Progressive Calendar 02.18.10
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 00:15:38 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    02.18.10

1. Biomedicine       2.18 11:30am
2. Vs Afghan war     2.18 4:30pm
3. Eagan peace vigil 2.18 4:30pm
4. Northtown vigil   2.18 5pm
5. Afghanistan       2.18 7pm
6. Amnesty Intl      2.18 7:15pm
7. I heart Hamas     2.18 7:30pm

8. Palestine vigil   2.19 4:15pm
9. Abortion/film     2.19 6pm

10. Michael Hudson - Wall Street moves in for the kill
11. PC Roberts     - Rule by oligarchs/ a country of serfs
12. Karl Grossman  - Obama goes nuclear
13. ed             - Some clean things  (list poem)

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

From: Consortium on Law & Values and JDP Program <jointdgr [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Biomedicine 2.18 11:30am

2009-10 Lecture Series on Law, Health & the Life Sciences
"How the Internet and Computer Capacity Are Changing Policy Issues &
Solutions in Biomedicine"
"Cutting-Edge Issues in the Structure & Governance of
U.S. and International Biobanks"
by Prof. Alexander Capron, LLB
(University of Southern California, Gould School of Law)
Thursday, February 18, 2010
11:30am - 1:00pm
Location:
Mississippi Room, Coffman Memorial Union

Professor Capron will discuss how biobanks -- repositories of human
biological samples and associated information about the lives and health
of the samples' sources - have been established to assist in studies of
particular diseases and, more broadly, of the effects of genes and the
environment on human health and disease. Many involve collaboration across
boundaries, including the gathering of samples in developing countries
(sometimes from culturally isolated populations) by researchers from
developed countries. He suggests that biobanks, therefore, raise many
difficult normative issues:

* From whom must permission be obtained to collect, store, and use samples?
* Who should control the biobanks and the samples they hold?
* On what terms should samples be made available for research?
* How should the benefits of research be shared?

Although numerous ethical codes and guidelines have been promulgated about
these issues, many remain controverted. Prof. Capron will also analyze the
methodology and results of an international study of expert opinion on
such issues and will offer his reflections on how we might think about
these questions and controversies.

Commentators:
 Brian Van Ness, PhD, Department Head and Professor, Department of
Genetics, Cell Biology & Development, University of Minnesota; and
 Gloria Petersen, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology; and Purvis and Roberta
Tabor Professorship, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.

Intended Audience: students, faculty, health care professionals,
attorneys, patients, researchers, policymakers, and community members.
This event is free and open to the public.
This lecture is intended for students, faculty, attorneys, researchers,
scientists, policymakers, and community members.

Continuing Education--CLE
Application for 1.5 hours of general Continuing Legal Education (CLE) for 
attorneys
has been submitted.

Registration is required for those requesting continuing education credit.
Registration is available online at www.lifesci.consortium.umn.edu
[http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103032234779&s=2056&e=001jQMJmsiSCpviDeq3llX5rUKbVnvZ45l2aPLHNKTeNmnzrdQIyyr_iC2ALsFgLZ2yK5n2jrYyvCrOwCgvBXs-DL6UeI-906thQKUe9siOwWY6ZB7RsY9jpaizJi0pqQ1xME6-lgdk7X8=],
by phone at 612-625-0055, or by email at jointdgr [at] umn.edu. Please provide
your name, email address and indicate if continuing education credits are
requested.


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

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Vs Afghan war 2.18 4:30pm

Protest Against the Escalating War in Afghanistan
Thursday, February 18, 4:30 p.m.
Outside the office of U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, 1200 Washington
Avenue South Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Protest to Oppose Escalating War in Afghanistan: "Say NO to
the Attack on Marjah - Stop the Escalation in Afghanistan: End the War!
Bring the Troops Home Now!"

Twin Cities peace and anti-war organizations will hold an emergency
protest on Thursday, February 18 to show opposition to the escalating war
in Afghanistan. News over the last weekend of the U.S. attack on the city
of Marjah, Afghanistan, led representatives of local anti-war groups to
call for an emergency protest.

The Thursday protest will be held starting at 4:30 p.m. in front of the
Minneapolis office of U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar.

The protest is being organized under the call of: "Say NO to the attack on
Marjah - Stop the escalation in Afghanistan: End the war!  Bring the
troops home now!"

A statement issued by organizers says in part, "In a new escalation of the
war in Afghanistan, U.S. and NATO forces have launched an attack on the
city of Marjah, a city with over 80,000 residents. Following the dispatch
of thousands of additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, the attack on
Marjah represents a new and potentially bloody escalation."

"Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians are in imminent peril as U.S.  and
NATO military forces attempt to enter the city of Marjah. Will Marjah,
Afghanistan suffer the same fate as Fallujah, Iraq, which the U.S. also
attacked, leaving thousands dead and injured and hundreds of buildings and
homes destroyed and damaged?" the statement continues.

"Join an emergency protest on Thursday, February 18 to speak out against
this new escalation of the war and to call for an end to the war and
occupation. We urge all who are opposed to the escalation of the war in
Afghanistan to gather at the offices of U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar to be
part of a visible anti-war action and to tell Washington to stop
escalating the war in Afghanistan!"

The coalition of anti-war groups is also planning a mass march and rally
on Saturday, March 20 to keep the anti-war movement in the streets. March
20 will mark the seventh year since the U.S. invasion of Iraq. March 20
will see protests in cities around the U.S.  including Washington DC, San
Francisco, Los Angeles and others.

The Thursday protest is sponsored by: Iraq Peace Action Coalition (IPAC),
Anti-War Committee (AWC), Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), Twin Cities
Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq, Women Against Military Madness (WAMM), Youth
Against War and Racism (YAWR), and others.

FFI: Call 612-522-1861 or 612-827-5364.


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

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 2.18 4:30pm

PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of
Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and
candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south
of the river speaking out against war.


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

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 2.18 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com.


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

From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Afghanistan 2.18 7pm

THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM
Free and open to the public.
Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church,
511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale &
Hennepin). Park in church lot.
Thursday, February 18, 7-9pm

THE CURSE OF BILATERALISM IN U.S. FOREIGN POLICY:
AFGHANISTAN IN DIPLOMATIC PERSPECTIVE

There are various ways to analyze the current situation in Afghanistan and
critique the justifications for the sharp increases in U.S. troops there,
the one already accomplished and another proposed for the year ahead:
military strategy, development theories, cultural analysis, and so on.
Viewing Afghanistan in regional context does not get a great deal of
attention, even though the country cannot be understood apart from
historical, ethnic and regional geopolitical perspectives. This can be
seen as a chronic weakness in U.S. foreign policy, a weakness particularly
evident and problematic in areas where U.S. knowledge is limited. The
presentation will discuss aspects of U.S. policy formation, and then focus
on the regional diplomatic context as a path to a more stable and less
militarized Afghanistan.

Presenter: WILLIAM DAVNIE. In 2007, after serving 26 years in the U.S.
Foreign Service, Mr. Davnie retired and moved to Minnesota, where he had
lived as a child.  Although his overseas service focused mainly on
Southeast Asia and the former Soviet Union, he served in Tajikistan,
adjacent to Afghanistan, and was in Baghdad in the summer of 2007 during
the "surge" in that country.  His degrees are from Wabash College,
Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and the National Defense
University.  Prior to joining the Foreign Service he was a Henry Luce
Fellow, placed at an Islamic Teachers College in Indonesia, and served as
a Presbyterian minister in rural North Dakota.

Sponsors: Minnesota Chapter, Citizens for Global Solutions, United Nations
Association of Minnesota, Social Concerns Committee Hennepin Avenue United
Methodist Church, Minnesota Alliance of Peacenakers


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

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 2.18 7:15pm

AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, February 18th, at 7:15 p.m.
St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near
the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information,
contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at] NatureWorksLLC.com.


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

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: I heart Hamas 2.18 7:30pm

A Tragicomic Solo Show by Jennifer Jajeh: "I Heart Hamas: and Other Things
I'm Afraid to Tell You"
February 18 to 28: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays
at 4:00 p.m. (followed by Artist Talkback) Bedlam Theatre, 1501 South 6th
Street, Minneapolis.

With the current ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, the threat of
global terrorism, and the never- ending negotiations and hostilities
between Israelis and Palestinians, it's hard not to feel overwhelmed by
all of the bad international news. That's exactly how Jennifer Jajeh
feels. And to make matters worse, Jennifer is Palestinian. Well,
Palestinian American. Or more precisely: a single, Christian, first
generation, Palestinian American woman who chooses to return to her
parents' hometown of Ramallah at the start of the Second Intifada. Join
her on American and Palestinian soil on auditions, bad dates, and across
military checkpoints as she navigates the thorny terrain around
Palestinian identity. Weaving together humor, slides, pop culture
references and live theatre, Jajeh explores how she becomes
Palestinian-ized, then politicized and eventually radicalized in a fresh,
often funny, searingly honest way.

Tickets: $15.00 to $25.00. Co-presented by: Mizna, IJAN-Twin Cities and
Bedlam Theatre. Endorsed by: the WAMM Middle East Committee. FFI and
Tickets: Visit www.bedlamtheatre.org.


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

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Palestine vigil 2.19 4:15pm

The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the
intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo
starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs
available.


