Progressive Calendar 08.08.09
From: David Shove (
Date: Sat, 8 Aug 2009 13:55:02 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   08.08.09

1. Northtown vigil  8.08 2pm
2. Rosemary's home  8.08 4pm
3. LGBT equality/DC 8.08 5pm
4. Mizna reading    8.08 7pm
5. Farseth collage  8.08 7pm

6. Palestine/picnic 8.09 12noon
7. Estime/yard sale 8.09 12noon
8. Stillwater vigil 8.09 1pm
9. Peace picnic     8.09 4pm
10. End of growth   8.09 6:30pm
11. Class/activism  8.09 8pm

12. Mike Whitney - Economy on a scaffold
13. Miguel Salas - The conservative counter-attack in Latin America
14. ed           - Eat Tasty Turds!

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From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 8.08 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday

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From: Steff Yorek <yosteff [at]>
Subject: Rosemary's home 8.08 4pm

It's time for Mortgage Holders to Come to the Table
Occupation to Save Rosemary's Home Continues: Press Update Today
News conference:  Saturday August 8, 2009, 4 pm
3138 Clinton Ave S, Minneapolis

On Friday, August 7th, at about 1:00 p.m., Rosemary Williams received a
knock at the door from the Hennipen County Sheriff's office and was
evicted from her home.  The Sheriff's changed the locks and padlocked the
doors. About one hour later community activists reopened the home and
continue to occupy it in order to stop Rosemary's eviction.

Last evening Rosemary Williams and many community members spent the night
at her home and will continue to do so until a fair and equitable
settlement is reached.  The investment banks and mortgage companies that
own the home need to come to the table to negotiate a fair price and
financing assistance to a buyer that will allow Rosemary to stay.

Rosemary is not giving up on trying to save her home, and the community is
not giving up either. MN Coalition for a People's Bailout, Poor People's
Economic Human Rights Campaign, community members, and all those who want
to fight the housing crisis to will continue stand guard at Rosemary's
house and continue to occupy the property.

At Saturday's news conference, we will give an update on plans for the
occupation of Rosemary's house, as well as any additional information
about the current situation.

MN Coalition for a People's Bailout,,
612-296-5649, Linden Gawboy MN Coalition for a People's Bailout,, 612-715-3280, Mick Kelly

From: Welfare Rights Committee <welfarerightsmn [at]>

update: (at 2:30 Saturday morning)

Sheriff stated that they would evict Rosemary on Monday but did it Friday
at 2pm, instead. Many supporters stood guard...people still there/
overnight. Come in the morning to show more support.... (3138 Clinton Ave
S, Minneapolis ) She is evicted after deals fell through so the Mortgage
company decided to go through with the eviction instead of waiting for
another deal to come to light.

What can you do? Come by and stand with the community.... **Support is
still needed, come by Saturday, morning... don't know how long people are
staying at her house BUT come by. Make news and noise.  "Evictions are a
crime - Housing is a right!" Have people stay......

stories below.

Rosemary Williams Evicted from her home Peoples' occupation to resist the
eviction taking place

By Steff Yorek

Minneapolis, MN - Fight Back! News is reporting from the home of Rosemary
Williams on the 3100 block of Clinton Ave S. in Minneapolis, MN. Early
this afternoon, Hennepin County Sheriff Deputies came to Rosemary's home
and evicted Rosemary, her daughter in law and two of her grandchildren.
The deputies carried out the wishes of GMAC mortgage with calculated
precision. They allowed the Williams family to collect a few personal
items, then changed the locks on the home and padlocked the garage. A
family locked away from their life so the GMAC can be the proud owners of
another vacant home on a block with 7 other vacant homes.

This eviction is not like the others though. Rosemary Williams has been
fighting this eviction from the very beginning and that struggle is
continuing. Within one hour of the eviction supporters from the Minnesota
Campaign for a People's Bailout, Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights
Campaign, neighbors and many others from the South Minneapolis Community
gathered at Rosemary's home. The house was reopened in the name of the
Williams family. It is currently being occupied by more than 50 people.
Many have vowed to remain in the home for as long as it takes for Rosemary
to get her home back from the bank.

Linden Gawboy from the Welfare Rights Committee and the MN Coalition for a
Peoples Bailout said, "I am here to save Rosemary's home. GMAC are
criminals. You can see that the neighborhood and the community has come
together because we are sick of seeing people who have worked all their
lives for their homes lose them in the blink of an eye."

