Monday, June 25, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Michael Moore in Denver For Sicko Premiere
The Gay Pride parade was held in Denver earlier in the day. Many people celebrating Pride came over and joined the rally, and were warmly welcomed by Mr. Moore.
It was emphasized that one half of all bankruptcies in Amerika are due to medical expenses.
A feedback shriek from the sound system causes the kids to cover their ears...
A crowd of about a thousand people turned out to hear Michael's speech. He did not fail to link the for-profit corruption of our health care with the genocide of the indigenous, slavery, and the war in Iraq.
The crowd cheered the call for universal health care. Mr. Moore stated that he did not want to hear any more excuses about "unaffordability" from a country that has spent $100 billion dollars a year since the Iraq war started.
Above: This family's three year old son is a hemophiliac. By the time he is four years old, his insurance company will no longer cover his medical expenses.
A lotta love went out to Michael from the crowd, and well wishers rushed the stage after his speech to thank him for his work.
SICKO, Part I: The Human Tragedy
by Robert WeissmanRead the rest...
Published on Thursday, June 21, 2007 by http://www.commondreams.org
When word got out that Michael Moore was working on a movie with the working title SiCKO, about the U.S. healthcare industry, the industry went bananas.
Memos started shooting around, warning insurance and drug company executives and representatives to keep looking over their shoulders, to make sure they avoided being ambushed by Moore and a camera crew. Indeed, they had something to fear, for they have a great deal of needless misery and suffering to answer for.
But it turns out that Moore didn’t need them after all.
Instead, he’s made a movie driven by heart-breaking story after heart-breaking story. SiCKO presents a devastating indictment of the U.S. healthcare system by letting victimized patients speak for themselves.
When Moore announced on his web page that he was doing a movie about outrages in the U.S. healthcare system and was looking for examples, he was flooded with 25,000 responses.
He profiles Dawnelle, whose 18-month-old daughter Michelle died because her health plan, Kaiser, insisted Michelle not be treated at the hospital to which an ambulance had taken her, but instead be transferred to a Kaiser hospital. Fifteen minutes after arriving at the next hospital, Michelle died, probably from a bacterial infection that could have been treated with antibiotics.
Labels: Michael Moore
I'm A Better Anarchist Than You
Read the interview with David Rovics, the author of this song:
Better Anarchist than you
By David Rovics
i don't drive a car
'cause they run on gas
but if i did
it'd run on biomass
i ride a bike
or sometimes a skateboard
so fuck off all you drivers
and your yuppie hordes
sitting all day
in the traffic queues
i'm a better anarchist than you
i don't eat meat
i just live on moldy chives
or the donuts that i found
in last week's dumpster dives
look at you people in that restaurant
i think you are so sad
when you coulda been eating bagels
like the ones that i just had
i think it is a shame
all the bourgeois things you do
i'm a better anarchist than you
i don't wear leather
and i like my clothes in black
and i made a really cool hammock
from a moldy coffee sack
i like to hop on freight trains
i think that is so cool
it's so much funner doing this
than being stuck in school
i can't believe you're wearing
those brand new shiny shoes
i'm a better anarchist than you
i don't have sex
and there will be no sequel
because heterosexual relationships
are inherently unequal
i'll just keep moshing
to rancid and the clash
until there are no differences
in gender, race or class
all you brainwashed breeders
you just haven't got a clue
i'm a better anarchist than you
i am not a pacifist
i like throwing bricks
and when the cops have caught me
and i've taken a few licks
i always feel lucky
if i get a bloody nose
'cause i feel so militant
and everybody knows
by the time
the riot is all through
i'm a better anarchist than you
i don't believe in leaders
i think consensus is the key
i don't believe in stupid notions
like representative democracy
whether or not it works
i know it is the case
that only direct action
can save the human race
so when i see you in your voting booths
then i know it's true
i'm a better anarchist than you
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Marine General Pace: Iraq Deaths Don't Mean Failure
Iraq Deaths Don't Mean Failure, Pace Says
Josh White, Washington Post Staff WriterRead the rest...
Friday, June 22, 2007; A13
The recent rise in U.S. troop deaths in Iraq is the "wrong metric" to use in assessing the effectiveness of the new security strategy for Baghdad, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday in a news conference with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
Despite military reports to Congress that use numbers of attacks and overall levels of violence as an important gauge of Iraq's security status, Gates and Pace told reporters at the Pentagon yesterday that violence is not a useful measure of progress. Setting the stage for mandatory reports to Congress in September, both officials said violence could go up in the summer months as troops try to give the Iraqi government time to set the country on the right track.
Saturday Song: Right Through You
Dedicated to Gui - the platitudinous, inbox bore of the week. Next time hon, try it with more heart and feeling. It's a conversation, not a competition.
Aren't you getting a little long in the tooth to still be this clueless about how to talk to a woman?
Labels: My Playlist
Friday, June 22, 2007
Your Weekend Bitter White Whine: The Left Envies The Rich
This week's goonbat is so full of trite cliches about anarchists and the politics of "envy", a fourth-grader could take him apart, and his arguments are about as sophisticated as the ole "you hate me because I have a penis and/or white skin". Still, these whiney whiteboys are always good for a laugh. Expect a few more of these howlers to be forthcoming in the months leading up to Denver's DNC protests.
Left battling with envy
* It's back to the '70s as hatred of the rich makes a return, writes Ross ClarkRead the rest...
* June 23, 2007
ONE of the little-remarked side effects of the September11 attacks was the eclipse of the anti-globalisation movement. It is not easy to remember that in the northern summer of 2001, the year protester Carlo Giuliani died during rioting at the Group of Eight summit of rich nations in Genoa, the growing venom of anti-capitalism activists was seen as such a threat to society that, briefly, on the afternoon of September 11, commentators on radio and television discussed the possibility that the attacks had been carried out by enemies of globalisation.
After September 11, however, the movement suffered a precipitous decline. The May Day riots that had shaken London in 2000 and 2001 were not repeated. With the war on terror about to swing into action, taunting police in street battles seemed rather less than a good idea. With security services twitching with the threat of suicide bombers, suddenly there was the possibility that water cannons might be replaced with semi-automatic weapons.
In Rostock in northern Germany earlier this month, however, the anti-globalisers wanted the world to know they were back in business. A rally involving 25,000 protesters erupted into violence, leaving a reported 400 police officers and 520 demonstrators injured. The violence followed protests in Hamburg a week earlier. And that was before a single G8 delegate had touched down in Germany.
