|Progressive Calendar 03.31.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 03:11:57 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.31.09 1. RNC court watch 3.31 6pm 2. Poetry & healing 3.31 6:30pm 3. Zinn/KFAI 4.01 11am 4. Palestine 4.01 7pm 5. Worlds problems 4.01 7:01pm 6. Worlds problems.2 4.01 7:39pm 7. Pol tells truth 4.01 8pm 8. Retraction 4.01 8:03pm 9. Memory reset 4.01 9pm 10. Fools rumors 4.01 10pm 11. info [at] rnc8 - TC RNC8 events succeed despite police harassement 12. PC Roberts - Obama's war on the (upper) middle class 13. Michael Hudson - Financing the empire: does US face G20 mutiny? 14. Australian Lottery - Condolences your email has lost!!! --------1 of x-------- From: Do'ii <syncopatingrhythmsabyss [at] gmail.com> Subject: RNC court watch 3.31 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! --------2 of x-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Poetry & healing 3.31 6:30pm Tuesday, March 31, we are fortunate to have John Fox, founder of The Institute for Poetic Medicine, as our guest. He will hold a mini workshop on ways to bring attention to ways poetry can heal, as well as express the unique and creative voice of the poet with-in you. I hope you can come. John is in the Twin Cities to hold workshops at different places, and he is gracious enough to come and do a mini one at the salon. Should be great. Thanks, patty 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. --------3 of x-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Zinn/KFAI 4.01 11am FM 90.3/Minneapolis-106.7/St. Paul and STREAMING LIVE AT KFAI.org WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1 11:00AM HOWARD ZINN and "VOICES OF THE PEOPLE'S HISTORY" The history of the United States as taught in our schools is only half the story - and almost always told from the perspective of the conqueror - in this case, European immigrants - with little if anything said about the conquered - the indigenous peoples of this hemisphere who found their peaceful existence interrupted, their people enslaved and murdered to extinction, their cultures exterminated. HOWARD ZINN's People's History of the United States sought to correct such half-truths and to fill in the very large vacuum in our understanding of the events that led to our current government's founding, establishment and pervasive culture. Voices of the People's History records the commentary and philosophy of those who sought and spoke truth to power in the centuries that followed. Co-authored with scholar Anthony Arnove, "Voices..." resurrects the seekers of justice from every walk - like that of Nez Perce Chief Joseph, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Eugene Debs, Frederick Douglass, and Columbus critic, Bartolom Las Casas, among other "Voices.." to be read and heard when Howard Zinn comes to town to oversee the dramatization of these historical characters at an event on behalf of the Nonviolent Peaceforce at St. Catherine's O'Shaughnessy Auditorium in St. Paul April 6th at 7:00PM. Co-sponsored by KFAI. On April 1st, TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN will talk with Howard Zinn and other guests about the role historical perspective plays in our self-perception and in the way we govern ourselves today. We'll hear a reading or two from scheduled performers** and a song from Twin Cities' premier jazz vocalist PRUDENCE JOHNSON. GUESTS: HOWARD ZINN, Historian/Author of People's History of the United States and Voices of the People's History PROF. TOM O'CONNELL - Historian and Political Science professor, Metropolitan State University PRUDENCE JOHNSON - Twin Cities Jazz Vocalist INVITED: Celebrity Readers of Zinn's and Anthony Arnove's "VOICES OF THE PEOPLE'S HISTORY", And YOU! Call us at 612-341-0980. Join the conversation. Can't get us on the radio? Stream TTT live from KFAI's Home Page --------4 of x-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Palestine 4.01 7pm Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict College of St. Catherine, Library, Room 128, 2004 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul. People in the United States hear about the emotionally-charged Palestine-Israeli conflict in the news regularly, but many know little except that there is violence and that the issues involved are "complex." Florence Steichen will supplement the news appearing in mainstream American media by providing context and some missing pieces. Florence is a Sister of St. Joseph Carondolet, who has lived, worked and traveled in the region. She holds a Masters Degree in Theology from the University of Notre Dame, lived in Bethlehem (1987-1992) and served as Registrar of Bethlehem University in Palestine. Florence is President of Middle East Peace Now (MEPN), Treasurer of Pax Christi Twin Cities and active