Progressive Calendar 03.10.09
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 01:23:39 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    03.10.09

1. Green scare/CTV    3.10 5pm
2. Save HM Library    3.10 5:30pm
3. RNC court watch    3.10 6pm
4. Banana republic    3.10 6:30pm
5. Full moon walk     3.10 7pm

6. Stop foreclosures! 3.11 9:45am
7. Election reforms   3.11 11am
8. Community organize 3.11 12noon
9. Bridge vigil       3.11 5pm
10. Amnesty Intl      3.11 7:30pm

11. Dean Baker       - Public health insurance: cheaper & more effective
12. Charles Marowitz - The bum's Rush [Limbaugh]
13. Justin O'Connell - Famine, Neofeudalism and the New Dark Ages

--------1 of 13--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Green scare/CTV 3.10 5pm

St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm,
midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow!  All
households with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 3/10, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 3/11, 10am
The Green Scare: Civil Liberties Post-9/11 (part 2)

What is the Green Scare?  Most everyone has heard of the Red Scare.  In a
talk given at the U of M, award-winning independent journalist Will Potter
makes the case that animal rights and environmental (green) activists are
the most recent targets of government repression via new "anti-terrorism"
laws.  Potter is an authority on the use of these new laws to silence
political activists post-9/11.  Potter's writing on the topic was
recognized by Project Censored as one of the top twenty censored stories
of 2008.  Part 2 of 2.  Includes music by David Rovics.


--------2 of 13--------

From: twinsfansam [at] gmail.com
Subject: Save HM Library 3.10 5:30pm

FYI.  Please pay special attention to the information below as this is
just the first of six possibile libraries Mr. Coleman 2.0 is planning to
close citywide.  If we let one neighborhood down is your's next?

Subj:  FW: Saving HM LibrFrom:
Hamline-Midway-Neighborhood-News [at] googlegroups.com
[mailto:Hamline-Midway-Neighborhood-News [at] googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of
Jun-Li Wang

Hello Hamline Midway residents and supporters,

The fight to save the Hamline Midway library is taking a new turn. It is
time to galvanize all library supporters across the city - if one small
library closes, then others may soon follow. If you care about this
library and others, it is imperative to:

1. Attend the Community Meeting with the Mayor & Library Director
This Tuesday, March 10, 5:30/6-8pm
Hamline Midway Library
1558 Minnehaha Ave.

5:30 - Community Celebration outside - family-friendly local music, wear
red, bring neighbors and friends, signs, balloons, etc.

6-8pm - Meeting in Auditorium. Come with ideas for new partnerships and
ways to use the library to make it stronger. Some parents will be watching
their children upstairs. Get your friends from all over the city to come!

2. Ask AT LEAST 10 library-loving friends from outside of the Hamline
Midway neighborhood to contact the Mayor and their City Councilperson.
Also ask your friends in St. Anthony Park and Merriam Park (in this Ward)
to support this effort. Especially target: Ward 1/Melvin Carter- east half
of Union Park, Thomas Dale/Frogtown, and Summit University; Ward 3/Pat
Harris - Macalester-Groveland, Highland; and Ward 5/Lee Helgen - North
End, some of Como. The library has a facilities plan that calls for the
eventual closure of 5-6 libraries in the system. If we can save Hamline
Midway Library now and then work to find innovative partnerships, it could
be a model used to strengthen all the libraries in the system so none ever
need to be closed.

E-mailing is preferred, but calling & mailing are better than nothing.

1. MAYOR & Staff:
mayor [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us; Deputy Mayor: ann.mulholland [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us,
Library Director: melanie.huggins [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us
Please copy: russ.stark [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us
Phone: 651-266-8510

2. Councilmembers:
Use this link to find your Councilmember contact information:
http://www.stpaul.gov/index.asp?NID=553

3. Stay updated:
Hamline Midway Coalition: www.hamlinemidway.org/news/announcements
Blog: http://savehamlinemidwaylibrary.blogspot.com/

Facebook group (you must have a Facebook account to join this group):
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=48993742661

Jun-Li Wang Community Organizer Hamline Midway Coalition Hamline Park
Building 1564 Lafond Avenue St. Paul, MN 55104 Tel: 651-646-1986 Fax:
651-641-6123 Email: jwang [at] hamlinemidway.org New! Website:
www.hamlinemidway.org


--------3 of 13--------

From: Do'ii <syncopatingrhythmsabyss [at] gmail.com>
Subject: RNC court watch 3.10 6pm

RNC Court Watchers are in need of participants to help with organizing
court information, documentation and etc.  RNC Court Watchers Meetings are
every Tuesday, 6 P.M. at Caffeto's. Below is announcement for our
meetings.

