Progressive Calendar 03.26.11
From: David Shove (
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.     - 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]>
Subject: Post-carbon 3.26-27 8:30am

Training for Transition Building Resilient Communities for a Post- Carbon

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 Coté 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]

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From: Susan Leskela <sleskela [at]>
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]>
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:

Details: Visit

Sponsored by the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition, Catholic Charities
Office for Social Justice, the Minnesota Housing Partnership and the
Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless

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From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: CUAPB 3.26 1:30pm

Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue

Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)

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From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 3.26 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday

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From: lydiahowell [at]
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.
online version |

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From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Auschwitz/Zionism 3.26 9pm

"Never Again for Anyone" (part 1)

Author, activist and Auschwitz survivor, Dr. Hajo Meyer (see 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

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]

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

Nader, Kucinich call Libya action "impeachable"
War Room -


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

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.
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

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 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

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.


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

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]

--------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--------

          WAR CRIMINAL

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

         obama happens


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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