in the WAMM Middle East Committee. Although each class builds on the previous one, sessions may be taken individually. Each session will include ample time for discussion. Handouts will be provided and resources suggested. Open to the public. $7.00 per class. Wednesday, April 1, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Introduction to the Conflict: ^”Life in Occupied Palestine,^‘ DVD by Anna Baltzer, 2007. Anna Baltzer is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor. This powerful account of the occupation as she experienced it by living in the Occupied Territories 2003-2007. Brief history to provide context, and Israeli and Palestinian narratives. Thursday, April 16, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The Role of Religion: The influence of the Biblical texts in the region. Although the conflict is about land, not religion, religion and politics are deeply intertwined. Thursday, April 30, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The Winding Road to Peace: Possibilities and obstacles; proposals throughout the years. Should there be one state or two, and what is the role of the U.S.? Endorsed by: the WAMM Middle East Committee. FFI and to register: Visit http://minerva.stkate.edu/alumna.nsf/pages/lifelong. --------5 of x-------- From: Authoritative Source, Inc Subject: World's problems solved 4.01 7:01pm At 7:01pm, Mr Chesney Smith, of Fridley MN, will solve all the world's problems. Solutions will be posted on oracledefridley. Everyone will slap their foreheads and cry, "Damn, why didn't _I_ think of that!??" Universal peace will break out. Problem-solvers will have nothing to do (not even cross-words, which will be pre-emptively filled in). Action: drive around Fridley honking your horn in celebration. They will want to hear from you. --------6 of x--------- From: Authoritative Source Squared, Ltd Subject: New world problems created 4.01 7:39pm At 7:39pm, Jenna Jones, of Maplewood MN, will create a "Pandora's Box" of "damn-near insolable world super-problems". People will wish they had the old problems back, but it will be too late. Action: drive around Maplewood honking your horn in despair. Maplewoodheads won't want to hear it, but that will be the least of their (and our) problems. --------7 of x-------- From: Verified Verification Inc Subject: Politician tells truth 4.01 8pm At 8pm 4.01 a Twin-City politician will say something true. The major media will be on site for this event. --------8 of x-------- From: Certified Certfication Inc Subject: Retraction 4.01 8:03pm "I don't know what I was thinking - or NOT thinking! I apologize for telling the truth. Trust me, it will never happen again," will say the above-mentioned politician. His PAC-money, which will have been suspended, will be reinstated and doubled. "This truth crap can get out of hand so fast we have to stomp it out before the rabble start demanding it" will say his corporate PAC-money-bundler. --------9 of x-------- From: System Reset Subject: Memory reset 4.01 9pm System Reset will reset the memory switches it has covertly installed on all area persons, so they will act as if events 5-8 (and 9) had never happened, but will view remors of them as mere sophomoric April Fools jests, unworthy of further discussion. --------10 of x-------- From: Progressive Calendar Subject: April Fools rumors 4.01 10pm At 10pm, Progressive Calendar ed will issue the following statement: "The Progressive Calendar did not print statements relating to 'events 5-9'. Let's move on to important stuff instead of this ridiculous fol-de-rol." --------11 of x-------- Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2009 17:58:54 -0700 (PDT) From: info [at] rnc8.org Subject: [friendsofthernc8] Twin Cities RNC8 events a success despite police harrasement COALITION: COP HARASSMENT, SPYING MUST STOP! Groups Vow to Continue Defending the RNC 8 Despite Intimidation Attempts March 30, 2008 Police conduct during last Saturday's community event in support of the RNC 8 ≠ a group of protest organizers each facing four conspiracy and terrorism charges - provided a startling glimpse into coordinated multi-agency efforts to harass, intimidate and spy on community members engaged in legal, First Amendment-protected activities. Just like the charges against the RNC 8, the operation was a waste of scarce resources in tough economic times. At least 15 cities across the nation held events for the March 28, 2009 National Day of Solidarity with the RNC 8. In the Twin Cities, the Tour de Fletcher bicycle ride visited the sites of last August's pre-emptive police raids by Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher. Organizers advertised the event as 100% legal and riders obeyed all traffic laws. Throughout the ride, several Minneapolis police squad cars, bicycle