Cut Out the Banks and Finance American Innovation

Let's Cut Out the Banks and Finance American Innovation
by Sander Hicks
Then the U.S. government can be an investor instead of a reluctant donor. Just this morning, I heard that my favorite union printing press had closed its doors. Last night, I heard that Olsson's, the great book/music place in Washington, D.C., closed all five of its stores last month. There are times when I work at my Vox Pop café in Manhattan and wait one hour for a single customer to walk in. Consumer spending is going steadily down. Unemployment is around 6.5 percent, and that's just the "official" rate.
 
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I don't want to lose my company. I've worked so hard to build it over five years. I've been an entrepreneur since I started my first company at age 25. Along the way, I've seen how companies can grow, change the world, have an effect. I have seen how value is created.
 
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On Reading in an Age of Depression

The Axe, the Book, and the Ad: On Reading in an Age of Depression
by Tom Engelhardt
W
orlds shudder and collapse all the time. There's no news in that. Just ask the Assyrians, the last emperor of the Han Dynasty, the final Romanoff, Napoleon, or that Ponzi-schemer Bernard Madoff. But when it seems to be happening to your world, well, that's a different kettle of fish. When you get the word, the call, the notice that you're a goner, or when your little world shudders, that's something else again.

Even if the call's not for you, but for a friend, an acquaintance, someone close enough so you can feel the ripples, that can do the trick. It did for me two weeks ago, when a close friend in my niche world of book publishing (at whose edge I've been perched these last 30-odd years) called to tell me that an editor we both admire had been perp-walked out of his office and summarily dismissed by the publisher he worked for. That's what now passes for politeness in the once "gentlemanly" world of books.

His fault, the sap, was doing good books. The sort of books that might actually make a modest difference in the universe, but will be read by no less modest audiences -- too modest for flailing, failing publishing conglomerates. If you were talking in terms of cars, his books would have been the equivalent of those tiny "smart cars" you see in increasing numbers, tucked into previously nonexistent parking spots on city streets, rather than the SUVs and pick-ups of the Big Three.
 
It may be part of the future, but who cares? Not now -- and too bad for him.
 
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The Market Has Failed

London Banker: "The market has failed, and officialdom is perpetuating that failure."
by Mike Whitney
E
ver since the two Bear Stearns hedge funds defaulted 17 months ago triggering a global financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has been busy putting out one fire after another. Fed chief Ben Bernanke has slashed interest rates to .25 percent, handed out billions in emergency funding to teetering insurance companies and mortgage lenders, and provided $8.3 trillion in loan guarantees to keep the financial system from collapsing.
 
Unfortunately, nothing the Fed has done has either stabilized the markets or stopped the contagion from spreading to the broader economy where consumer spending has fallen sharply, unemployment has skyrocketed, manufacturing has slipped to a 30 year low, and housing prices have plummeted. Bernanke, the Princeton academic who is an expert on the Great Depression, is limited in his understanding of the crisis by his "monetarist" bias. He believes that the only way to fight credit contraction is by flooding the financial system with liquidity ("quantitative easing"). But this remedy focuses more on reducing the symptoms rather than curing the disease.
 
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Danny "Chavez" Williams Gets It

Danny "Chavez" Williams Gets It
by C. L. Cook
As corporations stand bag in hand waiting for governments on both sides of the 49th to deliver tax dollars into their coffers, at least one leader in Canada is calling 'Poor Pilgarlic's' bluff.
 
Newfoundland premier, Danny Williams responded to timber and resource giant, AbitibiBowater's decision to shut down their Grand Falls-Windsor mill throwing hundreds out of work by introducing legislation to reclaim resource rights granted to the operators of the mill.
 
More than a century ago, the Grand Falls mill was the price for access to timber and hydro-electric water resources. After changing owners several times over the decades, AbitibiBowater Inc. bought the mill operation and inherited with it the rights granted the original holder. When AbitibiBowater, who are shutting down many of their mill holdings across North America, announced they would shut down Grand Falls too, Williams wasted no time repatriating the resource leases, saying:
"These resources belong to the people of my province and they're going back to the people of my province."
Imagine that, a government official who remembers the forgotten factor in the democracy equation: The People!
 
