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Why We Left Our Farms to Come to Copenhagen

Why We Left Our Farms to Come to Copenhagen
Speech of Henry Saragih, general coordinator of Via Campesina at the opening session of Klimaforum
By La Via Campesina | Copenhagen, 7th December 2009 | Common Dreams

Tonight is a very special night for us to get together here for the opening of the assembly of the social movements and civil society at the Klimaforum. We, the international peasant movement La Via Campesina, are coming to Copenhagen from all five corners of the world, leaving our farmland, our animals, our forest, and also our families in the hamlets and villages to join you all.

Why is it so important for us to come this far? There are a number of reasons for that. Firstly, we would like to tell you that climate change is already seriously impacting us. It brings floods, droughts and the outbreak of pests that are all causing harvest failures. I must point out that these harvest failures are something that the farmers did not create. Instead, it is the polluters who caused the emissions who destroy the natural cycles. So, we small scale farmers came here to say that we will not pay for their mistakes. And we are asking the emitters to face up to their responsibilities.

Secondly, I would like to share with you some facts about who the emitters of green house gases in agriculture really are: new data that has come out clearly shows that industrial agriculture and the globalized food system are responsible of between 44 and 57% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. Read more.

Climate Justice Hunger Strikers Arrive At One Month Without Food

HUNGER STRIKERS ARRIVE AT ONE MONTH WITHOUT FOOD RESOLVED IN CALLS FOR WORLD TO TAKE ACTION ON ROOT CAUSES OF CLIMATE CHANGE | Press Release

Seven climate justice activists from around the world have entered the fourth week of a water-only hunger strike,having gone totally without food since November 6. They have been joined by hundreds of solidarity fasters, from 22 different countries, including Romania, Honduras, and the Central African Republic.

Recent announcements from world leaders – including President Obama – indicate that a legally-binding international climate treaty won’t be signed at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen this December. The members of the ’Climate Justice Fast!’ remain resolute, insisting that both world leaders and the global public must use the much-anticipated summit as an opportunity ‘to shift away from business-as-usual and start addressing the root causes of the climate crisis – fossil fuels, over consumption, and a socio-economic paradigm that rewards abuse and exploitation of people and the planet.’

Anna Keenan, a 23 year-old Physics graduate from Australia and one of the key organizers of Climate Justice Fast! explains,“I am doing this hunger-strike because I am inspired by the philosophy of Albert Einstein – that problems can't be solved at the level of awareness that created them.” “In order to solve the climate crisis, we must challenge the assumptions that fossil fuels are ‘cheap’ forms of energy, that infinite economic expansion on a finite planet is possible, and that people and places are expendable commodities.”

Diane Wilson, a 61-year old fisherwoman from Texas part who is participating in the hunger strike, adds that “by rectifying the root causes of climate change, we are confident that our political demands – like commitments from wealthy, high-emitting countries to reduce the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere to 350 ppm and to pledge 195 billion USD per year for adaptation efforts in countries most vulnerable to climate change – will be met as well.”As the global hunger strike enters its fourth week, the diverse members of Climate Justice Fast! show no sign of abandoning their fasts or easing their moral call for immediate, effective action on climate change. The hunger strikers intend to fast at least until the end of the Copenhagen talks, which conclude on December 18. A number of the hunger strikers will be present inside the UN climate summit.

Teflon Dick: How Cheney Uses Media For Protection

By Linda Milazzo

On January 29, 2001, just nine days after taking office, Dick Cheney created The National Energy Policy Development Group, commonly known as the Cheney Energy Task Force. The task force was charged with the critically important task of designing America's national energy policy. Although the group's efforts would directly impact the entire nation, the new Vice President refused to divulge the names of its members or their specific activities, claiming the Executive Branch's right to confidentiality.

Iran Approves Building 10 Enrichment Sites

Iran Approves Building 10 Enrichment Sites
Iran approves plans for 10 new uranium enrichment plants in defiance of UN censure
By Ali Akbar Dareini, Associated Press Writer | ABC News

The Iranian government approved a plan Sunday to build 10 new uranium enrichment facilities, a dramatic expansion in defiance of U.N. demands it halt the program.

The decision comes only two days after the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency censured Iran, demanding it immediately stop building a newly revealed enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom and freeze all uranium enrichment activities. The rebuke angered Iran, raising demands from lawmakers Sunday to cut back cooperation with the U.N.

