|Progressive Calendar 03.10.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 01:23:39 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.10.09 1. Green scare/CTV 3.10 5pm 2. Save HM Library 3.10 5:30pm 3. RNC court watch 3.10 6pm 4. Banana republic 3.10 6:30pm 5. Full moon walk 3.10 7pm 6. Stop foreclosures! 3.11 9:45am 7. Election reforms 3.11 11am 8. Community organize 3.11 12noon 9. Bridge vigil 3.11 5pm 10. Amnesty Intl 3.11 7:30pm 11. Dean Baker - Public health insurance: cheaper & more effective 12. Charles Marowitz - The bum's Rush [Limbaugh] 13. Justin O'Connell - Famine, Neofeudalism and the New Dark Ages --------1 of 13-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Green scare/CTV 3.10 5pm 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! All households with basic cable may watch. Tues, 3/10, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 3/11, 10am The Green Scare: Civil Liberties Post-9/11 (part 2) What is the Green Scare? Most everyone has heard of the Red Scare. In a talk given at the U of M, award-winning independent journalist Will Potter makes the case that animal rights and environmental (green) activists are the most recent targets of government repression via new "anti-terrorism" laws. Potter is an authority on the use of these new laws to silence political activists post-9/11. Potter's writing on the topic was recognized by Project Censored as one of the top twenty censored stories of 2008. Part 2 of 2. Includes music by David Rovics. --------2 of 13-------- From: twinsfansam [at] gmail.com Subject: Save HM Library 3.10 5:30pm FYI. Please pay special attention to the information below as this is just the first of six possibile libraries Mr. Coleman 2.0 is planning to close citywide. If we let one neighborhood down is your's next? Subj: FW: Saving HM LibrFrom: Hamline-Midway-Neighborhood-News [at] googlegroups.com [mailto:Hamline-Midway-Neighborhood-News [at] googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Jun-Li Wang Hello Hamline Midway residents and supporters, The fight to save the Hamline Midway library is taking a new turn. It is time to galvanize all library supporters across the city - if one small library closes, then others may soon follow. If you care about this library and others, it is imperative to: 1. Attend the Community Meeting with the Mayor & Library Director This Tuesday, March 10, 5:30/6-8pm Hamline Midway Library 1558 Minnehaha Ave. 5:30 - Community Celebration outside - family-friendly local music, wear red, bring neighbors and friends, signs, balloons, etc. 6-8pm - Meeting in Auditorium. Come with ideas for new partnerships and ways to use the library to make it stronger. Some parents will be watching their children upstairs. Get your friends from all over the city to come! 2. Ask AT LEAST 10 library-loving friends from outside of the Hamline Midway neighborhood to contact the Mayor and their City Councilperson. Also ask your friends in St. Anthony Park and Merriam Park (in this Ward) to support this effort. Especially target: Ward 1/Melvin Carter- east half of Union Park, Thomas Dale/Frogtown, and Summit University; Ward 3/Pat Harris - Macalester-Groveland, Highland; and Ward 5/Lee Helgen - North End, some of Como. The library has a facilities plan that calls for the eventual closure of 5-6 libraries in the system. If we can save Hamline Midway Library now and then work to find innovative partnerships, it could be a model used to strengthen all the libraries in the system so none ever need to be closed. E-mailing is preferred, but calling & mailing are better than nothing. 1. MAYOR & Staff: mayor [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us; Deputy Mayor: ann.mulholland [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us, Library Director: melanie.huggins [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us Please copy: russ.stark [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us Phone: 651-266-8510 2. Councilmembers: Use this link to find your Councilmember contact information: http://www.stpaul.gov/index.asp?NID=553 3. Stay updated: Hamline Midway Coalition: www.hamlinemidway.org/news/announcements Blog: http://savehamlinemidwaylibrary.blogspot.com/ Facebook group (you must have a Facebook account to join this group): http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=48993742661 Jun-Li Wang Community Organizer Hamline Midway Coalition Hamline Park Building 1564 Lafond Avenue St. Paul, MN 55104 Tel: 651-646-1986 Fax: 651-641-6123 Email: jwang [at] hamlinemidway.org New! Website: www.hamlinemidway.org --------3 of 13-------- From: Do'ii <syncopatingrhythmsabyss [at] gmail.com> Subject: RNC court watch 3.10 6pm RNC Court Watchers are in need of participants to help with organizing court information, documentation and etc. RNC Court Watchers Meetings are every Tuesday, 6 P.M. at Caffeto's. Below is announcement for our meetings. Preemptive raids, over 800 people arrested, police brutality on the streets and torture in Ramsey County Jail. Police have indiscriminately used rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tasers and