|Progressive Calendar 05.04.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 02:46:14 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 05.04.07 1. Ffunch lunch 5.04 11:30am 2. Somalia protest 5.04 2pm 3. Palestine vigil 5.04 4:30pm 4. Food shelf dinner 5.04 5pm 5. Rain barrels 5.05 9am 6. Homeless vets 5.05 10am 7. Living Green Expo 5.05-06 10am 8. NWN4P Minnetonka 5.05 11am 9. Green Party StP 5.05 12noon 10. Northtown vigil 5.05 2pm 11. YAWR marshal 5.05 3pm 12. Iraq relief kits 5.06 8:30am 13. Peace church 5.06 8:30am 14. Sami/Iraq 5.06 9am 15. Dept of peace 5.06 9:30am 16. MayDay 5.06 1pm 17. Stillwater vigil 5.06 1pm 18. Jewish film fest 5.06-13 19. CorpCrimeRptr - Big pharma gets its hooks into Seton Hall Law School 20. Mike Ferner - Democrats: is that all you got? 21. Mike Whitney - A stock market post-mortem 22. Pham Binh - Lies and the lying liars that tell them 23. Dave Lindorff - Impeachment train 24. ed - There, there (poem) --------1 of 24-------- From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: Ffunch lunch 05.04 11:30am 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 24-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Somalia protest 5.04 2pm Protest U.S.-Backed Massacre of Innocent Somalis! Demand Humanitarian Aid for Victims Now! End the U.S.- Backed Occupation of Somalia! May 4, 2:00 P.M.-5:00 P.M. Senator Coleman's office 2550 University Ave. W., St. Paul Here is another quest for empire and oil, at the expense of innocent people and their country. In the last four weeks an estimated 3,300 innocent civilians were killed and more than 500,000 individuals displaced, according to the United Nations. The injured and starving are countless in and around the city of Mogadishu. Hospitals are overflowing and humanitarian aide is not available as international NGOs are denied access to help innocent civilians. Minnesota has the largest Somalia population in the United States and reports are rampant of relatives and friends' deaths. The U.S. government has been deeply involved. An ill-conceived, militaristic bill is in Senate Foreign Relations Committee at this time. Call on senators and congress to demand an end to this situation and an immediate withdrawl of the occupation and replacement by neutral, not one-sided peacekeeping forces to help create an environment favorable to real political negotiations with all parties in a neutral location outside of Somalia at this time. -- --------3 of 24-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Palestine vigil 5.04 4:30pm Friday, 5/4, 4:30 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end the occupation of Palestine, Snelling & Summit Aves, St Paul. Karen, 651-283-3495. --------4 of 24-------- From: Anne R. Carroll <carrfran [at] qwest.net> Subject: Food shelf dinner 5.04 5pm On behalf of Central's Fresh Force, I would like to extend an enthusiastic invitation to you, your family and friends to our event "Feed the Need" this Friday, May 4th from 5:00PM to 7:30 PM in the Central cafeteria, located on Lexington Pkwy N, Saint Paul, MN 55104. We are terribly sorry for such a late invitation, but we sincerely hope everyone will be able to attend. The dinner is a charity event, and all proceeds and donated food will go to Second Harvest to support the food shelves. The dinner will be a Hawaiian-themed, healthy spaghetti dinner served all-you-can-eat-buffet style. The donated food will be sorted in balanced meal packages before donating it, as part of the Healthy Minds / Healthy Bodies project Fresh Force is in the midst of. Furthermore, because of the Healthy Minds / Healthy Bodies project, special attention will be given to make sure that people get an adequate portion size of each item when obtaining the food from the table. However, don't let this discourage you! You can go through the line as many times as you want. As always, there will be wonderful entertainment including music, performers, and dancing. The cost is only $3.00 at the door, and 50 cents will be discounted off admission for each non-perishable food item you donate. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to email me. Adam Central High School Fresh Force President beowulf.batosai [at] gmail.com --------5 of 24-------- From: Darrell Gerber <darrellgerber [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Rain barrels 5.05 9am Minneapolis is helping you do your part to protect the environment Rain barrels save water and reduce pollution in storm sewers - and you can get them at half price March 19, 2007 (MINNEAPOLIS) The City of Minneapolis is making 2,000 rain barrels available to Minneapolis households this summer at a reduced cost. When connected to a downspout, the 55-gallon rain barrels store rainwater for later use. Rain barrels help protect the environment by reducing water consumption and cutting down on runoff that ends up in our lakes and streams. The barrel connects to a standard garden hose so it's easy for folks to use them to irrigate lawns and gardens. Minneapolis is making the barrels available thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency's Region 5 Great Cities Program and in partnership with Minneapolis/Metro Blooms and the Green Institute. The cost of a rain barrels is $45, which is about half their normal retail price. Barrels are available to Minneapolis residents for use on Minneapolis properties, and there is a limit of one per household. You can order the rain barrels at www.thereusecenter.com or by phone at 612-724-2608. Quantities are limited, so it's a good idea to pre-order. Starting in May, pre-ordered barrels will be available for pick-up at the ReUse Center at 2801 21st Ave. S. Re-Use Center hours are Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the center accepts credit cards, checks, or cash. A limited number of rain barrels will also be available for sale and pick up at three neighborhood events: Saturday, May 5, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nokomis Park Recreation Center, 2401 E. Minnehaha Pkwy. Saturday, June 2, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Victory Neighborhood / Loring School, 2600 44th Ave. N. Saturday, June 16, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Northeast Bank Parking Lot, 77 NE. Broadway (Broadway & Marshall) The 55-gallon rain barrels are made of 