The enrichment announcement is likely to stoke already high tensions between Iran and the West over its controversial nuclear activities. The U.S. and its allies have hinted of new U.N. sanctions if Tehran remains defiant. Read more.

Energizer Bunnies: Turning Rabbits into Green Fuel

Energizer Bunnies: Turning Rabbits into Green Fuel
By Tara Kelly | Time

Sweden's Tommy Tuvuynger and his team of professional hunters don't have to go far to find their prey. Tuvuynger is employed to keep down rabbit numbers in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. The rabbit population there has exploded over the past few years thanks to owners setting free their pets. Last year the eradication squad killed 6,000 of the furry critters, which are not native to Sweden. When the city started killing the rabbits in 2006, officials realized they would have to dispose of their carcasses. At around the same time, the European Union passed a law that makes it illegal to dispose of raw meat or carcasses in landfills. Solution: use the bunnies as fuel to heat Swedish homes.

When German newspaper Der Spiegel broke news of the novel fuel source last month, many Swedes were outraged. "It feels like they're trying to turn the animals into an industry rather than look at the main problem," says Anna Johannesson of the Society for the Protection of Wild Rabbits. Johannesson and other wildlife campaigners recommend spraying the park with a chemical that makes shrubs and plants unappetizing to the animals. Tuvuynger, though, has little sympathy for that argument. "If you do that you only move the problem 100 meters away. Overpopulation is not good for the animals' well-being because they use up limited natural resources for survival, so shooting them is the only answer." Read more.

Climate Change Actions Forming Now Across The Nation

Bill McKibben of 350.org wrote:

Dear Friends,

We don't organize events for their own sake--there needs to be a strategy to make them worth your effort, because your time is this movement's most precious commodity.

Here's our sense of what will be happening at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen, and why we're hoping some of you will start or join a candlelight vigil at a strategic or iconic location in your community on Dec. 11th or 12th.

The weekend for these vigils falls smack in the middle of the two-week Copenhagen talks. President Obama just announced that he will visit Copenhagen on December 9th--and there's no doubt that he'll deliver a rousing and eloquent speech. The following day, December 10th, he'll go on from Copenhagen to Norway to collect his Nobel prize.

We need to send a signal to say that speeches and prizes are good, but action is what's really required--enough action to head us back towards 350 parts per million.

Obama will bring an emissions target to the table in Copenhagen, a bittersweet development in this political drama. Sweet because having any sort of commitment from the U.S. increases the chances of global collaboration on a climate deal, bitter because US emissions target represents a paltry 3% reductions below 1990 levels--far from the ambitious cuts scientists say are necessary to get back to 350.

IAEA Chief Says Iran Talks at 'Dead End'

IAEA Chief Says Iran Talks at 'Dead End'
As ElBaradei Ends 12-Year Stint at Helm of the U.N. Nuclear Watchdog, Board Considers Resolution Rebuking Tehran
By David Crawford and Matthew Karnitschnig | WSJ

Iran appeared headed for further confrontation with the U.S. and other world powers over its nuclear program after the chief of the United Nations' atomic watchdog said the agency's cooperation with Tehran had reached a "dead end."

The declaration by Mohamed ElBaradei, departing director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, sets the stage for the U.N.'s Security Council to impose new sanctions against Tehran.

Diplomats said the IAEA's 35-member board of governors would likely approve a resolution on Friday rebuking Iran for failing to comply with its international obligations. A draft of the resolution being discussed by IAEA governors Thursday expressed "serious concern" about Iran's course and called for the matter to be taken up by the Security Council. Read more.

DC IVAW & Global Exchange Hosts Benefit Discussion of Iraqi War & Oil


What: Please Join Global Exchange and Iraq Veterans Against the War for a discussion on WAR and OIL. A fundraiser for the Washington, DC Chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

When:Monday, December 7th 2009, 6:00-8:00pm

Where: Bus Boys & Poets
1025 5th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
202-789-2227

Based upon the new paperback release, updated with a new preface, of The Tyranny of Oil: The World's Most Powerful Industry--And What We Must Do To Stop It - To be released Dec. 10, 2009..

With author, Antonia Juhasz, Director of the Chevron Program at Global Exchange and Hassan Jumaa Awad al Assadi, President, Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions.