chemical irritants to disperse crowds and incapacitate peaceful, nonviolent protesters. The RNC-8 and others are facing felonies and years in jail. We must fight this intimidation, harassment and abuse! Join the RNC Court Solidarity Meeting this coming Tuesday at Caffetto's to find out how you can make a difference in the lives of many innocent people. Caffetto's Coffeehouse and Gallery (612)872-0911 708 W 22nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55405 Every Tuesday @ 6:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M participate and help organize RNC court solidarity. For more information, please contact: rnccourtwatch [at] gmail.com THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED! --------4 of 13-------- From: Fred H Olson <fholson [at] cohousing.org> Subject: Banana republic 3.10 6:30pm We will be thrilled to see and hear Kirk Anderson talk about his new book, Banana Republic: Adventures in Amnesia. Kirk was the cartoonist for the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune for several years. He will show some of his cartoons on large screen and we can revel in the cartoons and the explanations for them He will have his book to autograph and sell. Don't miss it. Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------5 of 13-------- From: Sue Ann <mart1408 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Full moon walk 3.10 7pm Full Moon Walk at Coldwater Park Walking in Balance Tuesday, March 10, 2009 7 pm at Coldwater Spring The high-in-the-sky winter moon is decending as we roll toward Spring Equinox. March is the Storm Moon, the cloud dance in the sky. Traditional group howl! (The Coldwater area has a coyote community.) [Led by Lydia Howl -ed] Directions: From Hwy 55/Hiawatha in south Minneapolis, turn East (toward the Mississippi) at 54th Street, take an immediate right (South) ½-mile past the parking meters, through the cul-de-sac and the gates. Follow the curvy road left & then right down to the pond, next to the great willow tree. Sunset 7:13 pm Moonrise 7:09 pm Info: www.FriendsofColdwater.org <http://www.friendsofcoldwater.org/> --------6 of 13-------- From: Karen Redleaf <vegan14ever [at] riseup.net> Subject: Stop foreclosures! 3.11 9:45am Wednesday, March 11th gather 9:45 AM Minneapolis City Hall, room 30 350 South 5th Street (Downtown Minneapolis) Stand with your neighbors! Stop Sheriff Foreclosure Sales! Demand a Moratorium on Home Evictions and Foreclosures! Members of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, ACORN, Twin Cities Industrial Workers of the World, the Economic Crisis Action Group and Homes Not Jails invite our fellow concerned residents of the metro area to join us as we act to defend our neighbors' homes and defend the integrity of our neighborhoods. By occupying the office, we stop foreclosures in Hennepin County for the day. By turning out in large numbers, we magnify our impact. Across the country, Sheriffs are refusing to enforce home foreclosures. Sheriff Stanek could refuse to enforce home foreclosures in Minneapolis. We will stand with our neighbors against the wealthy "bank-sters" and demand to know whose side Sheriff Stanek is on. Join us!! --------7 of 13-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Election reforms 3.11 11am TRUTH TO TELL NOW 900 WATTS STRONG: FM 90.3/Minneapolis-106.7/St. Paul and STREAMING LIVE AT KFAI.org WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11 - 11:00AM ELECTION REFORMS: Will They Enable More and Better Voting? Minnesota's protracted US Senate contest has brought into sharp relief both the strengths and some glaring weaknesses in the state's electoral process, some of which discourage voter participation. What can we do to both streamline the system and enable maximum voter engagement and confidence? Furthermore, starting with this year's election, Minneapolis will implement an Instant Run-off Voting (Ranked Choice Voting) system that recently survived a court challenge and opened the door to placing a St. Paul version on that city's ballot this Fall. Is a state version more politically viable now especially after at least three major elections were decided not by a majority of votes, but a plurality? TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with advocates, watchdogs and policymakers about reform of election laws and procedures which may well have been designed to depress voter participation rather than encourage it and what makes sense if we truly seek a fully participatory democracy. GUESTS: JEANNE MASSEY, Executive Director, FairVote Minnesota, prime movers behind IRV/RCV KEESHA GASKINS, Executive Director, Minnesota League of Women Voters MIKE DEAN, Executive Director, Minnesota Common Cause AND YOU! COMMENTS? QUESTIONS? CALL IN: 612-341-0980. Can't get us on the radio? Stream TTT live from KFAI's Home Page --------8 of 13-------- From: Joan Vanhala <joan [at] metrostability.org> Subject: Community organizing 3.11 12noon Please join the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability at our upcoming Organizer Roundtable: The Importance of Organizing in Community Development Noon - 1:30 pm Wednesday, March 11 Alliance for Metropolitan Stability 2525 E Franklin Avenue, Suite 200, Minneapolis Come join in the dialogue about the importance of organizing in local community development efforts. Organizers will discuss their strategies to build community within their development corporations and how these strategies strengthen and revitalize their work. The discussion will be led by: Marcus Harcus, Community Organizer, Northeast Community Development Corporation Betsy Sohn, Community Organizer, HOPE Community Peter Nagell, Community Organizer, Project for Pride in Living Organizer Roundtables are free but registration is required. Please bring your lunch! Joan Vanhala Coalition Organizer Alliance for Metropolitan Stability 2525 E Franklin Avenue, Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55406 612-332-4471 joan [at] metrostability.org --------9 of 13-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Bridge vigil 3.11 5pm Peace Bridge Vigil Time Change Wednesday, March 11, 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge, Spanning the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul. The time of the weekly Peace Bridge Vigil will change with Daylight Savings Time, beginning Wednesday, March 11. FFI: Call WAMM, 612-827-5364. --------10 of 13-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 3.11 7:30pm AIUSA Group 640 (Saint Paul) meets Wednesday, March 11th, at 7:30 p.m. Mad Hatter Teahouse, 943 West 7th Street, Saint Paul. --------11 of 13-------- Public Health Insurance is Cheaper and More Effective Why Do We Need a Private Health Insurance Industry, Anyway? By DEAN BAKER March 9 , 2009 CounterPunch We all know that people have different ideologies about the proper role of government. Some people, who tend to be left of center, think that the government's role is to try to promote the general good, by providing basic services, protecting the poor and the sick, and ensuring a well-working economy. On the other hand, there are others, who usually place themselves right of center, who believe that the proper role of government is to redistribute as much income as possible to the wealthy. These competing views of government are coming to a head in the debate over national health care reform. Those who think that the role of government is to serve the public good are likely to favor some form of universal Medicare. Such a system would almost certainly save a huge amount in administrative costs at the level of insurers, providers and government oversight. Private insurers spend more than 15 percent of the money they collect in premiums on administrative costs. By contrast, Medicare spends about 2 percent. Part of the insurers' administrative expenses go toward marketing - an expense that would be unnecessary in a universal Medicare system. The other major factor driving administrative costs with private insurers is associated with their efforts to game the system. Gaming is the best way to make profits in the current system. If insurers can find effective mechanisms for either keeping sick people from being insured, or finding ways to deny coverage for expensive care, then they stand to make large profits. Naturally, profit-maximizing insurers will therefore devote substantial resources to trying to avoid ways to provide health care to people who need it. At the level of providers, the wide range of divergent forms and policies employs hundreds of thousands of people in administrative positions in hospitals, doctors' offices, nursing homes and other providers. These people are often quite adept at dealing with various insurers, which is an important skill in our current system, but a task that would disappear if we had a universal Medicare system. Finally, the state and federal governments must devote substantial resources for oversight to police the practice of insurers. Oversight agencies are essential for limiting abuse. This task would be much simpler if there were not corporations that stood to profit by keeping people from getting needed care. While we could in principle shift to a universal Medicare system immediately, this would be an extremely difficult task politically and would present some serious practical problems as well. During his campaign, President Obama proposed something far more modest: give employers and individuals the choice to buy into a public Medicare-type program. Under this system, if people are happy with their current health care insurance, they would have the option to keep it. However, if they decided that the plan offered by the government was better, they could buy into it. In this situation, insurers would compete with the government plan in the market. If private insurers could offer health insurance that provided better coverage or charged less, then people would have the option to buy into a private plan. Of course, the government would also regulate the market so that private insurers could not cherry-pick their way to profitability by insuring only healthy people and dumping them when they became sick. The insurance industry already recognizes that it will lose out