Progressive Calendar 08.08.13 /3
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2013 12:17:25 -0700 (PDT)
P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   08.08.13

1. Midstream reading 8.08 7:30pm

2. Mark Weisbrot - Snowden, Greenwald and Wikileaks Are Winning
3. Kevin Carson   - The Real Economic Parasites
4. Marge Piercy   - What they call acts of god   (poem)

--------1 of 4--------

>From WAMM
Midstream Reading Series
Thursday, August 8, 7:30 p.m. 3820 East Lake Street, Minneapolis. Upstairs,
entrance just west of the Blue Moon coffee house; up the stairs and to the
left. Not wheel-chair accessible. Original poems and stories read/performed
by their creators: Patricia Kirkpatrick, Carol Masters (former WAMM board
member and current WAMM activist), Matt Mauch and Scott Wrobel. Sponsored
by: Midstream Reading Series. FFI: Email David Shove shove001 [at]

>From ed
Midstream Reading Series
When: Thursday August 8, 7:30–8:30pm.
Where: Blue Moon building,  corner of 39th and (3820) East Lake.
Air-conditioned. Upstairs.  Entrance just west of the Blue Moon coffee
house; up the stairs and to the left. Not wheel-chair accessible. Plentiful
street parking.
  Best to arrive 10-20 minutes early to get coffee and food/dessert from
the Blue Moon, and to be seated by 7:30 so we can begin on time. And, the
venue will easily hold about 30; after that, standing or floor-sitting room
only. The early bird gets the seat. Please occupy the up-front seats first.

Original poems and stories read/performed by their creators:
Patricia Kirkpatrick
Carol Masters
Matt Mauch
Scott Wrobel

Patricia Kirkpatrick received the first Lindquist & Vennum Poetry Prize for
her book, ODESSA, published by Milkweed Editions in 2012 and awarded a 2013
Minnesota Book Award. She is the author of CENTURY'S ROAD,  poetry
chapbooks, and books for young readers. Curator for the 2012 MCBA Winter
Book,  LESSONS FOR OUR TIME, she also teaches writing and works as a
freelance editor.

Carol Masters has been a long-time peace activist and slightly longer
writer. Her poetry and short fiction has been published in many literary
journals and anthologies. Her short story collection The Peace Terrorist
(New Rivers Press) received a Minnesota Voices award and was nominated for
a Minnesota Book Award. She is the recipient of a Loft Mentor Series award,
Loft-McKnight Fellowship, and MN State Arts Board grant. Her most recent
book is You Can’t Do That!: Marv Davidov, Nonviolent Revolutionary, which
was a finalist for the 2010 Midwest Independent Publishers Association

Matt Mauch is the author of If You’re Lucky Is a Theory of Mine (Trio House
Press), Prayer Book (Lowbrow Press), and the chapbook The Brilliance of the
Sparrow (Mondo Bummer). He hosts the annual Great Twin Cities Poetry Read,
and also the Maeve’s Sessions readings, and edits the anthology Poetry
City, USA, an annual collection of poetry and prose on poetry. A Minnesota
State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant recipient, Mauch teaches in the
AFA program at Normandale Community College, and lives in Minneapolis.

Scott Wrobel has published in Great River Review, Identity Theory,
Minnesota Monthly, Night Train, Pindeldyboz, The Rake, Word Riot, and other
places. He is winner of a 2006-07 Loft Mentor Series Fiction Award and the
2008 Third Coast Creative Nonfiction Contest. His book of darkly comic
stories about the American suburbs, Cul De Sac, was published by Sententia
Books in April of 2012. He has taught at The Loft Literary Center and
currently teaches English at Anoka Ramsey Community College. See

Before and after: The Blue Moon, downstairs, has coffee, sandwiches,
desserts. Merlin’s Rest, a bar/restaurant 3 blocks west, has a full bar,
good food, a late hours kitchen, some outside seating

For further information:
David Shove shove001 [at]     651-636-5672

--------2 of 4--------

Snowden, Greenwald and Wikileaks Are Winning
by Mark Weisbrot
Published on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 by Al-Jazeera

NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden and Sarah Harrison (L), a legal
researcher for WikiLeaks, leave Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport after Snowden
spent nearly six weeks in hiding there. (Photo: Reuters)"It is a slap in
the face of all Americans," said Senator John McCain (R - AZ), referring to
Russia's decision to grant asylum to Edward Snowden. He demanded that the
Russians face " serious repercussions " for their decision.

Well, turn the other cheek, I say. McCain ran for president in 2008
promising to be more belligerent towards the Russians, so this is normal
for Dr.Strangelove and his crusty Cold War foaming at the mouth.

Not to be outdone, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said that
Russia had "stabbed us in the back," and that "each day that Mr. Snowden is
allowed to roam free is another twist of the knife".