Preemptive raids, over 800 people arrested, police brutality on the
streets and torture in Ramsey County Jail. Police have indiscriminately
used rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tasers and chemical irritants to
disperse crowds and incapacitate peaceful, nonviolent protesters. The
RNC-8 and others are facing felonies and years in jail. We must fight this
intimidation, harassment and abuse!

Join the RNC Court Solidarity Meeting this coming Tuesday at Caffetto's to
find out how you can make a difference in the lives of many innocent
people.

Caffetto's Coffeehouse and Gallery (612)872-0911 708 W 22nd Street,
Minneapolis, MN 55405
Every Tuesday @ 6:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M
participate and help organize RNC court solidarity.
For more information, please contact: rnccourtwatch [at] gmail.com
THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!


--------4 of 13--------

From: Fred H Olson <fholson [at] cohousing.org>
Subject: Banana republic 3.10 6:30pm

We will be thrilled to see and hear Kirk Anderson talk about his new book,
Banana Republic: Adventures in Amnesia.  Kirk was the cartoonist for the
Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune for several years. He will show some of
his cartoons on large screen and we can revel in the cartoons and the
explanations for them He will have his book to autograph and sell.  Don't
miss it.

Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.


--------5 of 13--------

From: Sue Ann <mart1408 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Full moon walk 3.10 7pm

Full Moon Walk at Coldwater Park
Walking in Balance
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
7 pm at Coldwater Spring

The high-in-the-sky winter moon is decending as we roll toward Spring
Equinox. March is the Storm Moon, the cloud dance in the sky.

Traditional group howl! (The Coldwater area has a coyote community.)
 [Led by Lydia Howl -ed]

Directions: From Hwy 55/Hiawatha in south Minneapolis, turn East (toward the
Mississippi) at 54th Street, take an immediate right (South) -mile past the
parking meters, through the cul-de-sac and the gates. Follow the curvy road
left & then right down to the pond, next to the great willow tree.

Sunset 7:13 pm Moonrise 7:09 pm
Info: www.FriendsofColdwater.org <http://www.friendsofcoldwater.org/>


--------6 of 13--------

From: Karen Redleaf <vegan14ever [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Stop foreclosures! 3.11 9:45am

Wednesday, March 11th
gather 9:45 AM
Minneapolis City Hall, room 30
350 South 5th Street
(Downtown Minneapolis)

Stand with your neighbors!
Stop Sheriff Foreclosure Sales!
Demand a Moratorium on Home Evictions and Foreclosures!

Members of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, ACORN, Twin
Cities Industrial Workers of the World, the Economic Crisis Action Group
and Homes Not Jails invite our fellow concerned residents of the metro
area to join us as we act to defend our neighbors' homes and defend the
integrity of our neighborhoods.

By occupying the office, we stop foreclosures in Hennepin County for the
day.  By turning out in large numbers, we magnify our impact.

Across the country, Sheriffs are refusing to enforce home foreclosures.
Sheriff Stanek could refuse to enforce home foreclosures in Minneapolis.
We will stand with our neighbors against the wealthy "bank-sters" and
demand to know whose side Sheriff Stanek is on.  Join us!!


--------7 of 13--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com>
Subject: Election reforms 3.11 11am

TRUTH TO TELL
NOW 900 WATTS STRONG: FM 90.3/Minneapolis-106.7/St. Paul and STREAMING
LIVE AT KFAI.org
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11 - 11:00AM

ELECTION REFORMS: Will They Enable More and Better Voting? Minnesota's
protracted US Senate contest has brought into sharp relief both the
strengths and some glaring weaknesses in the state's electoral process,
some of which discourage voter participation. What can we do to both
streamline the system and enable maximum voter engagement and confidence?

Furthermore, starting with this year's election, Minneapolis will
implement an Instant Run-off Voting (Ranked Choice Voting) system that
recently survived a court challenge and opened the door to placing a St.
Paul version on that city's ballot this Fall. Is a state version more
politically viable now especially after at least three major elections
were decided not by a majority of votes, but a plurality?

TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with advocates, watchdogs
and policymakers about reform of election laws and procedures which may
well have been designed to depress voter participation rather than
encourage it and what makes sense if we truly seek a fully participatory
democracy.

GUESTS:
 JEANNE MASSEY, Executive Director, FairVote Minnesota, prime movers
behind IRV/RCV
 KEESHA GASKINS, Executive Director, Minnesota League of Women Voters
 MIKE DEAN, Executive Director, Minnesota Common Cause
AND YOU! COMMENTS? QUESTIONS? CALL IN: 612-341-0980.
Can't get us on the radio? Stream TTT live from KFAI's Home Page


--------8 of 13--------

From: Joan Vanhala <joan [at] metrostability.org>
Subject: Community organizing 3.11 12noon

Please join the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability at our upcoming
Organizer Roundtable:

The Importance of Organizing in Community Development
Noon - 1:30 pm
Wednesday, March 11
Alliance for Metropolitan Stability
2525 E Franklin Avenue, Suite 200, Minneapolis

Come join in the dialogue about the importance of organizing in local
community development efforts. Organizers will discuss their strategies to
build community within their development corporations and how these
strategies strengthen and revitalize their work.

The discussion will be led by:
 Marcus Harcus, Community Organizer, Northeast Community Development
Corporation
 Betsy Sohn, Community Organizer, HOPE Community
 Peter Nagell, Community Organizer, Project for Pride in Living

Organizer Roundtables are free but registration is required. Please bring
your lunch!

Joan Vanhala Coalition Organizer Alliance for Metropolitan Stability 2525
E Franklin Avenue, Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55406 612-332-4471
joan [at] metrostability.org


--------9 of 13--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Bridge vigil 3.11 5pm

Peace Bridge Vigil Time Change

Wednesday, March 11, 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge,
Spanning the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul. The time
of the weekly Peace Bridge Vigil will change with Daylight Savings Time,
beginning Wednesday, March 11. FFI: Call WAMM, 612-827-5364.


--------10 of 13--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 3.11 7:30pm

AIUSA Group 640 (Saint Paul) meets Wednesday, March 11th, at 7:30 p.m. Mad
Hatter Teahouse, 943 West 7th Street, Saint Paul.


--------11 of 13--------

Public Health Insurance is Cheaper and More Effective
Why Do We Need a Private Health Insurance Industry, Anyway?
By DEAN BAKER
March 9 , 2009
CounterPunch

We all know that people have different ideologies about the proper role of
government. Some people, who tend to be left of center, think that the
government's role is to try to promote the general good, by providing
basic services, protecting the poor and the sick, and ensuring a
well-working economy. On the other hand, there are others, who usually
place themselves right of center, who believe that the proper role of
government is to redistribute as much income as possible to the wealthy.

These competing views of government are coming to a head in the debate
over national health care reform. Those who think that the role of
government is to serve the public good are likely to favor some form of
universal Medicare. Such a system would almost certainly save a huge
amount in administrative costs at the level of insurers, providers and
government oversight.

Private insurers spend more than 15 percent of the money they collect in
premiums on administrative costs. By contrast, Medicare spends about 2
percent. Part of the insurers' administrative expenses go toward marketing
- an expense that would be unnecessary in a universal Medicare system.

The other major factor driving administrative costs with private insurers
is associated with their efforts to game the system. Gaming is the best
way to make profits in the current system. If insurers can find effective
mechanisms for either keeping sick people from being insured, or finding
ways to deny coverage for expensive care, then they stand to make large
profits. Naturally, profit-maximizing insurers will therefore devote
substantial resources to trying to avoid ways to provide health care to
people who need it.

At the level of providers, the wide range of divergent forms and policies
employs hundreds of thousands of people in administrative positions in
hospitals, doctors' offices, nursing homes and other providers. These
people are often quite adept at dealing with various insurers, which is an
important skill in our current system, but a task that would disappear if
we had a universal Medicare system.

Finally, the state and federal governments must devote substantial
resources for oversight to police the practice of insurers. Oversight
agencies are essential for limiting abuse. This task would be much simpler
if there were not corporations that stood to profit by keeping people from
getting needed care.