It is no accident the revival of anti-globalisation protests coincided with the G8 summit in Germany. It is in the German autonome -- anarchist groups of the 1960s and '70s -- that the anti-globalisation movement has its origins. Still ringing in the ears of German anarchists is the justification by Ulrike Meinhof, the journalist turned terrorist who lent her name to the Baader-Meinhof Gang: "If I set a car on fire, that is a criminal offence. If I set hundreds of cars on fire, that is political action."
The difference is that whereas the autonome were underground organisations, today's anarchists are increasingly open about their methods. You didn't need to be a spy to find out what protest groups were planning for the G8 summit. Anyone with an internet connection would have been able to read the detailed plans of where and how protesters were going to strike, such as outside the Rostock-Lichtenhagen branch of the budget supermarket Lidl, where on June 4 at 10pm, a group called the Dissent Network, along with the Andalusian union of agricultural workers, were planning to protest against Lidl's working conditions and its "ruinous price dictates".
Anyone who imagines what happened in Rostock was caused by a small rabble disrupting a larger peaceful protest and being picked on by over-reacting police should have a look at the Dissent Network's website. For a self-professed anarchist group, it is remarkably well-organised. Long before the G8 summit, it had set up two camps, one in Rostock and one outside, for a total of 11,000 protesters, complete with soup kitchens and medical tents. Prospective activists were told the object was to close all entry points to the G8 summit and were given advice as to the most effective way of doing so: you might consider, for example, linking arms with the aid of metal pipes set into concrete blocks that you prepared earlier, then lying in the street.
"There is little you can do against armoured police vehicles," it goes on to advise, "but they do, for example, hate paint on their windscreens."
At Heiligendamm, too, eager members of the Black Bloc were expected -- another German born and bred anarchist outfit that was active in Genoa five years ago and that has its roots in the era of Baader-Meinhof and the Red Army Faction. Unlike the Dissent Network, the Black Bloc doesn't have a website proclaiming what trouble it intends to cause at G8. Neither does it have a press spokesman.
But to give us a flavour of its ideology, one of its top brass, calling herself "Mary Black", posted the following on the internet: "It is not just that police abuse power, we believe that the existence of the police is an abuse of power ... many of us believe in revolution and within that context, attacking the cops doesn't seem out of place."
In other words, as far as the Black Bloc is concerned, cops are there to be beaten up. It isn't just the cops, either. Mary Black goes on to offer her thoughts on capitalist enterprise: "I believe that using the word violent to describe breaking the window of a Nike store takes meaning away from the word ... It is true that some underpaid Nike employee will have to clean up the mess, which is unfortunate, but a local glass installer will get a little extra income."
The vacuity of Black's self-justification defies belief. How does she know Nike is going to employ a local glass installer rather than give the work to a multinational outfit? And if Nike is going to employ the small man, what on earth is Black moaning about? Presumably, if there is any consistency in her philosophy, she ought to be praising a company that smiles on the small man.
The rise of violent protest on the Left is not wholly a European phenomenon. In 1998, Ward Churchill, professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado, published an influential book, Pacifism as Pathology, in which he castigated the Left for being too weak and implored protesters to turn violent. It was at the meeting of the World Trade Organisation in Seattle the following year that the tradition whereby anti-globalisation protesters target international political meetings was born: 50,000 rioted, elevating Starbucks to an object of hate on the Left.
Since then, Churchill has moved up a gear. Shortly after September 11, he published an essay entitled Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, in which he suggested that the "Little Eichmanns" who worked at the World Trade Centre were not "innocent civilians" but a legitimate target: "True enough they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global empire, the 'mighty engine of profits' to which the military dimension of US policy has always been enslaved." Although little noticed at the time, Churchill expanded his essay into a book, which reached 100 on Amazon's bestseller list.
It would be easy to dismiss members of the resurrected anti-globalisation movement as a bunch of nutters. But that would be to underestimate the influence of anti-globalisation on left-wing thought generally, and not just on the fringes. It has become so commonplace to blame the oil industry for any meteorological-induced hardship in developing countries that no one seems to protest any more, even though such cheap gibes are polluting serious debate over climate change. Likewise, no one seems to mind any longer that Western clothes manufacturers, in advertisements by once-respectable aid charities, are blamed for creating poverty in developing countries when the reality is that they attract workers to their factories by paying higher wages than any other local employer.
A dozen years after Tony Blair ditched Clause IV (British Labour's nationalisation platform) and declared an end to the politics of envy, it has become fashionable again to bash big business and the wealthy. A recent debate in Britain on BBC TV's Newsnight between the candidates for the Labour deputy leadership exposed a general leftwards shift in the party's outlook. But what was most remarkable about it was that the most rabidly left-wing remarks came not from Jon Cruddas, a mild-mannered old Labour candidate who wants Britons to return to living in council houses, but from Harriet Harman, the former social security secretary and middle-class paragon. Demanding a return of the royal commission on distribution of income and wealth, she complained: "You can't have proper equality of opportunity with a huge gap between rich and poor ... Do we want a society where some struggle and others spend pound stg. 10,000 on a handbag?"
Like many of Harman's utterances, her appeal to the Left doesn't bear analysis. What about the people who sew together the pound stg. 10,000 handbags; surely the more the wealthy spend on handbags, the more they earn?
Disgraced Judge Grafton Biddle Fails to Address Court House Adultery
Macho asshole predators like this judge are likely far more common than usually gets revealed. Fortunately, Grafton's brave wife Gail Liles exposed him.
Ex-judge fails to address courthouse tryst
A former judge facing allegations of a courthouse tryst with a prosecutor has failed to respond to the charges against him, potentially dooming him to admit to the accusations by default.
Grafton M. Biddle, 57, should have filed a response more than a week ago with the Attorney Regulation Counsel, which investigates lawyer misconduct.
ARC will file a motion of default with the state Supreme Court today.
Biddle still faces a disciplinary hearing in a couple of months, which can lead to his disbarment.
Biddle resigned his job as a Douglas County judge last December amid allegations he and deputy district attorney Laurie Steinman were having an affair that included sex in his chambers and in the women's shower at the courthouse.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Fightin' Tidy Whites V. Denver Taggers
GATES likes to send her message down the tracks.
Tagging Up Denver
Ever since the subculture originated in the subway tunnels of New York in the 1970s, graffiti writers have formed into crews. Some form out of simple friendship or geographic proximity; for other crews, it's a shared style and skill level. In the upper ranks, crews are organized and managed on the order of something resembling a professional sports team. There are the writers who might specialize in piecing or throw-ups or getting tags in impossible locations, others who are the established, superstar members and can do it all, including murals. Then there's the new talent, which TKO recruits out of smaller, mostly west Denver crews, into a kind of farm league it calls T2.Read the entire story...