Twist and shout! The Russians did a big favor for the freedom-loving
peoples of the world, including those in the US who can still think with
our own brains. The self-righteous pundits who complain about Russia's own
human rights record, as if this were even remotely relevant, might try to
recall how Snowden ended up there in the first place. He was passing
through Moscow on his way to South America, and it was only by virtue of
Washington's "gross violations of his human rights," as Amnesty
International called it, that he got stuck there.

Indeed, the whole chase scene is symbolic of the difficulties in which
Washington finds itself immersed. Unable to win their case in the court of
public opinion, the self-styled leaders of the free world resort to threats
and bullying to get their way - which kind of sums up American foreign
policy in the second decade of the 21st century. And the spectacle of US
attorney general Eric Holder trying to offer Russia assurances that his
government would not torture or execute Snowden speaks volumes about how
far the US government's reputation on human rights - even within the United
States - has plummeted over the past decade.

Meanwhile, Snowden and Glenn Greenwald and Wikileaks are winning. At the
outset Snowden said his biggest fear was that people would see "the lengths
that the government is going to grant themselves powers unilaterally to
create greater control over American society and global society and that
'nothing will change'". But his disclosures have already created a new
debate, and political change will follow.

Two weeks ago there was a surprisingly close call in the US House of
Representatives, with the majority of House Democrats and 94 of 234
Republicans defying their House (and Senate) leadership, the White House,
and the national security establishment in a vote to end the NSA's mass
collection of phone records. The amendment was narrowly defeated by a vote
of 205 to 217, but it was clear that "this is only the beginning," as John
Conyers (D-MI), ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee announced.

A week later Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Democratic Chair of the Senate Judiciary
Committee, called a hearing where he challenged the Obama administration's
claims that the NSA dragnet had been effective in disrupting terrorist
plots. According to Leahy, the classified list that he had been shown of
"terrorist events" did not show that "dozens or even several terrorist
plots" had been thwarted by the NSA's surveillance of domestic phone calls.

It is beginning to sink in that the main target of the NSA's massive spying
programs is not terrorism but the American people themselves (as well as
other non-terrorist populations throughout the world). Pew Research finds
for the first time since 2004 that there are more Americans concerned that
government "anti-terror" programs have "gone too far in restricting civil
liberties" than those who think not enough has been done to protect people
from terrorism.

Then Glenn Greenwald broke the story of the NSA's XKeyscore program, the
"widest reaching" of its secret surveillance systems, based on Snowden's
revelations.  Greenwald has become a one-man army, swatting down attackers
from the national security/journalistic establishment like a hero from a
video game.  Here you can see him wipe the floor with CNN's Jeffrey Toobin,
or David Gregory of Meet the Press; or the most devastating takedown ever
of a Washington Post journalist, Walter Pincus, who had to run a massive
correction after promoting a false, far-fetched conspiracy theory about
Greenwald and Wikileaks.

Greenwald was joined on CNN by James Risen, a 15-year veteran of the New
York Times , who is himself being threatened with jail for refusing to
testify in a criminal trial of former CIA employee Jeffrey Sterling.
Sterling, like Snowden, has been charged under the infamous Espionage Act
for leaking classified information to Risen.  It is another case with
ominous implications for civil liberties and investigative journalism.

"I can tell you, I've been an investigative reporter for a long time," said
Risen. "And almost always, the government says that when you write a story,
it's going to cause damage. And then they can never back it up. They say
that about everything….It's getting old."

Indeed it is. And as Washington threatens to worsen relations with Russia -
which together with the United States has most of the nuclear weapons in
the world - over Snowden's asylum there, it's hard not to wonder about this
fanatical pursuit of someone Obama dismissed as a "29-year-old hacker". Is
it because he out-smarted a multi-billion dollar "intelligence community"
of people who think they are really very smart but are now looking rather

If Snowden really leaked information that harmed US national security, why
haven't any of these "really very smart" people been fired? Are we to
believe that punishing this whistleblower is important enough to damage
relations with other countries and put at risk all kinds of foreign policy
goals, but the breach of security isn't enough for anyone important to be
fired? Or is this another indication, like the generals telling Obama what
his options were in Afghanistan, of the increasing power of the
military/national security apparatus over our elected officials?

--------3 of 4--------

Don't Hate on Welfare Recepients
The Real Economic Parasites
August 08, 2013

Everywhere you look in the right-wing commentariat, you see the recurring
theme of the “underclass” as parasites. Its most recent appearance was the
meme of the productive, tax-paying 53% vs. the tax-consuming 47%. And of
course there’s the perennial favorite mythical quote attributed to
Alexander Tytler, trotted out by many who should know better, about the
majority discovering they can vote themselves largess from the public
treasury. (If you really believe the majority control the government, or
that the government serves the interests of the majority, you should avoid
using sharp tools without supervision.)