The Williams family has been devastated by economic crisis and the greed
of GMAC Mortgage. While the banks, including GMAC got bailed out by
billions in tax dollars, homeowners like Rosemary have been left at the
mercy of greedy banks.

While the greedy banks and the fat cats who run them collect huge
salaries, this modest home where Rosemary Williams has raised children,
nurtured grandchildren has become a living example of the foreclosure
crisis playing out all across the country. It is also a living example of
a fight back against this crisis.

Save Rosemary Williams Home!
Support the Occupation!

Welfare Rights Committee PO Box 7266, Mpls MN 55407 pho:
612-822-8020 main email: welfarerightsmn [at] alt email:
welfarerights [at]

[Simple justice demands we fight the class war. -ed]

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From: David Strand <lavgrn [at]>
Subject: LGBT equality/DC 8.08 5pm

Whether you are going to D.C., want to go, want to help others go, or
want to support what will be happening in D.C. at event here at home
please come to the meeting if you are able!

This Saturday from 4pm-6pm at the Grace-Trinity Community Church in Uptown
we will be having another kickoff planning meeting for the National March
for LGBT Equality. We'll talk about the details of the march and also be
working out how we're going to mobilize for it! Hope you'll consider
joining us (and sorry for the late notice).

Saturday, August 8, 2009
4:00pm - 6:00pm
Grace-Trinity Community Church (Just off Hennepin)
1430 W 28th St, Minneapolis, MN
6128409112 / Email: jointheimpacttc [at]

on Sunday, October 11, 2009

As Harvey Milk told us, "You are never given power - you have to take
it." But in order to do that...

on Saturday, August 8, 2009

Please join a coalition of local activists and concerned citizens at a
National Equality March Planning Meeting. All are welcome and ALL are

Information about the National March for LGBT Equal Rights will be
provided. We'll plan and share strategies in preparation for the October
11th marches in Washington DC and for local solidarity actions in the Twin
Cities. Topics will include publicity, fundraising, transportation
to/from, community outreach and more.

This is our moment to take action and bring the fight for equality to our
leaders in Washington! We need help from the ENTIRE COMMUNITY to pull this
off! If you have ever participated in an IMPACT-TC event, large or small;
if you have been receiving our emails but have wanted to get involved and
not known when or how; even if you are unsure about going to DC on the
11th... you can still lend your brain and your voice to this important
planning session!

--------4 of 14--------

From: Mizna <mizna-announce [at]>
Subject: Mizna reading 8.08 7pm
Mizna presents:
A reading/reception with Alia Yunis and her new book, The Night Counter

Saturday, August 8, 2009 @ 7:00 pm
California Building Gallery
2205 California Street NE
Minneapolis, MN

$5 includes reception and book signing


An enchanting debut that asks, Which stories would you tell, if you only
had nine days left to tell them?

Fatima Abdullah has been alive 85 long years, and she knows when her time
will come. In fact, it should come just nine days from tonight, the 992nd
nightly visit of the beautiful and immortal Scheherazade.

In a debut that charms and bewitches, Alia Yunis unravels four generations
of Abdullah family secrets with a great sense of comic timing and a deft
touch of magical realism. Touching on the histories of both the United
States and the Middle East over the last one hundred years, this is the
heart-warming story of a family just as crazy as yours.

Mizna is a forum for Arab American arts.  Visit our website at:

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From: Stevens Square Center for the Arts <ssca [at]>
Subject: Farseth collage 8.08 7pm

Collage Art and Woodcuts by Erik Farseth
August 8 - August 23, 2009
Opening Night Reception on Saturday, August 8 from  7:00 - 10:00 pm
Live music by The Knotwells
This event is free and open to the public

Cut-and-paste lives again, as printmaker and veteran zine-maker Erik Farseth
returns to the Stevens Square Center for the Arts for a two-week limited

For nearly 20 years, Farseth has been chronicling the cultural politics of
the American underground, first as the editor of The J. Cruelty Catalog,
and later as the author of the twin oral histories Take the Skinheads
Bowling and Wipe Away My Eyes (for which he received a Jerome Book Arts

"But it is Farseth's art," writes critic Michael Fallon, "Max Ernst-like
collages, occasional expressionistic woodblock prints - that mark his
oeuvre as distinctive." [1]

It is a testament to the seamlessness of Farseth's collage art that most
people can;t even tell that it was cut with a pair of scissors.