GATES decides she is feeling blue. She kneels in the dirt and stares into her open bag. It's black with a canvas strap and bigger than it looks. She selects one of six cans of Rustoleum and holds it down low where the warehouse security light is slipping under the freight car. She reads the label: "Aqua." She begins by spraying a long arch and filling in her background. Eventually, she swaps the Aqua for some Royal Blue, careful to keep her pack organized and secure.
As soon as she begins with the outline, GATES hears a sound from the other side of the tracks. She crouches down and signals for her male companions, WALDO and ELAB, to stop work on their pieces. She slowly climbs between the trains and over the hitch. She peeks down the railroad yard but sees nothing. She crawls back to position and drops the signal to resume painting.
...Fourteen volunteers — a mix of community members, neighborhood group leaders and business owners — sit in the operations room of the Denver District 1 police headquarters. The presentation, "Graffiti Sting," covers the basics of how to identify a tagger and his tools. Tonight, June 8, is the second time police in west Denver have recruited and trained community members in the fight against graffiti. Unlike the more common abatement efforts, where property owners take part in a city-sponsored graffiti clean-up, the stings attempt to catch taggers in the act. The first, organized on an evening two months ago, focused on the Highland and Jefferson Park neighborhoods and racked up six arrests — although only one was a suspected tagger. This time the sting is targeting Villa Park, West Colfax and Sloan's Lake, the areas that regularly get slammed with tagging. Big arrests are expected. Officers from the district even painted over some regularly tagged walls to offer fresh bait for delinquents.
"Fatah=CIA Is Not a Good Selling Point"
Hamas liberates their Spy Files.
The CIA and Fatah; Spies, Quislings and the Palestinian Authority
06/20/07 "ICH" -- - When Hamas gunmen stormed the Fatah security compounds in Gaza last week they found huge supplies of American-made weaponry including 7,400 M-16 assault rifles, dozens of mounted machine guns, rocket launchers, 7 armored military jeeps, 800,000 rounds of bullets and 18 US-made armored personnel carriers. They also discovered something far more valuable--- CIA files which purportedly contain "information about the collaboration between Fatah and the Israeli and American security organizations; CIA methods on how to prevent attacks, chase and follow after cells of Hamas and the Committees; plans about Fatah assassinations of members of Hamas and other organizations; and American studies on the security situation in Gaza." (Aaron Klein, WorldNetDaily.com)
If the documents prove to be authentic, they will confirm what many critics of Fatah believed from the beginning; that US-Israeli intelligence agencies have been collaborating with high-ranking members of the PA to help crush the Palestinian national liberation movement. The information could be disastrous for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his newly-appointed “emergency government”. It could destroy their credibility before they even take office.
The extent of Fatah’s cooperation with the CIA is still unknown, but an article in The New York Sun, (“Hamas Takes over Gaza Security Services” 6-15-07) suggests that the two groups may have been working together closely. Former Middle East CIA operations officer Robert Baer, who was interviewed in the article, said that the discovery of the documents was “a major blow to Fatah” and will show “a record of training, spying on Hamas”.
Baer added ironically, “Fatah equals CIA is not a good selling point.” Read the rest...
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
A slot canyon near Page, Arizona.
Geronimo's Great-Grandson Wants Bones Returned
Geronimo's great-grandson wants bones returned
June 17, 2007
SANTA FE, N.M. --Legend has it that Yale University's ultrasecret Skull and Bones society swiped the remains of American Indian leader Geronimo nearly a century ago from an Army outpost in Oklahoma.
Now, Geronimo's great-grandson wants the remains returned.
Harlyn Geronimo, 59, of Mescalero, N.M., wants to prove the skull and bones purportedly taken from a burial plot in Fort Sill, Okla., are indeed those of his great-grandfather. They're now said to be in a stone tomb that serves as the club's headquarters.
If they are proven to be those of Geronimo, his great-grandson wants them buried near the Indian leader's birthplace in southern New Mexico's Gila Wilderness.
"He died as a prisoner of war, and he is still a prisoner of war because his remains were not returned to his homeland," Harlyn Geronimo said. "Presently, we are looking for a proper consecrated burial."Read the rest...
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Nine Men Die To Save Sofas
In this image made from TV, firefighters are seen at the scene of a fire that swept through a furniture warehouse, Tuesday June 19, 2007 in Charleston, S.C. collapsing the building's roof and claiming the lives of nine firefighters in a disaster the mayor described as 'difficult to fathom or quantify.' (AP Photo/WCSC via CNN)Roof Collapses, Killing Nine Fire Fighters
Baghdad Combat Photos: Injured US Soldiers
Guardian photographer Sean Smith spent two weeks with the US army's rapid reaction Stryker units witnessing the daily horror of life on Baghdad's frontline. The specialised units operate in the most dangerous parts of the capital and face daily battles with insurgents.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Intelligenta Indigena: Hamas Captures Intelligence Files
It turns out that Hamas can now prove that The American CIA has been secretly working with Fatah and the more Zionist elements of the Israeli government to destabilise the elected Hamas government. Hamas officials have seized thousands of internal Palestian Authority documents including communications between U.S. intelligence and the PA and material intelligence such as video and audio surveillance.
Smash The RNC and DNC Conventions In 2008!
SMASH THE CONVENTIONS IN 2008: A reportback from the Carolinas Consulta
by Unconventional Action Monday, Jun. 04, 2007 at 1:58 PM
email@example.com (email address validated)
This is a reportback from the Carolinas Consulta, detailing strategy proposals for shutting down and disrupting the DNC and RNC in 2008 in denver and the twin cities. read on!
Report from Unconventional Action carolinas consulta, May 12-13
On May 12th and 13th, a faction of Unconventional Action hosted a carolinas consulta in Chapel Hill, NC, as a way for anarchists and anti-authoritarians from across the carolinas to develop strategies for resistance against the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in 2008. Here we present the results of those discussions.
On May 12th and 13th, a faction of Unconventional Action hosted a carolinas consulta in Chapel Hill, NC, as a way for anarchists and anti-authoritarians from across the carolinas to develop strategies for resistance against the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in 2008. This was also intended to deepen the broader personal and political networks of solidarity and mutual aid across the carolinas and to share news and feedback about local struggles.