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

From: Erin and Bonnie <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Abortion/film 2.19 6pm

February 19: Minnesota Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice Film
and Discussion: I Had an Abortion.

Cutting across age, race, class, and religion, the film unfolds personal
narratives with intimate interviews, archival footage, family photos, and
home movies. The film features ten women who candidly describe experiences
spanning seven decades, from the years before Roe v. Wade to the present
day. 6 - 8 PM at First Universalist Church Social Hall, 3400 Dupont Ave
S., Minneapolis. RSVP.


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

The War on Consumers and Labor Heats Up
Wall Street Moves in for the Kill
By MICHAEL HUDSON
February 17, 2010
CounterPunch

Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson wrote an op-ed in The New York
Times yesterday, February 16  outlining how to put the U.S. economy on
rations. Not in those words, of course. Just the opposite: If the
government hadn't bailed out Wall Street's bad loans, he claims,
"unemployment could have exceeded the 25 per cent level of the Great
Depression". Without wealth at the top, there would be nothing to trickle
down.

The reality, of course, is that bailing out casino capitalist speculators
on the winning side of A.I.G.'s debt swaps and CDO derivatives didn't save
a single job. It certainly hasn't lowered the economy's debt overhead. But
matters will soon improve, if Congress will dispel the present cloud of
"uncertainty" as to whether any agency less friendly than the Federal
Reserve might regulate the banks.

Paulson spelled out in step-by-step detail the strategy of "doing God's
work," as his Goldman Sachs colleague Larry Blankfein sanctimoniously
explained Adam Smith's invisible hand. Now that pro-financial free-market
doctrine is achieving the status of religion, I wonder whether this
proposal violates the separation of church and state. Neoliberal economics
may be a travesty of religion, but it is the closest thing to a Church
that Americans have these days, replete with its Inquisition operating out
of the universities of Chicago, Harvard and Columbia.

If the salvation is to give Wall Street a free hand, anathema is the
proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency intended to deter predatory
behavior by mortgage lenders and credit-card issuers. The same day that
Paulson's op-ed appeared, the Financial Times published a report
explaining that "Republicans say they are unconvinced that any regulator
can even define systemic risk... . the whole concept is too vague for an
immediate introduction of sweeping powers. .. Republican Senator Bob
Corker from Tennessee was willing to join with the Democrats to ensure
..there is not some new roaming regulator out there . putting companies
unbeknownst to them under its regime.."

Paulson uses the same argument: Because the instability extends not just
to the banks but also to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers,
A.I.G. and Wall Street underwriters, it would be folly to try to regulate
the banks alone! And because the financial sector is so far-flung and
complex, it is best to leave everything deregulated. Indeed, there simply
is no time to discuss what kind of regulation is appropriate, except for
the Fed's familiar protective hand: "delays are creating uncertainty,
undermining the ability of financial institutions to increase lending to
businesses of all sizes that want to invest and fuel our recovery". So
Paulson's crocodile tears are all for the people. (Except that the banks
are not lending at home, but are shoveling money out of the U.S. economy
as fast as they can.)

As  Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel put it, a crisis is too good a
thing to waste. Having created the crisis, Wall Street wants to use its
momentum to knock out any potential checks to its power. "No systemic risk
regulator, no matter how powerful, can be relied on to see everything and
prevent future problems," Paulson explained. "That's why our regulatory
system must reinforce the responsibility of lenders, investors, borrowers
and all market participants to analyze risk and make informed decisions,"
In other words, blame the victims! The way to protect victims of predatory
bank lending (and crooked sales of junk securities) is not new regulations
but just the opposite: "to simplify the patchwork quilt of regulatory
agencies and improve transparency so that consumers and investors can
punish excesses through their own informed investing decisions".
Simplification means the Fed, not a Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

Moving in for the kill,  Paulson explains that the Treasury is bare,
having used $13 trillion to bail out high finance in 2008-09. So he warns
the government not to run a Keynesian-type budget deficit. The federal
budget should move into balance or even surplus, even if this accelerates
the rise in unemployment and decline in wage levels as the economy moves
deeper into recession and debt deflation. "We must also tackle what is by
far our greatest economic challenge - the reduction of budget deficits - a
big part of which will involve reforming our major entitlement programs:
Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security". The economy thus is to be
sacrificed to Wall Street rather than reforming finance so that it serves
the economy more productively. It is simple mathematics to see that if the
government cannot raise taxes, it must scale back Social Security, other
social welfare spending and infrastructure spending.

