Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture in Social Justice

An annual event during University of Pennsylvania's celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King; each year, it highlights a scholar of African descent who is committed to the field of social justice. The 2004 guest was the Rev. Jesse Jackson, in conversation with the Rev. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, moderated by Dr. Tukufu Zuberi.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Candidates Scheurer and Brooks Announce U.S. Senate Debates

Candidates Scheurer and Brooks Announce U.S. Senate Debates

(Trenton, NJ) Today Jason Scheurer, the – pragmatic – Libertarian nominee for U.S. Senate and Darryl Mikell Brooks, the Poor People’s Campaign candidate for U.S. Senate, announced they would be participating together in a series of town hall meetings/debates during their U.S. Senate candidacies.

The town hall meetings/debates were organized because both Scheurer and Brooks believe the public should know where their candidates stand on the issues of importance to them. Both candidates believe they will not be invited to any debates between Lautenberg and Zimmer either by the media or their respective campaigns, assuming that any debates take place at all. Frank Lautenberg and Dick Zimmer have been invited to participate in the debates and town hall meetings.

Scheurer remarked: “I challenge both Mr. Lautenberg and Mr. Zimmer to debate our economic and immigration policies. I must question their credibility and credentials to speak to these issues especially considering our current state of affairs. I would hope they think enough of their constituencies to appear with us on stage around the state to explain their stand on the issues”

Some of the debates and town hall meetings will be moderated by the Hall Institute; the NAACP; and Conservatives with Attitudes. Scheduled to date:

September 23nd, 5:00-7:00pm, State House in Trenton;
September 28th, 7:00pm, Molly McGuire’s in Clark;
October 1st, 8:00pm, Grabbe’s Seafood Restaurant in Westville;
October 10th, 11:30am -1:30pm, “Meet the Candidates” at Sussex County Community College;
October 11th, 11:00am – 1:00pm, Morris County Public Library;
October 13th, 1:00pm, AARP Debate in Montclair.
October 13th, 7:00pm, Longhill Public Library;

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is the U.S. going overboard on bailouts? by Michael A. Hiltzik - Sept. 16, 2008

Does America have the bailout monkey on its back?

So far this year, the federal government has put up nearly $30 billion to avert a major financial default by the investment bank Bear Stearns; committed to investing up to as much as $200 billion in preferred stock of the loss-plagued finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and at least $5 billion in their mortgage securities; and agreed to provide an emergency loan of $85 billion to American International Group Inc. in return for an ownership stake of as much as 80 percent in the stricken insurance giant.

Tuesday's helping hand to AIG bailed out not only that company, which was contemplating a bankruptcy filing as early as Wednesday, but also countless trading partners of the company, including investment banks that had failed to raise the massive loans themselves.
Thus far, only one major supplicant for federal assistance has been turned away: investment bank Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc., which was refused a bailout by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson last weekend and filed for bankruptcy protection Monday. Meanwhile, Congress is contemplating a loan program of $25 billion to $50 billion for automakers.

This year's bailouts add up to an unprecedented surge of direct financial intervention by the government in the nation's private sector -- a cornucopia of handouts and guarantees dwarfing the rescue of the savings and loan industry in the 1980s, which ended up costing taxpayers $124 billion.

Lessons from a bailout

In each case, industry and government officials have justified the bailout as cheaper in the long run than doing nothing. But critics contend that bailouts often encourage bad behavior by relieving underperforming industries of the consequences of their ineptitude. In addition, sometimes the government can end up as an investor in companies that are the target of regulatory action, creating a conflict of interest. The government's potential ownership of AIG could put policymakers at cross purposes with their own efforts to regulate a variety of financial transactions in which the company participates.

The situation is bound to raise thorny policy issues for the next president, who is likely to face further demands for assistance from mortgage lenders, home builders, automakers and other struggling industries. Economic and legal experts say Congress and regulators need a set of standards for how to treat industries and companies with their hands out, especially when the requests come in an atmosphere of crisis.

"The more the government steps in, the more there are people who want the government to step in," says Peter J. Wallison, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a former White House and Treasury Department official. "Every time you do it, that creates an equitable argument for someone else to get bailed out."

The president and Congress also will have to decide what sort of concessions to demand from recipients of public largesse. For example, only days after the Treasury Department announced the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac this month, several Senate Democrats proposed that the mortgage companies freeze foreclosures for at least 90 days.

