Progressive Calendar 04.27.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2010 15:24:14 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   04.27.10

1. Haiti/CTV        4.27 5pm
2. Immigrant        4.27 6pm
3. Water4Mulobere/f 4.27 6:30pm
4. Food, Inc./f     4.27 6:30pm
5. Labor/Co-ops     4.27 7pm
6. US/Israel spat   4.27 7pm
7. Immigration      4.27 7pm

8. Alliant vigil    4.28 7am
9. City Indians     4.28 11 am
10. Organizing      4.28 12noon
11. Amnesty Intl    4.28 6pm
12. Moon walk       4.28 7pm
13. Jews/Palestine  4.28 7pm
14. Workers day     4.28 7pm

15. Ralph Nader        - The great gap in financial reform
16. Roberto Rodriguez  - Arizona: what apartheid looks like
17. Daniel Kovalik     - Colombia's deadly "democracy"
18. Darwin Bond-Graham - Deepshit horizon
19. ed                 - Bumpersticker

--------1 of 19--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Haiti/CTV 4.27 5pm

Stylin' St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm,
midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow!  Households
with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 4/27 @ 5pm & midnight + Wed, 4/28, 10am
"Standing With Haiti"

In January, disaster hit the people of Haiti in epic proportion.  A 7.0
quake cost an estimated 230,000 lives.  With guests Laura Flynn of the
Aristide Foundation and Rebecca Cramer of the Haiti Justice Committee, we
go in-depth to provide historical context as to why the earthquake was so
devastating.  We talk about US-Haiti relations, relief efforts and current
dangers facing the courageous people of Haiti. (4/10)

--------2 of 19--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Immigrant 4.27 6pm

Immigrant Detainee Visitation Training
Tuesday, April 27 and Thursday, April 29, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Macalester
College, 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul. The Interfaith Coalition on
Immigration invites you to participate in their Visitation Project for
civil detainees at the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center. You do
not need to be part of any faith community or profess a faith to
become a Visitor. The primary job of the visitor is to provide
emotional support for civil detainees who often feel very isolated and
alone. Endorsed by: the WAMM Immigration Committee. FFI and to RSVP:
email jsmith10 [at]

--------3 of 19--------

From: Institute on the Environment <sjszurek [at]>
Subject: Water4Mulobere/f 4.27 6:30pm

This past summer, a team of up-and-coming engineers helped bring clean
drinking water to an African village. As part of an Engineers Without
Borders project, the University of Minnesota student group implemented a
solar-powered water supply system for an entire school and its
surrounding community in Mulobere, Uganda. And Beth Anderson, the
Institute on the Environment's video producer, was there to capture the
story on video. Her documentary, Water for Mulobere, premieres April 27
in Minneapolis. The evening kicks off with a performance by the Hayor
Bibimma African Dance Company, and closes with a Q&A session among the
students and the filmmaker.

thumbnail_water for mulobere
Water for Mulobere documentary premiere
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Coffman Memorial Union Theater
Doors open at 6:30p.m.
Free and open to the public

--------4 of 19--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Food, Inc./f 4.27 6:30pm

Pax Conversational Salon: Documentary Screening: "Food, Inc."
Tuesday, April 27, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 West
Seventh, St. Paul.

Academy award nomination for best documentary,
"Food, Inc." lets us in on how much we really know about the food we
buy at our local markets and serve to our families. Film by Robert
Kenner. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Call 651-227-3228.

--------5 of 19--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Labor/Co-ops 4.27 7pm

Part of the annual LABOR'S UNTOLD STORIES from FRIENDS of the ST.PAUL
Complete schedule (thru MAY 19th):

>From Populist Farmers to Urban Food Co-ops:
The Cooperative Tradition in Minnesota
Tuesday, April 27, 7 pm
Metropolitan State University Library, Ecolab Room,
645 E. Seventh St.

Join Steven Keillor, author of /Cooperative Commonwealth: Co-ops in Rural
Minnesota, 1859-1939/, and Dave Gutknecht, founder of /Cooperative
Grocer,/ a trade magazine for food co-ops, for a conversation on our
cooperative tradition.

--------6 of 19---------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: US/Israel spat 4.27 7pm

The Current U.S.-Israeli Spat - What does it really mean?
Tuesday, April 27, 7:00 p.m. Van Cleve Community Center, 901 15th Avenue
Southeast, Minneapolis.