"It's frustrating," says the artist, "because everyone assumes that these
are digital images. You have to get pretty close to the pictures to see
that they were actually done by hand."

The resulting bricolage - ranging from humorous send-ups of political
figures and cultural icons, to stark black-and-white subversions of old
advertising imagery - has long been the hallmark of Farseth's
heavily-illustrated zines.

Using nothing but scissors and a glue stick, Farseth has created hundreds of
images of surprising complexity. His densely-layered colored collages are
more like abstract paintings, the rich jewel-tones seeming all the more
vibrant next to the limited palette of the accompanying relief prints.

So what's his secret?

"I never use an X-acto blade," Farseth says, matter-of-factly. "X-acto
knives make sharp, angular cuts. But scissors will curve with the shape of
the image - that's where you get most of the fine detail. If you cut
slowly, a full-sized pair of scissors gives you a much greater degree of
control. And it's less likely to tear the edges of the paper."

Farseth is speaking from personal experience: his early collage art
experiments were held together with pieces of Scotch tape. So what's the
mark of a good collage artist, in Farseth's opinion?

"The first thing I tend to look for in a photomontage is how the artist is
handling the fingers and the hair. Is there a halo effect? Do the hands
and the ears look like they've been squared-off? Thats' the mark of an
amateur. A lot of people are too lazy to cut the actual shape of the

The rapid proliferation of Photoshop (and the ease of manipulation) has
led to a glut of nearly-identical digital caricatures. "It's a funny
situation: photomontage has become the de-facto visual language of the
early 21st Century. But everyone's using the same stock photography. After
a while, it all starts to look the same."

"It's not that I'm afraid of computers," Farseth hastens to add. "I use
Photoshop and Dreamweaver all the time. But digital manipulation is better
suited for web graphics and advertising."

This bias is reflected in the content of the upcoming exhibition at the
SSCA: of the dozens of images on display, only three were created with the
use of a computer.

"Compared to traditional techniques, the results are somewhat

"WE'LL BURN THAT BRIDGE WHEN WE GET TO IT" will be on view from
August 8 - 23 at the SSCA Gallery,
1905 Third Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55404

Free Opening Night reception on Saturday, August 8, 2009, featuring live
music by The Knotwells.

Reception from 7:00 - 10:00 pm (music begins at 8:30).
This event is free, and open to the public.
For more information, please visit our website:

Erik Farseth studied Art, Culture, and Politics at St. Olaf College. He
received his Master's in Journalism in 2006 from the University of Iowa
(Iowa City).

Erik Farseth's artwork has previously been exhibited at the Minnesota
Center for the Book Arts; the Louvin Gallery; Commonwealth Gallery
(Madison, WI); Seasons on St. Croix Gallery (Hudson, WI); Katherine Nash
Gallery; MAEP Gallery; and the Speedboat Gallery II.

His self-publishing activities have been featured in City Pages;
Gatevisa magazine (Oslo, Norway); Alternative Media (Culture,
Representation and Identity) (Sage Publications, London); on Minnesota
Public Radio's "State of the Arts" program; and in the 1996
"Alt.Youth.Media" exhibition at the New Museum of Contemporary Art (New
York, NY).

A founding member of the Stevens Square Center for the Arts, Farseth has
curated a number of exhibits, including "Press Gang," "The Sounds of Free
Speech," "Graphic Images," and "Benign Neglect."

Awards: MCBA Jerome Book Arts Fellowship (2000).

[1] Fallon, Michael, "The Bombing Starts in Five Minutes," *City Pages*,
June 12, 2002

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From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: Palestine/picnic 8.09 12noon

Picnic for Palestine
Sunday, August 9th from noon to 3pm @ Boom Island Park, Shelter A,

You are invited to a networking event for people engaged in Palestine
solidarity work.  We will have a program at 1pm. Organized by
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.  FFI: [at] or

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From: farheen [at]
Subject: Estime/yardsale 8.09 12noon

Jeanine Estimé for City Council Ward 8 Green Party Endorsed
"Pay What You Can" Yard Sale

3600 12th Ave. S.
8/9 Sunday 12PM-6PM

In these tough economic times, we all are worried about getting our
families ready for back to school and for the cold winter.  So stop by and
get to know Jeanine Estimé.  Stock up and prepare for fall and vote on
Tuesday November 3rd.