Auto industry in line for help

A loan guarantee package for the auto industry is likely to be one of the most closely watched measures in Congress this year. U.S. automakers contend that financial help is warranted because the cost of redesigning their products to meet federally mandated mileage standards by a 2020 deadline will be staggering.

That could provide a template for a similar appeal from airlines, which could argue that the cost of fuel and security measures are hobbling them.

Without more open rules governing the decision-making process, the entities with the most potent lobbyists may get bailouts, putting competitors at a disadvantage.

"We don't have any rules about whether the government should get involved or not," says Cheryl Block, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis who has followed the bailout issue since the 1990s."Certain things happen in the middle of the night, and no one knows who's in the meeting."

'Too big to fail'

For now, the decisions seem to be based on a sense that an entity is "too big to fail."

Such concerns drove the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together back half of all U.S. residential mortgages. Their failure, government officials feared, could choke off the supply of mortgage credit or drive up mortgage interest rates to levels that would impede recovery for the country's beleaguered housing market.

"Fannie and Freddie define what's too big to fail,' " says Jared Bernstein, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

A similar case could be made for a company such as General Motors Corp. More than 250,000 workers and roughly 500,000 retirees worldwide are dependent to some degree on the survival of GM; a bankruptcy filing would throw many workers on the street and could deprive thousands of families of health coverage. It also could further strain the federal Pension Benefits Guarantee Corp., which insures retirement benefits and already has a $13-billion deficit.

But a company need not be the biggest in its industry to pass the "too big to fail" test. Bear Stearns was the nation's fifth-ranked investment bank in terms of assets when the Federal Reserve and the Treasury arranged its emergency sale to JPMorgan Chase & Co. in March. Bear's deal-making, though, extended deeply into the financial derivatives markets, raising fears that its sudden collapse would produce a tidal wave of defaults around the globe, shattering the confidence necessary to keep the international credit markets functioning smoothly.

The interventions surrounding Bear and Fannie/Freddie suggest that government officials have been fairly successful at distinguishing cases where a company's failure would have broad "systemic risk," and acting only in those cases, says Laurent Jacque, professor of international finance and banking at Tufts University.

Influence of Presidential campaign

Presidential politics may be driving the recent rush toward government assistance. In June, Republican candidate Sen. John McCain drew a line against the auto industry bailouts during an appearance in Ohio, saying, "I just don't see a scenario where the federal government would come in and bail out any industry in America today."

As Michigan's importance as a swing state in the presidential race grew, however, McCain changed his tune. In August he proclaimed, "We should fund (the loan program) and take action that will assist Detroit and its suppliers in making it through this difficult time of transition."

Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama also supports the auto loans.

Some experts fear that that government investments in the open market could artificially support market prices, thus creating a "moral hazard" that investors will make unduly risky choices, assuming that government intervention will limit their losses.

Putting a floor under the market

That's a concern presented by the Treasury's plan to purchase mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and take a large stake in AIG.

"They're essentially saying they're going to put a floor under the market," says John Lapp, a professor of economics at North Carolina State University. "That's just begging for excessive risk-taking."

Others say that bailouts can be good medicine for ailing industries, particularly when they're coupled with strong incentives to improve. It is widely assumed in Washington that the financial-industry bailouts will lead to tighter regulation of investment banks.

On occasion, the government may turn a profit on a bailout. Chrysler's recovery netted Uncle Sam about $300 million when warrants the Treasury received in return for the loan guarantees ended up in the black.

Charlie Rose Show, A discussion about the crisis on Wall Street

A discussion about the crisis on Wall Street with Lawrence Summers, Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times Charles Gasparino of CNBC, Josh Rosner of Graham Fisher & Co. and Nouriel Roubini. Lehman Brothers, the fourth-largest US investment bank, has filed for bankruptcy protection, stock markets and the US dollar have tumbled in reaction to Lehman's collapse.

Could Nuclear Energy Save the American Economy? Published 09/16/08 Craig Harrington

William Tucker’s The Case for Terrestrial (a.k.a. Nuclear) Energy, appearing in the August 2008 edition of the Whistleblower, makes a strong and encouraging argument for nuclear energy. Tucker argues that nuclear technologies are more sustainable and less polluting than fossil fuel bases. They are also more productively viable than wind, solar and hydroelectric alternatives. According to an Energy Information Agency assessment, nuclear technology is also the least expensive of all energy options (note: hydroelectric power is less expensive than nuclear, but it requires specific geographic conditions to be viable, while nuclear facilities do not).