100 percent recycled plastic. They are bulky, so bring a suitable vehicle to pick them up (rain barrels are 32 inches high and 24 inches wide and weigh 18 pounds). As part of the program, Minneapolis/Metro Blooms will include rain barrel information in its Rain Garden Workshops this year. To sign up for a workshop, call Minneapolis/Metro Blooms at 612-673-3014 or visit its website at http://metroblooms.org. --------6 of 24-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Homeless vets 5.05 10am Saturday, 5/5 (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 --------7 of 24-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Living Green Expo 5.05-06 10am The 6th Annual Living Green Expo, May 5th and 6th, is just around the corner and if you haven't had the opportunity to attend in years past, here's your chance. The Expo which features over 70 workshops and 200 exhibitors is an event to behold. If you'd like to do more than simply attend the event, many volunteers are needed for the Expo, held at the State Fairgrounds, (Grandstand Building) in St. Paul. Come and connect with others, find resources, and get in on the latest green technologies. Volunteers are needed to help with the following: Setup, Food Shelf Donations, Recycling Educators, Workshops, Front Door Duty, Kids' Area, Information table and volunteer check-in, Surveys, Exhibitor assistance, and Take-down. For a description of these tasks and to sign up to volunteer, visit: http://www.livinggreen.org/volunteer.cfm Volunteers get a free shirt, free organic food to eat and drink, and an invite to our after-hours party. From: Congregations Caring for Creation <sean [at] afors.org> http://www.livinggreen.org Join us for the Living Green Expo, Minnesota's biggest environmental event Saturday & Sunday, May 5-6, 2007 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Minnesota State Fair Grounds, Grandstand Building Admission is free! The 2007 Living Green Expo features over 200 exhibitors showcasing things in many shades of green. Come and connect with others, find resources, and get in on the latest green technologies. Learn from the experts in more than 50 workshops on everything from how to compost and reduce toxicity in your home to using the latest energy-saving technology and cooking with organic, locally grown food. This family-friendly event features art displays, activities for kids, an exciting music lineup, and the best in local and organic foods. Parking is free, secure bike storage is available, and the Expo is accessible by bus. Visit www.livinggreen.org for more information on exhibitors, workshops, and activities. --------8 of 24-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P Minnetonka 5.05 11am NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7 and 101. Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the fountain. We will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs provided. --------9 of 24-------- From: ed Subject: Green Party StP 5.05 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 Mississippi Market, 2nd floor Corner of Selby/Dale in St. Paul noon until 2 pm <http://www.gpsp.org> --------10 of 24-------- From: Lennie <major18 [at] comcast.net> Subject: Northtown vigil 5.05 2pm Mounds View peace vigil EVERY SATURDAY from 2-3pm 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 --------11 of 24-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: YAWR peace marshal 5.05 3pm Dear YAWR supporters, Please consider being a volunteer Peace Marshal for the Capitol Encampment Against the War on May 11 (for more info on the Capital Encampment, see www.yawr.org <http://www.yawr.org>) Whether you have experience or not, your help is needed to ensure a safe and well organized event! If you can help, please try to attend our... ...Peace Marshal Training... Saturday, May 5 3:00 PM Vets for Peace office 2123 Clinton Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404 (Just south of Franklin Ave - ring the bell on the north side of building, off the parking lot) There will also be a --MAY 11 PLANNING MEETING-- the hour before the Training, at 2pm Saturday in the Vets for Peace office. All are welcome! If you can't make the Training on Saturday, May 5, but you can still be a Peace Marshal, please let us know by emailing tytymo [at] gmail.com <mailto:tytymo [at] gmail.com>. There will be another Training on May 11th itself, at 6pm, on the Capitol Lawn (details will be announced from the stage). Thanks so much for you support! --------12 of 24-------- From: Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace <web [at] mppeace.org> Subject: Iraq relief kits 5.06 8:30am Relief kits for families in Iraq Persistent violence and civil tensions are driving people from their homes in Iraq. As families leave home they lose their source of income and the basic supplies needed for everyday life. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have fled their homes for other areas inside Iraq in the past year. MCC <http://www.mcc.org/iraqrelief> is responding by sending 4,200 relief kits, 11,000 newborn kits, 22,000 school kits, and 16,000 blankets to be distributed by local humanitarian agencies working with more than 8,000 vulnerable families in Baghdad and surrounding communities. The first shipment of newborn kits and blankets is en route to Iraq. However, more relief kits are needed before the next shipment can be sent. Make a relief kit Contents (NEW items only) 4 bars bath soap (4-5 oz., in wrappers) 1 plastic bottle shampoo (13-24 oz.; place bottle in a resealable plastic bag) 10 cups powdered laundry detergent (double bag in 1-gallon resealable plastic bags) 1 squeeze-tube toothpaste (minimum 6 oz.; leave in box) 4 adult-size toothbrushes (leave in packaging) 4 new bath towels (medium weight, dark color) 1 hairbrush (remove packaging) 1 comb (8") 1 fingernail clipper 1 box adhesive bandages (minimum 40, assorted) 1 package sanitary pads (18-24 thin maxi or ultra thin) ------------------------------ [I'd like to add a dart board with a pic of Bush on it -ed] Drop off your kit(s) Place contents in a box and deliver to: St. Joan of Arc Church parking lot 4537 3rd Avenue South, Minneapolis Donations accepted: Sundays: April 29, May 6, and May 13 8:30-11:00 a.m. For more information and other drop-off sites, call Mary at 651-765-8711 <http://www.mcc.org/iraqrelief> Donate cash Donate cash toward shipping costs, totaling $60,000. $40 is the cost to ship 10 relief kits. Designate donations: "Iraq Emergency Assistance" --------13 of 24-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Peace church 5.06 8:30am Sunday, 5/6, 8:30 and 11 am, Diane Ford Jones, national director of Every Church a Peace Church, speaks at services at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, 1935 St Clair Ave, St Paul. She also will lead Adult Forum at 9:45. ECAPCtc [at] yahoo.com --------14 of 24-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Sami/Iraq 5.06 9am Sunday, 5/6, 9 and 11 am, Muslim Peacemaker Team founder Sami Rasouli speaks to the masses of St Joan of Arc, 4537 - 3rd Ave S, Mpls. www.worldwidewamm.org --------15 of 24-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Dept of peace 5.06 9:30am Sunday, 5/6, 9:30 am, Mary Jane LaVigne speaks on Department of Peace campaign, as part of "Blessed are the Peacemakers" series at All Saints Lutheran Church, 15915 Excelsior Blvd (corner of Woodland), Minnetonka. randerson5356 [at] comcast.net or 952-934-6260. --------16 of 24-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: MayDay 5.06 1pm MayDay Parade and Festival Sunday, May 6, 1:00 to 8:00 p.m. Powderhorn Park, 15th Avenue and 35th Street, Minneapolis. Join fellow members, volunteers, interns, and staff, and walk with WAMM in the annual MayDay Parade. Gather at Cedar Field, 18th Avenue and 25th Street, Minneapolis (look for the yellow WAMM signs) at Noon. The parade will begin at 1:00 p.m. and end approximately two hours later at Powderhorn Park, where a short ceremony will follow. Don't miss the WAMM information booth at Powderhorn Park. Sponsored by: In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. --------17 of 24-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 5.06 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/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/ For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560 --------18 of 24-------- From: Larry Shiller <lshiller [at] sabesjcc.org> To: David E Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: Jewish film fest 5.06-13 The Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival is May 6-13. There are several films that I think you may find very interesting. The titles are "Steel Toes", "Young, Jewish and Left" and "Hineini, Coming Out in a Jewish High School". The schedule and film synopses are available on our website at www.mplsjff.org <http://www.mplsjff.org/> . Larry Shiller Director, Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival Sabes JCC 4330 South Cedar Lake Road Minneapolis, MN 55416 952/381-3472 Fax 952/381-3401 lshiller [at] sabesjcc.org --------19 of 24-------- "Now They Want to Shape the Minds of Young Lawyers" Big Pharma Gets Its Hooks into Seton Hall Law School By CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER CounterPunch May 3, 2007 For decades, the pharmaceutical industry has marinated the medical profession in millions of dollars of free samples, lunches, trips, and fees. The goal - influence, power, profits. Now, the industry has another target - the legal profession. Last week, industry leaders Schering-Plough Corporation, sanofi-aventis, Johnson & Johnson and Bristol Myers Squibb and the pharma law firm Gibbons PC - announced that they will donate a total of $9.1 million to establish the Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law at Seton Hall Law School in Newark, New Jersey. "This is what they have been doing with doctors for the last five decades - shaping young doctors' minds," said Peter Rost, a former vice president at Pfizer, CounterPunch contributor and author of The Whistleblower: Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman (Soft Skull Press, 2006). "Now they want to shape the minds of young lawyers." "I would imagine that the drug industry feels that the legal environment has been challenging - with prosecutions and False Claims Act cases proliferating," Rost said. "I'm sure they hope that they can have an impact on things. They are not doing this to be nice. They are doing it because it is in their interest. They are making friends, trying to start being proactive about what happens - get involved from the beginning." A spokesperson for Seton Hall Law School, Kathleen Eagan, said she could not provide anyone for an interview about the project - although last week, the Law School did distribute a press release and held a press conference about the donations. Bristol Myers Squibb's contribution - $5 million - grew out of a June 2005 deferred prosecution agreement cut with the U.S. Attorney in New Jersey - Christopher Christie - a Seton Hall Law School graduate. Christie has been harshly criticized for directing the funds to his alma mater. But he says that the idea came from the lawyer representing Bristol Myers Squibb and that his office only required that a business ethics chair be endowed at a New Jersey law school. Lo and behold, Rutgers University School of Law already had a business ethics chair - endowed by Prudential. Christie says that Bristol Myers was required to endow the chair in an effort to "change the corporate culture." How? "The professor occupying that endowed chair is required to conduct an annual ethics seminar for Bristol-Myers management and other interested industry members," Christie said last year. Corporate Crime Reporter is located in Washington, DC. They can be reached through their website. [And yet we imagine the corps wouldn't do it, because why would they, and don't you know there are no conspiracies? And if we can't figure out why they'd do it, why then of course they wouldn't. And even if they would, and have, why, WE are too smart, too savvy, to be taken in by their multi-billion-dollar propaganda campaigns, so those idiots must just be wasting billions! (They're smart enough to make/steal a lot more money than we ever will, but too stupid not to stop blowing money on manipulating our unfoolable brains.) -ed] --------20 of 24-------- Democrats: Is That All You Got? Bush Veto: Right for the Wrong Reasons? By MIKE FERNER CounterPunch May 3, 2007 As expected, Resident Bush immediately vetoed the Democrats "$100 Billion for the War and An Illusion of Withdrawal