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From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 8.09 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

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560

--------9 of 14--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Peace picnic 8.09 4pm

Minnesota Neighbors for Peace Metro-Wide Potluck Picnic
Sunday, August 9, 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Newell Park, 900 North Fairview Avenue
(corner of Fairview and Pierce Butler Route), St. Paul.

All friends and neighbors interested in supporting efforts for peace and
justice are welcome! Please join this fun annual picnic - a time to feast
and socialize with friends, old and new, while enjoying a beautiful summer
evening. Please bring a dish to share as well as your own beverages, and
blanket or lawn chair. Grills are available at the park and charcoal will
be provided. Plates, utensils, napkins, and cups will also be provided.
(Note: No alcohol is allowed in the park and dogs must be on a leash at
all times. Politicians and public office-holders are welcome to attend,
but no stump speeches, please.)

Sponsored by: Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI:
Email info [at] or call 651-647-0580 or 651-641-7592.

--------10 of 14--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: End of growth 8.09 6:30pm

Our World In Depth Special,
Catch a special cablecast on St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN, Channel

"Wes Jackson: Greening the Economy, Preparing for the End of Growth"
Sunday, 8/9 @ 6.30pm &
Saturday, 8/16 @ 5.30pm

Co-founder of the Land Institute in Kansas and named by Rolling Stone mag
as one of the top 100 people changing America, Wes Jackson keynotes the
2009 MN Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology's annual meeting.

Jackson thinks that the way the people of the world are fed can and should
be more sustainable. Jackson is working to transform staples like wheat,
sunflower and sorghum into perennial crops, eliminating the need for
plowing and replanting, and minimizing the use of fertilizers. Farms can
be transformed from industrial factories into natural ecosystems. 1hr14m.

--------11 of 14--------

From: Amanda Luker <amanda [at]>
Subject: Class/activism 8.09 8pm

In an annual tradition, Arise! Bookstore will be hosting a series of free
weekly events throughout the summer, each with a different theme
reflecting the diverse interests of volunteers at the collectively run
bookstore. The events will take place each Sunday night at 8pm, opening
with a speaker or performance, and ending with the screening of a film
after sundown.

August 9  A roundtable discussion of class & activism.
FILM  Fox and His Friends - The story of a working-class gay circus
performer who falls for the elegant son of a wealthy industrialist,
starring Fassbinder himself.

Arise! Bookstore 2441 Lyndale Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55406

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When "Not Bad" is the New "Good"
Economy on a Scaffold
August 7 - 9, 2009

We're making this way too complicated. It's simple really.

The Fed has only one tool at its disposal; to create more money.
Typically, the way the Fed adds to the money supply is by lowering
interest rates. When the Fed lowers rates below the rate of inflation;
they're basically selling dollars for less than a buck. That's a good
deal, so, naturally, speculators jump on it and trigger a credit
expansion. What follows is a frenzy of market activity that ends in a
housing, credit, tech or equity bubble. Eventually, the bubble bursts and
the economy goes into a tailspin. Then, after a period of digging-out, the
process resumes again. Wash, rinse, repeat. It's always the same.

The moral is: Cheap money creates bubbles; and bubbles move wealth from
workers to rich motherporkers. It's as simple as that. That's why the
wealth gap is wider now than anytime since the Gilded Age. The rich own

The Federal Reserve is the policy arm of the big banks and brokerage
houses. Period. Ostensibly, its mandate is to maintain "price stability
and full employment". Right. Anyone notice how many jobs the Fed has
created lately? How about the dollar? Is it really supposed to zig-zag
like it has been for the last decade? The central task of the Fed is to
shift wealth from one class to another. And it succeeds at that task

The Fed's "mandate" is public relations claptrap. Bernanke hasn't lifted a
finger for homeowners, consumers or ordinary working stiffs.  All the cash
is flowing upwards...according to plan. The Fed is a social engineering
agency designed to serve as the de facto government behind the smokescreen
of democratic institutions. Does anyone think that a black, two year
senator with no background in foreign policy or economics is calling the

Obama is a public relations invention who's used to cut ribbons, consoling
the unemployed, and convincing Americans they live in a "post racial"
society. Right. (Just take a look at that footage from Katrina again.)

