|Progressive Calendar 03.02.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2007 02:48:00 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.02.07 1. Ffunch 3.02 11:30am CANCELLED 2. Intl womens day 3.03 8am 3. Venezuela 3.03 10am 4. Homeless vets 3.03 10am 5. Libraries 3.03 10am 6. NWN4P vigils 3.03 11am 7. RNC planning 3.03 12noon 8. StP Green Party 3.03 12noon 9. Northtown vigil 3.03 1pm 10. Review the cops 3.03 1:30PM 11. SOA/potluck 3.03 5pm 12. Moon walk/snow 3.03 7pm 13. Eco/war/films 3.04 12:30pm 14. VigilStillwater 3.04 1pm 15. Immigration 3.04 2pm 16. AIDS musical 3.04 5pm 17. PC Roberts - Americans have lost their country 18. Harvey Wasserman - The sham of nuclear power 19. George Galloway - These orchestrated attacks on Chavez are a travesty 20. Mike Whitney - Market meltdown: the dead hand of Greenspan --------1 of 20-------- From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: Ffunch 3.02 11:30am CANCELLED snow Meet the FFUNCH BUNCH! 11:30am-1pm First Friday Lunch (FFUNCH) for Greens/progressives. Informal political talk and hanging out. Day By Day Cafe 477 W 7th Av St Paul. Meet in the private room (holds 12+). Day By Day has soups, salads, sandwiches, and dangerous apple pie; is close to downtown St Paul & on major bus lines --------2 of 20-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Intl womens day 3.03 8am International Women's Day Celebration: Crossing Borders, Crossing Cultures Saturday, March 3, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. University of Minnesota, Coffman Memorial Union, 300 Washington Avenue Southeast. Film screenings, photo exhibits, performances, information tables, and workshops. Keynote speaker: Maria Jose Alcala of the United Nations Population Fund. Free and open to the public. Presented by: Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights and the Human Rights Program at the University of Minnesota. FFI: Visit <www.mnadvocates.org>. --------3 of 20-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Venezuela 3.03 10am Saturday, 3/3, 10 to 11:30 am, Sergio Sanchez speaks on "Venezuela after the Elections: Relations with the United States," Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha Ave, Mpls. www.americas.org --------4 of 20-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Homeless vets 3.03 10am Saturday, 3/3 (and each 1st Saturday), 10 to 11:30 am, Homeless Veterans for Peace meeting, Peacehouse, 510 E Franklin Ave, Mpls. Bob Heberle at 612-789-9020 --------5 of 20-------- From: Cam Gordon <CamGordon333 [at] msn.com> Subject: Libraries 3.03 10am Library "Consolidation" Meetings. Two library advisory groups are wrapping up their deliberations on a possible merger of the Minneapolis and Hennepin County library systems. Representatives of the City, Library Board and County will discuss why a merger is being considered and what changes a unified system might bring at a series of upcoming meetings: Saturday, March 3, 10 - 11:30 am, North Regional Library, 1315 Lowry Ave N Monday, March 5, 6:30-8 pm, Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall Thursday, March 8, 7 - 8:30 pm, Nokomis Library, 5100 34th Ave S This is a very serious decision that will have long term consequences for our city for generations to come. It is essential that questions and concerns about this proposal be brought up quickly. There appears to be strong support for this idea from the County Board, the City Council and Mayor and the Library Board. Though no Council committee has formally reviewed the work of the advisory groups so far, there is growing support for turning the Minneapolis system over to the County. I have concerns that we, as a community and as a Council, are not taking the necessary time to study, consider and discuss alternatives. If turning our public libraries over to the County is the alternative that will be chosen, I think that it is very important that we make certain that the people of Minneapolis get the best deal possible in the transaction. If you care about the library system and have ideas or concerns about this, please get involved. For more information, please go here: http://hclib.org/pub/info/futureoflibraries/Guiding%20Principles%20ADOPTED.htm and here: http://www.mplib.org/shapemplsfuture.asp East Lake Library Grand Opening. The newly renovated East Lake Library (2727 E Lake S) will be re-opening March 3. Please join me at the grand opening celebration Saturday from 1-6 PM. Cam Gordon Minneapolis City Council Member, Second Ward 673-2202, 296-0579 cam [at] camgordon.org http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/ward2/ http://secondward.blogspot.com/ --------6 of 20-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P vigils 3.03 11am There are now two NWN4P weekly demonstrations as follows: 1. NWN4P-Plymouth demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, along Vinewood, just north of 42nd Ave. and one block east of 494 in Plymouth. Drive toward the Rainbow and Target Greatland on Vinewood, turn right by Bakers Square and right again into the parking lot near the sidewalk. Bring your own sign or use ours. 2. NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7 and 101. Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the entrance fountain. Bring your own signs or use ours. --------7 of 20-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: RNC planning 3.03 12noon Meeting THIS Saturday 3/3 @ 12noon Sabathani Community Center 310 East 38th Street, Minneapolis Office of Welfare Rights Committee (room #207) The Republican National Convention is coming to the Twin Cities in September 2008. The eyes of the world will be on St. Paul, as the Republicans meet to nominate their next candidate for President. But the real news will be breaking on the streets outside the Xcel Center, as progressive people from around the country gather to protest. We will demand that U.S. troops get out of Iraq. We will call for money for human needs, not for war. We will protest the Republican Agenda, and in its place, demand peace, justice and equality. This meeting is for all individuals or organizations who want to be involved in organizing our response to the RNC in 2008. Bring your plans, your ideas, your questions and your enthusiasm. Please share this invite with others. Contact jess [at] antiwarcommittee.org <mailto:jess%40antiwarcommittee.org> if you have questions or can't make this meeting but want to stay informed about future meetings or activities. --------8 of 20-------- From: ed Subject: StP Green Party 3.03 12noon All people interested in finding out more about the Green Party of St. Paul are invited to: Our monthly meeting First Saturday of every month noon until 2 pm Rice street library -new location- 1011 Rice Street, St. Paul http://www.stpaul.lib.mn.us/locations/ricestreet.html --------9 of 20-------- From: Lennie <major18 [at] comcast.net> Subject: Northtown vigil 3.03 1pm Mounds View peace vigil EVERY SATURDAY from 1-2pm at the at the southeast corner of the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE in Blaine, which is the northwest most corner of the Northtown Mall area. This is a MUCH better location. We'll have extra signs. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. For further information, email major18 [at] comcast.net or call Lennie at 763-717-9168 --------10 of 20-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] minn.net> Subject: Review the cops 3.03 1:30PM Saturday, March 3 at 1:30 p.m. Meet with CRA Board Representatives Walker Church, 3100 16th Ave S, Minneapolis The Civilian Review Authority (CRA) was created to investigate complaints of police brutality in Minneapolis. But is the CRA really doing its best to make offending officers accountable? Come to this meeting to ask questions and share your concerns. --------11 of 20-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: SOA/potluck 3.03 5pm Saturday, 3/3, 5 pm potluck, 6 pm program, sendoff for Northland College junior Melissa Helman as she heads off to prison for "crossing the line" at the School of the Americas last November, featuring human rights activist Mayra Gimez, former prisoner of conscience Brooks Anderson and musician Rachael Kilgour, Peace United Church of Christ fellowship hall, 1111 N 11th Ave, Duluth. anathoth [at] lakeland.ws --------12 of 20-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Moon walk/snow 3.03 7pm Coldwater Full Moon Tour Saturday, March 3, 7:00 p.m. (Gather) 7:15 p.m. (Walk) Minnehaha Park, 54th Street South, Minneapolis (South End of the Pay Parking Lot). The March moon is called the storm moon, also sap, raccoon and crow moon. A total lunar eclipse begins at 3:30 p.m. and ends at 7:12 p.m., but may not be visible. Come play in the snow! According to the Farmer's Almanac the area should be heavily blessed with snow. Wear waterproofs. Plus a traditional group howl. Coldwater is a sacred spot for Native Americans and earth preservation. FFI: Visit <www.friendsofcoldwater.org>. --------13 of 20-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: Eco/war/films 3.04 12:30pm Northwest Neighbors for Peace is presenting two fine films free at the Ridgedale Library, 12601 Ridgedale Dr., Minnetonka on Sunday March 4. "An Inconvenient Truth" will begin at 12:30 PM; "The Ground Truth " at 2:30 PM. Come for one or come for both. Free and open to the public. More information, Carole Rydberg, carydberg [at] comcast.net. --------14 of 20-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Vigil Stillwater 3.04 1pm A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2 p.m. Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be positive. Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers. If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it. Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to <http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/> --------15 of 20-------- From: Eduardo Cardenas <eduardocardenas [at] mac.com> Subject: Immigration march 3.04 2pm STOP THE RAIDS, NO MORE DEPORTATIONS, LEGALIZATION FOR ALL NOW! March and Rally for Immigration Reform Sunday March 4th at 2:00 pm Governer's Mansion (1006 Summit Ave.) St. Paul to Linwood Rec. Center (860 St. Clair Ave.) The Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition (MIRAC) is hosting a march to call for an end to the deportations and raids that have taken place over the past several months, and to demand that our elected officials support comprehensive immigration reform that provides for legalization for all immigrants. The ICE raids of Dec. 12 in Worthington MN, tore apart dozens of families and left literally hundreds of kids asking, Where have they taken my dad/uncle/sister/etc. Without immediate immigration reform thousands of families in our country will continue to be forced to live in the shadows, perpetually tormented by the fear of losing a loved one at any moment. Join families, workers, communities of faith, students, immigrants and their allies to bring attention to the impacts that these raids have on families and the larger community and demand Comprehensive Immigration Reform, without loopholes and strings attached for special interest groups, that meets the economic and social reality of the