It may seem strange to organize a gathering primarily focused on mobilizations so far in advance. We believe it is important for anarchists to be developing our own strategy for the conventions right now: both so that we are not forced to act within a framework of authoritarian and/or reformist-led permitted marches, and so as to spark a new dialogue that brings the failures of capitalism and electoral politics to the forefront of public debate. By strategizing, coordinating, and organizing early on, we can seize the initiative and create a situation conducive to accessible, participatory direct action.
This cannot be a closed-door process. We believe a good strategy enables a wide range of groups with different skill-sets to coordinate and integrate a range of tactics, in a way that respects and encourages the autonomous decision-making of those groups. Past experience has taught us that it is unrealistic to expect hundreds of people from different parts of the country to be able to develop an effective strategy at a last-minute spokescouncil held two days before we hope to shut down an entire city center. Ideally, affinity groups across the country should know exactly what their roles will be many months in advance, so they will come mentally, physically, and tactically prepared to fulfill them.
Although a strategy must be publicly determined and widely known, tactically, individuals and groups of friends decide what roles they will play within it, and only they need to know the specifics of what they take on.
Here we present summaries of some of the presentations and discussions that took place, along with two of the strategy proposals that came out of the consulta. These are the result of our discussions and info-sharing, as well as contact with local organizers in Denver and the Twin Cities. They by no means represent all of the discussions that went on at the consulta or all of the wishes of those who participated; that would take a much more detailed report. This is meant to open further dialogue, not to be the last word on the matter. It is our hope that others will develop their own amendments and counter-proposals and bring them to the pRe-NC in Minneapolis this September, where a final strategy can be consensed upon and made available across the country. Even then, such a strategy is not binding upon anyone, of course—it simply offers an opportunity for people to plug into something bigger than themselves.
Goals for the Protests
distilled from brainstorming early in the consulta
To be inspirational, energizing, inclusive, and relevant to everyday life
To remind people of the government’s failures and manifest a viable alternative to the two-party system
To organize actions with a clear message, that are self-replicating—i.e., that offer a model that can be repeated in other contexts
To create sustainable structures and momentum that continue beyond the protests
To shut down the cities, delay and disrupt the conventions and media coverage To deter cities from wanting to host the conventions in the future
To respect and work with local people and movements on their issues and concern
To support community projects and local organizations in the host cities
To provide awesome medical and legal care for everyone involved
To focus on the themes of “No War, No Warming” and “No Borders”
To offer space for a range of tactics to provide opportunities for all varieties of activists
To use the media to our advantage
From August 25th through 28th, the Democratic National Convention will take place in Denver, CO. Currently, the city of Denver is planning on spending $50 million just on security. The convention will be happening at the Pepsi Center, and the nearby Auraria Campus has been rented out in its entirety—presumably for large events and to house some of the delegates. However, the fancy hotels in Denver are located closer to the financial district; they include the Four Seasons, the Adams Mark, the Marriott, and the Brown Palace. For traffic to move through the city, Speer, Colfax, and Broadway are the main routes through the city center, as well as access to I-25. As of now, all of the places of note are within about a two-mile radius, unless delegates stay at even fancier hotels in the surrounding areas.
The Denver-based organization, Recreate68, has already started organizing against the DNC. They are calling for “Days of Resistance”—four days of themed protests (themes, not yet announced)—and a “Festival of Democracy”—four days of free music, food, and skill-sharing—to coincide with the convention. Although locations have not yet been decided, the Civic Center Park and the City of Cuernavaca Park are likely gathering places for rallies and demonstrations.
We talked about having a coordinated day of action, themed “Denver’s Day Off,” to shut down the city on the first day of our mobilization. This could include multiple marches (coming from the north and southeast) converging to support blockades around the Pepsi Center and the Auraria Campus. It was emphasized that the major day of direct action should be planned for the beginning of our mobilization, based on the lessons of earlier demonstrations; when direct action occurs at the beginning of a mobilization, it sets the tone for the rest of it, but when it occurs at the end, it is usually isolated and unsuccessful. Also, it is important to remember that because the DNC and the RNC are so temporally close together, that what we do at the DNC will affect the RNC.
Some further specific proposals included a big critical mass, a reclaim the streets, a march against police brutality (on account of Denver’s history of police violence), and coordinated actions targeting corporations that support or benefit from the financial infrastructure of the DNC. There was also interest in squatting actions and redistribution of resources to locals in Denver, as well as general discussion of how to establish positive connections with local communities.
The Twin Cities
From September 1st through 4th, the Republican National Convention will be hosted in St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN. It is currently estimated that 100,000 protesters will be present along with 45,000 politicians and their lackeys. RNC Welcoming Committee, a group of Twin Cities-based anarchists, has already been organizing for many months, mainly with a focus on logistics and infrastructure-building. While the primary RNC events will take place inside a perimeter fence in downtown St. Paul, 10,000 of the 45,000 delegates will be staying in Minneapolis along with the capitalist media, and the Minneapolis Convention Center has been rented out for large events. These two cities are about 12 miles apart, separated by a wide river spanned by 5 bridges and connected primarily by Interstate 94. For these and other reasons, many believe that the RNC presents strategic vulnerabilities unique to any trade summit or party convention of recent years.
Points of interest in Minneapolis include the Minneapolis Convention Center, in downtown, which will host “the delegate experience,” a week-long event; the Minneapolis Hilton, which is located just northeast of the Convention Center at 1001 Marquette St. and will be the headquarters of the capitalist media throughout the week; and the on/off ramps of I-94, located just southeast of the Convention Center. This is the only nearby access to I-94, which is the primary route delegates are likely to take back and forth between St. Paul and Minneapolis. There are five bridges between the Twin Cities that delegates might use, the main being Cappelan Memorial Bridge, on which I-94 runs.
Because we currently know very little about “the delegate experience” or other events in Minneapolis, our strategy discussions centered mainly around possible blockade sites between the cities such as these bridges, I-94 on- and off-ramps (which are narrower), and key intersections surrounding the main RNC site in downtown St. Paul. That site is the Excel Energy Center, which, along with the Saint Paul Hotel, will be surrounded by an unknown length of security fence. Projected perimeter fence scenarios can be found on the RNC Welcoming Committee’s website, but in no projected case will the fence contain the key intersections on Kellogg Blvd. and University Ave., the two downtown I-94 off- and on-ramps, or the large 8 by 8 block financial district to the East, adjacent to the Saint Paul Hotel. We also know that a local anti-war group is planning a permitted march on Sept. 1st and RNC Welcoming Committee folks are communicating with them.