But mainly there’s an endless supply of resentment against “welfare
queens,” and friend-of-a-friend stories about the luxurious tastes of those
using food stamps at the checkout line, whose cumulative effect is to
reassure the middle class that their real enemies are to be found by
looking down, and not up.

If your resentment is directed downward against the “underclass” and
recipients of welfare-for-the-poor, it’s most definitely misdirected.

First, let’s look at the little picture, and consider the net effects of
state policy on the actual recipients of welfare. Consider how state
policies on behalf of land owners and real estate investors, like the
enforcement of absentee title to vacant and unimproved land, drives up
rents and closes off access to cheap living space. Consider how licensing
schemes and “anti-jitney” laws, zoning laws against operating businesses
out of one’s home or out of pushcarts, and regulations that impose needless
capital outlays and entry barriers or overhead costs, close off
opportunities for self-employment. And consider how zoning restrictions on
mixed-use development and other government promotions of sprawl and the car
culture increase the basic cost of subsistence. You think the money spent
on welfare for the poor equals that drain on the resources of the

Next, look at the big picture. Consider the total rents extracted from
society as a whole by the dominant economic classes: The inflation of land
rent and mortgages by the above-mentioned absentee titles to unimproved
land; the usurious interest rates resulting from legal tender laws and
restraints on competition in the supply of credit; the enormous markups
over actual production cost that result from copyrights, patents and
trademarks; the oligopoly markup (once estimated by the Nader Group at
around 20% of retail price in industries dominated by a handful of firms)
in industries cartelized by government regulations and entry barriers …

Now consider, out of this vast ocean of rents extracted by state-connected
parasites, the miniscule fraction that trickles back to the most destitute
of the destitute, in the form of welfare and food stamps, in just barely
large enough quantities to prevent homelessness and starvation from
reaching high enough levels to destabilize the political system and
threaten the ruling classes’ ability to extract rents from all of us. The
state-allied landlords, capitalists and rentiers rob us all with a
front-end loader, and then the state — THEIR state — uses a teaspoon to
relieve those hardest hit.

Every time in history the state has provided a dole to the poorest of the
poor — the distribution of free grain and oil to the proletariat of Rome,
the Poor Laws in England, AFDC and TANF since the 1960s — it has occurred
against a background of large-scale robbery of the poor by the rich. The
Roman proletariat received a dole to prevent bloody revolt after the common
lands of the Republic had been engrossed by the nobility and turned into
slave-farms. The Poor Laws of England were passed after the landed classes
enclosed much of the Open Fields for sheep pasture. The urban American
blacks who received AFDC in the 1960s were southern sharecroppers, or their
children, who had been tractored off their land (or land that should have
been theirs, if they had received the land that was rightfully theirs after
Emancipation) after WWII.

As Frances Fox Piven and Andrew Cloward argued in “Regulating the Poor,”
the state — which is largely controlled by and mainly serves the interest
of the propertied classes — only steps in to provide welfare to the poor
when it’s necessary to prevent social destabilization. When it does so, it
usually provides the bare minimum necessary. And in the process, it uses
the power conferred by distributing the public assistance to enforce a
maximum in social discipline on the recipients (as anyone who’s dealt with
the humiliation of a human services office, or a visit from a case-worker,
can testify).

So don’t resent the folks who get welfare and food stamps. Your real
enemies — the ones the state really serves — are above, not below.

Kevin Carson is a senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society ( and holds the Center’s Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory.

--------4 of 4---------

>From Monthly Review
Poem by Marge Piercy
What they call acts of god

How gorgeous is the snow and deadly.
The roads are gone under its drifts.
Hundreds of thousands without power
in a frozen world where the wind
howls like a pack of coywolves.

Already hypothermia fatalities
mount — which is to say, huddling
under blankets the old, the frail,
babies shivered, stopped shivering
and froze to death.

It costs too much to bury over-
head lines, the power company
officials say, who never went
without water, without light
never cowered in the frigid dark:

decisions made by those whom
they do not impact, do not kill.
*We don’t believe in climate
change and besides, the cost
benefit ratio does benefit us.*

Drought from agribusiness stealing
water. Lawns green in suburban
desert. Houses washed away from
cheaply done levees. In New Orleans
rebuild for the rich and tourists

and let the ninth ward rot into weeds.
Insurance companies hope you’ll
grow senile before they pay.
Politicians sit on money to rebuild.
And we call these natural disasters.

Marge Piercy is the author of eighteen poetry books, most recently *The
Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems, 1980–2010*from Knopf. Her most recent
novel is *Sex Wars*(Harper Perennial) and PM Press has republished *Vida*and
*Dance the Eagle to Sleep*with new introductions.

ed: Mike Malloy, on 950AM 8-11pm M-F, asks THE question, How much more of
this are we going to put up with?


                                                           Clove Shove Jove
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