Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hugo Chavez wants Venezuela to build nuclear programme

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has announced he wants the country to develop a nuclear programme with the help of Russia. He insists, as do the Iranians, that it would be for purely peaceful purposes. ...

Plant slams door on Led Zep tour

Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant has scotched rumours that he is to tour with the band, describing speculation as "frustrating and ridiculous".

Last week, The Sun newspaper reported that he had agreed to a reunion tour.

But he has not and will not go on the road with anyone for at least two years after finishing US dates with Alison Krauss on 5 October, a statement said.

"Contrary to a spate of recent reports, Robert Plant will not be touring or recording with Led Zeppelin," it said.

"Anyone buying tickets online to any such event will be buying bogus tickets."

It's both frustrating and ridiculous for this story to continue to rear its head
Robert Plant

The rock legends got back together for a one-off concert, their first for 19 years, in London last December.

At the time, promoters said 20 million people tried to register for tickets as soon as they became available.

Speculation has since been rife that the surviving members of the band, with Jason Bonham, son of their late drummer John, would hit the road for a highly lucrative tour.

"It's both frustrating and ridiculous for this story to continue to rear its head when all the musicians that surround the story are keen to get on with their individual projects and move forward," Plant said.

"I wish Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham nothing but success with any future projects."

...


Monday, September 29, 2008

Nothing Goes Better With A Swift Screwing By The US Government than a Cute Kitten Picture


Chavez eyes Russia nuclear help

Hugo Chavez - 28/09/2008
Mr Chavez said he wanted nuclear power for energy and medical uses

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he wants to develop a civilian nuclear power programme with Russia's help.

Mr Chavez emphasised that he wanted nuclear power only for peaceful ends, citing energy and medical purposes.

His remarks follow last week's comments by Russian PM Vladimir Putin that Moscow was ready to consider nuclear co-operation with Venezuela.

Such a move would be likely to increase US concerns at the growing ties between the two nations, correspondents say.

"We certainly are interested in developing nuclear energy, for peaceful ends of course, for medical purposes and to generate electricity," Mr Chavez told a political rally in Caracas.

"Brazil has various nuclear reactors, as does Argentina. We will have ours and Vladimir told the media: Russia is ready to help Venezuela develop nuclear energy for peaceful ends," he said, adding that a commission was already working on the issue.

Naval exercise

President Chavez was speaking after a global tour last week that included a stop in Russia.

During his visit, Mr Chavez signed accords on energy co-operation with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev.

Mr Putin also indicated that Russia "was ready to consider the possibility" of working with Venezuela to build nuclear power facilities.

Russia and Venezuela have been increasing their ties in recent months. Russian warships are currently en route to the Caribbean Sea for joint exercises with the Venezuelan navy.

Venezuela is one of the best customers of the Russian defence industry, signing weapons contracts worth some $4.4bn (£2.39bn).

A staunch critic of the US, Mr Chavez backed Russian intervention in Georgia and has accused Washington of being scared of Moscow's "new world potential".


The Rich Are Staging a Coup This Morning ...a message from Michael Moore

Friends,

Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.

No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:

"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it. "Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages. "At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees. "Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."

Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.

The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.

And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.

Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?

It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.

This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!

I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:

1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.

2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).

3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.

When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!

Yours, Michael Moore MMFlint@aol.com MichaelMoore.com

P.S. Having read further the details of this bailout bill, you need to know you are being lied to. They talk about how they will prevent golden parachutes. It says NOTHING about what these executives and fat cats will make in SALARY. According to Rep. Brad Sherman of California, these top managers will continue to receive million-dollar-a-month paychecks under this new bill. There is no direct ownership given to the American people for the money being handed over. Foreign banks and investors will be allowed to receive billion-dollar handouts. A large chunk of this $700 billion is going to be given directly to Chinese and Middle Eastern banks. There is NO guarantee of ever seeing that money again.

P.P.S. From talking to people I know in DC, they say the reason so many Dems are behind this is because Wall Street this weekend put a gun to their heads and said either turn over the $700 billion or the first thing we'll start blowing up are the pension funds and 401(k)s of your middle class constituents. The Dems are scared they may make good on their threat. But this is not the time to back down or act like the typical Democrat we have witnessed for the last eight years. The Dems handed a stolen election over to Bush. The Dems gave Bush the votes he needed to invade a sovereign country. Once they took over Congress in 2007, they refused to pull the plug on the war. And now they have been cowered into being accomplices in the crime of the century. You have to call them now and say "NO!" If we let them do this, just imagine how hard it will be to get anything good done when President Obama is in the White House. THESE DEMOCRATS ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE BACKBONE WE GIVE THEM. CALL CONGRESS NOW.


Ecuador votes on new powers for Leftist President Rafael Correa

President Rafael Correa was expected to cement his Leftist rule for the next decade as Ecuadorians voted on Sunday on a new constitution that will dramatically expand his powers.

The rewritten constitution gives the 45-year-old US-educated economist, a key ally of socialist President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, more power to regulate the economy and increase spending on health and education.

"Ecuador needs a profound, radical and quick change, a citizens' revolution", said Mr Correa, insisting the new constitution is the only way to avoid further civil strife, political instability and inequality in a country that has had five presidents in the last decade, with none completing a full term in office.

The new constitution ensures that those who work in the home are eligible for social security, grants free healthcare to the elderly, gives fathers the right to paternity leave, ends military conscription, lowers the voting age to 16 and allows soldiers and police the right to vote for the first time.

"Now we are going to have a system that favours the poor, instead of stacking the cards against us and giving all the privileges to the rich," said student Amalia Torres, 23, as she queued to vote in the capital Quito.

However, President Correa has challenged the power of the Catholic Church by granting same-sex unions the same rights as heterosexual marriages and loosening laws on abortion. Senior clergy have cautioned against the reforms, prompting the government to demand that the Catholic Church stop interfering in politics.

The opposition insists that Mr Correa plans to suppress free speech and perpetuate himself in power.

The changes will radically strengthen the powers of the presidency, allowing Mr Correa to appoint senior members of the judiciary, supplant the central bank, expropriate assets "in the national interest" and stand for re-election, something previously banned, meaning he could govern until 2017.

"What is in play here is that presidential powers will be much wider," said analyst Jorge Leon Trujillo from Quito. "With the excuse of establishing order and stability, the constitution is giving great power to the Executive."

Polls suggest Ecuadorians are not overly alarmed by opposition accusations, however, and believe the new constitution will mark a positive step in one of the most politically unstable nations in the region. Surveys suggested that the changes will be approved by between 55 and 60 percent of voters. A simple majority is all that is needed to turn the new constitution into law.

Mr Correa is following a path pioneered by Mr Chavez, who introduced a new constitution in 1999. Another ally, President Evo Morales of Bolivia, is also seeking to so the same, although violence, widespread protests and fears of separatism are sabotaging his efforts to get radical reforms approved.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

Click the following links to view documents:

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

Summary of Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

Section-by-Section of Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

From 3 pages - to 110 pages...

Published: September 20, 2008

LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL FOR TREASURY AUTHORITY

TO PURCHASE MORTGAGE-RELATED ASSETS

Section 1. Short Title.

This Act may be cited as ____________________.

Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Authority to Purchase.--The Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States.

(b) Necessary Actions.--The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation:

(1) appointing such employees as may be required to carry out the authorities in this Act and defining their duties;

(2) entering into contracts, including contracts for services authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts;

(3) designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Government, and they shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Government as may be required of them;

(4) establishing vehicles that are authorized, subject to supervision by the Secretary, to purchase mortgage-related assets and issue obligations; and

(5) issuing such regulations and other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to define terms or carry out the authorities of this Act.

Sec. 3. Considerations.

In exercising the authorities granted in this Act, the Secretary shall take into consideration means for--

(1) providing stability or preventing disruption to the financial markets or banking system; and

(2) protecting the taxpayer.

Sec. 4. Reports to Congress.

Within three months of the first exercise of the authority granted in section 2(a), and semiannually thereafter, the Secretary shall report to the Committees on the Budget, Financial Services, and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committees on the Budget, Finance, and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate with respect to the authorities exercised under this Act and the considerations required by section 3.

Sec. 5. Rights; Management; Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Exercise of Rights.--The Secretary may, at any time, exercise any rights received in connection with mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act.

(b) Management of Mortgage-Related Assets.--The Secretary shall have authority to manage mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act, including revenues and portfolio risks therefrom.

(c) Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.--The Secretary may, at any time, upon terms and conditions and at prices determined by the Secretary, sell, or enter into securities loans, repurchase transactions or other financial transactions in regard to, any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act.

(d) Application of Sunset to Mortgage-Related Assets.--The authority of the Secretary to hold any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act before the termination date in section 9, or to purchase or fund the purchase of a mortgage-related asset under a commitment entered into before the termination date in section 9, is not subject to the provisions of section 9.

Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.

The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time

Sec. 7. Funding.

For the purpose of the authorities granted in this Act, and for the costs of administering those authorities, the Secretary may use the proceeds of the sale of any securities issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, and the purposes for which securities may be issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, are extended to include actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses. Any funds expended for actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses, shall be deemed appropriated at the time of such expenditure.

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Sec. 9. Termination of Authority.

The authorities under this Act, with the exception of authorities granted in sections 2(b)(5), 5 and 7, shall terminate two years from the date of enactment of this Act.

Sec. 10. Increase in Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.

Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.

Sec. 11. Credit Reform.

The costs of purchases of mortgage-related assets made under section 2(a) of this Act shall be determined as provided under the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, as applicable.

Sec. 12. Definitions.

For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) Mortgage-Related Assets.--The term “mortgage-related assets” means residential or commercial mortgages and any securities, obligations, or other instruments that are based on or related to such mortgages, that in each case was originated or issued on or before September 17, 2008.

(2) Secretary.--The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Treasury.

(3) United States.--The term “United States” means the States, territories, and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia.


Bin Laden - The Wedding Poet

POETRY by Osama Bin Laden is to be published next week by an Oxford-educated academic, who has discovered that the world’s most hated terrorist was once in great demand as an after-dinner speaker.

Bin Laden’s recitals at wedding banquets and other feasts during the 1990s were recorded on tapes recovered from his compound in Afghanistan in 2001, after the September 11 attacks.

They have been studied by Professor Flagg Miller, who teaches Arabic poetry at the University of California, Davis. He said: “Bin Laden is a skilled poet with clever rhymes and meters, which was one reason why many people taped him and passed recordings around, like pop songs.”

The first lines of one poem read: “A youth who plunges into the smoke of war smiling stains the blades of lances red. May God not let my eye stray from the most eminent humans, lest they fall.”

The verse goes on to portray Bin Laden himself as a “warrior poet”, whose words will lead his followers to an idyllic refuge in the Hindu Kush mountains.

“He frequently uses mountains as metaphors,” Miller added. “As borders they separate Arabs from each other but mountains can also help them from the temptations of the secular world .”

Miller first heard the tapes four years ago when FBI translators were scrutinising them for coded messages to sleeper cells. He identified up to 20 featuring the “distinctive monotone ” of Bin Laden.

Extracts from the tapes will appear in the October issue of the journal Language and Communication.

“They reveal Osama Bin Laden as the performer, the entertainer with an agenda,” Miller said. “He told gory tales of dead mujaheddin from the villages where he was speaking, which was often the first time their families had learned of their fates. He mixed this news up with radical theology and his own verse based on the traditions of hamasa - a warlike poetic tradition from Oman calculated to capture the interest of young men.”

Miller said Bin Laden was calculating. “He crafts his words to excite the urban dissatisfied youth, offering them escape from their elders and villages. Instead, many just die in terrible ways.”

Other Arabic specialists are unhappy that the tapes have come to light. “They seem adolescent and brutal, like a video nasty, composed with minimal skill to win over the susceptible mind of the young and bloodthirsty male,” said one academic, who did not want to be named.“Whatever else Bin Laden is, he is now exposed as a disgrace to two millennia of Arabic culture.”

While Miller prepares to write a book analysing Bin Laden’s poetry and its role in jihad, the tapes are going to Yale University where they will be repaired and made available to scholars in 2010.

Click Here to Listen


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Art & Letters Daily


passiflora incarnata


On the RNC, Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, and Protest

Wednesday Sep 3rd, 2008 8:18 AM
by Ian Bicking (repost)
Saturday morning my sister, Monica Bicking, and her boyfriend, Eryn Trimmer, were arrested in Minneapolis. Monica was released on Sunday, but Eryn and others are still in custody, and the police will try to keep them detained as long as possible.

They were arrested for "conspiracy to incite a riot". This is the same charge used against the Chicago 8 (or 7) at the 1968 Democratic Convention. Perhaps the police have a sense of tradition?

But more directly she and Eryn were arrested in an attempt to preemptively suppress the protests at the Republican National Convention. They were both very active with the RNC Welcoming Committee, which is a group coordinating and supporting some of the people coming to the Twin Cities for the convention.

Obviously I’m very concerned by the arrests and charges. But there’s been a huge outpouring of support from the community — both from activist in the Twin Cities, and from their neighbors. In Chicago I’m a little unsure about what to do.

Reading articles about the incidents (Glenn Greenwald’s post on Salon is a good one) I find myself mostly avoiding the comment sections. The comments fall into two categories: mean comments against the protesters, and reactionary comments with no real substance ("this is proof this country is a police state!") Activists generally understand what’s going on, and people of a right-wing/authoritarian bend are hardly going to be convinced of anything, but there’s a lot of progressive people out there who’ve never really been involved in any activism like this. There’s very little explaining the protests, the role of activists like my sister, and the philosophies they hold. Certainly the news makes no attempt, and unfortunately the activists themselves often speak from an unexplained perspective.

So I’d like to use this as an opportunity to explain my understanding of the role of protest, what’s going on at the RNC specifically, and what an "anarchist" really is. At the moment I can’t do a lot to help Eryn and Monica directly, but at least I can talk about her personally instead of another story about a named but otherwise anonymous "protester".

The Role Of Protest

It’s challenging to explain and justify protest, at least in this country and at this moment. Probably the biggest blow for protest as a useful form of political expression was the February 15, 2003 protests against the Iraq War. I say this because those were the largest protests the world has ever seen, estimated around 10 million people, and yet they did so little to stop the war.

That war is still with us, and is still the most significant motivation for the RNC protests. The war has gone through many phases since then — purported success, then clear failure by just about anyone’s definition, then ongoing failure labelled as success because of dramatically lowered expectations (the surge). Public opinion has moved several times, but is constrained by what is considered the reasonable options. These "reasonable" options are defined by the Democratic and Republican elite. Balance in news means inviting participation from partisans from those two parties. In this context the Democratic party had a practical landslide in 2006, driven primarily by anti-war sentiments, and then proceeded to do almost nothing to stop the war. If protest has failed, then so has electoral politics.

I don’t have any third path to offer, but I just want to make it clear: none of us know what is best to do, none of us have figured out the way to effect change. People complain protest doesn’t work. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t, but frankly most things don’t work. Doing nothing definitely doesn’t work, and frankly that’s what most of us are doing. It’s hard to take criticisms seriously when they are made from a stance of inaction.

What might the RNC protests accomplish?

First, it is an attempt to break out of a politics restricted to two perspectives. I believe, quite firmly, that "radical left" opinions are actually quite mainstream. This was also the goal of the DNC protests. This goal has become quite difficult to achieve. News stations generally ignore protest, and when they do cover protest they seldom talk about the actual issues.

Second, protests can attempt to disrupt normal activity. To be fair, this is probably better termed "civil disobedience", and I’m sure there will be civil disobedience in response to the RNC. One possible goal of civil disobedience is to make news — to be so disruptive that you simply can’t be ignored. And even if the news won’t say why you won’t be ignored, at least one message that can be made clear: everything is not okay. Another goals is simply to disrupt the RNC. This is a bringing together of many of the architects and profiteers of war. This is a convention that includes many people advocating torture.

It’s also a convention of people who buy the lines about the Republican party being "conservative" and supporting "family values" and whatever other bullshit. One argument goes: oh, these poor dullards and simpletons! Do not interrupt their harmless partying! Do not interrupt their absurd views! They deserve their delusions as much as anyone! I say: this stuff is too important to defer to the bullshit of this political grandstanding.

Are We In A Time Of War?

It is all too easy to fall into "protesting for the right to protest". Lest I fall into this, I want to make it clear: protest itself is not the goal. 600,000 Iraqis dead. And to what ends? No ends at all? Unlikely! There is a purpose. It is a purpose architected by people who would throw away hundreds of thousands of lives. People may argue about whether war is valid. I don’t believe it is, nor do Monica or Eryn, but whatever your feelings: this is not an abstract war. This is a specific war. And this specific war is a war made by liars, by people who treat human life lightly, by people whose primary ambition seems focused on power itself.

600,000 dead, and what’s so different in America? Do you feel this war? If you didn’t turn on the TV or listen to the news, what would remind you that we are at war? What would remind you of all that’s happened? We are a nation at war, and yet there is nothing to show us this, it has no presence. Our nation is so large, our institutions so abstracted, our military so partitioned from most of society… we are numb to war. Moving around while numbed is dangerous. You can’t feel what you are doing. A cut doesn’t hurt, a bruise is just a faint sensation. We are a numbed nation and this is dangerous.

If I was to give one reason for civil disobedience, it would be this: to acknowledge this war is real. This isn’t just a difference of opinion, this isn’t just a debate. This is about how we exercise our collective power, the power that is exercised in the form of the state. This is our war, whether we feel it or not.

One of the criticisms of civil disobedience is to say it deprives the Republicans of their free speech. First, this is absurd. No form of civil disobedience deprives them of free speech. No one is taping their mouths shut. No journalists are being detained by activists. No debate is stifled. The RNC’s request: we want to speak our lies without interruption, without distraction. The Republicans have through decades of whining managed to frame the debate, to redefine "common sense" and "conventional thinking", to move the Overton Window far to the right. Free speech does not mean they should not be challenged. Protest challenges the content of their speech, it doesn’t deny them of the ability to speak.

This is an aside, but for all the effort put into limiting the bounds of debate I don’t think the Republicans, or Bush, have really changed the country as much as they are given credit for. I don’t think people are as easily manipulated as that. I think our core values are not so easily affected. If we were not so numb I think it would all come rushing back.

On "Anarchism"

If you read the articles you will see Monica and Eryn called "self-described anarchists". This is true, they are anarchists. I will attempt, briefly and probably inaccurately, to describe what anarchism is.

Anarchism is, at it’s core, a belief in the individual, and a belief that good flows uniquely from the individual. Conversely, it believes that bad comes from institutions, from the abstractions we build between people. Anarchism is a belief in the power of empathy instead of laws. Instead of leading our lives according to principles that are passed down to us, anarchism says we should live our lives based on our personal reflections and decisions. We should be deliberate, we should not be obedient.

The RNC Welcoming Committee (the name is ironic) is a "anarchist/anti-authoritarian" organization. Ha ha you say, isn’t an anarchist organization an oxymoron? If you meet an anarchist this is the most tedious joke you could possibly make. Anarchism is, of course, a somewhat chaotic philosophy. And any anarchist should be a human first, and an anarchist second — anything else would be contrary to the very principles of anarchism! More practically, they form groups based on shared understandings and motivations, and there is nothing at all inconsistent about individuals working together — indeed it is interpersonal cooperation that is at the heart of anarchist traditions.

Do anarchists want to tear down all institutions? I guess some flavors of anarchist rhetoric make this claim. Looking in from the outside, it feels like some kind of phase adolescent male anarchists go through. There is an underlying lack of respect for institutions and authority, and this is genuine. But though they see nothing wrong with disrupting institutions, violence against people is not considered acceptable. Some would like to categorize property damage as violence, but I find this rather disrespectful of genuine violence. Things don’t feel pain or fear.

Discussions of anarchism tend to degrade very quickly because people are overly obsessed with self-consistency. For instance: how could an entire society run without laws, governments, police, taxes? There are answers and speculations, but we would all do better to make the world we want now and here. This is what actual anarchists do — running whole societies might be fun to theorize about, but building a community is actually attainable, and among progressive groups anarchists are probably the most enthusiastic community builders.

Lastly: why the term "anarchism"? It’s a scary term, though it’s derivation is simply from the term "without rulers". It’s been a term used to scare people for so long that it’s hard to separate the idea from the myth. People at time suggest alternative terms. But anarchism isn’t just a philosophy, it’s a tradition and culture and shared understanding, one that goes back over a hundred years. And anarchists don’t want to disassociate themselves from that tradition. And usually, what does it matter what other people think of the name? It is however awkward when the police are trying to label you as a dangerous extremist.

Violence?

Reports have come out about violent protest. First, I want to talk about the facts related to this:

Actual incidents are often exaggerated or fabricated. For instance, in the case of the home raids things like paint, bottles, and rags were labeled as "the ingredients for making Molotov cocktails". I’m sure every reader of this post has sufficient ingredients to make a Molotov cocktail. Also, many people have hatchets, bricks, and other materials. Buckets of urine were particularly attention-grabbing, but the only reason for these was that one of the houses had a broken toilet. The police interpretation of the confiscated material is not credible.

There have also been reports of violence at the protests themselves. First it should be noted that there are no reports of police or by-standards being injured. I personally find it is hard to classify property damage as "violence". If you don’t include property damage then there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of violence.

Protest is confrontational. Some will suggest that protesters should obey police in all situations. They suggest that protesters should obey all laws and only protest where permitted. They suggest protesters should not be disruptive of anyone else. The result would not be protest. In cases like the RNC, where extensive planning was in place to counter protest, non-confrontational protest means protesting according to someone else’s plans, someone who has no desire for the protest to succeed in any way. Once you confront the police, there will be violence — usually by the police. And sure, you can stand with a flower in your hand and get a face full of pepper spray, and of course many people choose that course. It’s a noble choice, but I can’t fault people for making other tactical decisions.

Another protesting tactic is the "black bloq", typically a group of people who try to attract the attention of the police, often through property damage. If the police have nothing better to do, then why not pin down the peaceful protesters and direct them where they can make the least impact? People in the black bloq will try to keep this from happening. It’s unlikely they were at all successful at the RNC as it was so thoroughly militarized. You could debate whether this is a good strategy (and there is lots of debate about this), but probably few people outside activists have any idea that there even is any underlying strategy.

Also, if you wonder why protesters, especially the anarchists, dress the way they do, it is primarily defensive. If you are going to get teargassed and peppersprayed does wearing a handkerchief seem so odd? And if they are tracking people to preemptively arrest, all the more reason to be as anonymous as possible.

Monica and Eryn

I’d like to speak specifically of Monica and Eryn. Talking to Monica about the RNC protests, she was never actually that excited. The RNC isn’t what she wanted to focus on. Why focus on the thing you dislike? Why focus on a political process you don’t believe in? Why focus on the workings of institutions you wish didn’t exist? She would have preferred to work on the scale she felt was valid — to build a community of individuals. But of course events are larger than us, and by whatever coincidence the RNC was coming to the Twin Cities. This is not the sort of thing you can just ignore. And of course it wasn’t up to her whether there would be protests.

Monica and Eryn are competent and diligent, so of course they would become important to the organizing process. It seems that there were infiltrators in many of the organizations, so it’s unsurprising that the police knew who to find when they were getting ready to suppress the protests. The two of them had expected informants from early on. Monica herself worked for a year for the American Friends Service Committee (a Quaker charity and peace advocacy organization) at a time when they were being spied on because of purported fears of violent protest. If you are not aware of Quakerism, it is a quite strictly passivist faith, and the pretense for the spying was exceptionally absurd. So Monica was not particularly shocked that there would be spying in the lead up to the RNC.

The RNC Welcoming Committee is itself a coordinating organization. It was inevitable that many, many groups would want to protest at the RNC. There’s no lack of people who are angry. The Welcoming Committee served as a local resource for all those people — so visitors could find a place to stay in the city, so people could coordinate with each other, so people could perform their chosen form of protest in as well-informed a manner as possible. That it is being painted as an organization with criminal intent is a complete misrepresentation; the Welcoming Committee specifically has no intention of direction action.

The preemptive arrest was surprising to everyone. It is normal in the course of civil disobedience that some people expect to be arrested. Civil disobedience is confrontational. You have to go into it knowing that there will be certain consequences. Those are the consequences of the confrontation. They are not the consequences of the possibility might choose to be confrontational. As organizers I know Monica and Eryn weren’t planning on being arrested.

But I haven’t written this essay in anger over their arrest. Protest is conflict. The lines of conflict move, and I find this move to preemptive arrest quite troubling, but I’m also optimistic that they won’t ultimately be charged with anything. I also don’t want to slip into the protest-to-protest mode, more obsessed with the form of protest than the function of this protest. This is a frustrating turn of events, and I’m sure no one is more frustrated than the two of them — one sequestered in a jail, the other in legal limbo, at the culmination of all their work over the last year. But I didn’t write this essay out of anger but because I wanted to recognize what they’ve been doing and do my best to explain it to other people, because I’m proud of them. They are exactly the model of an engaged, ethically driven citizenry.

I see lots of comments like "this country is a fascist state!" and "this is just like Nazi Germany!" But of course this country is not those things. That’s what happens when the citizenry of a country stands down, when they look away from what’s happening right in front of them, when they ignore justice and discard empathy. This country is not those things because of Monica and Eryn and the thousands of people who will be present and paying attention when the RNC lands from on high.


A Few Words on Anarchy and America, by John Sussman

A spectre is haunting America – the spectre of the unreconstructed individual. He cannot, and will never be, a cog in the machine of other’s grand designs. The current electoral season, reported as a clash of worldviews, obscures the incredible consensus achieved by the ruling oligarchy: that the individual has no place outside of the system, no value unless validated by a popular ideology. Implicit in the nature of politics is the subjection of all that is unique and vibrant to an abstract, unaccountable, and utterly soulless machine.

This matrix of oppression is inimical to liberty, and therefore to life itself. The true individual, then, must stand against this, but her stance must be simultaneously outside of the simplistic and ultimately artificial categories that this system perpetuates. To choose one side or the other of a list of predetermined binaries is the illusion of choice; it presents no critical challenge to the prevailing order, and thus commits the double sin of inaction and intellectual sloth. The person who refuses either side of the coin is no partisan, nor an apathetic conformist, but is the true revolutionary.

If this is what I stand against – the endless navel-gazing and insufferable power-grabbing that defines government – than what do I stand for? This question is daunting at first, but upon reflection answers itself. In the truly anarchic environment, the individual is then – and only then – free to blossom into a fully-developed person, one who unfolds and matures along paths both of their own choosing and those dictated by chance, but never at the prescription of a Washington bureaucrat.

This spirit is at the heart of the American experience. Truly, American life is suffused with anarchism. And by anarchism I do not solely mean the wanton destruction of Seattle in 1999, or the ramblings of a college professor, or the doodling of a middle-school metalhead – I mean all of these and more, a burgeoning cornucopia of anarchisms. The peaceful exchange at a farmer’s market, the meeting of minds on a city street, and a contemplative sojourn through Appalachian forest – these are anarchisms as well, actualized boldly, free of the odious bonds of coercion. Some would consider this curiously rustic, but therein lies the charm and brilliance of American anarchism, in the heady combination of the radical and the reactionary – for how can one strike at the root without first clearing away the underbrush of accumulated assumptions? And how can one hope to undo the damage of arrogant, immoral institutions without first grasping at the heart of what it means to be human?

No one can seriously contend that those who vie for power can be trusted to curb themselves. Our leaders cry out for service, for money, for war; that is, they insist on our obedience, our labor, and our very lives. Submission, out of a sense of duty or out of fear, is the lowest form of cowardice. Active resistance is the only moral option. I beg of you: resist taxation! Refuse military enlistment! Smoke marijuana! Only in this way can we ward off the encroachments of elected tyrants. What is at stake is our freedom – and for that alone, no honest man gives up but with life itself.


Led Zeppelin finally agree to tour?

Reports state that the band - with Robert Plant in tow - will hit the road next year

  • Sep 26, 2008
Led Zeppelin are planning a full tour for next summer, with singer Robert Plant set to rejoin the band, according to reports in The Sun today (September 26). Despite their massively-successful reunion gig at London's O2 Arena last winter, the band have so far declined to confirm whether they will plan any more shows together. Initially, it was believed that singer Plant was against a full tour with the band. However, today's report claims that Plant is now ready to join guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist John Paul Jones and drummer Jason Bonham in rehearsals for a tour set to start next summer. An unnamed source told the newspaper: "He [Plant] realised he couldn't face the thought of not being involved. The band were over the moon when he told them the news."

NO BAIL OUT FOR ANYONE!


Friday, September 26, 2008

"DO NOT ADJUST YOUR MIND: IT IS REALITY THAT IS MALFUNCTIONING!" Robert Anton Wilson -

A 26 Kaos

[22:25] A.: the way i'm going off on the blogosphere this evening ...it's very much like I haven't had my period for a year - like that SNL thing :) [22:25] Kaos: :) are you having your period? [22:26] A.: no. but it is due today [22:26] A.: or tomorrow. [22:27] A.: or the next day. [22:27] A.: according to my sources :) [22:27] A.: a bad day for a debate i would say :) [22:27] Kaos: so you're in bitch mode then :) [22:27] A.: well you can call it that [22:27] A.: but i call it intensification [22:27] A.: :) [22:28] A.: INTENSIFICATION [22:28] Kaos: HA ... I called it I am staying away from home days [22:28] A.: well you know me [22:28] A.: and you know those are my feelings [22:28] A.: everything i wrote is true [22:28] A.: but [22:29] A.: i could have spent my time more [22:29] A.: better [22:29] A.: in a better way than i did [22:29] A.: is all :) [22:29] Kaos: no regrets is the way to go at the blogosphere :) 22:30] A.: no wonder I love you :) [22:30] A.: i agree!


Paraguay's president says he turned down offer to meet Palin

[Thanks to ToniD for this link]
Apparently not everyone wants to have their photograph taken with Sarah Palin. Paraguay President Fernando Lugo, while attending both the UN General Assembly meetings and the Clinton Global Initiative, shared with friends over dinner some of the other meetings he had been having in New York. After enumerating the various heads of state he'd met with, the room went silent and then laughed a bit when he confided that he was approached about meeting with GOP Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. President Lugo said he turned the meeting down. The 57-year-old left-leaning former Catholic bishop known locally as "bishop of the poor," was elected to office in April. His swearing in marked the first time in Paraguay's history since the country gained independence that an opposition party turned over power peacefully to a candidate elected from the other party. Lugo has also refused his presidential salary, saying it "belongs to more humble people." He joined the priesthood in 1977 and was ordained a bishop in 1994 before resigning in 2006 to run for office. -- Steve Clemons publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note, and writes frequently about foreign policy.

Nader to Discuss Political Platform

Five-time presidential candidate and political activist Ralph Nader will speak at Corwin Pavilion this Sunday.

Beginning at 3 p.m., Nader will discuss his political platform for the upcoming election, addressing issues such as national health insurance and renewable energies, and advocating for a quick withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Joined by running mate Matt Gonzalez, the Peace and Freedom party candidates will call upon Barack Obama and John McCain to open the presidential debate to other third party candidates.

The pair will take audience questions following Nader’s speech. ...


Dan Bartlett - The Magnetic Centre

A Word from Our Sponsors

"We are all giants, raised by pygmies, who have learned to walk with a perpetual mental crouch."

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"We place no reliance On Virgin or Pigeon Our method is Science Our aim is Religion"

"Not out, but through!"

"Patriotism is not enough. But neither is anything else. Science is not enough, religion is not enough, art is not enough, politics and economics are not enough, nor is love, nor is duty, nor is action however disinterested, nor, however sublime, is contemplation. Nothing short of everything will really do."

"A man may be born, but in order to be born he must first die, and in order to die he must first awake."

Ode to Awakening

1 Awareness contracts to focus, They say it's not hocus pocus, To them it is just a thought. Through invisible incantation, Matter dances to mentation, The conscious rewrites the Points. But quickly they lose their way, Emotion and thought carry them astray, While the birds scream Attention! Attention! They take note but never remember, "Stay strong and never surrender!" The fools never realise "I am."

2 Though their words sound the same, Each speaks from a different plane, They talk through entities. Symbolic in nature, But disloyal to creator, They have a life of their own. Gaze them at length, And territory looses strength, The entity is only the vessel. Choosing menu not meal, They all stand and squeal. Fighting for map over chest.

3 Aware and yet sleeping, No wonder they're weeping, They believe they are one and the same. Yet many possess them, Command and digest them!, 'Til all awareness is gone. They plot under clouds, Still "owner" stands proud, Fragmented, he is a legion. Hi-jacked he does not see, He believes them to be "me," Truly, a thief is at work.

4 Through all this toil and pain, Pray tell; where is the gain? A bucket of rotten fruit! Seek yoga not blame, They all say the same! Change is always the start. So come, transformation, From mere mentation, To the quality of a Willed Art. They stand struck by awe, The Law is for All, In lust, the magicians rejoice!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Chicago outreach effort builds mass opposition to Wall Street bailout

Thousands of leaflets distributed--and thousands more to go!

As the Treasury Department threatened to bail out the criminal banks to the tune of $700 billion, PSL members in Chicago hit the streets to promote resistance to Wall Street’s theft.

Fanning out over the city on Sept. 22 and 23, volunteers passed out thousands of PSL statements entitled, "Bail out workers, not Wall Street!"

The leaflets were exceptionally well-received at busy train stops and colleges, especially in working class neighborhoods. Even those who seemed uninterested at first were immediately attracted once they realized what the statements were about.

PSL members used slogans like: "Money for Jobs, Not for the Banks," "Last week there was no money for education, health care or housing. This week there’s $700 billion for the criminal bank CEOs" and "No more money for Wall Street crooks."

Those slogans are in sharp contrast with the praise sung by Wall Street for the bailout, yet they resonated with working people whose tax dollars are being stolen by a small elite of wealthy bankers.

Groups of workers and students stopped and read the leaflet immediately. People in cars and passersby requested additional leaflets to give to their family and friends. Dozens of people asked how they could get involved. The PSL also received unsolicited donations on the spot. Bus drivers and transit workers who heard the pitch and read the materials helped distribute leaflets. The materials distributed also advertised upcoming events, including the Saturday, Sept. 27, PSL campaign dinner in Chicago and the Saturday, Oct. 11, meeting in Chicago with PSL presidential candidate Gloria La Riva.

Anyone in the Chicago area interested in getting involved in the movement to stop the criminal banks should call the PSL at 773-920-7590. For other PSL branches around the country, click here.

Ralph Nader Asks, “Why Is There Need for a Bailout?”

JUAN GONZALEZ: The Bush administration is intensifying its pressure on Congress to quickly approve a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, despite warnings from economists and some governmental officials that the bailout could worsen the financial crisis.

Last night, President Bush held a prime-time address to warn the nation’s entire economy is in danger if the bailout is not approved as soon as possible.

JUAN GONZALEZ: [Wednesday] night’s address was the first time in his presidency that Bush delivered a prime-time speech devoted exclusively to the economy. His dire scenario about the state of the economy stood in stark contrast to his comments at his last press conference two months ago.

AMY GOODMAN: Today, the President is holding an emergency summit at the White House with both John McCain and Barack Obama, as well as top leaders for Congress. The Wall Street Journal reports Democratic leaders are hoping to nail down details of the bailout measure early today.

On Wednesday, McCain said he would suspend his campaign to deal with the financial crisis. He called on Obama to postpone their debate Friday night, saying he would only attend if Congress approves a bailout package before then. Obama said the debate in Oxford, Mississippi at Ole Miss should go on as planned.

We’re joined on the phone right now by a presidential candidate who was not invited to Friday’s debate, Independent candidate Ralph Nader. The longtime consumer advocate has been a vocal critic of the Wall Street bailout.

Ralph Nader, welcome to Democracy Now! First, let’s start off with John McCain announcing that he is going to suspend his campaign and wants the debate cancelled.

RALPH NADER: Well, I think Senator McCain is showboating. I mean, what’s going on in Washington and Congress now is the Bush administration is trying to pull the Constitution out by its roots and demand that Congress give it a blank check, without any criteria, without any accountability, for $700 billion bailout of Wall Street. It’s not dependent on whether John McCain returns to Washington other than to vote. I think he’s turning his back on over 50 million American voters who expect him to show up in Ole Miss with Barack Obama and who have made arrangements to do so. He talks a lot about honor and commitment. I think he ought to change his mind and get down to Ole Miss.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Ralph, the Democrats are claiming that they’ve been able to get some key concessions from the administration on its original plan. They say now they’re going to be—they’re going to cap CEO pay for those who participate in this bailout and that they’re going to get some kind of government participation or investment in these firms, so that if they make profits later on, that—or these securities make profits later on, that the government will be able to participate. But your sense—are these real substantive changes, or is this basically cosmetics on a plan that shouldn’t be in place in the first place?

RALPH NADER: Well, so far, it’s wish fulfillment. If you watch what Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Banking Committee, said yesterday, nothing has really been decided.

And also, it’s not clear at all why a bailout is needed. That’s part of the stampede in the pack and the panic that Bush and Paulson and Bernanke are pushing Congress toward. You know, it’s eerily reminiscent, when you listen to Bush yesterday, of how he stampeded the Congress and the country into the criminal war invasion of Iraq in 2003. I mean, look at all his statements: this could do this, this would do that, farms failing, small business, tada, tada. The first question we have to ask as citizens is, why is there a need for a bailout?

The only conceivable purpose of Treasury intervention, said Roger Lowenstein in the New Republic recently, quote, "is to buoy the market using taxpayer funds by paying higher-than-market prices. After all, if the government merely intended to match the market, what would be the point?” end-quote. In other words, if these mortgage-backed securities are distressed, well, they’re going to fetch a lower price. There’s huge amount of money on the sidelines in Wall Street, everybody admits that. So, as a hedge fund manager basically said, look, if the price comes down lower than what the government is trying to keep elevated, we’ll buy this paper. Warren Buffett put $5 billion into Goldman Sachs this week. There’s a lot of money to go around.

It’s quite interesting how the Bush regime is creating its own panic. When the government keeps saying Chicken Little, Chicken Little, the market is going to react in a very nervous manner. It’s a reversal of what the government usually does, which is to counsel stability and patience, etc.

So, the first question Congress should ask in detailed hearings, which aren’t occurring, is simply, why is there need for a bailout? Second is, if there is a need for a bailout, why $700 billion? And third, if there is a need for a bailout, what kind of bailout? Taxpayer equity? So the taxpayer can recover if these companies make a profit, they can recover surplus, perhaps the way they did on the taxpayer bailout in 1979 with Chrysler, where Jimmy Carter demanded that Chrysler issue stock warrants to the Treasury, and Chrysler turned around, and the Treasury sold the warrants for a $400 million profit.

I don’t think the Democrats show any nerve that they are going to do anything but cave here. And the statements by Nancy Pelosi are not reassuring, which is, “Well, it’s the Republicans’ bill, you know. Let them take responsibility for it.” That doesn’t work. She’s the Speaker of the House. The Democrats have got to say, “Slow down. We’re not going to be stampeded into this bill by Friday or Saturday. We’re going to have very, very thorough hearings.” Otherwise, it’s another collapse, at constitutional levels, of the Congress before King George IV.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. We’ll come back to this discussion. We’ll also be joined by Arun Gupta, who is the editor of The Indypendent and put out a letter on the internet that has just set the internet on fire, calling for a major protest today on Wall Street. It has gained steam. Many groups have signed on. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: Our guest on the phone with us from Pittsburgh, where he’s campaigning, is Ralph Nader, Independent presidential candidate. Juan?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Ralph, you mention how the Democrats themselves are being stampeded at this point by the Bush administration. In my column in the Daily News yesterday, I raised how another Democratic leader and another Democratic Congress handled a situation, even a more dire situation, in 1933, on the two days after Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated as president, with thousands of banks crashing at that point, and he immediately shut down all the banks on his second day in office, called Congress into an emergency session and, over the next hundred days, adopted incredible legislation, including the Glass-Steagall Act, that we’ve mentioned quite often, on federal deposit insurance, aid to homeowners, farm subsidies, created the Tennessee Valley Authority, all in the midst of a crisis, probably the most progressive amount of legislation in the nation’s history, in any period. That’s a quite different approach. And he specifically criticized the banks and Wall Street as being at the root of the crisis.

RALPH NADER: That’s right. In those days, they had a serious solvency problem for these banks, which they don’t have, by and large, today. And that was admitted by Bernanke yesterday. Basically, Bernanke is saying, “Well, we’re doing this because the banks are contracting their credit, and this is affecting the economy.” Well, you can deal with that problem in a far better way than an ill-defined $700 billion bailout with total authority to the Treasury Secretary, with no judicial review, with no criteria and no reforms.

In other words, the Democrats should say, if they’re going to concede this bailout, is to say, “Well, we want comprehensive regulation and disclosure of the financial industry to make sure this doesn’t happen again. We want criminal prosecution of the crooks on Wall Street and disgorgement of their ill-gotten gains. We want a securities derivative tax and higher margin requirements to make speculators use their money, more of their money than other people’s money, like worker pension funds, to keep down speculation, as well as to produce revenues, which might lighten the tax load on working families. And we want to give shareholders control over the corporations they own.”

And they’re not even talking about these kinds of reforms. And this is the best time to get these reforms, because this is called a must bill on Congress—in Congress, and if Bush wants his package, he’s going to have to sign them. So, there’s no reciprocity here. It’s the usual fairly good questions by the Democrats at the hearings, but because they don’t follow through, they don’t have adequate leadership, it becomes a kind of posturing. It’s just maddening to watch how vague Bernanke and Paulson are in answering one question after another. It’s just an evasion, where they keep saying, “We need to do it. We need to do it.” And their Chicken Little material is conducted in closed session with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and the Republican leadership. It’s always in closed session.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Ralph Nader, something that isn’t vague are the emerging rallies against Wall Street bailout that are being held today in over a hundred cities. In Washington, protesters are gathering outside the Treasury Department at 4:00 p.m. Here in New York, a protest is set for 4:00 p.m., as well, in Bowling Green Park near Wall Street.

The day of action has been partly inspired by an email sent out Monday by New York journalist Arun Gupta. In the email, Gupta described the bailout as the biggest robbery in world history. Arun Gupta is a reporter and editor at The Indypendent newspaper here in New York. He joins us in the firehouse.

You’ve just been written up in BusinessWeek. Talk about this letter. Talk about what you are putting out there.

ARUN GUPTA: Well, I do a good bit of economic writing, and I was trying to decipher the plan this weekend, and it became quickly apparent to me that this is a financial September 11th, that the Bush administration was trying to use the shock of this crisis, the self-induced crisis in this case, to ram through legislation that was highly ill-considered in terms of the actual economic merits, on the one hand, and then, on the other hand, it was this extreme power grab that would give these huge sweeping new powers to the Treasury Department.

So I wrote up this email. I sat on it overnight, because I was hesitant to send it out. I’m a journalist, not an organizer. But after talking with a few people, they felt I should send it out, so I sent it out to about 150 activists, organizers and media folks that I know in New York City. And it just exploded. You know, I don’t take any special credit for it. I was just tapping into this huge amount of anger and resentment that was out there.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, when you say “exploded,” what was the response?