Bill" otherwise known as HR1591, but now this? MoveOn and the DemBoosters are ringing some kind of dizzy alarm: "Emergency Iraq Rally ... show our leaders we mean business - tell Congress this is the key moment to stand strong against the President's veto." Come again?! For all the wrong reasons The Pretender has briefly delayed the next payment of war money and created a momentary crisis among the Empire's leadership. OK, so don't pin a medal on the guy, but at least define the current state of affairs as one to take advantage of: get serious about occupying local Congressional offices, tying up traffic, shutting down universities - resisting as if, well, as if lives depended on it. Let's examine what the Terrorist-in-Chief vetoed. To demonstrate his iron will, he rejected a pathetic bill designed to a) keep the money and the blood flowing in Iraq, and b) hoodwink war opponents into thinking it will end the war. For that we're supposed to urge the peoples' champions, that pusillanimous pack of Congressional invertebrates to "stand strong?" (Insert expletive here) Last November, a wave of popular outrage against the war swept the Democratic Party into control of the House and the Senate. This should have been all the backbone they needed to stand strong. But instead of using their powerful mandate to end the war, the Democratic leadership gave us HR 1591, the very embodiment of arrogance towards voters and submission to Empire. To wit: * Before troops can be deployed to Iraq, Army and Marine commanders must certify in writing that they are "fully mission capable" unless Shrub says "for reasons of national security" they're good to go. * Deployments to Iraq will be limited to no more than one year for the Army and 210 days for the Marines - unless Shrub says "for reasons of national security," they're needed longer. * After each tour of duty in Iraq, Army units will get a minimum of 365 days back home, Marines 210 days - unless Shrub says "for reasons of national security" they're needed sooner. HR 1591 would also have made this the first thoroughly "benchmarked" war in the nation's history, requiring the Mad Bomber to determine on or before July 1, 2007: (1) whether the Government of Iraq has given United States Armed Forces and Iraqi Security Forces the authority to pursue all extremists, including Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias, and is making substantial progress in delivering necessary Iraqi Security Forces for Baghdad and protecting such Forces from political interference; intensifying efforts to build balanced security forces throughout Iraq that provide even-handed security for all Iraqis; ensuring that Iraq's political authorities are not undermining or making false accusations against members of the Iraqi Security Forces; eliminating militia control of local security; establishing a strong militia disarmament program; ensuring fair and just enforcement of laws; establishing political, media, economic, and service committees in support of the Baghdad Security Plan; and eradicating safe havens; (2) whether the Government of Iraq is making substantial progress in meeting its commitment to pursue reconciliation initiatives, including enactment of a hydro-carbon law; adoption of legislation necessary for the conduct of provincial and local elections; reform of current laws governing the de-Baathification process; amendment of the Constitution of Iraq; and allocation of Iraqi revenues for reconstruction projects; (3) whether the Government of Iraq and United States Armed Forces are making substantial progress in reducing the level of sectarian violence in Iraq; and (4) whether the Government of Iraq is ensuring the rights of minority political parties in the Iraqi Parliament are protected." After this list of, to be charitable, somewhat slippery requirements, Congressional Democrats then laid their clever trap that will bring the troops home: "If the President fails to make any of the (above) determinations the Secretary of Defense shall commence the redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq no later than July 1, 2007, with a goal of completing such redeployment within 180 days. If the President makes the determinations specified (above) the Secretary of Defense shall commence the redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq not later than October 1, 2007, with a goal of completing such redeployment within 180 days." Except that what's even more clever is how they define a withdrawal from Iraq: After the conclusion of the redeployment the Secretary of Defense may not deploy or maintain members of the Armed Forces in Iraq for any purpose other than the following: Protecting American diplomatic facilities and American citizens, including members of the U.S. armed forces Serving in roles consistent with customary diplomatic positions Engaging in targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with global reach Training and equipping members of the Iraqi Security Forces. In case you're still waiting for the punch line to a sick joke, you can read it for yourself here: http://appropriations.house.gov/ and click on "Iraq Language." Maybe Congressional Democrats are playing their version of "Gotcha" while they set up what they hope will be a Democratic White House in '08. Maybe, giving them every benefit of the doubt, they figured this was the best they could get majority support for. In the final analysis it doesn't matter. What matters is that we've not yet thrown a big enough wrench into business as usual nor made the nation ungovernable until the war is ended. What matters is that many more people will be killed and maimed until we do. Mike Ferner is an Ohio writer. His book, "Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran For Peace Reports from Iraq" is available on his website www.mikeferner.org --------21 of 24-------- The Harder They Come ... A Stock Market Post-Mortem By MIKE WHITNEY CounterPunch May 3, 2007 "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class that's winning." --Investment tycoon, Warren Buffett The real estate market is crashing faster than anyone had anticipated. Housing prices have fallen in 17 of 20 of the nation's largest cities and the trend lines indicate that the worst is yet to come. March sales of new homes plummeted by a record 23.5% (year