The Fed has complete control over monetary policy and, thus, the country's
economic future. Bernanke doesn't even pretend to defer to Congress
anymore. Why bother? After Lehman caved in, Bernanke invoked the "unusual
and exigent" clause in the Fed's charter and declared himself czar. Now he
has absolute power over the nation's purse-strings.

The $13 trillion the Fed has committed to the financial system since the
beginning of the crisis - via loans and outright purchases of
mortgage-backed garbage and US sovereign debt - was never authorized by
Congress. In fact, the Fed stubbornly refuses to even identify which
institutions got the "loans", how much the loans were worth, what kind of
collateral was accepted for the loans, or when the loans have to be

In truth, the loans are not loans at all, but gifts to the industry to
keep asset prices artificially high so that the entire financial system
does not come crashing down. Check this out:

"In an analysis written by economist Gary Gorton for the Federal Reserve
Bank of Atlanta's 2009 Financial Markets Conference titled, "Slapped in
the Face by the Invisible Hand; Banking and the Panic of 2007", the author
shows that mortgage-related securities ballooned from $492.6 billion in
1996 to $3,071.1 in 2003, while asset backed securities (ABS) jumped from
$168.4 billion in 1996 to $1,253.1 in 2006. All told, more than $20
trillion in securitized debt was sold between 1997 to 2007. "

$20 trillion! How much of that fetid paper is sitting on the balance
sheets of banks and other financial institutions just waiting to blow up
as soon as the Fed asks for its money back? And the Fed will never get its
money back because the prices of complex securities and derivatives will
never regain their pre-crisis values. Why? Because these derivatives are
linked to underlying collateral (mortgages) which have already declined
33% from their peak and are headed lower still. Also, these toxic assets
were sold as risk-free (many of them were rated triple A) and have now
been exposed as extremely risky or fraudulent. Because these assets were
heaped together in bundles to strip out their interest rates, they cannot
be easily separated which means that they are worth considerably less than
the 33% that has been lost on the underlying collateral (mortgages) The
securitization markets are not expected to rebound for a decade or more,
which means that the Fed will have to find other more-creative way to
goose the credit system to avoid a downward spiral.

But how?

Zero percent interest rates haven't worked because qualified borrowers are
cutting spending and saving their disposable income, while people who need
to borrow, no longer meet the banks' tougher lending standards. Bank
credit is shrinking even though excess bank reserves are nearly $900
billion. When banks stop lending, the economy contracts, business activity
slows, unemployment soars and growth sputters.

Presently, the economy is still contracting, but at a slower pace than
before. "Less bad" is the new "good". All the recession indicators are
still blinking red - income, employment, sales, and production - all down
big! But it doesn't matter because it's a "Green Shoots" rally; plenty of
cheap liquidity for the markets and a freeway off-ramp (for sleeping) for
the unemployed.

The Fed's lending facilities are designed to pump liquidity into the
system and inflate another bubble by generating more debt. Unfortunately,
most people accept Bernanke's feeble defense of these corporate-welfare
programs and fail to see their real purpose. An example may help to
explain how they really work:

Say you bought a house at the peak of the bubble in 2005 and paid
$500,000. Then prices dropped 40% (as they have in Calif) and your house
is now worth $300,000. If you only put 5% down, ($25,000) then you are
underwater by $175,000. Which means that you own more on the mortgage than
your house is currently worth. (This is essentially what has happened to
the entire financial system. The equity has vaporized, so institutions are
using dodgy accounting tricks instead of reporting their real losses.) So
Bernanke comes along and gives you $175,000 no interest, rotating loan to
you so that no one knows that you are really busted and you can continue
spending just as you had before. Not bad, eh? This is what the lending
facilities are all about. It is a charade to conceal the fact that a large
portion of the nation's financial institutions are insolvent and propped
up by state largess.

But there's more, too.

Now that Bernanke has given you $175,000 no interest, rotating loan; you
expect that eventually he will ask for his money back. Right? So your only
hope of saving your home, in the long run, is to engage in risky behavior,
like dabbling the stock market. It's like playing roulette, except you
have nothing to lose since you are underwater anyway.