What is remarkably left out of account is that today's financial crisis,
centered on public debts, is largely a fiscal crisis in character. It is
caused by replacing progressive taxation with regressive taxes, and above
all by untaxing finance and real estate. Take the case of California,
where tears are being shed over the dismantling of the once elite
University of California system. Since American independence, education
has been financed by the property tax. But Proposition 13 has "freed"
property from taxation - so that its rental value can be borrowed against
and turned into interest payments to banks. California's real estate costs
are just as high with its property taxes frozen, but the rising rental
value of land has been paid to the banks - forcing the state to slash its
fiscal budget or else raise taxes on labor and consumers.

The link between financial and fiscal crisis - and hence the need for a
symbiotic fiscal-financial reform - is just as clear in Europe. The Greek
government has pre-sold its tax revenues from roads and other
infrastructure to Wall Street, leaving less future revenue to pay its
public debt. To cap matters, paying income tax is almost voluntary for
wealthy Greeks. Tax evasion is hardly necessary in the post-Soviet states,
where property is hardly taxed at all. (The flat tax falls almost entirely
on labor.)

Throughout the world, scaling back the 20th century's legacy of
progressive taxation and untaxing real estate and finance has led to a
public debt crisis. Property income hitherto paid to governments is now
paid to the banks. And although Wall Street has extracted $13 trillion in
bailouts just since October 2008, the thought of raising taxes on wealth
to pay just $1 trillion over an entire decade for Social Security or
health insurance is deemed a crisis that would lead Wall Street to shut
down the economy. It is telling governments to shift to a regressive tax
system to make up the fiscal shortfall by raising taxes on labor and
cutting back public spending on the economy at large. This is what is
plunging economies from California to Greece and the Baltics into fiscal
and financial crisis. Wall Street's solution - to balance the budget by
cutting back the government's social contract and deregulating finance all
the more - will shrink the economy and make the budget deficits even more
severe.

Financial speculators no doubt will clean up on the turmoil.

Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street economist and now a Distinguished
Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), and
president of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends
(ISLET). He is the author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The
Economic Strategy of American Empire (new ed., Pluto Press, 2002) and
Trade, Development and Foreign Debt: A History of Theories of Polarization
v. Convergence in the World Economy. He can be reached via his website,
mh [at] michael-hudson.com


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

Rule by Oligarchs
A Country of Serfs
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
February 16, 2010
CounterPunch

The media has headlined good economic news: fourth quarter GDP growth of
5.7 percent ("the recession is over"), Jan. retail sales up, productivity
up in 4th quarter, the dollar is gaining strength. Is any of it true? What
does it mean?

The 5.7 percent growth figure is a guesstimate made in advance of the
release of the U.S. trade deficit statistic. It assumed that the U.S.
trade deficit would show an improvement. When the trade deficit was
released a few days later, it showed a deterioration, knocking the 5.7
percent growth figure down to 4.6 percent. Much of the remaining GDP
growth consists of inventory accumulation.

More than a fourth of the reported gain in Jan. retail sales is due to
higher gasoline and food prices. Questionable seasonal adjustments account
for the rest.

Productivity was up, because labor costs fell 4.4 percent in the fourth
quarter, the fourth successive decline. Initial claims for jobless
benefits rose. Productivity increases that do not translate into wage
gains cannot drive the consumer economy.

Housing is still under pressure, and commercial real estate is about to
become a big problem.

The dollar's gains are not due to inherent strengths. The dollar is
gaining because government deficits in Greece and other EU countries are
causing the dollar carry trade to unwind. America's low interest rates
made it profitable for investors and speculators to borrow dollars and use
them to buy overseas bonds paying higher interest, such as Greek, Spanish
and Portuguese bonds denominated in euros. The deficit troubles in these
countries have caused investors and speculators to sell the bonds and
convert the euros back into dollars in order to pay off their dollar
loans. This unwinding temporarily raises the demand for dollars and boosts
the dollar's exchange value.

The problems of the American economy are too great to be reached by
traditional policies. Large numbers of middle class American jobs have
been moved offshore: manufacturing, industrial and professional service
jobs. When the jobs are moved offshore, consumer incomes and U.S. GDP go
with them. So many jobs have been moved abroad that there has been no
growth in U.S. real incomes in the 21st century, except for the incomes of
the super rich who collect multi-million dollar bonuses for moving U.S.
jobs offshore.

Without growth in consumer incomes, the economy can go nowhere. Washington
policymakers substituted debt growth for income growth. Instead of growing
richer, consumers grew more indebted. Federal Reserve chairman Alan
Greenspan accomplished this with his low interest rate policy, which drove
up housing prices, producing home equity that consumers could tap and
spend by refinancing their homes.

Unable to maintain their accustomed living standards with income alone,
Americans spent their equity in their homes and ran up credit card debts,
maxing out credit cards in anticipation that rising asset prices would
cover the debts. When the bubble burst, the debts strangled consumer
demand, and the economy died.