While we could in principle shift to a universal Medicare system
immediately, this would be an extremely difficult task politically and
would present some serious practical problems as well. During his
campaign, President Obama proposed something far more modest: give
employers and individuals the choice to buy into a public Medicare-type
program. Under this system, if people are happy with their current health
care insurance, they would have the option to keep it. However, if they
decided that the plan offered by the government was better, they could buy
into it.

In this situation, insurers would compete with the government plan in the
market. If private insurers could offer health insurance that provided
better coverage or charged less, then people would have the option to buy
into a private plan. Of course, the government would also regulate the
market so that private insurers could not cherry-pick their way to
profitability by insuring only healthy people and dumping them when they
became sick.

The insurance industry already recognizes that it will lose out in this
sort of competition. A government-run plan will be more efficient. We
already know this based on the experience with Medicare. When private
insurers have competed side by side with the traditional government
Medicare plan, in the absence of government subsidies, the overwhelming
majority of beneficiaries opted to go with the traditional Medicare plan.

This is why the insurers are yelling that they don't want to face "unfair"
competition from a government plan. But, their complaint should be all the
endorsement that the public needs to support a public Medicare-type plan.
The public plan will be cheaper and better than what the private insurers
have to offer. Why shouldn't the public then have this option?

We all know that the insurance industry executives and the company
shareholders want to make lots of money, but maybe they should try to find
an industry where they can compete. If the government can provide health
insurance better and cheaper, then why do we need private insurers?

Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy
Research (CEPR). He is the author of Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and
Fall of the Bubble Economy.


--------12 of 13--------

The Bum's Rush
by Charles Marowitz

(Swans - March 9, 2009)   Watching the explosive, maniacal, smug faces of
the people attending Rush Limbaugh's recent address at the Conservative
Political Action Conference sent shivers down my spine. It was the
reincarnation of Father Coughlin, Huey Long, and the Inquisition all
rolled into one. Mean, vindictive, hostile, and cruel faces exploded with
cheers and applause whenever some banal patriotic sentiment was proclaimed
and clearly, had Obama or any of his team been physically present, they
would have had to fear for their lives, so vengeful was the opposition
ranked against them.

It is impossible - and useless even if it were possible - to dispute the
ideas discharged like cannonballs into the midst of such a mob. They
weren't what you might call "ideas." They were bombastic bursts of
political cliches, one more antediluvian than the last, and detonated for
maximum effect; not what you might call coherent planks in a political
platform. It gave jingoism an entirely new dimension and reminded one of
Dr. Johnson's incontestable maxim: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a
scoundrel" - although in Limbaugh's case, it was also the first shot out
of his rusty musket.

One was consistently appalled by the hollowness of his rhetoric, the
banality of his patriotic fervor; the insidious reliance on slurs
interspersed with plangent excerpts from the Declaration of Independence
(erroneously cited as coming from the Constitution.) In Limbaugh's mouth,
even the inspiring words of Thomas Jefferson topple out like cliches that
Jefferson himself would disavow because of their oddball context. He has
the knack of metamorphosing the most cherished American ideals into the
spiel of a huckster peddling snake oil.

It's a litany of "all the old favorites": "Freedom," which is chastened
for permitting liberal subversions, praise for minimalist government, and
dispraise for those attempting to regulate the villainies that free-market
capitalism is prone to; personal initiative that disdains helping people
who are less endowed or, God forbid, hard-up and unemployed; threats
against dissidents who rail against religion or women's right to police
their own bodies. (Femi-nazis, in Rush's elegant phrase.)

Limbaugh and his screeching over-aged bobby-soxers appear to inhabit a
society that is blind to the horrors with which an unregulated democracy
has crippled America and is continuing to erode its economy - and the
rest of the world's along with it. It was an address that, though it took
place in 2009, was rooted in the spirit of the bland 1980s before the
villainies of the Republican Party poisoned the wells of American
democracy and ushered in an era of corporate corruption and military
braggadocio that continue to threaten our welfare.

Obviously feeling sensitive to his guttersnipe assault on Obama, ("I hope
he fails"), Limbaugh, oblivious to the disasters that Republican mendacity
created both nationally and globally, insists that since he loathes
everything the new administration stands for, it is only natural to wish
failure upon all its efforts to recover. A position that would retain some
semblance of sanity if he and his dwindling posse of Rough Riders were
able to offer an alternative social and financial plan - but being
intellectually bankrupt, they cling desperately to the failed mantra of
tax cuts, continued warfare, and diminished government as if the
repetition itself will magically supply some form of salvation to the
failed principles that they, more than any other party, have inflicted
upon the populace.