in this sort of competition. A government-run plan will be more efficient. We already know this based on the experience with Medicare. When private insurers have competed side by side with the traditional government Medicare plan, in the absence of government subsidies, the overwhelming majority of beneficiaries opted to go with the traditional Medicare plan. This is why the insurers are yelling that they don't want to face "unfair" competition from a government plan. But, their complaint should be all the endorsement that the public needs to support a public Medicare-type plan. The public plan will be cheaper and better than what the private insurers have to offer. Why shouldn't the public then have this option? We all know that the insurance industry executives and the company shareholders want to make lots of money, but maybe they should try to find an industry where they can compete. If the government can provide health insurance better and cheaper, then why do we need private insurers? Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). He is the author of Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy. --------12 of 13-------- The Bum's Rush by Charles Marowitz (Swans - March 9, 2009) Watching the explosive, maniacal, smug faces of the people attending Rush Limbaugh's recent address at the Conservative Political Action Conference sent shivers down my spine. It was the reincarnation of Father Coughlin, Huey Long, and the Inquisition all rolled into one. Mean, vindictive, hostile, and cruel faces exploded with cheers and applause whenever some banal patriotic sentiment was proclaimed and clearly, had Obama or any of his team been physically present, they would have had to fear for their lives, so vengeful was the opposition ranked against them. It is impossible - and useless even if it were possible - to dispute the ideas discharged like cannonballs into the midst of such a mob. They weren't what you might call "ideas." They were bombastic bursts of political cliches, one more antediluvian than the last, and detonated for maximum effect; not what you might call coherent planks in a political platform. It gave jingoism an entirely new dimension and reminded one of Dr. Johnson's incontestable maxim: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" - although in Limbaugh's case, it was also the first shot out of his rusty musket. One was consistently appalled by the hollowness of his rhetoric, the banality of his patriotic fervor; the insidious reliance on slurs interspersed with plangent excerpts from the Declaration of Independence (erroneously cited as coming from the Constitution.) In Limbaugh's mouth, even the inspiring words of Thomas Jefferson topple out like cliches that Jefferson himself would disavow because of their oddball context. He has the knack of metamorphosing the most cherished American ideals into the spiel of a huckster peddling snake oil. It's a litany of "all the old favorites": "Freedom," which is chastened for permitting liberal subversions, praise for minimalist government, and dispraise for those attempting to regulate the villainies that free-market capitalism is prone to; personal initiative that disdains helping people who are less endowed or, God forbid, hard-up and unemployed; threats against dissidents who rail against religion or women's right to police their own bodies. (Femi-nazis, in Rush's elegant phrase.) Limbaugh and his screeching over-aged bobby-soxers appear to inhabit a society that is blind to the horrors with which an unregulated democracy has crippled America and is continuing to erode its economy - and the rest of the world's along with it. It was an address that, though it took place in 2009, was rooted in the spirit of the bland 1980s before the villainies of the Republican Party poisoned the wells of American democracy and ushered in an era of corporate corruption and military braggadocio that continue to threaten our welfare. Obviously feeling sensitive to his guttersnipe assault on Obama, ("I hope he fails"), Limbaugh, oblivious to the disasters that Republican mendacity created both nationally and globally, insists that since he loathes everything the new administration stands for, it is only natural to wish failure upon all its efforts to recover. A position that would retain some semblance of sanity if he and his dwindling posse of Rough Riders were able to offer an alternative social and financial plan - but being intellectually bankrupt, they cling desperately to the failed mantra of tax cuts, continued warfare, and diminished government as if the repetition itself will magically supply some form of salvation to the failed principles that they, more than any other party, have inflicted upon the populace. It is pathetic enough that the strongest player they can send on to the field is an amorphous showman whose hippocampus has become addled with prescription drugs and whose platform consists entirely of a bogus and sophistical patriotism. If Rush or Newt Gingrich are the only star players they can send into the field, it is more likely the Whigs would do better in the political