ARUN GUPTA: Well, I talked to people who, within one hour of me sending it out and then them—I encouraged people, “Please forward widely.” They told me that within less than an hour, they had received it back from five or six different people. By the end of the day, apparently, a lot of big groups started jumping on it, including unions. By the next day, it was being endorsed and variations were being forwarded by True Majority, Code Pink, United for Peace and Justice. And so, it was just—it really showed the power of the internet in a particular moment.

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about these protests that are taking place around the country.

ARUN GUPTA: Well, it started, as you know—the idea is like gather in Wall Street, and I thought maybe it would be a dozen people, and we’d be standing on the sidewalk. But now it looks like there will be hundreds, even possibly thousands. And then, True Majority picked up the call, along with United for Peace and Justice, one of the main antiwar groups, and they said, you know, “Let’s have these day of actions around the country.”

So, all over the country now, there are going to be protests in various financial centers. I’ve been getting emails from people, you know, from every single corner of the United States, asking, you know, “What’s going on? How do we plug in?” And so, we’re just trying to point them to these websites. It’s like, look, here’s a list of the protests, or you can plan your own event. And this is really coming from across the political spectrum.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And as you said in your email, this is leaderless, and no main organization is in charge or no individual is in charge. Everyone is just participating themselves.

ARUN GUPTA: That’s what’s great about it. You know, when people say, “Who’s organizing this?” I say, “No one and everyone.” This was just a call to self-organize. And, you know, it’s like I’m just going to show up there as just one more person who’s against this ridiculous bailout, this giveaway to the rich.

AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader, who is Henry Paulson? I mean, we know he worked for Nixon, was the aide to John Ehrlichman, the ex-con, the man who went to jail; then went off to Goldman Sachs; he and Alan Greenspan still being considered the economic wise men, even though this all happened under their watch.

RALPH NADER: That’s when you know the system is decayed and corrupt, that the people who brought us this disaster—Robert Rubin, with Bill Clinton pushing through the financial deregulation monster in 1999, which we opposed, which opened the gates for this kind of wild speculation and this casino capitalism, is still an adviser. He’s an adviser to Barack Obama. He’s an adviser to members of Congress. Henry Paulson cashed out at Goldman Sachs in 2006 a half-a-billion dollars. And now he goes to Washington to bail out his buddies.

The public outrage out there is really enormous. The calls coming into C-SPAN yesterday were overwhelmingly against this bailout, this outrageous inequity, this double standard between the guys at the top and the people who are going to have to pay the bills under this bailout, the taxpayers and the consumers.

Mr. Gupta is right in the sense that this is leaderless, but it’s got to be more than just a rally of protests. It’s got to demand something. It’s got to be focused. Otherwise, it will fritter away. We’ve had rallies on Wall Street. It’s a great place to have rallies. You can really congregate a lot of people, and the Wall Street guys look out the window, and they can see the people are coming.

But the first step is to slow down Congress. Once this bill is passed—and it’s a blanket bill. It’s only four pages, Amy, four pages of a $700 billion blank check, transferring congressional authority wholesale, and I think unconstitutionally, to the White House, King George IV at work again. Once it passes, then the chance for comprehensive regulation and all the other changes to make Wall Street accountable, instead of allow Wall Street to create a corporate state or what Franklin Delano Roosevelt called fascism, which is government controlled by private economic power, represented by people like Henry Paulson—once this happens, it’s not going to be reversible.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And Ralph, what about the homeowners who were at the center of this crisis in foreclosure? A million Americans have lost their homes in recent years. There seems to be still no clear sense that any kind of bill will actually provide clear relief for people facing the loss of their homes.

RALPH NADER: You’re absolutely right, because Barney Frank was asked about that last night after the hearing, and he said, “This is a money proposition, if you’re going to deal with the homeowners. It’s not my Banking Committee; it’s Charlie Rangel’s House Ways and Means.” In other words, there’s nothing in this bill for homeowners. There’s everything in this bill to bail out the bankers who actually created this problem with these out-of-control speculative financial instruments.

AMY GOODMAN: Cynthia McKinney has offered to debate Barack Obama if he’s the only one who shows up at Ole Miss tomorrow. Are you also going to make that offer? And, Ralph Nader, would you consider, given the stakes of this election, encouraging your supporters in swing states to vote for Barack Obama?

RALPH NADER: Well, first, I’d be very happy to sit in the seat emptied by John McCain. But I think the stage can handle the only—only six presidential candidates. There aren’t enough electoral colleges to theoretically win the election. And second, I’m not at all impressed by Barack Obama’s positions on this so-called bailout. It’s just rhetoric. His Senate record has not reflected that at all.

As we campaign around the country—we’re now in forty-five states plus the District of Columbia, and we’re running five, six, seven percent in the polls, which is equivalent to nine, ten million eligible voters—we are going to try to rouse the public in a specific way: laser-beam focus on their senators and representatives. When these senators and representatives, if they allow this bailout deal in this general, vague manner to pass, when they go back home, they’re going to hit hornets’ nest. This is a situation where it doesn’t matter whether the people back home are Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, Nader-Gonzalez supporters. There’s such a deep sense of betrayal, of panic, of stampede, of surrender, of cowardliness in Congress, that it’s going to affect the election and the turnout.

I’d like Barack Obama, actually, to support the Nader-Gonzalez ticket.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Arun Gupta, people are bringing old junk to the protest today—records, old clothes, things they don’t want— to symbolize…?

ARUN GUPTA: That’s one of the themes, cash for trash, which is how this bailout bill is being characterized—in other words, that the government is giving the taxpayers’ good money for these worthless securities. So, many protesters are saying, well, let’s bring our own trash to Wall Street. We’ll create a junk pile and then ask the government to bail us out.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to leave it there. Arun Gupta is the reporter and editor of The Indypendent newspaper here in New York, organizer of today’s protest on Wall Street. There will be more than a hundred other protests around the country. We’ll report on them tomorrow. Ralph Nader, Independent candidate for president, speaking to us on the campaign trail in Pittsburgh.


The Subprime Solution

From: http://www.oculture.com

In March 2000, Yale economist Robert Shiller published Irrational Exuberance and warned that the long-running parabolic stock market was a bubble. Weeks later, the market cracked and Shiller was the new guru. Fast forward a few years, Shiller released a second edition of the same book, this time arguing that the housing market was the latest and greatest bubble. And, we all know how that prediction played out.

Now, Shiller is back with a new book: The Subprime Solution: How Today’s Global Financial Crisis Happened, and What to Do about It. And given his track record, his understanding of the problem and solutions are worth listening to. Below, we have posted an interview with Shiller where he gets into all of this. The first part appears below. For the second part, click here (and here is where he particularly gets to talking about solutions).

P.S. If you’re wondering what Shiller thinks about more recent events, you can watch this new BusinessWeek video.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

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“I strongly condemn President Ahmadinejad’s outrageous remarks at the United Nations, and am disappointed that he had a platform to air his hateful and anti-Semitic views. The threat from Iran’s nuclear program is grave. Now is the time for Americans to unite on behalf of the strong sanctions that are needed to increase pressure on the Iranian regime. -Barack Obama * "The dignity, integrity, and rights of the American and European people are being played with by a small and deceitful number of people called Zionists. Although they are a minuscule minority, they have been dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers as well as the political decision-making centers of some European countries and the US in a deceitful, complex, and furtive manner. It is deeply disastrous to witness that some presidential or premiere nominees in some big countries have to visit these people, take part in their gatherings, swear their allegiance and commitment to their interests in order to attain financial or media support." -President Ahmadinejad

Presidential debate

From: http://lefti.blogspot.com John McCain wants to pull out of Friday night's debate. I suggest we all write to Obama and urge him to continue, only to invite new, more worthy, opponents, such as Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, Gloria La Riva, and Bob Barr, all of whom will have far more interesting (and, from Obama's point of view, challenging) things to say than John McCain anyway.

Mobile phone use 'raises children's risk of brain cancer fivefold'

Alarming new research from Sweden on the effects of radiation raises fears that today's youngsters face an epidemic of the disease in later life

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor Sunday, 21 September 2008

Children and teenagers are five times more likely to get brain cancer if they use mobile phones, startling new research indicates.

The study, experts say, raises fears that today's young people may suffer an "epidemic" of the disease in later life. At least nine out of 10 British 16-year-olds have their own handset, as do more than 40 per cent of primary schoolchildren.

Yet investigating dangers to the young has been omitted from a massive £3.1m British investigation of the risks of cancer from using mobile phones, launched this year, even though the official Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) Programme – which is conducting it – admits that the issue is of the "highest priority".

Despite recommendations of an official report that the use of mobiles by children should be "minimised", the Government has done almost nothing to discourage it.

Last week the European Parliament voted by 522 to 16 to urge ministers across Europe to bring in stricter limits for exposure to radiation from mobile and cordless phones, Wi-fi and other devices, partly because children are especially vulnerable to them. They are more at risk because their brains and nervous systems are still developing and because – since their heads are smaller and their skulls are thinner – the radiation penetrates deeper into their brains.

The Swedish research was reported this month at the first international conference on mobile phones and health.

It sprung from a further analysis of data from one of the biggest studies carried out into the risk that the radiation causes cancer, headed by Professor Lennart Hardell of the University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden. Professor Hardell told the conference – held at the Royal Society by the Radiation Research Trust – that "people who started mobile phone use before the age of 20" had more than five-fold increase in glioma", a cancer of the glial cells that support the central nervous system. The extra risk to young people of contracting the disease from using the cordless phone found in many homes was almost as great, at more than four times higher.

Those who started using mobiles young, he added, were also five times more likely to get acoustic neuromas, benign but often disabling tumours of the auditory nerve, which usually cause deafness.

By contrast, people who were in their twenties before using handsets were only 50 per cent more likely to contract gliomas and just twice as likely to get acoustic neuromas.

Professor Hardell told the IoS: "This is a warning sign. It is very worrying. We should be taking precautions." He believes that children under 12 should not use mobiles except in emergencies and that teenagers should use hands-free devices or headsets and concentrate on texting. At 20 the danger diminishes because then the brain is fully developed. Indeed, he admits, the hazard to children and teenagers may be greater even than his results suggest, because the results of his study do not show the effects of their using the phones for many years. Most cancers take decades to develop, longer than mobile phones have been on the market.

The research has shown that adults who have used the handsets for more than 10 years are much more likely to get gliomas and acoustic neuromas, but he said that there was not enough data to show how such relatively long-term use would increase the risk for those who had started young.

He wants more research to be done, but the risks to children will not be studied in the MTHR study, which will follow 90,000 people in Britain. Professor David Coggon, the chairman of the programmes management committee, said they had not been included because other research was being done on young people by a study at Sweden's Kariolinska Institute.

He said: "It looks frightening to see a five-fold increase in cancer among people who started use in childhood," but he said he "would be extremely surprised" if the risk was shown to be so high once all the evidence was in.

But David Carpenter, dean of the School of Public Health at the State University of NewYork – who also attended the conference – said: "Children are spending significant time on mobile phones. We may be facing a public health crisis in an epidemic of brain cancers as a result of mobile phone use."

In 2000 and 2005, two official inquiries under Sir William Stewart, a former government chief scientist, recommended the use of mobile phones by children should be "discouraged" and "minimised".

But almost nothing has been done, and their use by the young has more than doubled since the turn of the millennium.


Socialism is the wrong word

From: http://prorev.com Brady Wiseman in Bozeman MT writes to note, "Bailing out the banks is not socialism. The government and the Fed are not becoming exactly the creditors of the banks. Because the numbers are so large, they are now partners. It's not a bailout so much as a merger. What do you call the merger of government and corporations? Mussolini called it fascism."
Wiseman is quite right. We let ourselves get caught in the rhetoric of the day in which you can call anything you don't like socialism, but god forbid you use the term fascism. In the past, however, we have addressed this matter: Sam Smith, 2006 - One needs to look not at Hitler but at the founder of fascism, Mussolini. What Mussolini founded was the estato corporativo - the corporative state or corporatism. Writing in Economic Affairs in the mid 1970s, R.E. Pahl and J. T. Winkler described corporatism as a system under which government guides privately owned businesses towards order, unity, nationalism and success. They were quite clear as to what this system amounted to: "Let us not mince words. Corporatism is fascism with a human face. . . An acceptable face of fascism, indeed, a masked version of it, because so far the more repugnant political and social aspects of the German and Italian regimes are absent or only present in diluted forms.". . . Adrian Lyttelton, describing the rise of Italian fascism in The Seizure of Power, writes: "A good example of Mussolini's new views is provided by his inaugural speech to the National Exports Institute on 8 July 1926. . . Industry was ordered to form 'a common front' in dealing with foreigners, to avoid 'ruinous competition,' and to eliminate inefficient enterprises. . . The values of competition were to be replaced by those of organization: Italian industry would be reshaped and modernized by the cartel and trust. . .There was a new philosophy here of state intervention for the technical modernization of the economy serving the ultimate political objectives of military strength and self-sufficiency; it was a return to the authoritarian and interventionist war economy." Lyttelton writes that "fascism can be viewed as a product of the transition from the market capitalism of the independent producer to the organized capitalism of the oligopoly." It was a point that Orwell had noted when he described fascism as being but an extension of capitalism. Lyttelton quoted Nationalist theorist Affredo Rocco: "The Fascist economy is. . . an organized economy. It is organized by the producers themselves, under the supreme direction and control of the State.". . . Article 48 of the constitution of the Weimar Republic stated, "In case public safety is seriously threatened or disturbed, the Reich President may take the measures necessary to reestablish law and order, if necessary using armed force. In the pursuit of this aim, he may suspend the civil rights described in articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153, partially or entirely. The Reich President must inform the Reichstag immediately about all measures undertaken . . . The measures must be suspended immediately if the Reichstag so demands." It was this article that Hitler used to peacefully establish his dictatorship. And why was it so peaceful and easy? Because, according to Childers, the 'democratic" Weimar Republic had already used it 57 times prior to Hitler's ascendancy. There are eerie similarities between Article 48 and George Bush's approach. When you add to this the remarkable incompetence of the current regime, the collapse of both traditional liberal and conservative politics, and the economic crises, it feels like a new Weimar Republic setting the stage for awful things we can not at this point even imagine. It may be that history has something to tell us after all.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bolivia's Popular Upheaval

By TANYA M. KERSSEN and ROGER BURBACH

A popular upheaval is sweeping Bolivia, threatening the departmental capital of Santa Cruz, the bastion of the right wing rebellion against the government of Evo Morales. Some twenty thousand miners, peasants and coca growers are moving on the city to reclaim state institutions occupied by autonomist forces. They are also demanding the resignation of the Santa Cruz prefect (governor), Rubén Costas, and the apprehension of Branko Marinkovich, an agro-industrial magnet who heads up the Santa Cruz Civic Committee comprised of large land owning and business interests.

Five hundred kilometers away in Cochabamba in central Bolivia negotiations are taking place between the Morales government and the opposition. Thousands of demonstrators occupy the city’s streets, serving notice that the country’s social movements will tolerate no concessions to the right wing. The “Dialogue,” facilitated by Jose Miguel Insulza, the president of the Organization of American States, is to resolve the issues that have brought the country to the precipice of civil war. “I want to sign a document that will allow for the pacification of the country … and guarantee a new political constitution for the state,” proclaims Morales.

But the opposition is raising procedural and substantive objections to the governments’ proposals, even to an autonomy accord that contains concessions for the rebellious departments. According to Fidel Surco, the head of the National Coordination for Change, the coalition of Bolivia’s social movements allied with MAS, the Movement Towards Socialism: “We aren’t going to wait any longer…we know that the prefects are simply stalling so that no accords are reached.” Morales, in a warning to those in attendance at the Dialogue, said: “I have a letter from the mobilized social movements, they also want to participate. As far as I am concerned they are welcome, we await their participation.”

Almost a month ago the National Democratic Council (Conalde)--the organization of the right wing prefects and politicians based in the rebellious departments in the “Media Luna” of eastern Bolivia--sparked this crisis by launching an offensive to seize complete control of their departments. They set up road blockades and violently took over government facilities, including customs offices, airports, the agrarian reform offices and the national hydrocarbons company.

Their protests initially focused on reversing the government’s decision last year to use a portion of the revenue from the hydrocarbon gas tax to create a universal pension for citizens over sixty. Now they have expanded to include complete departmental autonomy, the end of agrarian program and a gutting of the new constitution slated to be voted on in a referendum late this year. Control over the oil and gas resources, which for the most part are located in the Media Luna, is the fundamental objective of the autonomy movement.

The conflict came to a head on September 11 in the Media Luna department of Pando when peasants from the community of El Porvenir began marching to Cobija, the departmental capital, to protest the right-wing sacking of government offices. They were ambushed by a para-military force with machine guns, resulting in 15 dead, 37 injured and 106 disappeared. Morales responded by declaring a state of siege in the department, sending in the army to retake government offices, and throwing the Pando prefect, Leopoldo Fernandez, in jail after he admited to giving orders to forcefully subdue protesters. A new prefect, Navy Admiral Landelino Rafael Banderia Arce, was appointed by Morales to impose order as many of the right wing leaders fled across the border to Brazil.

The events in El Porvenir precipitated a national mobilization of the indigenous peoples and social movements as well as a sense of outrage in neighboring countries. Chilean president Michelle Bachelet called an emergency meeting of South American countries (UNASUR) in Santiago to discuss the Bolivia crisis. The “Declaration of La Moneda”, signed by the twelve UNASUR governments, denounced the atrocities committed in Pando and any attempt to undermine the central government and Bolivia’s territorial integrity.

Morales, thanking UNASUR for its support, declared: “For the first time in South America’s history, the countries of our region are deciding how to resolve our problems, without the presence of the United States.” On September 10, the day before the massacre, Morales had expelled US ambassador Phillip Goldberg from Bolivia for meddling in the country’s internal affairs and meeting with Ruben Costas and the autonomous leaders.

For his part, Morales has thus far shown tremendous restraint in cracking down on the right wing violence, almost too much in fact. He has drawn criticism from the social movements, particularly in peasant and indigenous working-class communities, such as the “Plan 3,000” community adjacent to Santa Cruz, which has been living under constant threats from right wing racist groups like the Cruceño Youth Movement.

Although after the massacre, Conalde decided to lift the road blockades and relinquish some of the government offices (albeit with hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages), the political forces it represents retain effective control of the major urban areas of the Media Luna outside of Pando. This is why the peasant and indigenous movements are marching on Santa Cruz, to assert their rights and dignity throughout the Bolivian nation, with or without the support of Morales and the government.

Branko Marinkovich, for his part, is hitting the road in a “public relations campaign” to explain the autonomist cause. According to the newspaper La Razon, he is traveling to Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay to “denounce the acts of violence that were provoked by MAS in Pando and the government threats that loom over the negotiations underway in Cochabamba.” Following Marinkovich’s logic, the fifteen slain peasants are not only the authors of their own fate, but are to blame for all of the violence of the past month. Presumably, their very existence, let alone their demands for a share of the country’s resources, is provocation enough. By launching his South American tour, Marinkovich is also conveniently leaving the country before he can be apprehended for the damage and havoc of the past few weeks.

The marchers are isolating Santa Cruz as they set up fortified road blocks at strategic points while they continue to move on the city. Minister of Government Alfredo Rada expressed his support of the protesters, stating that they are merely reacting to the violence initiated by the Santa Cruz Civic Committee via the Cruceño Youth Movement. Likewise, Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera stated: “They have mobilized to defend the country and the integrity of our democracy.”

President Morales, on the other hand, seemed to be experiencing a spell of cold feet as he expressed his frustration with the actions of the social movements at a press conference in Cochabamba: “It frightens me because they say they will march until the prefect [Costas] resigns. I don’t agree with it, and it scares me.”

Nonetheless, the marchers are proceeding with their plan to descend on Santa Cruz. According to Joel Guarachi, the head of the National Confederation of Peasant Workers, some 600,000 protesters are located throughout the fifteen Santa Cruz provinces. He declares the march and occupation of the city’s plaza will be peaceful.

Throughout the crisis, Morales has been avoiding the appearance of government oppression in favor of appeals for peaceful negotiation and the rule of law. But the social movements are demanding more, a social revolution that over turns the political and economic order in the Media Luna. And Morales may be moving with the tide. The day after he said that Costas should not be forced to resign, he recalled the siege of La Paz in 1781 led by Tupac Katari, who demanded an end to Spanish oppression and the recognition of the basic rights of the Indian peoples and their communities. Now more than two centuries later the Indians and popular classes of Bolivia may finally be on the brink of realizing their aspirations.

Tanya M. Kerssen is a correspondent of the Center for the Study of the Americas (CENSA) in Bolivia, and a Masters candidate at the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She was tear-gassed on Monday in the Yungas region as she marched in a demonstration to demand justice for those who fell in the Porvenir massacre. tkerssen@berkeley.edu

Roger Burbach is Director of the Center for the Study of the Americas (CENSA) based in Berkeley, CA. He has written extensively on Latin America and is the author of “The Pinochet Affair: State Terrorism and Global Justice.


Exclusive: Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo on US Relations in Latin America, the Iraq War, Liberation Theology and Being the “Bishop of the Poor”

World leaders are gathering in New York this week for the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. Their newest member is Fernando Lugo, who was inaugurated last month as the president of Paraguay. Fernando Lugo is a former priest and well-versed in liberation theology. He was called the “Bishop of the Poor” and is known for leading anti-government protests and fighting for peasant rights. After resigning his position as bishop in late 2006, he campaigned and won the election on a platform of land reform and fighting corruption.

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to what’s happening here in New York. World leaders are gathering here for the sixty-third session of the United Nations General Assembly. Their newest member is Fernando Lugo, who was inaugurated last month as the president of Paraguay.

Fernando Lugo is a former priest, well versed in liberation theology. He was called the “Bishop of the Poor” and is known for leading anti-government protests and fighting for peasant rights. After resigning his position as bishop in late 2006, he campaigned and won the election on a platform of land reform and fighting corruption.

Lugo’s victory marks a historic break for Paraguay. He is the first president in sixty-six years not from the conservative Colorado Party.

Well, Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez and I had a chance to sit down with President Lugo on Sunday at the hotel where he was staying. This is his first broadcast interview in the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo in his first broadcast interview in the United States. He is the newest leader in the world, here in New York to address the United Nations General Assembly.


Three Way Presidential Debate - Obama, McCain, and Nader

Want to see Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader in the debates? Here's what you can do about it: Call Barack Obama at 866-675-2008. Hit 6 to speak with a campaign volunteer and insist that Ralph Nader and other ballot qualified third party candidates be included in the upcoming Presidential debates. Then, e-mail the executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates Janet Brown at jb@debates.org Tell her to end the exclusionary restrictions and allow Ralph into the debates. video created by Manila Ryce http://www.youtube.com/ManilaRyceTLM

Monday, September 22, 2008

Nader/Gonzalez California Campaign Events

Sept. 26th, 2pm Nader/Gonzalez Rally Los Angeles, CA Sept. 26th, 9:30pm Bill Maher Show / Debate After Party with Ralph Nader Hollywood, CA Sept. 27th, 3pm Nader/Gonzalez Rally San Diego, CA Sept. 27th, 7:30pm Nader/Gonzalez Rally Encinitas, CA Sept. 28th, 11am Brunch with Ralph Nader Los Angeles, CA Sept. 28th, 3:00pm Nader/Gonzalez Rally Santa Barbra, CA Sept. 28th, 7:30pm Nader/Gonzalez Rally San Luis Obispo, CA Sept. 29th, 12:30pm Lunch with Ralph Nader Carmel, CA Sept. 29th, 3:30pm Nader/Gonzalez Rally Monterey, CA Sept. 29th, 7:30pm Nader/Gonzalez Rally Santa Cruz, CA Sept. 30th, 12pm Lunch with Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez San Francisco, CA Sept. 30th, 2:30pm Nader/Gonzalez Rally w/ Cindy Sheehan San Francisco, CA Sept. 30th, 7pm Nader/Gonzalez Rally w/ Cindy Sheehan Oakland, CA

OBAMA BACKS OUT OF GOOGLE DEBATE WITH RALPH NADER

Open Debates

Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 04:38:40 PM PDT

In a country where we value competition and the freedom of choice it seems absurd to me that we have an election system set up to exclude as much competition as possible. During the primaries we saw Ron Paul being excluded from the ballot in Texas because he would not sign a republican party loyalty oath, and we saw Kucinich and others excluded at the last minute from debates they were invited to. Now we have Obama backing out of any debate that allows the independant candidates to share the stage including the Google debates in Louisiana and the Fort Hood debates organized by veteran's groups. All this despite telling Tim Russert on Meet the Press that he would debate "any of my opponents about what this country means, what makes it great."

Now we will see a few debates between the Republican and the Democratic candidates paid for and hosted by powerful corporations, with a format that the candidates agreed to, but not made public by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

I understand the purpose of the primaries is to narrow the potential candidates down to one, but I disagree with how campaign financing works and the weakness of the equal time rule. Both skew the nominating process in favor of the candidates who receive the most money from corporations. I want to at least hear from candidates who are unencumbered by the desires of the most powerful forces on the planet. That's why I was heartened when I ran accross OpenDebates.org, a group that works to ensure that the presidential debates serve the American people first. I urge everyone who cares about democracy to sign their petition which reads: We, the undersigned, support Open Debates' campaign to reform the presidential debate process. We believe that the presidential debates should serve the American people first, not political parties. We support replacing the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates with the nonpartisan Citizens' Debate Commission, so that inspiring formats can be employed, pressing national issues can be addressed, and popular independent and third party candidates can be included.

Sign it here.


U.S. reaps what it sows in Bolivia

September 22, 2008

The near breakdown of relations between the United States and Bolivia is a perfect example of the baleful consequences of the inherent disrespect the U.S. historically has exhibited toward the region.

Despite La Paz's and Washington's ideological differences, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon might have made one more effort to indicate a clear U.S. commitment to the territorial integrity of Bolivia. Vigorous support of President Evo Morales in the face of the opposition's reckless strategy on the part of Santa Cruz and the eastern region pro-autonomy leaders might have provided a compelling pressure on the secessionists, who were more interested in getting their hands on the region's hydrocarbon windfall revenues than in avoiding the violence that tragically has claimed many lives.

It is clear that the United States remains blithely removed from the multifaceted developments that are taking place in an increasingly self-directed Latin America. Long distracted by Iraq and its war on terrorism, Washington would be wise to turn its attention to its vital hemispheric interests or risk seeing them washed away. These comprise far more than drugs and terrorism.

If the United States is to play a constructive role there, it must architect a new relationship with the region that can be deemed credible. This means doing more than simply lobbing Parthian shots at what it believes to be recalcitrant leaders.

The White House must be less concerned over the resurgence of socialism than the demise of democracy. If such a repositioning does not soon happen, it may be too late for Washington to develop mutually beneficial policies toward the region. Latin American-led development strategies, such as the Caracas-inspired Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, could appear more relevant to the region's well-being than any U.S.-imposed free-trade agreements.

Also, the fledgling Union of South American Nations joins the Organization of American States as a multilateral, democratic body capable of facilitating regional integration and conflict resolution. The huge difference is that the United States is not a member of UNASUR. It is precisely this difference that could lead to the OAS being supplanted by the new group.

While the United States may rebuff President Morales' socialist advocacy, it cannot deny that his reform agenda is supported by a majority of Bolivians. Approved twice in elections deemed legitimate by international monitors, Morales has clearly validated his continuing mandate, earning a greater percentage than ever witnessed in a Bolivian vote during the Aug. 10 referendum. The opposition's attempt to steamroll the government with the departmental results, which demonstrated the support of local autonomy initiatives, provides yet another example of it playing fast and loose with Bolivian democracy.

Morales, on the other hand, urges dialogue and is open to altering the draft constitution to include more self-rule for the wealthy departments of the Media Luna. Furthermore, his government has strongly rejected offers of military intervention made by his close ally Hugo ChÁvez.

U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia Philip Goldberg insists that he did not, as charged, engage in meetings with the Bolivian opposition. Even if this is true, his expulsion from the country demonstrates that he failed to be helpful. Above all, he should have worked closely with Morales to energetically support the democratically elected government in its efforts to preserve Bolivia's unity.

Prophetically, it was UNASUR, a pubescent multilateral organization that responded to the situation far more muscularly than Washington. At its Sept. 15 meeting, nine Latin American heads of state agreed to determinedly support Morales and reiterated that they were at his disposal to facilitate negotiation.

While it appears too late for this White House to roll back the present tide of anti-U.S. sentiment in the region, the next U.S. president must embrace the irreversible changes that have taken hold among our neighbors to the south. This new Latin America is a place where more left-leaning presidents have taken office in recent years through legitimate democratic mechanisms than ever before.

This Latin America is building strong and relevant autonomous regional organizations. This Latin America deserves our collegiality in its search to fully realize its potential.


Birns, a former defense researcher and strategist and member of the Institute for Strategic Studies in London, has been the director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs since its founding in 1975. Bryant is a research fellow at COHA. She has completed studies in international affairs at the Catholic University of Cordoba in Argentina and worked as a policy analyst at the Foundation for Security and Democracy Bogota, Colombia.

La Riva/Puryear: Bail out workers, not Wall Street!

The Party for Socialism and Liberation’s Gloria La Riva/Eugene Puryear Presidential campaign has issued a statement on the massive financial industry bailout currently being concocted in D.C., calling out the hypocrisy inherent in the scheme:

When a worker can’t pay his or her credit card bill, that’s their problem. When a working class family can’t keep up with their mortgage, they are foreclosed and thrown onto the streets. But when the capitalist bankers lose hundreds of billions in wild speculation, the federal government comes to their rescue and makes the tax payers foot the bill! This is theft on a grand scale. Billionaire bankers are protected while millions of workers lose their jobs and homes.

Working people didn’t make this crisis, why should we be the ones who have to suffer? We didn’t create the housing bubble, create predatory lending practices, gamble away billions of dollars in the Wall St. casino. Now the government is creating a fund with our money to take over the bad debts of the bankers and corporate capitalists. For the rich, it’s “heads we win tails you lose,” showing once again that the “free enterprise system” is nothing more than a myth.

In response to the bailout, the PSL candidate call for the following reforms:

  • An immediate moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and rent hikes.
  • No layoffs—jobs for all.
  • Extend unemployment benefits at full pay for everyone without a job.
  • Open the books of the banks for a workers’ inspection
  • Criminal prosecution of banking, finance, insurance and all other executives whose companies have benefited from the foreclosure crisis.
  • Take the $430 million spent everyday on the occupation of Iraq to fund people’s needs. Hurricane and flood victims must have a government guarantee that they will receive all necessary assistance.
  • An aggressive sales tax on the stock market.
  • Creation and funding of jobs programs throughout the country to eliminate unemployment.

  • This Thursday National Day of Action to Open the Debates

    ShareThis

    This Thursday National Day of Action to Open the Debates .

    William Greider put it best yesterday when he called Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's upcoming bailout of Wall Street: "All sugar for the villains, lasting pain and damage for the victims."

    "As I have been saying for several months, this crisis has the potential to bring down one or both political parties, take your choice," Greider said.

    And investment analyst Christopher Whalen chimed in:

    "The joyous reception from Congressional Democrats to Paulson's latest massive bailout proposal smells an awful lot like yet another corporatist lovefest between Washington's one-party government and the Sell Side investment banks."

    Strip aside the rhetoric of the two major parties.

    And what is left is one party devoted to Wall Street.

    Who represents Main Street?

    Nader/Gonzalez.

    So, why is that when the Presidential debates open this Friday, only Wall Street will be in the ring?

    And the man who predicted the disaster of deregulation is out?

    Because the Commission on Presidential Debates is controlled by the two parties and funded by the corporations.

    That's why we're sponsoring a National Day of Action to Open the Debates.

    This Thursday, September 25, 2008, the day before the first debate.

    Once again the Commission intends to silence the majority of Americans by shutting out Nader/Gonzalez from the debates.

    We're asking all of our supporters to get ready.

    Because on Thursday, there are four ways you can take action to Open Up the Debates.

    1. Write

    Letters to the editor, to your friends, family and anyone in your address book, companies and corporations who sponsor the presidential debates.

    2. Phone

    The Commission on Presidential Debates, Obama and McCain Campaigns, Talk Shows, Newspapers, and National and Local Media Outlets.

    3. Create

    Posters, fliers and literature to pass out and hang up at college campuses and other high traffic areas and banners to display to morning and evening rush hour traffic -- Check out our "Open the Debates" section on the website for downloadable materials.

    4. Protest

    Outside the Democratic and Republican headquarters in your community, at corporations that sponsor the debates, at radio stations, newspapers and media outlets not covering Ralph Nader.

    (Phone numbers, e-mails and addresses will be available tomorrow at votenader.org/debates.)

    Many Americans believe they are getting the full story when they tune into the televised and highly publicized debates.

    What people don't see is that behind the scenes the debates are controlled by a corporate funded entity.

    Third party and independent candidates are arbitrarily required to be polling at 15% according to five national polls in order to participate in the debates, even though these third parties are forced to devote all resources to get on the ballot in all 50 states during the months leading up to the debates -- costing well over a million dollars!

    Who decides who gets into the debates?

    The so-called "non-partisan" Commission (as described by the New York Times today). Non-partisan? Headed by Paul Kirk and Frank Fahrenkopf, the former heads of the Democratic and Republican parties?

    Since the media blithely adopts the framing of the corporate parties, we must take it upon ourselves to expose the Commission on Presidential Debates as the real spoiler of the democratic system in this country.

    Just recently Green party candidate Elizabeth May was included into the debates in Canada.

    Why?

    Massive e-mailing, phone calls, and letters to the editor, including one from former Prime Minister Joe Clark, displaying public outrage prompted the debate commission to invite Elizabeth May to participate.

    We can do it too!

    So on Thursday, take action.

    And then send us your videos and photos and we'll post them on our Open the Debates page.

    And here is something you can do right now.

    Donate to Nader/Gonzalez.

    We're in the middle of our Three Way Race fundraising drive.

    And we need to hit $150,000 by the end of the month.

    And if you donate $100 now, we'll ship to you a copy of The Ralph Nader Reader, a 441-page collection of Ralph's writings on Wall Street vs. Main Street, the battle for democracy, the corporate state, and our hyper-commercialized culture. If you donate $100 now, we will send you this historic collection -- autographed by the man himself -- Ralph Nader. (This offer ends at 11:59 p.m. September 30, 2008.)

    Onward to November

    Emily Przekwas The Nader Team


    V.P. Candidate Alexander: Fed Rescue Plan a Temporary Fix

    Stewart A. Alexander Socialist Party USA Nominee for U.S. Vice President September 22, 2008 At first the Bush administration said the price tag to rescue the U.S. economy would cost $500 billion and within days the price tag was revised to a whopping $700 billion; if the rescue plan is approved by Congress, working people will be in a financial black hole for $11.3 trillion (the national debt). Vice Presidential Candidate Stewart A. Alexander, says “This rescue plan is only a temporary fix for an economy with many fractures. The root cause of the U.S. economic crisis is the system, capitalism; and every 75 years a new bailout plan becomes necessary.” This past week, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. presented the bleak news regarding the U.S. economy to ranking members in Congress and the two men made clear that the U.S. economy is facing an economic crisis that could quickly spread to all areas of the globe. Within the past two weeks, the U.S. government took the extraordinary measure to bailout the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; and to indicate the depth of the U.S. financial crisis, the following week the U.S. government bailed out AIG (American International Group, Inc.). Unlike Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, AIG is not directly regulated by the federal government. With the additional $700 billion that the Bush administration is seeking from Congress, the American working class will be strapped with $1 trillion of debt to bailout the billionaires of the world with no guarantees of repayment; and no such plans for repayment have been offered to the American taxpayer. Even if Congress approves the $700 billion that the Bush administration is now seeking from hard working Americans, Stewart Alexander believes “it would require much more; perhaps $10 trillion.” Alexander notes that the current economic crisis is now a global crisis and has spread to most of the major economies of the world. Recently, Secretary Henry Paulson stated on Fox News Sunday, “There are no guarantees;” however, Alexander says, “With these federal bailouts there are many risk that will jeopardize the future well-being of all working people. It is likely working class people will be subject to sharp declines in their living standards, the U.S. currency will weaken further against other major currencies and inflation will further destabilize the U.S. economy. It is also likely Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will be restructured to provide minimal benefits and services.” Alexander says, “The $700 billion that the Bush administration is asking Congress to approve is an 11th hour plea by the Bush White House that reveals an urgent cry; not to let the U.S. economy crash on our watch.” For more information search the web for: Stewart A. Alexander http://labs.daylife.com/journalist/stewart_a._alexander http://StewartAlexanderCares.com http://www.vote-socialist.org/ http://www.sp-usa.org/ http://www.politics1.com/p2008.htm

    "...Whatever it is we're seeing in model space, life is about to go through a dramatic change of 'order'.

    George Ure says ...

    "...Whatever it is we're seeing in model space, life is about to go through a dramatic change of 'order'.

    The highlights are Massive change in financial structures (ongoing, see next item) then whatever the October 7th events are, then a series of release or emotions events till March 2009. Something with a lot of 'military' aspect to it on October 15th, or thereabout. Then one big earthquake, likely Pacific Northwest around December 10th, with another one within days (Dec. 12th in model space).

    Then we get rising discontent/talk of rebellion/revolution through the spring, the Summer of Hell in 2009, and strange disappearances - but it ain't the Rapture - think more like 'the harvesting' starts in late summer 2009.

    Me? I'll be going on an anorexic diet. Don't want to look like a main course come 2010.

    Taking Back October 7th

    One Chance to "Save America"

    How to Save the Day with Private Sector Coinvestment

    The first thing you need to understand is that any media reference to the Resolution Trust Corp's bailout of the Savings and Loan mess is a deliberate misleading of American public opinion so that our collective life savings can be hijacked by the bankers cabal.

    The key difference to keep in mind is this: In the case of the RTC, when the assets were rolled up and resold, the main players went out of business. In the flim-flam now being pulled on the American public, the main players will not only stay in business, they will make new fortunes paid for with your tax dollars.

    Oh, and if you think this stinks, that's the smell of greed."

    http://urbansurvival.com/week.htm for a sample letter to send off...


    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    The Arthur of the Welsh

    His voice went even deeper, and suddely he chanted, "I have been in many shapes. I have been the blade of a sword, a star, a lantern light, a harp and a harper, both." He paused, saw something spark in her eyes, ended diffidently, "I have fought, though small, in battle before the Ruler of Britain."

    "I remember!" she said, laughing now. "Wise child, spoiled child. You liked riddles, didn't you? I remember you, Taliesin." She stood up. Brendel leaped to the dock and helped her alight.

    "I have been in many shapes," Flidais said again, "but I was his harper once."

    She nodded, very tall on the stone dock, looking down at him, memory playing in her eyes and about her mouth. Then there came a change. Both men saw it and were suddenly still.

    "You sailed with him, didn't you?" said Guinevere. "You sailed in the first Prydwen."

    Flidais' smile faded. "I did, Lady," he said. "I went with the Warrior to Caer Sidi, which is Cader Sedat here. I wrote of it, of that voyage. You will remember." He drew breath and recited:

    "Thrice the fullness of Prydwen we went with Arthur,

    Except seven, none returned from--"

    He stopped abruptly at her gesture.


    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    The Labor Movement in Iraq is Standing Strong Against the Puppet Government

    Friday, September 19 2008 Contributed by: WorkerFreedom Thousands of electricity workers took to the street on September 16, 2008 in Firdaws Square in Baghdad in a demonstration called and led by General Federation of workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (GFWCUI) represented by Subhi Albadry, President of GFWCUI and Labor Movement Unifying Bureau represented by Hassan Juma, president. This event came as a result of the current situations of the infrastructure (electricity that is given to people about one hour a day in particular). The workers came from different parts of Iraq to denounce the government performance especially the minister of electricity; corruption and the neglect that is given to this sector and its employees by the current government, let alone the banning of freedom of association. Although the security forces were surrounding the area where the event took place, and prevented many other workers to join the rally, the participants were able to voice out their demands that were: 1. The dismissal of the Minister of Electricity Karim Wahid and his inner-circle 2. Bringing all corrupt officers and employees to justice 3. Hiring professional staff who are immune from sectarianism 4. The return of the political prisoners to their jobs 5. Giving the workers who are on contract a permanent position. It is noteworthy that the Labor Movement Unifying Bureau is consisted of General Union of Oil Workers, General Union of Electricity Workers, the Union of Rail Workers and GFWCUI and is formed in 2007 headed by Hassan Juma and his vice president Abuwatan as a step forwards unifying as many unions as possible to form confederation that include all workers in Iraq.