It is pathetic enough that the strongest player they can send on to the
field is an amorphous showman whose hippocampus has become addled with
prescription drugs and whose platform consists entirely of a bogus and
sophistical patriotism. If Rush or Newt Gingrich are the only star players
they can send into the field, it is more likely the Whigs would do better
in the political arena than the miniscule giants of the Republican Party.

Limbaugh constantly brings to mind a kind of wild, over-the-top Ralph
Kramden, the character created by Jackie Gleason in The Honeymooners,
whose ego was always on a short fuse and whose greatest pleasure was
berating his Better Half and anyone else who endangered the fortress of
his belligerent rule. Like Kramden, he is full of threat and apoplectic
rage camouflaged in a personality that invokes bonhomie and
hail-fellow-well-met amity. Like Kramden, Limbaugh is a tyrant disguised
as the Common Man whereas the only thing "common" about him is his I.Q.
and hare-trigger tendency towards violence. No doubt he appeals to a macho
audience, made up of both men and women, because his aggression colors
everything he says and does. Unfortunately, Rush is not as witty as
Gleason was in the series but, like Kramden, he is amusing to those people
who enjoy the spectacle of a simpleton doggedly pretending to a
superiority his every word contradicts.

In a profound philosophical sense, Limbaugh is the destined leader of
American conservatives. He exemplifies all the untenable cliches of the
past quarter of a century and is deeply entrenched in political
shibboleths, which make it impossible for him to cope with the real
challenges of the new millennium; a man whose roar is as empty of good
sense as a lion's might be caught in a trap from which he cannot extricate
himself. Jolly, humoristic, pig-headed, and vacant, he is the perfect
symbol of the uptight dogmas that are now threatened with extinction. And
as we know, it is when wild animals feel most trapped that they are the
most dangerous.


--------13 of 13--------

Hello, Is Anybody out There?: Famine, Neofeudalism and the New Dark Ages
by Justin O'Connell
March 9th, 2009
Dissident Voice

The emotions are one of the most important ingredients in the evolution of
consciousness and humanity. A wondrous technology, emotions make it
possible for us to organize our goals according to importance. For
instance, out there in the wild, you know among the lions and tigers and
bears we fear as children, its not best for a parched and famished animal
to stand betwixt by a berry bush and stream. Nor does it do the animal any
good to nibble on a berry before mozying on over to the stream, and then
onto the berry again, etc. ad infinitum til there's nada of either.
Rather, the best decision calls for the animal to prioritize: drinking
water when its ideal to drink water and eating food when its ideal to eat
food. Ecclesiastes says that to every thing there is a season, and a time
to every purpose under the heaven: a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a
time to love, and a time to hate. Should he have also included, one
wonders, a time to wake up? In the forest on a camping trip, we have
different goals standing face to face with a lion than when nursing a
wound or confronting strife among fellow campers. Its morning again in
America, said Ronald Regan, however ironically, in a 1984 campaign ad.
Well, tis late in the ball game and the blackness of night envelopes us.
One is hard pressed to find those with the best cardswell, at least their
money, stockpiled off shores and anonymously.

Many economists assure us the current recession will begin to subside by
2010, but the paradigm from which they conceptualize reality is
incomplete, ignoring costs externalized by markets, such as the
encroaching effects of habitat destruction. The fledgling and contagious
social unrest at hand must be quickly organized, attitudinized and
mobilized, for existing environmental, geopolitical and financial
upheavals threaten the survival of many. Firstly, the outlook for food
yields in 2009 is dismal: Many analysts have warned of a 20 to 40 percent
drop in agricultural production, depending on the harshness and duration
of the current global drought. Two years ago, however, Science published
predictions of permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest of the
United States, and forecast levels of aridity akin to the Dust Bowl of the
1930s that would envelope swaths of land from Kansas to California. The
Hadley Center in the UK reported in November 2006,

"Extreme drought is likely to increase from under 3% of the globe today to
30% by 2100 areas affected by severe drought could see a five-fold
increase from 8% to 40%".