arena than the miniscule giants of the Republican Party. Limbaugh constantly brings to mind a kind of wild, over-the-top Ralph Kramden, the character created by Jackie Gleason in The Honeymooners, whose ego was always on a short fuse and whose greatest pleasure was berating his Better Half and anyone else who endangered the fortress of his belligerent rule. Like Kramden, he is full of threat and apoplectic rage camouflaged in a personality that invokes bonhomie and hail-fellow-well-met amity. Like Kramden, Limbaugh is a tyrant disguised as the Common Man whereas the only thing "common" about him is his I.Q. and hare-trigger tendency towards violence. No doubt he appeals to a macho audience, made up of both men and women, because his aggression colors everything he says and does. Unfortunately, Rush is not as witty as Gleason was in the series but, like Kramden, he is amusing to those people who enjoy the spectacle of a simpleton doggedly pretending to a superiority his every word contradicts. In a profound philosophical sense, Limbaugh is the destined leader of American conservatives. He exemplifies all the untenable cliches of the past quarter of a century and is deeply entrenched in political shibboleths, which make it impossible for him to cope with the real challenges of the new millennium; a man whose roar is as empty of good sense as a lion's might be caught in a trap from which he cannot extricate himself. Jolly, humoristic, pig-headed, and vacant, he is the perfect symbol of the uptight dogmas that are now threatened with extinction. And as we know, it is when wild animals feel most trapped that they are the most dangerous. --------13 of 13-------- Hello, Is Anybody out There?: Famine, Neofeudalism and the New Dark Ages by Justin O'Connell March 9th, 2009 Dissident Voice The emotions are one of the most important ingredients in the evolution of consciousness and humanity. A wondrous technology, emotions make it possible for us to organize our goals according to importance. For instance, out there in the wild, you know among the lions and tigers and bears we fear as children, its not best for a parched and famished animal to stand betwixt by a berry bush and stream. Nor does it do the animal any good to nibble on a berry before mozying on over to the stream, and then onto the berry again, etc. ad infinitum til there's nada of either. Rather, the best decision calls for the animal to prioritize: drinking water when its ideal to drink water and eating food when its ideal to eat food. Ecclesiastes says that to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to love, and a time to hate. Should he have also included, one wonders, a time to wake up? In the forest on a camping trip, we have different goals standing face to face with a lion than when nursing a wound or confronting strife among fellow campers. Its morning again in America, said Ronald Regan, however ironically, in a 1984 campaign ad. Well, tis late in the ball game and the blackness of night envelopes us. One is hard pressed to find those with the best cardswell, at least their money, stockpiled off shores and anonymously. Many economists assure us the current recession will begin to subside by 2010, but the paradigm from which they conceptualize reality is incomplete, ignoring costs externalized by markets, such as the encroaching effects of habitat destruction. The fledgling and contagious social unrest at hand must be quickly organized, attitudinized and mobilized, for existing environmental, geopolitical and financial upheavals threaten the survival of many. Firstly, the outlook for food yields in 2009 is dismal: Many analysts have warned of a 20 to 40 percent drop in agricultural production, depending on the harshness and duration of the current global drought. Two years ago, however, Science published predictions of permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest of the United States, and forecast levels of aridity akin to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s that would envelope swaths of land from Kansas to California. The Hadley Center in the UK reported in November 2006, "Extreme drought is likely to increase from under 3% of the globe today to 30% by 2100 areas affected by severe drought could see a five-fold increase from 8% to 40%". This, of course, is a recipe for widespread desertification. The NOAA foresees drought of considerable duress largely irreversible for 1,000 years and identifies the following key regions as facing, insofar as our contemporary purviews are considered, permanent Dust Bowls: (Romm ) U.S. Southwest Southeast Asia Eastern South America Southern Europe Southern Africa Northern Africa Western Australia Countries yielding two thirds of the worlds agricultural output are on the precipice of serious climatatic discontinuities reminiscent of the Global Climate Optimum of the 900 to 1300 variety. Food prices will soar, and, in poor countries where food is scarce, millions will starve. One thing we have to fall back on is our natural humanity, not just our braininess and know how, but also the fact that the collective wet