|Progressive Calendar 08.08.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|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! --------1 of 14-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 8.08 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------2 of 14-------- From: Steff Yorek <yosteff [at] gmail.com> 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, mn-peoples-bailout.org, 612-296-5649, Linden Gawboy MN Coalition for a People's Bailout, mn-peoples-bailout.org, 612-715-3280, Mick Kelly -- From: Welfare Rights Committee <welfarerightsmn [at] yahoo.com> 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. Â "Evictions are a crime - Housing is a right!" Have people stay...... stories below. http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/dpp/news/Rosemary_Williams_Evicted_Minneapolis http://www.startribune.com/local/52713662.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiUss http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/08/07/williams-standoff/ http://www.fightbacknews.org/2009/08/rosemary-williams-evicted-peoples-occupation-taking-place.htm 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] yahoo.com alt email: welfarerights [at] qwest.net [Simple justice demands we fight the class war. -ed] --------3 of 14-------- From: David Strand <lavgrn [at] gmail.com> 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] gmail.com on Sunday, October 11, 2009 IMPACT TWIN CITIES WILL MARCH FOR EQUALITY IN WASHINGTON DC 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 WE NEED YOUR HELP TO PLAN THIS MOMENTOUS EVENT! EQUAL RIGHTS NOW! Please join a coalition of local activists and concerned citizens at a National Equality March Planning Meeting. All are welcome and ALL are needed! 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] mizna.org> 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 612-788-6920 $5 includes reception and book signing ABOUT THE BOOK: 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: http://www.mizna.org --------5 of 14-------- From: Stevens Square Center for the Arts <ssca [at] stevensarts.org> Subject: Farseth collage 8.08 7pm WE'LL BURN THAT BRIDGE WHEN WE GET TO IT 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 engagement. 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 Fellowship). "But it is Farseth's art," writes critic Michael Fallon, "Max Ernst-like collages, occasional expressionistic woodblock prints - that mark his oeuvre as distinctive."  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 hair." 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 unsatisfying." "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: www.stevensarts.org ABOUT THE ARTIST 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).  Fallon, Michael, "The Bombing Starts in Five Minutes," *City Pages*, June 12, 2002 --------6 of 14-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: Palestine/picnic 8.09 12noon Picnic for Palestine Sunday, August 9th from noon to 3pm @ Boom Island Park, Shelter A, Minneapolis 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: ijan.tc [at] gmail.com or 651.283.3495. --------7 of 14-------- From: farheen [at] farheenhakeem.org Subject: Estime/yardsale 8.09 12noon Jeanine Estimé for City Council Ward 8 Green Party Endorsed Presents... "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. --------8 of 14-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> 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 <http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/ For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560 --------9 of 14-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> 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] mppeace.org or call 651-647-0580 or 651-641-7592. --------10 of 14-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: End of growth 8.09 6:30pm Our World In Depth Special, Catch a special cablecast on St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN, Channel 15): "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] pinkslipmedia.org> 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 www.arisebookstore.org --------12 of 14-------- When "Not Bad" is the New "Good" Economy on a Scaffold By MIKE WHITNEY CounterPunch 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 everything. 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 admirably. 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 shots? 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 repaid. 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 Reaper. 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 collapse. 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] msn.net --------13 of 14-------- Honduras is Only Part of the Story The Conservative Counter-Attack in Latin America By MIGUEL TINKER SALAS CounterPunch 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] 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
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