This, of course, is a recipe for widespread desertification. The NOAA
foresees drought of considerable duress largely irreversible for 1,000
years and identifies the following key regions as facing, insofar as our
contemporary purviews are considered, permanent Dust Bowls: (Romm )

 U.S. Southwest
 Southeast Asia
 Eastern South America
 Southern Europe
 Southern Africa
 Northern Africa
 Western Australia

Countries yielding two thirds of the worlds agricultural output are on the
precipice of serious climatatic discontinuities reminiscent of the Global
Climate Optimum of the 900 to 1300 variety. Food prices will soar, and, in
poor countries where food is scarce, millions will starve. One thing we
have to fall back on is our natural humanity, not just our braininess and
know how, but also the fact that the collective wet dream that constitutes
our social reality skews how many of us can actually live now and in the
future. Simply put, by ditching the wet dream and downsizing, we
significantly better our plight. There are plenty of atavistics (those who
are like, so last dark ages) among us, like Dianne Feinstein, who said
that it is Californians god-given right to water their lawns and gardens.
Southern Californian Scott Thill offers, in an article published by
AlterNet, a new definition of the front lawn: Gorgeously tended middle
fingers to reality, which, like death and taxes always, has a way of
winning in the end.

The California drought is anticipated to be the worst in modern times.
Already thousands of acres of crops are fallow, with no sign of slowing.
Furthermore, the Northern Sierra snowpack for this past winter turned out
to be 51% lighter than usual. According to the Los Angeles Times, the
state is nearly out of water, leaving it with prayers of rain and a
dwindling Northern California supply. Los Angeles has already begun
allocation of water, which, as Scott Thill points out, means water to the
rich (north) and away from the poor (south). He then portends evacuations
and realignments, by 2100, you will not recognize it. East of southern
California, 18 percent of Texas is burdened by severe drought.

In some countries historical relief efforts have been undertaken. The
Chinese government has allocated 86.7 billion yuan (roughly $12.69
billion) to affected regions, and, moreover, lent a helping hand to its
western colleagues during the financial crisis, but also to nature itself.
Officials in Beijing blasted silver iodide into clouds over northern China
to create precipitation as a means of alleviating the most severe drought
experienced by the region in half a century. King your fingers crossed (or
maybe not, there's no telling with these things!), as China produces 18%
of the worlds grain each year.

Australia has been in the midst of an unremitting dry spell since 2004, as
41% of the country's agriculture suffers the worst drought in the 117
years of record-keeping. Rivers have stopped flowing, lakes are being
eradicated by toxicity, and farmers have left their land.

Shall we proceed? Argentina's worst drought in half a century has turned
that country's verdant landscapes to dust. The country has declared
emergency. Soy plants are scorched by the sun and Argentina's food
production is set to go down a minimum of 50 percent or greater. 2008s
wheat yield was 16.3 million metric tons, whereas 2009s is projected to
be merely 8.7 metric tons.

Africa faces food shortages due to lack of rainfall. Half the agricultural
soil has lost nutrients necessary to grow plant. The Middle East and
Central Asia, to boot, are suffering from contemporary nadir droughts and
food grain production is at the lowest levels in decades. A major shortage
of planting seed for the 2010 crop is expected.

Stocks of foodstuff are dangerously low worldwide. Agricultural
commodities must rise in price so as to obviate even larger food shortages
and famine. Wheat, corn, soybeans, etc. must become expensive enough so
that every available acre is harvested with the best possible fertilizers.
With food prices steady, production will continue to fall and millions
would starve.

A spike in food price is likely to spark competitive currency appreciation
in 2009. Foreign exchange reserves exist for this. Central banks the globe
over would lower domestic food prices by either directly selling off their
reserves to appreciate their currency or buying grain from the market.
Appreciating a currency is the fastest way to control food inflation. The
more valuable a currency the more monopolistic a nation over global
resources so, for example, an overvalued dollar enables the US to consume
25% of the worlds oil, despite only having 4% of the worlds population.
Were China to sell off its US reserves, its population of over one billion
would then suck up the worlds food supply. Prices soar around the world.

This process, however, would most likely not end up in the impoverishment
of nation states per se, though almost certainly the disintegration of the
modern middle class, already long past its youthful heyday. The American
Dream has been repeatedly resuscitated over the last thirty years through
portfolio insurance, Long-Term Capital Management, the internet, the
housing market, and now the looters have taken to the streets - oh, excuse
me; I mean to their theoretical electronic world - and pillaged the
landscape.