Are there real differences between the Obama and Netanyahu
administrations? What does this current context mean for the demands for
peace and justice for Palestinians? Come hear a panel discussion on the
significance of current events. Speakers: Fouzi Slisli, went on Palestine
delegation in 2009; Sanna Nimtz Towns, Coalition for Palestinian Rights;
Jordan Kushner, Minneapolis civil rights lawyer, member of National
Lawyers Guild and coordinator of its BDS working group; Sriram Ananth,
Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign. Organized by: the Coalition for
Palestinian Rights (CPR). WAMM is a member of CPR.

--------7 of 19--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Immigration 4.27 7pm

WAMM Immigration Committee Meeting: Maria Zavala on "Driver's Licenses
for All"

Tuesday, April 27, 7:00 p.m. Sabathani Community Center, Third Floor,
Conference Center, Room E, 310 East 38th Street, Minneapolis. Maria
Zavala, community organizer and member of Mujeres en Liderazgo, will speak
about the Mujeres' campain for "Drivers' Licenses for All." FFI: Call
WAMM, 612-827-5364.

--------8 of 19--------

From: AlliantACTION <alliantaction [at]>
Subject: Alliant vigil 4.28 7am

Join us Wednesday morning, 7-8 am
Now in our 14th year of consecutive Wednesday
morning vigils outside Alliant Techsystems,
7480 Flying Cloud Drive Eden Prairie.
We ask Who Profit$? Who Dies?
directions and lots of info:

--------9 of 19--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: City Indians 4.28 11 am

Development and Culture
KFAI - 90.3FM-Minneapolis/106.7FM Saint Paul and STREAMING at

May is American Indian Month. This may or may not be a meaningless
exercise (why just one month to recognize the contributions and issues
facing many of our communities of color?), but the Native community here
is making the most of it with plans for the American Indian Cultural
Corridor, an Indian Health Fair (even as we're broadcasting)  April 28,
and a Parade of Nations Walk April 30.

But those events are just part of life in the city for our Native
Americans brothers and sisters - some good, some far too challenging for
many to survive the poverty and racism that still mitigates against tribal
cultures' attempts to remain sovereign and self- sufficient.

TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with a few local Native
activists and city officials about Indian life in the urban core and
prospects for a prosperous future.

 LAURA WATERMAN WITTSTOCK (Seneca) - Writer/Consultant; Retired Executive
Director, Migizi Communications; Co-Producer/Host, First Nations Radio
(Sundays on KFAI)
 GARY SCHIFF - Minneapolis City Councilmember (Ward 9)
 MICHAEL GOZE (Ho-Chunk) - CEO, American Indian Community Development
Corporation (AICDC)
 JUSTIN KII HUENEMANN (Navajo) - President/CEO, Native American Community
Development Institute (NACDI)
 INVITED: ROBERT LILLIGREN - Minneapolis City Councilmember (Ward 6)
AND YOU! Call us at 612-341-0980.

Can't Get Us Over the Air? Stream TTT LIVE HERE or LATER HERE

--------10 of 19--------

From: joan [at]
Subject: Organizing 4.28 12noon

Organizer Roundtable:
The Ecology of Organizing - exploring the landscape of strategies
NOON to 1:30pm
Wednesday, April 28th
Rondo Community Library
461 N. Dale Street, Saint Paul, MN 55103
(free parking lower level of building -  enter on the north side of
University Ave.)

Join us for an interactive session to explore the characteristics of
effective organizing strategies. In the diverse world of community
organizing, how do your organizing methods and practices reflect the
culture of your constituents?  Whether your organizing is place-based,
issue-based, and/or cultural-based, come join us to discuss the
distinctive strategies that are effective within your community.

Facilitated by
David Nicholson, Headwaters Foundation for Justice Program Director
Karen Starr, Karen Starr Consulting, LLC

This is an opportunity to educate and inform each other while
simultaneously informing a working group of Minnesota funders who support
organizing. Learn from your colleagues about how organizers adjust their
strategies to maximize the skills of their communities. Come share your
knowledge and experience of unique and effective organizing strategies
that work for your community.

Organizer Roundtables are free but registration is required. Please
register at

Light snacks will be provided. Feel free to bring your lunch!
See you there! Please contact me with any questions.

Joan Vanhala Coalition Organizer 612-332-4471 joan [at]

--------11 of 19--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 4.28 6pm

AIUSA Group 640 (Saint Paul) meets Wednesday, April 28th, at 6:00 p.m.
Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Ave, Saint Paul.

