|Progressive Calendar 01.25.11||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2011 13:33:56 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 01.25.11 1. Stop FBI 1.25 4:30pm 2. Permanent war 1.25 6:30pm 3. Alliant vigil 1.26 7am 4. Housing 1.26 12noon 5. MN state budget 1.26 6:30pm 6. Coleen Rowley - President Euphemism **ph*m*sm 7. Maureen Murphy - A federal fishing expedition against antiwar groups 8. Stephen Zunes - ROTC policy on Wikileaks threatens academic freedom 9. Mike Whitney - Obama the most business-friendly president ever? 10. S Goldenberg - Obama's climate adviser Browner to depart White House 11. K Christison - The Palestine Papers and the US/Israeli agenda 12. Ellen H Brown - Washington State joins movement for public banking 13. ed - Breaking newz --------1 of 13-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Stop FBI 1.25 4:30pm Protest FBI Repression January 25, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Federal Building, 300 South 4th Street, Minneapolis. Join in the national day of action to stop FBI and Grand Jury repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists. Defend the right to organize. Opposing war and occupation is not a crime. Tell Patrick Fitzgerald to call off the Grand Jury. Stop FBI raids and repression. In December 2010, under the direction of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the FBI delivered nine new subpoenas in Chicago to anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists - bringing the total number of subpoenaed activists to 23. Patrick Fitzgerald's office is ordering the nine to appear at a Grand Jury in Chicago on January 25. In response, protests are being called across the country and around the world to show our solidarity. Hundreds of organizations and thousands of people will be protesting at Federal Buildings, FBI offices, and other appropriate places, showing solidarity with the nine newly subpoenaed activists and with all the activists whose homes were raided by the FBI. Fitzgerald's expanding web of repression already includes the 14 subpoenaed when the FBI stormed into homes on September 24th, carting away phones, computers, notebooks, diaries and children's artwork. In October, all 14 activists from Chicago, Minneapolis, and Michigan decided to not participate in the secret proceedings of Fitzgerald's Grand Jury. Each signed a letter invoking their Fifth Amendment rights. However, three women from Minneapolis - Tracy Molm, Anh Pham and Sarah Martin - are facing re-activated subpoenas. They are standing strong and we are asking you to stand with them - and with the newly subpoenaed nine activists - by protesting Patrick Fitzgerald and his use of the Grand Jury and FBI to repress anti-war and international solidarity activists. Sponsored by: the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. FFI: Call 612-379-3585 or visit stopfbi.net. --------2 of 13-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Permanent war 1.25 6:30pm Pax Salon: Book Discussion on "Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War" Tuesday, January 25, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 West 7th, St. Paul. Join others to discuss the book "Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War" by Andrew Bacevich. All are welcome regardless of if you have read the book or not. Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. FFI: Call 651-227-3228. --------3 of 13-------- From: AlliantACTION <alliantaction [at] circlevision.org> Subject: Alliant vigil 1.26 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 --------4 of 13-------- From: Joan Vanhala <joan [at] metrostability.org> Subject: Housing 1.26 12noon Alliance for Metropolitan Stability Organizer Roundtable: Central Corridor Affordable Housing Partnership The Central Corridor Affordable Housing Partnership (CCAHP) consists of a group of community organizations, individuals, and other stakeholders who gathered to meet monthly between late 2008 and early 2010 in order to identify strategies to promote affordable housing along Central Corridor. CCAHP's vision is that lower income transit-dependent households will be able to live within walking distance of the Central Corridor LRT line, that existing residents in the adjoining neighborhoods will be able to remain and not be displaced by rising housing costs and redevelopment, and that the community will have a voice in how their neighborhoods change. Central Corridor Affordable Housing Partnership NOON to 1:30pm Wednesday, January 26th Central Corridor Resource Center 1080 University Avenue West. Saint Paul, MN 55104 Presenters: Metric Giles 1st, Community Stabilization Project Organizer/Policy Advocate Nancy Homans, St. Paul Mayor's Office Policy Director Tim Thompson, Housing Preservation Project Executive Director Come hear about Central Corridor Affordable Housing Partnership's history, recommendations and implementation. Join in the dialogue about the successes and challenges in advocating for affordable housing along transitways. Organizer Roundtables are free but registration is required. Please register at https://www.thedatabank.com/dpg/322/personalopt1.asp?formid=event&c=4484606 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 --------5 of 13-------- From: Alan L. Maki <amaki000 [at] centurytel.net> Subject: MN state budget 1.26 6:30pm A Discussion on the MN State Budget Wednesday, January 26 · 6:30pm - 8:30pm University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center 2001 Plymouth Avenue