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Counting Gulls

Counting Sea Gulls
by Mickey Z.
I
t’s early November. I’m checking my mail when I decide to stand in front of my apartment building for a little air: Astoria, Queens, New York City, USA air. I notice five sea gulls flying overhead—north to south—well above the buildings, asphalt, and internal combustion engines. No more than a few seconds later, another eight gulls pass so I decide to count. Why not? In no time, I’m over 50.
 
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To my right, in the beautifully symmetrical little tree that graces my block, the sparrows are chirping up a storm. Proud parents zip in and out of the branches—still covered with green leaves—to feed their young. The result is a symphony of cheeps, peeps, and tweets.
 
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Ready to Make Nice?

The Hypocrisy of "Happy Holidays"
by Shelley Bluejay Pierce
O
ver many years, I have dealt with intense sadness, confusion and dismay about the “Happy Holidays” commentary that intrudes upon every waking moment in the U.S. culture.  The “happy” comments begin right before Thanksgiving and continue on until after New Year’s Day.  Our lives are assaulted in every form imaginable as the celebratory events unfold and the mass marketing of every trinket, widget and wonder-toy bombards us.
 
I am not writing this to wage war upon religions and their choices. I am not writing this to discuss the pros and cons of using “Happy Holidays” vs. “Merry Christmas” either, though that topic has certainly garnered a great deal of controversy in the main stream media lately. Quite simply, I am stating my own opinions about the use of this “Happy….” preface to an extended holiday season that causes a period of deep mourning in the Native culture.
 
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It's the Economists, Stupid!

Theory vs. Reality: Why Market Absolutism Fails
by Ernest Partridge
T
he collapse of market fundamentalism in economies everywhere is putting the Chicago School theology on trial. Its big lie has been exposed by facts on two levels. The Chicago Boys' claim that helping the rich will also help the poor is not only exposed as not true, it turns out that market fundamentalism hurts not only the poor and the powerless; it hurts everyone, rich and poor, albeit in different ways... The fruits of Friedman test are in - and they are all rotten."
Henry Liu
 
An economist and his guide, while hunting in Africa, fall into an elephant trap: twenty feet deep with vertical walls.

“That does it,” says the guide, “we’re done for. No escape, no food, no chance of being found in time.”

“Nonsense,” said the economist, “I can get us out of here.”

“And how do you propose to do that?,” the guide asks.

The economist replies: “Well, first we posit a ladder.”
 
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Three Canadians Killed in Afghanistan

Three Canadians Killed in Afghanistan
by C. L. Cook
State news organ, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation is reporting three more Canadian soldiers were killed Saturday when their vehicle encountered a road-side bomb. Only days after receiving the remains of another three Canadians soldiers killed in the same manner, the bodies of Corporal Thomas James Hamilton and Privates John Michael Roy Curwin and Justin Peter Jones now begin their journey home.
 
Cpl. Thomas James Hamilton, left, Pte. Justin Peter Jones, centre, and Pte. John Michael Roy Curwin, right, all members of Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, based at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick, were killed by an improvised explosive device Saturday in southern Afghanistan. (DND) 
 
The three killed today brings to 103 the number of Canadians killed in Afghanistan since 2002, 99 of those dying since a change of deployment and tactics undertaken Canadian Forces in 2005.
 
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British Columbia: Killing Wild Horses for Wolf Bait

my letter to MOE re: predator kills, Wild Horse and Wolf Kills
by Barbara Murray
Hello Everyone here is my letter to MOE re: predator kills, Wild Horse and Wolf Kills, (see action alert below).
Dear Minister Penner; I write to you asking that you bring some rational and sanity to the issue that was exposed in The Sun Newspaper on Dec 6th; ‘Gov't Paid to have Chilcotin's Wild Horses Shot for Wolf Bait’. This utterly bizarre scenario just makes British Columbia and its citizens look ridiculous and backward.   