    October 14th

    ... May we speak? Sorry … go ahead. We are aware that at this moment you have tears in your eyes and you are afraid. How’s Edwina doing with that?? (see snap shot channellings) We are not used to pain of the heart. The colour pink is fading. And so is my courage!! What would you have us say dearest one? We can only send you pulses of strength. Yet, on another level of yourself you knew of all of this. Of the ‘courage’ it would take to embark upon such a journey. You must understand that you were one of many many who volunteered and were considered for the post. Do you not see how delicate this matter is? YEP!!!! Do you think that with such a matter we would have pulled you name out of a hat? There are reasons beyond your comprehension at this time that … Sorry chaps … Can’t do it today. It’s just all a bit too much. If you could just … appear to me with a sticker on your head saying Oct 14th and a tick … then perhaps I may feel stronger to carry on. The thing is … I KNOW that when we work that you are for real. I know ME, and I couldn’t possibly write in the intelligent fashion that you do. So … Why am I doubting that you are going to show? Because you are allowing the fear in your human form to override the Truth that lies within the very depth of your soul. Ask yourself this Blossom? Would you lie to yourself? You cannot lie to another in anyway shape or form, so why would you think that you would treat the beauty of your soul in such a way? I don’t know. I don’t know!! I’m just so blown away at the enormity of the task you have asked me to do … and did!! In all my life I never had an inkling of this, and it’s taken me completely by surprise. It all happened so quickly. I WILL work through this chaps and come out the other side. What choice do I have? God ... If I’m your spokesperson, I, of all people have to TRUST you are going to do as you said you will. I really apologize for my attitude of ‘nontrust’ today. Is that nontrust in you or me I wonder? Neither … You are in your human form. You are behaving as any human in their RIGHT MIND would do. Any human in their RIGHT MIND who has humility and the desire to bring only TRUTH is a human that we are very proud to associate with. OK … that did it for me. Burst in to tears! Gotta go … got a world to convince!! Swords of Light to the skies. What ho… And all that. 2. Next day ... feeling better! Much is happening on the planet in readiness for your arrival. I hope you’re sprucing up the outside of that ship; you’ve got to look your best you know! Many other channels it seems, have confirmed you’re coming on that date. Excitement is mounting down here … how’s plans going up there? All is in order dear Lady. Although we are slightly concerned that many of your race are still unaware of this happening and we are worried of the shock to their systems and the damage that may cause to them. We wish to bring no harm to anyone. Sadly it will be of those who are harmed … damaging themselves … through lack of understanding and from the refusal to wake up when we have been sending messages to your planet for so long now. In accordance with Divine Law we have set the date of our arrival and in TRUST you have emitted that date out to your world. It is now for the individual to decide in their soul what to make of this news. For indeed it shall be news. There will be NO DOUBTING of that. It is necessary for us and you to bring in the LOVE and calm that will be required. For as we have stated there shall be much panic from those who did not want to know of us. We come to change the ways of your world and by our very presentation we shall be setting those wheels in motion. Not only will we be bringing in the Higher vibration of LOVE to your planet, which will have a great affect on all things, but it shall have a greater effect on your thoughts. One’s soul will reconsider past doctrines. One’s soul will be uplifted for it will begin to listen more intently to what its inner most Truth is telling it. What will it be like for those of you who already are convinced of our coming? What will it be like for those who hope we are coming? What will it be like for those who think that what we have posted out via you Blossom, our vessel, is merely speculation and of no Truth at all?? How we desire for those souls of the latter sentence to search within. Just for a short moment and just consider the possibility of this taking place. Even that will assist them in some way. We ask that in preparation for this, that those who are in Knowledge of the Truth send out Rays of Light to those in general who find us to be of a minds fantasy. Do not underestimate the power of those Rays when they come from the Truth of your heart. Add fervor to this quest. We ask you to remember of the Light that is in your heart. We ask you to recall LIGHT HEARTEDNESS. Be of bright and cheery dispositions dear ones. This is not a terrible thing that is to take place. It is of the opposite. It is of the utmost importance to your species as a whole. For the betterment of it. Surely that is something to celebrate. Surely one would feel the joy that such an event shall bring. Joy, because the TRUTH shall be apparent at last. There can be no more stalling. No more hiding of this great Truth. We The Federation have chosen to uncover our selves in our Truth for it is indeed time to reveal the mockery that has been presented to you as a Truth for so long. How those who have made others suffer, shall suffer. Forgive them. Assist their souls to rise. For in the Truth of yourselves there is no malice, no venom projected to another. Only Love dear friends. Only Love. YOU ARE OF THIS. That is why when we bring in this higher frequency , it shall resonate deeply within the core of your being. For it is a message from home. A postcard from your loved ones letting you know all is well back in the wisdom of your origin. WE SAY AGAIN TO YOU … BE UPLIFTED. THAT IS THE POINT OF OUR VISIT … TO UPLIFT YOU AND EVERYTHING ELSE FROM THE VIBRATION THAT HAS SWAMPED YOU, INTO THE VIBRATION THAT ALLOWS YOU TO BREATH IN AN ENERGY THAT RAISES YOU INTO THE GLORY OF THE TRUTH … THE TRUE TRUTH!! We shall of course be in discourse with you as the days draw ever closer to our arrival. Hold on to your hats.

    Conservatives Scare More Easily Than Liberals, Say Scientists

    Conservatives Scare More Easily Than Liberals, Say Scientists
    "...Asked whether the findings imply a fearmongering strategy for conservatives, New York University psychologist David Amodio responded, "Yes. And some people believe that they are actively using this strategy." The Bush administration has been accused of exploiting fears, though it's hardly a new approach. "The whole aim of practical politics," wrote journalist gadfly H.L. Mencken, "is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins." Jost condemned such tactics. "From an ethical standpoint, conservative campaigns should not exploit feelings of fear in the general population," he said. Of course, ethics tend to be forgotten during election seasons -- but fear-mongering may be counterproductive. "From a practical standpoint, I think that there will eventually be a backlash against those tactics as it becomes more obvious how exploitative they are," said Jost."
    Read full article here
    "When the bio-survival circuit flashes danger, all other mental activity ceases." Robert Anton Wilson

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    Cultural Attitudes Toward Sexual Experience

    Jeff Mishlove Dionysariadne
    Here is my condensation of the final chapter of V.F. Calverton's 1928 book, The Bankruptcy of Marriage. Calverton's main point is to debunk the idea that certain contemporary attitudes towards matters such as chastity are, in fact, universal:

    With primitive man sex was a superstition, with ancient man it was a religious cult. The primeval attitude toward sex was free of pruriency and secretiveness. The sex organs were symbols of potency and objects of adoration. Even the exanimate world was endowed with sexual attributes. In the primitive concept of the gods was embodied the sexual origin of the world. Uranus (SKY), for example, was the male in unending sexual congress with Gaia (EARTH), the female; in this embrace humanity was conceived as in a constant state of propagation. Phallic worship among the Greeks and Romans was a widespread and accepted custom. In all these attitudes sex has a social aspect. It is translated into every form of life. In art its manifestations are arresting and signal The Comedy, for instance, as Aristotle observed, originated in the Phallic performances, in honor of Phales himself. Greek religion is saturated with sex. Judaism likewise embodies the concrete evidences of phallicism.

    It has only been since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with the rise of the bourgeois class and its narrow-bound morality, as we saw in earlier chapters, that sex became discussion-gagged by the censor. The stork now became the errand boy of the doctor, and ignorance was sweetly cherished as innocence. Candor became a vice, and hypocrisy a virtue. Art in the nude was draped, legs suddenly became limbs, and passion became a sin of the pagans. The difference between the clean attitude of ancient man toward sex and the unclean attitude of modern man is well illustrated in the controversy that arose about the Greek play Lysistrata. In this play, when it was originally staged in Greece, the actors wore artificial phalli, and no one was either shocked, surprised or bewildered. When Aubrey Beardsley, however, illustrated this Greek play according to its original form, with its phallicism manifest, he horrified the bourgeois world, and was scorned and attacked with unmitigated vigor.

    To primitive and ancient man, it is clear, sex was a significant phenomenon, which he approached with reverence and candor. He did not allow the element of shame to intrude into his conception of it. He did not attempt to obscure or deny its realities. He spoke of the organs of procreation with affection and with a clean respect for their potency. To him sex embodied the mysterious source of creation and he idealized it in art and religion. Modern man, on the contrary, has been taught either to look upon sex as a sin, or as something unclean and unbeautiful except in its stupid sentimentalities and childish bathos. He has endeavored to hide it, and confine it to the unspoken. He has encouraged ignorance of it as an ideal. Pruriency and smugness grew up as characteristic manifestations of this ostrich-like attitude. An unclean and unhealthy "refinement" was the consequence. It was not until our present generation that this "refinement" was recognized as a form of hypocrisy, a spurious virtue that brought only ignorance and pain, and a sense of sickening impotency with its realization.

    Sexual customs in modern times as well as in ancient reveal wide and sweeping fluctuations. The concept of chastity has often been singled out as something which all moralities have advocated. This again is nothing more than an attempt to force historical fact to fit one's moral predilections. It is, of course, essentially fallacious. Among primitive peoples chastity is often considered a vice instead of a virtue. Among the Nasamonians the custom is for the bride to surrender herself to all the wedding guests before she welcomes her husband. Herodotus describes this custom in the following manner:

    "When a Nasamonian marries, it is the custom for the first night to lie with all the guests in turn, and each, when he has intercourse with her, gives her some present which he has brought with him."

    Pomponius Mela claimed that greater honor attached to those women who had many such sex relations on their wedding night than those who had but a few. Diodorus, commenting upon the customs of the inhabitants of the Belearic Islands, wrote:

    "They have a strange custom at their weddings, for on the wedding night the oldest friends and guests lie first with the bride; then the others in the order of their ages. The bridegroom is the last man who is admitted to that honor."

    Even at the present day this same custom continues among the Barea of Abyssinia, the Australian aborigines, and the Waitata and the Watveta of East Africa. Similar usages existed in New Guinea, Cuba, Peru and Central America. Among Southern Slavs, until a short time ago, it was the convention for the two best men at the wedding to spend the night with the bride in bed before she experienced the embrace of her husband. Until fifty years ago it was still the custom for the male guests to disrobe the bride in the nuptial chamber. Just as it had been the practice in ancient Ireland for the king to deflower every bride before she reached her husband. Fertility in these early societies was important, and not virginity. The fear of hemorrhage accompanying defloration was perhaps the main reason for the contempt for virginity.

    Virginity is often the source of great superstitious fear. Many peoples, for instance, specifically enjoined early intercourse in order to avoid the stigma of virginity. In Egypt the girl had to lose her virginity by promiscuous intercourse prior to puberty. With the Basoga-Batamba of Uganda virginity in a woman, who has reached a marriageable age, is considered criminal. Among the Bushango the aim of a girl after she has been betrothed is to have frequent intercourse with many men in order to occasion a pregnancy. This is an accomplishment which gratifies her prospective husband because it is definite assurance that she is not sterile. The Indians of Canada were so inbred with the same idea that a pregnant girl was the greatest attraction for men anxious to marry. In the Philippines, the Bisayos scorn their wives if they prove virgins. In Nigeria, among the Kaje, this same attitude predominates. A virgin there can command only the price of a goat; a girl who has already borne a child, however, is worth a horse. In the Congo regions a virgin is worth only one-sixth as much as a woman who has had

    a child. In New Zealand women are considered fortunate because they have never known when they were virgins—for they have love affairs with boys almost from the cradle. This tendency to unrestricted intercourse from childhood is to be found among most primitive and many ancient peoples. Only in certain places, where virginity is associated with property value, is this general freedom reined-in by an economic custom. It is a curious phenomenon that virginity should be particularly guarded in parts of Africa where the influence of the slave-trade was most profound. And wherever it is guarded it is done so because of its economic value and not moral virtue.

    With the exaltation of virginity is associated the subjection of women. Virginity has a value for the man who sells the woman or who purchases the wife. It is not the woman who profits by the economic asset which her virginity commands—but the man. While suicide in defense of one's virtue is not an uncommon gesture on the part of the Chinese woman, Chinese men indulge in a variety of sexual freedoms all of which are entirely approved by custom. Little Wives become their property as well as their Great Wife; female slaves are often employed to offer more devious thrills for their master's erotic proclivities; and the habit of providing prostitutes for the entertainment of male friends is a frequent practice among the mandarins. It is only the woman who is forced to protect her purity. Among those peoples in which women are dominant, we do not find them enslaving themselves in any such manner. In fact they maintain a greater freedom in their sexual relations often than the men. In Uganda, Hawaii, Tahiti, Paraguay, Sierra Leone, Madagascar and among the Bosonge of the Congo, women disdain such virtues as foolish and unnatural. In these places women are not subject to men.

    The exclusive possessiveness which has been encircled about the sexual relation it is patent, is only of recent evolution. The habit of lending one's wife, or even daughter, was common in many parts of Europe not many generations ago. It continued even in the fifteenth century in Holland:

    "It is the custom in the Netherlands that whosoever hath a dear guest, unto him he giveth his wife in good faith."

    The idea that marriage has always been an affair of life-long duration is likewise absurd. Among many primitive peoples marriage usually lasted until the birth of a child or at best for a few years afterwards. Among the Manes of Sahara the women consider it proper to marry frequently; a long married life is condemned as unrefined and vulgar. The Abyssinians have limited or trial marriages as a general practice. The North American Indians also had trial marriages. For instance the Wyandottes had trial marriages which continued for only several days. Among the Hurons, Rev. D. Jones states that women are purchased (for marriage) by the night, week, month, or winter. The Cherokee Iroquois change wives several times a year. The Esquimaux are known for seldom keeping their wives more than a few years. In Malaya individuals marry forty and fifty times during a life-span. These variations could be multiplied without number were we to touch the habits and customs of all the different peoples in our world.

    In very modern times the practice of polygamy, which ordinarily is associated with primitive and barbarous peoples—although the Biblical Jews practiced it on the basis of moral principle—was recommended by a poet no less conspicuous than John Milton and a moralist no less ingenious than John Lyser. Milton, who was a Puritan, made a plea for polygamy that was grounded in Biblical testimony:

    "Either polygamy is a true marriage, or all children born in that state are spurious, which would include the whole race of Jacob, the twelve tribes chosen by God. . . Not a trace appears of the interdiction of polygamy throughout the whole law, not even in any of the prophets."

    In 1650 shortly following the peace of Westphalia, the Frankish Kreistag at Nuremberg, confronted by the decimated population which had resulted from the Thirty Years' War, passed a ruling permitting every man to marry two women.

    In other words, it was only a little over 275 years ago when an actual decree in favor of polygamy was issued by a Christian state in what is now Germany. And today we find Norman Haire prophesying polygamy as a possible solution for the sex problem:

    “Legalized polygamy would offer many advantages . . . there are many men, and some women, who apparently need more than one person of the opposite sex to make life reasonably happy for them. Before marriage the man and women would state whether they desired the union to be monogamous or polygamous."

    The attitude of the Christian Church itself has undergone a surprising change. In the early centuries of its era "married life was treated as absolutely unlawful." St. Ambrose declared that "married people ought to blush at the state in which they are living," and Tertullian maintained that the disappearance of man was better than his propagation by sexual intercourse. The Christian hatred of woman strengthened her subjection. "Marriage and propagation are of Satan" was one of the famous proclamations of the priest Saturninus. Today the Church has reversed its attitude completely. Marriage is now lawful and priests and preachers confirm and bless it. The words of Tertullian are repudiated. It is the multiplication and not the extinction of humankind which is embodied in its opposition to birth control and abortion.

    It has been our purpose in this long recitation of varying attitudes toward love and the sex-life to illustrate the relativity of standards and their impermanency in terms of social change. There is apparently nothing inherent or irrevocable in any attitude. We can only speak of values in reference to their immediate environment. They have no universal or unchanging sanctity which can be defended as ideal.

    Jeff Mishlove's Blog Index


    9/30 Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez in Oakland, CA

    Thursday Sep 18th, 2008 12:26 PM
    by Peace And Freedom Party
    The Peace and Freedom Party is having a a campaign rally for their candidates Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez on Tuesday Sep 30 at the Grand Theater in Oakland
    http://peaceandfreedom.org/home/index.php/events-calendar/239-ralph-nader-and-matt-gonzalez-in-oakland-ca Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez in Oakland, CA On Tuesday, September 30, 7 pm, Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez will speak in Oakland, CA at the Grand Lake Theater, Grand Ave at MacArthur Blvd. (Grand Ave or Lakeshore Ave exits off Interstate 580; No. 57 MacArthur bus) Cindy Sheehan, Marsha Feinland and other Peace & Freedom Party candidates will also speak. Suggested donation is $10, $5 low income, student, or senior; no one will be turned away for lack of money. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

    Venezuela’s Military in the Hugo Chávez Era

    In recent years President Hugo Chávez has become Washington’s ultimate Latin American nemesis, with the Venezuelan leader striving to bedevil the U.S. at every possible opportunity. While his rhetoric and flamboyant attitude might otherwise go unnoticed, Venezuela is an oil rich country and Chávez has used his “petro-dollars” to upgrade his nation’s military, mostly through the purchase of Russian-weaponry, and has implemented a foreign policy that is breathtaking in its sweep and novelty.

    The latest confrontation between the two adversaries took place on September 11, 2008, when President Chávez expelled the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, Patrick Duddy, in solidarity with Bolivia’s leader, Evo Morales, who had taken the same action shortly before. Nerves were further stressed among Washington officials when, as part of upcoming military exercises in the Caribbean, two supersonic Russian bombers landed in Venezuela to take part in scheduled maneuvers.

    Due to the continuing rhetorical salvos being exchanged between Washington and Caracas, the Venezuelan military finds itself in an awkward position. Its unique position in the middle of the Chávez-Washington feud, denies it the possibility of a professional relationship with the U.S. Such a relationship, previously one of its most important, would provide it with military hardware, training, and invitations to Pentagon-sponsored ministerial gatherings, as well as attendance at the Fort Benning former School of the Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC).

    The Venezuela-Russia Relationship For more than 5 years, President Chávez has been seeking the modernization of the Venezuelan Armed Forces (FAN). The military budget was increased by 46.04 percent from 2004 to 2006, positioning Venezuela atop the list of countries with the largest military investment in the region during that period. The Venezuelan armed forces have increased to nearly 129,150 members. The rearmament of the FAN can be seen as an evident move towards the reconstruction of the military potential of a country facing a threat from what the Venezuelan head of State calls the Asymmetrical War. Another part of Chávez’s strategy was the creation of a military reserve and a territorial guard in 2005, with an addition to the second section of the Organic Law of the Armed Forces (Ley Orgánica de las Fuerzas Armadas –LOFAN), clause which also increased the purchase of light weaponry, handing out approximately 2 million guns for street-to-street resistance in case the country came under attack.

    The Caracas-Moscow relationship made international headlines in 2006 when Venezuela agreed to purchase military equipment for a total of approximately $3 billion from Russia (2.2 billion euros). Through this purchase, Venezuela acquired 24 Su-30MK2 multi-purpose fighters, 100,000 AK-103 rifles and more than 50 helicopters of various models. Chávez has been quoted by the Russian news agency Itar-Tass as saying that only a strong military “can stop the imperia [the United States], which threatens our democracy.”

    In addition, the management of Russia’s Izhevsk Manufacturing plant has reported that it will build two factories in Venezuela to manufacture Kalashnikov rifle-type AK-103s and the corresponding ammunition. An August 15, 2007 United Press International article maintains that “the AK-47, like the old U.S. Army Jeep and the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, exemplifies a weapons system design that never grows old because it is virtually impossible to improve upon it”. The goal is to have both plants completed by 2010.

    Russia, the Arms Supplier During Chávez’s June 2007 trip to Moscow, the Venezuelan president ordered the purchase of five Russian submarines to increase the interception capacity of the Venezuelan Navy. According to the Russian news agency Interfax, Venezuela ordered five Varshavyanka-class submarines, also known as Kilo 636. Interfax explained that “the subs are powered with diesel fuel and equipped with six torpedo tubes, 18 torpedoes, 24 mines and eight surface-to-air missiles.”

    Incoming reports estimate the purchase totaled anywhere from $1-3 billion. A July 9 2007 article by RusData Dialine-BizEkon News argued that the $3 billion sum is “closer to the mark because Russia will also have to build a submarine maintenance base in Venezuela, supply weapons and components, and train crews.” The article praised the Kilo’s power, describing it as a “silent killer” and explaining how it possesses “up-to-date Club-S cruise missiles which have a range of 7,500 nautical miles.” The report explained that “the single-screw Kilo-class submarines are among the most silent in the world because the screw rotates more slowly; and all of their equipment have special noise-reduction systems.”

    While the most important pillar of the Russo-Venezuelan relationship is perhaps its military component, Moscow is attempting to bring both nations closer through other means as well. For example, Russian Vice Prime Minister Igor Sechin visited Venezuela and met with Chávez on September 16. Among the issues discussed, according to the Russian news agency Kommersant, was the possibility of partnerships between Russian oil companies (i.e. Gazprom, Lukoil) and Venezuela’s state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA. (PDVSA) Sechin, board chairman of state-controlled Rosneft, which is Russia’s largest oil company, declared during his trip that “it would be strange for Russia, which shares first place in global oil production with the Saudis, not to interact, say, with Venezuela, which holds fifth or sixth place.”

    In July, Chávez declared that “if Russian armed forces would like to come to Venezuela, they will be welcomed warmly […] we will raise flags, beat drums and sing songs, because our allies will come.” Two months later, on Wednesday September 10, two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 bombers landed at Venezuela’s airfield “Libertador,” as part of the joint military war games that Caracas and Moscow have been holding in the last year. The Blackjacks, as NATO code-named for the long-range bombers, were expected to fly home on September 15, once the training mission is over. The bombers were escorted on their 13-hour flight to South America by a U.S. F-16 NATO fighter over Iceland, and over Norway, by two F-16s from the Norwegian Air Force, according to the Russian Air Force spokesman, Commander Vladimir Drik. The latter also mentioned that NATO has been monitoring Russian strategic bomber patrol flights. A Tupolev Tu-160 is capable of carrying 12 cruise missile Kh-55MS, code-named as AS-15 Kent. In another configuration is capable of carrying a 200kt nuclear warhead. The Russian Air Force Commander specified that the two bombers assigned to land in Venezuela were not carrying nuclear weapons at the time.

    Geopolitics 2008 President Chávez is hoping to counter the United States influence in South America, by working to strengthen military ties with the prompt circumstance upon the arrival of the Russian bombers in Venezuela. On August 31, the Venezuelan leader acclaimed the rise of Russia as a super power, a status which has been pointedly underestimated for several years by the U.S. He stated that “Yankee hegemony is finished.” It is evident that the events that were scheduled to take place in the northern region of South America are part of a provocative new geopolitical game, in which old enemies –the U.S. and Russia– are showing off their war gear, but with a new Latin American participant churning the waters between the historical foes.

    Enemy where? As its arms’ purchases, it becomes important to analyze whether, Venezuela faces any external bona fide security threats, or if the Chávez government is becoming a growing threat for the stability of the region. To begin, without counting the Caribbean and Central American states, Venezuela borders three countries while extremely unlikely that any of the following scenarios would ever come to pass, the use of speculative war games can be a valuable and informative exercise.

      Guyana A small country led by a tough leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, Guyana traditionally keeps to itself and mostly focuses its foreign relations on its CARICOM English-speaking neighbors. If anything, Guyana has more domestic problems than any interest to pose a security threat to Venezuela. The former British colony is still celebrating the death of notorious gang-leader Rondell “Fineman” Rawlins. Rawlins was killed in a shootout in late August. He was regarded as Guyana’s most wanted fugitive since he went on the run in 2003; because he has been linked to 78 murders dating back to 2006, he had been tirelessly pursued.

      Venezuela had a small run-in with Guyana in 2007. According to the handful of details that are publicly known, (provided by Georgetown) during that November, a contingent of 36 Venezuelan armed military personnel, led by an unidentified general, “entered into Guyana’s territory” and proceeded to use military-type explosive devices to destroy two gold-mining dredges that allegedly were poaching on disputed Guyanese territory. According to the Guyanese side, the attack took place near Iguana Island on the Cuyuní River. It was never made clear whether the actions carried out by the Venezuelan unit were part of an initiative based on the discretion of the general in charge of the unit, or if the order rose through the chain-of-command up to Chávez.

      The history of the Venezuelan-Guyanese territorial dispute can be traced back to the 1900s, when Guyana was known as British Guiana and ruled by the United Kingdom. Caracas claims, pressed for implementation of sovereignty over two thirds of Guyana’s total land mass of 83,000 square miles, mainly in the sprawling timber and mineral-rich Essequibo region. In spite of the November 2007 incident, an all-out war between the two countries remains unthinkable, particularly as Guyana cannot realistically stand up against Venezuela without the fear of a major defeat. For his part, Chávez would not attack first as he does not want his country to be seen as the aggressor over a decidedly weaker state, but one with strong regional connections.

      Brazil, the Latin American Giant Venezuela and Brazil, due to geographic realities, would find it exceedingly difficult to enter into a conflict with each other. Their common border is in the heart of the Amazon jungle, making major logistical operations as well as the use of armor, all but impossible. In any extremely unlikely game plan, should a war break out, it would be characterized mostly by infantry-led guerrilla-style stealth operations featuring ambushes and artillery and aerial maneuvers, as needed. Quite literally, both navies would need to pass three countries, Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana (or France) just to reach each other’s territories.

      Aside from both striving to become South America’s newest military powerhouse, the countries are unlikely to engage in a confrontation, at least in this generation. Underscoring this point, both have carried out joint military exercises which can be interpreted as confidence-building measures. As recently as August 2008, Brazil and Venezuela executed Operation VENBRA 5, involving 260 soldiers from the FAB and 140 from the Venezuelan Air Force (ANV). This VENBRA operation featured joint training and simulation exercises to improve cooperation between both air forces in order to have the capacity to combat illicit aircraft flights. The exercises took place in the Venezuelan Bolivar and Brazilian Roraima border regions. In addition, the Venezuelan and Brazilian leaders joined together to set up the South American Defense Council, bringing the two countries closer in security and defense matters.

      Colombia Realistically, Colombia is the one regional country with which Venezuela could conceivably engage in an armed confrontation on a practical basis and with a reasonable expectation of victory on both sides. With the strong ties that President Álvaro Uribe has with the White House and the likely superiority in terms of the depth of experience and integration of technology by the Colombian armed forces makes Venezuela no easy match for Colombia. Nevertheless, the two countries came perilously close to military confrontation during the recent Ecuadorian crisis, when the Colombian Armed Forces bombed a secret FARC camp just within the Ecuadorian border. Chávez sent some of his tanks to Venezuela’s border with Colombia, as a sign of solidarity with his ally, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa. These events resulted in major disclosures that came from several captured laptop computers, which fell into the hands of Colombian intelligence officers causing heightened tensions between the two countries. Accusations of ties between the Chávez’ administration and the leftist FARC brought on the worst diplomatic crisis involving the two countries in the last ten years, abruptly affecting Venezuela’s food marketplace and causing exchanges between Uribe and Chávez. In February, Chávez declared that, “lamentably in Colombia the oligarchy governs [..] it’s possible that the Colombian government could lend itself to a military action against Venezuela.” Despite the threatening signs, both leaders met on July 11 of this year in Paraguaná, Venezuela to put an end to the crisis. However, it is unknown how long this diplomatic peace arrangement between two such volatile figures will hold.

      When Venezuela announced that it would carry out joint military exercises with Russia in the Caribbean, Colombia’s reaction was predictable as well as immediate. On September 10, former Colombian Minister of Defense, Marta Lucía Ramírez, alleged that the joint military maneuvers between Russia and Venezuela could put at risk the region’s stability stating that, “Tensions between the U.S. and Russia are being relocated to Andean and Caribbean scenarios.” Her statement was based on Chávez’s strong reaction upon learning of the possibility of the installation of a U.S.-Colombian military base. The Venezuelan leader threatened to launch a strong military reaction if this option became a reality. The former government official added that her country should exhort the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to take immediate action on this matter.

      Nevertheless, any form of conflict between Colombia and Venezuela seems all but impossible, due to the profound symbiotic relationship, which is both strategic and commercial, in which the two countries are involved. Among other factors, trade is a key link tying the two states together. Neither government can afford putting a multi-billion dollar trade partnership at risk. In addition, from a strictly security point of view, for decades Colombia has fought a domestic insurgency in the form of the FARC, ELN and the drug cartels. Most of its troops have been used for domestic operations, more than for protecting the country from external threats. If there were a war, Venezuela would have to be the instigator, but this would go against Chávez’ Bolivarian dreams of regional unity, and the fact that the regional organizations in which Venezuela is involved would hardly sanction it.

      The overall feeling is that South America is certainly en-route to a new arms race, as not only Venezuela, but also countries like Brazil and Chile are stepping up their arms purchases. The current security situation in the region will be one of the first tests for UNASUR and its recently created security agency, the Southern Defense Council (CSD), to see if they can control the situation and prevent unnecessary and potentially dangerous escalations from occurring.

    Reality and Self-Perception, Chávez style Hugo Chávez has almost made it a hobby to look for ways to embitter his country’s relationship with Washington, as well as that of any country that he perceives as allied to the U.S. or that differs from Venezuela in political ideology and points of view.

    Chávez’s profound animosity for the current U.S. administration plays a key rule in the nature of the U.S.-Venezuela relationship. For starters, Chávez strives to end Washington’s interventions in the affairs of other countries through the application of either hard or soft power. In addition, Chávez’s pseudo-Marxist ideology, leftist rhetoric and his goal of a “21st Century Socialism” clashes with the U.S.’s highly conventional core belief in orthodox capitalism and its historical actions that make it play the role of the private sector’s chief apostle. Anti-Washington feelings were intensified by allegations that Washington supported the April 2002 coup against Chávez, removing him from office for approximately 48 hours. The fact that he managed to return to power, with the backing of most of the country’s population (as well as with the support of the country’s major military officers), gave Chávez the probably mistaken feeling that the citizens would support him irrespective of the path that he would lead them down.

    On a number of occasions, Chávez has labeled U.S. President George W. Bush as “the devil” and lately addressed an audience of supporters where he referred to the U.S. administration as “Yankees de mierda,” in a speech that was being broadcast nationwide. This approach raised eyebrows and left no room for the application of protocol or the use of civility that a major political figure like Chávez would be expected to have.

    The unfolding of Venezuela-Russian relations is an issue that will need to be more closely examined. It might be exceedingly unwise for Chávez to begin regarding Russia as a trustworthy ally. Venezuela has gone to great lengths to establish close ties with the Russian government, not only through military purchases involving billions of dollars, but also with diplomatic initiatives like recognizing the Georgian breakaway enclaves of South Ossetia. In the upcoming weeks, Chávez is scheduled to visit Russia once again, making this his sixth visit to that country, the second during this year. However, it remains to be seen how far Moscow will go in investing resources and efforts to protect its new beachhead in South America.

    This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Raylsiyaly Rivero and COHA Research Fellow Alex Sánchez

    From Reality Sandwich: Fear Itself

    Bill Machon

    Thanks to the work of the website Wikileaks, it has been revealed that in 2006 the US government issued a secret warning to hospitals across the country that they could become overwhelmed with patients suffering from psychosomatic symptoms of illness. In the event of a terrorist attack, or even in the event of false news reports of an attack, a mass outbreak of fear could cause hospitals to be swarmed with patients believing that they have been affected, even if they have not been. Such a scenario could cause confusion and create serious problems if there is indeed a real attack, and patients seeking legitimate care become lost in the shuffle. The study cites several real incidents where situations like this actually occurred in Chechnya, Japan, and California.

    Fear of Terrorist Attack Could Trigger Mass Psychogenic Illness (PDF)


    The Insanity of War

    From: http://dedroidify.blogspot.com Wayne Dyer...

    Anxiety-detectingmachines could spot terrorists

    UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — A scene from the airport of the future: A man's pulse races as he walks through a checkpoint. His quickened heart rate and heavier breathing set off an alarm. A machine senses his skin temperature jumping. Screeners move in to question him.

    Signs of a terrorist? Or simply a passenger nervous about a cross-country flight?

    It may seem Orwellian, but on Thursday, the Homeland Security Department showed off an early version of physiological screeners that could spot terrorists. The department's research division is years from using the machines in an airport or an office building— if they even work at all. But officials believe the idea could transform security by doing a bio scan to spot dangerous people.

    Critics doubt such a system can work. The idea, they say,subjects innocent travelers to the intrusion of a medical exam.

    The futuristic machinery works on the same theory as a polygraph, looking for sharps wings in body temperature, pulse and breathing that signal the kind of anxiety exuded by a would-be terrorist or criminal. Unlike a lie-detector test that wires subjects to sensors as they answer questions, the "Future Attribute Screening Technology" (FAST) scans people as they walk by a set of cameras.

    "We're picking up things with sensors that can't necessarily be detected by the human eye," said Jennifer Martin, a consultant to Homeland Security's Science and Technology division.

    The five-year project, in its second year, is the department's latest effort to thwart terrorism by spotting suspicious people. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has trained more than 2,000 screeners to observe passengers as they walk through airports,questioning those who seem oddly agitated or nervous.

    The system would be portable and fast, said project manager Robert Burns, who envisions machines that scan people as they walk into airports, train stations or arenas. Those flagged by the machines would be interviewed in front of cameras that measure minute facial movements for signs they are lying.

    Like the TSA's program,FAST raises reliability questions. Even if machines accurately spot someone whose heart rate jumps suddenly, that may signal the agitation of learning aflight is delayed, said Timothy Levine, a Michigan State University expert on deceptive behavior.

    "What determines your heart rate is a whole bunch ofreasons besides hostile intent," Levine said. "This is the whole reason behavioral profiles don't work."

    John Verdi, a lawyer at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, calls physiological screening a "medical exam" that the government has no business conducting. "This is substantially more invasivethan screening in airports," Verdi said.

    Burns said the measurements would not be stored and would give a quick read on someone. Previous research,Burns added, has found that people planning to cause harm act differently from the anxious or annoyed.

    To pinpoint the physiological reactions that indicate hostile intent, researchers have set up two lab-like trailers on an equestrian center outside Washington, D.C. Science and Technology recruited 140local people with newspaper and Internet ads seeking testers in a "security study." Each person receives $150.

    On Thursday, subjects walked one by one into a trailer with a makeshift checkpoint. A heat camera measured skin temperature. A motion camera watched for tiny skin movements to measure heart and breathing rates.

    As a screener questioned each tester, five observers in another trailer looked for sharp jumps on the computerized bands that display the person's physiological characteristics.

    Some subjects were instructed in advance to try to cause a disruption when they got past the checkpoint, and to lie about their intentions when being questioned. Those people's physiological responses are being used to create a database of reactions that signal someone may be planning an attack. More testing is planned for the next year.

    Projectmanager Bob Burns, right, shows off equipment that that measures heart rate,skin temperature and other data.
    Project manager Bob Burns, right, shows off equipment that that measures heart rate, skin temperature and other data.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    The Shift: A Movie Being Made By A Movement

    Be a Part of THE SHIFT as it Sweeps the Globe!

    "Louise Hay Film" interview w/ Gregg Braden

    [Thanks to Sir Real for this post] ...from the recently released movie, "You Can Heal Your Life."
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    Part 1 of 6

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    E.T.101 (excerpts)

    These are excerpts from a highly amusing little book with the somewhat overblown title of E.T. 101: The Cosmic Instruction Manual for Planetary Evolution; pretty much the only book of its sort I've found funny enough to get through. The opinions described here do not necessarily reflect those of the management, but I found these excerpts intriguing enough to quote. Truth We have noticed that you pretend to value truth on this planet. Some spend a lifetime seeking it. Your legal systems demand it, and you can be sued if your business doesn't practice it. Your philosophers define it, your scientists measure it, your religions exalt it, and you all fight over it. Meanwhile, all you are doing is paying global lip service to it. There is an excellent reason for this: You have no idea what truth really is. How the obvious escaped you is a tedious story. The abridged version of it amounts to this: You embraced fear. After that unholy act, it has been downhill ever since. Fear is the first lie, the lie that tells you that you are separated from the whole. Once it has been embraced, you are incapable of ever telling the truth under any circumstances without blowing the game. Truth, by its nature, is the light. Fear cannot, by its nature, be in the light without dying. It becomes a simple matter of self interest. Fear has owned this planet, its people, and their systems for a long time. It does not wish to give up the property it has acquired because it is a parasitic life form that cannot live separated from your life forces. The truth is, you are the truth. It is not external to you, as you have been led to believe. For that reason, it is ludicrous to set out on a spiritual journey in search of it. It is likewise ridiculous to punish those who do not practice it when almost nobody on this planet does. As for philosophizing over it, how can you when you wouldn't recognize it if it ran over you in the street? Meanwhile, measuring it is done in your attempt to dominate it, leading you further into the lie that it lives outside of you like an enemy that must be controlled. To exalt it is also to see it as separate. And fighting over it is so absurd as to not deserve our comment at all. The totality of your clinically insane behavior surrounding truth has been cleverly manipulated by fear in its attempt to keep your eyes off the truth. In this manner, fear was able to continue uninterrupted and undetected in its process of eating you alive. But don't worry -- there is a cure. All you need do is awaken to the fact that you are the truth. As the light comes on, the parasite will die, leaving you joyously able to reclaim command. Reality Reality is a difficult word to define because there really isn't any such thing. What we mean by that is that there is no single reality, here or anywhere else. There are as many different realities on this planet as there are people alive to create them all. And what passes for global reality is merely a group consensus on a few minor points. From there on out, it's every man or woman for him or herself. The reality that you live is nothing more than an audiovisual demonstration of where your attention is. The universe presumes your attention is on what you want and graciously provides you with more of the same. If this dynamic were understood, you would never do anything so foolish as declare a war on drugs -- unless, of course, your objective were to create more of them. There is no better way to increase drug traffic than to have everyone's attention focused on it. The same principle applies to increasing everything you think you oppose, and it is also the reason a war cannot be won. If you were serious about stopping drugs, the best course would be to stop being fascinated with them via your perceived opposition. Become fascinated with freedom instead, and your addictions will disappear naturally to satisfy your new preoccupation. Because you have yet to understand your power of creation and who you really are, you perpetually put your attention on denial instead of affirmation. This results in the universe serving up an extra helping of what you thought you didn't want. Although a number of you practice the art of affirmation as a tool for changing your realities, you can affirm until you are blue in the face and they may fail. Unless your attention and your identity have also been altered to accomodate what you affirm, the universe has no option but to fulfill your real, though hidden, attention's desires. Until you understand the role that your attention and sense of identity play in your creation, your affirmation track record will remain a perplexing hit-and-miss affair. It is time to use your powers wisely and create realities that are worthy of who you are. You can do this by changing what you communicate to be real to the universe through your focus, and the identity you project by way of that identity's behavior. If you do not make this fundamental shift, you will continue to transmit the same old tired requests to a universe that will dispassionately and lovingly respond with the same old tired and often toxic answers. Dimensions The fourth dimension is sometimes referred to as the astral plane and exists as a shadow dimension to the third. Like the third, it is also a dimension of polarity and is inhabited by what you call "spirits" and disembodied entities. This dimension has fallen out of favor with the thinking of scientific materialism and has been reduced to the ranks of a primitive, superstitious belief -- a belief that permeated human myth until you all smartened up and dismissed it. You may be surprised to learn that the truth does not require your belief in it in order to function, and the fourth dimension has managed to carry on despite your rejection. The fifth dimension appears in your symbol systems as "heaven," and, compared to the third dimension, it is. It is a dimension of light and love, and it is free of the illusions of duality and separation. The fifth dimension is in no way the end of the line; it is just the next step in your planetary evolution. Creation actually contains an infinite number of dimensions, many of which you inhabit simultaneously. We hope that clears this matter up for you. Transmutation One of the most common transmutative symptoms is exhaustion, usually resulting in a phenomenon called "veging out." This is only natural because the physical body is rearranging its cellular structure to accomodate its culinary shift from burgers and fries to a diet of pure light. Do not be alarmed by the resulting fatigue of this process. It would be more alarming, given the condition of your food chain, if this change did not take place. Other commonly reported symptoms include the discomforts of "transmutation fever" that the emotional body reports as it seens itself being dismantled, fumigated, and remodeled. Don;t give this condition undue attention, since the emotional body is largely opposed to all of this transmutational stuff and tends to complain constantly. For similar reasons, the mental body may inform you that it is suffering from terminal confusion as it watches the Spirit assuming command and imagines itself about to be fired. This is, of course, untrue, and it may be useful to remember that the mental body loves to misinterpret and misrepresent. If that ploy doesn't work, the mind may also point out that suddenly it can't remember anything, as though this were proof positive that transmutation is terribly dangerous and grounds for your immediate retreat. Disregard the report. The truth is that the past is being removed as a mental reference point and replaced by future ecstatic models. The mind can't remember anything because all useless data is being culled from its files. What it perceives as imminent danger is actually its imminent liberation. Lastly, the ego and personality will undoubtedly come up with a litany of complaints that are hair raising if you give them any credence. Do not listen. They, like the mind, haven't a clue about what's going on and are innacurately reporting their reconstruction through their fearful sense of being abandoned. Although most of the symptoms you may experience will not have very much biological substance, they can still be uncomfortable and unnerving. Your old life is dying and your new life is emerging. That process can cause quite a bit of physical, mental and emotional disturbance. There are no real cures for transmutation, nor should you desire that there be, because transmutation is the cure. It is a natural process that is absolutely necessary for the next step in your evolution. It is also the only way you will be able to withstand the increased vibrational field of energy you are about to enter. The closest thing to a remedy for this process is to willingly allow and assist these vital changes. Fear As dysfunctional patterns are being dismantled and fear is being unceremoniously kicked out of the driver's seat by Spirit, you may experience the chicken/head syndrome. (Our sources indicate that you have chickens on this planet -- indigenous birds who are noted for running around with their heads cut off. This is our first exposure to chickens, but we find their behavior useful, so we have renamed this syndrome in their honor.) The chicken/head syndrome refers to the neurological phenomenon that a beheaded chicken experiences when its body continues racing around frantically as if something were still in control. This goes on for a short while until the neurological circuitry catches up with the fact that the bird is officially dead. That is precisely what can happen when fear is eliminated from your systems. Fear's neurologically patterned behavior may continue marching around for awhile, acting as if fear were still in charge. You have two options in dealing with this condition. You can treat this vestigial behavior in the same way we have noticed you treat flies. (This is also our first encounter with flies, but they seem to be just as useful as chickens.) You may allow them to buzz around until they drop of their own accord, or you may swat them and get it over with. The only thing you should never do is identify with them. Fear and its patterned behavior is not and never was your identity. Fear is a parasitic life form that no longer has any biological business being on this planet. If it is helpful, think of fear as a fungus from outer space that successfully invaded eons ago and has been hosting off your systems ever since. Fear no more defines your being than a case of athlete's foot defines your body. So whatever course of action you choose to handle this syndrom with, remember that it's almost over and you're not it. Yo-Yo Effect The yo-yo effect is a name we came up with to describe the bodily and emotional changes you may feel as the transmutative process kicks into full gear. Cellular transmutation is necessary to accomodate your evolutionary leap into light, but since this process is physical, it has some attendant symptoms that you might as well get acquainted with. There will probably be moments of exaltation as you feel the rush of incoming light entering your system. However, these are often followed by sudden crashes of energy -- crashes that can be felt by the body, the emotions, and the mind as you temporarily swing back into the old reality. Do not mistake this for manic depression. It is only a simple case of ecstacy followed by your denial's insistence on returning to the pits it knows and loves so well. Battle Fatigue The best cure for battle fatigue is not to battle. Although you may find it difficult not to inject a little sanity into the lemming-like rush towards death you see all around you, do not intercede. The old world is dying. It must and will come down. The best you can do is allow it to die as gracefully as possible. Whatever you put your attention on increases. For the sake of the ecosystem and the new emerging civilization, remove your attention from the death process and place it on the process of birth instead. Misplaced attention will just act to prolong the ending's agony and delay your inevitable, exalted future.