over year) removing all hope for a quick rebound. Problems in the subprime and Alt-A loans are mushrooming in previously "hot markets" resulting in an unprecedented number of foreclosures. The defaults have slowed demand for new homes and increased the glut of houses already on the market. This is putting additional downward pressure on prices and profits. More and more builders are struggling just to keep their heads above water. This isn't your typical 1980s-type "correction"; it's a full-blown real estate cyclone smashing everything in its path. Tremors from the real estate earthquake won't be limited to housing - they will rumble through all areas of the economy including the stock market, financial sector and currency trading. There is simply no way to minimize the effects of a bursting $4.5 trillion equity bubble. The next shoe to drop will be the stock market which is still flying-high from increases in the money supply. The Federal Reserve has printed up enough fiat-cash to keep overpriced equities jumping for joy for a few months longer. But it won't last. Wall Street's credit bubble is even bigger than the housing bubble - a monstrous, lumbering dirigible that's headed for a crash-landing. The Dow is like a drunk atop a 13,000 ft cliff; inebriated on the Fed's cheap "low-interest" liquor. One wrong step and he'll plunge headlong into the ether. The stock market cheerleaders are ooooing and ahhing the Dow's climb to 13,000, but it's all a sham. Wall Street is just enjoying the last wisps of Greenspan's low interest helium swirling into the largest credit bubble in history. But there are big changes on the way. In fact, the storm clouds have already formed over the housing market. The subprime albatross has lashed itself to everything in the economy - dragging down consumer confidence, GDP and (eventually) the stock market, too. The real damage is just beginning to materialize. So why the stock market keep hitting new highs? Is it because foreign investors believe that American equities will continue to do well even though the housing market is slumping and GDP has shriveled to the size of a California raison? Or is it because stockholders haven't noticed that the greenback getting clobbered every day in the currency markets? Or, maybe, investors are just expressing their confidence in the way the U.S. is managing the global economic system? Is that it - they admire the wisdom of borrowing $2.5 billion per day from foreign lenders just to keep the ship of state from taking on water? No, that's not it. The reason the stock market is flying-high is because the Federal Reserve has been ginning up the money supply to avoid a Chernobyl-type meltdown. All that new funny-money has to go somewhere, so a lot of it winds up in the stock market. Evergreen Bank's Chuck Butler explains the process in Thursday's Daily Pfennig: "The Fed may have quit publishing the M3 data, but they continue to publish all the data that goes into the calculation and our friends over at Shadow Government Statistics have a chart which demonstrates why the Fed decided to keep M3 under wraps. A look at the chart shows the Fed is pumping up broad money supply at an astounding rate of 11.8% per year! All of this rapid money supply growth is reflected in an increase in equity prices. The stock market needs to rise just to keep pace with all of this newly-created money. As long as the Fed doesn't rock the boat with another rate hike or by turning off the spigot of money flowing into the markets, the equity markets will continue to run." Ah-ha! So the Fed gooses the money supply, stocks shoot up, and everyone's happy - right? Wrong. Growth in the money supply should (closely) parallel growth in the overall economy. So if GDP is shrinking (which it is) and the money supply is increasing then - Viola!- inflation. ("11.8%" to be precise) Of course inflation doesn't affect the investor class or their fellow-scoundrels at the Fed - the more money floating around the markets the better for them. It's just the opposite for the pensioner on a fixed income or the salaried wage-slave who gets a 15-cent pay raise every millennia. They end up getting ripped off with every newly-minted greenback. But then that's the plan - to shift zillions from one class to another through massive equity bubbles. All it takes is artificially-low interest rates and a can of WD-40 to keep the printing presses rolling. It's so simple we won't dignify it by calling it a "conspiracy". It's just a swindle, pure and simple. But it never fails. Every time the Fed prints up another batch of crisp $100 bills; they're confiscating the hard-earned savings of working class people and retirees. And, since the dollar has dropped roughly 40% since Bush took office in 2000; the government has absconded with 40% our life savings. That's the truth about inflation; it is taxation without representation, but you won't find that in the government's statistics. In fact, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) deliberately factors out food and energy so the working guy can't see how the Fed is robbing him blind. The only way he can gauge his losses is by going to the grocery store or gas station. That's when he can see for himself that the money he works so hard to earn is steadily losing its purchasing power. The big question now is how long will it take before foreign creditors wise up and see the maxed-out American consumer is running out of steam. As soon consumer spending slows in the US; foreign investment will dry up and stocks will tumble. China and Japan have already slowed or stopped their purchases of US Treasuries and China has stated that they plan to diversify their $1 trillion in US dollars in the future. This has lowered demand for the dollar and decreased its value in relation to other currencies. (The dollar hit a new low just last week at $1.36 vs. the euro) A slowdown in consumer spending is the death-knell for the dollar. That's when there'll be a stampede for the exits like we've never seen before - with each of the world's central banks tossing their worthless greenbacks into the jet-stream like New Years' confetti. According to Monday's Washington Post that moment may have already arrived. As the Post's Martin Crutsinger says, "Consumer spending rose at the slowest rate in five months