North Created By Kenya McKnight Ahad More Info State of Minnesota HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TOWN HALL MEETING State Rep. Bobby Joe Champion and Rep. Jeff Haydeninvite you to a meeting to discuss the state budget. This an opportunity for us to gain more understanding of the MN state budget, how it works, it's challenges and provide suggestions or any concerns that we may have. Wednesday, January 26th 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center 2001 Plymouth Avenue North Minneapolis, MN 55411 Special Guest: Bill Marx, Chief Fiscal Analyst for the Minnesota House of Representatives For more information please contact Representatives Rep. Bobby Joe Champion Rep. Jeff Hayden (651) 296-8659 (651) 296-7152 This is a comment I posted: Alan L. Maki If I am in the area I will attend. I hope a "people's bailout" is discussed. Also, these legislators need to explain why Affirmative Action is not being enforced in Minnesota. Affirmative Action is the law of the land and it is a shame that Governor Mark Dayton has appointed Mark Phillips of Kraus-Anderson - the most flagrant violator in refusing to adhere to Affirmative Action implementation and enforcement - to the important position heading up the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Mark Dayton should have to provide a written statement directing the heads of Minnesota agencies and departments to abide by all state and federal Affirmative Action regulations, statutes, legislation and orders. Written records detailing the studies, implementation and enforcement Affirmative Action Programs should be readily available for public inspection and input for every single government funded project and program Alan L. Maki 58891 County Road 13 Warroad, Minnesota 56763 Phone: 218-386-2432 Cell Phone: 651-587-5541 E-mail: amaki000 [at] centurytel.net --------6 of 13-------- From: Rowley Clan <rowleyclan [at] earthlink.net> Subject: President Euphemism **ph*m*sm [ed title] People not Politicians! Walk not talk! Sign this statement <http://warisacrime.org/primary> today! Tonight is the "State of the Union" but obviously no one person, not even a president, and not even one with military leadership (as Eisenhower discovered 50 years ago, and which military experience Obama sorely lacks) can turn the war machine around. The only hope now resides in we the people. Trusting in politicians and campaign promises has proven ineffective. Even Obama knew that when he once said: "you've got to make me do it". No doubt Obama will say something euphemistic tonight in his speech about "the US has to pursue its national interests around the world" but this euphemism will actually mean he's committed to military escalation & costly shock and awe bombing campaigns despite the fact that over 90% of casualties are women, children and civilians and these efforts are inherently harmful to our own country in a myriad of ways. Take a look at the long list of activists who have already signed this statement "We will oppose Obama as long as he supports war" and consider signing this pledge yourself. It would be nice to see the list of citizen signatures grow huge by the time Obama takes the stage tonight. It could force him to reconsider his stance to continue the wars! This is about citizens in a democracy not abdicating their own responsibilities. Coleen R. http://warisacrime.org/primary --------7 of 13-------- A Federal Fishing Expedition Against Antiwar Groups I Have Been Summoned to Appear Before a Grand Jury By MAUREEN MURPHY January 25, 2011 CounterPunch I have been summoned to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago on January 25. But I will not testify, even at the risk of being put in jail for contempt of court, because I believe that our most fundamental rights as citizens are at stake. I am one of 23 anti-war, labor and solidarity activists in Chicago and throughout the Midwest who are facing a grand jury as part of an investigation into "material support for foreign terrorist organizations." No crime has been identified. No arrests have been made. And when it raided several prominent organizers' homes and offices on Sept. 24, the FBI acknowledged that there is no immediate threat to the American public. So what is this investigation really about? The activists who have been ensnared in this fishing net with different groups to end the US wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, to end US military aid for Israel's occupation of Palestinian land and US military aid to Colombia, which has a shocking record of repression and human rights abuses. All of us have publicly and peacefully dedicated our lives to social justice and advocating for more just and less deadly US foreign policy. I spent a year and a half working for a human rights organization in the occupied West Bank, where I witnessed how Israel established "facts on the ground" at the expense of international law and Palestinian rights. I saw the wall, settlements and checkpoints and the ugly reality of life under Israeli occupation which is bankrolled by the US government on the taxpayer's dime. Many of us who are facing the grand jury have traveled to the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Colombia to learn about the human rights situation and the impact of US foreign policy in those places so we may educate fellow Americans upon our return and work to build movements to end our government's harmful intervention abroad. Travel for such purposes should be protected by the first