Our strategy for the Twin Cities involves multiple, simultaneous actions on the first day. This could mean 20-30 blockades on key intersections around downtown St. Paul, with a special focus on the narrow on and off ramps of I-94; these could be organized according to a variety of tactics and preferred levels of confrontation. Further blockades could occur simultaneously at key locations on routes between the two cities. Finally, a large critical mass bike ride could descend from Minneapolis to St. Paul on I-94, just in time for rush hour traffic. This strategy was popular because it is simple and easy to comprehend, deals with one of the major problems of past mass mobilizations (where consecutive rather than simultaneous actions proved easy for police to isolate, disperse, or prevent), and provides opportunities for a wide range of people with different approaches and different levels of tactical experience to work together. In our discussions we thought it might make sense for militants to be concentrated in the tighter areas of downtown St. Paul, while civil disobedience such as lock-downs could be used to block wider routes in between the cities. However, this strategy is not dependent on such a situation, and allows for affinity groups to decide autonomously how best to blockade their specific targets.
We also discussed the possibility of a direct approach to the security fence, deciding that approaching from the East would make the most sense given that the Saint Paul Hotel borders the fence on that side, and that would allow for a march through the financial district. Also discussed but not factored into a formal proposal was a night-time “anti-ball.” One final note: we did not name many specific locations for blockades—not because they do not exist, but because until other strategy proposals emerge and more outreach is done we want this proposal to remain flexible and open.
Along with discussing strategy ideas for the conventions, we also started forming groups to research the infrastructure of the conventions, to develop internet communication, to write and compile resources for a multi-media DNC/RNC 2008 workshops kit, to publish propaganda, and to create educational and inspirational travelling roadshows to prepare folks for the conventions.
The carolinas consulta was organized in part to encourage other regions to do the same, because we believe that the process by which we coordinate strategy proposals and organizing can result in anarchist networks and infrastructure that will last long after the Democratic and Republican Parties are dead and gone. These networks and infrastructure are at least as important as shutting down the conventions. To that end, we encourage others to organize consultas in their regions, to publish and distribute materials about the conventions, and to initiate dialogues with other groups and individuals.
What’s next? Once the strategy discussions have reached a certain point, it will be time for smaller groups to think tactically—to figure out what they are capable of and interested in doing. It will also be important to put on direct action trainings, medic trainings, and legal workshops, and to produce outreach materials. Finally, fundraising will be important: for local organizing groups and legal funds, for transportation costs, and for expenses such as maintaining convergence centers in the host cities.
firstname.lastname@example.org (website soon to come)
You can write to us and we will send you packages of propaganda and maps and posters to help in local organizing and strategy discussions!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
The Battle of Gaza: US and Israel Defeated
Holy Hezbollah... er Hamas!
The Battle of Gaza
by Mike Whitney
June 16, 2007
In less than 24 hours of fierce street-fighting, Bush’s proxy-army in Gaza was routed by armed units of Hamas. It was a stunning defeat for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and for US-Israeli policymakers who have done everything in their power to overturn the "free and fair" election of the Hamas government.
The perception of US invincibility has been shattered. America’s moral authority is in ruins. We are neither feared nor respected; that is the unfortunate legacy of Abu Ghraib and Falluja. But what is bad news for us may be good news for the people in the Middle East. It’s now possible to imagine a New Middle East where fundamental change is possible. As resistance continues to swell from a trickle to a stream---we can envision "regime change" sweeping through the region from Riyadh, to Amman to Cairo---an entirely new world shaking off its colonial past.
The forces that Bush has put in motion will inexorably lead to the decline of "superpower rule" and the dismantling of the US imperium. The transition is already visible. The battle of Gaza is just a macrocosm of a much larger phenomenon which now extends from Mogadishu to Kabul.
Change is coming, but it might not be to Bush’s liking. That’s the real lesson of what happened in Gaza.
Racist New Orleans Cop Turns Gun on Self
Officer charged in taped beating apparently kills himself
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- A former New Orleans police officer charged in the videotaped beating of a man after Hurricane Katrina apparently shot himself to death about a month before his trial, authorities said Monday.Read the rest...
The body of Lance Schilling, 30, was found Sunday in a suburban Metairie home. An autopsy showed he died of a gunshot wound to the roof of the mouth, Jefferson Parish coroner's office said.
Schilling and another former officer were accused of beating Robert Davis, 64, a retired school teacher who had returned to New Orleans to check on his property several weeks after the storm.
An Associated Press Television News team recorded Davis being kneed and struck at least four times on the head by two police officers the night of October 8, 2005.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Owl Cam: Five AM Flight Lessons With Mom
Mother owl (she has the longer tail feathers) discusses flying with her offspring at five this morning. It's fledge week around the nest box.
Labels: Valmont Owl
Friday, June 15, 2007
Clearing Up The Lies and Distortions About Andrea Dworkin
Via Dead Men Don't Rape - (damn, what a fabulous blog title!)
Over Her Dead Body:
How Ariel Levy Smears the Ashes of Andrea Dworkin
by Julian Real
When Intercourse was first published in 1987 it was met with both stunned silence and a stunning level of virulent misogyny, aimed squarely at Andrea, rarely noting or dealing with anything substantial from the text itself. It, like Andrea, was ridiculed in the press and rejected in powerful social circles as preposterous. This substantial portion of the propatriarchal public seemed to be utterly incapable of dealing with either the person or her writings as they were. Stereotypes were proliferated discrediting Dworkin, her analysis, and the insights she brought to her thorough examination of, and challenges to, mainstream sexual politics.
Regarding Intercourse specifically, The New York Times in particular, but not alone, "didn't get it." Their review was both silly and stupid. The unkind press and other public portrayals of her said much more about the "portrait artists" than they did about her. Andrea was a profoundly compassionate person who cared deeply about the possibility, as untenable as it was urgent, that women could one day be free from male domination. But if you listened to printed shouts and verbal whispers--all slanderous, salacious, and slicing, you'd think Andrea was a hybridized human, comprised of parts both monstrous and psychotic. These portraits of her were surreal and I remember them well.
When the Tenth Anniversary edition of this feminist classic came out in 1997, Andrea, in a new preface, succinctly addressed the politics of the responses the book had gotten thus far. It was important to see her well-chosen words introduce her much maligned text. Too much was taken from Andrea in her life, but she had her books--she wrote them and made sure they said exactly what she wanted them to say. White male supremacist society did a lot to try and distort her and that work, but the books' content was always hers and hers alone: there were still some things to be grateful for. Her collected articles, essays, and transcribed speeches, as well as the longer theoretical works stood strong and uncompromised against this on-going onslaught. Quotes could and would be taken out of context, of course, but no one could undo what she had written between the covers of her books, not even those who most despised her carefully reasoned and revolutionary politics. One could feel certain that, at least there, you could count on the truth being told her way.Read the rest...