dream that constitutes our social reality skews how many of us can actually live now and in the future. Simply put, by ditching the wet dream and downsizing, we significantly better our plight. There are plenty of atavistics (those who are like, so last dark ages) among us, like Dianne Feinstein, who said that it is Californians god-given right to water their lawns and gardens. Southern Californian Scott Thill offers, in an article published by AlterNet, a new definition of the front lawn: Gorgeously tended middle fingers to reality, which, like death and taxes always, has a way of winning in the end. The California drought is anticipated to be the worst in modern times. Already thousands of acres of crops are fallow, with no sign of slowing. Furthermore, the Northern Sierra snowpack for this past winter turned out to be 51% lighter than usual. According to the Los Angeles Times, the state is nearly out of water, leaving it with prayers of rain and a dwindling Northern California supply. Los Angeles has already begun allocation of water, which, as Scott Thill points out, means water to the rich (north) and away from the poor (south). He then portends evacuations and realignments, by 2100, you will not recognize it. East of southern California, 18 percent of Texas is burdened by severe drought. In some countries historical relief efforts have been undertaken. The Chinese government has allocated 86.7 billion yuan (roughly $12.69 billion) to affected regions, and, moreover, lent a helping hand to its western colleagues during the financial crisis, but also to nature itself. Officials in Beijing blasted silver iodide into clouds over northern China to create precipitation as a means of alleviating the most severe drought experienced by the region in half a century. King your fingers crossed (or maybe not, there's no telling with these things!), as China produces 18% of the worlds grain each year. Australia has been in the midst of an unremitting dry spell since 2004, as 41% of the country's agriculture suffers the worst drought in the 117 years of record-keeping. Rivers have stopped flowing, lakes are being eradicated by toxicity, and farmers have left their land. Shall we proceed? Argentina's worst drought in half a century has turned that country's verdant landscapes to dust. The country has declared emergency. Soy plants are scorched by the sun and Argentina's food production is set to go down a minimum of 50 percent or greater. 2008s wheat yield was 16.3 million metric tons, whereas 2009s is projected to be merely 8.7 metric tons. Africa faces food shortages due to lack of rainfall. Half the agricultural soil has lost nutrients necessary to grow plant. The Middle East and Central Asia, to boot, are suffering from contemporary nadir droughts and food grain production is at the lowest levels in decades. A major shortage of planting seed for the 2010 crop is expected. Stocks of foodstuff are dangerously low worldwide. Agricultural commodities must rise in price so as to obviate even larger food shortages and famine. Wheat, corn, soybeans, etc. must become expensive enough so that every available acre is harvested with the best possible fertilizers. With food prices steady, production will continue to fall and millions would starve. A spike in food price is likely to spark competitive currency appreciation in 2009. Foreign exchange reserves exist for this. Central banks the globe over would lower domestic food prices by either directly selling off their reserves to appreciate their currency or buying grain from the market. Appreciating a currency is the fastest way to control food inflation. The more valuable a currency the more monopolistic a nation over global resources so, for example, an overvalued dollar enables the US to consume 25% of the worlds oil, despite only having 4% of the worlds population. Were China to sell off its US reserves, its population of over one billion would then suck up the worlds food supply. Prices soar around the world. This process, however, would most likely not end up in the impoverishment of nation states per se, though almost certainly the disintegration of the modern middle class, already long past its youthful heyday. The American Dream has been repeatedly resuscitated over the last thirty years through portfolio insurance, Long-Term Capital Management, the internet, the housing market, and now the looters have taken to the streets - oh, excuse me; I mean to their theoretical electronic world - and pillaged the landscape. Social unrest and soaring food prices go hand in hand, from sea to shining sea. Countries, so as to avoid revolutionary reform from the bottom up, would have no choice but to appreciate their currencies in order to cheapen food imports. China holds the best deck, and so then would sell off more of its reserves. The worlds reserve currency, the dollar, floats into precarious waters. As a fiat currency, the US dollar is, by its very nature, worthless. Trillions of US holdings could be liquidated in favor of food. "We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger". (President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address 