As I write about the economic hardships created for Americans by Wall
Street and corporate greed and by indifferent and bribed political
representatives, I get many letters from former middle class families who
are being driven into penury. Here is one recently arrived:

"Thank you for your continued truthful commentary on the 'New Economy.' My
husband and I could be its poster children. Nine years ago when we
married, we were both working good paying, secure jobs in the
semiconductor manufacturing sector. Our combined income topped $100,000 a
year. We were living the dream. Then the nightmare began. I lost my job in
the great tech bubble of 2003, and decided to leave the labor force to
care for our infant son. Fine, we tightened the belt. Then we started
getting squeezed. Expenses rose, we downsized, yet my husband's job
stagnated. After several years of no pay raises, he finally lost his job a
year and a half ago. But he didn't just lose a job, he lost a career. The
semiconductor industry is virtually gone here in Arizona. Three months
later, my husband, with a technical degree and 20-plus years of solid work
experience, received one job offer for an entry level corrections officer.
He had to take it, at an almost 40 percent reduction in pay. Bankruptcy
followed when our savings were depleted. We lost our house, a car, and any
assets we had left. His salary last year, less than $40,000, to support a
family of four. A year and a half later, we are still struggling to get
by. I can't find a job that would cover the cost of daycare. We are stuck.
Every jump in gas and food prices hits us hard. Without help from my
family, we wouldn't have made it. So, I could tell you just how that 'New
Economy' has worked for us, but I'd really rather not use that kind of
language."

Policymakers who are banking on stimulus programs are thinking in terms of
an economy that no longer exists. Post-war U.S. recessions and recoveries
followed Federal Reserve policy. When the economy heated up and inflation
became a problem, the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates and
reduce the growth of money and credit. Sales would fall. Inventories would
build up. Companies would lay off workers.

Inflation cooled, and unemployment became the problem. Then the Federal
Reserve would reverse course. Interest rates would fall, and money and
credit would expand. As the jobs were still there, the work force would be
called back, and the process would continue.

It is a different situation today. Layoffs result from the jobs being
moved offshore and from corporations replacing their domestic work forces
with foreigners brought in on H-1B, L-1 and other work visas. The U.S.
labor force is being separated from the incomes associated with the goods
and services that it consumes. With the rise of offshoring, layoffs are
not only due to restrictive monetary policy and inventory buildup. They
are also the result of the substitution of cheaper foreign labor for U.S.
labor by American corporations. Americans cannot be called back to work to
jobs that have been moved abroad. In the New Economy, layoffs can continue
despite low interest rates and government stimulus programs.

To the extent that monetary and fiscal policy can stimulate U.S. consumer
demand, much of the demand flows to the goods and services that are
produced offshore for U.S. markets. China, for example, benefits from the
stimulation of U.S. consumer demand. The rise in China's GDP is financed
by a rise in the U.S. public debt burden.

Another barrier to the success of stimulus programs is the high debt
levels of Americans. The banks are being criticized for a failure to lend,
but much of the problem is that there are no consumers to whom to lend.
Most Americans already have more debt than they can handle.

Hapless Americans, unrepresented and betrayed, are in store for a greater
crisis to come. President Bush's war deficits were financed by America's
trade deficit. China, Japan, and OPEC, with whom the U.S. runs trade
deficits, used their trade surpluses to purchase U.S. Treasury debt, thus
financing the U.S. government budget deficit.

The problem now is that the U.S. budget deficits have suddenly grown
immensely from wars, bankster bailouts, jobs stimulus programs, and lower
tax revenues as a result of the serious recession. Budget deficits are now
three times the size of the trade deficit. Thus, the surpluses of China,
Japan, and OPEC are insufficient to take the newly issued U.S. government
debt off the market.

If the Treasury's bonds can't be sold to investors, pension funds, banks,
and foreign governments, the Federal Reserve will have to purchase them by
creating new money. When the rest of the world realizes the inflationary
implications, the US dollar will lose its reserve currency role. When that
happens Americans will experience a large economic shock as their living
standards take another big hit.

America is on its way to becoming a country of serfs ruled by oligarchs.

Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an
Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.  His latest book, HOW THE
ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can
be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com


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

An Atomic Credibility Gap
Obama Goes Nuclear
By KARL GROSSMAN
February 17, 2010
CounterPunch

Is there any chance that President Barack Obama can return to his
long-held stand critical of nuclear power? Is he open to hearing from
scientists and energy experts, such as Amory Lovins, who can refute the
pro-nuclear arguments that have apparently influenced him?

Obama's declaration in his State of the Union speech on January 27 about
"building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this
country" marked a significant change for him. His announcement Tuesday on
moving ahead on $8.3 billion in federal government loan guarantees to
build new nuclear plants and increasing the loan guarantee fund to $54.5
billion was a further major step. Wall Street is reluctant to invest money
in the dangerous and extremely expensive technology.