--------12 of 19--------

From: Sue Ann <seasnun [at]>
Subject: Moon walk 4.28 7pm

Gather and Walk at 7 PM April's walk will be led by Henry Fieldseth,
founder of the Friends School Plant Sale, largest plant sale in Minnesota.
Henry's encyclopedic green knowledge reminds us that human life is
dependent on the plant people.  "Traditional group howl!"  Sunset 8:14 PM
- Moonrise 9:04 PM

Always FREE and Open to the Public Need directions to Coldwater? MAP -
Coldwater and the Mississippi River Gorge

by Susu Jeffrey and Alan Olson

April 2007 The Mississippi River gorge is the only true river gorge on the
entire 2,350-mile length of the river. The gorge runs between the
confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, northward to the Falls
of St. Anthony and is 1,273-feet deep according to a sign in Minnehaha
Park. But it's invisible to us, filled with glacial debris and under water
because dams keep the river level artificially high enough for barge
traffic's 9-feet deep in the shipping channel.

The old stories of being able to walk across the Mississippi meant that in
low water periods, people could cross the rocky river course atop 1,273
feet of rocks deposited by the glacial melt about 10,000-years ago. The
rocks that fill the gorge were brought south by glaciers that dropped
their loads in the melt outwash. The glaciers ground up and pushed granite
rock from the Canadian shield in (what is now) northern Minnesota
southward, mixed with any other bedrock the ice mountain could scour.  A
truck load of Mississippi River bottom pebbles, from dredging to keep the
barge lane clear, was dumped in a friend's yard for their rock circle. The
rocks are free, truck delivery is the only charge. In their circle are the
tumbled remains of the earth history of this area: black granite, red
stones rich in iron, white-ish limestone, milky quartz, a few pieces of
sandstone, an occasional agate, and many composites. Each small stone is
as individual as a person... more at

--------13 of 19--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Jews/Palestine 4.28 7pm

Twin Cities Jews Talk about Palestine
Wednesday April 28, 7:00 p.m. Macalester College, Weyerhaeuser Board
Room, 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul.

Speakers will address a range of issues, from their personal Jewish
anti-Zionist perspectives to the economics of U.S. support for Israel's
military occupation and water issues in occupied Palestine. Speaker
include: Lisa Albrecht, PhD, directs the Social Justice Program at the
University of Minnesota and has been doing Palestinian solidarity work
since the first Intifada in 1987; Karen Redleaf, an economist from
Minneapolis, active in Palestine solidarity work since 2001; Sylvia
Schwarz, a wastewater engineer from St. Paul, active in Palestine
solidarity work for several years as a member of the Minnesota Break the
Bonds Campaign (MN BBC) and the International

--------14 of 19--------

From: Barb Kucera <kucer004 [at]>
Subject: Workers day 4.28 7pm

Workers Memorial Day panel on health and safety

The University of Minnesota Labor Education Service is sponsoring a panel
discussion on April 28 - Workers Memorial Day - when unions remember
workers who have been injured and killed on the job and renew the call for
workplace safety.

Learn more about current safety and health issues from a panel that
includes Belinda Thielen, health and safety educator for the United Food &
Commercial Workers, Lisa Brosseau, professor in the Division of
Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Minnesota
School of Public Health, and Francisco Altamirano, organizer for Painters
District Council 82.

The program will run from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 28, at the St.
Paul Labor Centre, 411 Main St. It is co-sponsored by the Midwest Center
for Occupational Health and Safety and the National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences. It is free and open to all.

--------15 of 19--------

A Letter to Obama, Schumer and Shelby
The Great Gap in Financial Reform
April 27, 2010

Dear President Obama, Senator Schumer and Senator Shelby:

On the eve of the portentous Senate debate over the extent to which the
financial industry is to be so as to avert future megacollapses on the
backs of taxpayers, workers and consumers, a great gap has been left

That gap pertains to the continued powerlessness of the investors and
consumers - the people who bear the ultimate brunt of Wall Street's
recklessness, avarice and crimes and who have the greatest interest in
strong regulatory enforcement.

Among all the amendments filed for the upcoming Senate debate, only
amendment number 29, introduced by Senator Schumer, provides a facility to
establish an independent non-governmental non-profit Financial Consumers.
Association (FCA).

Amendment 29 includes the following for funding this unique institution:

".the financial industry has enjoyed virtually unlimited access to
represent its interest before Congress, the courts, and State and Federal
regulators, while financial services consumers have had limited
representation before Congress and financial regulatory entities;" and

".the Federal Government has a substantial interest in the creation of a
public purpose, democratically controlled, self-funded, nationwide
membership association of financial services consumers to enhance their
representation and to effectively combat unsound financial practices".