    The Paramilitary Massacre in Bolivia

    The Paramilitary Massacre in Bolivia Reactionary Rampage By Forrest Hylton CounterPunch September 17, 2008 Bolivian President Evo Morales’ expulsion of US Ambassador Phillip Goldberg on September 10 for alleged coup plotting sparked the latest diplomatic crisis in the Americas. But the diplomatic fallout has overshadowed the internal dynamics that led to the massacre of some 30 campesinos with perhaps as many as 40 more disappeared in El Porvenir, Pando, near Bolivia’s northeastern border with Brazil. The massacre coincided with the 35th anniversary of the violent overthrow of socialist president Salvador Allende in Chile. The massacre in El Porvenir was the worst in Bolivia since right-wing President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada presided over the slaughter of more than 70 unarmed protestors in October 2003. This time, however, the violence was not orchestrated by the central government, but by regional officials: departmental prefects in league with civic committees. Administratively organized similar to France, Bolivia is divided into nine departments, each run by a prefect, while civic committees are made up of a handful of unelected, local, commercial-landed elites who preside over one of the most unequal distributions of land and wealth in the world. These public- and private-sector authorities, in turn, are allied with cypto-fascist paramilitary youth gangs armed with baseball bats, clubs, chains, guns, and in the case of the massacre at El Porvenir, official vehicles. These groups have made Bolivia’s eastern lowlands ungovernable for the Morales administration. It may be helpful for U.S. readers to consider Bolivia’s eastern lowlands as analogous to Dixie. In the 1950s and 60s, working with governors and mayors of states and localities, white supremacist paramilitary groups terrorized African Americans. The campaign of terror was intended to preserve a status quo that benefited a tiny class of wealthy white landowners, against which the federal government—under Eisenhower and Kennedy—hesitated to act. Imagine, though, that African Americans had comprised an overwhelming majority of the U.S. population, that Kennedy was Black, and that he had come to power on the back of serial insurrections led by African Americans. Imagine that, in response, white supremacists not only massacred Blacks, but also blockaded roads, blew up oil pipelines, and burned and looted federal government offices and installations. The limits of the analogy with the Jim Crow south are significant, but another analogy—from a century earlier, the 1850s and 60s—transcends them. The southern secessionist movement sought to preserve the republic of slavery and extend it through the west to the Pacific. The movement mobilized a mass following and mounted an armed challenge to the federal government. Such analogies help convey the virulence of what one commentator has labeled a “revolt of the rich,” as well as the scope of the challenge posed by a wealthy white minority to a government backed by a majority of workers and campesinos of Indian descent, a government without historical precedent. Massive support for the central government was ratified as recently as August 10 in the recall referendum in which Morales increased his overall share of the vote to 67%—up from 54% when he was elected president in late 2005. Morales improved his standing in his strongholds—the cities and countryside of the western highlands and valleys, as well as the coca-growing regions in the Yungas and the Chapare. But more importantly, he made inroads in the heart of opposition country in Beni, Pando, and Tarija, where he won an additional 20% compared to 2005. In Pando, nearly half the population voted in favor of Morales. No Bolivian president has ever has ever had such broad appeal across the nation. On the heels of victory, Morales spoke of dialogue and reconciliation with the opposition. But opposition prefects, led by Rubén Costas from Santa Cruz, and empowered by their substantial gains in the same recall vote, announced their intention to implement the “statutes” approved in “autonomy referendums” in May and June 2008. The “autonomy referendums” were de facto voting exercises, lacking any legal standing in Bolivia, were not recognized by any foreign government, and were not overseen by international observers. Yet opposition prefects claimed a mandate to install their own police, tax collection services, and departmental legislature. The implementation of this mandate could only come about through the use of force. Then came September 11. Death squads armed with sub-machine guns massacred unarmed Morales supporters on their way to a mass meeting in El Porvenir. The meeting had been called to discuss possible responses to increasingly violent attacks on government supporters. The central government was slow to react and hesitant when it finally did. It could not safeguard the property and lives of its supporters or defend its own offices and functionaries; it could not even offer humanitarian aid to survivors, many of whom, fearing for their lives, hid in the mountains. In a televised interview, the presidential delegate in Pando, Nancy Texeira, asked in a halting voice choked by pain and sadness, “Why doesn’t the government in La Paz do anything? We have been abandoned here.” Over the past several years, Morales has cultivated good relations with the police and armed forces, yet he has been mostly unwilling or unable to use either since the crisis that began in August. Armed opposition forces have overwhelmed both police and military in the lowlands, thus far with impunity. The Bolivian security forces have therefore been humiliated according to their shared institutional code. And yet, as the opposition ups the ante of violence and illegality, the central government becomes increasingly reluctant to monopolize legitimate use of force, and the opposition becomes ever more brazen in persecuting Morales supporters. This, at least, has been the dynamic in Pando. Opposition prefects in Beni, Santa Cruz, and Tarija have pulled back to some degree from their onslaught, and ostensibly agreed to “dialogue” with the Morales government, but the damage is done. Morales declared martial law in Pando and ordered the arrest of the departmental prefect Leopoldo Fernández on September 12. Many of Morales’ supporters will be asking why he is pursuing dialogue with opposition prefects in Beni, Santa Cruz, and Tarija, when they—and their supporters—could be legitimately brought to trial for their crimes. The emergency meeting of the South American Union (Unasur) convened in by President Michelle Bachelet in Chile on September 15 is a sign of changing times in the Western hemisphere. Military dictators like Chile’s Augusto Pinchet, Bolivia’s Hugo Banzer, and their bastard offspring, such as Leopoldo Fernández—who got his start in the late 1970s as a paramilitary operative under successive dictatorships—belong to the past. This new regional diplomacy exercised through the Organization of American States (OAS), the Rio Group, and now Unasur has successfully confronted diplomatic crises triggered by the U.S. government and its local allies on the right. Although Hugo Chávez’s expulsion of the U.S. Ambassador from Venezuela grabbed headlines in the United States, the Bolivian crisis played quite differently in the regional media. Bolivia sells most f its natural gas to Brazil and Argentina, and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez denounced the separatist movement in unusually strong terms. The outcome of the Unasur meeting further proved that Morales has robust support from neighboring governments and the major inter-state organizations to which they belong Given regional repudiation of secessionist movements in Bolivia and Morales’ overwhelming support at home, opposition forces have little chance of toppling Morales and installing a right-wing government. Furthermore, they must contend with formidable and rising resistance within their own departments, not only in the countryside but also in the cities: the northern part of Beni is controlled by indigenous groups that back the Morales government, for example, while peasant supporters of Morales fought pitched street battles against the opposition in Tarija (the capital city of the department with the same name). The reactionary rampage in the lowlands is the result of a desperate, cornered minority that has been given considerable breathing room by a weak, vacillating central government that nevertheless enjoys massive popular backing. Since it can’t take back the central government and is isolated internationally, the opposition’s last weapon is to bleed the Morales administration of legitimacy by making the country ungovernable. The opposition has demonstrated the central government’s inability to impose the rule of law amid public-private terror against its supporters—a spectacular triumph for any right-wing movement. Since August’s recall referendum, the arc of illegality and violence traced by the opposition has been unmistakable. While no one anticipated the scale of the massacre in El Porvenir, it was all but certain that one would occur. What if the Bolivian government had tried to prevent this tragedy by sending in the army and riot police before any of its supporters were killed, instead of reacting weakly and hesitantly ex post facto? Will the government rise to the occasion in the future, or are there more massacres to come? If the Morales administration is not able to guarantee the lives and property of supporters, some of them may be tempted to take justice into their own hands, in which case the media cliché of pending “civil war,” until now a mere figure of rhetoric, could become reality. Regardless of what happens in the future, there is now one more massacre to commemorate on September 11, and the dilemma signaled by Allende’s tragic example remains as daunting as ever. Forrest Hylton is the author of Evil Hour in Colombia (Verso, 2006), and with Sinclair Thomson, of Revolutionary Horizons: Past and Present in Bolivian Politics (Verso, 2007). He is a frequent contributor to NACLA.

    Revolutionary Organization

    Future Fantasy or Appropriate Agenda

    by Michael Albert

    Humanity's Big Task

    At some point a revolution will transform the U.S. economy, polity, kinship, and culture - and similar revolutions will transform other countries too. Such a revolutionary process will include diverse movements and organizations working together for sought changes. In that light, this essay considers the possibility of building an International Organization for a Participatory Society, or IOPS, that would be structured to seek council-based self-management in a classless participatory economy, a feminist kinship sphere, an intercommunalist culture, and a participatory polity - that is, to win a participatory society. Is it time to explicitly begin, however tentatively, the steps that can lead to eventually creating such an institution? Or, alternatively, must we wait for some more propitious moment at some distant point to even begin laying groundwork? First, do we confidently know if it is possible now or in the near future to usefully begin laying groundwork for a new organization? No, we don't, of course. Second, can we find out if it is possible now or in the near future by any means other than trying? I doubt it. But third, should we even want to find out? Should we even want to have a new organization, sooner, rather than later? I tend to think if we can begin the process, we should. Even highly preliminary preparatory work could help generate coherence of vision and strategy. It could connect diverse efforts, multiply resources and provide services. Finally, if it carried through to success, the work would contribute to developing a vehicle for the growth and development of positive activism. Can we do this? Should we be starting to work toward doing it? Some will say yes. Others will say no. The former will likely think that it is never too early to begin important tasks. The latter will think it is now too early. We don't have enough capable folks to participate. There isn't a broad framework we can start with and expand upon. To further consider even just the possibility of beginning to lay the groundwork for seeking an new organization, first we might describe main features we might anticipate such an organization having sometime in the future after it stabilizes and is contributing to transforming society. Second, we might envision a period hopefully just a little in our future where a fledgling International Organization for a Participatory Society, or IOPS, has attributes consistent with getting to the longer-term condition. Third, from that short-term conception, we might then discern a possible agenda of immediate prerequisite tasks to perhaps tackle now, as first explicit steps in a long journey. Finally, we can then sensibly ask, can we take these preliminary steps, or must we put them off.

    IOPS After Stabilizing

    We don't know how far down the road a well functioning IOPS is - but I think we know it is somewhere, and that creating it is a worthy task, and that to get started with initial precursor work we don't need a precise future image or timeline. Indeed, we we only need a plausible picture of a possible future whose final details, texture, and timing will of course vary from our initial image. Also, we aren't talking about well after a revolution, or even very near one, we are talking about a nearer moment when an organization has been born and grown so it will clearly be a major player in winning a new world system which is, however, yet to be won. So, looking into this hopefully not too distant future, we can "see," or, if you prefer, we can imagine that there is an International Organization for Participatory Society. This envisioned IOPS has, as we envision it years down the road, organizations in dozens of countries which together compose regional federations stretching continent wide. Composing the national organizations, in turn, we see hundreds or perhaps thousands of local chapters that extend all the way down to neighborhoods or even to city blocks or apartment houses. These chapters all focus attention on their own areas, but also federate to constitute town, city, county, state, and national organizations. In short, this IOPS we envision is an international federation of layers of organization with each unit in the whole addressing some area's constituency population. Microscoping our view, what might characterize a chapter? Roughly, for our exercise, realizing things can change as we learn more, we can plausibly envision that a chapter might be from 10 to 500 people from a local area such as a living group, neighborhood, town, or city. Such a chapter might start, in this picture of possibilities, with 5 to 10 members as a minimum number required to attain chapter status. Maybe a particular chapter starts in a city. As it grows, however, it begins to have enough members from some encompassed sub-area to spin off a chapter for a smaller local constituency. For example, a New York City organization might begin with 10 or 20 people for the whole city. As the organization grows, it spins off a bunch of chapters, each covering a neighborhood, or in NYC a borough. In time, chapters for Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, etc. grow and spin off chapters for smaller locales such as neighborhoods or even just a large apartment house. Perhaps the lower limit for a chapter can cover be an area with a population no less than 500. So you might go from having 10 or 20 people begin a chapter for NYC, to having 20 or more people in dozens or even hundreds of chapters inside NYC, such as in apartment complexes, city blocks, or school dorms with the sum of all the local chapters composing borough chapters, and the sum of those composing the NYC organization. Telescoping our vision out a bit, what might be a national organization? Well, it might be at least 5 city or county chapters federated into a countrywide organization. And what might be a continental? Well, how about at least 5 nationals federated together across a continent. And would there be other bases for group organization within IOPS? Yes, looking ahead, I think we can anticipate or envision that minority cultural communities, women, gays, and perhaps other constituencies within IOPS at many levels, would want to have a means by which they can engage with one another within their constituency without having others not in their constituency present - a room of their own, to use however they decide. These constituency groupings likely wouldn't be chapters, since it would make little sense to say some neighborhood's group, or an apartment complex's group is a chapter, but so are all women, blacks, gays, or whatever other constituency. What might make sense, however, looking forward, is that within chapters or larger units like city, country, or national organizations, there could be caucuses of people from the lower positions in society's social, economic, and power hierarchies, to guard against replication of any of those oppressive relations within the organization as well as to develop related vision, strategy, and program. So, continuing our hypothetical look at the future, we can plausibly imagine that by the time IOPS has grown into a large, steadily growing, coherent, and lasting player in the effort to build a new world, it has, let's say, 50,000 members each of whom belongs to a local chapter which federated together compose larger area, town, city, county, national, and continental organizations, and finally, all together, IOPS itself. Presumably the full membership, given that the organization likely focuses on economy, polity, culture, kinship, ecology, and international relations, would be highly diverse in gender, sexuality, race, religion, etc., with caucuses at every level, though most members would be working class. Microscoping our view back down, again, what might it mean to be a member? Keeping in mind that we are flexibly and fluidly hypothesizing this picture pending more experience broadening our views, if this organization ia to help attain and melt into a future participatory society, it will presumably have to nurture members who know that goal and function in accord with it. One type member, we can predict, might be a person in a chapter, working with fellow chapter members on local program and also contributing to national and international policy and program. Such a member would presumably not only advocate the overall IOPS vision and at least much of its program, but also help support the organization with dues and by fulfilling task responsibilities. To honor and implement equitable remuneration and expenditure, we might anticipate that IOPS dues would be ample, but also account for the means at people's disposal. We might also anticipate many people wanting to become members who are, however, not organized together with other folks sufficiently to be in a chapter where they live or work. This, we might guess, would be acceptable, as a way to get started in IOPS, but perhaps it perhaps only for some period of time after which chapter membership would become essential as a means of full involvement and responsibility. So it might be that there are two levels of sustained involvement over the long haul - being a full member in a chapter or as a temporarily at large member, or being a member without chapter for the long term, where the latter would presumably have fewer responsibilities as well as less voting influence. That's a reasonable guess, in any case. But what might IOPS look like, internally? IOPS, with its participatory society agenda, would, we can reasonably guess, at every level embody seeds of the future in the present. Power over program and policy would arise from the base, which is to say from the local chapters, with large-scale policy representing a sum of local initiatives or arising from national or larger initiatives that are collectively and cooperatively agreed to by the whole organization. Chapters would presumably often work together, we can guess, like councils would work together in a new society's participatory polity, nested and federated into layers that address steadily larger domains and populations. Each chapter, of any size, would presumably have responsibility for its own goings on, but with its agendas always decided in context of the IOPS overall umbrella of principles and priorities that all chapters contribute to determining and therefore readily accept. This autonomy with solidarity would, we can anticipate, facilitate self-management in a setting of mutual entwinement. Within chapters, at every level, and also among chapters across levels, decisions would presumably be taken by procedures chosen by those involved, though in every case one goal would presumably be to convey to all parties affected by decisions roughly, on average, influence proportionate to the effect on them - or self management. IOPS would in this sense be an assemblage of mutually informed and engaged constituencies cooperatively taking care of their own and of each other's well being and mutually aiding each other's work, all in a self-managing manner. For decisions, then, we can plausibly envision that sometimes consensus might make sense. Sometimes democratic majority rule or some other decision procedure might make sense. Sometimes deliberation might be long. Sometimes deliberation might be quick. Sometimes challenges might be drawn out to address serious differences by careful negotiations. Sometimes challenges might be rapid and results swiftly settled even with differences persisting. Sometimes a decision would be for a small chapter and therefore taken by only its members. Sometimes a decision would be for a borough, or a city, or a national federation of chapters, or even for the whole IOPS. But what might this IOPS actually do? It might do many things, of course, contoured to the various levels of constituency and their needs, as well as to the wishes and capacities of chapters. We can't, and have no need to now imagine details, but we can at least broadly imagine some categories of IOPS program. Part of the IOPS focus would surely be reaching out to new people. IOPS, we can be confident, would therefore raise consciousness of aims and methods and inspire involvement with and eventual membership in the organization. IOPS would try to build trust, competence, and commitment. Part of the focus would also certainly be building the organization as well as projects that would enhance IOPS program, meet needs of members and diverse constituencies, and explore future social relations. IOPS would no doubt construct aspects of the new world and means to reach it in the present. And part of the focus would also, it is safe to say, be struggle for immediate change, as in posing, battling for, and winning demands against elite opposition. IOPS would no doubt contest elites to win changes that benefit members and constituencies and create conditions for further gains to follow. Clearly, each of these three broad types of activity - commitment building, construction, and contestation - would inform and enrich the other two types. Membership growth and deepening commitment would fuel the ability to win demands and build new institutions. Organizational construction would foreshadow the future and in so doing embolden and orient struggles and also provide means to apply energies while inspiring and deepening involvements. And fighting for and winning demands would fuel membership growth as well as win conditions suitable to continued struggle and further victories. In other words the three types of activity - commitment building, construction of alternative structures, and contestation over demands - would each occur at every stage of IOPS development and would each continually inform and enhance the other two forms, from the level of a neighborhood, apartment complex, or college dorm, up through cities and nations, continents and the whole IOPS. But what specifically might commitment building involve? Envisioning a future IOPS and imagining people joining and becoming involved, we can reasonably predict that commitment building would certainly involve communicating goals and methods of social change efforts, sincerely welcoming involvement in social change efforts, supportively eliciting confidence and leadership suited to social change efforts, and modestly teaching skills and enriching social ties and connections critical to social change efforts. Commitment always takes trust. Commitment also always requires a degree of stability in one's life, and of confidence in one's capacities, plus a sense of the worthiness of one's contributions. We might anticipate, therefore, that at the future time we are envisioning, IOPS will have features that enrich member's lives - including their social ties, their personal sense of involvement and worth, and even their enjoyment in personal relations, entertainments, and learning - all by providing ways of meeting, joining up, celebrating, learning, etc. In a sense, IOPS might, in this picture, function not only as a venue for winning change, but as a kind of mini society, delivering to its membership the full range of challenges and fulfillments that societies ought to provide to their citizens, and thus winning lasting allegiance and loyalty. But how would this kind of commitment building happen? Commitment building could happen in a multitude of ways, including using media to educate or inspire and learning by the example of involvement, through conferences or schools, or via face-to-face conversation. Commitment requires sharing a coherent vision and broad strategic approach, methods of analysis, etc. and so would involve continually enriching and refining and sharing all these. But in addition IOPS would likely create lasting trust and supportive ties by providing a space that enriches members' lives and furthers their sense of involvement and their personal growth and social pleasures. Perhaps to this end IPOS would provide day care support, social evenings and dinners, cultural events, sports teams and events, help with housing and food, and so on. More, we might wonder, how would IOPS deal with difficulties that arise among members or with other people outside the organization? How would it adjudicate disputes? The answer would presumably emerge from its vision for how this should occur in a participatory society. Once that vision starts to exist and be shared, in other words, key aspects of related organization and operations for the present would likely follow from it. But what would success at commitment building with a given person entail? With IOPS, because it will be seeking a participatory society and not a new top down structure, what would count as success, we can reasonably guess, might be having a person become not just an advocate of sought goals - participatory economics, participatory polity, feminism, intercommunalism, etc. - but a possessor of those goals. In other words, the IOPS we envision would likely want each new member to understand IOPS goals, structure, and program not only so as to be able to describe and justify them, but so as to refine and adapt and implement them in present work and into the future. Building commitment for IOPS and its chapters would therefore not entail amassing followers but, instead, we can envision, welcoming and nurturing equals. This can perhaps be made a bit more precise, even at this early stage. IOPS would, by our presumptions about its reason for being, seek a revolution that addresses all the major dimensions of social life. As a result, it would surely need members who confidently share vision and methods for the whole project in all its dimensions. Thus, IOPS would presumably have an anti racist or intercommunal, an anti sexist or feminist, an anti authoritarian or anarchistic, and an anti classist or participatory economic approach. More, it would likely adopt vision emerging from the past, recent, and continuing experiences of the involved constituencies, all fitting into long term aims. More, IOPS would presumably not only reject replicating present hierarchies internally; it would prioritize constructing the liberated social relations of a participatory society. In a very real sense this future established IOPS, we can therefore reasonably guess, might develop its internal organization and carry out its external policies roughly as if it was a participatory society. Succeeding with outreach would therefore mean incorporating new people into all these dimensions of active involvement. But what would contesting demands mean? IOPS and all movement organizations and projects seeking a participatory society would presumably continually struggle to win changes. Sometimes the sought changes would address a local level - maybe a zoning issue, or local noise or air pollution, or higher wages in some firm, or a new local government policy. Other times the sought gains might address a larger constituency, such as a city, state, country, or even the world. Thus, there could be struggles over a city budget, a state investment project, a national law like affirmative action or the length of the work day or content of mainstream media policies, or about an international issue such as a war, the IMF, or global warming. The main point, however, is that efforts to win gains at any level will, we can plausibly predict, always be conducted by IOPS in a non-reformist way. In other words, the language used, style of organizing, demands formulated, structures created, ethos and culture of the struggle, analysis employed, and broader longer run aims discussed when justifying the movement, would all point as much as conditions permit toward on-going struggle for the new society rather than taking for granted the continuation of current defining structures. A fight for higher wages might talk about pareconish norms of remuneration relevant to a better economy. A fight over electoral laws might talk about participatory political priorities and structures. A fight for a shorter workday might incorporate additional features to make the campaign also address redistribution of income or influence, or perhaps the corporate division of labor, explicitly developing awareness and additional desires about each. In other words, the contestation that IOPS would presumably pursue in any domain and at any level would not just seek to win the immediately sought innovation, but would also prioritize raising consciousness, solidifying commitment, and developing the organized wherewithal of all participants to attain long-term goals. But what would construction of our own alternative structures mean and entail? People, including people on the left, have needs. To a degree we can create our own institutions to address them. We can therefore envision that an IOPS would help create publishing operations, but also perhaps day care centers, bars, restaurants, meeting centers, community halls, and who knows what else, as it grows. These creations would presumably all employ structures and exemplify values that IOPS seeks for society. This is easy to say, of course, harder to do, but we can certainly imagine that a well-established IOPS would implement many such endeavors. We can also imagine that its own internal structure would be similarly exemplary and that IOPS might constructively urge other left projects and institutions to incorporate future oriented defining features as well - for example balanced job complexes, self-management, etc. In short, IOPS would presumably create future-oriented arrangements partly to meet members' needs, partly to create lasting community and meaningful trust, and partly to experiment with and learn from partial implementation of sought goals. IOPS would be about resisting and rejecting what is bad, of courses, but we can envision that it might also be even more about constructing and celebrating what is good.

    Summarizing A Successful IOPS

    So we have a picture, broadly, of quite a few features of a potentially worthy new organization that we may hope to see operating at some point in the future. IOPS, as we here envision it, would span countries, for example, the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, the UK, Spain, Italy, Greece, Serbia, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, India, Australia, Korea, Japan, and so on. It would also span continents, North and South America, Europe, Asia, etc. But even more important, it would be built on local chapters that each address areas with a population down to as low as a few hundred. All told, at the future time we are envisioning, which is well before revolutionary change but well into the successful founding and initial development of IOPS, perhaps 50,000 or more members would belong to the new organization and therefore possess IOPS's shared vision for a participatory society and its broad shared strategic commitments. Members, as we have envisioned this future, would mostly be organized in chapters, and all would contribute time and funds to operations. They would be culturally diverse but largely from constituencies with the most to gain from economic, political, sexual, kinship, and cultural revolutions. Members would presumably work on consciousness raising, construction of organization, and contestation over demands. They would likely do their work local chapter by local chapter, as well as in campaigns at larger city, national, and regional scales. Program at all levels would presumably focus on issues of economy, polity, gender/kinship, culture/race, ecology, and international relations. Demands would be chosen and methods of struggle pursued, at least as we have envisioned this particular path forward, always to win gains in the present but also to fuel further growth and commitment in the future. Activities would likely emphasize meeting members' needs and developing their talents and skills, as well as furthering their mutual ties and trust. IOPS organization and structure, as we have envisioned, would embody the values and social relations envisioned for the future revolutionized society. Diversity, solidarity, equity, justice, sustainability, peace, and self-management would presumably be paramount guides to IOPS decision-making, job allocation, finances, etc. Similarly, projects undertaken by IOPS or by IOPS members would, we are guessing, incorporate as many features of future participatory society as possible, particularly regarding all the major realms of social life. So the question arises, what steps might usefully be taken at the outset, even as early as this year, to prepare for getting off the ground and eventually attaining the above well functioning IOPS?

    IOPS Gestation and Birth

    Well first, what would a very young, fledgling, possible IOPS need to look like, broadly speaking, to be able to mature into the successful IOPS envisioned above? Well, from the beginning of explicit active collective efforts to conceive and lay the groundwork for IOPS, to the organization's date of founding, let's say, people involved would have to have developed, or at least to be steadily developing, vision regarding all spheres of life, broad strategic commitments for struggle in all spheres of life, and probably also a fair number of chapters, say twenty to fifty in ten to twenty countries, that could provide a model and a basis for further development, as well as lift morale and provide infrastructure for having program. The proto pre-founding membership would presumably have to be diverse and quite competent and committed, perhaps as many as 3,000 people, or more. The organization would likely need even at its founding, a means for new chapters to form and become active, a means for at large membership to join and in turn, when able, to establish new chapters, and a means for new chapters to bud off of existing chapters. It would likely need to have, even at founding, decision procedures and internal organizational guidelines and features conducive to the participatory future envisioned for it, including caucuses, etc. It would likely have to either before or certainly not long after founding generate serious participation in shared large scale as well as local programs, promote self-management regarding all program and policy, and have literature and web offerings and also lots of public speakers for outreach. It would likely also, even at the time of first founding, need diverse means of internal education to develop new members and to keep older ones up to date, and would likely have to have many people ready to make a compelling and inspiring case for joining and working on IOPS campaigns, and ready for public speaking, writing, etc. It would also likely need to have at least the beginning of various social construction projects knitted into mutual support to together help fulfill members' needs, and to provide ties to construction efforts and their lessons. And it would likely also need workable methods for internal adjudication and for financial policies including dues, budgeting, mutual aid for members, etc. This is a very big list of achievements needed even just to found the type of really serious and productive organizational network we have been talking about. It isn't going to happen overnight, of course. But could people, if the scenario makes sense, begin usefully working on it even now?

    Possible Tasks We Face Today

    What would diverse people need to do, right now, to get collectively in position to found an organization like the IOPS discussed above? One could imagine countless possible initial tasks, but I suspect all such lists would contain at least most of the following, plus their own refinements: · Establish shared vision for all sides of life with some parts universally accepted but other parts still in contention, and have methods for further elaboration, exploration, debate, and sharing of results. · Establish broad strategic priorities and norms, again with methods for further exploration and for testing contending perspectives, sharing results, etc. · Establish a plan for internal organizational structure including decision-making methodology, adjudication methodology, dues structure, chapter definition and structure, role and structure of caucuses, etc. · Generate ample explanatory literature, video, and audio, a rich and highly expandable web site, perhaps a logo and name and design look, and means of continuously developing and disseminating more literature, video, etc. · Generate public speakers/organizers and effective means of internal skills development and education. · Gather steadily growing allegiance from prospective members and establish, where possible and plausible, groups that could later become chapters. · Conceive components of program to enact after founding, as well as means for steadily refining, changing, and adopting or rejecting new program. Let's suppose a group or perhaps many groups of people strongly committed to the broad project of founding a new organization like IOPS, collectively, very cautiously and patiently, tentatively began to self consciously undertake the above tasks and managed, in time, to complete them sufficiently to provide a basis for getting started. Along the way, suppose they together created what would become some chapters and projects and these began to accept new members and even line up potential at large members who would later establish new chapters. And suppose program ideas began to emerge and various features like internal education began to take shape. After further development, based on all these achievements, suppose the time became right, the preparations were sound, and the groupings of active participants held a founding convention representing thousands of initial very well versed, highly committed participants, then reaching out more broadly. Is that conceivable? Perhaps there is something in the broad picture that is impossible to begin working on now, but if so, I don't see what it is. Perhaps there is something in the broad picture that would inexorably mean the founding would be negative, rather than positive, for social change - but again, I don't see what it is. Yes, organization can be an albatross, as can vision, or strategy, or even just knowledge, if they are held in a sectarian manner and/or horribly flawed. But that a bad organization or program or idea can be an albatross is not an argument against a good organization with good program and good ideas. A real argument against beginning to explicitly undertake this type effort now, cautiously, carefully, and patiently, would be that there are simply not enough people who would work hard to make it happen so that the effort would be wasted due to being premature - or there is not enough diversity as yet to ensure balanced development, or there is no hope for generating enough agreement any time in the foreseeable future to either do a good job with the preparatory tasks or to spread beyond a tiny circle. Why, however, would there not be enough people? And isn't attaining diversity a difficult task, but one that must be undertaken in any case? And can it really be true that good concepts can't galvanize ample agreement? And at any rate what is going to change, to arrive at a time better suited to taking up this task? Some will say that what will change is that we will have many more years of people engaging in struggles about painful aspects of society and horrible societal ills such as global warming, poverty, war, etc.- albeit without overarching shared organization, ties, and vision. But the fact is we have already had decades of that kind of struggle, and if it that kind of engagement can prepare us to take another step, then presumably it has already prepared us to do so. Or we might want to find out, at any rate. My guess is that only our trying to do this will tell us if we can do it. To me, due to having some feel for how many people are asking for this type of organizational step and for how many people are already trying to create chapters but are doing so in isolation and horribly dragged down by doubts and loneliness, and for how many people are potentially eager to align and to join such an undertaking but have no route to doing so - and for how important successful multi faceted and widely rooted organization is to morale and effectiveness, it does seem like it is time to try - or, more accurately, to try to try. Without some audacity, what ever gets done? Without risking failure, what success is ever achieved? As of now, there is no call to be made. There is no organization to be founded. Hard work may, however, bring the time of those occurrences closer if a considerable number of people in various parts of the world, hopefully engaging constructively with one another, soon explicitly begin the long project of laying a proper groundwork for a founding. The birth of a new vehicle of revolutionary work in my country, the U.S., and in other countries all around the world, is not going to happen by itself, magically, at some amazing conjuncture of stars or of smiles or of frowns. Tears won't do it. Nor will mere desire do it, however heartfelt. It will not happen just because more people, or new people, are angered by societal crimes and become involved in fighting them. People will need to do difficult work with very explicit intentions before it will happen. Why not us? And why not try to take first steps, however modest they must be, now?

    Socialism - FOR THE RICH...

    ... AMY GOODMAN: Maybe injecting a little humor here, could this lead to single-payer healthcare? I mean, we’re talking about nationalizing of insurance. NOMI PRINS: You might as well nationalize insurance. AMY GOODMAN: And why does that have to be humorous? NOMI PRINS: Well, no, exactly right. If you’re effectively nationalizing a portion of the banking—you’re nationalizing the worst portion of the banking system is what you’re effectively nationalizing. But you’re not even doing that, because you’re not running as a public entity. You’re taking on risk you won’t be able to understand, and you’re not even trying to. So it’s even more dangerous. With health insurance, which actually those companies have not sort of been involved in this, because they haven’t had the same derivatives, type of financial services, speculative activity that AIG has under its umbrella, which is the real reason it is imploding, you could actually put some money into something that preempts a problem happening and helps people get healthcare. AMY GOODMAN: What do you see has to happen now? And are we going to see a lot more banks going down, Professor Hudson? MICHAEL HUDSON: You’ll see big fish eat little fish. The strong are going to win out. The people who are not going to be bailed out are going to be the pension funds, the labor funds, the small investors. You’re going to—the government has come down on the side of the sharks. And what they did yesterday is to lock in and prevent any Democratic administration from coming in and cleaning up the mess. The people who’ve made the mess are now in control. AMY GOODMAN: But Obama is not against this. MICHAEL HUDSON: You know, that’s true. He is not against it, and it was, after all, a Democratic president, Clinton, who repealed Glass-Steagall. And it was a Democratic Treasury secretary, Robert Rubin, who supported all of this. So they’re the— AMY GOODMAN: Top adviser to Obama. MICHAEL HUDSON: That’s right, the Treasury secretary. Yes, and still the top adviser. So, you’ve had both—I guess you could say the Republicans are a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street, the Democrats are a partially owned subsidiary. ...

    Presidential Candidates: Response from Gloria La Riva

    [GLORIA - YOU RULE!]
    I just got a phone call responding to my voicemail from Gloria La Riva. Her representative was happy to answer my questions about both election reform and drug reform. Before I get into her answers, I would like to point out that La Riva's campaign is now the only campaign to have gotten back to an e-mail or voicemail from me, and one of only two to speak to me directly (a representative for Bob Barr answered the phone when I called and answered my questions). That means a lot. Gloria La Riva is a responsive candidate who cares about winning people's votes. That means a lot to me. Thanks, Gloria La Riva, and thanks to the staffer I spoke to on the phone! First, drug reform: the representative told me La Riva advocates decriminalization of marijuana and legalization of medicinal marijuana. I agree with that, and that puts her up there with Ralph Nader. The representative also spoke at length about La Riva's general take on the larger issues surrounding drug reform, including the racism and corruption of our justice system. La Riva is a left-wing socialist, and I'm not, but I am when it comes to this issue, so I support La Riva's stance and general attitude on drug reform. As far as election reform: the representative assured me that La Riva, like me, considers our election process undemocratic and rigged for the two major parties. She said that La Riva would generally support measures to make the system more democratic. However, she didn't indicate that La Riva has any specific preference for IRV, and she also spent a lot of time emphasizing how voting is only one small part of the methods that will lead to social change (a view I agree with, but I still believe election reform is key). I came away with the impression that while La Riva would certainly be receptive to IRV, she doesn't directly advocate it as such-- at least, not yet. She shares the same spirit, but her primary goals are elsewhere. For this reason, I still plan to vote for Nader. I'm debating whether I'd choose La Riva or Barr as my second choice (not that it matters): La Riva is marginally stronger on drug reform, but Barr supports IRV. Since I've prioritized election reform as my signature issue, I think I'll go with Barr as #2 and La Riva as #3. So here's my new rundown: 1. Ralph Nader (Populist): strongly supports IRV (the only candidate to mention it on his website); supports decriminalizing marijuana, legalizing medicinal marijuana, and offering clemency to non-violent drug offenders. 2. Bob Barr (Libertarian): supports IRV, and strongly supports making marijuana laws a states' rights issue. To win my vote, he needs to take a stronger stance on drug reform, and at a minimum, call for marijuana decrimnalization instead of just leaving it as a states' rights issue. 3. Gloria La Riva (Socialism and Liberation): wants to decriminalize marijuana and legalize medical marijuana, and supports the overall spirit of democratizing elections. To win my vote, she needs to actively advocate IRV, and/or take a stronger stance on drug reform than Nader. 4. Cynthia McKinney (Green): supported IRV in Congress, and wants to legalize medical marijuana and eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing. To win my vote, she'll have to advocate IRV in her presidential campaign, and/or take a stronger stance on drug reform. 5. Barack Obama (Democratic): supported IRV as an Illinois state senator, and wants to send more first-time drug offenders to rehab instead of jail. To win my vote, he'll have to advocate IRV in his presidential campaign, and/or take a stronger drug reform stance than simply keeping drugs illegal but preferring rehab over jail. 6. John McCain (Republican): has supported IRV before, and is a committed proponent of the War On Drugs. To win my vote, he'd have to come out in favor of IRV in his presidential campaign, and/or drastically alter his anti-drug stance. 7. Roger Calero (Socialist Workers) (tie): I have yet to find any information about where he stands on election reform or drug reform. If he wants my vote, he's going to have to speak up.

    New Statewatch Report: Embargoed until 00:01

    The Shape of Things to Come /by Tony Bunyan http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/the-shape-of-things-to-come.pdf The EU is currently developing a new five year strategy for justice and home affairs and security policy for 2009-2014. The proposals set out by the shadowy "Future Group" set up by the Council of the European Union include a range of highly controversial measures including new technologies of surveillance, enhanced cooperation with the United States and harnessing the "digital tsunami". In the words of the EU Council presidency: "/Every object the individual uses, every transaction they make and almost everywhere they go will create a detailed digital record. This will generate a wealth of information for public security organisations, and create huge opportunities for more effective and productive public security efforts." / Seven years on from 11 September 2001 and the launch of the "war on terorism" this major new report /The Shape of Things to come/ (60 pages) examines the proposals of the Future Group and their effect on civil liberties. It shows how European governments and EU policy-makers are pursuing unfettered powers to access and gather masses of personal data on the everyday life of everyone ? on the grounds that we can all be safe and secure from perceived ?threats?. The /Statewatch/ report calls for a "meaningful and wide-ranging debate" before it is "too late" for privacy and civil liberties. Press release: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/sep/the-shape-of-things-to-come-prel.pdf Eight page Conclusions: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/sep/the-shape-of-things-to-come-conclusions.pdf Copy of full report (pdf): http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/the-shape-of-things-to-come.pdf For further information: 00 44 208 802 1882 e-mail: office@statewatch.org

    Nader Releases 10-Point Plan to Recover from Financial Crisis

    Press Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Toby Heaps, 202-441-6795, toby@votenader.org

    RALPH NADER PREDICTED WALL STREET MELTDOWN 8 YEARS AGO

    Eight years ago, consumer advocate Ralph Nader correctly predicted that the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) were on track to follow the savings and loan industry of the 1980s and 90s into a big financial heap of trouble. Nobody listened, and taxpayers are now at risk of losing tens of billions of dollars. Wall Street is being shaken to its foundation. American International Group Inc., the biggest U.S. insurer by assets, is now teetering on the brink of ruin after suffering losses of $18 billion in the past three quarters, largely due to its sub prime mortgage exposure.

    "Nader Rips Mae and Mac," declared the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal on June 16, 2000. "Ralph Nader, warning of a potential taxpayer bailout similar to the savings and loan crisis, urged lawmakers to cut government benefits to mortgage-market giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- which he called 'poster children for corporate welfare.'"

    This year Nader, who is also running for president as an independent, is getting credit for his prescience.

    "Give one presidential candidate credit for identifying the problem and getting the policy right -- and doing so before the twin government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went into the tank in mid-July," wrote Lou Dubose in The Washington Spectator on Aug. 1. Dubose went on to quote Nader's June 15, 2000 Congressional testimony about HR 3703, a bill that would have reigned in some of the most dangerous tendencies of GSE's, had it passed.

    In a letter to SEC Chairman Christopher Cox in 2006, Nader also criticized the exorbitant salary of GSE executives Jamie Gorelick, Daniel Mudd, Robert Levin and Timothy Howard, and noted that their financial incentives were in direct conflict with consumer financial security because of the grave moral hazard created by accounting manipulations they sanctioned that benefited their personal wealth, with no penalty for being caught.

    "As you continue to investigate the Fannie Mae accounting debacle, we are writing to urge you to seek civil sanctions, including disgorgement, from senior executives who profited directly from the misconduct at Fannie Mae, and that you urge the Department of Justice to give careful consideration to criminal prosecution of these individuals," wrote Nader.

    Candidate Nader has called for an immediate halt to the increase in the national debt, an end to corporate subsidies and unconditional taxpayer bailouts of corporations, and a start to the aggressive prosecution of corporate criminals.

    Today, in his prepared remarks for New York Times editors in its Washington Bureau, Nader stated : "Given the contrast between the 'free market' ideology of the Republicans and the corporate or state socialism that is their increasing practice, the time is ripe for full Congressional hearings next year on the organized power, greed and lack of regulation that is shaking the foundations of Wall Street."

    Nader added, "What we need to do now is find a just way to deal with the millions of homeowners facing foreclosure and make sure that this level of financial market manipulation does not happen again." He elaborated a 10-point plan to cool off the financial markets meltdown:

    Immediate Changes Required for Any Bailout

    - No bailouts without conditions and reciprocity in the form of stock warrants

    - No more lobbying for any company that is bailed out

    - No golden parachutes and get out of jail free cards for guilty executives

    - No bailouts without public hearings

    Changes to Housing Market

    - Reduce the moral hazard in U.S. mortgage markets by introducing covered bonds for the majority of mortgage products as they do in Western Europe. That gives institutions that finance mortgages an incentive to be prudent, because they cannot just unload them and wipe their hands clean of the liability, but are instead on the hook if the homeowner defaults.

    - Maintain neighborhood stability and housing security by passing a law with a sunset clause allowing below median-value homeowners facing foreclosure the right to rent-to-own their homes at fair market value rates.

    - Avoid future housing bubbles by removing implicit government guarantees for new mortgages that exceed thresholds of greater than 15-20 times the annual fair market rent value of the home.

    Structural Changes to Financial Markets

    - Make the Federal Reserve a Cabinet Position, so it is accountable to Congress, as well as making sure all Federal Reserve Bank presidents are appointed by the President and answerable to congress.

    - Reduce conflicts of interest by taking away power for auditor and rating agency selection from companies and placing it in the hands of the SEC to be administered on random assignment.

    - Implement a securities speculation tax, starting with derivatives to deter casino-style capitalism.

    For more information, visit votenader.org.

    Sources:

    RN's response to bailout on Vote Nader Web site:

    http://www.votenader.org/blog/2008/09/10/bailing-out-fannie-and-freddie

    Politico: Nader on bank woes: "I predicted this" Sept. 15, 2008

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0908/13459.html

    Washington Spectator - Ralph Nader was right (Aug. 1, 2008)

    http://www.washingtonspectator.com/message.cfm?msg=notsubs2&PageName=Articles%2F20080801GSEs.cfm

    Ralph Nader's letter to SEC Chairman Christopher Cox Sept. 25, 2006:

    http://www.nader.org/index.php?/archives/669-Letter-to-SEC-Chairman-Cox-Regarding-Fannie-Mae.html

    Ralph Nader's testimony on H.R. 3703—to the U.S. House of Representatives

    Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Government Sponsored Enterprises (June 15, 2000)

    http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/bank/hba65224.000/hba65224_0f.htm

    2000 American Enterprise Institute book about Fannie & Freddie Mac in which Ralph Nader wrote a chapter:

    http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.58,filter.social/pub_detail.asps

    Serving Two Masters, Yet Out of Control - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

    http://www.aei.org/books/bookID.233,filter.all/book_detail2.asp

    Ralph Nader's chapter:

    "How Fannie and Freddie Influence the Political Process." (starts on pg. 110)

    http://books.google.com/books?id=SNhE9GCXTGMC&pg=PA110&lpg=PA110&dq=%22Serving+two+masters%22+and+%22Nader%22&source=web&ots=n_9cMLWE6C&sig=EXbGRoAPVFP7glg1rUn9mU1Vvoo&hl=en&sa=X&o

    i=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA110,M1

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) (from June 2000)

    Nader rips Mae and Mac

    Published: June 16, 2000

    Ralph Nader, warning of a potential taxpayer bailout similar to the savings and loan crisis, urged lawmakers to cut government benefits to mortgage-market giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- which he called "poster children for corporate welfare." But some lawmakers said that acting hastily could raise the cost of buying a home by increasing borrowing costs for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are called government-sponsored enterprises.

    Copyright 2000 Journal Sentinel Inc.