Antonia and Hassan will be joined by Geoff Millard, Chair of the National Board of Directors of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Did Big Oil Win the War in Iraq?

Did Big Oil Win the War in Iraq?
As U.S. and British oil companies sign contracts with the Iraqi government, is it time to declare Big Oil the "victor" in the bloody venture?
By Antonia Juhasz | AlterNet | November 14, 2009

Last week, ExxonMobil became the first U.S. oil company in 35 years to sign an oil-production contract with the government of Iraq.

As I write, several other contracts with the world’s largest oil companies are being finalized, and more are expected when a new negotiating round kicks off in Baghdad on Dec. 11.

Do these contracts represent a "victory" for Big Oil in Iraq? Yes, but not one as big as the companies had hoped for (at least, not yet).

Before the United States and Britain invaded Iraq in March 2003, their oil companies were shut out of oil-production contracts being negotiated by the government of Saddam Hussein. Today, more than six years of war later, Saddam is gone, and the U.S. and British oil companies are not only in on the oil contracts, they have managed to sweeten the terms.

However, organized resistance by Iraqis and people around the world has thus far succeeded in denying Big Oil its Big Prize: passage of the Iraq Oil Law, alternatively called Iraq Hydrocarbons Law, which would grant far greater control over Iraqi oil to foreign companies on terms much less favorable to Iraq than the current contracts provide. Read more.

A New United Movement Stops Mexico for a Day

A New United Movement Stops Mexico for a Day
By Tamara Pearson | Upside Down World

In the many metro stations of giant Mexico city, amidst the ugly smell of Pizza Hut and the newspapers vendors yelling out, “Gráfico! 3 pesos!”, youth crowd around the hand written posters recruiting for the national police daily. At 12,000 pesos (US$1000) per month, and with increasing unemployment and harder prospects for the country’s youth, the offer is very tempting.

Since the US-Mexico trade agreement, NAFTA, the number of Mexicans illegally crossing the border into the US seeking employment has risen to 500,000 a year. Add to this the financial crisis (Mexicans repeat to me “When the U.S sneezes Mexico gets pneumonia”) and Mexican president Calderon’s measures to handle the crisis, which consist in a “fiscal package” of an increased consumption tax including food and medicine, new communication taxes and decreased government spending. Then add the fact that the minium wage in Mexico today buys a third of what it bought twenty years ago, and you can see how the government’s firing of 44,000 electricity workers, members of the county’s most combative and independent union, SME (Mexican Electrical Union), became catalyst for a movement of people deeply angry at both an unfair economic system, and towards a president who, most studies admit, used fraud to win the elections in 2006.

The electricity workers were fired on October 10th. On October 16th, around 500,000 people marched in the capital in protest. One month after the firing the people’s anger still had not cooled, and on November 11th there were again massive marches, road blocks, full strikes and partial strikes all across the country. Read more.

Afghanistan’s Oil Binge: 22 Gallons of Fuel Per Soldier Per Day

Afghanistan’s Oil Binge: 22 Gallons of Fuel Per Soldier Per Day
By Noah Shachtman | Wired

Wanna know why the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are so expensive? Here’s one big reason: The U.S. military consumes 22 gallons of fuel per soldier, per day. And each gallon costs $45 or more to haul to the battlefield. Read more.

Korean Naval Base To Bring Unwanted Change

Korean naval base to bring unwanted change
Gagnon encourages Jeju residents to fight for the preservation of the Island
By Nicole Erwin | JeJu Weekly

Despite heavy opposition from Jeju residents the proposed Korean naval base is scheduled to begin construction later this year. Jeju Governor Kim Tae-hwan survived a recall vote over his plan to allow the base in early October. The Jeju Elections Commission resolved the vote was invalid after a turnout of only 11 percent of the 33 percent required showed. In lieu of the negative attention surrounding the contradictory notion of missile defense warships docked at Jeju’s proclaimed “Island of Peace,” people from all over are coming out of the wood work to shout about how destructive the base would be not only to the ideal of a peaceful society, but to the precious environment that will inevitably suffer as well.

The southern part of the island, specifically Gangjeong, the proposed location of the base, bears international significance for multiple reasons. Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and recently, he visited Jeju to determine the severity of the proposed naval base. He says the most noteworthy reason for the base is structured around the fact that Jeju is the crossroad for the Malaka Straight where 80% of China’s oil is transported from the middle east.