situation and not the political prerogatives of politicians. More info: www.mnimmigrantrights.net or call (651) 389-9174. --------16 of 20-------- From: David Strand <mncivil [at] yahoo.com> Subject: AIDS musical 3.04 5pm The 18th Annual Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS Sunday, March 4 - Saturday, March 10, 2007 A National Program of the Balm In Gilead, Inc. Community Fitness Today, Inc., the Macedonia Baptist Church DHM HIV/AIDS Ministry and Kwanzaa Community Church in partnership with The Balm In Gilead Presents the annual: "If I Can Help Somebody" kick off musical featuring: Paris Bennett "Princess P" Stellar Award winning: James Grear & Company And other choirs, groups, soloist, praising dancing, including a special candle lighting ceremony Sunday, March 4, 2007, 5:00 p.m. Kwanzaa Community Church 3700 Bryant Avenue North Minneapolis, Minnesota 55411 A Community Fitness Today, Inc. annual event! Free Will Offering! All donations tax-deductible and benefit individuals infected and affected by HIV/AIDS For more information or for questions contact Marie at 612-824-8610 Email: communityfitness [at] hotmail.com For more information about the National Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS go to: www.balmingilead.org/wop S. Marie Graham, Executive Director Community Fitness Today, Inc. 310 East 38th Street, Suite 226 Minneapolis, MN 55409 Office 612-824-8610 Fax 612-824-8756 --------17 of 20-------- The Tragedy of a Dozen Evil Men Americans Have Lost Their Country By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS CounterPunch March 1, 2007 The Bush-Cheney regime is America's first neoconservative regime. In a few short years, the regime has destroyed the Bill of Rights, the separation of powers, the Geneva Conventions, and the remains of America's moral reputation along with the infrastructures of two Muslim countries and countless thousands of Islamic civilians. Plans have been prepared, and forces moved into place, for an attack on a third Islamic country, Iran, and perhaps Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon as well. This extraordinary aggressiveness toward the US Constitution, international law, and the Islamic world is the work, not of a vast movement, but of a handful of ideologues - principally Vice President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Lewis Libby, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Zalmay Khalilzad, John Bolton, Philip Zelikow, and Attorney General Gonzales. These are the main operatives who have controlled policy. They have been supported by their media shills at the Weekly Standard, National Review, Fox News, New York Times, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page and by "scholars" in assorted think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute. The entirety of their success in miring the United States in what could become permanent conflict in the Middle East is based on the power of propaganda and the big lie. Initially, the 9/11 attack was blamed on Osama bin Laden, but after an American puppet was installed in Afghanistan, the blame for 9/11 was shifted to Iraq's Saddam Hussein, who was said to have weapons of mass destruction that would be used against America. The regime sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to tell the lie to the UN that the Bush-Cheney regime had conclusive proof of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Having conned the UN, Congress, and the American people, the regime invaded Iraq under totally false pretenses and with totally false expectations. The regime's occupation of Iraq has failed in a military sense, but the neoconservatives are turning their failure into a strategic advantage. At the beginning of this year President Bush began blaming Iran for America's embarrassing defeat by a few thousand lightly armed insurgents in Iraq. Bush accuses Iran of arming the Iraqi insurgents, a charge that experts regard as improbable. The Iraqi insurgents are Sunni. They inflict casualties on our troops, but spend most of their energy killing Iraqi Shi'ites, who are closely allied with Iran, which is Shi'ite. Bush's accusation requires us to believe that Iran is arming the enemies of its allies. On the basis of this absurd accusation - a pure invention - Bush has ordered a heavy concentration of aircraft carrier attack forces off Iran's coast, and he has moved US attack planes to Turkish bases and other US bases in countries contingent to Iran. In testimony before Congress on February 1 of this year, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said that he expected the regime to orchestrate a "head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large." He said a plausible scenario was "a terrorist act blamed on Iran, culminating in a 'defensive' US military action against Iran." He said that the neoconservative propaganda machine was already articulating a "mythical historical narrative" for widening their war against Islam. Why is the US spending one trillion dollars on wars, the reasons for which are patently false. What is going on? There are several parts to the answer. Like their forebears among the Jacobins of the French Revolution, the Bolsheviks of the communist revolution, and the National Socialists of Hitler's revolution, neoconservatives believe that they have a monopoly on virtue and the right to impose hegemony on the rest of the world. Neoconservative conquests began in the Middle East because oil and Israel, with which neocons are closely allied, are both in the MIddle East. The American oil giant, UNOCAL, had plans for an oil and