Before taking office, including as a candidate for president, Obama not
only was negative about atomic energy but - unusual for a
politician - indicated a detailed knowledge of its threat to life.

"I start off with the premise that nuclear energy is not optimal and so I
am not a nuclear energy proponent," Obama said at a campaign stop in
Newton, Iowa on December 30, 2007. "My general view is that until we can
make certain that nuclear power plants are safe, that they have solved the
storage problem - because I'm opposed to Yucca Mountain and just dumping -
in one state, in Nevada particularly, since there's potentially an
earthquake line there - until we solve those problems and the whole
nuclear industry can show that they can produce clean, safe energy without
enormous subsidies from the U.S. government, I don't think that's the best
option.  I am much more interested in solar and wind and bio-diesel and
strategies [for] alternative fuels". [Well that was BEFORE election. After
election, all bets and promises are off and we mere citizens are once
again royally screwed by the Liars That Be. -ed]

As he told the editorial board of the Keene Sentinel in New Hampshire on
November 25, 2007: "I don't think there's anything that we inevitably
dislike about nuclear power. We just dislike the fact that it might blow
up - and irradiate usand - kill us. That's the problem". [Now that he's
president, it's no longer a problem. -ed]

Yes, that's the big problem with splitting the atom - one that has existed
since the start of nuclear power and will always be inherent in the
technology. Using the perilous process of fission to generate electricity
with its capacity for catastrophic accidents and its production of highly
toxic radioactive poisons called nuclear waste will always be unsafe. And
it is unnecessary considering the safe energy technologies now available,
from solar, wind and other clean sources.

Just how dangerous it is has been underlined in a book just published by
the New York Academy of Sciences, Chernobyl: Consequences of the
Catastrophe for People and the Environment. Written by a team of
scientists led by noted Russian biologist Dr. Alexey Yablokov, using
health data that have become available since the 1986 accident, it
concludes that the fatality total "from April 1986 to the end of 2004 from
the Chernobyl catastrophe was estimated at 985,000 additional [cancer]
deaths". This is in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other countries where
Chernobyl's poisons fell. The toll, they relate, continues to rise.

Chernobyl was a different design from the nuclear plants which the U.S.,
France and Japan seek now to build but disasters can also happen involving
these plants and they, too, produce the highly toxic nuclear waste
poisons. The problem is fission itself. It's no way to produce
electricity.

Obama has been aware of this. As he stated at a Londonderry, New Hampshire
town meeting on October 7, 2007: "Nuclear power has a host of problems
that have not been solved. We haven't solved the storage situation
effectively. We have not dealt with all of the security aspects of our
nuclear plants and nuclear power is very expensive".

He still left the door open to it. His Energy Plan as a candidate stated:
"It is unlikely that we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we
eliminate nuclear power from the table. However, there is no future for
expanded nuclear without first addressing four key issues: public
right-to-know, security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage, and
[nuclear weapons] proliferation".

In his first year as president, nuclear power proponents worked to
influence him. Among nuclear opponents, there has been anxiety regarding
Obama's two top aides, both of whom have been involved with what is now
the utility operating more nuclear power plants than any other in the
United States, Exelon.

Rahm Emanuel, now Obama's chief of staff, as an investment banker was in
the middle of the $8.2 billion merger in 1999 of Unicom, the parent
company of Commonwealth Edison of Chicago, and Peco Energy to put together
Exelon. David Axelrod, now a senior Obama advisor and formerly chief
campaign strategist, was an Exelon consultant. Candidate Obama received
sizeable contributions from Exelon executives including from John Rowe,
its president and chief executive officer who in 2007 also became chairman
of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the U.S. nuclear industry's main trade
group.

It's not only been nuclear opponents who have seen a link between Exelon
and the Obama administration. Forbes magazine, in its January 18th issue,
in an article on John Rowe and how he has "focused the company on
nuclear," displayed a sidebar headlined, "The President's Utility".  It
read: "Ties are tight between Exelon and the Obama administration," noting
Exelon political contributions and featuring Emanuel and Axelrod with
photos and descriptions of their Exelon connections.

The Forbes article spoke of how last year "Emanuel e-mailed Rowe on the
eve of the House vote on global warming legislation and asked that he
reach out to some uncommitted Democrats. 'We are proud to be the
President's utility,' says Elizabeth Moler, Exelon's chief lobbyist," the
article went on. "It's nice for John to be able to go to the White House
and they know his name.." [How thrilling. -ed]

Chicago-based Exelon's website boasts of its operating "the largest
nuclear fleet in the nation and the third largest in the world". It owns
17 nuclear power plants which "represent approximately 20 percent of the
U.S. nuclear industry's power capacity".