24 Feb 2009) In Washington, talk of bailouts and relief are framed in the realm of economics and economics only, with no considerable deliberation of our species ecological outlook. The budget proposal is sold as a demand oriented New Deal-esque expansionary program, with health, education, renewable energy, investment infrastructure and transportation at its forefront. The hope is to stimulate employment, boost social programs and to revive the real economy. Michel Chossudovsky reports in a recent article published by Global Research, that - surprise, surprise - the stimulus package is the most substantial diverging of public spending ever, and serves the interests of Wall Street, in particular, the finance, oil and defense cartel. This in and of itself should cause social unrest, and certainly makes more likely the potential evaporation of the middle class. The 2010 fiscal year, which begins on October 1st, will represent an increase in spending of 32%. The nucleus of the proposal inflates defense and the Middle East War funds, the Wall Street bank bailouts that never end, so-called by the New York Times, and interest on a debt that exceeds ten-fold the world's GDP. The bailout financed, in part, by the recipients themselves, the creditors, which, as understood by the Treasury and the banks in the first place, meant the FED enjoyed sweeping authority over how the money was to be spent from the onset of this collapse continues under the new proposed budget. Unlike Keynesian style deficits, this piling on of debt through the proposed budget would not stimulate investment and consumer demand; there will be no expansion of production and employment, for the giveaway of tax dollars to the financial oligarchs is no more than a monumental concentration of wealth and centralization of world banking power. Washington places defense spending at $739.5 billion, though some estimates assert aggregate defense and military related spending at more than $1 trillion. The total of both bailouts, Obamas $750 billion piled on top of Bush's $700 billion dollar bailout, is 1.45 trillion dollars paid for by the Treasury. Virtually all federal government revenues would be expended to finance the bank handouts: 1.45 trillion, the war; $739 billion, and interest payments on public debt; $164 billion. And then the well is dry. There are no funds available for the social programs encapsulated in the stimulus package. Therefore, programs for healthcare and education will most likely be sold to private enterprise to fund the bankrupt state. Education is not the only state asset that is at risk of being privatized: Public infrastructure, urban services, highways, national parks, etc. are all at risk. The worsening fiscal collapse coalesces in the privatization of the state, tilling the land for a much more lucrative market in governance and social control. Many economists hypothesize that the Obama administration is employing Zimbabwe School of Economics policies, where by hyperinflation is produced through the incessant printing of money, resulting in that currencys fall to zero. Currently, we are seeing the simultaneous devaluation of the currency and the purchase of the world's commodities by corporations, government assets included; a process that will presumably leave the rest of us with toilet paper. So, that leaves us with a raped resource base and a new system of globalized neo-feudalism. In 1800, around the time of the Industrial Revolution, there were 969,000,000 humans on earth. That leaves more than five billion redundant individuals whose lives were made possible by fossil fuels and abundance of water. A ubiquitous and enduring reorientation of human cognition is the key to survival: in short, reprioritization. This problem is of the utmost importance. A change of consciousness would result in a change in mass behavior. This starts at the obvious level: short-showers, low-flow everything, no lawns, total conservation and the reorientation of the economy based on renewable resources and sustenance. We must then work on disbelieving in our governments and the moribund banking system. An all-pervasive insurgency, attacking multi-laterally the global industrial grid oligarchy, with broad but explicit aims among which a new harmony with the natural world is foremost must, before all else, work towards dismantling tyrannical corporations. Computers and electricity are the lifeblood of civilizations. Coordinated attacks against the electric grid, financial markets, and destroyers of the environment could be wildly successful, but could only be so as part of a talented and colossal movement with army-like discipline. Specialization comes in handy. The average American city has food for about half a month, which means economies will need know-how to localize and quick. Another option would be to create companies of our own to challenge the global giants. Max Keiser, host of the Oracle on the BBC, has championed the idea of creating huge syndicates of boycotters against companies such as Coca-Cola and Exxon/Mobil. The money saved