amendment. But new legislation now allows the US government to consider such travel as probable cause for invasive investigations that disrupt our movements and our lives. The June 2010 US Supreme Court decision Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project expanded even further the scope of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 to include first amendment activity such as political speech and human rights training. Even former President Jimmy Carter feels vulnerable under these laws because of his work doing elections training in Lebanon where one of the main political parties, until earlier this month a member of the ruling coalition, is listed as a "foreign terrorist organization" by the US State Department. "The vague language of the law leaves us wondering if we will be prosecuted for our work to promote peace and freedom," Carter has said. Former FBI officer Mike German, who now works with the American Civil Liberties Union, told the television program Democracy Now! that the subpoenas, search warrants and materials seized from activists' homes make it clear that the government is interested in "address books, computer records, literature and advocacy materials, first amendment sort of materials." He added, "unfortunately, after 9/11, [investigation standards] have been diluted significantly to where the FBI literally requires no factual predicate to start an investigation." The US government doesn't need to call me before a grand jury to learn my activities and my beliefs. I have often appealed to my elected representatives to take a principled stand on foreign policy issues, protested outside federal buildings and have written countless articles over the years that can be easily found through a Google search. Witnesses called to testify to a grand jury have no right to have a lawyer in the room and the jury is hand-picked by government prosecutors with no screening for bias. It is the ultimate abuse of power for a citizen to be forced to account to the government for no other reason than her exercise of constitutionally-protected freedoms of speech and association. This is why these grand jury proceedings are a threat to the rights of all Americans, and why those of us who have been targeted, and others in the movements we work with, call them a witch hunt. And, even though it means I risk being jailed for the life of the grand jury, I will not be appearing before it. The grand jury has been scrapped in virtually all countries and more than half the states in this country. There is a long American history of abusing grand juries to launch inquisitions into domestic political movements, from the pre-Civil War abolitionist movement to labor activists advocating for an eight-hour work day to the anti-war movement during the Vietnam years. We have done nothing wrong and risk being jailed because we have exercised our rights to free speech, to organize and hold our government accountable. It is a dark day for America when people face jail for exercising the rights that we hold so dear. Maureen Murphy is a journalist and Palestine solidarity activist who lives in Chicago. --------8 of 13-------- ROTC Policy on Wikileaks Threatens Academic Freedom by Stephen Zunes Published on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 by the San Jose Mercury News Common Dreams In my more than 15 years teaching at the University of San Francisco, I have found ROTC cadets to be among my favorite students, most of them being unusually bright, motivated, disciplined and a pleasure to work with. Indeed, I have felt honored to teach them. It was with great consternation, therefore, to learn that, according to a memo sent to ROTC programs at the University of San Francisco and other colleges and universities last month, they have effectively been prohibited from completing any assignments that professors may make involving any material released through WikiLeaks. According to a Dec. 8 memo from Col. Charles M. Evans, commanding officer of the 8th Brigade, U.S. Army Cadet Command, "using the classified information found on WikiLeaks for research papers, presentations, etc. is prohibited." A follow-up memo from the cadet commander at the University of San Francisco advised against even talking about it, precluding ROTC students from taking part in classroom discussions regarding WikiLeaks material. The rationale appears to be that downloading, reading, referencing or discussing WikiLeaks material could jeopardize receiving a security clearance. This has little rational basis, however, since much of the material was apparently made available by a U.S. Army private who had access to it and -- for better or worse -- this material is now widely available publicly. It strains credulity as to what harm would be caused by cadets viewing material easily accessible to everyone else, including America's enemies. Whatever the reason, this puts both professors and students in a dilemma. Those of us teaching courses in such fields as constitutional law, U.S. foreign policy, Middle Eastern politics and media studies are considering using WikiLeaks material in the coming semester. This means that if any of us were to give such an assignment, ROTC students would be forced to choose between not completing it or putting their careers in jeopardy. I could make special accommodations for ROTC cadets. I could offer an alternative reading assignment. I could not reduce participation grades if the students did not take part in a discussion. I could excuse