While our coal industry is homegrown and may be sustainable for some time, our oil industry is not. There is serious contention from industry and resource experts that worldwide petroleum reserves are diminishing. Furthermore, the vast majority of American oil consumption is fed from foreign suppliers.

The United States' domestic production meets roughly one fourth of its daily consumption. The remaining petroleum is purchased from foreign entities at exorbitant prices. This practice has indebted America, it has shipped hundreds of billions of hard-earned dollars overseas, and it has contributed to ruthless regimes that are often antagonistic to the U.S. and its interests.

There are many ways to break our dependence on oil, but there is no cure-all, no “silver bullet” waiting to be deployed. America must develop domestic alternative industries and it must do so immediately before it is too late. A major part of the solution could and should be nuclear energy.

Nuclear energy already produces about 20 percent of American electricity. The majority of our electricity is coal-fired. Coal-fired plants notoriously cause pollution, while nuclear plants emit no air, water or ground pollution. With the right commitment to rebuilding the long-ignored nuclear infrastructure, we could completely switch our electrical grid to non-polluting sources.

Currently, 70 percent of our oil-derived energy is used for transportation, while only 2 percent is used for electricity. But nuclear energy has much more energetic capacity than any other human technology. Using Einstein’s famous mass-energy equivalence E=mc2 we see that the fission of a single atom of uranium-235 (“enriched uranium”) is 100 million times more energetic than the combustion of a single carbon atom.

This incredible energetic capacity makes nuclear energy a fitting oil-substitute for transportation. It would not only be able to meet our current electrical needs, but could also be used to produce the power necessary for a fleet of electric automobiles. Nuclear power supplies produce constant energy 24 hours per day, unlike wind and solar which depend on weather and time of day. Electric energy is used less at night than during the day, and this time could be utilized by nuclear facilities to direct their electrical generation into producing hydrogen for next-generation hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

It has been well documented that nuclear power is incredibly safe and reasonably economical, yet there is still a stigma surrounding nuclear contamination. Of the 443 active nuclear facilities in the world, 103 of which are operational in the U.S., there have only been two major safety lapses which could have endangered the public: Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.

The accident at Three Mile Island resulted in a partial meltdown of a small portion of the reactor core. An unknown amount of radiation was released into the air, but according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s assessment, the local population would have received no more than the equivalent of a chest x-ray.

Chernobyl on the other hand was a major catastrophe in which the reactor housing exploded, and released large amounts of radiation into the air. Several people died in the explosion, and some workers suffered fatal radiation exposure during the clean-up. The surrounding area was also highly contaminated (as Tucker points out, residents of Pennsylvania received more radiation from Chernobyl, Ukraine than from Three Mile Island).

These instances are absolutely exceptions to the general rule. The only major disaster resulted from a combination of poor management, training and construction on the part of the Soviet Union. A new generation of reactors would have higher safety standards than any currently in operation. The opportunity for research and development in this field is enormous, and it carries the potential of renewing America to prominence in a field that it once commanded.

Another problem with nuclear energy is waste. Nuclear waste is some of the most poisonous and toxic material in the world, but under current regulations it is incredibly secure. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, International Atomic Energy Agency and Department of Energy all simultaneously oversee its storage, disposal and recycling. Nuclear waste is transmuted into metal rods or glass pellets, neither of which dissolve in water, and then stored in metal tubes. These tubes are further encased in casks made of reinforced concrete and steel which are then filled with water. They are nearly impossible to compromise, making the threat of terrorism or other malfeasance unlikely. Long-term storage of nuclear waste material is highly contentious but there are many viable options well within the scope of current engineering.

Nuclear energy is sustainable far beyond the most optimistic outlook for oil reserves. It is economical, and it requires an investment of technological research necessary to spur America’s lagging economy. The Nuclear Age began in the U.S., but the process has been held hostage by fear-mongering for decades. It is time to right this wrong and renew our commitment to nuclear energy.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Abortion: Black genocide By Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson

Most of my life I had considered myself a Christian. Yet 18 years ago as I sat quietly and prayed, I experienced a deep realization – I harbored resentment in my heart. The realization caused me to repent and forgive. Forgiveness set me free from within, and I began to see with a clarity I never had before.