Anyone modestly familiar with the history of regulatory failures knows
that the gross disparity of power and organized advocacy between big
business and consumers outside of government leads to an absence of fair
standards and law enforcement.

It also leads, as everyone knows, to massive taxpayer bailouts, subsidies
and guarantees when these giant banks and other financial firms immolate
themselves, after enriching their bosses, while engulfing tens of millions
of innocent people in the subsequent economic conflagration.

Given all the privileges and costly rescues for culpable corporations that
flow regularly from Washington, D.C., adopting ever so mildly the
principle of reciprocity makes a powerful case for facilitating a
nationwide Financial Consumers' Association - one that would be composed
of voluntary memberships by consumers who, through their annual dues, will
sustain the FCA for an expert place at the table.

Senator Schumer, when he was a Congressman during the savings and loan
bailout in the nineteen eighties, introduced such a proposal. But the
bankers took the $150 billion bailout and blocked this reciprocal respect
for depositors in the House Banking Committee.

Then Representative Schumer and his supporting colleagues on that
Committee understood that without the supposed beneficiaries of regulatory
authority being organized to make regulation and deterrence work, the
Savings and Loan collapse could happen again. And so they became prophetic
beyond their wildest nightmares.

Before he died in a plane crash in 2002, Senator Paul Wellstone recognized
the need for such a facility, when he introduced the Consumer and
Shareholder Protection Association Act.

A key enhancing feature in amendment 29 is a requirement that invitations
to membership in the FCA be included in the billing envelopes or
electronic communications of financial institutions with their customers.
At no expense to these vendors, these notices would ensure that the
maximum number of consumers are invited to join and fund such a
democratically run, educational and advocacy organization.

In early 2009 I met with Chairman Christopher Dodd and explained the
nature and importance of the FCA and Senator Schumer's earlier role in
advancing this civic innovation. He seemed receptive to the idea and urged
us to have his colleague Senator Schumer take the lead, which he has done
with amendment 29 just a few weeks ago. Senator Shelby and I have also
discussed the FCA proposal.

The major valiant but overwhelmed consumer groups, who experience daily
this enormous imbalance of power between corporations and consumers,
presently stacked by unprecedented amounts of federal funds and bailout
facilities for the misbehaving companies, support the creation of a
self-funded FCA.

The Federal Government has long paid for facilities in the U.S. Department
of Agriculture for agricultural businesses to band together and assess
themselves to promote beef, corn, cotton and other commodities to increase
their profits. By contrast the FCA, once launched, would be composed of
consumers paying their own way to preserve their hard-earned savings from
predatory financial speculators.

Allow one prediction. Even if the ultimate legislation comes out stronger
than expected on such matters as derivatives, rating agencies, too big to
fail, using depositor funds for speculation, and the consumer financial
regulatory bureau, unless the consumer-investor is afforded modest
facilities to band together with their experts and advocates, the laws
will hardly be enforced with sufficient budgets, personnel and regulatory
will power.

Give the consumer a modest round in this prolonged deliberation following
the destructive events of 2008.

Ralph Nader

--------16 of 19-----

Welcome to Arizona
This is What Apartheid Looks Like
April 27, 2010

Those who think that there's an immigration crisis in Arizona are correct,
however, this is but part of the story. The truth is, a civilizational
clash is being played out in the same state in which the state legislature
questions the birthplace and legitimacy of President Barack Obama and
where Sen. John McCain competes with Senate hopeful, J.D. Hayworth, to see
who is the most anti-immigrant.

It is also the same state that several years ago, denied a holiday for
Martin Luther King Jr., and that today permits virtually anyone - on the
basis of trumped-up fear - to carry concealed weapons anywhere.

Welcome to Apartheid Arizona - the land of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, "States
Rights" and a desert that has claimed thousands of migrant lives. By way
of the same extremist legislature, the battle here is even much larger and
more profound. This civilizational clash is being waged daily here via
more bills involving who belongs, what language can be spoken here and who
and what can be taught in the state;s schools. This is beyond the notion
of who is "legal".

Whoever said that this crisis is proof that the illegal Mexican American
War never ended is partially correct because this conflict is even older
than that war in which Mexico lost half its territory to the United
States. The irony regarding the recently signed SB 1070 - which permits
law enforcement to question people about their citizenship, based on
"reasonable suspicion" - is that those principally targeted will be those
who look the "most Hispanic".