Your Weekend Bitter White Whine: Separatist graduations proliferate at UCLA.
Separatist graduations proliferate at UCLA
But the core reason for separatist graduations is the obvious one: on campus, assimilation is a hostile force, the domestic version of American imperialism. On many campuses, identity-group training begins with separate freshman orientation programs for nonwhites, who arrive earlier and are encouraged to bond before the first Caucasian freshmen arrive. Some schools have separate orientations for gays as well. Administrations tend to foster separatism by arguing that bias is everywhere, justifying double standards that favor identity groups.
Labels: White Supremacy
Hamas Regains Gaza
Hamas militants sit as they pose in the passport processing area of the terminal at the Rafah Border Crossing which is now controlled by Hamas militants, near Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, June 15, 2007. On its first day of full rule in Gaza, the Islamic militant Hamas on Friday granted amnesty to Fatah leaders, signaling that it seeks conciliation with the defeated forces of moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (AP Photo/ Eyad Albaba)
A Hamas fighter speaks on the phone as he sits inside the personal meeting hall of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after they captured his headquarters in Gaza June 15, 2007. Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led Palestinian government and declared a state of emergency as the Islamist group's gunmen routed his last forces in Gaza and seized effective control. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)Write your own caption:
Friday Song: Alan Rickman Scandalous
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Aurora Day Laborers need YOUR help!
Volunteer to Cop Watch and support these day labors between the hours of 6:00 AM & 9:00 AM starting, Tomorrow ~ Friday, June 15th and ending Next Week. You can make a difference in the lives of these day laborers!
To volunteer for tomorrow or Next Week, please email or call Harold Lasso at
hlasso@centrohumani tario.org or
Near the intersection of
& Colfax, day laborers have recently encountered hostile neighbors and police, although they've been soliciting work on this corner of private (supportive) property for over two years. Harold Lasso, who has taken a leadership role in advocating for the workers, believes the presence of volunteers like YOU, may deter the Racial Profiling by the police or a possible ICE raid and protect the right to work for these day laborers.
Weather Gone Wild and Oil Just Gone
File Photo: Denver Winter 2006
Peak Oil is here, according to this latest report, and it looks like yet another useless civilization will soon bite the dust. Time to go find the Firemakers, and anyone who remembers the Old Ways of your ancestors.
World oil supplies are set to run out faster than expected, warn scientists
In recent years the once-considerable gap between demand and supply has narrowed. Last year that gap all but disappeared. The consequences of a shortfall would be immense. If consumption begins to exceed production by even the smallest amount, the price of oil could soar above $100 a barrel. A global recession would follow.Read the rest...
Jeremy Leggett, like Dr Campbell, is a geologist-turned conservationist whose book Half Gone: Oil, Gas, Hot Air and the Global Energy Crisis brought " peak oil" theory to a wider audience. He compares industry and government reluctance to face up to the impending end of oil, to climate change denial.
"It reminds me of the way no one would listen for years to scientists warning about global warming," he says. "We were predicting things pretty much exactly as they have played out. Then as now we were wondering what it would take to get people to listen."
In 1999, Britain's oil reserves in the North Sea peaked, but for two years after this became apparent, Mr Leggett claims, it was heresy for anyone in official circles to say so. "Not meeting demand is not an option. In fact, it is an act of treason," he says.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tir Gan Teanga, Tir Gan Anam
The inscriptions read "Speak whatever Irish you have" and "Better broken Irish than clever English."
Busy Weekend For Irish Language Activists
It was a busy weekend for Irish language activists in Belfast as a number of actions took place around Saturday's march to demand and Irish Language Act for the Six Counties.Below is a video of the Black Mountain bannering. The song, Óró, sé do bheatha 'bhaile, is sung by Sinead O'Connor. Gaeilge with English translation here. The song celebrates Grainne Ni Maille, the pirate queen and anti-imperialist rebel, whose return with exiled Gaels in the Diaspora heralds the liberation of Eire. A woman leading her warriors into battle to rout the occupiers of Ireland is the song's theme.
On Thursday a large portion of the wall on the Whiterock Road was taken over and long sections covered by Irish language proverbs and slogans and an advertisement for the rally.
This was followed on Friday evening as a group of language activists took to the Black Mountain to leave a message in support of the Irish Language Act, a message that would be visible to a large part of the city.
Saturday was the rally in support of the Act with thousands, both young and old, native Irish speakers, learners and supporters, taking to the streets for a rally from Cúlturlann Mc Adam Ó Fiaich on the Falls Road into Belfast city centre and Writers' Square. The very colourful and festive rally was attended by around 3,000 people.
So Irish speakers have made their voices clear - they want a comprehensive, rights-based Irish Language Act. All that remains now is the response of Edwin Poots, the Assembly's Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Amerikan "Lionesses" Commit War Crimes In Iraq
Occupation forces abandon Rutbah Base
Roads to IraqA google search for further confirmation returned this story filed from Ar Rutbah just the day before the forced retreat:
June 10, 2007
Reported right now from Anbar province:
Occupation forces abandon Rutbah (H3) military base and Iraqi resistance are attacking the retreated forces with mortars, two Hamvees were hit in the street leading to Rutbah bank, no more details.
Desert Lioness on bomb hunt
BY STEPHANIE GASKELL
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
Saturday, June 9th 2007, 8:20 PM
RUTBAH, Iraq - In a land where Islam forbids men from searching women, it takes a "lioness" to make sure suspicious females aren't hiding bombs beneath their burqas.
Enter 1st Lt. Kelly Hoag, a tough 25-year-old from Westchester, who is the commanding officer of the Marines' Lioness unit - a team of six women who are trained to search Iraqi women.
"The females appreciate us being here," said Hoag as she completed a 30-day tour in this small town near the Jordanian border in Anbar province. "The Lioness Marines are very respectful. We do our searches discreetly, so the men cannot watch."
What Hoag's team does has never been more crucial.
Just last week, three Iraqi policemen were injured when they opened fire on a woman walking toward a Baghdad recruitment station and the explosives concealed under her traditional Islamic garb went off.
Before that, Hoag's team foiled a plot by three women to walk into town wearing suicide bombs beneath their gowns and blow themselves up.
"When we heard this, we searched every single female in town," she said. "It must have worked, because there was no explosion. They must have known we were there. Word gets around fast."