in March while construction activity managed only a tiny gain, weighed down by further weakness in housing". The connection between housing and consumer spending is critical. Housing has been the main engine for growth in the US in the last 5 years accounting for 2 out of every 5 new jobs and hundreds of billions in additional spending through home-equity extractions. A downturn in consumer spending means that foreign investors will have to look for more promising markets abroad, which will trigger a steep reduction in the amount of cheap credit coming into the country via the $800 billion trade deficit. This will slow growth in the US while further weakening the dollar. Can you say stagflation? The present currency and economic crises were brought on by Bush's unfunded tax cuts, unsustainable trade deficits, and the Fed's hyperinflationary monetary policy. These policies were executed simultaneously for maximum effect. They were entirely premeditated. Many people now believe that the Bush administration and the Federal Reserve are intentionally creating an "Argentina-type meltdown" so they can privatize state owned assets and usher in the North American Union - the future "one state" alliance of Canada, Mexico and US - along with the new regional currency, the Amero. Stay tuned. Nevertheless, monetary policy is not the only reason the stock market is headed for a fall. There's also the jumble of scams and swindles which have been legalized under the rubric of "deregulation". New rules allow Wall Street to take personal liabilities and corporate debt and repackage them as precious gemstones for public auction. It's the biggest racket ever. Consider the average hedge fund for example. The fund may have originated with $10 billion of its own cash and swelled to $50 billion through (easily acquired) credit. The fund manager then creates an investment portfolio that features CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) and Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) to the tune of $160 billion. The majority of these "assets" are nothing more than shaky subprime loans from struggling homeowners who have no chance of meeting their payments. In other words, another man's debt is magically transformed into a Wall Street staple. (Imagine if you, dear reader, could sell your $35,000 credit card debt to your drunken brother-in-law as if it was a bar of gold or a vintage Ferrari. That, believe it or not, is the scam on which bond traders thrive) So, the fund is leveraged, the assets are leveraged and (guess what) the investors are leveraged too - either buying on margin or borrowing oodles of cheap, low interest credit from Japan to maximize their profit potential. Get the picture; debt x debt x debt = maximum profit and skyrocketing stock prices. That's why the face value of the market's equities far exceeds the world's aggregate GDP. It's all one, big debt-Zeppelin and it's rapidly tumbling towards planet earth. KABOOM! Deregulation works like a charm for the gangsters who run the system. After all, why would they want rules? They're not thinking about capital investment, productivity or infrastructure. They're not building an economy that serves the basic needs of society. They're looking for the next big mega-merger where two monolithic, maxed-out corporations join in conjugal bliss and create a mountain of new credit. That's where the real money is. Wall Street generates boatloads of cyber-cash with every merger. This pushes stock prices up, up and away. Deregulation has turned Wall Street into the biggest credit-generating Cash-Cow of all time - spawning zillions through seemingly limitless debt-expansion. These virtual dollars were never authorized by the Federal Reserve or the US Treasury - they emerge from the black whole of over-leveraged uber-transactions and the magical world of derivatives trading. They are a vital part of Wall Street's house of mirrors where every dollar is increased by a factor of 50 to 1 as soon as it enters the system. Assets are inflated, debt is converted to wealth, and fiscal reality is vaporized into the toxic gas of human greed. Doug Noland at Prudent Bear.com explains it like this: "We've entered a euphoric phase of financial arbitrage capitalism with extreme Ponzi overtones, a pyramid scheme of revolving credit rackets and percentage spread plays completely abstracted from any reality of fruitful activity. The reason we don't even call "money" by its former name anymore is precisely because we realize at some semi-conscious level that "liquidity" is not really money. Liquidity is a flow of hallucinated surplus wealth. As long as it flows in one direction, into financial markets, valve-keepers along the pipeline, like Goldman Sachs, Citibank, or the hedge funds, can siphon off billions of buckets of liquidity. The trouble will come when the flow stops - or reverses! That will be the point where we will rediscover that liquidity really is different from money, and if we are really unlucky we'll discover that our money (the US dollar) is actually different from real wealth". Noland is right. The market is "a pyramid scheme of revolving credit rackets and percentage spread plays" and no one really knows what to expect the flow of liquidity slows down or "reverses". Will the stock market crash? It depends on the aftereffects of the subprime meltdown. The defaults on existing mortgages are only part of the problem. The real issue is how the "credit dependent" stock market will respond to the tightening of lending standards. As liquidity dries up in the real estate market; all areas of the economy will suffer. (We've already seen a downturn in consumer spending) Wall Street is addicted to cheap credit and it has invented myriad abstruse debt-instruments to get its fix. But what happens when investment simply withers away? According to WorldNetDaily.com Jerome Corsi that question was partially answered in a letter from the Carlyle Group's managing director William Conway Jr. Conway confirms that the rise in the stock market is related to "the availability of enormous amounts of cheap debt". He adds that: "This cheap debt has been available for almost all maturities, most industries, infrastructure, real estate and at all levels of the capital structure." (But) "This liquidity environment cannot go on forever. The longer it lasts, the worse it will be when it ends.Of course when ends, the buying opportunity will be once in a lifetime." Ah, yes, another wonderful "buying opportunity"? You can almost feel the breeze from the great birds flapping overhead as they focus their gaze on the carrion below. Once the stock market collapses and the greenback flattens out on the desert floor; they'll be plenty of smiley faces preparing for the feast. Conway is right, though, the stock market IS floating on a cloud of cheap credit created by a humongous trade deficit, artificially low interest rates, and a 10% yearly expansion of the money supply. Like he says, "It cannot go on forever." And, we don't expect that it will. Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney [at] msn.com --------22 of 24-------- A Fair and Balanced Look at the Democrats and War Funding Lies and the Lying Liars That Tell Them By PHAM BINH CounterPunch May 3, 2007 Yesterday President Bush vetoed the bill Congress sent to him to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq because it included deadlines for the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq, calling it "a prescription for chaos and confusion." Apparently, the authority to create chaos and confusion in Iraq belongs to Bush and Bush alone. Now the Democrats face a stark choice: to fund, or not to fund the war? That is the question. And we already have the answer. House Democratic Majority leader Steny Hoyer has said in response to the veto "We are going to fund the troops, we are not going to leave our troops in harm's way without the resources that they need." In all likelihood, Democrats in Congress will pass a bill funding the bloodshed in Iraq and Afghanistan that requires Bush to certify that the Iraqi government is meeting "benchmarks" to warrant the continuation of the war as well as political support for and financial aid to the Iraqi government. How anyone can spin this as a "course correction" in Iraq is beyond me - Bush has been touting "progress" in Iraq ever since his "Mission Accomplished" speech on May 1, 2003. How the U.S. is losing despite uninterrupted progress in Iraq also remains to be explained. Anti-war sentiment propelled the Democrats into power last November. Since then they have done zero, zip, zilch, nada to end the war. To cover their asses, Democrats have come up with pathetic excuses as to why they haven't lifted a finger to stop Bush. Basically their argument is: "we can't cut off funding for the war because that would mean depriving the troops of equipment, food, water, and weapons they need to defend themselves. President Bush, the Commander-in-Chief, can veto our bills and there aren't enough Republicans to help us override that veto." The not-so-subtle-subtext is: vote for us in '08. Only when a Democrat is in the White House will we have the power to end the war. That's a lie. They have the power to stop the slaughter right now. It only takes one Senator to filibuster and kill the war funding bill in the Senate. All it would take is one well-timed, long, boring, verbose speech by a Senator to save the lives of literally thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Senators John Kerry and Joe Biden love to give those kinds of speeches to mostly-empty Senate seats and C-SPAN cameras, so why don't they do it when it counts? Hillary Clinton promises she'll end the war in Iraq if she's elected, but why wait until January of 2009? What about liberal wet-dream Barack Obama? He wants voters to believe that he's different, that he's an outsider to the dirty and corrupt business of Washington politics, why not prove it? Senator Reid says "this war is lost" - so why doesn't he move to end it? This reminds me of the scene in Fahrenheit 9/11 when members of the Congressional Black Caucus begged a Senator, any Senator, to sign onto their objections regarding the massive disenfranchisement of black voters in Flordia where Bush Jr's bro was governor. Doing so would have prevented Bush and his gang of incompetent neo-con nut-jobs from taking office in the first place. Not one Democratic Senator gave a damn about black voters enough to sign on, even though it would have put a Democrat into office for the next four years. After they were unable to get the support of a John Kerry, a John Edwards, or a single one of their colleagues, Al Gore (who as Vice President also served as the President of the Senate) out-shouted, overruled, and shut down Caucus speakers. Since taking Congress, the Democrats have passed a non-binding resolution against Bush's surge. Then they voted unanimously for the men Bush picked to implement the surge they voted to oppose, Gen. Petraeus who is the top general in Iraq and Admiral Fallon who heads all U.S. forces in the Middle East. This was "I voted against it before I voted for it" squared. After that, they passed a war funding bill they knew Bush would veto that had dates for the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq. (60,000 out of 140,000 troops in Iraq are combat troops, meaning 80,000 troops would still be in Iraq even if Bush signed the bill into law.) All of this noise about non-binding resolutions and withdrawal schemes attached to war spending bills is just posturing for the 2008 race for the White House. They want to look like they are doing everything they can to get out of the hole while handing Bush all the shovels he needs to dig deeper. They have a big incentive to keep the disaster in Iraq going until November of next year so that they can repeat their victory of last year. As one Democratic strategist explained to a journalist from the New York Review of Books: "We don't want to own this war. It's Bush's war, and we want him to keep owning it." It gets worse. After a few minutes of research on Google, I found that the Democratic chair of the House Appropriations Committe, David Obey of Wisconsin, included funding for the construction of permanent bases in Iraq in the war funding bill that Bush just vetoed. This is the same guy that called an anti-war military mom a "liberal idiot" for wanting to cut off funding for the war in Iraq on YouTube. His idiotic response to the demand of "liberal idiots" to cut off funding for the war was "we don't have the votes to get it through." Obey didn't have the votes to