cops, two paddy wagons and a rented van full of more officers menaced the roughly 50 riders who participated. Two police officers wore black masks, making them unidentifiable. One rider who attempted to leave the event was arrested without any apparent justification and now faces charges of disorderly conduct. The arrest appears to have been staged to justify the massive police presence - and wasted taxpayer resources - at the peaceful, lawful event. The arrested individual overheard his arresting officer saying, "1 down, 39 to go" and an officer at the jail saying, "So how many did you get?" as if authorities had planned a mass arrest. Later in the day, even more officers and police cars, including the unmarked vehicle of a St. Paul Police Commander, lined the streets at a south Minneapolis church during a community lunch which was part of the event. Officers photographed individuals as they entered the church and recorded license plate numbers of cars outside. Although the upbeat bicycle ride ended in Minneapolis, multiple squad cars with bicycles were sighted afterwards at 951 Iglehart Avenue and were reported at 627 Smith Avenue in St. Paul (sites of pre-emptive raids and listed as potential stops on the ride), confirming the multi-agency nature of this effort. "We've seen a definite increase in police harassment and spying at social justice events since the RNC," states Michelle Gross, President of Communities United Against Police Brutality. She adds, "Police have been photographing participants, documenting license plates and even openly harassing people who have broken no laws, especially in the last few months." Despite police efforts, the March 28 event was a complete success with many new people coming forward to show their support for the RNC 8. The lunch raised significant funds for their legal defense. The previous day, supporters delivered a petition with 3,000 signatures to prosecutor Susan Gaertner demanding she drop the charges against the RNC 8. Organizers stated this was only the first installment and that more signatures will follow. The 17,000 member Duluth Central Labor Body also submitted a support statement to Gaertner urging her to drop the charges, as did Don Olson on behalf of the "Minnesota 8," well-known Vietnam-era draft resisters. During the visit to Susan Gaertner, known undercover police officers were again seen photographing activists. Several organizations were responsible for planning the March 28 event and these groups have vowed to continue their efforts in spite of police harassment. They include Friends of the RNC 8, RNC 8 Defense Committee, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Community RNC Arrestee Support Structure (CRASS) and others. Video and photos are at http://rnc8.org/2009/03/video-photos-press-release-tc-rnc-8-events-a-success-despite-police-harassment/ --------12 of x-------- Serfs in the Making? Obama's War on the (Upper) Middle Class By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS March 30, 2009 CounterPunch Obama and his public relations team have made it appear that his trillion dollars in higher taxes will fall only on "the rich". Obama stresses that his tax increase is only for the richest 5 per cent of Americans while the other 95 per cent receive a tax cut. The fact of the matter is that the income differences within the top 5 per cent are far wider than the differences between the lower tax brackets and the "rich" American in the 96th percentile. For Obama, being "rich" begins with $250,000 in annual income, the bottom rung of the top 5 percent. Compare this "rich" income to that of, for example, Hank Paulson, President George W. Bush's Treasury Secretary when he was the head of Goldman Sachs. In 2005 Paulson was paid $38.3 million in salary, stock and options. That is 153 times the annual income of the "rich" $250,000 person. Despite his vast income, Paulson himself was not among the super rich of that year, when a dozen hedge fund operators made $1,000 million. The hedge fund honchos incomes were 26 times greater than Paulson's and 4,000 times greater than the "rich" man's or family's $250,000. For most Americans, a $250,000 income would be a godsend, but envy can make us blind. A $250,000 income is not one that will support a rich lifestyle. In truth, those with $250,000 gross incomes have more in common with those at the lower end of the income distribution than with the rich. A $250,000 income is ten times greater than a $25,000 income, not hundreds or thousands of times greater. On an after-tax basis, the difference shrinks to about 6 times. The American tax code taxes the $250,000 income at the same rate as it taxes a $100,000,000 or higher income. On an after tax basis, after the federal government grabs 30 per cent in income taxes and state