gas pipeline through Afghanistan, but the Taliban were not sufficiently cooperative. The US invasion of Afghanistan was used to install Hamid Karzai, who had been on UNOCAL's payroll, as puppet prime minister. US neoconservative Zalmay Khalilzad, who also had been on UNOCAL's payroll, was installed as US ambassador to Afghanistan. Two years later Khalilzad was appointed US ambassador to Iraq. American oil companies have been given control over the exploitation of Iraq's oil resources. The Israeli relationship is perhaps even more important. In 1996 Richard Perle and the usual collection of neocons proposed that all of Israel's enemies in the Middle East be overthrown. "Israel's enemies" consist of the Muslim countries not in the hands of US puppets or allies. For decades Israel has been stealing Palestine from the Palestinians such that today there is not enough of Palestine left to comprise an independent country. The US and Israeli governments blame Iran, Iraq, and Syria for aiding and abetting Palestinian resistance to Israel's theft of Palestine. The Bush-Cheney regime came to power with the plans drawn to attack the remaining independent countries in the Middle East and with neoconservatives in office to implement the plans. However, an excuse was required. Neoconservatives had called for "a new Pearl Harbor," and 9/11 provided the propaganda event needed in order to stampede the public and Congress into war. Neoconservative Philip Zelikow was put in charge of the 9/11 Commission Report to make certain no uncomfortable facts emerged. The neoconservatives have had enormous help from the corporate media, from Christian evangelicals, particularly from the "Rapture Evangelicals," from flag-waving superpatriots, and from the military-industrial complex whose profits have prospered. But the fact remains that the dozen men named in the second paragraph above were able to overthrow the US Constitution and launch military aggression under the guise of a preventive/preemptive "war against terrorism." When the American people caught on that the "war on terror" was a cloak for wars of aggression, they put Democrats in control of Congress in order to apply a brake to the regime's warmongering. However, the Democrats have proven to be impotent to stop the neoconservative drive to wider war and, perhaps, world conflagration. We are witnessing the triumph of a dozen evil men over American democracy and a free press. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com --------18 of 20-------- Patrick Moore's Deadly Con Game The Sham of Nuclear Power By HARVEY WASSERMAN CounterPunch February 28, 2007 Vermont, like too many other places with nuke reactors, was recently disgraced by an industry-sponsored visit from Patrick Moore, who claims to be a "founder" of Greenpeace, and who is out selling nuclear power as a "green" technology. The two claims are roughly equal in the baldness of their falsehood. But the impacts of the lies about Vermont Yankee---like so many other reactors---are far more serious. Vermont is now at a crossroads in its energy and environmental future. The reactor is old and infirm. Every day it operates heightens the odds on a major accident. In a world beset by terror, there is no more vulnerable target than an aged reactor like Vermont Yankee. Its core is laden with builtup radiation accumulated over the decades. Its environs are stacked with supremely radioactive spent fuel. Its elderly core and containment are among the most fragile that exist. Despite industry claims, VY's high-level nuke waste is going nowhere. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Edward McGaffigan has told the New York Times he believes the Yucca Mountain waste repository cannot open for at least another 17-20 years, if ever. At current production levels, it will by then require yet another repository at least that size to handle the spent fuel that will by then be stacked at reactors like VY. In short: the dry casks stacked at Vermont Yankee comprise what amounts to a permanent high level nuke dump, on the shores of the Connecticut River. The Better Business Bureau recently recommended that the Nuclear Energy Institute pull its advertising that claims atomic reactors are clean and nonpolluting. The NEI is an industry front group. The BBB says that reactors cause thermal pollution in their outtake pipes and cooling towers, and also create substantial amounts of greenhouse gases in uranium production. In short, the Better Business Bureau has punctured the industry's claim the Vermont Yankee and other reactors are any kind of solution for climate chaos. The idea that VY is a "green" facility is utter nonsense. Indeed, all nuclear power plants produce huge quantities of global warming gases as they are wrapped up in the mining of the uranium ore that goes into the fuel, and in the milling of that ore into fuel rods. The American West is littered with gargantuan piles of mill tailings that pour thousands of curies of radioactive radon into the atmosphere. Fabricating fuel rods is one of the most electricity-intensive industries on earth, consuming millions of tons of coal in the process, emitting untold quantities of greenhouse gases. The radioactive emissions from the plants themselves also unbalance the atmosphere, and the heat they dump into the air and water directly heats the planet. The alleged "renaissance" of nuclear power is nothing more than heavily funded industry hype. Wall Street financiers are not lining up to invest in these dinosaurs, and numerous utility executives have publicly doubted the wisdom of building them. One reason