exceeded 100,000 per year. The wealth of Russian billionaires on the other hand resulted from the violent theft of public resources (oil, gas, aluminum, iron, steel, etc.) developed by the previous Communist regime. The great majority of Russian billionaires depend on the export of commodities, pillaging and devastating the natural environment under a corrupt and deregulated regime. The contrast in living and working conditions between the western-oriented billionaires and the Russian working class is largely the result of the siphoning off of wealth to overseas accounts, offshore investments, and extraordinary personal luxuries including multi-million dollar real estate. In contrast to China's industrial elite, Russia's billionaires resemble the parasitical rentiers found among Wall Street speculators and Persian Gulf sheiks. India's billionaires are a combination of old and new rich drawing their wealth by exploiting low wage industrial workers, dispossessing slum and tribal peoples, as well as from diversified holdings in real estate, IT, and software. India's billionaires accumulated their wealth through their class-kin linkages to the very corrupt higher echelons of the political class, securing monopolies via state contracts. India's high growth over the past decade (averaging 7%) and the upsurge in billionaires upward to 55 by 2011, are both linked the neo-liberal policies of deregulation, privatization and globalization, which have concentrated wealth at the top, undermined small scale producers and dispossessed tens of millions. Brazil's billionaire class has expanded rapidly, especially under the leadership of the Workers Party, to 29, up from single digits a decade earlier. Today over two-thirds of Latin America's billionaires are Brazilians. The centerpiece of Brazil's super-rich wealth is the financial-banking sector which has benefited enormously from the monetary, fiscal and neo-liberal policies of the Lula Da Silva regime. Billionaire bankers have been the principle beneficiaries of the agro-mineral export economy which has flourished over the past decade, at the expense of the manufacturing sector. Despite claims by Workers Party leaders, the class inequalities between the mass of minimum wage workers ($380 per month as of March 2011) and the super-rich continues to be worst in Latin America. An analysis of the source of wealth among Brazilian billionaires reveals that 60% accrued their wealth in the finance, real estate and insurance (FIRE) sector and only one (3%) in the capital or intermediary manufacturing sector. Brazil's boom in economic growth and billionaires fits the profile of a "colonial economy": heavy in conspicuous consumption, commodity exports and presided over by a dominant financial sector which promotes neo-liberal policies. Over the course of the past decade despite the populist political theatrics and paternalistic poverty programs sponsored by the "center-left" Workers Party, the major socio-economic outcome has been the growth of a class of "super-rich" billionaires concentrated in banking with powerful links to the agro-mineral sectors. The free-market high growth financial-agro-mineral class has degraded the manufacturing sector, especially textiles and shoes, as well as capital and intermediary goods producers. BRIC are producing more,and growing faster than the established imperial powers in Europe and the US, but they are also producing monstrous inequalities and concentrations of wealth. The socio-economic consequences have already manifested themselves in increasing class conflict especially in China and India, as intensive exploitation and dispossession have provoked mass action. The Chinese political elite seems to be the most conscious of the political threat posed by the growing concentration of wealth and is in the midst of promoting substantial wage increases and greater local consumption which seems to be lowering profit margins among some sectors of the manufacturing elite. Perhaps the "historical memory" of the "cultural revolution" and the Maoist legacy plays a role in alerting the political elite to the political dangers resulting from "capitalist excesses" associated with the high levels of exploitation and the rapid growth of a class of politically connected kinship based billionaires. Middle East: Over the past decade the most dynamic country in the Middle East has been Turkey. Led by a liberal democratic regime of Islamic inspiration, Turkey has led the region in GDP growth and in the production of billionaires. The Turkish economic performance has been presented by the World Bank and the IMF as a model for the post dictatorial regimes in the Arab world - "high growth", a diversified economy based on the growing concentration of wealth. Turkey has 35% more billionaires (37) than the Gulf and North African states combined (24). The "secret" of Turkish growth is the high rates of investments in diverse industries and the intensive exploitation of labor. Many Turkish billionaires (14) derive their wealth via "conglomerates", investments in diverse manufacturing, finance and construction sectors. Apart from the "conglomerate billionaires," there are "specialist billionaires" who have accumulated wealth from banking, construction, and food manufacturing. One of the reasons Turkey has rebuked and challenged Israeli power in the Middle East is because its capitalists are eager to project investments and penetrate markets in the Arab world. Apart from the highly Zionized US political system, the ruling elites and public in Europe and Asia have looked favorably on Turkey's opposition to Israel's massacres in Gaza and violation of international law on the high seas. If a modern liberal Islamic regime can grow rapidly through the rapid expansion of a diversified class of the super-rich, so does Israel, a modern neo-liberal-Judaic state based on the rapid growth of a highly diverse class of billionaires. Israel with 16 billionaires is a country with the fastest growing class inequalities in the region - with the highest per-capita billionaires in the world. Israel's "growth sectors," software, military industries, finance, insurance and diamonds and overseas investments in metals and mining are led by billionaires and multi-millionaires who have benefited from Zionist