"Looking Hispanic. has always been a misnomer; what it really means is
those who are dark and short and who look the "most Indigenous".
Truthfully, here in Arpaio Country, that profiling that everyone fears is
already here with us. And to dispel illusions, the darkest amongst us have
always been subjected to racial profiling by the "migra" and by law
enforcement agencies everywhere in the country. This is true whether
been here for a few days or for thousands of years. And to dispel further
illusions, this civilizational clash alluded to is national in scope;
witness the many hundreds of anti-immigrant bills nationwide since 2006.
Only its epicenter is here.

What is changing with SB 1070 is that racial profiling is no longer
outside of the law; here it now has legal cover. But to be sure, people of
conscience will never accept it as law. And just as Arizona Rep. Raul
Grijalva is calling for a national and international boycott of Arizona -
many are calling on law enforcement to have the moral courage to refuse to
recognize SB 1070 as a law and simply view it as a proposal until the
courts decide on its constitutionality.

SB 1070 brings us to a moral precipice. After World War II, a consensus
developed here that it had been wrong to have incarcerated the Japanese in
internment camps because such action was morally wrong. Virtually no one
had the courage to assert this while it was happening. Law enforcement has
that chance today, to refuse to obey SB 1070 that is both, morally
repugnant and outside of the U.S. Constitution.

Regarding the larger civilizational struggle, the context is akin to when
Europeans first came to this continent. The conquistadors came for gold,
land and bodies (slaves). The friars, on the other hand, came for souls.
Similarly, the migra and extremist legislators want bodies deported; the
state school superintendent, Tom Horne, wants souls.

Last year, the state legislature attempted to eliminate Ethnic Studies
from the state's K-12 curriculum. The real target was Tucson Unified
School District's Mexican American Studies (MAS) program. After young
students ran from Tucson to Phoenix in 115 degree heat, the bill was
defeated. This year, a similar, yet more preposterous bill is back. HB
2281 seeks to outlaw curriculum that is anti-American and that advocates
the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. The bill creates a mechanism
by which books will be judged to be in compliance. American Indian and
African American classes are exempted and thus the clear target again is
the MAS program. Horne is on record claiming that only things from Western
Civilization (Greco-Roman) should be taught in Arizona schools.
Pre-Colombian Indigenous knowledge from this continent - the foundation
for the highly successful MAS program - is considered outside of Western

Amid the immigration crisis, the legislature is slated to also pass HB
2281 this week. This conjures up the line from the movie, The Other
Conquest: "They came for our souls, but they didn't know where to look".

President Obama and Congress may yet nullify SB 1070 and similar bills
nationwide, but this will not discourage those who continue to want our
bodies and souls.

Roberto Rodriguez, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona,
can be reached at XColumn [at]

--------17 of 19--------

More Than 150,000 May Have Been Killed
Colombia's Deadly "Democracy"
April 26, 2010

In his book, Colombia: the Genocidal Democracy, Father Javier Girardo, a
Jesuit priest and long-time human rights activist in Colombia, estimated
that, between 1988 and 1995, more than 60,000 Colombians lost their lives
to the internal conflict in Colombia - most of them at the hands of the
state, either in the form of the official Colombian military or the
paramilitary forces supported by the state.

As for the Colombian state's support for the paramilitaries, also known as
"death squads," that is well-known. Thus, as the U.S. State Department has
concluded in its annual human rights reports, the paramilitaries have
received active support from the Colombian government and from the
Colombian military which has provided the paramilitaries with weapons,
ammunition, logistical support and even with soldiers. Given that the U.S.
has aided the Colombian military with over $7 billion in military
assistance since 2000, all the while knowing the military's close
collaboration with the murderous paramilitaries, the U.S. itself is
complicit in the paramilitaries' crimes.

The extent of the Colombian state's connections with the paramilitaries
continues to be exposed, with former paramilitary leaders revealing the
heights of the government support for their activities. Within the past
days, for example, former paramilitary commander Salvatore Mancuso
confirmed that the current Colombian Vice-President, Francisco Santos, and
the Defense Minister, Juan Manual Santos, had close ties with the
paramilitary forces. Juan Manual Santos is expected to be the next
President of Colombia.