is the explosive take-off of the renewable energy industry. Wind power is now very substantially cheaper than nukes. The production of photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight directly to electricity, can barely meet demand. Investments in biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel are soaring, as are those in the cheapest form of recovered energy, increased efficiency. Shutting VY would open Vermont to the revolution that is reshaping the future. Keeping it open locks Vermont into a sorry past. Nuclear power is a 50-year experiment that has failed. Extending the operations of Vermont Yankee will only leave the state with more radioactive waste, a Connecticut River increasingly threatened by heat and radioactive emissions, and an increasingly radioactive relic despoiling the region. Nukes cannot compete in the market, and would all cease to operate overnight if the huge subsidy of federal liability insurance was removed. It is fitting, therefore, that the industry has insulted Vermont by sending in a spokesman of the caliber of Patrick Moore. Moore has claimed for years to be a founder of Greenpeace, an exaggeration of his actual role. Moore sailed on the first Greenpeace campaign, but he did not actually found the organization. According to Dorothy Stowe, an American Quaker, who immigrated to Canada in 1966 and founded Greenpeace with her husband Irving Stowe and other Canadian pacifists and ecologists, "Technically, Patrick Moore cannot be described as a founder of Greenpeace. He was there in early stages with a lot of others. But what he is doing now is unconscionable." In "Greenpeace: How a Group of Ecologists, Journalists, and Visionaries Changed the World," author Rex Weyler writes "Greenpeace was founded by Quakers Dorothy and Irving Stowe, Marie and Jim Bohlen, and journalists Ben Metcalfe, Dorothy Metcalfe, and Bob Hunter. This group organized the first campaign to sail a boat into the U.S. nuclear test zone on Amchitka Island in the Bering Sea. "Canadian ecologist and carpenter Bill Darnell coined the name "Greenpeace" in February 1970. A year later, Moore wrote to the organization, applying for a crew position on the boat and was accepted." Moore wrote his letter on March 16, 1971, two years after the group was founded, describing himself as a graduate student "in the field of resource ecology." Clearly, then, Moore was not a founder of Greenpeace. Founders don't write letters applying to join. After the Stowes, Metcalfes and Bob Hunter left the organization, Moore briefly served as president, from 1977 to 1979. Former members recall that his bullyism nearly scuttled Greenpeace. He launched an internal lawsuit against his rivals in other Greenpeace offices, was replaced as president in 1979, and eventually drummed out of the organization as a troublemaker. According to Steve Sawyer, who still works with Greenpeace in Amsterdam, "Moore harbored hopes of regaining his throne. Those hopes were dashed when he was chucked off the board in 1985." Moore started a fish farm, but did not succeed. He then did public relations for the Canadian forestry industry, absurdly defending massive clearcuts as an ecologically viable logging practice. In a newspaper column in 1993, authentic Greenpeace founder Bob Hunter, called Moore "The Judas of the ecology movement." According to Hunter, Moore "burned off his old buddies because of his hubris. He was always a Green Tory at heart." Moore says he is the "head scientist" of his public relations firm, but has never published a peer-reviewed scientific study. Moore exaggerates his role in Greenpeace and his credentials as a scientist to serve as a public relations hack for hire. Moore now gets big money defending the indefensible, posing as a reformed environmentalist who has seen the light ... any light he is paid to see. He has hyped genetically modified crops, PVCs, and brominated flame retardants. He has soft-pedaled dioxins and toxic mine tailings dumped by Newmont mines into Indonesia bays. Now he wants to sell Vermont on its nuke power plant. In exchange for a paycheck, he portrays Three Mile Island as a "success story." But if a melt-down turned Vermont Yankee into a TMI-type, billion-dollar liability, would he pitch in his pitch man's paychecks to help you underwrite this "success?" Years ago, when he worked for Greenpeace, Moore wrote: "Nuclear power plants are, next to nuclear warheads themselves, the most dangerous devices that man has ever created. Their construction and proliferation is the most irresponsible, in fact the most criminal, act ever to have taken place on this planet." Greenpeace agrees. The "revival" of nuke power is a hype being perpetrated by phony experts. Wall Street is not exactly lining up to invest in a failed technology with fifty years of proven failure. Vermont Yankee must be shut, dismantled and buried. Closing it now will narrow the burden of its permanent waste dump and open the door on the booming revolution in the real energy of the future: renewables and efficiency. Harvey Wasserman, senior advisor to Greenpeace USA since 1990, is author of "Solartopia: Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030," --------19 of 20-------- These Orchestrated Attacks on Chavez are a Travesty by George Galloway on Wednesday, February 28, 2007 by the Guardian / UK The chilling Oliver Stone film Salvador got a rare airing on television this week. It was a reminder of a time when, for those on the left, little victories were increasingly dwarfed by big defeats - not least in a Latin America which became synonymous with death squads