government grabs 6 per cent, the "rich" man or woman or family earning $250,000 has $160,000. In New York City, where there is a city income tax in addition to state and federal, this sum diminishes further. State sales taxes take another 6 or more percent of most consumption expenditures. When all is said and done, the after-tax value of a $250,000 income in New York City is about $140,000. Is this rich? Not in New York City. The "rich" person or family won't be purchasing a Manhattan apartment, much less a brownstone. They won't be driving a luxury car. Indeed, they won't be able to afford a parking garage for an economy car. If they fly anywhere, it won't be in a first class seat. For the most part, $250,000 incomes are located in large cities where the cost of living is high. For example, a husband and wife who are associates at major law firms, each of whom works 60 hour weeks and has no job security, earn $125,000 each. They might both have student loans to pay down. For the Obama administration to lump these people in with Hank Paulson or billionaire hedge fund operators is propagandistic. What is the difference between the $250,000 "rich" income and the $245,000 "non-rich" income? After Obama's tax scheme goes into effect, the $245,000 income will benefit from a tax cut, and the $250,000 will have a tax increase. Will people in the 96th percentile ask for pay cuts that will drop them into the 95th percentile? In America, the truly rich are those in the top 0.5 per cent of the income distribution. These are the people with yachts, private airplanes, and who are still rich after they lose half their wealth in a stock market collapse caused by government policy that accommodated financial gangsters. "Oh well, I was worth $600,000,000 last year and only $300,000,000 this year. Perhaps we should stop drinking $1,000 bottles of rare vintages and move down to $100 a bottle wines. Probably shouldn't buy that new yacht or that villa in the south of France". The upper middle class with $250,000 gross incomes are major losers of the financial collapse. Many of the people in this income class are leveraged to the hilt in order to maintain appearances and can be swept away as easily as the very poor. But those who were frugal and invested for their future have lost 50 per cent of their savings. These wiped out people are the ones who will bear the brunt of Obama's tax increase. If the tax rate on a multi-million dollar annual income goes up by 5 percentage points, the cutbacks won't really affect the lifestyle. But for the $250,000 gross income group, it means no prospect of private schools and Ivy League education for the children, who will be attending state colleges with the rest of the non-rich. Obama is attacking the only income class that has any independence - the upper middle class professionals. The real rich are few in number and seldom present any opposition to government. Recently, the New York Times reported (March 23, 2009) that the 400 richest Americans' "share of the nation's total wealth has nearly doubled to more than 22 percent". The average income of the 400 richest Americans is $263 million annually. That is 1,052 times the income of the "rich" $250,000 income. What the Obama administration is really doing is taxing ordinary people in order to bail out the super rich. The 95 per cent of Americans who get the tax cut will find that it is offset many times by the depreciation in the dollar and the raging inflation that will result from monetizing the multi-trillion dollar budget deficits made necessary by the bailouts of the banksters. In the United States, government has become expert at manipulating both left-wing and right-wing ideologies. It keeps those on both ends of the spectrum set at each other's throats in order to ensure the government's continuing independence from accountability. Historically, the definition of a free person is a person who owns his own labor. Serfs were not free, because they owed their feudal lords, the government of that time, a maximum of one-third of their labor. Nineteenth century slaves were not free, because their owners could expropriate 50 per cent of their labor. Today, no American is a free person. The lowest tax rate, not counting state income, property tax and sales tax, is 15 per cent Social Security tax and 15 per cent federal income tax. The "free American" starts off with a 30 per cent tax rate, the position of a medieval serf. In medieval Europe, when tax rates reached beyond 30 per cent, serfs rebelled and killed their masters. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com --------13 of x-------- Does US Face G20 Mutiny? Financing the Empire By MICHAEL HUDSON March 30, 2009 CounterPunch I am travelling in Europe for three weeks to discuss the global financial crisis with government officials, politicians and labor leaders. What is most remarkable is how differently the financial problem is perceived over here. It's like being in another economic universe, not just another continent. The U.S. media are silent about the most important topic policy makers are discussing here (and I suspect in Asia too): how to protect their countries from three inter-related dynamics: (1) the surplus dollars pouring into the rest of the world for yet further financial speculation and corporate takeovers; (2) the fact that central banks are obliged to recycle these dollar inflows to buy U.S. Treasury bonds to finance the federal U.S. budget deficit; and most important (but most suppressed in the U.S. media, (3) the military character of the U.S. payments deficit and the domestic federal budget deficit. Strange as it may seem - and irrational as it would be in a more logical system of world diplomacy - the "dollar glut" is what finances America's global military build-up. It forces foreign central banks to bear the costs of America's expanding military empire - effective "taxation without representation". Keeping international reserves in "dollars" means recycling their dollar inflows to buy U.S. Treasury bills - U.S. government debt issued largely to finance the military. To date, countries have been as powerless to defend themselves against the fact that this compulsory financing of U.S. military spending is built into the global financial system. Neoliberal economists applaud this as "equilibrium," as if it is part of economic nature and "free markets" rather than bare-knuckle diplomacy wielded with increasing aggressiveness by U.S. officials. The mass media chime in, pretending that recycling the dollar glut to finance U.S. military spending is "showing their faith in U.S. economic strength" by sending "their" dollars here to "invest". It is as if a choice is involved, not financial and diplomatic compulsion to choose merely between "Yes" (from China, reluctantly), "Yes, please" (from Japan and the European Union) and "Yes, thank you" (Britain, Georgia and Australia). It is not "foreign faith in the U.S. economy" that leads foreigners to "put their money here". That"s a silly cartoon of a more sinister dynamic. The "foreigners" in question are not consumers buying U.S. exports, nor are they private-sector "investors" buying U.S. stocks and bonds. The largest and most important foreign entities putting "their money" here are central banks, and it is not "their money" at all. They are sending back the dollars that foreign exporters and other recipients turn over to their central banks for domestic currency. When the U.S. payments deficit pumps dollars into foreign economies, these banks are being given little option except to buy U.S. Treasury bills and bonds - which the Treasury spends on financing an enormous, hostile military build-up to encircle the major dollar-recyclers - China, Japan and Arab OPEC oil producers. Yet these governments are forced to recycle dollar inflows in a way that funds U.S. military policies in which they have no say in formulating, and which threaten them more and more belligerently. That is why China and Russia took the lead in forming the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) a few years ago. Here in Europe there is a clear awareness that the U.S. payments deficit is much larger than just the trade deficit. One need merely look at Table 5 of the U.S. balance-of-payments data compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and published by the Dept. of Commerce in its Survey of Current Business to see that the deficit does not stem merely from consumers buying more imports than the United States exports as the financial sector de-industrializes its economy. U.S. imports are now plunging as the economy shrinks and consumers are now finding themselves obliged to pay down the debts they have taken on. Congress has told foreign investors in the largest dollar holder, China, not to buy anything except perhaps used-car dealerships and maybe more packaged mortgages and Fannie Mae stock - the equivalent of Japanese investors being steered into spending $1 billion for Rockefeller Center, on which they subsequently took a 100 per cent loss, and Saudi investment in Citigroup. That's the kind of "international equilibrium" that U.S. officials love to see. "CNOOK go home" is the motto when it comes to serious attempts by foreign governments and their sovereign wealth funds (central bank departments trying to figure out what to do with their dollar glut) to make direct investments in American industry. So we are left with the extent to which the U.S. payments deficit stems from military spending. The problem is not only the war in Iraq, now being extended to Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is the expensive build-up of U.S. military bases in Asian, European, post-Soviet and Third World countries. The Obama administration has promised to make the actual amount of this military spending more transparent. That presumably means publishing a revised set of balance of payments figures as well as domestic federal budget statistics. The military overhead is much like a debt overhead, extracting revenue from the economy. In this case it is to pay the military-industrial complex, not merely Wall Street banks and other financial institutions. The domestic federal budget deficit does not stem only from .priming the pump. to give away enormous sums to create a new financial oligarchy. It contains an enormous and rapidly growing military component. So Europeans and Asians see U.S. companies pumping more and more dollars into their economies. Not just to buy their exports in excess of providing them with goods and services in return; not just to buy their companies and "commanding heights" of privatized public enterprises without giving them reciprocal rights to buy important U.S. companies (remember the U.S. turn-down of China's attempt to buy into the U.S. oil distribution business); not just to buy foreign stocks, bonds and real estate. The U.S. media somehow neglect to mention that the U.S. government is spending hundreds of billions of dollars abroad - not only in the Near East for direct combat, but to build enormous military bases to encircle the rest of the world, to install radar systems, guided missile systems and other forms of military coercion, including the "color revolutions" that have been funded - and are still being funded - all around the former Soviet Union. Pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills adding up to tens of millions of the dollars at a time have become familiar "visuals" on some TV broadcasts, but the link is not made with U.S. military and diplomatic spending and foreign central-bank dollar holdings, which are reported simply as "wonderful faith in the U.S. economic recovery" and presumably the "monetary magic" being worked by Wall Street's Tim Geithner at Treasury and Helicopter Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve. Here's the problem: The Coca Cola company recently tried to buy China's largest fruit-juice producer and distributor. China already holds nearly $2 trillion in U.S. securities - way more than it needs or can use, inasmuch as the United States government refuses to let it buy meaningful U.S. companies. If the U.S. buyout would have been permitted to go through, this would have confronted China with a dilemma: Choice #1 would be to let the sale go through and accept payment in dollars, reinvesting them in what the U.S. Treasury tells it to do - U.S. Treasury bonds yielding about 1 per cent. China would take a capital loss on these when U.S. interest rates rise or when the dollar declines as the United States alone is pursuing expansionary Keynesian policies in an attempt to enable the U.S. economy to carry its debt overhead. Choice #2 is not to recycle the dollar inflows. This would lead the renminbi to rise against the dollar, thereby eroding China's export competitiveness in world markets. So China chose a third way, which brought U.S. protests. It turned the sale of its tangible company for merely "paper" U.S. dollars - which went with the "choice" to fund further U.S. military encirclement of the Shanghai Cooperative Agreement. The only people who seem not to be drawing this connection are the American mass media, and hence public. I can assure you from personal experience, it is being drawn here in Europe. (Here's a good diplomatic question to discuss: Which will be the first European country besides Russia to join the S.C.O.?) Academic textbooks have nothing to say about how "equilibrium" in foreign capital movements - speculative as well as for direct investment - is infinite as far as the U.S. economy is concerned. The U.S. economy can create dollars freely, now that they no longer are convertible into gold or even into purchases of U.S. companies, inasmuch as America remains the world's most protected economy. It alone is permitted to protect its agriculture by import quotas, having "grandfathered" these into world trade rules half a century ago. Congress refuses to let "sovereign wealth" funds invest in important U.S. sectors. So we are confronted with the fact that the U.S. Treasury prefers foreign central banks to keep on funding its domestic budget deficit, which means financing the cost of America's war in the Near East and encirclement of foreign countries with rings of military bases. The more "capital outflows" U.S. investors spend to buy up foreign economies - the most profitable sectors, where the new U.S. owners