I understand that the ranchers and loggers have their own special concerns that your government is favoring but their concerns should not be confused with what is necessary to save the caribou. Obviously over the years commercial ventures such as logging, ranching, mining, drilling, hydro-power etc…have taken priority over sustaining wildlife and now many of our wildlife are either threatened or endangered. Commonsense tells us that to save the caribou and other species we have to protect where they live without interference from overt human activity.
 
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Kevin Pina, Janine Bandcroft Dec. 15, 2008

This Week on Gorilla Radio
by C. L. Cook
In 2004, Canada and the rest of the world's great defenders of democracy stood silent when Jean Bertrand Aristide, the duly-elected president of Haiti, the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation, was over-thrown in a bloodless coup d'Etat. As a candidate, vying for a third comeback term as the country's chief executive, the former priest Aristide committed the cardinal crime: He promised to represent and serve the people, and this betrayal of corporate and elite interests could not be allowed to pass.
 

On February 28th, in the dead of night, American and Canadian commandos stole into the presidential palace and made off with the only hope of salvation for Haiti's miserably impoverished majority. Aristide was bundled off to house arrest in the Central African Republic and replaced with a more pliable, puppet regime. In a publicity stunt meant to blunt criticism of the blatant regime change, an internationally recognized crime against the peace, the perpetrators loosed NGO's, national aid entities, and United Nations "peacekeepers" to ensure justice for the captive population. That promise has not been met. Last week, reports of unchecked starvation in Haiti embarrassed the basket-case nation's minders.

Kevin Pina is an American journalist and film maker who has lived in and reported from Haiti. His documentary film titles include: 'El Salvador: In the Name of Democracy,' Berkeley in the Sixties,' Amazonia: Voices from the Rainforest,' 'Haiti: The UNtold Story,' and his latest, 'HAITI: We Must Kill the Bandits.' Kevin Pina in the first segment.

And; Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of the good going-ons in and around the south island in the coming week,and she'll report the latest in her continuing feature: State of the Shelter Emergency in Victoria and beyond. And I'll have a few comments about the state of Canada as the year winds down. But first up, Kevin Pina and Haitian promises of justice wearing thin.  
 
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at:http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at:http://GorillaRadioBlog.blogspot.com
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Killing the Working American

KILLING LABOR IN AMERICA
by Jack Random
S
enate Republicans have made their stand.  Unable to find their foothold against a $700 billion bailout for the financial institutions before the election, they have suddenly relocated their collective courage in opposition to the $14 billion loan package to save the auto industry.  

Twenty-one Senators who voted for the financial bailout switched sides to oppose the auto bailout [1] on the grounds that the United Auto Workers was unwilling to sacrifice wages.  They made no such demands of the financial behemoths that were deemed “too big to fail.”  

Aside from the not insignificant matter of $686 billion (some say it could be trillions when the Federal Reserve’s cloistered dealings are factored in), what differences between these two ideologically similar events justifies a wholesale change of heart?  
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Gimme Shelter: Coats Aren't Enough

coats aren't enough
by janine bandcroft
i
'll bet all the homeless (an estimated 1500 in our fair city) are thankful for the free coats that the new mayor and the cool aid society and mark's work warehouse recently handed out during a photo op.

and i'm sure that all the wonderful people who work and volunteer at the shelters are just thrilled to put aside whatever festive preparations they're involved with to enact the city's cold weather 'strategy.' good thing there's no independent, free standing dignity village where people could actually have their own roof over their own heads. better to put the burden back onto the service providers and the city officials rather than enable people to take care of themselves and their friends during the first snowstorm of the year.

meanwhile, on the local public access station, linda mcquaig is teaching a simple lesson in global economics. (no doubt thanks are due to jack etkin for getting the presentation on the air). linda is speaking to a roomful about the competitiveness index published by some accredited economic institute think tank.
 
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