pass the bill that funded the wars and the construction of bases that Bush just vetoed either, but it didn't stop him from trying. Of course, Obey's bill doesn't refer to the four enormous military installations that are being built in Iraq as "permanent bases." Over the course of the last few years, they've morphed from permanent bases, to enduring bases, to contingency operating bases. Contingency has a very temporary sound to it - the contingency being that if Iraq unexpectedly runs out of oil, they'll close those bases and the tens of thousands of troops stationed in them can come home. Both sides of the aisle in Washington are angling to stay in Iraq permanently in one form or another. The difference is that the Republicans are open about it, while the Democrats are trying hard to fool us into thinking they want out of Iraq ASAP. Fortunately, people are taking action to hold the Democrats to their (false) promises. Student activists in the Campus Antiwar Network held a sit-in at Wisconsin Democratic Senator Herb Kohl's office demanding an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, full funding for veterans health care, reparations to the Iraqi people, banning the use of depleted uranium munitions, and money for jobs and education and not occupation. Militant activism by grassroots activists like this is the only hope for ending this war. [Amen -ed] Pham Binh is an activist and recent graduate of Hunter College in NYC. His blog is http://prisonerofstarvation.blogspot.com and he can be reached at anita_job [at] yahoo.com --------23 of 24-------- The Deputy Whip Just Stepped Aboard ... Kucinich's Impeachment Train By DAVE LINDORFF CounterPunch May 3, 2007 The impeachment train is starting to roll. Last week, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), started things off by filing a three-article bill of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney. Initially largely ignored by the mainstream media, and even ridiculed by some leading Democrats in Congress, that bill, HR 333, today garnered two co-sponsors, Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), the latter a deputy whip and senior member of the House congressional leadership. The two co-sponsors signing on to the bill give it a much stronger chance of being taken seriously in the House Judiciary Committee headed by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), and follow a week of intense impeachment activities across the country. A week ago, dozens of impeachment activists gathered on the steps of the main entrance to the Cannon House Office Building in a group press conference calling on Congress to back Kucinich's impeachment bill, and to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Bush. That same week, delegates to the annual convention of the California Democratic Party, the largest state chapter of the Democratic Party, overwhelmingly passed a detailed resolution calling for the impeachment of the president and vice president. The resolution received the highest vote total of all the resolutions offered at that convention, and was a powerful message to California's top Democrat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents a district in San Francisco, that her own party wants action on impeachment, not a political dodge. A few days later, on Saturday, Aug. 28, impeachment groups across the nation held demonstrations, many of which featured protesters assembling to form giant letters spelling out the word "Impeach." While the mainstream media largely ignored those protests, the message was not lost on House Democrats. The following day, Rep. John Murtha, a leader of the Democrats' campaign to end the Iraq War, speaking on the CBS News program "Face the Nation," declared that impeachment was one of the tools Congress has to influence the president. Lest his statement be misconstrued as a slip of the tongue, Murtha, who is known to be a close political ally of Pelosi, repeated the statement on NPR the following day, this time saying pointedly that impeachment was "on the table" in Congress. His choice of words was particularly significant, since Pelosi has been insisting for almost a year that under a Democratic Congress, impeachment of the president would be "off the table." It remains to be seen whether more members of the House will sign on to Kucinich's bill, or whether other representatives will add new bills of impeachment of their own against the vice president. Kucinich's bill is narrow in scope, only citing three impeachable offenses: lying about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, lying about an alleged link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, and illegally threatening war against Iran, a country that poses no imminent threat to the U.S. Certainly there are plenty of other grounds for impeaching Cheney, ranging from conspiracy to commit kidnapping and illegal torture of prisoner of war detainees and war profiteering to lying to Congress and orchestrating the theft of national elections. Thirty-nine members of the House in the last Congress were co-sponsors of a bill submitted in late 2005 by Rep. Conyers that called for an investigation into impeachable crimes by the president and vice president, and impeachment activists are now lobbying those members - nearly all of whom were returned to office last November - to join as co-sponsors of HR 333. Both Reps. Clay and Shakowsky had been co-sponsors of the earlier Conyers bill, signing on in January 2006. With frustration with President Bush's insistence on endless war in Iraq, and with grassroots pressure for impeachment building, it is going to be harder and harder for the mainstream media to keep ignoring the impeachment story. It is also going to be harder and harder for Democratic Party leaders to hold deter their more progressive members in the House from filing impeachment bills. Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff's newest book is "The Case for Impeachment", co-authored by Barbara Olshansky. He can be reached at: dlindorff [at] yahoo.com --------24 of 24-------- There, there, she says, to console him. Better: whisper low Here, here, and here. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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
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