This is exactly what the financial institutions are doing with the Fed's
loans. They're betting on equities and hoping they can avoid the Grim

Here's how former hedge fund manager Andy Kessler summed it up last week
in the Wall Street Journal:

"By buying U.S. Treasuries and mortgages to increase the monetary base by
$1 trillion, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke didn't put money directly into the
stock market but he didn't have to. With nowhere else to go, except maybe
commodities, inflows into the stock market have been on a tear. Stock and
bond funds saw net inflows of close to $150 billion since January. The
dollars he cranked out didn't go into the hard economy, but instead into
tradable assets. In other words, Ben Bernanke has been the market." (Andy
Kessler, "The Bernanke Market" Wall Street Journal)

Only a small portion of the money that has gone into the stock market in
the last 6 months (since the March lows) has come from money markets. The
fed's loans are being laundered into stocks via financial institutions
that are rolling the dice for their own survival. The uptick in the
markets has helped insolvent banks raise equity in the capital markets so
they don't have to grovel to Congress for another TARP bailout.

Everybody's elated with Bernanke's latest bubble except working people who
have seen their wages slashed by 4.5%, their credit lines cut, the home
values plunge, and their living standards sink to third world levels.

And the Fed's spending-spree is not over yet; not by a long shot. The next
wave of home foreclosures (already 1.9 million in the first half of 2009)
is just around the corner - the Alt-As, option arms, prime loans. The $3.5
trillion commercial real estate market is capsizing. The under-capitalized
banking system will need more assistance. And there will have to be
another round of fiscal stimulus for ailing consumers, otherwise, foreign
holders of US Treasurys will see that the US can no longer provide 25% of
global demand and head for the exits.

Bernanke's back is against the wall. The only thing he can do is print
more money, shove though the back door of the stock exchange and keep his
fingers crossed. The rest is up to CNBC and the other media cheerleaders.

The Fed chief has committed $13 trillion to maintain the appearance of
solvency, but the system is bankrupt. The commercial paper market, money
markets, trillions of dollars of toxic debt instruments, and myriad
shyster investment banks and insurance companies are now backed by the
"full faith and credit" of the US Treasury. The financial system is now a
ward of the state. The "free market" has deteriorated into state
capitalism; a centralized system where all the levers of power are
controlled by the Central Bank. If Bernanke's Politburo withdraws its
loans - -or even if he raises interest rates too soon - the system will

The economy is now balanced on the rickety scaffolding of the dollar. As
the Obama stimulus wears off, the rot in the economy will become more
apparent. Household red ink is at record highs, so personal consumption
will not rebound. That means US assets and US sovereign debt will become
less attractive. Foreign capital will flee. The dollar will fall.

The world needs a breather from the US. And they'll get it sooner than
many think.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington dtate. He can be reached at
fergiewhitney [at]

--------13 of 14--------

Honduras is Only Part of the Story
The Conservative Counter-Attack in Latin America
August 7 - 9, 2009

I would submit that events in Honduras are not isolated, but rather part
of a conservative counterattack taking shape in Latin America. For some
time, the right has been rebuilding in Latin America; hosting conferences,
sharing experiences, refining their message, working with the media, and
building ties with allies in the United States. This is not the lunatic
right fringe, but rather the mainstream right with powerful allies in the
middle class that used to consider themselves center, but have been
frightened by recent left electoral victories and the rise of social
movements. With Obama in the White House and Clinton in the State
Department they have now decided to act. Bush/Cheney and company did not
give them any coverage and had become of little use to them. A "liberal"
in the White House, gives conservative forces the kind of coverage they
had hoped for. It is no coincidence that Venezuelan opposition
commentators applauded the naming of Clinton to the State Department
claiming that they now had an ally in the administration. The old
cold-warrior axiom that the best antidote against the left is a liberal
government in Washington gains new meaning under Obama with Clinton at the
State Department.

Coup leaders in Honduras and their allies continue to play for time.
Washington's continuing vacillation is allowing them to exhaust this
option, but so are right-wing governments in Colombia, Mexico, Panama and
Peru. After all, this coup is not just about Honduras but also about left
success in Latin America, of which Honduras was the weakest link. It is
increasingly becoming obvious that there is no scenario under which elites
in Honduras will accept Zelaya back. I do not think that they have a plan
"B" on this matter and this speaks to the kind of advice they are getting
from forces in the U.S. and the region. If Zelaya comes back, the Supreme
Court, the Congress, the military and the church all lose credibility and
it opens the door for the social and political movements in Honduras to
push for radical change that conservative forces would find more difficult
to resist.