can extract the highest monopoly rents - the more funds end up in foreign central banks to support America's global military build-up. No textbook on political theory or international relations has suggested axioms to explain how nations act in a way so adverse to their own political, military and economic interests. Yet this is just what has been happening for the past generation. So the ultimate question turns out to be what countries can do to counter this financial attack. A Basque labor union asked me whether I thought that controlling speculative capital movements would ensure that the financial system would act in the public interest. Or is outright nationalization necessary to better develop the real economy? It is not simply a problem of "regulation" or "control of speculative capital movements". The question is how nations can act as real nations, in their own interest rather than being roped into serving whatever the American government decides is in America's interest. Any country trying to do what the United States has done for the past 150 years is accused of being "socialist" - and this from the most anti-socialist economy in the world, except when it calls bailouts for its banks "socialism for the rich," a.k.a. financial oligarchy. This rhetorical inflation almost leaves no alternative but outright nationalization of credit as a basic public utility. Of course, the word .nationalization. has become a synonym for bailing out the largest and most reckless banks from their bad loans, and bailing out hedge funds and non-bank counterparties for losses on "casino capitalism," gambling on derivatives that AIG and other insurers or players on the losing side of these gambles are unable to pay. Bailout in this form is not nationalization in the traditional sense of the term - bringing credit creation and other basic financial functions back into the public domain. It is the opposite. It prints new government bonds to turn over - along with self-regulatory power - to the financial sector, blocking the citizenry from taking back these functions. Framing the issue as a choice between democracy and oligarchy turns the question into one of who will control the government doing the regulation and "nationalizing". If it is done by a government whose central bank and major congressional committees dealing with finance are run by Wall Street, this will not help steer credit into productive uses. It will merely continue the Greenspan-Paulson-Geithner era of more and larger free lunches for their financial constituencies. The financial oligarchy's idea of "regulation" is to make sure that deregulators are installed in the key positions and given only a minimal skeleton staff and little funding. Despite Alan Greenspan's announcement that he has come to see the light and realizes that self-regulation doesn't work, the Treasury is still run by a Wall Street official and the Fed is run by a lobbyist for Wall Street. To lobbyists the real concern isn't ideology as such - it's naked self-interest for their clients. They may seek out well-meaning fools, especially prestigious figures from academia. But these are only front men, headed as they are by the followers of Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago. Such individuals are put in place as "gate-keepers" of the major academic journals to keep out ideas that do not well serve the financial lobbyists. This pretence for excluding government from meaningful regulation is that finance is so technical that only someone from the financial "industry" is capable of regulating it. To add insult to injury, the additional counter-intuitive claim is made that a hallmark of democracy is to make the central bank "independent" of elected government. In reality, of course, that is just the opposite of democracy. Finance is the crux of the economic system. If it is not regulated democratically in the public interest, then it is "free" to be captured by special interests. So this becomes the oligarchic definition of "market freedom". The danger is that governments will let the financial sector determine how "regulation" will be applied. Special interests seek to make money from the economy, and the financial sector does this in an extractive way. That is its marketing plan. Finance today is acting in a way that de-industrializes economies, not builds them up. The "plan" is austerity for labor, industry and all sectors outside of finance, as in the IMF programs imposed on hapless Third World debtor countries. The experience of Iceland, Latvia and other "financialized" economies should be examined as object lessons, if only because they top the World Bank's ranking of countries in terms of the "ease of doing business". The only meaningful regulation can come from outside the financial sector. Otherwise, countries