Soon after that life-changing experience, I started BOND to help black men overcome their resentments and find freedom. Soon I was helping men of every race as I saw mankind's problems were universal.

I began to counsel young and older women as well. Many of the women I spoke to were having or have had at least one abortion. During the counseling sessions, I discovered that most of these women had guilt and low self-esteem. Often they had considered suicide.

I realized that this problem was not being dealt with by the black clergy or black politicians. In fact, to my surprise, abortion was often actually encouraged by these "leaders."

Abortion was first popularized by Margaret Sanger, a white woman who was the founder of the National Birth Control League (now Planned Parenthood). Sanger was a lifelong champion of birth control and eugenics (the movement devoted to "improving" the human species by control of hereditary factors in reproduction).

Margaret Sanger called for the sterilization of "genetically inferior races." In 1939, she organized her "Negro Project" and wrote: "The poorer areas, particularly in the South ... are producing alarmingly more than their share of future generations."

Sanger's plan has worked extraordinarily well over time – today numerous black religious leaders defend the "right" of women to kill their unborn children. It's ironic to me that black leaders complain about racism, yet they promote one of the most racist practices in this country – abortion.

Abortion propagandists have dehumanized the unborn baby just as was done with the Jews in the Holocaust. In his book "Abortion Practice," Warren Hern, M.D. compares the unborn child to a "parasite," which was the exact word Hitler used to dehumanize Jewish people in his infamous "Mein Kampf."

The alarming numbers on abortion:

Since 1973, when abortion became legal there have been more than 14 million black babies killed in the black woman's womb;

Since 1973, more than twice as many blacks have died from abortion than from heart disease, cancer, accidents, violent crimes and AIDS combined;

More than 1, 450 black children are aborted each day in the United States.
(Source: U.S. Center for Disease Control)

Over the years I have counseled and picketed at abortion clinics across the country.

I will never forget the story of a 13-year-old black girl I met at an abortion clinic in Los Angeles one Saturday morning. My organization was protesting near the clinic when I saw the young lady approach the front door. I talked to her, and tried to encourage her to put her baby up for adoption. She said it was too late. She had gone into the clinic that Thursday and the doctor had injected something into her womb. For three days the baby KICKED AND GASPED FOR LIFE. On the third day, the baby died. The girl told me she was encouraged to do this by her mother and boyfriend.

Those employees in the clinic told her she wouldn't feel anything. They said that she was carrying a fetus and not a baby.

Abortion has also given black men one more way to be irresponsible. Because of the weakness of the father and the lack of morality in the black community, many black women feel they have no other choice but abortion.

It is nearly impossible to get black churches and black politicians to get involved with us to picket abortion clinics, to counsel mothers who are getting abortions, or to speak out against abortion.

I believe there is a reason for the silence of black churches and black politicians regarding abortion. They actually have much in common with the abortionists: Abortionists are simply using blacks for power and wealth, the same way much of the black clergy, black politicians and liberal elite whites have used blacks for years.

I notice that when I am in front of the clinics or talk about abortion on my radio show, most of the anger, hostility and attacks come from young white and black educated women. These women typically hate their fathers, and men who have used them in the wrong way. Our universities have taken this hatred and "educated" these young women with "facts" that reinforce their existing inner rage and prejudices.

It is time for America, but especially the black community, to come out of its state of denial and realize that true racism is the attack on the black unborn baby, started by Margaret Sanger and carried out by the liberal elite in this country. The solution to this problem is a strong belief in the Creator, strong families and self-respect.

Most importantly, men must step to the forefront of this issue. They must return back to their proper state as men of character and as the head of their families, or the horrors we've already seen in this "one nation under God" will be dwarfed by the horrors to come.

Note: Last month, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson spoke at the "Let Them Live Rally" in Atlanta, Ga. The event was sponsored by Pro-Life Unity and featured pro-life activists from around the country. This was a historic event that focused on the passage of Georgia's Human Life Amendment (H.R.536). If this resolution gets on the ballot, Georgia will be the first state to openly challenge the faulty ruling of Roe V. Wade