and juntas. How different things seem now. Yesterday US Vice-President Dick Cheney came uncomfortably close to the reality of Afghan resistance to foreign occupation. On the same day Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez delivered a mightier blow to the neocon dream of US domination, announcing an extension of public ownership of his country's oil fields - the richest outside the Middle East. Much more is at stake than London mayor Ken Livingstone's welcome oil deal with Chavez, which will see London bus fares halved while Venezuela gets expertise from city hall and a bridgehead in the capital of the US's viceroy in Europe. Washington's biggest oil supplier is now firmly in the grip of a social revolution. This month I watched with Chavez as thousands of soldiers, French and British tanks, Russian helicopters and brand new Mirage and Sukhoi fighter bombers passed by: the soldiers chanting "patria, socialismo o muerte" - enough to make any US president blanch. Chavez answered the salute with the words: "the Bolivarian revolution is a peaceful revolution but it is not unarmed". The music played throughout the event was the hymn of Salvador Allende's 1970s Chilean government, declaring that the people united will never be defeated. But Chavez's socialism is a good deal more red than Allende's - and its enemies seem no less determined than those who bathed Chile in blood in 1973. Despite complete control of Venezuela's national assembly - the opposition boycotted the last elections after being defeated in seven electoral tests in a row - Chavez has been given enabling powers for 18 months to ensure he can pilot his reforms through entrenched opposition from the civil service, big business, the previously all-powerful oligarchy, their vast media interests and their friends in Washington. Among those friends we must include our own prime minister, who only last year declared Venezuela to be in breach of international democratic norms - though when I pressed him in parliament he was unable to list them. The atmosphere in Caracas is fervid. The vast shanty towns draping the hillside around the cosmopolitan centre bustle with workers' cooperatives, trade union meetings, marches and debates. The $18bn fund for social welfare set up by Chavez is already bearing fruit. Education, food distribution and primary healthcare programmes now cover the majority for the first time. Queues form outside medical centres filled with thousands of Cuban doctors dispensing care to a population whose health was of no value to those who sat atop Venezuela's immense wealth in the past. Chavez, who regularly pops over to Havana to check on the health of Fidel Castro, is at the centre of a new Latin America which is determined to be nobody's backyard. Reliable US allies are now limited to death squad ridden Colombia, Peru and Mexico - and latterly then only by recourse to rigged elections. But Chavez's international ambitions are not confined to the Americas. He became a hero in the Arab world after withdrawing his ambassador from Tel Aviv in protest at the bombardment of Lebanon by US-armed Israeli forces last summer, and has pledged privately to halt oil exports to the US in the event of aggression against Iran. This all represents a challenge to US power which, if Bush was not sunk in the morass of Iraq, would be at the top of his action list. Not that his supporters are marking time. The mendacious propaganda that Chavez is a dictator and human rights abuser is being spread with increasing urgency by the Atlanticist right and their fellow travellers, such as leftie-turned-neocon Nick Cohen who told his London newspaper audience last week that Livingstone's relationship with Chavez was making him think of voting Tory. Chavez's decision not to renew an expired licence for an opposition television station involved in a coup attempt - there are plenty of others - is being portrayed as the beginning of the death of democracy. It's as if Country Life's diatribes against the fox hunting ban were taken as irrefutable proof of totalitarianism in Britain. The so-called "dictator" Chavez is nothing of the kind. He has won election after election, validating his radical course. Still the fear of a coup - such as in 2002 when Chavez was removed and imprisoned for three days before millions descended to the presidential palace to reinstate him - is everywhere. One Englishman abroad who welcomed the 2002 coup as the "overthrow of a demagogue" was the foreign office minister Denis MacShane - a humiliating correction had to be issued following Chavez's restoration. That tale underscores the importance of the links being forged between revolutionary Caracas and anti-war London. Chavez is well aware that the people were defeated in Chile, the fascists allowed to pass in Republican Spain. Just as in Venezuela, the defence against counter-revolution lies with the poor and the working people who are shaping the world they want; so too must all those internationally who want to see this ferment reach its potential rally to Venezuela's side. George Galloway is the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow and presents a radio show three times a week on TalkSport Georgegalloway.com Guardian News and Media Limited 2007 --------20 of 20-------- The Dead Hand of Greenspan Market Meltdown By MIKE WHITNEY CounterPunch March 1, 2007 Tuesday's stock market freefall has Greenspan's bloody fingerprints all over it. And, no, I'm not talking about Sir Alan's crystal ball predictions about the impending recession; that's just more of his same circuitous blather. The real issue