induced financial handouts from the US pillage of resources from the ex-USSR and transfer of funds by Russian-Israeli oligarchs and through joint ventures with Jewish-American billionaires in software corporations, especially in the "security" sector. Israel's high percentage of billionaires at a time of sharp cuts in social spending puts the lie to its claim to be a "social democracy" in the midst of Arab "sheikhdoms". As a matter of record, Israel has twice as many billionaires (16) as Saudi Arabia (8) and more super-rich than the entire Gulf countries (13). The fact that Israel has more billionaires per capita than any other country has not prevented its Zionist supporters in the US from pressing for an additional 20 billion in aid over the next decade. Unlike the past, today Israel's wealth concentration has less to do with its being the biggest recipient of foreign aid. Israel's receiving of handouts is a political issue: Zionist power over the Congressional purse. Given the total wealth of Israel's billionaires, a five percent tax would more than compensate for any cut off of US foreign aid. But that is not about to happen simply because Zionist power in America dictates that the US taxpayers subsidize Israel's plutocrats by paying for their offensive weaponry. Conclusion The "economic crises" of 2008-2009 inflicted only temporary losses to some (US-EU) billionaires and not others (Asian). Thanks to trillion dollar/Euro/yen bailouts, the billionaires class has recovered and expanded, even as wages in the US and Europe stagnate and "living standards" are slashed by massive cutbacks in health, education, employment and public services. What is striking about the recovery, growth, and expansion of the world's billionaires is how dependent their accumulation of wealth is based on pillage of state resources; how much of their fortunes were based on neo-liberal policies which led to the takeover at bargain prices of privatized public enterprises; how state deregulation allows for plunder of the environment to extract resources at the highest rate of return; how the state promoted the expansion of speculative activity in real estate, finance and hedge funds, while encouraging the growth of monopolies, oligopolies and conglomerates which captured "super profits" - rates above the "historical level". Billionaires in BRIC and in the older imperial centers (Europe, US, and Japan) have been the primary tax beneficiaries of reductions and elimination of social programs and labor rights. What is absolutely clear is that the state, not the market, plays an essential role in facilitating the greatest concentration and centralization of wealth in world history, whether in facilitating the plundering of the treasury and the environment or in heightening the direct and indirect exploitation of labor. The variations in the paths to "billionaire" status are striking: in the US and UK, the parasitical-speculative sector predominates over the productive; among the BRIC - with the exception of Russia - diverse sectors incorporating manufacturers, software, finance and agro-mineral billionaires predominate. In China the abysmal economic gap between the billionaires and the working class, between real estate speculators and dispossessed household is leading to increasing class conflict and challenges, forcing significant increases in wages (over 20% the past 3 years) and demands for increased public spending on education, health and housing. Nothing comparable is occurring in the US, EU, or elsewhere in BRIC. The sources of billionaire wealth are, at best, only partially due to "entrepreneurial innovations". Their wealth may have begun, at an earlier phase, from producing useful goods and services, but as the capitalist economies "mature" and shift toward finance, overseas markets and the search for higher profits by imposing neo-liberal policies, the economic profile of the billionaire class shifts toward the parasitical model of the established imperial centers. The billionaires in BRIC, Turkey, and Israel contrast sharply from the Middle East oil billionaires who are rentiers living off "rents" from exploiting oil and gas and overseas investments especially in the FIRE sector. Among the BRIC, only the Russian billionaire oligarchs resemble the rentiers of the Gulf. The rest, especially Chinese, Indian, Brazilian and Turkish billionaires have taken advantage of state promoted industrial policies to concentrate wealth under the rhetoric of "national champions", promoting their own "interests" in the name of a "successful emerging economy". But the basic class questions remains: "growth for whom and who benefits?" So far the historical record shows that growth of billionaires has been based on a highly polarized economy in which the state serves the new class of billionaires, whether parasitical speculators as in the US, rentier pillagers of the state and environment such as Russia and the Gulf states or exploiters of labor such as in BRIC. Post Script The Arab revolt can be seen in part as an effort to overthrow "rentier capitalist clans". Western intervention in the revolts and support of the "opposition" military and political elites is an effort to substitute a "neo-liberal" capitalist ruling class. This "new class" would be based on the exploitation of labor and dispossession of current crony-clan-kin owners of resources. Major enterprises would be transferred to multi-nationals and local capitalists. Much more promising are the internal working struggles in China and to lesser degree in Brazil and the rural based Maoist peasant and tribal movements in India which oppose rentier and capitalist exploitation and dispossession. James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). Petras. most recent book is Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of US Power (Clarity Press, 2008). He can be reached at: jpetras [at] binghamton.edu. --------12 of 14-------- big evil, little man WAR WAR WAR W W A obama A R R WAR WAR WAR obama at home in war obama at the heart of war --------13 of 14-------- --------------- IMPEACH OBAMA WAR CRIMINAL --------------- --------14 of 14-------- --------------- obama happens --------------- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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