Social unrest and soaring food prices go hand in hand, from sea to shining
sea. Countries, so as to avoid revolutionary reform from the bottom up,
would have no choice but to appreciate their currencies in order to
cheapen food imports. China holds the best deck, and so then would sell
off more of its reserves. The worlds reserve currency, the dollar, floats
into precarious waters. As a fiat currency, the US dollar is, by its very
nature, worthless. Trillions of US holdings could be liquidated in favor
of food.

"We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will
emerge stronger". (President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address 24
Feb 2009)

In Washington, talk of bailouts and relief are framed in the realm of
economics and economics only, with no considerable deliberation of our
species ecological outlook. The budget proposal is sold as a demand
oriented New Deal-esque expansionary program, with health, education,
renewable energy, investment infrastructure and transportation at its
forefront. The hope is to stimulate employment, boost social programs and
to revive the real economy. Michel Chossudovsky reports in a recent
article published by Global Research, that - surprise, surprise - the
stimulus package is the most substantial diverging of public spending
ever, and serves the interests of Wall Street, in particular, the finance,
oil and defense cartel. This in and of itself should cause social unrest,
and certainly makes more likely the potential evaporation of the middle
class.

The 2010 fiscal year, which begins on October 1st, will represent an
increase in spending of 32%. The nucleus of the proposal inflates defense
and the Middle East War funds, the Wall Street bank bailouts that never
end, so-called by the New York Times, and interest on a debt that exceeds
ten-fold the world's GDP. The bailout financed, in part, by the recipients
themselves, the creditors, which, as understood by the Treasury and the
banks in the first place, meant the FED enjoyed sweeping authority over
how the money was to be spent from the onset of this collapse continues
under the new proposed budget. Unlike Keynesian style deficits, this
piling on of debt through the proposed budget would not stimulate
investment and consumer demand; there will be no expansion of production
and employment, for the giveaway of tax dollars to the financial oligarchs
is no more than a monumental concentration of wealth and centralization of
world banking power.

Washington places defense spending at $739.5 billion, though some
estimates assert aggregate defense and military related spending at more
than $1 trillion. The total of both bailouts, Obamas $750 billion piled on
top of Bush's $700 billion dollar bailout, is 1.45 trillion dollars paid
for by the Treasury. Virtually all federal government revenues would be
expended to finance the bank handouts: 1.45 trillion, the war; $739
billion, and interest payments on public debt; $164 billion. And then the
well is dry. There are no funds available for the social programs
encapsulated in the stimulus package. Therefore, programs for healthcare
and education will most likely be sold to private enterprise to fund the
bankrupt state. Education is not the only state asset that is at risk of
being privatized: Public infrastructure, urban services, highways,
national parks, etc. are all at risk. The worsening fiscal collapse
coalesces in the privatization of the state, tilling the land for a much
more lucrative market in governance and social control.

Many economists hypothesize that the Obama administration is employing
Zimbabwe School of Economics policies, where by hyperinflation is produced
through the incessant printing of money, resulting in that currencys fall
to zero. Currently, we are seeing the simultaneous devaluation of the
currency and the purchase of the world's commodities by corporations,
government assets included; a process that will presumably leave the rest
of us with toilet paper.

So, that leaves us with a raped resource base and a new system of
globalized neo-feudalism. In 1800, around the time of the Industrial
Revolution, there were 969,000,000 humans on earth. That leaves more than
five billion redundant individuals whose lives were made possible by
fossil fuels and abundance of water. A ubiquitous and enduring
reorientation of human cognition is the key to survival: in short,
reprioritization. This problem is of the utmost importance. A change of
consciousness would result in a change in mass behavior. This starts at
the obvious level: short-showers, low-flow everything, no lawns, total
conservation and the reorientation of the economy based on renewable
resources and sustenance. We must then work on disbelieving in our
governments and the moribund banking system.

An all-pervasive insurgency, attacking multi-laterally the global
industrial grid oligarchy, with broad but explicit aims among which a new
harmony with the natural world is foremost must, before all else, work
towards dismantling tyrannical corporations. Computers and electricity are
the lifeblood of civilizations. Coordinated attacks against the electric
grid, financial markets, and destroyers of the environment could be wildly
successful, but could only be so as part of a talented and colossal
movement with army-like discipline. Specialization comes in handy. The
average American city has food for about half a month, which means
economies will need know-how to localize and quick.