Up till recently, the prevailing estimate of civilians killed specifically
by the paramilitaries has been around 30,000. Father Girardo, citing new
estimates by Colombia's own Prosecutor General, has now shattered those
original estimates, announcing that the Prosecutor General is currently
investigating 150,000 extrajudicial killings by the paramilitary groups .
killings which took place between the late 1980's and the current time.
Even the prior, more conservative estimates would have made Colombia the
worst human rights abuser in South America in recent times, having
victimized more than Argentina's fascist junta and Chile's Pinochet

The new estimates place Colombia in a category all of its own as the worst
human rights abuser in the Western Hemisphere. And, in terms of peoples
internally displaced as a result of the conflict in Colombia - over 4
million - Colombia ranks only second in the world to the Sudan. And, not
too surprisingly given the U.S.'s usual support for the worst human rights
abusers, the Washington Post reported in an article by Juan Forero on
April 19, 2010, that Colombia is "Washington's closest ally on the
continent". [Evil birds of a feather. -ed]

In this same Washington Post article, Forero relates that, even as the
U.S. has provided Colombia with massive amounts of assistance - most of it
military, of course - Colombia has continued to slip deeper and deeper
into poverty, with 43% of its population now living in poverty and 23%
living in "extreme poverty". As the Washington Post explained, Colombia is
"the only major country in Latin America in which the gap between the rich
and poor has increased in recent years, according to a report by the UN
Economic Commission on Latin America". [Thank US support for that. -ed]

Of course, as Father Girardo noted in The Genocidal Democracy - a book
which is sadly out of print - this is all according to Washington's plan
to make Colombia a compliant country open to unchecked exploitation by
U.S. companies with an endless well of hunger for Colombia's vast reserves
of oil, coal, fruits, flowers and precious metals and gems, as well as for
a desperate workforce willing to accept barely-subsistent wages. [Uncle
"SlaveDriver" Sam. -ed]

With President Obama continuing to solidify the U.S.'s relationship with
Colombia through a new deal which will give the U.S. access to 7 military
bases, and through a Free Trade Agreement which Obama is now pushing,
despite his campaign pledges to oppose it, this deadly game plan continues
unabated. Only massive resistance in this country can end such destructive
foreign policies.

As this article was going to publication, we learned that Javier Girardo,
and his human rights group, Justicia y Paz, have received death threats in
retaliation for the above-mentioned revelations about the paramilitaries.
Please take a moment to write a note of concern for the life of Father
Javier to Hillary Clinton (Fax 202 647-2283) and President Alvaro Uribe at
the Colombian Embassy in D.C. (Fax 202 232-8643).

Daniel Kovalik is a labor and human rights lawyer working in Pittsburgh,

--------18 of 19--------

Earth Day Began With a Blowout, Will It End With One?
Deepshit Horizon
April 26, 2010

Twenty seven offshore rigs were built along southern California's
coastline in the 1960s. This was the inaugural boom era of deep water
ocean drilling. Two key developments ushered it in. The first was a set of
advances in mining technologies and engineering techniques that allowed
for deeper drilling beneath the ocean surface, as well as the construction
of towering rigs, some of which are taller than the Empire State building.
The second key was Congressional legislation leading to the leasing of
Outer Continental Shelf lands to oil firms in 1953. Dozens of offshore
rigs surfaced along the California coastline in the 1960s. In regions
where the geology and terrain was more suitable, and where deposits of oil
were more prolific, rigs went up by the hundreds. Texas and Louisiana's
Gulf Coast, for example, are cluttered with thousands of platforms today.

On January 28th, 1969 the Union Oil Company's Platform A, located six
miles from Santa Barbara, experienced a "blow-out." Highly pressurized
deposits of natural gas pushed upward against the newly bored well causing
oil to leak from the pipe and casings. The roughnecks struggled to plug
the well with mud and nearly succeeded. Then catastrophe struck. The
brittle geologic formations underlying the ocean floor 188 feet beneath
them began to crack. Long seams ripped across the submarine surface as gas
boiled forth, bubbling toward the surfaces along with tens of thousands of
barrels of oil. The blow-out was devastating. It killed untold numbers of
fish, birds, and sea mammals, and even greater numbers of Sponges,
Cnidarians, Worms, Lophophorates, Molluscs, Arthropods and other
invertebrates. Kelp forests were wiped out. Beaches were choked with
petroleum for miles east and west of Santa Barbara.

According to the self-indulgent Liberal-lore of California's coastal
urbanites, this ecological disaster led to the "creation of the
environmental movement." If by "environmental movement" we mean a largely
aesthetic obsession for how the planet looks, and a willingness to
technocratically manage "acceptable assessed risk levels" of exposure to
toxins, perhaps it was. If the movement is about changing light bulbs,
planting a tree every April, and altering consumer habits then it did
spawn a movement. We've come a long way, haven't we?