But Honduras is only part of the equation. Colombia's decision to accept
as many as 7 new U.S. military bases (3 airbases, including Palanquero, 2
army bases, and 2 naval bases one on the Pacific and one on the
Caribbean), dramatically expands the U.S. military's role in the country
and throughout the region. The Pentagon has been eyeing the airbase at
Palanquero with its complex infrastructure and extensive runway for some
time. This is a very troubling sign that will alter the balance of forces
in the region, and speaks volumes about how the Obama administration plans
to respond to change in Latin America.

A possible base on the Caribbean coast of Colombia would also offer the
recently reactivated U.S. Fourth Fleet, a convenient harbor on the South
American mainland. In short, Venezuela would be literally encircled.
However, Venezuela is not the only objective. It also places the Brazilian
Amazon and all its resources within striking distance of the U.S.
military, as well as the much sought after Guarani watershed. After public
criticism from Bachalet of Chile, Lula of Brazil and Chvez of Venezuela,
Uribe refused to attend the 10 August meeting of UNASUR, the South
American Union, where he would be expected to explain the presence of the
U.S. bases. The meeting of the UNASUR security council was scheduled to
take up the issue of the bases and Bolivia's suggestion for a unified
South American response to drug trafficking. Instead, Uribe has launched
his own personal diplomacy traveling to 5 different countries in the
region to explain his actions.  In addition, Obama's National Security
Advisor James Jones is in Brazil trying to justify the U.S. position on
the bases.

The recent media war launched by Uribe against Ecuador and Correa once
again claiming financing of the FARC and the more recent offensive against
Venezuela concerning 30 year old Swedish missiles, that like, the Reyes
computers, cannot be independently verified, have filled the airwaves in
Venezuela, Colombia and the region. The current Colombian media campaign
was preceded by Washington's own efforts to condemn Venezuela for supposed
non-compliance in the war against drug trafficking. In addition, Israel's
foreign minister Avigdor Liberman also travelled throughout Latin America
in July claiming that Venezuela is a destabilizing force in the region and
in the Middle East.

Lost in all this, is the fact that Uribe is still considering a third term
in office and his party has indicated it will push for a constitutional
reform. So conflicts with Ecuador and Venezuela serves to silence critics
in Colombia and keep Uribe's electoral competitors at bay. All we need now
is for Uribe to ask the Interpol to verify the missiles origins and
director Ron Noble to give another press conference in Bogota. Dj vu all
over again!

The right and its allies in the U.S. are also emboldened by the electoral
victory in Panama and the very real prospects of leftist defeats this year
in Chile and even Uruguay. Obviously they are also encouraged by the
humiliating defeat of the Fernndez / Kirchner's in Argentina. These
developments could begin to redraw the political map of the region. Correa
of Ecuador has already expressed concern about being the target of a coup
and Bolivia will undoubtedly come under intense pressure as they are also
preparing for an election later this year.

All this is occurring with an increased U.S. military commitment in Mexico
with Plan Mrida which seeks to build on the lessons of Colombia; maintain
in power a president whose economic and social policy are highly
unpopular, but who relies on conflict, in this case the so-called war on
the drug cartels, to maintain popularity. Parts of Mexico are literally
under siege including, Michoacn, Ciudad Juarez, and Tijuana. The backdrop
for this is a divided left, the PRD was the biggest looser in recent
midterm elections, and social movements remains localized and unable to
mount a national challenge.

None of these developments are forgone conclusions, but they nonetheless
speak to the fact that conservative forces in Latin America and their
allies in the U.S. are mounting a concerted counter offensive that could
increase the potential for conflict in the region.

Miguel Tinker Salas is Professor of History at Pomona College. He is the
author of The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture and Society in Venezuela.

[May Obama and his hopemonger followers rot in hell. Latin America has
been the best hope in the world for freedom and democracy. If Obama & Co
destroy it that may be IT for all of us. Don't wait, resist now.  -ed].

--------14 of 14--------

 Really poor folks eat
 Tasty Turds! The food of the
 underclass! Yum yum!

 And for their kiddies:
 Tasty Turdlettes! The favorite
 food of Big Birdlette!


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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