them from viewing a documentary that might include film clips, images or other proscribed contents. I could write up special quizzes or exams. However, in doing so, I would effectively be allowing the military to control part of my curriculum. This raises sensitive issues regarding academic freedom. If the military can effectively tell its cadets to refuse to complete assignments by civilian professors, it sets a very dangerous precedent. Indeed, if they can prohibit ROTC cadets from reading material from WikiLeaks, what would stop them from prohibiting students from, for example, reading material critical of U.S. military actions in Iraq or Vietnam? The University of San Francisco administration appears to be taking this threat against academic freedom seriously and has asked for clarifications from ROTC commanders and others in the federal government. Thus far, however, nothing has been forthcoming. There are plenty of thoughtful and diverse opinions at the University of San Francisco and elsewhere regarding the legality, ethics and wisdom of releasing classified material via WikiLeaks. Since the material is now in the public domain, however, the U.S. military has no right to dictate how it might be used in the classroom. Indeed, this kind of interference has no place in a democracy. 2011 San Jose Mercury News Stephen Zunes is Middle East editor for Foreign Policy In Focus. He is a professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco and the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003.) [Did Nazi Germany allow acacdemic freedom? Should the USA? -ed] --------9 of 13-------- Obama and the Suites The Most Business-Friendly President Ever? By MIKE WHITNEY January 24, 2011 CounterPunch On Tuesday, Barack Obama made the case for easing regulations in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. The article, titled "Toward a 21st-Century Regulatory System", was accompanied by a caricature of a scissor-wielding businessman slashing-away at red tape, a symbol that is revered among anti-regulation zealots. In the opening paragraph, the president praises free market capitalism ("the greatest force for prosperity the world has ever known") and Wall Street ("vibrant entrepreneurialism is the key to our continued global leadership") while taking aim at the "burdensome" restrictions that prevent speculators from maximizing profits. Even by the administration's abysmal standards, the article is a new low, which is why the WSJ editors mockingly critiqued Obama's op-ed as "one of the greatest policy walkbacks in American history". Here's a clip from the text: "Sometimes, those rules have gotten out of balance, placing unreasonable burdens on business - burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs......Over the past two years, the goal of my administration has been to strike the right balance. And today, I am signing an executive order that makes clear that this is the operating principle of our government. This order requires that federal agencies ensure that regulations protect our safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth. And it orders a government-wide review of the rules already on the books to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive. It's a review that will help bring order to regulations that have become a patchwork of overlapping rules, the result of tinkering by administrations and legislators of both parties and the influence of special interests in Washington over decades." The tone of the article strongly suggests that it wasn't deregulation that triggered the financial meltdown, but all those pesky rules that inhibit innovation and growth. This is pure revisionism and Obama knows it. But he also knows who he is talking to when he takes a spot on Murdoch's editorial page; rabid right-wingers who think business can do no wrong. That's why Obama skips the liberal blather altogether and reiterates themes that read like the daily printout of GOP bullet-points. Here's how the WSJ's economics editor David Wessel summed it up: "Mr. Obama told agencies to scour the books for obsolete rules.....Within 120 days, each agency is to devise "a preliminary plan...to periodically review its existing significant regulations" to see which should be "modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed." So now the onus falls on the agencies to "prove" that businesses are not in compliance. That will make it harder to stop bad behavior or to penalize offenders. Obama's remedy will also extend compliance dates, offer more exemptions, and force regulators to make their judgments on stricter cost-benefit analysis. It's just one roadblock after another. The net result will be fewer rules, more pollution, a more dangerous working place, more financial fraud, and a general watering down existing regulations. No wonder the Journal's editors are so elated over Obama's transformation. He's abandoned any pretense of serving the public's interest. It's clear, the Obama team is worried that the president hasn't been sufficiently servile to win big business's backing in the upcoming 2012 presidential campaign. So they're pulling out all the stops to show that they can be bigger suck-ups than their Republican rivals. According to Bloomberg, there will be more pandering in the State of the Union Speech; a "call to promote greater accountability in the educational system" (charter schools), an "overhauling of the tax system" (a regressive flat tax), and "cuts to Social Security benefits". (the steady evisceration of a retirement safetynet) All of these will be wrapped in Obama's populist rhetoric and invoked as a way of "fighting unemployment". Obama might just turn out to be the most business friendly president in US history. Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at fergiewhitney [at] msn.com [Obama is a piece of ______ (supply your own epithet). ed] --------10 of 13-------- Obama's Climate Adviser, Carol Browner, to Depart White House by Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent Published on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 by The Guardian/UK Browner's exit reinforces concerns Obama is preparing compromises on his once-ambitious green agenda to try to build working arrangement with Republicans The White House energy and climate adviser is due to step down in the next few weeks, in a departure seen as the collapse of Barack Obama's ambitious green agenda. Reports of Browner's exit - barely 24 hours before Obama was to set out his priorities for the coming year in his state of the union address - reinforced concerns expressed by environmental groups that he was preparing further compromises on his once-ambitious green agenda to try to build a working arrangement with Republicans. Obama has also come under pressure from the main business lobby, the Chamber of Commerce, which opposes environmental regulations. But Browner's exit also recalled the extent to which Obama failed to realize his sweeping campaign promise of weaning America off fossil fuels, and making the transition to a new clean energy economy. Browner, who headed the environmental protection agency during the Clinton administration, was seen as a shrewd operative, and was designated Obama's point person in the effort to enact climate change legislation. With Democrats in control of both houses of Congress, environmental organizations in early 2009 saw reasonable prospects for the passage of comprehensive climate change legislation. In Obama's first months in the White House, Browner presided over a complex set of negotiations with US car manufacturers to produce an agreement that would increase fuel efficiency by as much as 25% over the next five years. She was also credited with giving Democratic leaders in Congress room to build support to pass a climate change bill through the house of representatives in June 2009. But the effort to pass cap and trade bill foundered in the Senate last year - with some Democrats blaming Obama for failing to send a strong enough signal that he was behind the bill. Others blamed the White House for choosing to move forward on health care reform before energy and climate change. Since the Democrats' defeat in November's mid-term elections, Obama has said he will not seek to pass sweeping climate change legislation. "I think there are a lot of Republicans that ran against the energy bill that passed in the House last year and so it's doubtful that you could get the votes to pass that through the House this year or next year or the year after," Obama told a post-election press conference. Meanwhile, Republicans in the house were calling for an investigation of Browner's influence over the energy and climate agenda. The EPA she once served was also in the firing line of Republicans, and some conservative Democrats, who are pushing to strip the agency of its authority to act on greenhouse gas emissions. Browner's reputation also took a hit with the Obama administration's handling of the BP oil spill. In August, she made the now-notorious claim on behalf of the White House that the "vast majority" of the 4.9m barrels of oil that spewed into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's broken well was gone. Her statement was later discredited. Even before reports of Browner's exit, environmental organizations had already been expressing fears that Obama was prepared to sacrifice his green agenda to his efforts to build a working relationship with Republicans. More than 20 environmental and public health organizations wrote to Obama last week urging him to stand up for the EPA in his state of the union speech tonight. The agency, which begun the process of regulating greenhouse gas emissions this year, has become the prime target for anti-government Republicans. Republicans, along with Democrats from coal and oil states, are pushing to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, while environmental organizations want a commitment from Obama to use his presidential veto power to stop any such move. Guardian News and Media Limited 2011 --------11 of 13-------- We Told You So! The Palestine Papers and What They Reveal About the US/Israeli Agenda By KATHLEEN CHRISTISON January 25, 2011 CounterPunch Many people told them so - told them, meaning told the United States and Israel and even the overeager Palestinian leadership, that the Oslo agreement in1993 wasn't fair, that it made too many demands of the Palestinians and virtually no enforceable demands of Israel; that the United States, no honest broker or neutral mediator, was looking out only for Israel's interests and cared nothing for Palestinian concerns; that the peace process breakdown at Camp David in 2000 was not the fault of the Palestinians but was the responsibility of President Clinton and his "Israeli lawyer" advisers for representing only Israel's needs; that while Clinton demanded Palestinian concessions, he was winking at Israel's steady expansion of settlements and land grabs in Palestinian territory; that Clinton's two successors did the