Across coastal California "environmentalism" has arguably become the
hegemonic political ideology and consumer identity. One cannot get elected
to any state or local office without proclaiming fidelity to clean water,
clear skies, and open space. And "green" has become the norm among the
population. Hybrid cars are frequently spotted, recycling is legion,
stores advertise "organic" this, and "fair trade" that. Even major timber
corporations now talk about their logging operations as "sustainable" and
energy companies like Chevron, headquartered in the Bay Area suburb of San
Ramon, advertise themselves as eco-friendly suppliers of happiness by the
kilowatt - "human energy" their latest ad campaign blabbers. This kind of
environmentalism went national in the 1990s, and now most urbanites,
especially blue state folks profess to pursue means of "living green."

To believe this fairy tale about the birth and existence of the movement,
and be palliated by the accompanying scenery of so-called change you'd
have to ignore a few historical facts and further delude yourself as to
the nature of Earth Day and the context in which it has become a major

For one you'd have to forget that opposition to the environmental effects
of industrial capitalism, consumerism, and imperialism were absolutely not
galvanized in 1969 with the Union Oil Company spill in Santa Barbara. Nor
did the fire on the Cuyahoga River of that same year create the movement.
Ecological resistance and sustainable practices were already being
articulated far and wide, long before one of California's most affluent
(and majority white) communities had their beaches inconveniently soaked
with the black blood of the earth. Indigenous peoples, anti-colonial
movements in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, African Americans and
Latinos in the "internal colonies" of the USA, and women in working class
communities across the industrialized world had been building an
oppositional consciousness against the poisoning and pillaging of their
communities for centuries. Native American resistance against the United
States' "manifest destiny" was an ecological movement, just as much as it
was about sovereignty. Anti-colonial struggles against the British in
India, and early rebellions against Spain in the New World were as much
about opposition to the domination of South Asian agriculture for
commodity export, or the enslavement of Bolivian and Mexican lands and
labor as disposable mines of silver and gold, as they were about abstract
ideals of national independence and patria. Environmentalism - care for
the earth, for the diversity of life, and opposition to the capitalist or
statist ethic which would have us believe that nature exists to provide us
with "resources" for "progress" through economic growth - is as old as
capitalism then.

Furthermore, in spite of the fact that all of the major environmental
legislation protecting communities in the United States was passed in the
aftermath of the Santa Barbara spill and several other high profile
domestic disasters of the early 1970s, the fact remains that in
practically all categories, the environment is suffering worse today than
it was then. The problems have gone global and become bigger than they
ever were. With the exception of several specific pollutants, emissions of
nearly every toxic chemical byproduct of industry into water and soils has
expanded on a global scale. CO2 emissions are higher than ever, of course.
And even with the recycling of paper, aluminum and like materials, more
forests are leveled and more bauxite mines tear into the earth today than
in 1970. There are more cars on the road. There are fewer unpaved spaces,
fewer stands of old growth, fewer un-damned rivers, fewer species, and
fewer roadless areas. There are more cancers, more asthma, more clusters
of maladies caused by the accumulation of synthetic toxins, teratogens,
and carcinogens. There are more toxic waste dumps and ever-expanding land
fills and now great oceanic stews full of plasticized garbage.

Today it is nothing short of delusional to "celebrate" Earth Day and hail
the "progress" we've made.

Ironically, and tragically, this year's Earth Day celebrations coincided
with another oil rig blow-out, this time offshore of Louisiana. Like other
recent mining disasters, the explosion and sinking of the rig caused by a
well blow-out has claimed the lives of at least eleven workers.

Named the Deepwater Horizon, the rig is as massive and ocean-straddling as
it sounds. Costing about $600 million, it was built over a span of three
years by the South Korean conglomerate Hyundai Heavy Industries. Delivered
to the Gulf of Mexico in 2001, Deepwater Horizon spent the last decade
floating from prospect to prospect, sinking wells, and moving on while
stationary rigs were set atop its exploits. The Deepwater Horizon is a
mobile mega-rig, among the largest and most advanced in the world. Some of
its complex operations are carried out via satellite by technicians in
Houston who relay commands through computer terminals. It has, it had, a
live-aboard workforce of 126.

In its short operating life Deepwater Horizon lived up to its name by
expanding the scale and scope of humanity's planetary oil mining
ambitions, and the outer limits of irresponsible economic expansion. Its
recent discoveries, drilling accomplishments, and now its self-immolation
also have ushered in an era in which the consequences of further
hydrocarbon exploitation will become increasingly clear to all of us. Our
economy's limitless appetite for petroleum is becoming increasingly and
undeniably the cause of heretofore unimaginable disasters, both as
episodic tragedies, as in the case of Deepwater Horizon, as well as
systemic disasters that will undermine the basis of life on earth far into
the future.