The presence of "lionesses" has also made Iraqi insurgents think twice about dressing in drag to get past checkpoints.
"Just us being there is a deterrent," said Hoag, of Hartsdale. "They know now that women are going to be searched."
Before Hoag's team got the call, the U.S. military often left the searching of women to Iraqi soldiers, who were supposed to be more sensitive.
But according to Hoag, "when male Iraqis used to search them, there have been instances where the women have been taken advantage of."
So when the female Marines took over at the checkpoints, Iraqi soldiers were not thrilled to see them, Hoag said.
"Initially, the Iraqi men were caught off guard," she said. "Now they accept us and treat us with respect."
Hoag didn't plan to be a soldier. She was contemplating becoming a veterinarian or a lawyer when she turned on the television on Sept. 11, 2001, and saw the hijacked planes crash into the twin towers.
"As soon as I turned the television on that day, I said 'I'm joining the military and I'm going to war,'" said Hoag, who was born in Manhattan and raised on Staten Island until she was 8 years old, when her family moved to Hartsdale. She graduated from Edgemont High School in Scarsdale.
This is her second deployment to Iraq. The first was from fall 2005 to spring 2006, where she worked as a watch officer, coordinating the convoys coming in and out of the base.
Her second deployment began in February at nearby Al Taqaddum Airbase, where she works in logistical operations when she is not doing 30-day rotations with the Lioness team. That's what she says she really came here for, to directly help the Iraqi people.
"It took me six years but I finally got to do my part in this war," she said. "My goal that morning when I turned on the television was to get to the front line. Now I'm here."
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Do Women of Color Matter To Denver Activists?
In little more than a year from now, an enormous spotlight will be put on Denver organizers during the DNC. What will the face of the struggle here look like? Will all our efforts at multicultural alliance-making still foreground only white/male faces?
Don't we want something more than chest-beater, dick-dick contests that are only about men proving to other men that they are not women?
men of color, sexuality, liberation, female autonomy
...Read the rest...
First, to be brutalized is a very real thing. Not one woman of color denies that women in her particular community have been brutalized. But to use one part of our history as proof of the inherent evil of the white race does little more than position us as a tool to use in YOUR (i.e. MALE) battle against white structures of power. We are only good for the movement as long as we are submissively down cast, our fierce angry hearts silenced and cold in the name of liberation.
It also positions us as the eternal victims–the ones that can not fight shoulder to shoulder because we are “weak.” The fact that we could be brutalized in the manner we were proves it, right? Only weak people are raped–forced down on to their hands and knees, forced to accept physical penetration. And that is NOT what a man is, right? “Manly” violence is being arrested unjustly by the cops, being beaten, being shot in the streets, dying like a hero, pretending that a tragedy is a bit more bearable because a brother died like a warrior, on his feet and fighting.
Except, my brothers, we know you and your history as much as you know ours.
We know the little boy that was raped by priests until he killed himself with alcohol or drugs. We know the little boy that had his penis cut off because he whistled at a white woman. We know his father who had his own genitals ripped off and shoved in his mouth right before he was set on fire. We know how your (not work safe)painful history is appropriated (just like ours) by people that would do you harm and revel in it.
We know this about you, because we were there also being violated, also being terrorized, also forced to watch while you writhed, listen while you screamed. We also had to find ways to not fall apart when white mistresses took you for the night, and we cringe from the same embarrassment when our sexuality is used to animalize us.
We know this about you–and yet, how often do we all talk about it? How often do you lead discussions on it? How often do you lead the warrior chant at rallies “NO MORE RAPE”, scream about the evils of the rapist white man that sexually manipulated your brother?
We all know the answer to that.
And why don’t you all position yourselves as the sexualized victim of white men? Is it because you do not want to be defined by your violation? Is it because you don’t want to use the pain of your brother to make a political point? Is it because you don’t want to be a victim, like a woman?
Why do you think we want to be defined by ours? Why do you think it’s ok to make a political point with our pain? And why don’t you want to be like a woman? Is there something wrong with women?...
By this time in the game, all of us know that “no means no.” We all know rape is wrong, we all know that hitting a woman is wrong–and yet even so– Men control the women in their communities in ways that are much subtler than rape–they may speak out aggressively against rape, but they also never seem to notice much that not one of the various organizations they have organized with has ever supported or stood in solidarity with lesbians of color. They may not have even noticed that there has never been an out lesbian at any of the protests/meetings/get togethers they’ve participated in.
They may stand in solidarity with all women of color who have been raped by white men, but they never seem to quite notice that women don’t stop being raped after “rape awareness week” is over. And they never seem to realize how “rape’ is consistently redefined to mean different things– if it’s done through emotional pressure (you won’t be a “real” chicana/native american/chinese woman/indian etc unless you do me) rather than physical violence, it’s not “rape”.
And they never seem to notice that all of their organizing centers race–a word that consistently defaults to “male.” Because when Tookie Williams is on death row or another man has been shot in the streets it’s always very clear the violence men experience promotes a sense of urgency, the violence women experience, it’s not as brutal, it’s not as intense, it’s not as in your face–it’s not as important.
The silence of women of color in “race based organizing” does not mean every thing’s ok–it means that we are shut up, hidden away, shoved into a corner, mocked into silence–it means that there are things we know better than to talk about in your presence.
Is that Ok? That half the population monitors itself and checks itself in your presence?
At the same time, it’s not like feminists of color have never spoken out either–we have and we do. It was other native women that buried Ana Mae, working together to dig the hole and perform the ceremony. Even as the men of AIM did what they could to distance themselves from Ana, most not even attending her funeral.
Could women’s voices ring any louder?
On The Way To The Grocery Store
Labels: My Photos
Friday, June 08, 2007
Pornhead Preacher Dead. Heroic Wife Will Serve Only Months
Good shooting, Mary! Porn is rape, and now there is one less Church of Christ, woman hating fucker walking this earth, I say. The dead preacher's creepy, dick-centric cult does not allow women to pray out loud if a man is present and forbids them to speak in church. He deserved far worse, ma'am, than an ass full of buckshot. See ya in two!
Tenn. wife sentenced in preacher's death
By WOODY BAIRD, Associated Press WriterRead the rest...
SELMER, Tenn. - A woman who killed her preacher husband with a shotgun blast to the back as he lay in bed was sentenced Friday to three years in prison, but with time served could be released on probation in a little more than two months.
Mary Winkler must serve at least 210 days of her sentence but gets credit for the 143 days she has already spent in jail, Judge Weber McCraw said.
