|Progressive Calendar 04.27.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|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] riseup.net> 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] mtn.org> 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] macalester.edu. --------3 of 19-------- From: Institute on the Environment <sjszurek [at] umn.edu> 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] mtn.org> 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] visi.com> Subject: Labor/Co-ops 4.27 7pm Part of the annual LABOR'S UNTOLD STORIES from FRIENDS of the ST.PAUL PUBLIC LIBRARY Complete schedule (thru MAY 19th): http://www.thefriends.org/untold.html >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] mtn.org> 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] mtn.org> 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] circlevision.org> 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: alliantACTION.org --------9 of 19-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: City Indians 4.28 11 am WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28 - 11:00AM: AMERICAN INDIANS IN THE CITY: Community Development and Culture KFAI - 90.3FM-Minneapolis/106.7FM Saint Paul and STREAMING at KFAI.org 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. GUESTS: 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] metrostability.org 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 https://www.thedatabank.com/dpg/322/personalopt1.asp?formid=event&c=6068774 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] metrostability.org --------11 of 19-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> 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] gmail.com> 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 - click here<http://friendsofcoldwater.org/common/map/map.html?ed=HmSKc.p_0TrSTXyx6Pd2gZGev5ZORTkaEJZ0WQ1bx2CZgDwIVZ3qRg2.zD58N15D&csz=Minneapolis%2C+MN&country=us> 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 www.friendsofcoldwater.org --------13 of 19-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> 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] umn.edu> 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 By RALPH NADER April 27, 2010 CounterPunch 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 unattended. 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. Sincerely, Ralph Nader --------16 of 19----- Welcome to Arizona This is What Apartheid Looks Like By ROBERTO RODRIGUEZ CounterPunch 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 we.ve 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 Civilization. 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] gmail.com --------17 of 19-------- More Than 150,000 May Have Been Killed Colombia's Deadly "Democracy" By DANIEL KOVALIK April 26, 2010 CounterPunch 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 dictatorship. 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, Pa. --------18 of 19-------- Earth Day Began With a Blowout, Will It End With One? Deepshit Horizon By DARWIN BOND-GRAHAM April 26, 2010 CopunterPunch 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 holiday. 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] riseup.net --------19 of 19-------- ----------------------------- The earth died for our sins ----------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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
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