Deepwater Horizon holds the record for boring the deepest oil and gas well
in the world, a 35,050 foot vertical penetration. This astounding feat was
accomplished no less while working in over 4000 feet of water. It was this
exploratory well that led BP, plc, the British oil giant that leases the
Deepwater Horizon from its owners Transocean, to announce last year the
discovery of the immense Tiber prospect. Tiber is an oil field with
perhaps 3 billion barrels in recoverable deposits. If Horizon and other
mega-rigs were to make more discoveries like Tiber then the decline of oil
output in the Gulf of Mexico, which peaked in 2003 at 1.56 million barrels
per day, could be temporarily overcome. Oil industry guru Daniel Yergin
said so much when he told the Washington Post that the find "demonstrates
how technology continues to expand the horizon of the Gulf of Mexico."

Prolonging the age of oil is excellent news for the energy industry and
Wall Street financiers who bank on its success. It's also good news for
American consumers who seem to care more about cheap goods than un-payable
foreign and ecological debts. Extending the era of oil even a few years
beyond its projected decline after the global peak of production (which
probably occurred in 2008), and the US domestic production peak (which
occurred in 1970 at 10 million barrels per day), is of course catastrophic
with respect to climate change and all the other environmental damages
associated with oil, from well to tailpipe.

Deepwater Horizon was exploring the literal horizons of deep water
drilling precisely because there are virtually no high quality oil
deposits left in easily exploited regions. The days of gushers in the
shallow fields of Texas and California are long over. Corporate energy
giants like BP, and ConocoPhillips, as well as state firms like Petroleo
Brasileiro, SA (which are minority shareholders in the Tiber field) are
shifting their industrial and financial assets quickly into high-risk and
ecologically devastating operations like the Tiber in response to the peak
and decline of oil production. States and corporations across the world
are following suit. Canada's tar sands - easily the single most dangerous
economic operation in existence - is a perfect case in point. The tar
sands have tied up billions of dollars in development, wiped out many
square miles of boreal forests lands, and proportionally produced more
greenhouse gas emissions as a result of extraction than any other
hydrocarbon source.  Like ultra-deep ocean wells, tar sands operations in
Alberta, Canada, and other sites worldwide, are expected to grow in scale
as the price of oil rises. It has kept oil cheap in the USA, where Canada
has become the largest source of imports.

This year as North Americans celebrated the 40th Earth Day and the
Deepwater Horizon went down in flames, Peabody Coal, the largest private
coal company, announced profits up ten percent from last year. The
company's CEO told global financial markets that "with rising Australian
volumes and pricing and a growing global trading and brokerage business,
we have enormous capacity to capitalize on expanding Asian coal demand."
He added, "we have the leading position in the lowest-cost U.S. regions,
with leverage to improving prices as the economy recovers." Meanwhile two
southern California casinos took Earth Day as an opportunity to release
detailed figures on their sustainability efforts, including their
composting of 10-12 tons of food scraps from their buffets, and five tons
of co-mingled recyclable materials, each week. At one of the nation's two
nuclear weapons design and production labs in Los Alamos New Mexico, lab
officials urged their employees to participate in Earth Day. Among other
things the nuclear weaponers were asked by the lab's Earth Day web site
to: "Participate! Check out our Facebook; Buy locally grown food; Learn
about saving residential energy, and; Reduce, reuse and recycle." Not to
be out-greened by the nuclear weapons establishment, casinos, or big coal,
the US Navy announced that in honor of the holiday, "The Green Hornet, an
F/A-18 Super Hornet fueled with a 50/50 mixture of biofuel made from
camelina oil, will fly on Earth Day, April 22, at Naval Air Station
Patuxent River, Md."

This is the deepshit horizon, a point at the edge of environmental
oblivion toward which are racing faster than ever, Earth Day or no Earth
Day. Indeed, Earth Day seems to have largely become an enabler of denial
and self-immolating lies, undermining any ability or will to acknowledge
the crises we face. The consequences beyond the deepshit horizon include a
planetary die-off of all life, including humans. Beyond the deepshit
horizon is a point of no return, involving climatological feedback loops
that will be fueled by thawing permafrost and melting polar caps and
glaciers. Somewhere out there, within the time frame of several more
generations, in the economic frame of perhaps a few more business cycles,
a decade or so status quo levels of coal fired energy and a billion cars,
out there is mass extinction and an end to the planetary conditions that
created and sustain life.

Darwin Bond-Graham is a sociologist who splits his time between New
Orleans, Albuquerque, and Navarro, CA. He can be reached at:
darwin [at]

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                      The earth died for our sins


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