    To Be or Not to Be: Ralph Nader Confides in Cardozo the Parrot


    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    Bolivia: A Profound Breakdown of Communication with Latin America

      Upwards of Thirty Dead in BoliviaThe Unforgivable has Again Happened, The Taking of Innocent LifeWas the Expulsion of the U.S. Ambassador Inevitable? The import of UNASUR’s Strong but Dignified Role

    With UNASUR having just met in Santiago, Chile to discuss the escalating crisis in Bolivia, the stage is set for a huge surge of autonomy for Latin America, owing to a series of newly auto-generated, self-managed and extensive regional initiatives. In an extraordinary shift from a decades-long hegemonic status-quo during which Washington exercised de facto hemispheric supremacy, the U.S. role has dramatically diminished, at times becoming almost irrelevant. In fact, even though U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Thomas Shannon, is a relatively enlightened figure who at times has stressed a rational dialogue between Venezuela, Bolivia, and Washington, U.S. attention toward the region, when at all focused, has been willful, narrow-minded, and self-absorbed.

    Once installed in office, the Bush administration found itself distracted from Latin American issues by the Iraq war, giving the region the required space to develop its own consensus on regional developments, regardless of Washington’s ululations. This has heightened the ability of hemispheric leaders to halt or reverse some of the most imprudent U.S. policies that had gained ascendancy starting in the Clinton administration, and which then blossomed under Bush. Nevertheless, despite all signs to the contrary, the Bush administration continues to act as if its fiat still is supreme in Latin America, when, in fact, it has rapidly shrunk. An example of this is the revival of the Fourth Fleet as a Washington policy riposte, and with it the pretense of gunboat diplomacy on the ready, after a half-a-century of the fleet being dismasted, and the use of the “terrorism” factor to reassert an authority that is no longer exercisable.

    Washington cannot continue to conduct itself as if it had a backyard in which Latin America could be firmly found. The U.S. has been absent from the region for far too long to attempt to roll back the tide of anti-private capital, anti-U.S. sentiment that has swept over much of the region. In its stead, the region yearns for a “third way” and for change. In fact, during this period of unilateral neglect, due to Iraq, the hemispheres started going its own way, coming up with new formulas in its quest to diversify relationships, pluralize its world trade contracts and engage in constructive relations across the board, including forming ties to what Washington, at the time, sees as “rogue” nations. During this period of transition, more left-leaning presidents were being elected president than ever before in the Americas’ history, a raft of regional organizations (which did not include the U.S. as a member) were formed, the region suddenly saw a remarkable rise in its importance on the world stage as its metal and agricultural commodities increased in relevancy and value during the current fuel and food crisis, and new links emerged between Latin America and India, China, Russia, and the EU.

    The Breakdown of Bilateral Relations The latest U.S. flare-up with Bolivia most likely could have been avoided by a non-pro forma U.S. statement categorically declaring that this country would neither recognize nor have any form of relationship with the Santa Cruz-led breakaway departments in the Europerized, somewhat white and wealthy eastern sector of the country, just as Brazil and the other Latin American nations saw fit to do. Instead, for a number of months U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg assumed the role of quarterback at meetings with the opposition, discussing strategies with his team. He did this even though the opposition figures had clearly called for extra-constitutional actions against democratically-elected Evo Morales, even his ouster, and in spite of the fact that his widespread support was affirmed in July’s recall elections. (For more information, see COHA Research Associates Chris Sweeney and Jessica Bryant’s article, Bolivia in Crisis).

    Washington claims that Goldberg’s meetings with the opposition were protocolic and conducted during routine visits to the secessionist regions. It also insisted that he categorically denies La Paz’s accusations of his signaling support behind the opposition, let alone any involvement in secret plots against the central government. Yet, complicating matters in the Andean country is the fact that any number of U.S. ambassadors throughout Latin America –particularly dating back to the inauguration of the present U.S. administration– have a lengthy record of intervention in the domestic affairs of the countries to which they have been accredited. It is no secret that the State Department has had a long history of inappropriate and often covert intervention in Latin American internal affairs, often making use of a Reagan-era institutional facility known as the National Endowment for Democracy. Goldberg’s predecessors, Manuel Rocha and David Greenlee, persistently inserted themselves into Bolivian domestic issues. This scenario often involved U.S. ambassadors on station elsewhere in the region, where they openly threatening the end of remittances, trade benefits, or U.S. development assistance to a given country, if a leftist regime was elected to office –El Salvador and Nicaragua would be some examples of these. They also have pressured conservative political parties in such countries as Bolivia, El Salvador and Nicaragua to unite behind one candidate in order not to split the vote, allowing the otherwise weaker leftist candidate to ship into office.

    Ultimately, a historical memory was invoked of humiliation, plunder and such transgressions as the Chaco war and a spate of U.S.-backed military Juntas under which the largely aboriginal majority of Bolivians have suffered as a result of self-serving past U.S. policies. Such acts of arrogance and intolerance that Washington recurrently has visited upon the region, served to incite the unbridled passions of a man with the Brobdingnagian temper of Hugo Chávez and even the more self-disciplined Evo Morales.

    Washington Diplomacy or Lack of it In Washington’s eye, there always has been a distinction to be made between Evo Morales and his Venezuelan counterpart. While they are very different in temperament and style, the two share some major similarities, one of them being a sense of loyalty and solidarity with one another. What has made them into slippery fish for the Bush administration to handle is that no matter how garish may be their personal stylistic flaws, neither Chávez or Morales can in any manner be condemned for any democratic lapses, lack of human rights observance, nor mistreatment nor abuse of their citizens. You may consider them confrontational non-conformists, or condemn them for their non-adherence to traditional codes of diplomatic behavior, but you cannot cite them for being antipathetic in their behavior towards their own people. Surely there was enough here of democratic substance with which the U.S. could do business.

    It is clear that the U.S. remains largely oblivious to the multifaceted developments that are taking place in an increasingly self-confident Latin America. Washington would do well to introduce a sense of perspective on Iraq and terrorism, and turn its attention once again to its vital national interests in this hemisphere. These issues go far beyond drugs, terrorism and security concerns. If the U.S. is to play a constructive role there, it must architect a new relationship with the region that can be deemed credible and taken to heart. Its investment must be more than just a Parthian shot aimed at a token act of respect for their sovereignty and must display an earnest concern for the area’s well-being.

    UNASUR’s Debuting Role If such a re-positioning does not happen soon, it may well be too late for Washington to develop cooperative and mutually beneficial policies. Latin American-led trade agreements such as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) could appear more sensitive and better adapted to regional well-being than any U.S.-crafted free trade agreement with nations that are too weak, like Costa Rica and Panama, to defend their authentic self-interests against subsidized U.S. farm products. Also, the fledgling Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) joins the Organization of American States as a multilateral, democratic body capable of facilitating regional integration and conflict resolution. The difference is, of course, that the former does not include the U.S. as a member. It is this stunning difference that ultimately could lead to the supplanting of the OAS by UNASUR a development that would be sure to lead to the return of Cuba to a major regional body. At its September 15 emergency meeting on the Bolivia crisis in Santiago demonstrates, the leaders of this multilateral organization are capable of engaging in constructive and balanced dialogue that is certain to profoundly affect the separatists. Refusing to fall prey to the mudslinging in which U.S. diplomacy frequently engages, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa dismissed probing by the press into the possibility of covert U.S. intervention in Bolivia, a charge that Correa himself was not making in other contexts, and he reiterated the support of member states to the restoration of order and preservation of unity in Bolivia.

    Washington and the Bolivian Blow Up The near breakdown of relations between Washington and La Paz in the midst of the Bolivia crisis, perfectly exemplifies the disastrous consequences of the inherent intolerance and disrespect that the U.S. has long exhibited towards the region. Despite La Paz and Washington’s ideological differences, Assistant Secretary Shannon, while being a very significant improvement over his two most recent predecessors, Otto Reich and Roger Noriega, might have used this opportunity to more clearly indicate a U.S. commitment to the spirit as well as the letter of democratically-elected governance in the region, and that any form of separatism would be condemn. More vigorous support of Morales and the central government in the face of the reckless and greedy same plan of the pro-autonomy leaders in Bolivia might have provided a compelling reason for the secessionists to preserve order and avoid the violence which, tragically, has already claimed upwards of thirty lives.

    This analysis was prepared by COHA Director Larry Birns and COHA Research Associate Raylsiyaly Rivero

    La Riva/Puryear PSL Presidential Campaign on the ballot in Louisiana and Wisconsin!

    The La Riva/Puryear PSL Presidential Campaign is proud to announce that we have achieved ballot status in Louisiana and Wisconsin! We are already on the ballot in nine other states - Arkansas, Vermont, Colorado, Florida, Washington, New Jersey, Iowa, Utah and New York - and are continuing the work of gaining ballot access across the country, including in Rhode Island, where we have completed petitioning. Please make an urgently needed donation to help us take the message of the La Riva/Puryear socialist campaign across the country! Ballot scroll 11 states (take 2)As Hurricane Gustav headed for the Gulf Coast last week, the capitalist candidates expressed their solidarity with the people of Louisiana in varying ways. Barack Obama used Gustav to promote himself, crediting the differences between government response to Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Gustav to a bill he helped pass in Congress. But while the evacuation before Gustav was better organized than the utter chaos that preceded Katrina, very limited assistance was extended to those living in poverty who make up a huge part of the state’s population. Unlimited resources, on the other hand, were made available for repression. The state sent 50,000 National Guard soldiers to enforce their evacuation plan and hunt down "looters." John McCain cancelled all “non-essential” opening-day activities of the Republican National Convention supposedly out of respect for the people in the Gulf Coast. Meanwhile, outside the RNC, tens of thousands of people demanded an end to the war, justice for Katrina victims and an end to poverty. Police falsely arrested 800 protesters. The La Riva/Puryear PSL Presidential Campaign, including presidential candidate Gloria La Riva, was in Louisiana before, during and after Hurricane Gustav. There were no photo-ops, no meaningless gestures of solidarity. Instead, our campaign spoke to working and oppressed people from all corners of the state. We volunteered with Common Ground, a grassroots organization formed in the days after Katrina to provide support for people in New Orleans. Our campaign loaded appliances, tools and supplies onto trucks to aid people who would be displaced from their homes because of Gustav. The La Riva/Puryear campaign always stands shoulder to shoulder with working and oppressed people. We want to spread the message that real change does not come as a gift from politicians, but only when the power of the people is realized. For this reason, it is of critical importance that the PSL campaign will be on the ballot and active throughout Louisiana in the coming months. Gloria La Riva, Eugene Puryear and the PSL have been fighting for the Hurricane Katrina and Rita survivors since 2005. They have also been to Jena, La., to stand with the Jena 6 and their families. Puryear has been a leader of the national campaign to win justice for the Jena 6. The capitalist government continues to criminally neglect the working-class people of Louisiana. It has failed to sufficiently strengthen the levees. Tens of thousands of displaced residents have not been able to return due to lack of housing. Massive gentrification schemes have been bolstered by the government to create immense corporate profits at the expense of African American workers. The state now has 46,000 fewer Black voters than it did before Hurricane Katrina. Despite the fact that Entergy and other private utilities are charging exorbitant rates and making windfall profits, they have been criminally negligent in their preparations for storms that they know are inevitable. As a result, virtually the entire Louisiana power grid collapsed in the face of Gustav, a Category 1 hurricane. Hundreds of thousands are still without power, meaning no refrigeration, no air-conditioning in extremely hot weather, and, in many cases, non-operating medical equipment. The poverty rate in Louisiana is 19.2 percent—the second highest in the country and the highest in the South. More than one in four Louisiana children live in poverty. In New Orleans, 44 percent of adults - compared to 25 percent nationally - read only at what is considered the “lowest functional level.” These atrocious crimes of capitalism must be exposed. That is a duty that our campaign takes on with pride. In contrast to the Republican and Democratic campaigns, the PSL campaign platform expressly calls for the rebuilding of New Orleans, the right of return for all survivors, full employment, a $15/hour minimum wage, housing as a right, free, quality health care and education, and much more. Most importantly, our campaign stands for a system that puts people over profits: socialism. Building multinational, working-class solidarity It is also very important that the La Riva/Puryear PSL Presidential Campaign will be on the ballot in Wisconsin. Wisconsin has one of the fastest growing poverty rates in the country, with 11 percent of residents living under the government-defined poverty threshold. In Milwaukee, the state’s largest city, over 26 percent of residents live in poverty. African American people make up nearly 40 percent of Milwaukee’s population, as compared to six percent in Wisconsin at-large. Infant mortality among African Americans in Milwaukee is over twice that of whites. The situation for working-class people in Wisconsin shows the importance of a class struggle based on multinational solidarity. This is a central message of our socialist campaign. Milwaukee is also home to a large, growing and politically active Latino immigrant community, and a strong labor movement. In order to get on the ballot in Wisconsin, more than 2,500 signatures were collected. PSL members and friends from Illinois and California traveled to Milwaukee in the first week of August to petition at the Wisconsin State Fair. Tens of thousands of people from diverse communities from all over the state attend the fair. Many of the people who signed petitions expressed a deep anger at the two main capitalist parties. Wiz Kid Nice, a young African American student who signed the PSL petition, commented: "You’ve got my vote. We need a party that really fights racism and represents the poor people of this country." The La Riva/Puryear campaign will be in Wisconsin on a regular basis over the next two months to promote socialism and an independent working-class struggle against racism, and for housing, education, health care and jobs. Bringing the message of socialism to millions We want to speak to the tens of millions of working-class people who desire real change but will not get it through the capitalist electoral process. We want to fight along side our class—the working class—in every struggle against the profit system. We want to be a catalyst to raise working-class consciousness in every arena. Most importantly, we want to spread the ideas of revolution, of true change. We are excited to be concluding our ballot access efforts, and to turn our attention to campaigning all across the country. We will get into the debates; we will go door to door; we will hold rallies, speak outs, protests, sit-ins and more. The PSL’s campaign will reach out to workers and the oppressed with a message of hope, and with a message of real struggle. We will take the ideas of socialism—a better, more just society; the way forward for humanity—to the working-class everywhere we go.

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    BIGGEST GIVEAWAY TO THE NUCLEAR POWER INDUSTRY EVER !!

    NATIONAL CALL-IN DAY: WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 Nuclear Information and Resource Service - NIRS
    This is it. In the mainstream media, the Gang of 10 (actually, now it's the Gang of 20) energy bill is all about offshore oil drilling. And, to be sure, there's lots of that in the bill, which is expected to come up in the Senate late next week. The bill would also be the biggest giveaway to the nuclear power industry. Unlimited loan guarantees for construction of new atomic reactors.
    Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
    *Please call both of your Senators that day with a very simple message:
    Take taxpayer loan guarantees for nuclear power out of the Gang of 20 energy bill. (note: the bill does not yet have a number. It's called the New Energy Reform Act of 2008, but everyone will know what you are talking about if you just say "Gang of 20 energy bill.")
    You can read a Physicians for Social Responsibility analysis of the nuclear provisions in the Gang of 20 energy bill here. The bill includes not just loan guarantees, but also more "risk insurance" for new nukes, construction of a reprocessing plant, and much more.
    You can read a longer article on the issue written by Michael Mariotte for DailyKos here.

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    Creating Reality With Positive Or Negative Thoughts

    From: http://successlemonade.blogspot.com/

    How does the future happen? Is it all random? Are some people just luckier than others? I don't think many people really believe that, though it sometimes may seem that way. At a deeper level, however, we really have a sense that life is not random, and that we have the power to create our own future, if only we learned the right tricks, system or method.

    Have you heard the expression "You create your own reality?" This was first said by Jane Roberts, in the Seth books, such as Seth Speaks and The Nature of Personal Reality. This idea has become a lot more popular since those books came out in the 1960s. Now many people are familiar with books like Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, and, more recently, The Secret and the Abraham books by Esther Hicks. However, is the basic message of all these books, that our thoughts create reality, actually true? And if it is true, how can we put it to use so that it's more than just a theory?

    The reason why it can seem difficult to practice "creating your own reality" with your thoughts is that you have so many thoughts every day. More than you can count. If you doubt this, try to keep track of your thoughts for a short period of time, say twenty minutes. You will most likely find an endless dream-like "stream of consciousness," with one thought leading to the next. Often you will end up with a thought that is very different from one you had only moments before. And each of these thoughts has a different vibration. Some are quite positive and energizing. Others are the opposite -fearful, angry or sad. Most are somewhere in the middle, which means they don't have a very strong vibration in any particular direction.

    If we are serious about wanting to create our reality with our thoughts, we have to start paying more attention to these thoughts and not allow them to just pull us in all different directions. Not that we should suppress thoughts that aren't positive, but we should be aware of them and not allow them to lead us in a downward spiral of negativity. The real trick to thinking positively is that you can always nudge yourself in a more positive direction --as long as you are conscious of what you are thinking and feeling.

    Thoughts that have a lot of emotion attached to them are much more powerful than those with little emotion. Positive thoughts are more powerful than negative, though some people find this difficult to believe. The reason why people have trouble believing this is that they are not aware of the ratio of positive to negative thoughts in their minds. For example, they may actually be thinking negatively 60% of the time, positively 5% and basically neutral thoughts the other 35% of the time. When they don't get the results they would like, they remember the 5% of the time they were thinking positively and conclude, "I tried positive thinking, but it just didn't work for me."

    If someone like this could start think positively 25% of the time, they would start to see significant changes for the better. At around this point, the positive thoughts will start to cancel out the negative. And this will give them a kind of foothold into still more positive thoughts, where they could then increase the percentage still further. Once you can think positively 51% of the time, you are really on your way to a more abundant future! A

    In truth, you are not going to count your thoughts and be able to precisely know what percentage are positive, negative or neutral. These are only guidelines. The point is to remember that the universe is always receptive to your thoughts, no matter what they are. You are always creating your reality, whether your thoughts are positive or negative. Another way to put this is that you are always attracting your experiences, whether you are attracting what you want or what you don't want.

    If you keep this in mind, you will have a powerful incentive to reach for the most positive, expansive and prosperous thoughts you can find.


    Birth of a Hummingbird

    Be sure to click NEXT PAGE at the bottom of each page; there are 5 pages in all. A lady found a hummingbird nest and got pictures all the way from the egg to leaving the nest. Took 24 days from birth to flight. The photography is wonderful. http://community-2.webtv.net/Velpics/HUM/

    Saturday, September 13, 2008

    Active Suppression of Telepathy Research/Online Experiments to Try

    Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, author of "The Sense of Being Stared At" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnA8GUtXpXY Google Talk September 2, 2008

    Watch the video and then have fun with your friends participating in these experiments from Rupert's Online Experiment Portal

    Introduction Rupert Sheldrake invites you to participate in his ongoing research. No previous experience is necessary, and the online tests can be done immediately. Most of these experiments are suitable for use in schools and colleges, and some make an excellent basis for student projects.

    The Email Telepathy Test A telepathy test using emails. You need 3 senders, and do 6 trials. Details and online registration

    The Email Precognition Test Can you guess who is about to send you an email? You need three senders and do six trials. Details and online registration

    The Joint Attention Test In this test you and one other person see a series of pictures for 10 seconds each. In some trials your partner is shown the same picture as you, in others, you each see a different picture. At the end of each 10-second period both of you guess whether the other person has been looking at the same picture or not. This test takes about 4 minutes.

    The Precognitive Text Test A test using your mobile phone (UK only) to see if you can guess who will soon be sending you a text message. You need 3 senders and do 6 trials. Details and online registration

    The Photo Telepathy Test Can you feel when someone is looking at your photo and thinking about you? Try this test to find out. You need one or two other people, preferably people you know well. The test takes less than 5 minutes. You will need to upload a digital photograph when registering.

    The Online Staring Test This new experiment enables you to participate online in research on the Extended Mind. The results of your experiment are transmitted automatically to be recorded in the database. This test takes about 4 minutes. All you need is a co-researcher and you can start straightaway!


    Impending Event Alert 9/9/2008

    Here at the Arlington Institute, we have worked with real precognizant dreamers who have had experience with intelligence services and we have subsequently learned about the hundreds of case studies of individuals who had explicit dreams about the 9/11 affair (people jumping out of burning high rise buildings, etc.), beginning some six months before the event. http://www.arlingtoninstitute.org/tai-alert-15-impending-event-alert

    -the human collective unconscious somehow anticipates large impending perturbations-

    ... Well, in the last two days I have received four independent, explicit indications from far removed friends suggesting that something very substantial and disruptive is going to happen to the U.S. within the next 60 days or so. If these warnings manifest themselves in an event of the significance of something like 9/11 then people all over the world should begin to experience dreams and other intuitions suggesting that something extraordinary is about to happen. ...

    *

    http://www.realitysandwich.com/dreaming_future As a preliminary experiment, TAI is asking for anyone who experiences any "significant suggestion" of a disruptive event occuring in the coming weeks to send it in an email with the following information:

    (Send email to dreams2008@arlingtoninstitute.org)

    Date of dream or intuition:

    Geographic Location of dreamer:

    Narrative of actual dream/intuition:

    Degree of urgency of dream/intuition: (scale of 1-10. 10 is most urgent)

    Element of the dream/intuition that stands out as being most important:

    Geographic location of the dream event (if any):

    Illuminating comments about the experience: ...

    John L. Petersen, President and founder of The Arlington Institute, is considered by many to be one of the most informed futurists in the world. See Mr. Petersen’s presentation “Big Changes on Our Horizon”.


    Bolivia- Massacre At Pando: 14 Dead By Fascist Militia

    Abiding in Bolivia and Inca Kola News are doing great work reporting on the Bolivian secessionist coup. Between them they report that an ambush in Pando "massacre of El Porvenir", the assault by gun toting autonomistas on pro-government campesino marchers. As they also note the whorehouse shenanigans and secret meeting should of been covered by the media as it was a lead in to what is happening now, then bang goes the gas pipeline and the expulsion of the US coup plotter/Ambassador and the fascists attacked. Inca Kola translates survivor testimony, right now this is what Bush is supporting being done in Bolivia-

    "The road was blocked with trucks from the Prefecture, and there they started to shoot at us. Those that escaped towards the river were chased and were killed at the water's edge. Some of the survivors that arrived at the Riberalta hospital were (immediately) murdered," said one of the survivors.

    (The survivors) also reported that several women were kidnapped, including old aged woman and mothers with babies or pregnant, and were forced to strip naked and were then tortured.

    There is a lot of concern for the wellbeing of Professor Víctor Choque de El Chivé, member of the Cooperativa Intergral Agroextrativista de Campesinos de Pando, who was tortured inside the hospital but is believed still alive.

    Martial law is active and Morales is holding back any violent response and instead is entering negotiations with the autonomistas/fascists. Some are questioning this at a time that phalangist militias (ie. Santa Cruz Youth Union -UJC) yes this is them (so no, it is not hyperbole to call them fascists)-

    are attacking workers, indigenous people and union figures. As for the expulsion of the US plotter, El Duderino @ Abiding in Bolivia reports on the neglected speech he made on the 5th of September-

    "Goldberg claimed that since Bolivia is presently in a state of political instability, the US institutions should interfere in Bolivia's internal affairs."

    Then-

    the significance of Goldberg's arrival as the donation of 12 million dollars (a lot of money in Bolivia) to the departmental government and 80 thousand dollars to Sucre's municipal government (pay off for sabotaging the Constituent Assembly?).

    This is a case in point of the need for full transparency on the part of the US mission in Bolivia as to whom exactly is being funded with US government cash. As has been noted before, USAID has been directing its funds towards opposition regional department governments and as is the case in Chuquisaca, they are usually of highly questionable moral character.

    Not to mention -The new director of Bolivia's Peace Corp, Kathleen M. Sifer, just arrived from her last position directing Peace Corp operations in... wait for it.... Georgia, yea the country!- Most corporate media are not reporting the events accurately or the US role in backing with political, military and economic support. Bush ally Uribe is the only leader not to make a statement or show any support for the democratically elected Morales administration. Also via Abiding a Real News Report-

    Xposted @ TenPercent

    »

    Peter Camejo

    From: http://donpalabraz.com

    Today I bring the sad news of the passing of Peter Miguel Camejo. He was a tireless advocate for social justice who lost his fight against cancer at 3 a.m. earlier this morning. Peter was writing his life memoirs and reportedly was 1/2 a chapter away from completing his book. Before his work is sure to be posthumously published, I’ll offer this quick biographical sketch of his life in the interim: Born of Venezuelan parents, Camejo’s electoral activism led him to be the Socialist Workers presidential candidate in 1976. He ran for the governor of California three times under the Green Party and served as Ralph Nader’s running mate in a 2004 independent presidential ticket. Most recently, he spoke to the Peace and Freedom Party Convention (see above video) to convince delegates to nominate Nader and Matt Gonzales as their 2008 presidential candidacy. Nader has gone to accept the nomination and has qualified in more state ballots this year than ever before. The movement moves on!

    The activist world extends its deepest gratitude to the life lived in rebellion belonging to Peter Miguel Camejo.

    ....

    [Looks like the Hounds of Wikipedia are on the case]

    Peter Miguel Camejo (born December 31, 1939, New York City died September 13, 2008) is an American author, activist and politician. In 2004, he was selected by independent candidate Ralph Nader as his vice-presidential running mate on a ticket which had the endorsement of the Reform Party.[1][2] Camejo is a three time Green Party gubernatorial candidate most recently in 2006 receiving (2.3%) of the vote. Camejo also ran in the 2003 California recall election finishing fourth in a field of 135 candidates (2.8%), and 2002 finishing third with 5.3%.

    ...

    Camejo is a first-generation American of aristocratic Venezuelan descent. At the time of his birth, his mother was residing outside of Venezuela in the Queens borough of New York City. Although a "natural born citizen" of the United States — hence constitutionally eligible for the U.S. Presidency later in life — Camejo spent most of his early childhood in Venezuela.

    ...

    While a member of the Socialist Workers Party, Camejo wrote the book Racism, Revolution, Reaction, 1861-1877. The Rise and Fall of Radical Reconstruction, published by Pathfinder Press.

    As a candidate for California Governor, Camejo, along with other Green Party candidates and activists, wrote California Under Corporate Rule, which he self-published.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Camejo


    Barr no longer dominates the Internet; Baldwin makes huge gains in ‘market share’

    First on June 11, and then on July 17, IPR posted the results of “Google News Primaries” — the number of Google News hits for each “alternative” presidential candidate. Well, the September 13 results are in, and the top four are still in the same position — though the gap between them has narrowed considerably.

    1. “Bob Barr” “Libertarian” 1547, 36.20%
    2. “Ralph Nader” “Independent” 1429, 33.43%
    3. “Cynthia McKinney” “Green” 626, 14.65%
    4. “Chuck Baldwin” “Constitution” 595, 13.92%
    5. “Brian Moore” “Socialist” 29, 0.68%
    6. “Gloria La Riva” “Socialism” 19, 0.44%
    7. “Charles Jay” “Boston Tea” 13, 0.30%
    8. “Gene Amondson” “Prohibition” 12, 0.28%
    9. “Roger Calero” “Socialist” 4, 0.09%

    All candidates except for Charles Jay, who benefited from a “spike” in coverage related to his Boston Tea Party nomination last time, increased their number of hits. The Prohibition Party’s Gene Amondson actually showed the greatest improvement, percentage-wise, though his leap from two hits to twelve is unlikely to set the world on fire. More realistically, Chuck Baldwin was the big winner by this measure. Ralph Nader, too, should be noted for increasing his hits by 47.78%, whereas his primary rival Bob Barr managed just a 14.93% increase.

    1. “Gene Amondson” “Prohibition” +500.00%
    2. “Chuck Baldwin” “Constitution” +395.83%
    3. “Brian Moore” “Socialist” +163.64%
    4. “Cynthia McKinney” “Green” +145.49%
    5. “Gloria La Riva” “Socialism” +58.33%
    6. “Ralph Nader” “Independent” +47.78%
    7. “Roger Calero” “Socialist” +33.33%
    8. “Bob Barr” “Libertarian” +14.93%
    9. “Charles Jay” “Boston Tea” -23.53%

    Putting things in relative terms, here is how each much candidate gained or lost in terms of “market share.”

    1. “Gene Amondson” “Prohibition” +73.94%
    2. “Chuck Baldwin” “Constitution” +68.46%
    3. “Brian Moore” “Socialist” +40.68%
    4. “Cynthia McKinney” “Green” +36.30%
    5. “Gloria La Riva” “Socialism” +1.23%
    6. “Ralph Nader” “Independent” -5.83%
    7. “Roger Calero” “Socialist” -17.29%
    8. “Bob Barr” “Libertarian” -36.07%
    9. “Charles Jay” “Boston Tea” -104.50%

    Now, excluding the four “major” candidates — Barr, Nader, McKinney, and Baldwin — let’s take a look at where the “minor” candidates hits are coming from. After all, if they’re all coming from IPR, TPW, and BAN, then they’re not worth quite as much as “mainstream” hits.

    Of Brian Moore’s 29 hits, five come from IPR and four come from Ballot Access News. TPW is ignoring the Socialist Party USA candidate. Moore’s other 20 hits come from media outlets not dedicated to third-party political news.

    Gloria La Riva had 19 hits, but six of them were from the Party for Socialism and Liberation, which is somehow indexed by Google News. She had one hit from IPR and another from BAN — again, zero from TPW. That leaves her with 11 “good” hits.

    Charles Jay had just 13 hits. Surprisingly, only two were from IPR, with another one each coming from BAN and TPW. A fifth “bad” hit came from BetUs in an article written by Jay.

    Gene Amondson “soared” from two hits to 12. Two of his hits came from IPR and one from BAN (zero from TPW).

    Roger Calero, the candidate of the Socialist Workers Party, had a whopping four hits. Without IPR’s help, he would have remained at three — where he was two months ago. His other hits come from a Nolan Chart article, from which all of these candidates derived a hit, a Norweigan article, and one mainstream media piece from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.


    34 MILLION FRIENDS OF UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND:

    UNFPA: JANE ROBERTS YOUTUBE VIDEO: 13/09/2008 (MaximsNewsNetwork)

    UNITED NATIONS - / MaximsNewsNetwork / 13 September 2008 -- On July 22, 2002 the Bush Administration in the person of then Secretary of State Colin Powell announced that it was not going to release the $34 million Congress had approved for the United Nations Population Fund.

    The excuse was that UNFPA was complicit in China’s coercive policies. No other country has ever faulted UNFPA’s small program in China. Powell’s investigative team came back from China recommending that the funds be released.

    Powell, who had testified that UNFPA did invaluable work in the world, should have resigned on the spot.

    At 3:00 am on July 23, I lay awake, anger simmering in my brain.

    Right there and then I decided to ask 34 million Americans for one dollar.

    Lois Abraham had exactly the same idea.

    Over six years later, 34 Million Friends is alive and well.

    See >> Direct Link

    Unfortunately we are no where close to $34 million but a significant amount of money with more coming in every week, is sending a positive message to the world from the American people.

    Gender inequality is at the root of many of the world’s ills. The first of the Millennium Development Goals seeks to cut in half the numbers of people living in extreme poverty.

    Two-thirds of these people are women.

    Two-thirds of the illiterate people on the planet today are women and girls. Educated women marry later, have fewer children, educate them and keep them healthy. Women’s equality is a win-win. ...


    Socialist Candidates to File Lawsuit for Inclusion on Louisiana Ballot

    Brian Moore Blasts Louisiana officials for "shamelessly obstructing minor party access to ballot in aftermath of Hurricane Gustav"; accuses Gov. Jindal and Secretary of State Dardenne of using natural disaster to protect John McCain and the GOP

    Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Saturday, September 13, 2008: Brian P. Moore of Florida and Stewart A. Alexander of California, the Socialist Party-USA candidates for President and Vice President, respectively, have initiated lawsuits against the states of Louisiana and Mississippi for denying the Socialist Party's presidential ticket a place on the ballot in the November general election. Both lawsuits are expected to be filed early next week.

    Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Secretary of State Jay Dardenne were blasted today by the Socialist Party's presidential candidate for their "shameless" actions to keep the Socialist Party's presidential ticket and four other parties, including the Libertarian Party, from being on the Louisiana ballot on November 4. Mark R. Brown, a law professor at CapitalUniversity in Columbus, Ohio, who is representing the Socialist and Libertarian parties in their lawsuit against Louisiana, has written to state election officials urging them to reconsider their decision to deny both parties a place on the official ballot. "I cannot imagine that the Secretary [of State] would want to take advantage of a natural disaster to further his own political ends," wrote Brown in a letter dated September 10, "but that is certainly the way it is shaping up."

    Secretary of State Dardenne's office decided to exclude the Moore/Alexander ticket and the Libertarian Party's ticket headed by former Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia from this year’s ballot because both campaigns failed to deliver the requisite paperwork to his office by September 2, 2008, notwithstanding the fact that the Elections office was officially closed on that date by executive order. In his letter addressed to Murietta Norton, the state's legal counsel, Brown said "that people in New Orleans and Baton Rouge were ordered to evacuate before Hurricane Gustav hit the coast, which would have made it extremely stupid for anyone to attempt to come to Baton Rouge to deliver papers on September 2, 3, 4, or 5." Brown also noted that the Secretary of State's own web site explicitly stated that the office would be officially closed until, Monday, September 8, 2008.

    Brown further noted that the city of Baton Rouge still lacks essential services as of this date; many basic functions—including water, sewage, electricity, and the mail—are not fully up and running. Brown, who last month won an historic victory in federal court for the Socialist Party in Ohio — placing the party's presidential ticket on the ballot in that battleground state for the first time since 1932 — pointed out that, as a direct result of Hurricane Gustav, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana has extended all deadlines for lawyers with offices in Terrebonne and LaFourche Parishes until September 22, 2008. In his letter, Brown also noted that the Secretary of State recently postponed the state's congressional primary, which was rescheduled for September 13, 2008, because voting precincts in many parishes are not yet functioning.

    Moore stated that this action by the state of Louisiana is not only an "attempted disenfranchisement of the state's socialist-leaning voters," but was also an obvious attempt by Gov. Jindal and Secretary Dardenne, both of whom are Republicans, "to protect John McCain and the GOP from the Libertarian Party's Bob Barr and other alternative candidates." Moore also noted that Gov. Jindal, "a rising star in the GOP," had been on McCain's short list of vice-presidential possibilities. "These guys are using a natural disaster to keep Bob Barr and myself off the ballot," Moore stated. "After Katrina, one would think the last thing they'd want to do is to take political advantage of another hurricane. It's unconscionable."

    The Socialist Party's presidential ticket received 1,795 votes in Louisiana in 2004, finishing sixth in a nine-candidate field. This year the party hopes to be on the ballot in at least ten states — the most since 1952. The Libertarian Party's Bob Barr, who has already been certified for the ballot in forty-four states, had been registering as high as six percent in national polls earlier this summer and is seen as a real threat to McCain's prospects in November.

    Citing the party's historic victory in federal court in Ohio on August 21, Matt Erard, Moore's national ballot-access coordinator, stated that, among nationally-organized parties on the left, the Socialist Party and the Moore-Alexander campaign were "leading the fight against undemocratic ballot access laws this year."

    * * *


    Howard Zinn: US 'In Need of Rebellion'

    Al Jazeera speaks to Howard Zinn, the author, American historian, social critic and activist, about how the Iraq war damaged attitudes towards the US and why the US "empire" is close to collapse

    09/09/08 "Al Jazeera" -- - - HZ: America has been heading - for some time, and is heading right now - toward less and less world power, less and less influence.

    Obviously, since the war in Iraq, the rest of the world has fallen away from the United States, and if American foreign policy continues in the way it has been - that is aggressive and violent and uncaring about the feelings and thoughts of other people - then the influence of the United States is going to decline more and more.

    This is an empire which is on the one hand the most powerful empire that ever existed; on the other hand an empire that is crumbling - an empire that has no future ... because the rest of the world is alienated and simply because this empire is top-heavy with military commitments, with bases around the world, with the exhaustion of its own resources at home.

    [This is] leading to more and more discontent and home, so I think the American empire will go the way of other empires and I think it is on its way now.

    Q: Is there any hope the US will change its approach to the rest of the world?

    HZ: If there is any hope, the hope lies in the American people.

    [It] lies in American people becoming resentful enough and indignant enough over what has happened to their country, over the loss of dignity in the world, over the starving of human resources in the United States, the starving of education and health, the takeover of the political mechanism by corporate power and the result this has on the everyday lives of the American people.

    [There is also] the higher and higher food prices, the more and more insecurity, the sending of the young people to war.

    I think all of this may very well build up into a movement of rebellion.

    We have seen movements of rebellion in the past: The labour movement, the civil rights movement, the movement against the war in Vietnam.

    I think we may well see, if the United States keeps heading in the same direction, a new popular movement. That is the only hope for the United States.

    Q: How did the US get to this point?

    HZ: Well, we got to this point because ... I suppose the American people have allowed it to get it to this point because there were enough Americans who were satisfied with their lives, just enough.

    Of course, many Americans were not, that is why half of the population doesn't vote, they're alienated.

    But there are just enough Americans who have been satisfied, you might say getting some of the "goodies" of the empire, just some of them, just enough people satisfied to support the system, so we got this way because of the ability of the system to maintain itself by satisfying just enough of the population to keep its legitimacy.

    And I think that era is coming to an end.

    Q: What should the world know about the United States?

    HZ: What I find many people in the rest of the world don't know is that there is an opposition in the United States.

    Very often, people in the rest of the world think that Bush is popular, they think 'oh, he was elected twice', they don't understand the corruption of the American political system which enabled Bush to win twice.

    They don't understand the basic undemocratic nature of the American political system in which all power is concentrated within two parties which are not very far from one another and people cannot easily tell the difference.

    So I think we are in a situation where we are going to need some very fundamental changes in American society if the American people are going to be finally satisfied with the kind of society we have.

    Q: Do you think the US can recover from its current position?

    HZ: Well, I am hoping for a recovery process. I mean, so far we haven't seen it.

    You asked about what the people of the rest of the world don't know about the United States, and as I said, they don't know that there is an opposition.

    There always has been an opposition, but the opposition has always been either crushed or quieted, kept in the shadows, marginalised so their voices are not heard.

    People in the rest of the world hear the voices of the American leaders.

    They do not hear the voices of the people all over this country who do not like the American leaders who want different policies.

    I think also, people in the rest of the world should know that what they see in Iraq now is really a continuation of a long, long term of American imperial expansion in the world.

    I think ... a lot of people in the world think that this war in Iraq is an aberration, that before this the United States was a benign power.

    It has never been a benign power, from the very first, from the American Revolution, from the taking-over of Indian land, from the Mexican war, the Spanish-American war.

    It is embarrassing to say, but we have a long history in this country of violent expansion and I think not only do most people in other countries [not] know this, most Americans don't know this.

    Q: Is there a way for this to improve?

    HZ: Well you know, whatever hope there is lies in that large number of Americans who are decent, who don't want to go to war, who don't want to kill other people.

    It is hard to see that hope because these Americans who feel that way have been shut out of the communications system, so their voices are not heard, they are not seen on the television screen, but they exist.

    I have gone through, in my life, a number of social movements and I have seen how at the very beginning of these social movements or just before these social movements develop, there didn't seem to be any hope.

    I lived in the [US] south for seven years, in the years of the civil rights movements, and it didn't seem that there was any hope, but there was hope under the surface.

    And when people organised, and when people began to act, when people began to work together, people began to take risks, people began to oppose the establishment, people began to commit civil disobedience.

    Well, then that hope became manifest ... it actually turned into change.

    Q: Do you think there is a way out of this and for the future influence of the US on the world to be a positive one?

    HZ: Well, you know for the United States to begin to be a positive influence in the world we are going to have to have a new political leadership that is sensitive to the needs of the American people, and those needs do not include war and aggression.

    [It must also be] sensitive to the needs of people in other parts of the world, sensitive enough to know that American resources, instead of being devoted to war, should be devoted to helping people who are suffering.

    You've got earthquakes and natural disasters all over the world, but the people in the United States have been in the same position as people in other countries.

    The natural disasters here [also] brought little positive reaction - look at [Hurricane] Katrina.

    The people in this country, the poor people especially and the people of colour especially, have been as much victims of American power as people in other countries.

    Q: Can you give us an overall scope of everything we talked about - the power and influence of the United States?

    HZ: The power and influence of the United States has declined rapidly since the war in Iraq because American power, as it has been exercised in the world historically, has been exposed more to the rest of the world in this situation and in other situations.

    So the US influence is declining, its power is declining.

    However strong a military machine it is, power does not ultimately depend on a military machine. So power is declining.

    Ultimately power rests on the moral legitimacy of a system and the United States has been losing moral legitimacy.

    My hope is that the American people will rouse themselves and change this situation, for the benefit of themselves and for the benefit of the rest of the world.


    Coup Plot Against Chavez Disclosed on Venezuelan TV

    Mario Silva, host of the political satire and commentary program La Hojilla (The Razorblade) (VTV)
    Mario Silva, host of the political satire and commentary program La Hojilla (The Razorblade) (VTV)
    Mérida, September 11, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)-- On Wednesday night Mario Silva, on the program "La Hojilla" (The Razorblade) showed a recording from an unidentified source in which various military personnel, some retired and some active, were planning a coup against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. The coup plan aimed to take the Miraflores Palace, the headquarters of the government and the president's office. Among the participants in the recording were vice admiral Carlos Alberto Millan Millan, who was also inspector general of the National Armed Forces, general of the National Guard Wilfredo Barroso Herrera, brigade general of Aviation, and Eduardo Baez Torrealba, who was involved in the April 2002 coup attempt. In what was the possibly the last episode of "La Hojilla," a clip was shown with a recording of various phone conversations where the speakers reveal a series of movements and people who are "with them" inside various organizations and available to assist with the plan. Herrera is heard saying, "Here there is only one objective: we're going to take the Miraflores Palace, we're going to take the TV installations...that is all effort towards where the man is. If he's in Miraflores, the effort goes towards there." Then he assures that he has someone who knows all the details of Miraflores, "that is the sergeant Brito Lombardero, and he's with us." The speakers also say it is necessary to take the "command headquarters" with "the troops inside," including "those who are in the same barracks, in the Callejon Macado, 200 meters from the command headquarters." They discuss which units will be responsible and will control which areas and buildings. They confirm they have sympathizers in a unit called "Bolivar," located in Catia La Mar, near the Capital Caracas, which would come to Caracas to participate in the coup. In another conversation it is indicated that they have control points in the Air Base Libertador, in Maracay, Aragua state, where the F16 and other planes of the Venezuelan Air Force are. Baez Torrealba says, "We are divided into four zones, those that are going to be in charge of the east, the west, and two in the centre... there the most important thing, Gonzalez, is the pilots. We already have a pilot ...in F16, the other is an instructor who is going to take off the planes." He continues, "This commander, who is an instructor, he has some guys below, some captains and some majors...who are prepared to follow him...the security man inside Libertador Base is with us...he is the commander, they're not going to check anything with him. He is the commander of the police." Torrealba talks of the possibility of either bombing the president's plane, or capturing it with other planes in the air. Silva, in his commentary suggested the officials involved could have a direct relation with Raul Baduel, a former defense minister who came out against Chavez in late 2007, and that Millan Millan is a "protégé" of his. Silva is a PSUV candidate for governor of Carabobo state and his program will go off air for the time being, while he concentrates on the election campaign. After being informed of the broadcast of the recording, Chavez rang the show, and speaking live, said that an investigation would be started immediately. He also said that many such conspiracies have been prevented thanks to the Venezuelan Intelligence and that there have been plans to bomb the Miraflores. "We've infiltrated the most radical and fascist movements...we've known for a long time that they are looking for land and air rockets and sophisticated equipment to blow up the presidential plane." Chavez emphasized that if there is a coup, "the counter-coup would be overwhelming." He also linked the plot with US plans to assassinate him, "The empire is desperate and the Yankee-sympathizers here are helping them attack me." He outlined the US strategy to use Venezuelan flags on foreign or US planes in order to make it look like a local rebellion. "We are alert, I say to the country to trust your government, our intelligence organizations, our Armed Forces, in which our officials and soldiers have learnt many lessons." Silva argued the opposition would not plan such an action if they thought they would win widely in the upcoming local and regional elections on 23 November. Furthermore, on Wednesday Nicolas Maduro, Venezuelan Foreign Minister, also speaking on National Television, confirmed that there is strong proof of US attack strategies against the Venezuelan president. "We have denounced these situations over and over again. In fact, we announced the coup of 2002 one year before it took place," he said. Maduro included in such attack strategies the "criminalization" campaign around the "suitcase scandal," in reference to a trial taking place in the U.S., in which the Venezuelan government is accused of providing $800,000 to the presidential campaign of then-candidate Cristina Fernandez of Argentina. "The North American government is using whatever weapons it can in order to attack the leaders that have been consolidated in Latin America." A PSUV leader, Vanessa Davies, has called on the party membership and the general population to march on the Justice department this Monday, to present a document rejecting the coup plot. "We demand that the department investigate this plan so that impunity doesn't rule again," she said.

