|Progressive Calendar 08.08.13 /3||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001umn.edu)|
|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] umn.edu. >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 award. 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 scottwrobel.com. 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] umn.edu 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 incompetent? 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 by KEVIN CARSON 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 underclass? 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 ( c4ss.org) 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 Trove
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