would be diverted to the worlds top activism organizations. The biggest take-home lesson when it comes to boycotts is this: the consumer wields enormous power. You've been told it before and it's true. Boycotts of certain market elements such as the Fed Cartel (Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America), in which we move our money, refinance with another bank, sell our stock or quit our jobs, is a major step in the right direction. Your television lies. Propagandistic news networks like CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox, etc are the only companies from whom Americans get their daily dose of news. The panoply of diverse news websites on the internet forms the most active resistance community around; further privatization and censoring of the internet must be actively challenged. The corporate attitudinized mass media dangles carrots in front of the consumers face from the confines of a hallucinatory feedback loop. Awash in an onslaught of terroristic American-style boulevard journalism, dimension is hard to find. The axioms with which the corporate-owned media frame reality are so far off base that it can be taxing for many of us to find the right ripostes while discussing our world with Nationalists. A good example is the recent slandering of Michel Phelps, caught toking with a relatively impressive piece of glass. The pro-marijuana movement has failed utterly, though they are indeed going up against a billion dollar smear campaign to gain traction with this simple notion: That had Michel Phelps not indulged in marijuana, his record breaking Olympic performance would have been inconceivable. There are many doctors who have championed the medical benefits of marijuana, some going so far as to suggest THC promotes brain cell growth. Dont join the military, for the US government and mercenaries view soldiers as cannon fodder or expendable assets; one in four soldiers in the US is homeless. Wine-making vats are an excellent habitat for a multitude of micro-organisms. By fermenting the juice of crushed fruit, the organisms explode at first before depleting the once abundant nutrients needed for survival. They eventually die from the accrual of alcohol and carbon dioxide they themselves produced. We choke just the same on our industrial discharge, especially in agglomerations such as Southern California and BosWash on the eastern seaboard. By making our communities self-sustainable with clean energy such as solar, wind, geothermal, and magnetic forever replacing the obsolete 80-year long enterprise known as the combustible engine, we make ourselves and our families less dependent on the broken state-enterprise apparatus. Not to mention less toxic. Its important to remember, there's always the future. We must keep our humanity; its much too late in the ballgame to be weighed down by our razor-thin ideologies, be they Marxism, Capitalism, Christianity, Islam, Nudism, Obamaism, Indie Rockism, Hyphy, Fuck the policeism, or what have you. Understanding, compassion, and altruism are the chords deep within our souls, and once struck it is clear that they are the essence of humanity. Allow me to introduce you to a peculiar form of denial called anosognosia, the condition in which a person suffering from a disability due to brain injury appears unaware or denies the existence of the malady. This ailment applies to radical changes in ones life, affecting the newly blind or paralyzed. Indeed, Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, suffered from anosognosia after a stroke on October 2, 1919. After the bloodletting of the war to end all wars subsided, Wilson's first priority was the establishment of the League of Nations, which he believed would help ensure world peace. With the help of those by his side, Wilson ignored the seriousness of his stroke, and continued to look forward to more campaigning in favor of the League, and even the possibility of a third term. Wilson was no more than wool gathering with such hopes in light of his incapacity. The industrialized world's superego is suffering from a terminal form of anosognosia: We have all gone insane. That we find solace in proclamations from economists that the current financial crisis will subside in a year's time, while momentarily watching the corporate nanny states complete submission to corporate rule, is further evidence of our aloofness. Our capacity for widespread social reform is great if only we exercise our power. Malcom X expressed his belief that one day there would be a clash between the rich and poor of the world, and, in all likelihood, details of how it may or may not play out aside, we are headed towards such a clash. So, before we starve between a stream and a berry bush, now is the time for us to reconsider our goals and desires. Next week is the sixth anniversary of the war in Iraq. I suggest we all consider penciling it into our day planners. Justin O'Connell blogs at The Handshake Times. He can be reached at: joconne [at] linfield.edu. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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