“If the United States is able to militarily choke off the straight then the U.S. would be able to hold the keys to China’s economic engine. As the U.S. economy is collapsing the U.S. military strategy has been determined that the way we will control the world is to control the distribution of oil and natural gas…I believe that the base at Jeju is the key for this particular strategy and particularly for choking off the straight and controlling China,” said Gagnon. Read more.

Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower

By Terry McAlister, the Guardian

Grangemouth oil refinery

Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.

READ MORE AT THE GUARDIAN

Exxon Group Wins Iraq Oil Contract

Exxon Group Wins Iraq Oil Contract
Deal Would Pay Set Fee for Developing Giant Field With Royal Dutch Shell
By Gina Chon | US Labor Against War

The Iraqi Oil Ministry on Thursday said it has awarded a consortium led by Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC the right to develop the West Qurna-1 oil field, representing the first American-led team gaining access to the country's oil patch.

The pact is the latest in a series of deals Iraq has recently signed or initialed with some of the world's biggest oil companies. Earlier this week, Iraqi officials completed a final agreement with BP PLC and China National Petroleum Corp. and an initial agreement with a consortium led by Italy's Eni SpA. U.S. oil company Occidental Petroleum Corp. participated as a junior partner in the Eni-led team.

The Exxon-Shell team, combining two of the world's biggest publicly listed oil companies, had been seen as the favorite to win the contract, which calls for the consortium to boost production at the already-pumping field in southern Iraq in exchange for a per-barrel fee. Among the three competitors, it offered the highest production target for the field, the Oil Ministry said. Read more.

Electric Car Dreams

Home to a worldwide summit on climate change in early December, Denmark is setting a global example in creating clean power, storing it, and using it responsibly. Their reliance on wind power to produce electricity without contributing to global warming is well known, but now they're looking to drive the point home with electric cars. To do this, they've partnered with social entrepreneur Shai Agassi and his company Better Place.

PBS’ NOW investigates how the Danish government and Better Place are working together to put electric cars into the hands of as many Danish families as possible. The idea is still having trouble getting out of the garage here in America, but Denmark be an inspiration.

Will so much green enthusiasm bring about a "Copenhagen Protocol"? This show is part of a series on social entrepreneurs at work that PBS’ NOW calls "Enterprising Ideas."

2010 Looms: Democrats Crash and Burn in Virginia and New Jersey

By Dave Lindorff

It would be easy to read too much into the few statewide races that were decided last night, but I think it’s fair to say that the results in New Jersey and Virginia, where Republican gubernatorial candidates won--in New Jersey’s case knocking off a well-funded Democratic incumbent--that the results were a blow to the Barack Obama/Rahm Emanuel strategy of playing to the right, of avoiding confrontation in Congress and of ignoring the progressive voters whose enthusiasm and effort back in the 2008 campaign put Obama in office.

Chomsky Says President Obama Continues Bush Policy to Control Middle East Oil

CHOMSKY SAYS PRESIDENT OBAMA CONTINUES BUSH POLICY TO CONTROL MIDDLE EAST OIL
By Sherwood Ross

Political activist Noam Chomsky says that although President Obama views the Iraq invasion merely as “a mistake” or “strategic blunder,” it is, in fact, a “major crime” designed to enable America to control the Middle East oil reserves.

“It’s (“strategic blunder”) probably what the German general staff was telling Hitler after Stalingrad,” Chomsky quipped, referring to the big Nazi defeat by the Soviet army in 1943.

“There is basically no significant change in the fundamental traditional conception that if we can control Middle East energy resources, then we can control the world,” he said.

In a lecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London Oct. 27th, Chomsky warned against expecting significant foreign policy changes from Obama, according to a report by Mamoon Alabbasi published on MWC News.net. Alabbasi is an editor at Middle East Online.

“As Obama came into office, (former Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice predicted he would follow the policies of Bush’s second term, and that is pretty much what happened, apart from a different rhetorical style,” Chomsky said.

Chomsky said the U.S. operates under the “Mafia principle,” explaining “the Godfather does not tolerate ‘successful defiance’” and must be stamped out “so that others understand that disobedience is not an option.”