is the Fed's lunatic policies of low interest rates and currency deregulation which have paved the way for economic Armageddon. Whether the Chinese stock market contagion persists or not is immaterial; the American economy is headed for the dumpster and it's all because of the wizened former fed-chief, Alan "Great Depression" Greenspan. So, what does the stumbling Chinese stock market have to do with Greenspan? Greenspan was the driving force behind deregulation which keeps the greenback floating freely while the Chinese and Japanese manipulate their currencies. This gives their industries a competitive advantage by allowing them to consistently underbid their foreign rivals. Big business loves this idea, because it offers cheaper sources of labor and allows them to maximize their profits. It's been a disaster for Americans though, who've seen their good paying jobs increasingly outsourced while US manufacturing plants are dismantled and air-mailed to the Far East. Greenspan has been the biggest champion of deregulation; it's another way he pays tribute to the Golden Calf of "free trade", the god of personal accumulation. Yesterday, the Chinese got whacked with their own stick. By keeping the value of their currency down, they spawned a wave of speculation which inflated their stock market by 140% in one year. When the government threatened to tighten up interest rates the stock market went into a nosedive and the overall index got a 9% haircut in a matter of hours. If they had been playing by the "free market" rules, rather than pegging their currency to artificially cheap greenbacks they could have avoided inflating their stock market. As it happens, the rumblings in the Chinese market sent tremors through the global system and triggered a 416 point loss on Wall Street; the biggest one day slide since 9-11. Now the world is watching nervously to see if the markets can recuperate or if this is just the beginning of America's great economic unwinding. Wednesday's revised numbers of GDP are not encouraging. The Commerce Dept revised their original data from a robust 3.5% GDP to a paltry 2.2. The economy is shrinking faster than anyone had anticipated. Also, durable goods plummeted beyond expectations and the real estate market continues to swoon. Troubles in the sub-prime market are spreading to non traditional loans as more and more over-leveraged homeowners are unable to make their monthly mortgage payments. (By the end of December 24 sub-prime mortgage lenders had already gone belly-up) Greenspan's empire of debt is bound to come under greater and greater pressure as volatility increases. On Monday, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported a 3% jump in the sales of existing homes, but it was all hogwash. The housing industry has joined the media in trying to conceal what's really going on by showering the public with cheery talk of a recovery. Don't believe it. Go to their website and you'll see that "year over year" January sales were down by a whopping 290,000 homes. Add that tidbit to "new home sales" (announced today) which "fell by 16.6%, the most since 1994" (Bloomberg) and you get bird's-eye-view of an industry teetering on the brink of collapse. Greenspan pumped the housing bubble so full of helium; we'll be feeling the back-draft for a decade or more. Still, the gnomish ex Fed-master had the audacity to stand in front of the cameras and say, "We have not had any major, significant spillover effects on the American economy from the contraction in housing." Really? Apparently, Greenspan hasn't taken note of the skyrocketing rate of foreclosures or the growing number of people on public assistance. It's doubtful that one notices the struggles of the working stiff from their manicured sanctuary in the Aspen foothills. It's not just the housing market that's buckling from the expansion of debt, but the stock market as well. The Associated Press reported last week that, "Investors are borrowing at a record pace to sink into the stock market, and the trend is raising concerns on Wall Street about what might happen if a major correction occurs.The amount of margin debt, which is how brokers define this kind of borrowing, hit a record $285.6 billion in January on the New York Stock Exchange. Such a robust appetite, amid a backdrop of complacent market conditions, could leave investors badly exposed if major indexes are snagged by a market decline. Some could find themselves forced to sell stock or other assets to meet what's known as a margin call, when a broker effectively calls in the loan". That last time margin debt was this high was at the height of the dot.com bubble in March 2000. We all know how that turned out; the bubble burst taking with it $7 trillion in savings and retirement from working class Americans. It all could have been avoided if there were prudent and enforceable regulations on margin debt. Of course, that would have been a violation of the central tenet of free market exploitation: "There shall be no law inhibiting the unscrupulous ripping-off of the American people". Margin debt is a red flag that the market is over-inflated by speculation. When the market hits a speed-bump like yesterday the fall is steeper than normal, because panicky, over-leveraged investors start scampering for the exits. This probably explains much of what happened on Wall Street after the sudden decline in the Chinese market. The problems facing the stock market will soon play out whether or not we recover from this "dress rehearsal"for disaster. America's huge account imbalances and the massive expansion of personal (mortgage) debt ensure that there's more trouble ahead. The real problem is deep, systemic and difficult to understand. It relates to basic monetary policy which has been tragically mishandled by the Federal Reserve. A healthy economy requires that money supply not exceed the growth of real GDP; otherwise inflation will ensue. The Fed has been cranking up the money supply at a rate of over 11% for the last 6 years ensuring that we will eventually face a cycle of agonizing hyper-inflation. More worrisome is the fact that the world is about to face a global liquidity crisis for which there is no easy solution. See, the Fed loans money to the banks by buying government debt. Then, the banks, through the magic of "fractional banking", are then able to multiply the amount of money they loan out to their customers. In other words, the loans exceed the amount of the reserves by a considerable margin. Grasping the magnitude of this phenomenon is the only way to appreciate the storm that lies ahead. This excerpt may shed some light on the issue: "In the 1970s the reserve requirements on deposits started to fall with the emergence of money market funds, which require no reserves. Then in the early 1990s, reserve requirements were dropped to zero on savings deposits, CDs, and Eurocurrency deposits. At present, reserve requirements apply only to "transactions deposits" - essentially checking accounts. THE VAST MAJORITY OF FUNDING SOURCES USED BY PRIVATE BANKS TO CREATE LOANS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH BANK RESERVES AND IN EFFECT CREATE WHAT IS KNOWN AS "MORAL HAZARD" AND SPECULATIVE BUBBLE ECONOMIES. Consumer loans are made using savings deposits which are not subject to reserve requirements. These loans can be bunched into securities and sold to somebody else, taking them off of the bank's books. THE POINT IS SIMPLE. COMMERCIAL, INDUSTRIAL AND CONSUMER LOANS NO LONGER HAVE ANY LINK TO BANK RESERVES. SINCE 1995, THE VOLUME OF SUCH LOANS HAS EXPLODED, WHILE BANK RESERVES HAVE DECLINED." (Wickipedia) That's why we should not be surprised when we discover that, although there are currently $3.5 trillion in bank deposits in the USA, the actual reserves are about $40 billion. This system works fairly well unless there's a major market meltdown or a run on the banks, in which case people will quickly find that there are, in fact, no reserves. Even this would not be a concern if the Fed had not increased the money supply by leaps and bounds while, at the same time, fueling the housing bubble through obscenely low interest rates. Now, millions of homeowners will be facing default on their loans, the banks will be stretched to the max, and the stock market will begin to falter. Something's gotta give. Last week, in Davos, Switzerland, German banker, Max Weber, warned the G-8 Summit, "If you misprice risk, don't come looking to us for liquidity assistance. The longer this goes on and the more risky positions are built up over time, the more luck you need. It is time for financial market to move back to more adequate risk pricing and maybe forego a deal even if it looks tempting. Global liquidity will dry up and when that point comes some of this underpricing of risk will normalize. If there is much less liquidity around, people will not go into such high risk." It is unlikely that Weber's advice will be heeded. The United States has grown addicted to "cheap money" and ever-expanding debt. The Federal Reserve will keep greasing the printing presses and diddling the interest rates until someone takes away the punch bowl and the party comes to an end. There've been plenty of warnings, but they've all been brushed aside with equal disdain. In a recent article on Counterpunch.org, ("Lame Duck") Alexander Cockburn refers to a report published by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) "a body set up under the purview of the British Treasury to monitor financial markets and protect the public interest by raising the alarm about shady practices and any dangerous slides towards instability." The report "Private Equity: A Discussion of Risk and Regulatory Engagement" states clearly: "Excessive leverage: The amount of credit that lenders are willing to extend on private equity transactions has risen substantially. This lending may not, in some circumstances, be entirely prudent. Given current levels and recent developments in the economic/credit cycle, the default of a large private equity backed company or a cluster of smaller private equity backed companies seems inevitable. This has negative implications for lenders, purchasers of the debt, orderly markets and conceivably, in extreme circumstances, financial stability and elements of the UK economy." The problem is even worse in the US where personal and mortgage debt has increased by over $7 trillion in the last 6 years! This is not an issue that can be resolved by a meager 10% correction in the stock market. The reaction on Wall Street to the sudden downturn in China demonstrates the fragility of the market and presages greater volatility and retrenchment. We should expect to see bigger and more destructive market-fluctuations as investors get increasingly skittish over bad economic news and weakness in the dollar. Yesterday's 400 point somersault is just the first sign that Greenspan's Goldilocks' economy is going kaput. Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney [at] msn.com -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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
- (no other messages in thread)
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.