    [Title Withheld] by Rabbi Michael Lerner

    Senator Obama is now trailing Senator McCain in many national polls. In fact, his national popularity has been falling ever since he received the nomination and made a decision to move toward what the pundits describe as "the political center." In the last few months Obama managed to demobilize the millions of young people and centrist Republicans who had momentarily allowed themselves to believe that Obama's idealism represented something so new in politics that they would overcome their own dis-interest in politics and transcend their own skepticism and even reach out to others. Their energy, instead of being understood as the key to electoral victory, was marginalized as the Obama handlers pushed him to be "realistic" and buy the same boring strategy that has lost most Democratic candidates their elections in the past thirty years: abandon your base and put your post-convention energies focused on an elusive "center" that barely exists. The choice of Joe Biden, the foreign policy chair of the Senate who had resolutely refused to allow anti-war voices to testify before his committee at the outset of the Iraq war and who has been as dull and mainstream of the inside-the-beltway crowd could hope for, was only the crowning blow to the people who had been the energizers for the Obama camp . But there had been others: the capitulation to AIPAC and the most reactionary elements in the Jewish world rather than a strong affirmation of the Israeli peace movement perspective on the conflict, the emphasis on how Obama would increase military presence in Afghanistan rather than putting forward a challenge to the militarism that had led us into the fantasy that acts of terror can be stopped through military domination of other countries (his victory in the primaries had been won by representing himself as the candidate of the anti-war sentiment in the country, and it was that which made it possible for him to beat Hillary Clinton who resolutely refused to apologize for her having capitulated to the militarist reasoning); his vote for a bill that extended the power of the president to wiretap on national security grounds (though he had previously promised to oppose it); his capitulation on off-shore drilling while failing to unveil a visionary plan to solve the global environmental problem); his embrace of a Supreme Court decision that banned the city of Washington from imposing gun control; and his distancing from the netroots that had supported him from the beginning. To understand why these betrayals of his core constituency made a big difference in how he is perceived, particularly after Senator McCain did the opposite by choosing as his running mate an obvious soon-to-be-darling of the Republican's core constituency, we need to understand the psychodynamics of American presidential campaigns. There, the first thing to know is that the issues are rarely the issue. What counts much more are two things: the level of hope versus the level of fear, and the degree to which the candidate seems to understand and care about the well-being of the people whom s/he is seeking to lead (or what we might call the elitism factor). Anyone hoping to end militarism and create social programs to reduce poverty, provide universal health care, and address the global environmental crisis is going to face the charge from the media and the political Right that they are "unrealistic" and "naive." Few Americans have the background to understand the details of the programs being presented, and so the tendency of many liberal and progressive politicians to focus on the details feels like technocratic noise that people quickly turn off. What people need to hear is a plausible account of why it is possible to hope for a world in which people can take care of each other and trust others enough so that we don't have to militarily dominate the world. To do that, Obama needs to address the source of our fears, and to put forward a visionary program (I've suggested a Global Marshall Plan to end both domestic and global poverty, provide adequate education and health care, and repair the global environment) that rests explicitly on a rejection of the fear-oriented policies of the Bush/McCain team. Some of Obama's most loyal supporters imagined they heard that from him at the DNC, but most of the country did not come away excited by some new vision that would provide a fundamentally new direction for American domestic and foreign policy. But to the extent that Obama instead tries to fight on the same terrain as McCain (who is going to do better at wiping out all those evil people in the Middle East) he loses, because if the world is as fearful as the Right claims, then people will choose a genuine militarist, not a lukewarm one. And if that is the nature of the period in which we live, then many will move to the Right, because that's where the social energy is going, and that reinforces the most fearful part inside themselves. Moreover, switching from being the candidate of the progressives and the visionaries to the candidate of the political center is understood by many people as a transparent manipulation based on the assumption that Americans are too distorted and stupid to embrace what Obama really stands for, so the only way to win their votes is to pretend to be a mild-mannered centrist. Thus the elitism charge seems to stick, because "if he can't trust Americans to hear his real ideas, the ones with which he made his political career as a progressive in the Senate and in the primaries, then why," reason many Americans, "should we trust him, since he obviously shares the general elitism of the liberal world, an elitism that expresses itself in the assumption that if we don't vote their way, it's only because we are stupid or evil. and big fans of some kind of fascism or repression?" It's not too late to repair this, but Obama would have to reject the wisdom of the inside-the-Beltway talking heads and become once again the Obama that spoke for the possibilities of the 21st century, the Obama who momentarily this past Spring brought hope to millions of young people who now have returned to their cynicism and despair after his various capitulations.

    Is This True or False? You Tell Me...

    Explosive News: Democrats' Collaboration at Republican National Convention Exposed. Secret meetings authorized excessive use of force. We know the stories of police abuse, mass arrests, targeting journalists, street medics, use of rubber bullets, plastic bullets, wooden baton rounds, mace, tear gas, tasering and other differently lethal methods of crowd control in St Paul and Minneapolis this week. What is not known is how the local Democratic Party and other so called progressive elected officials collaborated with authorities in the past weeks and months before the RNC Convention in St Paul, giving them legal authority for their excesses and abuses of power. This is your Independent Journalista's on-the-ground account of what happened and how local elected officials collaborated with the authorities and again abandoned their Oath to Protect and Defend the Constitution from All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic. This is the news that you will not hear from the corporate media, Air America, the Nation magazine or other so called progressive, alternative media outlets. This is true, muckraking journalism that honestly speaks truth to power, no matter how uncomfortable it makes some folks. Now, before we get to the facts surrounding how our elected officials betrayed us and the Bill of Rights, a truth must be stated. No matter what the local City Councils of St Paul and Minneapolis did, the authorities would have done what they did. This story is not about that. It is instead about how the local government knowingly collaborated with them, with no input from citizens and finally passed a Resolution granting them legal authority to use rubber and plastic bullets, wooden baton rounds, tasers and chemical weapons that were deployed against peaceful protesters, journalists and street medics treating the victims of their brutality in a secret meeting with no public allowed. In the months before the Republicans came to town, there had been a flurry of activity. Local activists were keeping a close eye on their local elected officials. Initially, there had been a so called Free Speech Committee set up, supposedly to look at how authorities could allow free speech during the RNC and keep order. However, local activists immediately developed some serious concerns. We found out that the Free Speech Committee did not allow any members of the public to add our input. Only City Council members on the committee and lawyers were allowed to speak. There was no free speech allowed at the misnamed Free Speech Committee. Nonetheless, activists followed the Committee's actions closely and were present during each meeting. The City Council of Minneapolis is almost 100% Democratic. In fact the only real opposition in Minneapolis is the Green Party which currently has one Green on the City Council, Cam Gordon, who was a small light in a very dark room. But, we were to discover, even that light was to be extinguished. The so called Free Speech Committee would change the time and locations of its meetings, in an obvious attempt of loosing the local activists who were closely following their intents and actions. During this time, Councilman Gordon kept the local activist community appraised of when and where these meetings were being held, including last minute changes. There was much talk of using the Washington Model of crowd control versus other Models. The Washington Model was touted as being a little less restrictive. There was also discussion on protest groups being required to register themselves and even their members, to be "allowed" to protest. At these times, Cam Gordon spoke eloquently on behalf of the community and in opposition to these repressive measures. When he spoke, he drew cheers from the activists present. We also waved our protest signs in agreement each time. We would also boo when the head of the Committee, Paul Ostrow, would make an especially egregious remark. That was the extent of public participation and free speech at the so called Free Speech Committee meetings. This went on for moths at a time. Then suddenly we found out that the Free Speech Committee had their last meeting, July 16th. The meeting itself was unannounced, unlike the other meetings which at least had a pretense of openness and public inclusion. At the next Minneapolis City Council meeting July 25th, the recommendation of the misnamed Free Speech Committee was announced. The Free Speech Committee Resolution passed unanimously, even by our one small light, Councilman Cam Gordon. The Minneapolis Police were given "legal" authority to shut down any protest or group of 25 people or greater. They were also authorized to use rubber bullets, mace and the other array of non-lethal weapons on innocent, peaceful demonstrators, practicing our First Amendment Rights. Also violated repeatedly was the Fourth Amendment Right protecting us citizens against illegal search and seizure. Police violated the laws of assault and battery and destruction of evidence of their crimes, as evidenced by their targeting journalists. All talk of the Washington Model was removed. As this Resolution was passed by the large Democratic majority Minneapolis City Council july 25th, another protest broke out. Local activists presented each member of the Minneapolis City Council, including Mayor RT Ryback with a Statement of Reprobation, condemning them for this betrayal of our most precious right to Free Speech, Assembly and Peaceful Petition of Our Government. One of the main organizers, Michelle Gross of Communities United Against Police Brutality, presented the Statement of Reprobation to both Councilman Cam Gordon and the head of the Free Speech Committee, Councilman Paul Ostrow. Another was handed to Mayor RT Ryback. During this presentation, a young man, Jude Ortiz with Coldsnap Legal Collective, read aloud the charges against the Minneapolis City Council. When he did so, he was bundled off the podium by Minneapolis Police and brought to the Hennepin County Jail. He was later released uncharged. All Minneapolis City Councils are taped and shown on local Public Access TV - all except for this one, which has never seen the light of day. Clearly, the "progressive" City Council had something to hide. Since then, Michelle Gross was arrested twice, during peaceful protests that were targeted by police. Many of the examples of excess and police brutality and thuggery were practiced by Minneapolis Police. But, all of these actions and betrayals were mirrored by the 100% Democratic City Council of St Paul. Both Mayor RT Ryback and Mayor Chris Coleman, who laud themselves as "progressive" held a Press Conference, calling the RNC Convention a "success." Ironically, we now have a number of the very City Councilpersons who gave our rights away, without a fight, now engaging in tough talk and rhetoric. This includes my own Councilwoman Elizabeth Glidden and Councilman Gary Schiff. Covering Your A** with tough talk will not make up for your betrayal of the citizens of our country, Council members and Mayors. Not even close. I ask the question again. What do we do about it? I leave the answer up to you.

    3rd parties even get left out of political studies...

    [I posted this link in 2006 shortly after it was online...tonight I happen to see it again while looking at the Quotes tag on http://dedroidify.blogspot.com it looks different now from my hardcore pro-vote-your-conscience viewpoint...I wish the other than D or R parties were also studied.] Flashback: 2006 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11009379/ "None of the circuits involved in conscious reasoning were particularly engaged," Westen said. "Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones." Notably absent were any increases in activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most associated with reasoning. ... A brain-scan technique known as functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, revealed a consistent pattern. Both Republicans and Democrats consistently denied obvious contradictions for their own candidate but detected contradictions in the opposing candidate.

    Codex Atlanticus - by L. Da Vinci... Sanguine and pen

    LEONARDO DA VINCI HIS FLYING MACHINES http://wanderling.tripod.com/davinci_kite.html http://www.angelfire.com/electronic/awakening101/leonardo.html "ognuno si potrà gettare da qualsiasi altezza senza alcun rischio" (anyone can jump from no matter what height without any risk whatsoever).

    Friday, September 12, 2008

    Gloria La Riva, Presidential Candidate for PSL Arrested in D.C.!!

    From: http://cubajournal.blogspot.com

    Five people are arrested at White House demanding, "Bush: Free the Cuban Five Now!"

    In an action that received significant media attention, on the 10th anniversary of the unjust imprisonment of the Cuban Five political prisoners, five people were arrested in a civil disobedience action, trying to present 102,000 signatures on petitions that call on President Bush to free the Five. Each of the five arrested represented one of the Five, Gerardo Hernández, René González, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino and Fernando González. The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five presented 102,000 signatures from 78 countries. Those arrested were Gloria La Riva, Coordinator, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five; Brian Becker, National Coordinator A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism); Elizabeth Lowengard, A.N.S.W.E.R. Washington-DC organizer, Keith Pavlik, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, and Chuck Kaufman, Interim Coordinator of the Venezuela Solidarity Network. During the action they demanded 1.) Free the Cuban Five immediately; 2.) Grant entry visas to Adriana Perez and Olga Salanueva, and 3.) Extradite Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela. Press in attendance included CNN, Al Jazeera English-language TV, Associated Press television, EFE TV of Spain, Univisión TV and Russian TV, according to media coordinator Alison Bodine. The civil disobedience actions followed a successful press conference in front of the White House. Featured speaker at the conference was Wayne Smith, former chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. Brian Becker; Gloria La Riva and Banbose Shango, Regional Coordinator of the Venezuelan Solidarity Network and Co-chair of the National Network on Cuba, also spoke strongly in support of the Cuban Five. There were also special remarks given by Judge Claudia Morcom of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute. "We are here at the White House to say that George W. Bush is supporting terrorism by harboring Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch while the Cuban Five are imprisoned. The time to free them is NOW," said Gloria La Riva. As the five were being arrested they continued shouting "Extradite Posada! Free the Cuban Five!," along with the crowd. Earlier in the week a letter was also delivered to George W. Bush, signed by Howard Zinn, Alice Walker, Noam Chomsky, Martin Sheen and Ramsey Clark among others. Simultaneous events are being organized all over the world in solidarity with the Cuban Five on this important date. Before the Washington DC action there were also events in Australia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America and more are planned over the next period of action. During this critical time, when three of the Cuban Five are awaiting re-sentencing in Miami, and the case of the Cuban heads to the Supreme Court activists in the United States are committed to continuing the struggle. More photos and video will be available later today at www.freethefive.org.

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    posted by Cuba Journal

    Fascist violence in Bolivia – an eyewitness report

    by our correspondent in Bolivia
    Friday, 12 September 2008

    The sound of explosions is constant; one can read the fear in people's faces. The TV reports two dead in fights in northern Bolivia, Pando (Cobija). Chaos in Santa Cruz and other Eastern regional capitals is almost total. What started on September 9th as vandalism against public institutions has developed into a fascist orgy of violence which threatens civil war.

    Orgy of fascist violence in BoliviaOn the 9th of September, right-wing fascist gangs attacked one public institution after another. The list of occupied institutions is long. Everything from tax offices, administration of land, immigration authorities to the department of forestry was brutally destroyed. The national administration of land had its entire inventory destroyed and burned, and the same happened to the nationalized telecom company ENTEL. ENTEL had its entire main building smashed and the fascist hordes stole everything of value.

    Attacks on the Media and Trade Unions

    Late at night, the state-owned TV station in Santa Cruz was invaded and almost burned to the ground. The motive? The station is one of the only channels in Santa Cruz which critiques the right wing.

    Orgy of fascist violence in Bolivia10th September: the situation in Santa Cruz and other Eastern provinces further escalates. Now it is not about attacks on public institutions, but a consistent attack on all social organizations and government supporters.

    In Santa Cruz, the human rights organization Cejis, is ravaged and their entire inventory is burned and destroyed. The same happens to CIDOB, the indigenous people's main organization in Eastern Bolivia. All left wing leaders are hunted and many have had to go underground.

    In the Southern Bolivia, Tarija, the fascist gangs attack the peasants' marketplace. Molotov cocktails are thrown at all the stalls and violent clashes erupt with several wounded. One right wing leader declares Tarija to be independent and declares civil war in the region.

    On the night of September 10, I leave my home; one can sense the gas in the air and in the eyes. The railway and bus station of Santa Cruz is nearby. During several hours there has been violent fighting over the control of the station, which is defended by military and government supporters. After a fierce struggle, the fascists succeed in entering. They smash everything on their way.

    Orgy of fascist violence in BoliviaIt is half past one at night; I am a few hundred meters from the centre of violent street fighting. The location is Plan 3000, known as a stronghold for MAS in Santa Cruz, a gigantic and poor working class neighbourhood with 300,000 inhabitants. The big market in the neighbourhood is 800 meters away, the market which the right wing's groups of fascists try to attack and set on fire.

    The workers have rallied to a massive defence against the 400 young fascists who attack the marketplace with clubs, Molotov cocktails and hand weapons. Rapidly, thousands rally for the defence which develops into extreme violence with many wounded. About 3 o'clock at night, the fascists have been driven out, but the inhabitants keep the entrenchment defended.

    The situation is the same at all marketplaces in Santa Cruz where small traders constantly are on alert against the threat of robbery and destruction of their stalls and goods.

    The government thinks, incorrectly, that this situation will calm down. They have not taken any serious measures. But the oligarchy is about to smash the country entirely in chaos and destruction. The situation for the local population in Santa Cruz is threatening; cooking gas has almost run out, and on the roads, fewer and fewer busses and cars are circulating as a result of shortages of gasoline and diesel.

    Orgy of fascist violence in BoliviaImperialism has serious interests at stake, and on the 10th of September the foreign minister of Brazil announces that they are ready to negotiate directly with the oligarchy in Santa Cruz and Tarija if their supplies of oil and gas are secured. This will amount to a de facto recognition of an independent country.

    The US ambassador has been one of the main villains in the acceleration of regional splits in Bolivia. The ambassador was also the special envoy of the US in connection with the carving-up of Yugoslavia. Yesterday, the answer came from Evo, who immediately expelled the US ambassador.

    The sound of explosions and cracks from bangers is constant in the city. The private-owned right-wing media, which are now the only ones to send TV-transmissions in Santa Cruz, report of more and more institutions that are "conquered by the people" (read: the fascist gangs). Some of the targets for attacks are the main offices of the MAS.

    For a short while, current events are pushed away and thoughts are turned back 35 years to 11th September 1973, when Pinochet staged a military coup against the Socialist president Allende. Can something similar happen here? Many factors are similar to Chile 1973, and although the hot-shot commentators argue that "the time has run away from coup d'etats", in this moment we can see that the rich bourgeoisie does not hesitate when their economic power is threatened. And the chaotic situation has already created divisions in the army.

    Orgy of fascist violence in BoliviaAgainst this threat the social organisations, and in the first place the COB, must take all steps to organize the workers and peasants. A general strike must be called and the oligarchy must be expropriated entirely. At the same time, the social organisations in Santa Cruz and other zones of battle must organize the people for a massive defence. As one could see last night in Plan 3000, hundreds or thousands of fascists cannot defeat a fighting and organized people.

    The number of dead during the day is now four. There are reports of right-wing gangs who attacked and shot at the peasants' march, approximately 35 kilometers from Cobija, the regional capital of the Pando region, which provoked harsh fighting. Meanwhile, Plan 3000 is still on high alert as the fascists have tried several times to destroy the radio station of the neighbourhood. Several female workers from Plan 3000 call on the people to mobilise in the entire country and aid Santa Cruz in defence of the country and people's lives.

    Long live the Bolivian revolution!

    Death to fascism!

    Long live the heroic resistance of the workers and peasants!

    Santa Cruz, 11 September 2008.


    Rupert Sheldrake's The Extended Mind: Recent Experimental Evidence

    September 2, 2008

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    Venezuela's Chavez says US ambassador must leave

    By CHRISTOPHER TOOTHAKER

    Associated Press Writer

    CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - President Hugo Chavez said the U.S. ambassador has 72 hours to leave Venezuela and that he's recalling his ambassador from Washington.

    Chavez said Thursday night that he is asking U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy to leave, in part, to show solidarity with Bolivian President Evo Morales, who expelled Washington's envoy in La Paz.

    ``They're trying to do here what they were doing in Bolivia,'' Chavez said.

    ``That's enough ... from you, Yankees,'' he said, using an expletive.

    The socialist leader said Venezuela's ambassador to Washington, Bernardo Alvarez, would return to the U.S. ``when there's a new government in the United States.''

    The move by Chavez brings relations with Washington to a new low and raises questions about whether the diplomatic clash could eventually hurt trade. Venezuela is a major oil supplier to the United States, which is the country's No. 1 client.

    Chavez announced the decision during a televised speech, hours after saying his government had detained a group of alleged conspirators in a plot to overthrow him.

    Chavez accused the group of current and former military officers of trying to assassinate him with backing from the United States. He didn't offer evidence.

    U.S. officials have repeatedly denied Chavez's accusations that Washington has backed plots against him.

    A U.S. Embassy spokeswoman didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

    Chavez warned last month that Duddy could soon be ``packing his bags'' after the diplomat lamented that U.S. and Venezuelan officials have not been cooperating in the war on drugs.

    Duddy has said that deteriorating diplomatic relations between Caracas and Washington were giving drug smugglers the upper hand.


    Prominent Americans send letter to George W. Bush regarding the ‘Cuban Five’

    President George W. Bush, The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Cc: Scheduling Office, 20502-0184 Mr. President, September 12 marks the 10th anniversary of the unjust imprisonment of five men in the United States. The "Cuban Five" - Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, René González, and Fernando González - risked their lives to come to the United States to do what your Administration claims as its highest priority - fight terrorism. In their case, it was terrorism against Cuba, terrorism originating in this country that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Cubans and others, including American citizens, over the past fifty years. The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, in conjunction with more than 300 such committees worldwide, has collected more than 100,000 signatures from Americans and people around the world, demanding the immediate freedom of these five men and an end to their unjust imprisonment. They also demand the immediate granting of visas to Olga Salanueva Arango, wife of Rene Gonzalez, and Adriana Perez O'Connor, wife of Gerardo Hernandez, who have been denied permission by the U.S. government to visit their husbands in prison for 8 and 10 years, respectively, in an outrageous violation of both their legal and human rights. With this letter, we request a meeting with you or your representatives on Friday, September 12, 2008, to present you with these petitions, and to give voice to the just demands of people around the world for freedom for the Cuban Five. Signed, Alice Walker, author Howard Zinn, professor Noam Chomsky, professor, author Ramsey Clark, former U.S. attorney general Martin Sheen, actor, social justice activist Heidi Boghosian, executive director, National Lawyers Guild Gloria La Riva, coordinator, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five Brian Becker, National Coordinator A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, co-founder, Partnership for Civil Justice

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    3..Random Seth/Jane Roberts Quotes...

    "The inner senses were always paramount in evolutionary development, being the impetus behind the physical formations; and themselves, through the use of mental enzymes, imprinting the data contained in the mental genes onto the physical camouflage material." The Early Sessions, Book 1 Session 26, Page 198 * "It is far better to eat moderate amounts of food in all of the food ranges, and to consume smaller portions more often. I realize that your social mores also dictate your eating habits - but four light meals a day will overall serve you very well, and give the body a more steady, regulated nourishment." The Way Toward Health Session 6/27, Page 316 * "You also have the mental equivalent, however, of the FM’s lock-in mechanism. On your part this is the result of training, so that if your thoughts or experience stray too far this mental gadget brings them back into line." The Unknown Reality, Volume 2 Session 716, Page 418

    US Bolivia ambassador 'expelled'

    US Ambassador in Bolivia Philip Goldberg (file image)
    Goldberg is "conspiring against democracy", said Mr Morales

    The US ambassador to Bolivia has been ordered to leave the country by President Evo Morales.

    Mr Morales accused Philip Goldberg of "conspiring against democracy" and encouraging the country's break up.

    A US State Department spokesman said it had received no formal word of the dismissal and described the accusations against Mr Goldberg as "baseless".

    Bolivia has seen large protests in recent weeks by opponents of Mr Morales' economic and social policies.

    "The ambassador of the United States is conspiring against democracy and wants Bolivia to break apart," Mr Morales said, in a speech at the presidential palace in La Paz.

    The president said the foreign minister would inform Mr Goldberg that he "should return to his country at once".

    Mr Morales did not say what evidence he had to support his allegation but claimed to have the government's backing.

    Protests

    Bolivian president Evo Morales speaks in La Paz (05/09/2008)
    The announcement comes after two weeks of demonstrations by groups opposing Mr Morales.

    Protesters have been blocking roads and occupying buildings in eastern regions, which are home to Bolivia's important natural gas reserves.

    Opposition groups want a greater autonomy as well as more control over revenues of natural gas in their areas.

    They object to Mr Morales' plans to give more power to the country's indigenous and poor communities, by carrying out land reform and redistributing gas revenues.

    Earlier this week, the government announced it was sending the military to protect gas fields and infrastructure from demonstrators and guarantee exports to neighbouring countries.


    Mexico City launches community gardens

    "Our goal is that Mexico City be self-sufficient when it comes to food." - Pedro Ponce, program director The 21 community gardens are part of the mayor's bid to improve the city's quality of life. By Sara Miller Llana Mexico City - Teresa Trujillo's family income took a hit when her husband, a carpenter and the family's sole breadwinner, lost his job due to an illness just as food prices in Mexico started to skyrocket. So she looked for help with putting food on the table wherever she could find it. It turns out the mother of two didn't have to look far: right around the corner, among concrete-block homes, some with sheets hanging as doors, neighbors grow squash, spinach, and cauliflower in neatly potted beds. It's one of 21 community gardens planted in Mexico City since last year as part of Mayor Marcelo Ebrard's push to improve the quality of life for this sprawling city of 20 million. It's also part of the city's answer to food inflation that has led to clashes and riots the world over. "Our goal is that Mexico City be self-sufficient when it comes to food," says Pedro Ponce, who directs the community garden program for the Mexico City government. "This is not to make anyone rich, but it can help." "This helped me move forward when I needed it most, even though my kids didn't like vegetables," says Ms. Trujillo. "Now they do." Skyrocketing food prices Since Mexicans took to the streets last January after the price of tortillas doubled, the cost of corn, tomatoes, and onions has dominated conversations and editorial pages. Over the past year, food prices in Mexico have gone up by 9.18 percent as of July, compared with a 5.39 percent rise in the consumer price index in general, according to Mexico's central bank. In May, Mexican President Felipe Calderón announced measures to counter prices, including the elimination of tariffs on wheat, corn, and rice. But the city community garden program, in which the government provides materials and expertise and the residents carry out the work, is intended to have an immediate impact. The goal is to double the number of gardens by the end of 2008. This garden, in the industrial and crime-ridden neighborhood of Iztapalapa on the edge of Mexico City, was among the city's first. It used to be a garbage dump; how the smell of old milk cartons and beer cans has been replaced with the fresh scent of cilantro. How the community gardens work On a recent day, residents pull off pea pods, as a simple irrigation system waters crop beds. Small children, on summer holiday, run around the soccer field-sized space. Here, about two dozen members of the garden cooperative come together each evening, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and help out with whatever needs to be done, from making compost to planting new crops. In turn, they share the bounty they reap between their families. The Mexican efforts follow a trend in the US. Backdoor gardens are blooming, with 25 million American households engaged in vegetable gardening last year, according to the National Garden Association (NGA). Bruce Butterfield, the research director of the NGA, says the group forecasts 10 percent growth in the number of households participating, as happened after the 2001 recession. The reason this time: high food and gas prices. Mr. Butterfield says that part of the allure is a sense of control – a sentiment shared by Mexicans across the border, too. In a country where the minimum wage is $5 a day, and where nearly half the nation lives below the poverty line, growing their own food offers them a cushion of sorts. "This gives me security, if something happens, at least we can feed ourselves," says Marta Aguirre, a retired schoolteacher and cooperative member. Rising food prices have dominated headlines and conversations in Mexico since the so-called "tortilla protests" of last year. In local markets, prices for vegetables are way up. Maria de los Angeles Lopez is now selling a kilogram of tomatoes for about $1 – double what she would have charged last year at this time, she says. But, in turn, the meals she eats at the local stall have also gone up. "I'm a mother; of course I'm worried about this," she says. Some lifelong residents of Iztapalapa, such as Ms. Aguirre, had literally never stuck their fingers in the soil to plant a seed. For many others, it's a way to reexperience what they left behind in the countryside. "It had been a long time since I'd seen a plant in the ground, let alone do the actual planting," says Enrique Miguel Pazos, who moved to Mexico from the northern mountains of Oaxaca state 15 years ago and now makes a living selling tools at a local market. The government wants this experience to spread throughout the city, and not just to neighborhoods but to schools and jails. The city is also promoting the planting of vegetables in backyards and on rooftop terraces. The gardeners here in Iztapalapa eventually want to grow enough produce to sell at their own farmers' market. The aim, however, is not capital – it's philosophical, says Mariano Salazar, a group leader: "It's so that the residents of Mexico City learn how to be producers, and not just consumers."

    Tuesday, September 09, 2008

    In the proper context..that is a little bit hot...

    Hope you like full on fascism

    One man's fascism is another man's discipline.


    Palin Throws the Book at Librarian of Congress

    Flash forward to January 21, 2009 . . . In her first official act, Vice President Sarah Palin has asked for the resignation of Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. After a little distraction as Dick Cheney's staff received new business cards and stationery reflecting their transition to Palin's staff, the Vice President's Office issued the following statement this morning over Palin's signature: "President McCain and I came to the nation's capital with a mandate for change, and I am pleased to begin that process right in the heart of Washington. When I took that oath or whatever yesterday, I looked over at the Library of Congress building and immediately had several questions. "First, what is it with all the books? Isn't it enough to have our Declaration of Independence on display at the National Archives? Luckily the Archives have room for the upcoming Alaskan Declaration of Independence.

    "Second, aren't books basically elitist? Most real Americans are too busy to read. So let's clear the books out and make use of this prime bit of real estate. "We can begin with test bores that will quickly show whether there are natural resources beneath the Library that could be extracted for the benefit of all Americans. If that doesn't pan out, I believe that with some outside-the-Washington-box thinking we can come up with some cool adaptations for what's left of the building. "That big room with the dome would make an ideal ice rink, and there's plenty of space elsewhere for a shooting range. Part of the building ought to be converted to a hotel, which would be a much more convenient place for my successors as mayor and governor to stay when they come to Washington to seek even more federal earmarks for Alaska. I know from experience that it can be like an Ironman race going from the hotel to K Street to the Capitol to fancy restaurants and back--and not a mooseburger in sight! "On the way to the Inauguration Ball, I called Mr. Billington to ask that he implement these ideas. He did not agree to them. This led me to do a Google search on him. That thorough vetting process has resulted in shocking revelations about the Librarian. Among the issues: "A year ago, he appointed Jon Scieszka the first national reading ambassador. Why not Jack London? Or Ernest Hemingway? "Why did the Librarian write so many books about Russia? I know Russia: I've seen it from across the Bering Strait and believe me there's not much going on. "Why has he helped bring so many 'scholars' from Russia to study here? "What's with all these awards from foreign countries, especially the honorary doctorate from Moscow State University? What's the matter with American awards? "He has held this job 21 years. In my book, 21 months in one position is more than enough. "What and why is the National Book Festival? Sure it was supported by the last First Lady, but she represented an administration we Republicans are happy to have sent packing yesterday. Why not a National Snowmobile Festival?"


    Videos Show Dead Afghan Children After US Raid

    by Fisnik Abrashi

    KABUL, Afghanistan - The bodies of at least 10 children and many more adults covered in blankets and white shrouds appear in videos obtained by The Associated Press on Monday, lending weight to Afghan and U.N. allegations that a U.S.-led raid last month killed more civilians than the U.S. reported.

    The sounds of wailing women mixed with the voices of men shouting inside a white-walled mosque in the western village of Azizabad, where an Afghan government commission and U.N. report said some 90 civilians - including 60 children and 15 women - were killed.

    The two grainy videos, apparently taken by cell phones, showed bodies lying side-by-side on the mosque floor, covered by floral-patterned blankets and black-and-white checkered shawls. One young boy lay curled in a fetal position; others looked as though they were asleep. One child had half its head blown off.

    Turbaned men walked around, gently lifting the blankets covering the faces of the dead. At least two elderly men were among the dead. There appeared to be several dozen bodies lying on the mosque floor, though a precise count was difficult because of the poor quality of the images.

    The videos do not provide proof that 60 children died in the operation, but the images do appear to contradict a U.S. military investigation that found only seven civilians were killed in Azizabad, along with up to 35 militants.

    The U.S. said Sunday it would reopen the investigation because of emerging new evidence. On Monday, a Pentagon spokesman said new "imagery evidence" came to the attention over the weekend of Gen. David D. McKiernan, the American commander of the NATO-led force here.

    "There is some evidence that suggests that the evidence that the U.S. military used in ... its investigation may not have been complete," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

    He said a general to be sent to Afghanistan by U.S. Central Command will review the initial investigation. But it is also possible there will be a new inquiry into the raid in Azizabad - this time conducted by Central Command, said Lt. Cmdr. Bill Speaks, a spokesman for the command in Tampa, Fla.

    The Afghan government has agreed to a joint U.S.-U.N.-Afghan investigation, said Sultan Ahmad Baheen, spokesman for Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry. It's not clear when or how that will be conducted.

    In the videos, several dozen bodies covered by blankets were lined up in two rows, some with their feet protruding. Veiled Afghan women were seen shrieking in grief, alongside a young boy who squatted and rocked back and forth, sobbing beside one of the bodies.

    One video showed three young children wrapped in white shrouds. A fourth child had gruesome head wounds, while a fifth appeared to be a girl lying on her back, her head resting on a red blanket.

    It was impossible to verify conclusively that the videos showed the aftermath of the Azizabad attack, but the contents appeared to back claims by Afghan and U.N. officials that the U.S. operation killed far more civilians than the military has acknowledged.

    U.S. special forces and Afghan commandos carried out the operation.

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly warned the U.S. and NATO that it must stop killing civilians in its bombing runs, saying such deaths undermine his government and the international mission. But the Azizabad incident could finally push Karzai to take action.

    Karzai says the Azizabad bombings have brought relations between the Afghan government and the U.S. to one of its lowest points since the ouster of the Islamic militia from power in 2001.

    Shortly after the Azizabad attack, he ordered a review of whether the U.S. and NATO should be allowed to use airstrikes or carry out raids in villages. He also called for an updated "status of force" agreement between the Afghan government and foreign militaries. That review has not yet been completed.

    Afghan officials say U.S. special forces and Afghan commandos raided the village while hundreds of people were gathered in a large compound for a memorial service honoring a tribal leader, Timor Shah, who was killed eight months ago by a rival, Nader Tawakal.

    The U.S. investigative report released last week said American and Afghan forces took fire from militants while approaching Azizabad and that "justified use of well-aimed small-arms fire and close air support to defend the combined force."

    The report said investigators discovered evidence the militants planned to attack a nearby coalition base. This included weapons, explosives, intelligence materials and an access badge to the base, as well as photographs from inside and outside the base, the U.S. report said.


    Stud Poetry

    Stud Poetry is a playful word toy that enables the reader to build a five-card hand of poetry in the form of a poetry game with some greats from the past. Each player is dealt cards with a single word substituted for a number. These form the randomized basis for both a line of poetry and a poker hand that you can bet on. Author description: Stud Poetry is a poker game played with words instead of cards. Your goal is to build as strong a poetry hand as you can and, of course, to win as much money as you can. Stud Poetry is a game of courage and faith, and a bit of luck too. To become a great master of Stud Poetry, you need to believe in the power of words, their magic capability to move mountains, minds, and souls. Surely it won't be easy, but when you finally have won all the money with your wonderful five-word poetry hands, you'll know it's worth it.

    Monday, September 08, 2008

    P-MAS in Paraguay: Young Socialists Build a New Party from the Ground Up

    Aldo Vera, from the Party of the Movement toward Socialism (P-MAS), has taken it upon himself to show me around Asuncion. That’s his role in the party, international and press relations, and he’s good at it: smart, quick and well-informed not only about Paraguayan politics, but also the nuances of the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela, where he lived for a year and a half, and most other processes taking place on the continent. He’s cadre, defying any stereotype of what that might mean, and in that sense he is like many others of the P-MAS: smart, independent and young.

    P-MAS is one of Latin America’s newest Socialist parties — it’s barely two years old, and the average age of its members is 25 — but it has already hit the radar screen of those following the political processes of Latin America. “Conociendo al P-MAS,” a book of interviews with founding members of the party, was published earlier this year in Paraguay, edited by Marta Harnecker and Federico Fuentes of the Francisco Miranda Center of Venezuela. More importantly, P-MAS has become a force to be reckoned with on the political stage of Paraguay. Party militants there have been hard at work, particularly in the cities, building support at the base.

    If much of the socialism of the twentieth century was characterized by ideological splits, doctrinaire, internecine struggles, P-MAS hopes the “socialism of the twenty-first century” in Paraguay will be characterized by left unity in diversity with flexible, pluralistic ideologies formed out of practical experience, in the spirit of Karl Marx himself. And so it’s no surprise that members of P-MAS have in common an impatience with dogmatic, “black and white” thinking which has too often characterized segments of the left – not to mention the right. P-MAS seems to dance where angels fear to tread; it’s a party that takes risks even when it urges people to use caution.

    Evidence for this latter is posted in the enormous party dining hall. Three posters in a window tell the story of a recent struggle led by the gays and lesbians of the party. One poster shows two men holding hands and, in Spanish, “I’m Happy! I’m Gay!” in large letters. Beneath, in smaller type, the explanation: “To be gay is normal; To be gay is a blessing; To be gay is natural; To be gay is to love and be free. If you’re gay, be happy!”

    This was part of the gay and lesbian members’ recent campaign, called “Paragay: Campaign against Homophobia in Paraguay.” Beneath that poster is another, with multicolored condoms and the heading “They’re also arms against Capital” and the other poster with multicolored condoms reads “Taking care of yourself is also Revolutionary.”

    “That was intense,” Aldo says as he notices me taking a photo of the posters. “Here in Paraguay, one of the most conservative countries in Latin America, people told us we were crazy to take that on. But we did because we thought we had to and it turned out great.”

    More “reasonable” people have advised P-MAS to do all sorts of things they didn’t do, and they were also mostly wrong. For example, in the last election the older “wiser” left told P-MAS to tone down the socialist language as they entered the final laps of the electoral process. Aldo says that Tekojoja, the organization that became the party platform for Fernando Lugo to win the presidency, began to push aside other smaller parties of the Alianza Patriotica por el Cambio in the final sprint to the finish line and one way that it did that was by insisting that P-MAS turn down the volume. But Aldo maintains that they were wrong, especially in telling P-MAS to tone down the socialist rhetoric. “Like left parties often do here in Latin America, especially here in Paraguay, they tried to compete with the right by outspending them. One of those left parties spent two million dollars and got only 10,000 votes. We spent one tenth of that and came out with nearly 20,000 votes.” And, Aldo points out, that’s more than double what P-MAS got two years before in previous elections when they received 8,000 votes. “That proves,” he concludes, “that people like the language of the left. They agree with it. They want it.”

    The socialist discourse isn’t the only criticism made of P-MAS. Ironically, they’ve also been accused of being too cozy with the right wing and receiving financing from US government agencies, in particular, USAID. These rumors are mostly raised by political parties in decline who see the P-MAS’s youthful energy and agressive work in the communities as a threat to their own power base. In an interview, one member of the Paraguayan Communist Party, who preferred to remain anonymous, made the accusation that P-MAS was funded by the CIA, but could offer no evidence nor refer to credible sources for his information. “I’ve heard that. That’s the rumor,” was all he could say, shrugging his shoulders.

    In “Conociendo al P-MAS” Marta Harnecker raises the question of USAID funding with party members who acknowledge that the NGO out of which P-MAS emerged, Casa de Juventud (CJ, Youth House), like most NGOs in Paraguay, received some funding from USAID and a multitude of other international governmental and aid organizations. But in its earlier formation as the Revolutionary Socialist Nucleus (NRS), P-MAS separated from CJ and while P-MAS has maintained friendly relations with CJ and other NGOs funded by USAID and other international agencies, the party refuses such funding. P-MAS is funded by a combination of sales of its literature, t-shirts and such, contributions from its militant members, including elected officials who donate portions of their salaries, and money received from the electoral commission of the Paraguayan government, which disburses funds to all political parties that meet the minimal percentage of popular support to qualify.

    Still others have criticized the class origins of members of P-MAS, saying its youthful members are “kids from the middle class who know nothing of poverty” (in the words of one angry member of an opposing political party in the Frente Social y Popular).

    Juan de Dios laughs when he hears this criticism. He lives in the Republicano zone of the city, in the area known as “Bañado Sur” (”Bathed South”) so named for the fact that this low lying zone of the city has traditionally become a floodplain with the spring rains.

    Juan’s house, like most houses in the flatlands around the dump, is home-made, but certainly a step up from the shacks made of cardboard and other recycled materials in which the dump workers live. Juan’s house is made chiefly of brick and mud with veins of gray cement in critical areas. Still, it’s by no standards “middle-class”: There’s no indoor plumbing and the open sewer runs along the street beside his house. As he shows me around the small, two-bedroom house in some stage of construction, he asks, “Does this look like the house of a petit-bourgeoisie?”

    Walking up the alleyways near his house we have to zig-zag around the sewer stream and it’s only luck that today he’s upwind from the dump, visible from his house. Juan points to other houses in his neighborhood of “Bañado Sur” where other party members live before we take a walk to the dump to talk with the workers.

    As we walk from the dump to Juan’s house where we’ll have lunch, we pass open pools of brown water Juan reminisces about the nearby lake which he describes as having been “crystalline” years ago when he was growing up. “People used to fish there and go swimming. It was a beautiful lake.”

    It still is a beautiful lake, with ducks and cows wading in the water to graze on some of the plants rising out of the lake. But it’s no longer “crystalline” and certainly not a place where anyone would want to go swimming.