The climate change or global warming issue is another factor in Obama's
change on nuclear power. An Associated Press article of January 31 on
Obama's having "singled out nuclear power in his State of the Union
address and his spending plan for the next budget," began: "President
Barack Obama is endorsing nuclear energy like never before, trying to win
over Republicans and moderate Democrats on climate and energy
legislation".

MSNBC's Mike Stuckey on February 9 reported about "Obama's new support for
nuclear power, which some feel may be a down payment for Republican
backing on a climate change bill".

After the "safe, clean nuclear power" claim, Michael Mariotte, executive
director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, declared:
"Politically, Obama likely was simply parroting the effort being led by
Senators John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham to gain support for
a climate bill by adding massive subsidies for nuclear power, offshore oil
and 'clean' coal. But recycling George W. Bush energy talking points is no
way to solve the climate crisis or develop a sustainable energy policy.
Indeed, Obama knows better. Candidate Obama understood that nuclear power
is neither safe nor clean".

Climate change has been used by those promoting a "revival" of nuclear
power - there hasn't been a new nuclear plant ordered and built in the
U.S.  in 37 yearsas - a new argument. In fact, nuclear power makes a
substantial contribution to global warming considering the overall
"nuclear cycle" -uranium mining and milling, conversion, enrichment, fuel
fabrication and the disposition of radioactive waste, and so on.

Climate change is also one argument for pushing atomic energy of  another
major influence on Obama on nuclear power, Steven Chu, his Department of
Energy secretary. Chu typifies the religious-like zeal for nuclear power
emanating for decades from scientists in the U.S. government's string of
national nuclear laboratories. Chu was director of one of these, Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory, before becoming head of DOE.

First established during World War II's Manhattan Project to build atomic
weapons, the laboratories after the war began promoting civilian nuclear
technology - and have been pushing it unceasingly ever since. It has been
a way to perpetuate the vested interest created during World War II.  The
number of nuclear weapons that could be built was limited because atomic
bombs don't lend themselves to commercial distribution, but in pushing
food irradiation, nuclear-powered airplanes and rockets, atomic devices
for excavation and, of course, nuclear power, the budgets and staffs of
the national nuclear laboratories could be maintained, indeed increase.

That was the analysis of David Lilienthal, first chairman of the U.S.
Atomic Energy Commission, which preceded the Department of Energy.
Lilienthal in his 1963 book Change, Hope, and the Bomb wrote: "The classic
picture of the scientist as a creative individual, a man obsessed, working
alone through the night, a man in a laboratory pushing an idea - this has
changed. Now scientists are ranked in platoons. They are organization men.
In many cases the independent and humble search for new truths about
nature has been confused with the bureaucratic impulse to justify
expenditure and see that next year's budget is bigger than last's".

Lilienthal wrote about the "elaborate and even luxurious [national
nuclear] laboratories that have grown up at Oak Ridge, Argonne,
Brookhaven" and the push to use nuclear devices for "blowing out harbors,
making explosions underground to produce steam, and so on" which show "how
far scientists and administrators will go to try to establish a
nonmilitary use" for nuclear technology.

Chu, like so many of the national nuclear laboratory scientists and
administrators, minimizes the dangers of radioactivity. If they didn't, if
they acknowledged how life-threatening the radiation produced by nuclear
technology is, their favorite technology would crumble.

A major theme of Chu, too, is a return to the notion promoted by the
national nuclear laboratories in the 1950s and 60s of "recycling" and
"reusing" nuclear waste. This way, they have hoped, it might not be seen
as waste at all. The concept was to use radioactive Cesium-137 (the main
poison discharged in the Chernobyl disaster) to irradiate food, to use
depleted uranium to harden bullets and shells, and so on. In recent weeks,
with Obama carrying out his pledge not to allow Yucca Mountain to become a
nuclear waste dump, Chu set up a "blue-ribbon" panel on radioactive
wastestacked - with nuclear power advocates including Exelon's John
Rowethat - is expected to stress the "recycling" theory.

"We are aggressively pursuing nuclear energy," declared Chu in January as
he announced DOE's budget planwhich - included an increase in the 2011
federal budget in monies for nuclear loan guarantees to build new nuclear
plants cited by Obama Tuesday. "We are, as we have repeatedly said,
working hard to restart the American nuclear power industry".

The $8.3 billion in loan guarantees Obama announced Tuesday is to come
from $18.5 billion in guarantees proposed by the George W. Bush
administration and authorized by Congress in 2005. "My budget proposes
tripling the loan guarantees we provide to help finance safe, clean
nuclear facilities," said Obama Tuesday, referring to the DOE plan which
would add $36 billion and bring the loan guarantee fund to $54.5. And this
despite candidate Obama warning about "enormous subsidies from the U.S
government" to the nuclear industry.