same. Many analysts told them that hopes for a genuine two-state solution died in the 1990s - indeed, were never realistic - because Israel, with U.S. knowledge and support, was swallowing Palestine, eating the pizza they were supposed to be negotiating over, as many Palestinians have said. But no one in power in the United States or the international community or in the media listened. Someone may have to start listening. This U.S. complicity in Israeli expansionism, and the desperate acquiescence of the Palestinian leadership in Israeli demands for its surrender, have now been exposed in the massive document leak by al-Jazeera. Dubbed the Palestine Papers, the collection of almost 1,700 documents was obtained from unknown, possibly Palestinian, sources and covers a decade of "peace process" maneuvering. So far, there is only silence from the Obama administration, which is implicated in the documents along with the Bush and Clinton administrations. But reaction around the world is voluble and hard to ignore. Palestinians, the documents show, offered compromises that verge on total capitulation. At a time in 2008 when talks with then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert were coming to a head and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was pushing hard, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and his colleagues offered Israel the 1967 borders, the Palestinians' right of return, and Israeli settlements on a silver platter. The Palestinians would have agreed to let Israel keep all settlements in East Jerusalem except Har Homa; allowed Israel to annex more settlements in the West Bank (altogether totaling over 400,000 settlers); agreed to an inequitable territorial swap in return for giving Israel prime West Bank real estate, and settled for the return of only 5,000 Palestinian refugees (out of more than four million) over a five-year period. And still Israel rejected the package of compromises, which they said "does not meet our demands" - presumably because their principal desire is that the Palestinians simply disappear. The Palestinian eagerness to offer Israel such massive compromises has been the most prominent story from the Palestine Papers thus far, but the story of the pressure one U.S. administration after another has exerted on Palestinian negotiators to make these concessions and accommodate all Israel's demands shows U.S. conduct throughout almost two decades of negotiations to be perhaps the most cynical, and indeed the most shameful, of the three parties. United States negotiators, from Bill Clinton's team, through Rice, to Hillary Clinton and George Mitchell today, have consistently treated the Palestinian leadership with humiliating derision. In the fall of 2009, Hillary Clinton asked Erekat why the Palestinians were, as she remarked snidely, "always in a chapter of a Greek tragedy". Mitchell treated Erekat with similar contempt. During a meeting in 2008, Rice dismissed a Palestinian request for compensation for refugees forced to flee their homes in 1948 - a demand that goes to the heart of Palestinian grievances - with the remark that "bad things happen to people all around the world all the time". Policymakers clearly couldn't be bothered. Scat, these Americans said to the pesky Palestinians in effect; we're not interested in your silly grievances. In a blunt commentary on al-Jazeera, former CIA officer Robert Grenier has written that his reaction to what the Palestine Papers reveal about U.S. conduct is "one of shame". The U.S., he says, has always followed a path of political expediency, "at the cost of decency, justice and our clear, long-term interests. More pointedly, the Palestine papers reveal us to have . . . demanded and encouraged the Palestinian participants to take disproportionate risks for a negotiated settlement, and then to have refused to extend ourselves to help them achieve it, leaving them exposed and vulnerable". The papers "further document an American legacy of ignominy in Palestine". Shameful indeed. A London Guardian editorial captures the essence of U.S. policy as it has been pursued since the first days of the Obama administration and indeed since the first days of Israel 63 years ago: the Americans' neutrality, the Guardian writes pointedly, "consists of bullying the weak and holding the hand of the strong". It may be too much to hope for serious change in this U.S. policy anytime soon, but the Palestine Papers revelations may at least open discussion on the wisdom of continuing to pursue a policy that virtually everyone throughout the world recognize as a "legacy of ignominy". Kathleen Christison is a former CIA political analyst and the author of several books on the Palestinian situation, including Palestine in Pieces, co-authored with her late husband Bill Christison. She can be reached at kb.christison [at] earthlink.net. --------12 of 13-------- Washington State Joins Movement for Public Banking by Ellen Hodgson Brown January 25th, 2011 Dissident Voice Bills were introduced on January 18 in both the House and Senate of the Washington State Legislature that add Washington to the growing number of states now actively moving to create public banking facilities. The bills, House Bill 1320 and Senate Bill 5238, propose creation of a Washington Investment Trust (WIT) to "promote agriculture, education, community development, economic development, housing, and industry" by using "the resources of the people of Washington State within the state". Currently, all the