    I ask if dengue has been a problem in the neighborhood and Juan chuckles. “No, that’s one advantage of all the pollution. Dengue mosquitos only breed in clean water. The water here is too polluted for them to grow in.”

    Juan calls the workers on his cell phone as we approach the dump, an enormous mesa in a fenced area with a guard at the gate. “They’ve fenced in the dump since the city privatized it. We used to be able to go right up into the dump before it was privatized,” Juan explains. “Now they don’t let us in. We have to call the workers to meet outside the dump.”

    In recent years the enormous garbage dump, located five or six blocks from Juan’s house, has been seen as a blessing: it has acted as a dike and prevented the flooding at the same time that it has also provided some 850 workers with employment, sifting through the dump in search of recyclable materials that they can sell. Juan de Dios is the general coordinator of the P-MAS in the neighborhood and he’s been “accompanying” the recyclers who, even while unionized, work in conditions their counterparts in Argentina call “inhuman.”

    Now even that work is in danger since the dump has been privatized, leading to even more precarious conditions for the workers. The new company has argued that the dump is full and for the past month has been sending its trucks to dump at clandestine locations around the city. More than a third of the workers have quit going to work, preferring to stay home in their shacks, pieced together by lumber, sheetmetal, fiberglass and even cardboard rescued from the dump. Now the situation for all the workers has gone from “inhuman” to desperate. As Juan talks to the workers in a strange mix of Guaraní and Spanish, one of the workers describes his situation.

    “He says his daughter asked him for money so she can buy lunch at school today. But he has four children and he hasn’t been able to give them anything for several days now,” Juan translates for me. The man’s brow is furrowed with worry as he continues the conversation in Guaraní and he and Juan discuss what options are available to the workers. If the situation doesn’t improve, the two or more thousands people, the recyclers and their families, will face starvation. Juan, as part of his mission of “accompanying” the workers in their struggle, will attend the meeting of the city council the following day to find out why the garbage trucks have stopped going to the dump.

    Juan’s work with the recyclers is one of dozens of community projects in which the P-MAS works. As Aldo explains, “Most other parties only make the rounds in the neighborhoods once every four years, at election time. We live here in the neighborhoods and believe we have to maintain a constant presence to build a new society.” Thanks to this presence, Aldo said, P-MAS has grown exponentially while other parties have declined.

    Back in the center of Asuncion, Aldo takes me to visit an important landmark in the development of the P-MAS, the Casa de Juventud (CJ), where Camilo Soares and others began to organize the party. It continues to serve as a youth center with its own radio station, Radio Rebelde, and it also is home to the Germinal Labor Studies Center. While P-MAS ended formal relations with the Casa over five years ago, they remain organizations working in close collaboration.

    In the entryway of the CJ is a bronze plaque dedicated to General Stroessner in 1982. Beneath that plaque is a poster for the current educational campaign, “Campaign Against Oblivion and Silence.” Around the poster are images of the disappeared and tortured political prisoners of the Stroessner regime. A young woman who meets us in the hallway explains that this is a campaign the Casa is bringing into the schools all around the country.

    “You have to understand that 70% of Paraguay is under thirty. Most of the country doesn’t even remember Stroessner. And if they ask their parents, their parents often won’t talk about it.”

    Unlike other countries that participated in Plan Condor from the 1960s on, like Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile, where those responsible for crimes against humanity are now being tried, Paraguay has done nothing toward bringing the torturers and murderers to justice. “They continue in power. Many of those who designed the program are still in the government to this day, in positions of authority.”

    Officially, 4,000 were disappeared, but Aldo says that number is far from accurate.

    “When they disappeared someone, they often disappeared their whole family. In fact they sometimes disappeared whole communities. There are towns where everyone was disappeared, and no witnesses remain.”

    The Campaign against Oblivion and Silence is a small step toward keeping alive the issue of the disappeared, but it is at least a step. As Aldo shows me around the Casa he continues talking about the dictatorship.

    “People think that the dictatorship ended in 1989 when a coup drove Stroessner from power but that isn’t the case. The Colorado Party, Stroessner’s party, remained in power…”

    “Until last month,” I said, finishing his statement, and referring to the August 15th inauguration of Fernando Lugo as president, who brought the more than six decade long rule of the military and the Colorado party to an end.

    Aldo nodded. “Yes, the dictatorship remained in power in the executive until last week. But it still remains in power in the legislative and judicial branches.”

    In this context, Lugo’s supporters realize that they’re racing against the clock. The P-MAS continues its work, building support for the new government in the poorest neighborhoods of the cities of Paraguay. Given recent events in the country, especially Lugo’s Sept. 2 revelations of a coup plot against him, the new president could do worse than to take a cue from the P-MAS as he picks his way through the minefields of Paraguayan society. He could up the ante, turn up the rhetoric and back his words up with clear actions aimed at getting the country back into the hands of his people. With soy and cattle oligarchies, organized crime and a suspicious U.S. government prepared to join forces against any change, this new priest-turned-president may also need a miracle or two along the way if he decides to take a turn to the left — but he’ll be able to count on the P-MAS to watch his back.

    Clifton Ross is the translator and co-editor with Ben Clarke of Voice of Fire: Communiques and Interviews from the Zapatista National Liberation Army. He has also written, edited or translated a half dozen other books of poetry, fiction, interviews and translations from Latin America. Ross's documentary, Venezuela: Revolution from the Inside Out was released May 20 of this year and is available from PM Press. He can be reached at clifross1@yahoo.com. Read other articles by Clifton.


    Francisco DeLaTorre - Sonnet

    oneto
    Bella es mi Ninfa, si los lazos de oro al apacible viento desordena; bella, si de sus ojos enajena el altivo desdén, que siempre lloro.

    Bella, si con la luz que sola adoro la tempestad del viento y mar serena; bella, si a la dureza de mi pena vuelue las gracias del celeste coro.

    Bella si mansa, bella si terrible; bella si cruda, bella esquiva, y bella si vuelue grave aquella luz del cielo,

    cuya beldad humana y apacible ni si puede saber lo que es sin vella, ni vista entenderá lo que es el suelo.

    Sonnet
    My nymph is lovely, if with golden hair, she brings disorder to the placid wind; lovely, if with her eyes she can convey haughty disdain, which I forever mourn.

    Lovely, if with the one light I adore she calms the tempest of the wind and sea; lovely, if the harshness of my grief into celestial music she transforms.

    Lovely if tame, lovely if she is rude; lovely if cruel, and coy, and lovely too if she turns dark the light from heaven's sky,

    whose placid and so human loveliness one cannot know without seeing her first, nor, once seen, can by earth be satisfied.

    Sunday, September 07, 2008

    Sunday Prayers - Dear Goddess, You sly universal virus - by Rob Brezsny

    I'm happy to announce that this is a perfect moment. It's a perfect moment for many reasons, but especially because I have been inspired to say a gigantic prayer for all of you. I've been roused to unleash a divinely greedy, apocalyptically healing prayer for each and every one of you -- even those of you who don't believe in the power of prayer.

    And so I am starting to pray right now to the God of Gods ... the God beyond all Gods ... the Girlfriend of God ... the Teacher of God ... the Goddess who invented God.

    Dear Goddess, You who never kill but only change:

    I pray that my exuberant, suave and accidental words will move you to shower ferocious blessings down on everyone who reads this benediction.

    I pray that you will give them what they don't even know they want -- not just the boons they think they need but everything they've always been afraid to even imagine or ask for.

    Dear Goddess, You wealthy anarchist burning heaven to the ground:

    Many of the divine chameleons out there don't even know that their souls will live forever. So please use your blinding magic to help them see that they are all wildly creative geniuses too big for their own personalities.

    Guide them to realize that they are all completely different from what they think they are and more exciting than they can possibly imagine.

    Make it illegal, immoral, irrelevant, unpatriotic and totally tasteless for them to be in love with anyone or anything that's no good for them.

    O Goddess, You who give us so much love and pain mixed together that our morality is always on the verge of collapsing:

    I beg you to cast a boisterous love spell that will nullify all the dumb ideas, bad decisions and nasty conditioning that have ever cursed the wise and sexy virtuosos out there.

    Remove, banish, annihilate and laugh into oblivion any jinx that has clung to them, no matter how long they've suffered from it, and even if they've become accustomed or addicted to its ugly companionship.

    And please conjure an aura of protection around them so that they will receive an early warning if they are ever about to act in such a way as to bring another hex or plague or voodoo into their lives in the future.

    Dear Goddess, sweet Goddess, You sly universal virus with no fucking opinion:

    I pray that you will help all the personal growth addicts out there become disciplined enough to go crazy in the name of creation, not destruction.

    I pray that you will teach them the difference between oppressive self-control and liberating self-control, awaken in them the power to do the half-right thing when it is impossible to do the totally right thing.

    Arouse the Wild Woman within them -- even if they're men.

    And please give them bigger, better, more original sins and wilder, wetter, more interesting problems.

    Dear Goddess, You pregnant slut who scorns all mediocre longing:

    I pray that you will inspire all the compassionate rascals communing with this prayer to love their enemies just in case their friends turn out to be jerks.

    Provoke them to throw away or give away all the things they own that encourage them to believe that they are better than anyone else.

    Show them how much fun it is to brag about what they cannot do and do not have.

    Most of all, Goddess, brainwash them with your freedom so that they never love their own pain more than anyone else's pain.

    Dear Goddess, You psychedelic mushroom cloud at the center of all our brains:

    The curiously divine human beings reading this prayer deserve everything they are yearning for and much, much more.

    So please bless them with lucid dreams while they are wide awake and solar-energy-operated sex toys that work even in the dark and vacuum cleaners for their magic carpets and a knack for avoiding other people's hells and their very own 900 number so that everyone has to pay to talk to them and a secret admirer who is not a psychotic stalker.

    Dear Goddess, You fiercely tender, hauntingly reassuring, orgiastically sacred feeling that is even now running through all of our soft, warm animal bodies:

    I pray that you provide everyone out there with a license to bend and even break all rules, laws and traditions that keep them apart from the things they love.

    Show them how to purge the wishy-washy wishes that distract them from their daring, dramatic, divine desires.

    And teach them that they can have anything they want if they'll only ask for it in an unselfish way.

    And now dear God of Gods, God beyond all Gods, Girlfriend of God, Teacher of God, Goddess who invented God, I bring this prayer to a close, trusting that in these mysterious moments you have begun to change everyone out there in the exact way they've needed to change in order to express their soul's code.

    Amen. Awomen. And glory halle-fucking-lujah.

    Sep 20, 2000 |


    Ten Secrets To Becoming A Catalyst For World Transformation

    by Julie Jordan Scott

    1. Choose to have only one way of being: living intentionally, deliberately, purposefully and be consistent to that no matter what hat you are wearing be endeavor towards your larger vision.

    2. Reach inside when you hit obstacles. Instead of looking outside yourself by playing a subtle blame game, go deeply within instead. Uncover how you could make a different decision and then take focused, purposeful action accordingly.

    3. Reach out to others, sharing your discoveries and thoughts with those inside your circle of influence and those outside your circle of influence. World transformation begins with communicating our beliefs into being.

    4. Integrate your truth down to the cellular level. In acting from this level of belief, your transformation will be able to become visible to others. The sense of empowerment will then spread from you to others whose lives with whom you are in contact.

    5. Facilitate growth of those around you through mentoring, coaching, teaching, and creating purposeful relationships. Even a "one minute relationship" may have life changing results! Be aware of possibilities in each conversation with each person you meet everyday.

    6. Communicate with the power of a laser and the expansiveness of prosperous words. Make each word count. Practice this skill joyfully. Eliminate words of fear, scarcity and lack replacing them with words of love, abundance and prosperity.

    7. Meet each person you encounter exactly where they are with love and compassion. Look into their eyes when you talk with them and really REALLY hear their words. Challenge them to no longer accept the status quo.

    8. Effectively use your unique gifts rather than living according to someone else's expectations for you. Embrace your gifts as yours. Trying to express someone else's specialness creates counterfeit personal currency. Your gifts are riches like gold and silver.

    9. Take passionate action every day. Do not miss a single day. As you are moving seriously towards world transformation, do not settle for manic action. Demand of yourself intentional, love filled, laser focused action. The results will speak volumes.

    10. Laugh, cry, love, nurture, applaud with passion! Be alive in all things, whether it be in quiet contemplation of raucous celebration. Spread that aliveness.

    Saturday, September 06, 2008

    Rebutting Lies and Misconceptions About Anarchists and the DNC/RNC Protests

    by Infoshop News and our comrades September 5, 2008

    Over the past two weeks in Denver and St. Paul, thousands of anarchists and other folks have come together to protest the conventions being held by the two wings of the Corporate Party. These protests were the culmination of almost two years of organizing. Organizers arranged not just protests, but many other events as well. Their efforts were met with severe and significant police repression, with over 800 people being violently arrested by the authorities and many others being violently attacked and terrorized. In response to these events, the police, the corporate media, and others have said many things about anarchists involved in these protests. While many of the comments on numerous Internet discussion boards have been supportive of anarchists and critical of the police, there have also been many lies and misconceptions said and written about anarchists. This FAQ is an effort to address and rebut those anti-anarchist words.

    Lie/misconception: The anarchists are a small bunch of outsiders who came to spoil the protests of others.

    In fact, the protests in Denver and St. Paul were mostly organized by anarchists locally and around the country, a culmination of a year and a half of planning. Anarchists have been working with non-anarchist activists and community members to organize the protests and other events. Like previous anti-convention and anti-summit protests, anarchists have helped organize logistics for the counter-convention events including food, housing, communications, first aid, child care, jail solidarity, and media. Anarchists are not only not outsiders, they've played an integral role in the organizing of the counter-convention events.

    Lie/misconception: The anarchists and many of the protesters are outsiders who don't live in St. Paul or Minneapolis or Denver.

    The counter-convention protests were organized by local community members who put more than a year of organizing work into their events. Many of the protesters come from out-of-town, but then most of the delegates to the DNC and RNC conventions come from out-of-town! These political conventions are national and international events, so they will draw people who want to have their say and protest these violent political groups which affect their daily lives.

    Lie/misconception: Anarchists are violent _________

    Anarchists are people, like anybody else. Anarchists themselves have long disagreed about violence and nonviolence as political tactics. There are many anarchists who are pacifists and those who adhere to a strict code of nonviolence. Many anarchists aren't violent people, but support violence as a tactic, especially when it is used in self-defense against state violence.

    Lie/misconception: Anarchists planned to kidnap delegates at the convention.

    This lie was concocted by the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office to justify their violent raids and to prejudice the public against anarchists. This is simply ridiculous. Anarchists would never do something like this.

    Lie/misconception: Anarchists are smelly hippies who need to take showers.

    This accusation is really a giveaway that the person saying this is over 45, since "dirty hippy" is a tired insult from the 1960s. People who say this don't understand that most anarchists aren't hippies, thus we don't see this as an insult. Truth be told, many of us may smell during the protests, but that's because we've been on the road, sleeping on couches and can't get access to a shower when we are staying at somebody's house. Anarchists are mostly poor, working class people--we aren't staying in nice hotels like the convention delegates.

    Lie/misconception: The DNC/RNC protests are another example of "activistism," an example of people who like to protest for the sake of protest.

    We can't pretend to know the motivations of everybody who participates in protest. There are probably a few people involved who fit this description--there are these types in every protest. But this accusation misses the fact that almost everybody protesting the RNC and DNC are protesting for political reasons. For many, they are rejecting the one party corporate system that runs the U.S. and much of the world. Many protesters are concerned about issues of worker rights, social justice,the environment, capitalism, gentrification, racism, indigenous rights, prisons and prisoners, and many other issues. Many of the people involved see the protests as a step towards a movement or situation that leads to bigger social change, perhaps even a revolution. When the protests end, many of these people will stay active in various causes and movements. Most of them will read books, even theory, and will discuss, argue and analyze the effect of these protests.

    Infoshop News invites other anarchists, especially those involved with the past two weeks of protests, to add to this list or make suggestions.


    Why I'm helping Hugo

    By Kenneth Robert Livingstone, Former Mayor of London Sep 2, 2008, 12:22

    Kenneth Robert Livingstone was leader of the Greater London Council from 1981 until the council was abolished in 1986 by Margaret Thatcher. He was then elected as an independent candidate for the first Mayor of London from 2000 to 2008. He also served as Labour Party Member of Parliament for Brent East between 1987 and 2001. He has announced his intention to run again for the post of London mayor in 2012
    There are some countries whose reality is distorted by sections of the media. And some about which straightforward lies are written. My first trip to Caracas revealed Venezuela to be firmly in the second category.

    The idea that this country is a dictatorship is ridiculous – probably some of those assiduously promoting it have difficulty in keeping a straight face. Some "dictatorship" where the president accepts the loss of a referendum to change the constitution, which holds more national elections than virtually any other country in the world, and where walls and lamp-posts in areas of Caracas are vividly festooned with posters of anti-Chávez candidates. No, a dictatorship is a country like Saudi Arabia – whose leader is of course officially feted on visits to London.

    Attending a meeting with pro-Chávez candidates for the forthcoming local government elections in the capital, there was very definitely no certainty of success – as with the recent constitutional referendum, defeat was possible. The discussion, as with any local election in Britain, was how to address practical issues affecting peoples' quality of life.

    Caracas showed visibly the problems the country faces and progress made in recent years. In west central districts the houses of the old elite and upper-middle class are better than the most upmarket London suburb. They are surrounded by several million people living in poverty in "barrios" – rough-built slums perched on the side of mountains without basic facilities. These areas were not even marked on the maps under previous administrations!

    This is the product of a system where tens of billions of dollars of oil wealth each year were sent abroad to serve this elite without addressing the most elementary questions of quality of life of the majority of people.

    That has changed. A trip to one of many new community facilities showed how millions of people have been given access to a new free healthcare system, including dentistry. Illiteracy has been eliminated to Unesco standards. Further education is being rapidly expanded.

    A top priority now is to transform the basic infrastructure throughout the city. So that, as mayoral candidates put it to me, people feel like citizens with a stake in their neighbourhoods.

    The keys are reducing crime and transforming the city's economic efficiency and quality of life.

    A remarkable programme of expansion of tube and rail lines in poor areas has begun. Alongside this it is necessary to tackle congestion, improve bus services, develop community policing, tackle waste and environmental protection.

    Venezuela always had the resources, and now has the political will, to begin to raise its cities to world-class standards. But it needs expertise to do this effectively and rapidly.

    That is where London's experience helps. Between 2000 and 2008 London was recognised as the most successful city of its size in world and transformed its bus services, put the police back into local communities, tackled traffic congestion and won the Olympics.

    That experience is now sought by very many other cities – including Caracas. It is why President Chávez invited me to Venezuela and why, together with other cities, I am pleased to continue the programme of advice and discussion between London and Venezuela.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/ commentisfree/2008/aug/29/venezuela.livingstone


    Kenneth Robert Livingstone (born 17 June 1945) is a British socialist[3] politician. He has twice held the leading political role in London local government: firstly as leader of the Greater London Council from 1981 until the council was abolished in 1986 by the government of Margaret Thatcher, and secondly as the first Mayor of London, a post he held from its creation in 2000 until 2008. He also served as Labour Party Member of Parliament for Brent East between 1987 and 2001.

    He was initially elected as Mayor of London as an Independent candidate after the Labour Party chose not to nominate him as their candidate in the first mayoral elections. In January 2004, he was re-admitted to the Labour Party. He stood as the official Labour Party candidate for Mayor in the June 2004 elections, which he won with a total of 828,380 first- and second-preference votes. On May 1, 2008 Livingstone was defeated in his second re-election bid by Conservative candidate Boris Johnson, and his term as Mayor of London ended on 4 May 2008.

    He has announced his intention to run again for the post of London mayor in 2012.[4] In the meantime, he has been appointed as an adviser for urban planning to Hugo Chávez.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Livingstone


    Nader Volunteer, State Party Official Beaten At GOP Convention

    Ralph Nader volunteer, Peace and Freedom state official beaten, hospitalized at GOP convention; PF Party condemns 'brutal' attack

    MINNEAPOLIS - A volunteer with the Ralph Nader for President campaign - and an official of the Peace and Freedom Party California State Central Committee - was beaten by police and hospitalized at the Republican National Convention here in what party leaders condemned as a "brutal assault on Barry Burgess and our liberties."

    Burgess, elected to the Peace and Freedom Party Contra Costa County Central Committee and state committee in June, was attacked distributing literature for the Ralph Nader for President campaign, according to Kevin Akin, California State Chair, Peace and Freedom Party. Atkins statement follows:

    "Barry Burgess was handing out literature for Peace and Freedom presidential candidate Ralph Nader (and) was the subject of an unprovoked attack by club-wielding police, who inflicted head injuries and arrested him... he was treated at a hospital and released, and is now recovering at a Nader supporter's home.

    "Following similar but smaller attacks on demonstrators in Denver, the police attacks on peaceful demonstrators in Minneapolis, which have occurred without any criticism from leaders of the Republican and Democratic Parties, show how seriously our civil liberties have been eroded.

    "The Peace and Freedom Party demands accountability from Minneapolis, Minnesota and federal authorities, and an investigation with appropriate consequences for those engaging in this mass brutality and intimidation. We also demand that all the trumped-up charges against those exercising their constitutional rights be dropped.

    "We anxiously await further word on the condition of Barry Burgess, and hope that enough complaints are received by Minneapolis officials to restrain the savage excesses of their police tonight and tomorrow. We also hope that this brutal attack on Barry Burgess and our liberties inspires Americans to examine the real actions and positions of the presidential candidates on freedom of speech and free assembly."


    Scientists Get Death Threats Over Large Hadron Collider

    Roger Highfield, Telegraph: Scientists working on the world's biggest machine are being besieged by phone calls and emails from people who fear the world will end next Wednesday, when the gigantic atom smasher starts up. The Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, where particles will begin to circulate around its 17 mile circumference tunnel next week, will recreate energies not seen since the universe was very young, when particles smash together at near the speed of light. Such is the angst that the American Nobel prize winning physicist Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has even had death threats, said Prof Brian Cox of Manchester University, adding: "Anyone who thinks the LHC will destroy the world is a twat." The head of public relations, James Gillies, says he gets tearful phone calls, pleading for the £4.5 billion machine to stop.

    Friday, September 05, 2008

    So sweet....

    From: http://charlie43.livejournal.com/
    A Life In The Times
    As a writer and artist, I am much influenced by things that most normal people would have me committed for. My Irish grandparents instilled in me a love for the wee folk of the forest, and elves and fairies are much a part of my life. As a student of Seth, the entity channeled through Jane Roberts, I am open to all probable universes, and all parallel worlds. I spent most of the summer in Anderson Indiana with my son and his wife, and found myself in a magical place. At night, long after the city slept, I sat in their back yard in the dark, trusty glass at hand, and my mind and body open to all that is. I watched the moon and planets rise from the east, transversing the night skies until the wolf hours of the morning. My mother, bless her ancient old soul, always said I had way too much imagination for one person, and maybe she was right about that. I, however, do not believe that is so, mainly because of life experiences I have had. I digress - while sitting there in the dark one evening, I had an experience that I really prefer not to share, but let me say it was one of beauty and wonder. Out of that experience came the image of the darling little elven girl you see here. I have carried her with me in mind's eye for quite some time now, and have been driven to reproduce her. You see the results here. It is only a beginning. She has no name - at least not yet, anyway. I know she has a purpose for being revealed to me. My DIL Sara is pregnant, approaching third trimester. I like to think that this lovely little lady was revealed to me as the unborn child's protector in ways I cannot fathom. This new little granddaughter will be a special person to me, and she needs a special protector for other reasons I don't wish to reveal. Perhaps, in an old man's fancy, this lovely elven girl was revealed to me to let me know that things will be okay. Stranger things have happened in my life... Peace, Charlie~

    Filipino Teen Activist Running for CA District Assembly

    LOS ANGELES — A television anchor quizzed Lucilla Esguerra, 19, who is running for California State Assembly’s District 48, under the banner of the Peace and Freedom Party: “Are you better off on the streets than aspiring for public office? ”The Filipino American anti-war activist and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights advocate, responded: “I want to represent the people of the streets.” She is currently the youngest person running for public office in the state. Her ambitions are simple and realistic but right on target; her words don’t mince around rhetorical bombast and oratorical histrionics that rule traditional politics—she hits it straight, no qualms, no chasers in between. “The most important thing is to get the word out there, that we have problems in our society that need to be addressed. If I will serve as the voice for the voiceless to air out those problems in the duration of my campaign, then so it is,” said the middle child of immigrant Filipino and Polish parents, before a gathering of supporters, friends, and family members. The rally was held at Manila Terrace Social Hall in Temple street in the Historic Filipinotown district here last Monday, Sept 1. The event was organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and Answer Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), of which she is a member. “While Lucilla talks about issues that she’s campaigning for, she also talks about people as being part of the movement for justice and human rights, it’s not just voting,” says Ian Thompson, L.A. organizer for Answer and one of Esguerra’s advisers. Elder sister Corazon presided over the ceremonies, dad Jerry prepared the late lunch food (as he always does for PSL events), and younger brother Nathan assisted in the proceedings—while Answer’s staff of youthful socialist activists kept all plugs covered. “Whatever happens, my candidacy should serve as an inspiration to the youth of our community, particularly our "kababayans" [fellow-Filipinos]—the second largest immigrant group in California and yet the most underrepresented—to dare to struggle for what is good for our community and the people as a whole,” Esguerra told a cheerful gathering of more than 300, mostly from the Filipino and Hispanic communities. “People are really excited about the campaign, they offer to help. Yes, they say I am still very young, they almost don’t believe it, but I told them we need more of the younger generation to be part of the government,” Esguerra told Philippine News. Esguerra’s central campaign demand is “jobs, education, housing, healthcare—not racism and war!” She is for full employment—gainful jobs for all, including job training for youth and the unemployed; free, quality healthcare for everyone; free, high-quality education from pre-school through college; and the immediate end to all foreclosures and evictions in the 48th district and across the United States. She believes in full equality and “immediate legalization for all,” and seeks to make the state of California a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. March 15 this year, Esguerra led an anti-war protest in L.A. of 10,000 people. She also has organized resistance to the anti-immigrant Minuteman Project and mobilized support for the May 1 mass protests demanding full rights for all immigrants over the past three years. As former president of the Gay Straight Alliance at the Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies in San Fernando Valley, Esguerra has mobilized for LGBT rights and led student actions for same-sex marriage at the high school and college levels. “Despite her age and controversial stand on certain issues, it’s hard not to take Lucilla seriously,” says Roberto Manuel, a resident of Filipinotown. “It appears that she has more experience with talking and dealing with people than most politicians that I know.” “Most Filipinos are pragmatic in their approach as regards sensitive issues like abortion and same sex marriage (that Lucilla fights for), but they look at the big picture,” Lucilla’s dad, Jerry Esguerra, said. “They are looking for a candidate who will represent their interests. Like workers’ rights, because most Filipinos in the U.S. are workers. I was astounded by the amount of acceptance that people in Long Beach gave her that day, it’s like a "piyesta ng bayan" [ a town fair] , the festivities are very inspiring.” Esguerra is running in the predominantly Democratic 48th State Assembly District, one of 80 districts in the California State Assembly. The district is located entirely within Los Angeles County and includes Arlington Park, Athens, Chesterfield Square, King Estates, Koreatown, Lafayette Park, Magnolia Square, North University Park, University Park, Vermont Knolls, West Adams, West Park Terrace, and Wilshire Center. Her most potent opponent is Democrat Mike Davis, a native of Southern California. Davis hopes to focus on education, health care, transportation, and economic development. He, however, clashes with Esguerra as regards prominent issues. Davis did not vote in favor of legalizing gay marriage in California. In between campaigning and organizing, Esguerra attends classes at Los Angeles City College, trying to earn transferable units to a University and be a teacher. She is still pretty much "Lola’s favorite apo [ her grandma's favorite granddaughter]" . “When I feel down and out, I fill my mind with nice thoughts of my Lola’s adobo, rice, and mungo [chicken dish, rice and mung beans],” she said. She also stated in her campaign flyer: “If California is a separate country, its economy will be the 7th largest in the world and we all know how the state got to that point—through the labor and sacrifices of immigrants, documented or otherwise. It is about time that we recognize their contribution. I demand that we pass a law that will facilitate genuine legalization for all.”

    Photocredit: VotePSL.org


    Anarchists expose infiltrators

    [From http://majikthise.typepad.com (she rules!)]

    An anarchist recognized a would-be infiltrator from the local Sheriff's office at a demonstration in a St. Paul park yesterday, the Minnesota Pioneer Press confirms. The anarchist thought a black-clad man at the demo looked familiar.

    The mole was asked to leave. He got into an unmarked sedan.

    When the anarchist checked the photographs she recognized the familiar-looking guy as one of the officers who had raided the Convergence Space on Smith Ave. the previous week.

    The Pioneer Press traced the license plate of the unmarked sedan to the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office.

    Court documents also show that the police relied heavily, in some cases exclusively on the testimony of paid informants to lay conspiracy charges against certain defendants.

    Keep these facts in mind when assessing claims that anarchists are responsible for various misdeeds at protests. If the authorities can infiltrate, they can also instigate.


    Right Time for National Conference on Labor, by Stewart Alexander

    Stewart A. Alexander Vice Presidential Nominee Socialist Party USA September 5, 2008 During May of 1978, Stewart Alexander was making plans to end his employment with Safeway Stores in Southern California to open his construction business as a license general contractor. After working for Safeway Stores for six years, Alexander was earning close to $1,600 a month plus overtime working as a journeyman clerk. It was about the same time that his mother, Ann E. Alexander was working as a full time registered nurse for Harbor General Hospital in Los Angeles, California. Ann Alexander was earning a good income working for the County of Los Angeles; her monthly earnings with overtime were about $2,800. Ann Alexander remained in nursing until 1997 when she retired. Now 30 years later, Stewart Alexander says he is earning far less than what he earned in 1978, and adjusting for inflation. His mother is now 84 receiving her monthly social security check for $700; with no other income other than the help she receives from her children, she has been forced to secure additional income working as a license bail agent. In the mid 90s, Stewart Alexander worked as an automobile sales consultant; during that time, it was not uncommon for Alexander to earn $2,000 weekly on commission and bonuses. Today, Alexander may work more than 200 hours in a month and earn less than $2,500 on commissions. Presently, Alexander is selling Fords; however, he says “the recession and downturn in the U.S. economy has affected the entire automobile market.” In June 2008, Steve Zeltzer, a labor organizer and a political consultant, approached Alexander with a proposal to organize a national conference on labor; bringing together working class activist, working class political tendencies and those who want a socialist national alternative. Alexander quickly embraced Zeltzer’s idea and has been working with Zeltzer to implement his proposal. Alexander believes that working people are ready for a socialist alternative. Alexander says, many working people are in the same situation as he and his mother; “working people are taking hits from all directions; shrinking wages, unemployment, unaffordable housing, unaffordable health care cost, high food prices, high fuel prices, loss of benefits, and a two party system that only caters to the corporate ruling class.” The concept for a national conference on labor would involve left groups and activist across America. Alexander is hoping that plans for such a conference would begin with the Socialist Party USA and the Peace and Freedom Party; he has membership with the two socialist parties. Alexander would also want other left groups involved; such as the Party of Socialism and Liberation (PSL), Freedom Socialist Party (FSP), the Green Party, the Liberty Union Party, Workers World Party, Communist Party USA, and many other left groups and activist. Alexander and Zeltzer also believe it is crucial to have organized labor involved in this conference for working people. Zeltzer says a national conference on labor would provide a clear political agenda on the struggle against the imperial war and for the defense of the working people of the United States; “It is important that planning for this conference begin before the November election, and we must actively build for this conference the day after the election.” Today, there is a groundswell of opposition to the two corporate parties; recent polls show that 84 percent of all Americans are not satisfied with the leadership in Washington DC. Alexander and Zeltzer believe working people are ready for change; they are hoping a national conference could convene by May 2009 and use the struggle for May Day as a kickoff. For more information search the web for: Stewart A. Alexander; Alexander Dismisses Economic Plans of Obama and McCain. http://labs.daylife.com/journalist/stewart_a._alexander http://StewartAlexanderCares.com http://www.vote-socialist.org/ http://www.sp-usa.org/ http://www.politics1.com/p2008.htm

    Thursday, September 04, 2008

    So Many Choices, So Little Time - Posted by Derek

    One of the greatest things about living in our country right now is the amount of choices we get to make on a daily basis. Whether its the things we buy or the places we go, there are an infinite number of choices we have in making them. Want to watch TV? We have hundreds on channels to choose from. Want to go on vacation? There are literally thousands of places to pick from. So why is it that when we are forced to make the most important decision we are able to make, we are lead to believe that there are only two choices?
    Imagine that you want to purchase a new car. You do all your homework, talk to friends about what types of vehicles they like, and you finally go to the car dealership to buy your new car. What would you think if when you got there all they had was a red car and a blue car? You'd be kind of pissed off right? What happens if you want a black car, or a mini-van, or an SUV? Well then you'd be S.O.L., because your only two choices are buying a red car or a blue car. Does this sound familiar? If you watch the news you would assume that there are only two people running for president this year, but when you go vote you will notice that there are many more people to choose from than Obama and McCain. Why is this? Why are we only told about two of these candidates ahead of time? Who exactly are these other people? Is my ballot a misprint? The media says that they only cover the Democrats and Republicans because those are the major parties and the other parties don't have a chance. Well no SHIT! If you never talk about them we won't know that they even exist, and people will not vote for a person that they have never heard of. For all we know these people are just as, if not more, qualified to run our country than the Big 2, but we will never know unless we spend hours online looking up the most basic information on these people. I think the real reason that the media doesn't cover the other candidates is for two reasons: convenience and money. Its much easier for the media to only have to report about 2 people rather than the other eleven that are running (There are actually close to 100 people running for president this year but only about 13 will be on the ballot, depending on your state). They won't have to send people all around the country to cover the 13 candidates and will have more time to have pointless arguing between the republicans and democrats. If you ask me this is completely unethical. Why should the media decide which two people will be our choices this year? They basically will be deciding who our next president is. Do they think that if we are presented with more than two choices we will go crazy and our heads will explode? Look what happened when the media actually gave some attention to a "3rd party candidate"; Jesse Ventura won the whole damn election! If we ever want to have more choices in our elections it is up to us to demand that the media cover every candidate. I could literally write about this subject for hours, but since I really don't want this blog to get overtly political yet, I will stop now. I will leave you with a list of some of the people that you will see on your ballot this November. I ask that you do your own research and find that candidate that you believe best represents you and not be forced to choose between the candidates that the media has decided that we have to choose between. Here are some of the candidates this year with links to their websites (in alphabetic order). Jonathan Allen Gene Amondson Chuck Baldwin Bob Barr Charles Jay Alan Keyes Gloria La Riva John McCain Frank McEnulty Cynthia McKinney Brian Moore Ralph Nader Barack Obama

    Water Worlds - Justine Kenzer

    Jean-Luc Bozzoli conjures up enchanting watery realms and parallel universes in Transmuteo, a thirty-minute animated visual feast. A French artist living in the Pacific Islands for the past 36 years, Jean-Luc has spent thousands of hours immersed in the holographic undersea world of wild dolphins and whales, sharing the visions and wisdom awakened within him through his art. The experience creates an interactive meditation and comes without dialogue, so that the user may create his or her own inner adventure. There are four soundtracks to choose from allowing for different interpretations with each viewing. Rich and full of detail, Transmuteo reveals more depth and inspiration each time you watch it. Watch the trailer here.

    You can read more of Kenzer's writing at her Pyschicgirl blog.


    Research on Extramarital Affairs

    Posted on Sep 3rd, 2008 by Jeff Mishlove
    Extramarital-graph
    The graph above shows the percentage of people in different countries who report having engaged in extramarital affairs -- ranging from 7% (Israel) to over 50% (Turkey). The United States is somewhere in the middle. Below are some research findings on this relatively common phenomena:
    Interestingly, logistic regressions using currently married participants (N = 1,439) demonstrated that attendance, but not faith, nearness to God, prayer, and other religious attributes, was related to infidelity.[1]

    It was found that married and single men and women currently having an affair or who have had an affair in the past, reported higher levels of arousal when thinking about their secret partner than when thinking about partners from other previous non-secret relationships. Greater pre-occupation with secret lovers was also found for both groups. However, single people involved with married partners were less likely to be aroused by thoughts of their lover or consumed with thoughts of the affair than married partners involved in affairs. This difference was primarily attributed to the fact that married people involved in affairs live with the person they are deceiving, therefore, increasing the amount of time spent suppressing thoughts of the secret lover. Differences in outcome between groups are consistent with the hypothesis that prolonged thought suppression of a positive thought will result in increased level of arousal and obsessive pre-occupation with the very thought that a person is attempting to suppress. Disclosure of the secret was found to be correlated with reduced pre-occupation and decreased arousal.[2]

    One of the most stressful events for a helping professional who has been involved in sexual misconduct is disclosure of that misconduct to his or her spouse. Threats by the partner to leave are common, and fear of such threats may prevent disclosure. To determine whether fear of threats to leave is justified, this qualitative study examined the outcome of such threats following disclosure of extramarital sexual behaviors by a subpopulation of persons with a compulsive sexual disorder. An anonymous survey was returned by 102 such persons (aged 26-70 yrs) (89% male) and by 94 spouses, partners, or former partners (94.77% female). A majority of the partners threatened to leave at the time of disclosure. Among persons who were still married when surveyed, only 23.4% of those who threatened actually separated for a time period. Based on their experience, the majority of both sexually compulsive persons and partners recommended disclosure. Threats to leave are seen as part of a process of coping with disclosure by partners rather than a realistic outcome for most couples in this population.[3]


    [1] Atkins, David C.; Kessel, Deborah E. Religiousness and infidelity: Attendance, but not faith and prayer, predict marital fidelity. Journal of Marriage and Family. 2008, May, Vol 70(2), 407-418.

    [2] Layton-Tholl, Debbie. Extramarital affairs: The link between thought suppression and level of arousal. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering. 60(5-B), Nov 1999, 2348.

    [3] Schneider, Jennifer P.; Irons, Richard R.; Corley, M. Deborah. Disclosure of extramarital sexual activities by sexually exploitative professionals and other persons with addictive or compulsive sexual disorders. Journal of Sex Education & Therapy. 1999, Vol 24(4), 277-287.


    Water Worlds

    by Justine Kenzer

    Artist Jean-Luc Bozzoli conjures up enchanting watery realms and parallel universes in Transmuteo, a thirty-minute animated visual feast. A French artist living in the Pacific Islands for the past 36 years, Jean-Luc has spent thousands of hours immersed in the holographic undersea world of wild dolphins and whales, sharing the visions and wisdom awakened within him through his art. The experience creates an interactive meditation and comes without dialogue, so that the user may create his or her own inner adventure. There are four soundtracks to choose from allowing for different interpretations with each viewing. Rich and full of detail, Transmuteo reveals more depth and inspiration each time you watch it.

    Watch the trailer here.

    You can read more of Kenzer's writing at her Pyschicgirl blog.


    PESTICIDE or GENOCIDE? HUMAN EXPERIMENTATION ON U.S. CITIZENS.

    by Keith Howe West Nile Virus Fraud! Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) Fraud! "Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge, chief medical officer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, told a congressional subcommittee on July 22 that the risk of a large-scale biological attack on the nation is significant.Runge used the terrifying example of a terrorist flying over Providence with an aerosolized sprayer releasing air-borne anthrax over the metropolitan area." (1) I don't recall any terrorist's flying over America with an aerosolized sprayer releasing airborne weapons of mass destruction on her citizens. I am aware, however, of the U.S. government spraying weapons of mass destruction on us, in the form of toxic nerve agents (malathion, pyrenone 5,25, Checkmate OLR-F, Checkmate LBAM-F) with the excuse of protecting us from non-threatening fruit flies, light brown apple moths, and mosquitoes allegedly carrying the West Nile Virus (which is almost no threat to humans). What about MTBE in your gasoline, chemtrails, open air dirty bombs, 1,000 pounds per year (application was filed for a permit to raise that to 8,000 pounds per year) being detonated by Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, exposing the San Francisco Bay Area to deadly radiation? How about trucks driving through our neighborhoods in the middle of the night spraying us with deadly pesticides for a mosquito possibly carrying the relatively harmless West Nile Virus. Or open air testing on human subjects with biological and biochemical agents by the Pentagon and Department of Defense, as authorized by the United States Congress in HR1119, Section 1078. AMERICA, you, your families, and your children have been declared lab rats by Congress! As was approved by 105th Congress, 1st Session, 1998: H.R. 1119, NATIONAL DEFENSE AND AUTHORIZATION ACT, SEC. 1078. RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF HUMAN SUBJECTS FOR TESTING OF CHEMICAL OR BIOLOGICAL AGENTS. (a) PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES- The Secretary of Defense may not conduct (directly or by contract)-- (1) any test or experiment involving the use of a chemical agent or biological agent on a civilian population; or (2) any other testing of a chemical agent or biological agent on human subjects. (b)EXCEPTIONS- Subject to subsections (c), (d), and (e), the prohibition in subsection (a) does not apply to a test or experiment carried out for any of the following purposes: (1) Any peaceful purpose that is related to a medical, therapeutic, pharmaceutical, agricultural, industrial, or research activity. (e) BIOLOGICAL AGENT DEFINED- In this section, the term 'biological agent' means any micro-organism (including bacteria, viruses, fungi, rickettsiac, or protozoa), pathogen, or infectious substance, and any naturally occurring, bioengineered, or synthesized component of any such micro-organism, pathogen, or infectious substance, whatever its origin or method of production, that is capable of causing-- (1) death, disease, or other biological malfunction in a human, an animal, a plant, or another living organism; (2) deterioration of food, water, equipment, supplies, or materials of any kind; or (3) deleterious alteration of the environment. The full text of this bill (1,099 pages) may be viewed at: commdocs.house.gov/reports/105/h1119.pdf (go to pages 703 through 706 of document for section 1078, Human Experimentation). This is exactly what has been and is being perpetrated upon the people of the United States. Not by foreign terrorists, but by your own government, with your own tax dollars! These are federal programs spraying populations with deadly nerve agents (pesticides) and pheromones which can affect human reproductive hormones (forced sterilization?). Americans are being sprayed against their will and without their consent, in violation of state, federal, and International laws, including the Nuremberg Code. (2) It is a federal crime to make fraudulent claims about pesticides and their use. The spraying of residential areas must be stopped immediately. West Nile Virus is an insignificant threat to humans (most people infected experience little more than mild flu-like symptoms). Vector Control Agencies find a couple of dead birds and mosquitoes that allegedly have this benign virus in them, and then propose that as justification for the massive poisoning of residential areas with deadly contact nerve agents to under the guise of protecting us. One of the pesticide used for ground applications is Pyrenone 25-5, which consists of: 5% pyrethrins 25% piperonyl butoxide (PBO) 70% unknown. Pyrethrins are a leading cause of insecticide poisonings. PBO is classified as a possible human carcinogen. Both of these dangerous chemicals interfere with hormonal functions. This pesticide is manufactured by Bayer Corporation, a subsidiary of I.G. Farben, the corporation that manufactured malathion and zyklon-B for the nazi's (to be used to exterminate human beings, not insects). (3) Isn't it interesting to know that many of the same companies manufacturing these "pesticides" also manufacture the pharmaceutical drugs to treat you when you become sick (from these pesticides?). (4) The excuse for the spraying is that it is to prevent a dangerous outbreak of West Nile Virus. The following website provides a fact sheet on West Nile Virus, showing it is virtually no danger to humans, while the spraying is dangerous and contraindicated in every way! www.stopwestnilesprayingnow.org/DavisMyths.pdf Government laboratories breed hundreds of millions of mosquitoes, then infect them and release them into communities to see how infectious they are. They just don't care about humans! In fact, these psychopaths want to eliminate as much as 90% of the global population! First they breed the mosquitoes. Then they infect the mosquitoes. Then they release the infected mosquitoes and monitor the "experiment" at the hospitals as people get infected, become ill, and die! Next they spray us with pesticides to protect us from a virus, which they created in the first place. Covert Testing of Other Disease Agents- Mad Cow Disease/Kuru/CJD After WW1 and WW2, eugenics scientists from Japan and Germany were brought to the United States to share their wonderful discoveries of plague generation and genocide with lunatic psychopaths in the DOD (Department of Death and Destruction). AIDS was developed by the DOD for the purpose of population control. After the scientists had perfected it, the government sent medical teams from the Centers for Disease Control--under the direction of Dr Donald A. Henderson to Africa. From 1969-1971 they gave free vaccinations against smallpox; but five years after receiving this vaccination, 60% of those inoculated were suffering from AIDS. (5) It is clear that the U.S. government is engaged in biological and biochemical experimentation upon it's own citizens. (6) This is damaging to the health of average citizens, especially the most vulnerable populations, such as babies, children, pregnant women, the elderly, the chronically ill, and those with compromised immune systems. American citizens, therefore, need to protest these sprayings and other activities in no uncertain terms to legislators on local, state, and federal levels.