The $8.3 billion in loan guarantees is to go toward the Southern Company
of Atlanta constructing two nuclear power reactors in Burke, Georgia.
These are to be AP1000 nuclear power plants designed by the Westinghouse
nuclear division (now owned by Toshiba) although in October the designs
were rejected by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as likely being
unable to withstand events like tornadoes and earthquakes. [What's the
importance of nuclear disaster when ranked against the towering importance
of a few rich bastards becoming even richer super-bastards? -ed]

Obama's change of stance on nuclear power has led to an earthquake of its
own politically. MoveOn, the nonprofit advocacy group that has raised
millions of dollars for Democratic candidates including Obama, gauged
sentiment of his State of the Union speech by having10,000 MoveOn members
record their views. Every few seconds they pressed a button signaling
their reactions - ranging from "great" to "awful". When Obama got his line
on energy, the overwhelming judgment was awful. "The most definitive drop
in enthusiasm is when President Obama talked about nuclear power and
offshore drilling," said Ilyse Hogue, MoveOn's director of political
advocacy. "They're looking for clean energy sources that prioritize wind
and solar".

"Safe, clean nuclear power - it's an oxymoron," said Jim Riccio, nuclear
policy analyst for Greenpeace USA. "The president knows better. Just
because radiation is invisible doesn't mean it's clean".

"From a health perspective, the proposal of the Obama administration to
increase federal loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors poses a serious
risk to Americans," said Joseph Mangano, executive director of the
Radiation and Public Health Project. "Adding new reactors will raise the
chance for a catastrophic meltdown. It will also increase the amount of
radioactive chemicals routinely emitted from reactors into the environment
- and human bodies. New reactors will raise rates of cancer - which are
already unacceptably high - especially to infants and children. Public
policies affecting America's energy future should reduce, rather than
raise, hazards to our citizens."

As to government loan guarantees, "The last thing Americans want is
another government bailout for a failing industry, but that's exactly what
they're getting from the Obama administration," said Ben Schreiber, the
climate and energy tax analyst of Friends of the Earth.

"It would be not only good policy but good politics for Obama to abandon
the nuclear loan guarantee program," said Mariotte of NIRS.

After Obama's Tuesday declaration on loan guarantees, Paul Gunter,
director of the Reactor Oversight Project of the organization Beyond
Nuclear, said: "Unfortunately, the president's decision is fuel for
opposition to costly and dangerous nuclear power. It signals a widening of
a divide as the administration steps back from its promise for a change in
energy policy and those of us who are committed to a change".

"We are deeply disturbed by President Obama's decision," said Peter Wilk,
executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility. "Not only does
this put taxpayers on the hook for billions, it prioritizes a dirty,
dangerous, and expensive technology over public health.  From the
beginning to the end of the nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear reactors remain a
serious threat to public health and safety.  From uranium mining waste to
operating reactors leaking radioactivity to the lack of radioactive waste
solutions, nuclear power continues to pose serious public health threats".

Nuclear opponents have been disappointed in a lack of access to the Obama
White House of those with a critical view on nuclear power - who could
counteract the pro-nuclear arguments that Obama has been fed. Will
President Obama open himself to hearing from those who question nuclear
power?

Obama has credibility trouble already. New York Times columnist Bob
Herbert wrote on January 26:

"Who is Barack Obama? Americans are still looking for the answer. Mr.
Obama may be personally very appealing, but he has positioned himself all
over the political map. Mr. Obama is in danger of being perceived as
someone whose rhetoric, however skillful, cannot always [or ever -ed] be
trusted.  He is creating a credibility gap for himself, and if it widens
much more he won't be able to close it". [He intends to be the most
craven one-term president ever - so he'll sell out on every possible
issue and then look for his super giant pay-off. Now is the time to pledge
not to vote for Obama for president in 2012. -ed]

Karl Grossman is professor of journalism at the State University of New
York/College at Old Westbury. He is author of Cover Up: What You Are Not
Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power, Power Crazy and The Wrong Stuff: The
Space Program's Nuclear Threat To Our Planet and writer and narrator of
television programs among them Nukes In Space: The Nuclearization and
Weaponization of the Heavens (www.envirovideo.com).


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

    Some clean things

    Clean vomit
    Clean coal
    Clean crap
    Clean nuke
    Clean puke
    Clean coal
    Clean snot
    Clean nuke
    Clean pus
    Clean coal
    Clean cancer
    Clean nuke
    Clean gangrene


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   - 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

 Research almost any topic raised here at:
  CounterPunch    http://counterpunch.org
  Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org
  Common Dreams   http://commondreams.org
 Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones


  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.