will suffer what the Japanese call "descent from heaven": regulators are selected from the ranks of bankers and their "useful idiots". Upon retiring from government they return to the financial sector to receive lucrative jobs, "speaking engagements" and kindred paybacks. Knowing this, they regulate in favor of financial special interests, not that of the public at large. The problem of speculative capital movements goes beyond drawing up a set of specific regulations. It concerns the scope of national government power. The International Monetary Fund's Articles of Agreement prevent countries from restoring the "dual exchange rate" systems that many retained down through the 1950s and even into the '60s. It was widespread practice for countries to have one exchange rate for goods and services (sometimes various exchange rates for different import and export categories) and another for "capital movements". Under American pressure, the IMF enforced the pretence that there is an "equilibrium" rate that just happens to be the same for goods and services as it is for capital movements. Governments that did not buy into this ideology were excluded from membership in the IMF and World Bank - or were overthrown. The implication today is that the only way a nation can block capital movements is to withdraw from the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO). For the first time since the 1950s this looks like a real possibility, thanks to worldwide awareness of how the U.S. economy is glutting the global economy with surplus "paper" dollars - and U.S. intransigence at stopping its free ride. From the U.S. vantage point, this is nothing less than an attempt to curtail its international military program. Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street economist. A Distinguished Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), he is the author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (new ed., Pluto Press, 2002) He can be at: mh [at] michael-hudson.com [Greased evil. And Reagan said that _Russia_ is the Evil Empire!. -ed] --------14 of x-------- Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 23:18:33 +0000 From: AUSTRALIAN LOTTERY INC <ausresult03 [at] msn.com> Subject: CONDOLENCES YOUR EMAIL HAS LOST!!!!!!!!! Ref: 575061725 Batch: 8056490902/188 Lotto type: Mega Million Your losing number: 1 2 26 30 40 21 Dear loser, The entire Australian national lottery organization feel sad to inform you that your e-mail has lost money of five hundred and fifty thousand US Dollars ($550,000) in 2009 debt to encourage organization webmaster Inc. This is fully based on an electronic selection of losers using their E-mail addresses. Your name was attached to ticket number 575061725 Serial number 6741137007. This batch draws the unlucky numbers as Follows: 1 2 26 30 40 21 bonus number 48, which consequently lost the Lottery in the second category. For global awareness, your debt of $550,000.00 must be deposited in a fixed Deposit Account in Our Regional debtors Bank in Africa, and will be paid to us from your glorious money account. HELP US EXPAND AUSTRALIAN LOTTERY GLOBALLY! If you do not very bad things could happen. TO PAY YOUR DEBT PLEASE CONTACT OUR OVERSEA DEBT AGENT Name: Barrister Williams Smith E-mail: contactagentwilliams [at] gmail.com Telephone: +2348060730129 NOTE: 1. YOUR LOSING INFORMATION IS NOT DISCLOSED IN THE SITE FOR SECURITY REASONS. 2. KEEP CONFIDENTIAL FOR SECURITY REASONS. 3. DO NOT REPLY TO THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS, CONTACT YOUR REGIONAL DEBT MANAGER. 4. WE HAVE TAKEN THESE MEASURES TO PROTECT OURSELVES FROM HOODLUMS. To pay your debt, Fill this Application form carefully and send To our regional debt office: FULL NAME.............................. DATE OF BIRTH.......................... ADDRESS................................ SEX.................................... AGE.................................... MARITAL STATUS......................... NATIONALITY............................ OCCUPATION............................. TELEPHONE.............................. FAX.................................... EMAIL.................................. DATE................................... AMOUNT LOST............................ After filling your losers form for payment you are to send it to our debt Agent, Barrister Williams Smith via e-mail with the following information: E-mail: contactagentwilliams [at] gmail.com Telephone: +2348060730129 Best regards, Hon. Sir Jet Gregory, Oversea Director Jeffrey Adams, coordinator Carolyn Wright, Superintendent Mrs. Moiman Gloria, Oversea Coordinator. Spike McGillicudy, Debt Collector ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
- (no other messages in thread)
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.