    Why We Were Falsely Arrested, by Amy Goodman

    Posted on Sep 3, 2008

    By Amy Goodman

    ST. PAUL, Minn.—Government crackdowns on journalists are a true threat to democracy. As the Republican National Convention meets in St. Paul, Minn., this week, police are systematically targeting journalists. I was arrested with my two colleagues, “Democracy Now!” producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, while reporting on the first day of the RNC. I have been wrongly charged with a misdemeanor. My co-workers, who were simply reporting, may be charged with felony riot.

    The Democratic and Republican national conventions have become very expensive and protracted acts of political theater, essentially four-day-long advertisements for the major presidential candidates. Outside the fences, they have become major gatherings for grass-roots movements—for people to come, amidst the banners, bunting, flags and confetti, to express the rights enumerated in the Constitution’s First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Behind all the patriotic hyperbole that accompanies the conventions, and the thousands of journalists and media workers who arrive to cover the staged events, there are serious violations of the basic right of freedom of the press. Here on the streets of St. Paul, the press is free to report on the official proceedings of the RNC, but not to report on the police violence and mass arrests directed at those who have come to petition their government, to protest.

    It was Labor Day, and there was an anti-war march, with a huge turnout, with local families, students, veterans and people from around the country gathered to oppose the war. The protesters greatly outnumbered the Republican delegates.

    There was a positive, festive feeling, coupled with a growing anxiety about the course that Hurricane Gustav was taking, and whether New Orleans would be devastated anew. Later in the day, there was a splinter march. The police—clad in full body armor, with helmets, face shields, batons and canisters of pepper spray—charged. They forced marchers, onlookers and working journalists into a nearby parking lot, then surrounded the people and began handcuffing them.

    Nicole was videotaping. Her tape of her own violent arrest is chilling. Police in riot gear charged her, yelling, “Get down on your face.” You hear her voice, clearly and repeatedly announcing “Press! Press! Where are we supposed to go?” She was trapped between parked cars. The camera drops to the pavement amidst Nicole’s screams of pain. Her face was smashed into the pavement, and she was bleeding from the nose, with the heavy officer with a boot or knee on her back. Another officer was pulling on her leg. Sharif was thrown up against the wall and kicked in the chest, and he was bleeding from his arm.

    I was at the Xcel Center on the convention floor, interviewing delegates. I had just made it to the Minnesota delegation when I got a call on my cell phone with news that Sharif and Nicole were being bloody arrested, in every sense. Filmmaker Rick Rowley of Big Noise Films and I raced on foot to the scene. Out of breath, we arrived at the parking lot. I went up to the line of riot police and asked to speak to a commanding officer, saying that they had arrested accredited journalists.

    Within seconds, they grabbed me, pulled me behind the police line and forcibly twisted my arms behind my back and handcuffed me, the rigid plastic cuffs digging into my wrists. I saw Sharif, his arm bloody, his credentials hanging from his neck. I repeated we were accredited journalists, whereupon a Secret Service agent came over and ripped my convention credential from my neck. I was taken to the St. Paul police garage where cages were set up for protesters. I was charged with obstruction of a peace officer. Nicole and Sharif were taken to jail, facing riot charges.

    The attack on and arrest of me and the “Democracy Now!” producers was not an isolated event. A video group called I-Witness Video was raided two days earlier. Another video documentary group, the Glass Bead Collective, was detained, with its computers and video cameras confiscated. On Wednesday, I-Witness Video was again raided, forced out of its office location. When I asked St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington how reporters are to operate in this atmosphere, he suggested, “By embedding reporters in our mobile field force.”

    On Monday night, hours after we were arrested, after much public outcry, Nicole, Sharif and I were released. That was our Labor Day. It’s all in a day’s work.

    Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 700 stations in North America.

    © 2008 Amy Goodman


    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    Gloria La Riva to Speak on Revolutionary Movements in Latin America

    by Dan Bacher Wednesday Sep 3rd, 2008 8:44 AM
    Gloria La Riva will speak on "Revolutionary Movements and U.S. Intervention in Latin America" on Sunday, September 7, 2008, at 7pm at 909 12th Street in Sacramento.
    News Advisory: For Immediate Release September 3, 2008 Contact: Maggie Coulter, 916-448-7157; sacpeace [at] dcn.org, http://www.sacpeace.org Gloria La Riva Will Discuss Revolutionary Movements in Latin America Gloria LaRiva will speak on "Revolutionary Movements and U.S. Intervention in Latin America" on Sunday, September 7, 2008, at 7pm at 909 12th Street in Sacramento. A longtime union activist and recent presidential candidate, La Riva has visited Venezuela several times to witness and report on the revolutionary process there, including meeting with Hugo Chavez. In July, she traveled to Bolivia with Ramsey Clark for a conference in solidarity with the presidency of Evo Morales, whom she met while there. She has traveled extensively to and written about Cuba for many years. La Riva has been the director of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five and president of the typographical sector of the Northern California Media Workers Union. She produced the documentary videos NATO Targets, Workers' Democracy in Cuba (1996), Genocide by Sanctions: The case of Iraq (1998) and Let Iraq Live! The event is sponsored by Sacramento Area Peace Action, the Central America Action Committee, and the Peace & Freedom Party. For more information, contact 916-448-7157; sacpeace [at] dcn.org, http://www.sacpeace.org.

    Police violence at Democratic National Convention

    Demonstrators support political prisoners, reject Democrats' war policies

    The author is an Iraq War Veteran and the Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate for congress in the 22nd District in Florida. Click here to read more about his campaign. Click here to find out more about PSL candidates running in local and national elections.

    DNC protest, Denver, Colo., Aug. 26, 2008
    As thousands of Democrats descended on Denver, Colo., along with lobbyists with millions of dollars to host lavish parties for delegates, so too did thousands of activists who understand that the Democrats offer nothing more than a different face on the same policies of war, racism, and exploitation advocated by their Republican counterparts.

    A week of demonstrations, rallies, and teach-ins was organized by the coalition "Recreate ’68", evoking the militant demonstrations against the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which was met with brutal police repression. While the police riot of 1968 was not a reality in 2008, the Denver police had an overwhelming presence, with the purpose of intimidating dissenters and violently smashing any misstep by demonstrators. Nearly 200 activists were arrested, and the police were consistently caught on camera using extremely excessive force.

    In the midst of over 5,000 police in riot gear, caged off "protest areas" and nearly $1,000,000 in new surveillance equipment, the Party for Socialism and Liberation had a significant presence, educating protesters and convention-goers about the Gloria La Riva and Eugene Puryear’s presidential campaign and the hypocrisy of the bourgeois elections.

    The week of activities included demonstrations, teach-ins, concerts and creative street actions. On Sunday, Aug. 24, an anti-war rally in front of Colorado’s capitol building highlighted that the Democratic Party was really a party of war in spite of the anti-war sentiment of millions of workers who count themselves as Democrats. The PSL contingent displayed a banner calling for amnesty for all immigrants. Many were attracted to the banner, which linked the struggle against racist U.S. oppression abroad to the struggle against racist oppression at home. Speakers at the rally included Fred Hampton Jr., Cindy Sheehan and Cynthia McKinney, and it ended with a performance by hip-hop group Dead Prez.

    The rally had in attendance some DNC delegates and convention participants. The presence of Obama supporters at the anti-war rally reflected a strong desire for an end to the war amongst those pledging their support for Obama. Many people believe or hope that Obama will offer solutions to such pressing issues as the war and the economic crisis. Those with whom we spoke seemed to support Obama because they feel they have no other option and are afraid of a McCain administration, which is viewed as a continuation of the Bush policies of war, racism, and exploitation. Despite their support for Obama, there was an understanding that the struggle must continue in the streets.

    The march started after the rally, going from the capitol building to the Pepsi Center—the venue for the convention. The anti-war demonstration was particularly significant because Obama and the Democratic Party have positioned themselves to be the electoral voice of the anti-war movement. With the vast majority of people opposed to the U.S. wars in the Middle East, many see a vote for Obama as a vote against the war. Unfortunately, these same false hopes placed in the last congressional elections produced only further unfettered funding for the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Obama’s plan for Iraq is not a withdrawal, but merely a different strategy for what has been an unsuccessful occupation. His plan for a reduction in the number of troops in Iraq is not intended to end the imperialist occupation, but simply a repositioning of them to Afghanistan in preparation for further imperialist actions elsewhere in the world. The anti-war march sent a message to the convention-goers and the Democratic Party that their intentions are well-understood.

    The following day, a rally and march demanded freedom for political prisoners. Thousands of workers and residents witnessed at lunchtime the demonstration that filled the mall and the sidewalk in downtown Denver. The unjust imprisonment of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, the Jena 6 and the more than two million workers punished by the racist criminal "justice" system were brought to light. The PSL marched with a banner calling for freedom for the Cuban 5. The banner was well photographed, and thousands of flyers explaining case of the five heroes were distributed.

    The march ended at the Denver federal building, where Gloria La Riva spoke representing the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five. She spoke about the role of the U.S. government in persecuting and jailing freedom fighters. She pointed out the hypocrisy of the U.S. government in the continued incarceration of the Cuban Five, while convicted counterrevolutionary terrorists live freely in Miami.

    Many participants were eager to sign the petition for the release of the Five, which will be delivered to the White House on the upcoming tenth anniversary of their arrest. Statements from Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier were read to the crowd.

    The protestors at the DNC reaffirmed that there is a movement resisting the system that terrorizes and imprisons immigrant workers, that murders millions through bombings and sanctions for the profit of a few, and tries to smash political dissidence through violence, repression, and imprisonment. The struggle will continue until the walls of the Pentagon and the prisons are torn down.


    Message from United For Peace and Justice

    We are sending you this message because the situation in St. Paul is very grave and we're concerned that the real story is not being told by the mainstream media.

    Over the past few days, the heavily armed and extremely large police presence in St. Paul has intimidated, harrassed and provoked people; and, in a number of instances, the police have escalated situations when they used excessive force. They have used pepper spray, including spraying at least one person just inches from her face as she was held down on the ground by several police officers. They have freely swung their extra long night sticks, pushed people around, rode horses and bicycles up against peacefully gathered groups, and surrounded people simply walking down the streets. On Tuesday evening, they used tear gas on a small group of protesters in downtown St. Paul.

    The massive police presence and the uncalled-for actions by the police on the streets has not been the only problem. The police raided a convergence center and several locations where people are staying over the weekend and they have stopped and searched vehicles for no clear reason. For background on the activities of the police in St. Paul, check out Marjorie Cohn's article here.

    On Tuesday afternoon, they literally pulled the plug and turned off the electricity at a permitted outdoor concert. The timing of this led to a situation where hundreds of understandably angry people ended up joining a march being led by the Poor Peoples Campaign for Economic Human Rights, a march that organizers were insisting be nonviolent. In other words, the police set up a dynamic that could have turned ugly, but the skill of the organizers kept things calm and focused.

    All of this - and much more - needs to be understood in the context of the overwhelming presence of police. Police from all around the Twin Cities have been put to work, and they have also brought in police units from around Minnesota and from as far away as Philadelphia, PA. The National Guard and state troopers are in the mix, to say nothing of the Secret Service, Homeland Security and who knows who else from the federal government!

    We are very concerned about what this all means about the right to protest, the right to assemble, and the right to have one's dissenting voice heard. We are worried about what it means about the growing militarization of our nation and the ongoing assault on the Constitution. We shudder to think about how the influx of new weapons and armed vehicles and everything else will be used in the neighborhoods of St. Paul and Denver: both communities each received $50 million from Homeland Security to purchase the equipment and pay for the policing during the conventions.

    There are still two more days of the Republican Convention in St. Paul -- two more days of protest and possibilities of police mis-conduct, over-reaction, and excessive use of force.

    We urge you to call the Mayor of St. Paul right now! Let him know that people around the country know what's happening! Urge him to stand up for the Constitution and to take action to end the militarization of the downtown areas of his city! Urge him to reign in the police and help bring civility to the streets of St. Paul!

    Mayor Chris Coleman: 651-266-8510

    And call your local media outlets to demand that they tell the real story of what's happening in St. Paul this week.

    Peace,

    Leslie Cagan, UFPJ National Coordinator


    Tuesday, September 02, 2008

    To caress the serpent

    which desires us until he has eaten our heart...

    WRATHFUL DEVOTION, by Jennifer Welwood

    You gave me a heart that ignites In the passionate knowing of you, And having burned in that heat Is not drawn to lesser fires.

    You gave me a mind that expands To encounter your vastness, And finds in those fathomless depths Its own luminous nature.

    You gave me a soul that won't rest With any barrier to you, Be it heavy and dense Or gossamer as a veil.

    You gave me an old structure Made up of my history; It is heavy and dense, It is gossamer as a veil.

    I meet it, allow it, explore it And still it grinds on, A machine that relentlessly churns out Old patterns and tendencies.

    I embrace it, dissolve it, release it -- S till it keeps reincarnating, Rising up from some ancient template Held deep in my bones.

    I don't begrudge you your sense of humor, Beloved trickster, But I do wonder, now and then, What you have in mind.

    Did you make me to realize a freedom I can't fully embody? Do my heart and soul burn for a truth That I can't fully live?

    I commune with you in the heavens -- It's not hard to find you there; But I need you down here, In the marrow of my bones.

    You can't turn away now -- stay here; I will have this out with you. You started something with me, And now I want it finished. Yes -- I will wrestle with you on this one, Beloved torturer; I will wrestle you all the way down To the very ground

    And not rest till I stand With the soles of my feet upon you, And not rest till I feel you infuse My every cell.

    Monday, September 01, 2008

    Podcast 155 - “Some Thoughts About Change (1945-1985)”

    Guest speaker: Dr. Timothy Leary

    Listen Download Subscribe MP3 FREE PCs - Right click, select option Macs - Ctrl-Click, select option

    PROGRAM NOTES:

    [NOTE: All quotations below are by Dr. Timothy Leary.]

    Dr. Timothy Leary"As you well-know, I never wanted any credibility. I’m more concerned with incredibility."

    "I believe in change. I’m a change agent. I want to keep changing myself. … Change is going to be the norm from now on, and we’re not changing from A to B, we’re changing in an explosive, multi-directional way."

    "Yeah, there are forces which slow down change. Certainly, you are aware of the fact that every educational institution, from first grade up to the high altitude of The College of Marin, every institution that’s supported by taxpayers and administered by politicians is carefully designed to keep young people serenely and productively stupid."

    "It’s necessary to have the conservatives, but it’s also necessary to have the mutants, the migrants, and the people with new ideas."

    The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer"It’s always the intelligent that move. It’s always the intelligent that migrate, because it’s simply smarter to move out than to stay back in the village and quarrel over cobblestone streets and neighborhood territory. Quarreling over territory is lower mammalian and lower primate [behavior], and it’s the smart, the evolutionary people who always move out."

    "Now they say that there was a counter-culture [in the Sixties]. There was no counter culture. This was a left-wing, partisan statement. There were 100 counter-cultures. There were as many counter-cultures as there were groups of friends and lovers meeting together to look into each others’ eyes and smile. That’s the point of the Sixties, there was not one orthodoxy being replaced by another orthodoxy. … You make your own world. Don’t blame your parents and don’t blame society. Figure it out for yourself."

    "You would not have had the drug culture movement of the Sixties if you did not have the do-it-yourself psychology movement of the Fifties."


    Update: Amy Goodman and Two Democracy Now! Producers Unlawfully Arrested At the RNC

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE www.democracynow.org September 1, 2008 Contact: Denis Moynihan 917-549-5000 Mike Burke 646-552-5107, mike@democracynow.org ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested her. Video of her arrest can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfully detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman's crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press. Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul. Democracy Now! is calling on all journalists and concerned citizens to call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and demand the immediate release of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar. These calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman's office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0). Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amendment rights of these journalists. During the demonstration in which they were arrested law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force. Several dozen others were also arrested during this action. Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism's top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar is a transparent attempt to intimidate journalists from the nation's leading independent news outlet. Democracy Now! is a nationally syndicated public TV and radio program that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the globe. Video of Amy Goodman's Arrest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ * UPDATE* FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 1, 2008 Contact: Mike Burke: mike@democracynow.org **UPDATE** Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar Released After Illegal Arrest at RNC Goodman Charged with Obstruction; Felony Riot Charges Pending Against Kouddous and Salazar ST. PAUL--Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar have all been released from police custody in St. Paul following their illegal arrest by Minneapolis Police on Monday afternoon. All three were violently manhandled by law enforcement officers. Abdel Kouddous was slammed against a wall and the ground, leaving his arms scraped and bloodied. He sustained other injuries to his chest and back. Salazar's violent arrest by baton-wielding officers, during which she was slammed to the ground while yelling, "I'm Press! Press!," resulted in her nose bleeding, as well as causing facial pain. Goodman's arm was violently yanked by police as she was arrested. On Tuesday, Democracy Now! will broadcast video of these arrests, as well as the broader police action. These will also be available on: www.democracynow.org Goodman was arrested while questioning police about the unlawful detention of Kouddous and Salazar who were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman's crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press. Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were arrested on suspicion of rioting, a felony. While the three have been released, they all still face charges stemming from their unlawful arrest. Kouddous and Salazar face pending charges of suspicion of felony riot, while Goodman has been officially charged with obstruction of a legal process and interference with a "peace officer." Democracy Now! forcefully rejects all of these charges as false and an attempt at intimidation of these journalists. We demand that the charges be immediately and completely dropped. Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities' law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amendment rights of these journalists. During the demonstration in which the Democracy Now! team was arrested, law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force against protesters and journalists. Several dozen demonstrators were also arrested during this action, including a photographer for the Associated Press. Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism's top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and the subsequent criminal charges and threat of charges are a transparent attempt to intimidate journalists. Democracy Now! is a nationally-syndicated public TV and radio program that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the globe. Video of Amy Goodman's Arrest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ

    Future bright for fortunetelling in Vermont town

    September 01, 2008 1:28 PM EDT

    ST. JOHNSBURY, Vermont - Behold, the future is being revealed and it looks bright for fortune tellers, clairvoyants, tarot card readers and anyone claiming to contact spirits in this corner of northern New England.

    Soothsaying might still be banned in some parts of America, but St. Johnsbury has repealed the ordinance against peering into the future that it had on the books since 1966.

    "When the ordinance was lifted, I actually felt a large weight lifting from my shoulders," said Maria Pawlowski, a tarot card reader. "It was very oppressive to have to refrain from something that was as natural to me as breathing."

    Fear of fraud has prompted many communities to ban fortunetelling but critics say it's not government's place to decide whether such personal beliefs or practices are fraudulent.

    Last year in Philadelphia, city inspectors shut down more than a dozen psychics, astrologers and tarot-card readers after discovering a decades-old state law that still bans fortunetelling for profit.

    Also last year, Louisiana's Livingston Parish made soothsaying, fortunetelling, palm reading and crystal-ball gazing illegal; a Wiccan minister filed a challenge to the law in federal court.

    Other laws are on the books or have been challenged in Nebraska, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina and Oklahoma, said Charles Haynes, a senior scholar with the First Amendment Center in Washington.

    A ban in Lincoln, Nebraska, was struck down by a federal appeals court in 1998 as unconstitutional.

    "People have the right to believe in these things and to predict the future, to say what they think and even to charge money for it," Haynes said. "The government has no power to determine whether or not these people are committing fraud."

    Critics of such bans warn that other activities could be called into question if the government has the power to decide whether fortunetelling is fraudulent or illegal.

    "We have people who predict what the stock market is going to do. We have people who predict the weather and get paid for it," said Haynes.

    St. Johnsbury lifted its ban in July at the urging of psychotherapist Jean O'Neal, who said the ordinance outlawed something she practices: feng shui, the ancient Chinese practice of harmonizing one's environment for health and financial benefits.

    "I said something needs to be done about this. This is ridiculous," O'Neal said. "The way I lay out my office ... it wasn't legal."

    The ordinance had left little to chance, banning practitioners from telling fortunes or attempting "to reveal future events in the life of another or by means of occult or psychic powers, faculties or forces, clairvoyance, psychometry, spirit-mediumship, prophecy, astrology, palmistry, necromancy, cards, talismans, charms, potions, magnetism or magnetized articles or substances, oriental mysteries or magic of any kind or nature; to undertake or pretend to find or restore lost or stolen money or property, gold or silver or other ore or metal or natural product; or to undertake or pretend to unite, or reunite or to find lovers, husbands, wives, lost relatives or friends."

    However, Town Manager Mike Welch says it was never enforced.

    Town officials say they don't know why the ordinance was passed in the first place. Perhaps there were concerns about "clairvoyants and the like," said Town Attorney Ed Zuccaro.

    "Someone was afraid," O'Neal said.

    Since the ban has been lifted, O'Neal can now feel comfortable practicing feng shui. She also has opened her space to Pawlowski to offer card readings.

    She says she's open to all kinds of practices that help people heal, and hopes to hold a holistic health exposition in town that could draw other practitioners.

    "I'm very pleased," O'Neal said of the repeal. "I think it means that people are be open minded to other ways of being healthy."


    Good Old Television Shows

    Room 222 * Mod Squad * Love, American Style Bernadette Peters Jerry Orbach, part 1

    Labor Day...there's a lesson in there somewhere....

    ... Conceived by America's labor unions as a testament to their cause, the legislation sanctioning the holiday was shepherded through Congress amid labor unrest and signed by President Grover Cleveland as a reluctant election-year compromise. ... The American Railway Union, led by a young Eugene V. Debs, came to the cause of the striking workers, and railroad workers across the nation boycotted trains carrying Pullman cars. Rioting, pillaging, and burning of railroad cars soon ensued; mobs of non-union workers joined in. The strike instantly became a national issue. President Grover Cleveland, faced with nervous railroad executives and interrupted mail trains, declared the strike a federal crime and deployed 12,000 troops to break the strike. Violence erupted, and two men were killed when U.S. deputy marshals fired on protesters in Kensington, near Chicago, but the strike was doomed. On August 3, 1894, the strike was declared over. Debs went to prison, his ARU was disbanded, and Pullman employees henceforth signed a pledge that they would never again unionize. Aside from the already existing American Federation of Labor and the various railroad brotherhoods, industrial workers' unions were effectively stamped out and remained so until the Great Depression. It was not the last time Debs would find himself behind bars, either. Campaigning from his jail cell, Debs would later win almost a million votes for the Socialist ticket in the 1920 presidential race. ...

    Bolivia's president lands in Iran

    ...

    Federal government involved in raids on protesters

    [Thanks to Sir Real for this link] by Glenn Greenwald As the police attacks on protesters in Minnesota continue -- see this video of the police swarming a bus transporting members of Earth Justice, seizing the bus and leaving the group members stranded on the side of the highway -- it appears increasingly clear that it is the Federal Government that is directing this intimidation campaign. Minnesota Public Radio reported yesterday that "the searches were led by the Ramsey County Sheriff's office. Deputies coordinated searches with the Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

    Today's Star Tribune added that the raids were specifically "aided by informants planted in protest groups." Back in May, Marcy Wheeler presciently noted that the Minneapolis Joint Terrorist Task Force -- an inter-agency group of federal, state and local law enforcement led by the FBI -- was actively recruiting Minneapolis residents to serve as plants, to infiltrate "vegan groups" and other left-wing activist groups and report back to the Task Force about what they were doing. There seems to be little doubt that it was this domestic spying by the Federal Government that led to the excessive and truly despicable home assaults by the police yesterday.

    So here we have a massive assault led by Federal Government law enforcement agencies on left-wing dissidents and protesters who have committed no acts of violence or illegality whatsoever, preceded by months-long espionage efforts to track what they do. And as extraordinary as that conduct is, more extraordinary is the fact that they have received virtually no attention from the national media and little outcry from anyone. And it's not difficult to see why. As the recent "overhaul" of the 30-year-old FISA law illustrated -- preceded by the endless expansion of surveillance state powers, justified first by the War on Drugs and then the War on Terror -- we've essentially decided that we want our Government to spy on us without limits. There is literally no police power that the state can exercise that will cause much protest from the political and media class and, therefore, from the citizenry.

    Beyond that, there is a widespread sense that the targets of these raids deserve what they get, even if nothing they've done is remotely illegal. We love to proclaim how much we cherish our "freedoms" in the abstract, but we despise those who actually exercise them. The Constitution, right in the very First Amendment, protects free speech and free assembly precisely because those liberties are central to a healthy republic -- but we've decided that anyone who would actually express truly dissident views or do anything other than sit meekly and quietly in their homes are dirty trouble-makers up to no good, and it's therefore probably for the best if our Government keeps them in check, spies on them, even gets a little rough with them.

    After all, if you don't want the FBI spying on you, or the Police surrounding and then invading your home with rifles and seizing your computers, there's a very simple solution: don't protest the Government. Just sit quietly in your house and mind your own business. That way, the Government will have no reason to monitor what you say and feel the need to intimidate you by invading your home. Anyone who decides to protest -- especially with something as unruly and disrespectful as an unauthorized street march -- gets what they deserve.

    Isn't it that mentality which very clearly is the cause of virtually everyone turning away as these police raids escalate against citizens -- including lawyers, journalists and activists -- who have broken no laws and whose only crime is that they intend vocally to protest what the Government is doing? Add to that the fact that many good establishment liberals are embarrassed by leftist protesters of this sort and wish that they would remain invisible, and there arises a widespread consensus that these Government attacks are perfectly tolerable if not desirable.

    During the Olympics just weeks ago, there was endless hand-wringing over the efforts by the Chinese Government to squelch dissent and incarcerate protesters. On August 21, The Washington Post fretted:

    Six Americans detained by police this week could be held for 10 days, according to Chinese authorities, who appear to be intensifying their efforts to shut down any public demonstrations during the final days of the Olympic Games. . . .

    Chinese Olympic officials announced last month that Beijing would set up zones where people could protest during the Games, as long as they had received permission. None of the 77 applications submitted was approved, however, and several other would-be protesters were stopped from even applying.

    On August 2, The Post gravely warned:
    Behind the gray walls and barbed wire of the prison here, eight Chinese farmers with a grievance against the government have been consigned to Olympic limbo.

    Their indefinite detainment, relatives and neighbors said, is the price they are paying for stirring up trouble as China prepares to host the Beijing Games. Trouble, the Communist Party has made clear, will not be permitted.

    Would The Washington Post ever use such dark and accusatory tones to describe what the U.S. Government does? Of course it wouldn't. Yet how is our own Government's behavior in Minnesota any different than what the Chinese did to its protesters during the Olympics (other than the fact that we actually have a Constitution that prohibits such behavior)? And where are all the self-righteous Freedom Crusaders in our nation's establishment organs who were so flamboyantly criticizing the actions of a Government on the other side of the globe as our own Government engages in the same tyrannical, protest-squelching conduct with exactly the same motives?

    Just review what happened yesterday and today. Homes of college-aid protesters were raided by rifle-wielding police forces. Journalists were forcibly detained at gun point. Lawyers on the scene to represent the detainees were handcuffed. Computers, laptops, journals, diaries, and political pamphlets were seized from people's homes. And all of this occurred against U.S. citizens, without a single act of violence having taken place, and nothing more serious than traffic blockage even alleged by authorities to have been planned.

    A man whose sister was one of those arrested at one of the raided houses in Minneapolis yesterday emailed me a photograph of her and her friend who was also arrested -- Monica Bicking (r.) and Eryn Trimme -- and he wrote this:

    They are still in custody. I've been told that the police have 36 hours to charge her, and that 36 hours starts after the labor day holiday, so they only have to charge her sometime Wednesday. It seems unlikely that they'd do anything to expedite her or Eryn's release.

    They were then planning to actually board up her house for unspecified "code violations", but apparently her neighbors were very vocal, and the police ended up agreeing not to do anything so long as the front door was fixed by 6pm (the front door they'd busted in).

    Heres is the extraordinary blog item I linked to yesterday from Eileen Clancy, one of the founders of I-Witness Video -- a NYC-based video collective which is in St. Paul to document the policing of the protests around this week's Republican National Convention, just as they did at the 2004 GOP Convention in New York. Clancy wrote this as a plea for help, as the Police surrounded her house and (before they had a search warrant) told everyone inside that they'd be arrested if they exited the home:
    This is Eileen Clancy . . . The house where I-Witness Video is staying in St. Paul has been surrounded by police. We have locked all the doors. We have been told that if we leave we will be detained. One of our people who was caught outside is being detained in handcuffs in front of the house. The police say that they are waiting to get a search warrant. More than a dozen police are wielding firearms, including one St. Paul officer with a long gun, which someone told me is an M-16.

    We are suffering a preemptive video arrest. For those that don't know, I-Witness Video was remarkably successful in exposing police misconduct and outright perjury by police during the 2004 RNC. Out of 1800 arrests, at least 400 were overturned based solely on video evidence which contradicted sworn statements which were fabricated by police officers. It seems that the house arrest we are now under and the possible threat of the seizure of our computers and video cameras is a result of the 2004 success.

    We are asking the public to contact the office of St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman at 651-266-8510 to stop this house arrest, this gross intimidation by police officers, and the detention of media activists and reporters.

    That sounds like what it was: a cry for help from a hostage. Hours later, the Police finally obtained a search warrant -- for the wrong house, one adjacent to the house where they were being detained -- and nonetheless broke in, pointing guns, forced them to lay on the floor and handcuffed everyone inside (and handcuffed a National Lawyers Guild attorney outside). They searched the house, arrested nobody, and then left.

    Any rational person planning to protest the GOP Convention would, in light of this Government spying and these police raids, think twice -- at least -- about whether to do so. That is the point of the raids -- to announce to citizens that they best stay in their homes and be good, quiet, meek, compliant people unless they want their homes to be invaded, their property seized, and have rifles pointed at them, too. The fact that this behavior is producing so little outcry only ensures, for obvious reasons, that it will continue in the future. We love our Surveillance State for keeping us safe and maintaining nice, quiet order. UPDATE: A Professor at the University of Minnesota who lives in the neighborhood where one of the homes was raided yesterday sent photographs he took which rather conclusively demonstrate federal involvement in these raids: And Feministing has the video -- here -- of the scene yesterday where journalists were detained, along with an interview with the homeowner whose house was raided.


    Elizabeth Press from DN detained in St. Paul

    Journalists targeted by FBI in St. Paul By Mary Turck , TC Daily Planet

    Mike Whalen and reporters sit, handcuffed, in his backyard. (Photos by Mary Turck)

    According to I-Witness reporter Eileen Clancy, an FBI agent came to Mike Whalen's house on Iglehart Avenue this morning, looking for an individual who was not present at the time. This afternoon, police broke into the house with guns drawn, detaining Whalen and the journalists for hours as dozens of reporters from all over the country stood outside, kept on the opposite side of the street by police orders. The six people inside the house - and one legal observer who came outside to try to talk to police - were handcuffed during the search of the house.

    Legal observer Sarah Coffey answered reporters' questions in front of the Iglehart residence, as police looked on.

    Journalists inside the home included Clancy and Elizabeth Press, a news producer for Democracy Now. Journalists outside included Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now and a camera crew.

    Kim, who lives next door, voiced her strong objections to the police proceedings, praising Mike Whalen as "a good neighbor, a very nice neighbor for ten years. He has never caused a problem". She said anyone should be allowed to protest, though "I'm a Jehovah's Witness so I don't give a crap about Republicans or Democrats," but said that anyone should be allowed to protest.

    Eventually, she invited the crowd of journalists into her back yard, where they interviewed Mike Whalen and Eileen Clancy over the back fence, as police watched in obvious, mute discomfort.

    "They look through materials and copy materials, but you are not arrested," said Clancy. "If you sue later, the court thinks it wasn't a big deal, because you were not held very long".

    "They cannot raid a news office without a subpoena - but they did. This is journalists' work product".

    Police eventually produced a subpoena, similar to the ones that have been used in all of the half-dozen raids during the past 18 hours.

    "These are pre-emptive raids," Clancy insisted. "Police are targeting people who are here to protect free speech rights".

    Eventually, Amy Goodman and a camera crew climbed over the fence. Police tried to get them to leave, with no success.


    Psi and Sexuality , by Jeff Mishlove

    Posted on Aug 23rd, 2008 by Jeff Mishlove : Intuition Networker Jeff Mishlove
    Nantsog-bal

    In 1984, Michael K. McBeath, published an article title, “Psi and Sexuality” in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 53, No. 800, pp. 65-77. Because it is very relevant to my investigation in the nature of love and spirituality, I am summarizing it below:

    CLINICAL OBSERVATIONS AND SPECULATIONS

    Over 60 years ago, psychical researchers were aware of the importance of sexual factors in their research. In 1921, Hereward Carrington presented a paper to the First International Congress for Psychical Research. In it he stated, 'There may ... be a definite connection between sex and psychical phenomena' (Carrington, 1931, p. 146). One of his main points was that clinical observations have been made of mediums such as Eusapia Palladino who demonstrated numerous sexual behaviors during sittings. (Carrington, 1931, p. 146)

    The investigations of a number of mediums support Carrington's point. In addition to descriptions of the sexual behaviours and advances made by Eusapia Palladino during episodes of PK (Morselli, 1908; Carrington, 1909, 1931; Dingwall, 1950; Fodor, 1966), there are reports of sexual events attributed to both Willy and Rudi Schneider (Schrenck-Notzing, 1924; Fodor, 1959, 1966; Underwood, 1973; Dodds, 1977; Gregory, 1985), and to Jean-Pierre Girard (Dierkens, 1978).

    For Palladino, the production of PK was said to occur along with 'agreeable and even voluptuous thrills' (Carrington, 1909 p. 333). Girard's sensations during episodes of PK are described as similar to experiencing an orgasm (Dierkens, 1978). Rudi Schneider is credited with actually having sexual climaxes during some of his seances. This was verified on at least one occasion immediately following a seance by examining the swimsuit Schneider was wearing. It was also believed that Schneider lost his paranormal abilities during periods of sexual satiety (Underwood, 1973; Dodds, 1977; Gregory, 1985).

    Recent statements by gifted individuals themselves also reflect an intimate relationship between psi and sexual elements. Girard stated that he had, 'to learn to be exhibitionistic' in order to perform before people (Dierkens, 1978, p. 156). ASPR subject and consultant, Alex Tanous, used a quote from St. John of the Cross, 'Like coming home', to describe the experience during an out of body experience (OBE). Tanous explained that an OBE involves something very similar to a sexual feeling (Tanous, 1983). Noted OBE experient, Robert Monroe, stated, 'There seemed to be a direct relationship between what I interpreted as the sexual drive and this 'force' that permitted me to dissociate from the physical body'. He added that a clue to this relationship is that, 'the most consistent physical reaction noted when returning from [an OBE] is a penile erection.' (Monroe, 1977, p. 195). In commenting on his experience as percipient in the series of highly successful dream ESP experiments at the Maimonides Laboratory, Robert Van de Castle said, 'I think sexuality plays a far more important role in the production of psi phenomena than we have ordinarily acknowledged'. (Van de Castle, 1974, p. 99). Eileen Garrett stated, '... sex is something I can use to produce, to create with, to transmute the energy into other channels'. (Psychic, 1972, p. 45).

    These accounts provide subjective evidence for a sexual element involved in the occurrence of psi. They also provide a glimpse at the personal dynamics and belief systems of gifted individuals. There appears to be in them an acceptance of various aspects of sexuality and sexual expression. Perhaps this is even a prerequisite for a psi performance.

    Gifted individuals may also have a greater tolerance for different modes of sexual expression in others. Eileen Garrett expressed a lifelong understanding and tolerance of sexually ambiguous behavior and of homosexuality (Angoff, 1974). One interpretation of this relationship is that people who are socially deviant in one area, like sexuality, are more apt to be deviant in another, like unusual psi sensitivity. This could be due to an increased lack of concern about conformity once an individual has 'come out' or once he feels he has been labeled as deviant (Weiner, 1984). Ideas such as these, combined with the popular notion that a high rate of homosexuality exists among mediums or sensitives suggest that this aspect of sexuality is worthy of attention.

    HOMOSEXUALITY AND PSI

    The incidence of homosexuality in any given field is difficult to assess due to its history of stigmatization. It is an aspect of a person which otherwise meticulous experimenters might either miss or even choose to leave unmentioned for ethical or legal reasons. Homosexual behavior is still illegal in many parts of the world.

    One can assume that in published reports, the incidence of homosexuality among parapsychological subjects is underestimated. Yet we must be careful not to overgeneralize from a limited number of noted cases. The Kinsey (1948) studies estimated about 10% of the American male population to be primarily homosexual (Davidson & Neale, 1973). Excluding other factors, we might expect a similar incidence of homosexuals among subjects in physical research. Many of the same points also apply to cases of bisexuality. Because of these similarities, in this paper cases of bisexuality will be grouped in with those of homosexuality.

    It is possible that the notion of a high incidence of homosexual mediums may be true for popular mediums, where fraud and deception are commonplace, but may not pertain to genuine psi agents. This would be a form of the social deviance concept previously mentioned (Weiner, 1984). In other words, there could be a correlation between sexual deviance, such as homosexuality, and an interest in the paranormal which is quite independent of psychic ability (West, 1984). For example, Madame Blavatsky, co-founder of the Theosophical Society, has been labeled a sexually ambiguous psychic in the popular literature (Godwin, 1972).

    The idea that psi could be related to repressed sexuality might also be relevant when examining homosexuality (Krippner, 1984). Given the widespread social disapproval of homosexual behavior, it is consistent that a higher percentage of homosexuals would tend towards sexual repression. Along these same lines, it has been postulated that in many locations and cultures, a paucity of available homosexual outlets could lead to large amounts of sexual energy waiting to be expressed (Weiner, 1984).

    Another possibility, promoted by Janet Mitchell, is that individuals who are more sexually androgynous are more apt to be psychically gifted (Robinson, 1983). Androgyny can be measured to some degree by such instruments as a Masculinity-Femininity scale (Spence & Helmreich, 1978). The supposition is that homosexuals tend to be more sexually androgynous.

    Homosexuality is a difficult area to address, but that should not prevent examination of the relevant cases within parapsychology which do exist. D. D. Home is probably the most celebrated medium in the history of psychical research. Though there are references to his apparent homosexuality (Dingwall, 1962; Dingwall, 1983; Inglis, 1983), it is a point which is often omitted. Dingwall (1962) has stated 'My own view, for which there is now considerable evidence, is that Home was homosexually inclined but rarely, if ever, allowed his inclinations any practical expression ...'

    The medium Eva C. (Marthe Beraud) and Juliette Bisson, the woman with whom she lived during the height of her mediumistic career, were said to have 'almost certainly had a sexual relationship' (Brandon, 1983, p. 160).

    The brothers and fellow mediums Willy and Rudi Schneider were both cited as having female controls when under trance (Schrenck-Notzing, 1924; Gregory, 1985). Because both Schneiders were also reported to express erotic feelings towards male sitters during seances, it has been suggested that this was a channel for them to express homosexual desires (Fodor, 1959).

    Satya Sai Baba is probably the most popular religious leader in India today. The claims of paranormal events produced by Sai Baba exceed even those of D. D. Home. Yet Sai Baba also is surrounded by several rumors of homosexual behavior (Chari, 1981; Thalbourne, 1983).

    In addition, a few of the gifted subjects who have worked for parapsychology laboratories recently are known by this researcher to favor either homosexuality or bisexuality. Yet this is a point which has not been publicly acknowledged. Nevertheless, the opinion that a high percentage of gifted sensitives and mediums are homosexually inclined is shared by a number of parapsychologists (Stanford, 1984; Knipe, 1984).

    LABORATORY EXPERIMENTS

    A successful sexual fantasizing technique was demonstrated by Robert Van de Castle when he was the percipient in a series of experiments at the Maimonides Dream Laboratory. Van de Castle, who was free to choose any agent, 'always chose the most attractive, physically appealing girl available.' (Van de Castle, 1974, p. 99). The evening before the experimental session, the two would spend time together establishing rapport. Then, upon going to bed in the laboratory, Van de Castle would imagine the young woman lying next to him in a sexually intimate way. His goal was to 'consummate a sexual relationship telepathically'. (Van de Castle, 1970, p. 17). Using this technique, they achieved highly successful results (Van de Castle, 1970, 1974, 1984). Because there was no 'non-sexual' control, this does not constitute direct evidence for the effectiveness of sexual imaging, but the results are suggestive.

    A few studies have explored the suggestion that women's psi performance can be influenced by their menstrual cycles (Schmitt & Stanford, 1978; Keane & Wells, 1979). Evidence suggests that women tend to have more extreme psi scoring during their pre-ovulatory phase.

    In general, the laboratory results mildly support the notion that some aspect of sexual arousal can be associated with psi. Yet, given the historical evidence for sexual factors, one might expect a more robust psi effect. Exploring theoretical ideas might help explain the weakness of the experimental results.

    REFERENCES


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