Nabucco: Pipeline Politics


Nabucco: Pipeline Politics
Azerbaijan could scuttle the Nabucco pipeline over the Turkey-Armenia rapprochement, Brian Whitmore writes for RFE/RL.
By Brian Whitmore for RFE/RL | ISN

Azerbaijan could scuttle the Nabucco pipeline over the Turkey-Armenia rapprochement, Brian Whitmore writes for RFE/RL.
By Brian Whitmore for RFE/RL

Azerbaijan has apparently decided to play its energy card.

As much of the world applauded Turkey's historic rapprochement with Armenia last week, Azerbaijan felt left out in the cold and abandoned by its closest ally.

Baku had argued strenuously that a deal to reestablish relations between Ankara and Yerevan should not be signed while Armenia continued to occupy Nagorno-Karabakh, and it threatened to take unspecified countermeasures if one was.

Speaking at a nationally televised cabinet meeting on October 16, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev revealed one of those steps: "It is not a secret to anyone that for many years Azerbaijan has been selling its gas to Turkey for one-third of market prices."

Aliyev added: "What state would agree to sell its natural resources for 30 percent of world market prices, especially under current conditions? This is illogical."

Aliyev presented the move as a purely commercial decision and did not explicitly link it to the Turkish-Armenian deal. Azerbaijan currently sells Turkey natural gas at the bargain rate of $120 per thousand cubic meters. But the timing of Aliyev's announcement, less than a week after the accord between Yerevan and Ankara was signed, left little doubt.

If Baku follows through on the move, analysts say it could severely undermine - if not completely kill - the Western-backed Nabucco pipeline project to bring gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe via Turkey.

"Potentially this is very important because it could potentially deliver a knockout blow to Nabucco. Without Azerbaijan it would be even more difficult than it is," says Federico Bordonaro, an energy-security analyst with the Italian-based group equilibre.net. Read more.

Big Companies Getting Closer To Big Iraq Oil Fields

Big companies getting closer to big Iraq oil fields
By Ben Lando | Uruknet

A half dozen major international oil companies are close to deals with Iraq, on the heels of BP and the Chinese National Petroleum Corp., which are one step away from receiving the first new oil contract issued by Baghdad – for the largest oil field in the country.

The deals are part of the Iraqi Oil Ministry effort to bring foreign capital, expertise and technology to dramatically boost production in the underachieving yet third largest oil reserves in the world. Iraq holds 115 billion barrels of proven reserves but produces just around 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd).

Iraq’s prime minister and oil minister are in Washington, D.C., right now courting investment at an investment conference organized by Iraq’s National Investment Commission, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The 17 billion barrel Rumaila field was awarded to BP/CNPC during a June 30 auction. After months of negotiations, the ministry and companies reached an agreement, which was approved last week by the Iraqi Council of Ministers. Read more.

US Pays $400 Per Gallon For Gas In Afghanistan

US pays $400 per gallon for gas in Afghanistan
By John Byrne | Raw Story

Last year, the price of gasoline in the United States topped the $4 per gallon mark.

This year in Afghanistan, the price has topped $400.

The stunning revelation emerged Thursday in a report from the Pentagon to House officials. The information conveyed offers new insight into a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, which found that the US spends $1 million per year for each servicemember on the ground in Afghanistan.

Future Cities 2009

Velvet Revolution Launches "Stop The Chamber" Campaign To End Their Multiple Abuses; Seeks DOJ Investigation & More!

Click here to sign on.

www.StopTheChamber.com

A VelvetRevolution.us Campaign

Stop The Chamber

The Chamber of Commerce, under the leadership of Tom Donahue, has gone from a well respected trade organization to an extremist political organization dedicated to corrupting American democracy by elevating the profits of big corporations over the well being of the citizens they serve. The most recent example of this corrupt behavior is the Chamber's announcement that it is spending more than $100 million to defeat initiatives to protect the environment and provide affordable health care to everyone.

The Chamber is the biggest lobbying operation in the United States, spending billions of dollars on behalf of big business over the past decade to corrupt the political system. Polluters like Big Coal, Big Asbestos, and Big Oil only need call the Chamber to stop any accountability for their toxic destruction. Wall Street banks and CEOs need only make sure that they have paid their Chamber dues to ensure that they can continue to rip off the taxpayers. And killers like Big Tobacco need only form a partnership with the Chamber to ensure that they will be given immunity from lawsuits that seek accountability for the death and sickness of millions of Americans.