Another option would be to create companies of our own to challenge the
global giants. Max Keiser, host of the Oracle on the BBC, has championed
the idea of creating huge syndicates of boycotters against companies such
as Coca-Cola and Exxon/Mobil. The money saved would be diverted to the
worlds top activism organizations. The biggest take-home lesson when it
comes to boycotts is this: the consumer wields enormous power. You've been
told it before and it's true. Boycotts of certain market elements such as
the Fed Cartel (Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America), in which we
move our money, refinance with another bank, sell our stock or quit our
jobs, is a major step in the right direction.

Your television lies. Propagandistic news networks like CNN, NBC, ABC,
Fox, etc are the only companies from whom Americans get their daily dose
of news. The panoply of diverse news websites on the internet forms the
most active resistance community around; further privatization and
censoring of the internet must be actively challenged. The corporate
attitudinized mass media dangles carrots in front of the consumers face
from the confines of a hallucinatory feedback loop. Awash in an onslaught
of terroristic American-style boulevard journalism, dimension is hard to
find. The axioms with which the corporate-owned media frame reality are so
far off base that it can be taxing for many of us to find the right
ripostes while discussing our world with Nationalists. A good example is
the recent slandering of Michel Phelps, caught toking with a relatively
impressive piece of glass. The pro-marijuana movement has failed utterly,
though they are indeed going up against a billion dollar smear campaign to
gain traction with this simple notion: That had Michel Phelps not indulged
in marijuana, his record breaking Olympic performance would have been
inconceivable. There are many doctors who have championed the medical
benefits of marijuana, some going so far as to suggest THC promotes brain
cell growth.

Dont join the military, for the US government and mercenaries view
soldiers as cannon fodder or expendable assets; one in four soldiers in
the US is homeless.

Wine-making vats are an excellent habitat for a multitude of
micro-organisms. By fermenting the juice of crushed fruit, the organisms
explode at first before depleting the once abundant nutrients needed for
survival. They eventually die from the accrual of alcohol and carbon
dioxide they themselves produced. We choke just the same on our industrial
discharge, especially in agglomerations such as Southern California and
BosWash on the eastern seaboard. By making our communities
self-sustainable with clean energy such as solar, wind, geothermal, and
magnetic forever replacing the obsolete 80-year long enterprise known as
the combustible engine, we make ourselves and our families less dependent
on the broken state-enterprise apparatus. Not to mention less toxic.

Its important to remember, there's always the future. We must keep our
humanity; its much too late in the ballgame to be weighed down by our
razor-thin ideologies, be they Marxism, Capitalism, Christianity, Islam,
Nudism, Obamaism, Indie Rockism, Hyphy, Fuck the policeism, or what have
you. Understanding, compassion, and altruism are the chords deep within
our souls, and once struck it is clear that they are the essence of
humanity.

Allow me to introduce you to a peculiar form of denial called anosognosia,
the condition in which a person suffering from a disability due to brain
injury appears unaware or denies the existence of the malady. This ailment
applies to radical changes in ones life, affecting the newly blind or
paralyzed. Indeed, Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States,
suffered from anosognosia after a stroke on October 2, 1919. After the
bloodletting of the war to end all wars subsided, Wilson's first priority
was the establishment of the League of Nations, which he believed would
help ensure world peace. With the help of those by his side, Wilson
ignored the seriousness of his stroke, and continued to look forward to
more campaigning in favor of the League, and even the possibility of a
third term. Wilson was no more than wool gathering with such hopes in
light of his incapacity.

The industrialized world's superego is suffering from a terminal form of
anosognosia: We have all gone insane. That we find solace in proclamations
from economists that the current financial crisis will subside in a year's
time, while momentarily watching the corporate nanny states complete
submission to corporate rule, is further evidence of our aloofness. Our
capacity for widespread social reform is great if only we exercise our
power. Malcom X expressed his belief that one day there would be a clash
between the rich and poor of the world, and, in all likelihood, details of
how it may or may not play out aside, we are headed towards such a clash.
So, before we starve between a stream and a berry bush, now is the time
for us to reconsider our goals and desires. Next week is the sixth
anniversary of the war in Iraq. I suggest we all consider penciling it
into our day planners.

Justin O'Connell blogs at The Handshake Times. He can be reached at:
joconne [at] linfield.edu.


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   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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