|Progressive Calendar 01.19.12 /2||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2012 13:17:55 -0800 (PST)|
* P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 01.19.12* 1. Occupy capitalism 1.19 7pm 2. Ralph Nader - United States Congress: a graveyard for democracy and justice 3. Chris Hedges - Why I’m suing Barack Obama 4. ed - Letter lib (haiku) --------1 of 4-------- From: Joe Schwartzberg schwa004 [at] umn.edu Occupy capitalism 1.19 7pm THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM Free and open to the public. Come and bring a friend. Where? Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale and Hennepin). Park in church lot January 19, 2012, 7:00-9:00 p.m. OCCUPY WALL STREET AND THE TWILIGHT OF AMERICAN CAPITALISM Occupy Wall Street has grown from an isolated protest act to an international movement and media sensation. Yet, what does this movement represent? This talk examines the meaning of Occupy Wall Street in the context of a crisis in American capitalism and democracy that has its roots in the rise of Reaganism, Thatcherism, and the transformation of the global economy that begin in the 1980s and which came to a crash in 2008. Occupy Wall Street challenges America with an alternative choice regarding how to structure domestic and international economic and political institutions. Presenter: Professor David Schulz. David Schultz is a Hamline University School of Business professor and a senior fellow at the Institute on Law and Politics at the University of Minnesota Law School. He is the author/editor of more than 25 books and 80 articles on American politics, law, and public policy. He is a frequent political analyst in the local and national media, appearing in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and on all the major television and radio networks. --------2 of 4-------- Published on Thursday, January 19, 2012 by Common Dreams United States Congress: A Graveyard for Democracy and Justice by Ralph Nader The editor of The Hill, a newspaper exclusively covering Congress, said that Congress was not going to do very much in 2012, except for "the big bill" which is extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment compensation, which expire in late February. That two month extension will likely reignite the fight between Democrats and Republicans that flared last month. In 2012, Congress, the editor implied, would be busy electioneering. That is, the Senators and Representatives will be busy raising money from commercial interests so they can keep their jobs. There won't be much time to change anything about misallocated public budgets, unfair tax rules, undeclared costly wars, and job-depleting trade policies that, if fixed, would increase employment and public investment. So this year, Congress will spend well over $3 billion on its own expenses to do nothing of significance other than shift more debt to individual taxpayers by depleting the social security payroll tax by over $100 billion so both parties can say they enacted a tax cut! That is what the Democrats in Congress and the President call a significant accomplishment. Will someone call a psychiatrist? This is a Congress that is beyond dysfunctional. It is an obstacle to progress in America, a graveyard for both democracy and justice. No wonder a new Washington Post-ABC news poll found an all time high of 84 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing. Both Republicans and Democrats say they want to reduce the deficit. But they are avoiding, in varying degrees, doing this in any way that would discomfort the rich and powerful. One would think that, especially in an election year, the following legislative agenda would be very popular with the voters. First, restore the taxes on the rich that George W. Bush cut ten years ago which expanded the deficit. So clueless are the Democrats that they have not learned to use the word "restore" instead of the Republican word "increase" when talking about taxes that were previously cut for the millionaires and billionaires. Second, collect unpaid taxes. The IRS estimates that $385 billion of tax revenues are not collected yearly. If the IRS budget increased and more people were hired, every dollar it spent would return $200 from tax evaders, including corporations and the wealthy. When taxes are not collected, the large majority of honest taxpayers are left with the unfair consequences. Imagine that money being applied to jobs that repair our crumbling public works. Third, end the outrageous corporate loopholes that allow profitable large corporations to pay just half of the statutory tax rate of thirty-five percent. More than a few pay less than five percent and many pay zero on major profits. During a recent three year period, according to the Citizens for Tax Justice, a dozen major corporations such as Verizon and Honeywell paid no taxes on many billions of profits, and the legendary tax escapee, General Electric, managed to pay zero and even receive billions in benefits from the U.S. Treasury. Fourth, do what most U.S. soldiers in the field have believed should have been done years ago--get out of Afghanistan and Iraq and nearby countries like Kuwait where thousands of U.S. soldiers based in Iraq have moved. Fifth, to increase consumer demand, which creates jobs, raise the federal minimum wage from the present level of $7.25--which is $2.75 less than it was way back in 1968, adjusted for inflation--to $10 per hour. Businesses who keep raising prices and executive salaries (eg. Walmart and McDonalds) since 1968 should be reminded of their windfall in that period. In addition, President Obama can urge mutual and pension funds and individual shareholders to demand higher dividends from companies like EMC, Google, Apple, Cisco, Oracle and others firms hoarding two trillion dollars in cash as if this money was the corporate bosses', not the owner-shareholders. More dividends, more consumer demand, more jobs. Want to know why Congress doesn't make such popular and prudent decisions for the American people? Because the people are not objecting to all the power that their Congressional representatives and their corporate allies have sucked away from them. Because the people are not putting teeth and time into the "sovereignty of the people" expressed in the preamble to our Constitution which begins with "We the people," not "We the corporation." So citizens, it's your choice. If you don't demand a say day after day, you'll continue to pay day after day. By the way, the Congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121. Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book - and first novel - is, Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us. His most recent work of non-fiction is The Seventeen Traditions. --------3 of 4-------- .Published on Monday, January 16, 2012 by Truthdig.com Why I’m Suing Barack Obama by Chris Hedges Attorneys Carl J. Mayer and Bruce I. Afran filed a complaint Friday in the Southern U.S. District Court in New York City on my behalf as a plaintiff against Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to challenge the legality of the Authorization for Use of Military Force as embedded in the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by the president Dec. 31. The act authorizes the military in Title X, Subtitle D, entitled “Counter-Terrorism,” for the first time in more than 200 years, to carry out domestic policing. With this bill, which will take effect March 3, the military can indefinitely detain without trial any U.S. citizen deemed to be a terrorist or an accessory to terrorism. And suspects can be shipped by the military to our offshore penal colony in Guantanamo Bay and kept there until “the end of hostilities.” It is a catastrophic blow to civil liberties. I spent many years in countries where the military had the power to arrest and detain citizens without charge. I have been in some of these jails. I have friends and colleagues who have “disappeared” into military gulags. I know the consequences of granting sweeping and unrestricted policing power to the armed forces of any nation. And while my battle may be quixotic, it is one that has to be fought if we are to have any hope of pulling this country back from corporate fascism. Section 1031 of the bill defines a “covered person”—one subject to detention—as “a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.” The bill, however, does not define the terms “substantially supported,” “directly supported” or “associated forces.” I met regularly with leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. I used to visit Palestine Liberation Organization leaders, including Yasser Arafat and Abu Jihad, in Tunis when they were branded international terrorists. I have spent time with the Revolutionary Guard in Iran and was in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey with fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. All these entities were or are labeled as terrorist organizations by the U.S. government. What would this bill have meant if it had been in place when I and other Americans traveled in the 1980s with armed units of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua or the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front guerrillas in El Salvador? What would it have meant for those of us who were with the southern insurgents during the civil war in Yemen or the rebels in the southern Sudan? I have had dinner more times than I can count with people whom this country brands as terrorists. But that does not make me one. Once a group is deemed to be a terrorist organization, whether it is a Palestinian charity or an element of the Uighur independence movement, the military can under this bill pick up a U.S. citizen who supported charities associated with the group or unwittingly sent money or medical supplies to front groups. We have already seen the persecution and closure of Islamic charity organizations in the United States that supported the Palestinians. Now the members of these organizations can be treated like card-carrying “terrorists” and sent to Guantanamo. But I suspect the real purpose of this bill is to thwart internal, domestic movements that threaten the corporate state. The definition of a terrorist is already so amorphous under the Patriot Act that there are probably a few million Americans who qualify to be investigated if not locked up. Consider the arcane criteria that can make you a suspect in our new military-corporate state. The Department of Justice considers you worth investigating if you are missing a few fingers, if you have weatherproof ammunition, if you own guns or if you have hoarded more than seven days of food in your house. Adding a few of the obstructionist tactics of the Occupy movement to this list would be a seamless process. On the whim of the military, a suspected “terrorist” who also happens to be a U.S. citizen can suffer extraordinary rendition—being kidnapped and then left to rot in one of our black sites “until the end of hostilities.” Since this is an endless war that will be a very long stay. This demented “war on terror” is as undefined and vague as such a conflict is in any totalitarian state. Dissent is increasingly equated in this country with treason. Enemies supposedly lurk in every organization that does not chant the patriotic mantras provided to it by the state. And this bill feeds a mounting state paranoia. It expands our permanent war to every spot on the globe. It erases fundamental constitutional liberties. It means we can no longer use the word “democracy” to describe our political system. The supine and gutless Democratic Party, which would have feigned outrage if George W. Bush had put this into law, appears willing, once again, to grant Obama a pass. But I won’t. What he has done is unforgivable, unconstitutional and exceedingly dangerous. The threat and reach of al-Qaida—which I spent a year covering for The New York Times in Europe and the Middle East—are marginal, despite the attacks of 9/11. The terrorist group poses no existential threat to the nation. It has been so disrupted and broken that it can barely function. Osama bin Laden was gunned down by commandos and his body dumped into the sea. Even the Pentagon says the organization is crippled. So why, a decade after the start of the so-called war on terror, do these draconian measures need to be implemented? Why do U.S. citizens now need to be specifically singled out for military detention and denial of due process when under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force the president can apparently find the legal cover to serve as judge, jury and executioner to assassinate U.S. citizens, as he did in the killing of the cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen? Why is this bill necessary when the government routinely ignores our Fifth Amendment rights—“No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law”—as well as our First Amendment right of free speech? How much more power do they need to fight “terrorism”? Fear is the psychological weapon of choice for totalitarian systems of power. Make the people afraid. Get them to surrender their rights in the name of national security. And then finish off the few who aren’t afraid enough. If this law is not revoked we will be no different from any sordid military dictatorship. Its implementation will be a huge leap forward for the corporate oligarchs who plan to continue to plunder the nation and use state and military security to cow the population into submission. The oddest part of this legislation is that the FBI, the CIA, the director of national intelligence, the Pentagon and the attorney general didn’t support it. FBI Director Robert Mueller said he feared the bill would actually impede the bureau’s ability to investigate terrorism because it would be harder to win cooperation from suspects held by the military. “The possibility looms that we will lose opportunities to obtain cooperation from the persons in the past that we’ve been fairly successful in gaining,” he told Congress. But it passed anyway. And I suspect it passed because the corporations, seeing the unrest in the streets, knowing that things are about to get much worse, worrying that the Occupy movement will expand, do not trust the police to protect them. They want to be able to call in the Army. And now they can. © 2012 TruthDig Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. --------4 of 4-------- LETTER LIBERATION C,F,K and U want to see other letters more often. Please help. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Clove CoveDroveGroveJoveRoveShoveStoveWove
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