Click here to sign on.

Tom Donahue has turned the once respected and even-handed Chamber into an extremist organization, bragging that the Chamber gutted the Clinton tobacco settlement, killed the Clinton health care plan, and scuttled previous oversight of Wall Street and the banking system. Now the Chamber is spending tens of millions on ads and lobbyists to stop health care for all, protect polluters from accountability, and shield the financial industry from government regulation.

Not only is the Chamber lobbying and advertising against the interests of Americans, it is also committing fraud and violating campaign finance laws by creating fake astroturfing front groups, with patriotic names like Citizens for a Strong Ohio, and then illegally funneling millions of anonymous dollars into those groups to attack candidates and judges who won't do their bidding. While this corrupts the electoral system, the Chamber persists, even when it is caught, fined and required to disclose its "anonymous" donors.

We have had enough and it is time to Stop The Chamber. Therefore, we demand the following:

  • Fire Tom Donohue. Mr. Donohue is the Chamber's corrupter in chief who single handedly turned the Chamber "into a pay-to-play vehicle for right-wing causes and corporate dishonesty. As Eliot Spitzer put it, ''Tom Donohue has never once found a crime that he couldn't justify, as long as it was committed by one of his dues-paying members.'"
  • Drop Corporate Support for the Chamber. Over the past month, several large companies have abandoned the Chamber because of its anti-science stance on global warming. These include, Apple, Exelon Energy, Pacific Gas & Electric, Nike, and Public Service Company of New Mexico. As Nike put it, "We fundamentally disagree with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the issue of climate change, and their recent action challenging the E.P.A. is inconsistent with our view that climate change is an issue in need of urgent action." We will target companies with exposure and boycotts if they remain with the Chamber.
  • Launch A Criminal Investigation Against The Chamber For Fraud, False Tax Filings And Campaign Finance Violations. The Chamber was found to have committed fraud and campaign finance violations in Ohio by creating a front group called Citizens for a Strong Ohio and funneling millions of dollars through it to defeat Supreme Court Justice Alice Resnick because she could not be bought. This Chamber practice is widespread and was also used against Karl Rove-targeted Mississippi Justice Oliver Diaz, and in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Michigan, West Virginia, and Arkansas. We are asking the Department of Justice to investigate these illegal practices under RICO and to review whether the Chamber is actually a political action committee rather than a trade association. See our letter to DOJ here.
  • Ask Congress To Investigate The Chamber. In addition to a criminal investigation, we want Congress to investigate the activities of the Chamber to include astroturfing and election manipulation as outlined by Public Citizen. Read U.S. Chamber of Commerce Failed to Report Electioneering Spending and Grants, Public Citizen Asks IRS to Investigate. Send a letter to Congress here.
  • Reorganize The Chamber. The Board of the Chamber should shut down the Chamber's lobbying arm and legal reform arm, and return to being a respected trade organization rather than a partisan PAC.
  • Speak Out Against The Chamber. We ask companies, politicians and others that do not agree with the flat earth, anti science, partisan, anti people approach of the Chamber to speak out publicly against the Chamber.

Click here to Send A Letter Asking Congress To Investigate The Chamber.

Are We Witnessing the Demise of the Dollar?

Are We Witnessing the Demise of the Dollar?
Report Suggests Dollar Could Be Replaced, But Officials Deny Any Move in Offing
By Matthew Jaffe | ABC News

"If you are the average Joe, you should definitely be worried because if the U.S. dollar loses its status it is going to mean higher borrowing costs for the U.S. government, which will mean the average Joe will have to pay higher taxes, the U.S. government will spend less on services, and there will be higher interest rates -- or some combination of the above."

Is the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency in jeopardy? How are U.S. officials responding? And should the average American be worried?

A report in The Independent newspaper today, citing Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, said that Gulf Arab countries -- joined by China, Russia, Japan and France -- are planning to move away from pricing oil in dollars to using an array of currencies including the Japanese yen, the Chinese yuan, the euro, gold, and a new unified currency in the Gulf Co-operation Council including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Qatar. Read more.