state's funds are deposited with Bank of America. HB 1320 proposes that in the future, "all state funds be deposited in the Washington Investment Trust and be guaranteed by the state and used to promote the common good and public benefit of all the people and their businesses within [the] state". The legislation is similar to that now being studied or proposed in states including Illinois, Virginia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, California and others. The effort in Washington State draws heavily on the success of the 92-year-old Bank of North Dakota (BND), currently the only state-wide publicly-owned U.S. bank. The BND has helped North Dakota escape the looming budgetary disaster facing other states. In 2009, North Dakota sported the largest budget surplus it had ever had. The Wall Street Credit Crisis Is Crippling State and Municipal Governments That state budget deficits are reaching crisis proportions was underscored in the January 19 New York Times: [A]lmost everywhere the fiscal crisis of states has grown more acute. Rainy day funds are drained, cities and towns have laid off more than 200,000 people, and Arizona even has leased out its state office building. . . . "It's the time of the once unthinkable . . . ," noted Lori Grange, deputy director of the Pew Center on the States. "Whether there are tax increases or dramatic cuts to education and vital services, the crisis is bad . . . .." The "once unthinkable" includes not only draconian cuts in services, increases in taxes, and sale of public assets, but now filing for bankruptcy. States are not currently allowed to go bankrupt, but a move is afoot in Congress to change all that. Bankruptcy proceedings would allow states to escape pension and other contractual obligations, following the dubious lead of such megacorporations as General Motors and Continental Airlines. Meanwhile, fears of state bankruptcy have caused state and municipal bond values to plummet and borrowing costs to soar. As with Greece and Ireland, rumors of bankruptcy become a self-fulfilling prophecy, bringing out the hedge funds and short sellers that turn prophecy into reality. Addressing the Problem at Its Source: The North Dakota Model While drastic spending cuts are being proposed and implemented, the states' woes are not the result of over-spending. Rather, they were caused by loss of revenues and increased borrowing costs resulting from the Wall Street banking crisis. Jammed with toxic assets, derivatives, and the subprime mortgage debacle, the Wall Street credit machine ground to a halt in the fall of 2008 and has still not recovered. And it is here, in generating credit for the state, that the Bank of North Dakota has been spectacularly successful. By providing affordable, low interest credit for business expansion, new businesses and students, the BND has helped North Dakota sidestep the credit crisis altogether. The BND partners with private banks, providing a secondary market for mortgages; offers "wholesale" banking services such as check clearing and liquidity support to private banks; and invests in North Dakota municipal bonds to support economic development. In the last ten years, the BND has returned more than a third of a billion dollars to the state's general fund. North Dakota is one of the few states to consistently post a budget surplus. Unlike private banks, public banks don't speculate or gamble on high risk "financial products". They don't pay outrageous salaries and bonuses to their management, who are salaried civil servants. The profits of the bank are all returned to the only shareholder - the people. Washington State Representative Bob Hasegawa, a prime sponsor of the Washington legislation, called the proposal for a publicly-owned bank "a simple concept that will reap huge benefits for Washington". In a letter to constituents, he explained, "The concept (is) to keep taxpayers' money working here in Washington to build our economy. Currently, all tax revenues go into a "Concentration Account" held by the Bank of America. BoA makes money off our money and we never see those profits again. Instead, we can create our own institution and keep taxpayers' dollars here in Washington, working for Washington".. Hasegawa said a key feature of the Washington banking institution is that it will work in partnership with financial institutions, community-based organizations, economic development groups, guaranty agencies, and others. He said the Washington Investment Trust will offer "transparency, accountability, and accuracy of financial reporting," a welcome change from the accounting tricks common among the large Wall Street money center banks today. A public hearing on HB 1320 is scheduled for Tuesday, January 25th, at 1:30pm. The bill is assigned to the Business and Financial Services Committee in the House and the Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee in the Senate. Ellen Brown is an attorney in Los Angeles and the author of 11 books. In Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free, she shows how a private banking cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. --------13 of 13-------- Breaking newz Contrary to looney right-wing allegations, Obama was not born in Kenya. Or anywhere. He was manufactured. In a back room on Wall Street. A few years ago. Full-grown. That explains it. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 for governor 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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