Tomgram: Pepe Escobar, Pipelineistan's Ultimate Opera

Tomgram: Pepe Escobar, Pipelineistan's Ultimate Opera | TomDispatch.com

Back before email, a world traveler who wanted to keep in touch and couldn't just pop into the nearest Internet café, might drop you a series of postcards from one exotic locale after another. Pepe Escobar, that edgy, peripatetic globe-trotting reporter for one of my favorite on-line publications, Asia Times, has been doing just that for TomDispatch readers as he explores the geography that undergirds our civilization, the pipelines that crisscross Eurasia through which flow energy -- and trouble. This, then, is his third "postcard" from what he likes to call Pipelineistan. The first in March began laying out a great, ongoing energy struggle across Eurasia via an embattled energy corridor (and a key pipeline) that runs from the Caspian Sea to Europe through Georgia and Turkey -- and the Great Game of business, diplomacy, and proxy war between Russia and the U.S. that has gone with it.

In May, he plunged eastward into tumultuous Central and South Asia and the devolving battleground that, in Washington, goes by the neologism AfPak (for the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater of operations). Now, he heads west toward Europe and another developing struggle, this time over just how natural gas from the Caspian Sea will reach Europe. Think of this as a story that lurks under so many other stories. For instance, this very day, the representatives of Russia, Germany, China, France, Britain, and for the first time, the United States, will be sitting down with Iran's representative in Geneva for what's billed as an historic exchange. On the table -- and in global headlines -- will be the Iranian nuclear program, a

previously secret Iranian nuclear site, Iranian medium-range missile tests, sanctions of various sorts, the possibility of future attacks on that country's nuclear establishment, and so on. What won't be in the headlines, or the accompanying reams of analysis, is the approximately 15% of the world's natural gas deposits Iran controls. As it happens, for the Europeans and the Russians (and so for Washington), that's the story hidden under the Iranian imbroglio, which is why we need Pepe Escobar. Tom

Jumpin' Jack Verdi, It's a Gas, Gas, Gas
Iran and the Pipelineistan Opera
By Pepe Escobar

Brussels -- Oil and natural gas prices may be relatively low right now, but don't be fooled. The New Great Game of the twenty-first century is always over energy and it's taking place on an immense chessboard called Eurasia. Its squares are defined by the networks of pipelines being laid across the oil heartlands of the planet. Call it Pipelineistan. If, in Asia, the stakes in this game are already impossibly high, the same applies to the "Euro" part of the great Eurasian landmass -- the richest industrial area on the planet. Think of this as the real political thriller of our time.

The movie of the week in Brussels is: When NATO Meets Pipelineistan. Though you won't find it in any headlines, at virtually every recent NATO summit Washington has been maneuvering to involve reluctant Europeans ever more deeply in the business of protecting Pipelineistan. This is already happening, of course, in Afghanistan, where a promised pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India, the TAPI pipeline, has not even been built. And it's about to happen at the borders of Europe, again around pipelines that have not yet been built.

If you had to put that Euro part of Pipelineistan into a formula, you might do so this way: Nabucco (pushed by the U.S.) versus South Stream (pushed by Russia). Be patient. You'll understand in a moment. Read more.

Iran Agrees To Ship Enriched Uranium To Russia For Refinement

Iran agrees to ship enriched uranium to Russia for refinement
By Warren P. Strobel and Margaret Talev | McClatchy

Iran agreed in principle Thursday to ship most of its enriched uranium to Russia, where it would be refined for exclusively peaceful uses, in what Western diplomats called a significant, but interim, measure to ease concerns over its nuclear program.

The agreement was announced after more than seven hours of high-level talks in Geneva among Iran and representatives of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, which also featured the highest-level official U.S.-Iranian encounter in three decades.

Iran also pledged that within weeks it would allow the inspection of a previously covert uranium enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom, and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, announced that he'd head to Tehran to work out the details.

In Washington, President Barack Obama said the talks marked "a constructive beginning" and showed the promise of renewed engagement with Iran, but added that "going forward, we expect to see swift action. We're not interested in talking for the sake of talking."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the talks had "opened the door" to potential progress on the nuclear issue. "It was a productive day, but the proof of that has not yet come to fruition, so we'll wait and continue to press our point of view and see what Iran decides to do," she said.

In Geneva, Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said he hoped the talks — which are to reconvene later this month — were the beginning of intensive engagement with Iran after a 15-month pause. Read more.

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