That leaves 67 days, and McCraw said up to 60 days of the sentence could be served in a facility where she could receive mental health treatment. That means Winkler might spend only another week in jail.
Prosecutors had pursued a murder charge against Winkler, 33, but jurors convicted her of the lesser count of voluntary manslaughter in April.
Prosecutors sought the maximum sentence for the death of Matthew Winkler, 31, a popular preacher at the Fourth Street Church of Christ in the small west Tennessee town of Selmer. Prosecutor Walt Freeland described him as a good father and a man who trusted his wife.
Freeland said that just before the fatal shooting bank managers were closing in on a check-kiting scheme that Mary Winkler wanted to conceal from her husband. Prosecutors claimed she had become caught up in a swindle known as the "Nigerian scam," which promises riches to victims who send money to cover the processing expenses.
Winkler, however, testified during her trial that her husband hit and kicked her, forced her to look at pornography and demanded sex she considered unnatural. Jurors were shown a pair of tall, platform shoes and a black wig Winkler said she was pressured to wear during sex.
Do You Believe Baby Owls Can Fly?
No hand-clapping necessary. THEY believe they can fly.
Esperanza and Un-named Owl B have taken to walking on the edge of their nest box lately. Prepare yourselves for empty-nest syndrome any day now. The babies should be fully fledged by the third week in June.
Oh, go on. Clap your hands anyway. Sometimes the sensitive one doubts s/he can really do it.
Owl Cam Link
Labels: Valmont Owl
Friday Song: The Thrill Is Gone
Labels: My Playlist
Now That's Style, Baby
Oh, Gorgeous. You can be my handsome prince just like you are.
Purple frog among 24 new species found in Suriname
Mon Jun 4, 2007 5:01PM EDTRead the rest...
By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A purple fluorescent frog is one of 24 new species found in the South American highlands of Suriname, conservationists reported on Monday, warning that these creatures are threatened by illegal gold mining.
The discovery of so many species outside the insect realm is extraordinary and points up the need to survey distant regions, said Leeanne Alonso of Conservation International, which led the expedition that found the new species.
"When you go to these places that are so unexplored and so remote, we do tend to find new species ... but most of them are insects," Alonso said by telephone from Suriname's capital, Paramaribo. "What's really exciting here is we found a lot of new species of frogs and fish as well."
The two-tone frog -- whose skin is covered with irregular fluorescent lavender loops on a background of aubergine -- was discovered in 2006 as part of a survey of Suriname's Nassau plateau, the conservation group said.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Denver City Council Gives Green Light to DNC State Violence
Thank you, fascist sirs. Images of razor wired "free speech" zones and rioting pigs beating citizens bloody make great photos to send to people around the world to show them what a freedom-loving democracy Amerika is!
Oh, the lawsuits are going to tie up the Denver courts for years. It's so on!
Council yanks measure on convention protests
By George Merritt and Chuck Plunkett
Denver Post Staff Writers
Article Last Updated: 06/06/2007 05:03:53 PM MDT
The Denver City Council today pulled a proclamation recognizing the rights of protesters at next year's Democratic National Convention because it would not have passed.
The proclamation received attention because it was written by Re-create '68 - a group of demonstrators whose website proclaims that it plans to make the violence-marred Democratic convention of 1968 "look like a small get-together in 2008!"
City Council President Michael Hancock said today that the measure "did not have the votes to pass.
"I would have voted no against it," he said. "I think to vote 'no' would have given our police and those who are working hard on the convention a vote of confidence that we are prepared to do the right thing."
Councilwoman Kathleen McKenzie had proposed the ordinance.
"I think some of the council members are getting cold feet," said MacKenzie, who said she continues to hope that the City Council can offer a chance for public discussion and leadership for how the expected protests should be handled.
"I think how Denver handles it, how we look to the rest of the world, will matter," she said.
Councilman Charlie Brown opposed the proclamation, saying it sent an insulting message to Denver police.
Instead of telling police how to do their job, he said, the city should send a clear message to protesters: "If you want to come to this town, you have to follow our rules."
"This Is Not a Civil War. It Is a Prison Riot"
'This is not a civil war. It is a prison riot'
Like mice in a laboratory, the people of Gaza
squabble, looking for ways out
SAMAH SABAWI June 4, 2007
The conflict started as a power struggle between Hamas
and Fatah - with Fatah being under immense pressure
from the United States and Israel to strip Hamas of
its power. But Palestinians also know that now the
fighting has gotten out of hand. Neither Hamas nor
Fatah has much success maintaining any ceasefire as
frustrated youths, born in the Gaza pressure-cooker
with no future prospects and no hope in sight, take
over the streets. My cousin described it best: "This
is not a civil war. It is a prison riot."
This "prison riot" was inevitable. After Hamas's
victory in the Palestinian elections early last year,
Israel and the international community starved and
imprisoned the 1.4 million Palestinians living inside
Gaza in hope that they would overthrow an increasingly
helpless and besieged Hamas government. It was a cruel
act that meant collectively punishing an occupied
people by attaching strings to badly needed aid.
In the ensuing months, Palestinians found themselves
in a unique situation. They were sealed off from the
rest of the world, faced shortages of food, water and
medicine, suffered high unemployment rates and lived
in conditions not fit for animals. The only form of an
income for many of Gaza's youths was to join one
militia or another. The more powerless the government
became, the more powerful the militias got. Those who
did not join a militia had to be in the protection of
one. Many in Gaza began to wonder why at a time when
basic painkillers were not getting through the Israeli
controlled borders, so many guns became available.
More and more Palestinian intellectuals began to refer
to this as the "Gaza Experiment." Like mice in a
laboratory, Gazans squabbled, looking for ways out.
Every day, the pressure rose, the need to feed the
family became more immediate and the sick began to
die. While my mother-in-law was forced to endure the
horrific pain of arthritis without treatment for many
months, she still was thankful that her fate is better
than that of others. My sister-in-law, a physician at
the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, told me several
months ago that a badly needed shipment of medication
for cancer patients was held up for weeks at the Gaza
gates. By the time it was finally allowed through, 35
high-risk cancer patients at the hospital had died.
The story of the children in Gaza is even more
heartbreaking. Many of them no longer find a reason to
attend school and have turned to the streets for
money. Some sell cigarettes or gum, and others steal
for their daily bread. Israeli sonic booms in Gaza's
sky have always thrown fear into their hearts - a
reminder of who has the power and who does not - but,
lately, the booms have come from a return of Israeli
My young cousins in Gaza may not know how to read, but
they know the different warplanes and what they are
capable of doing. They brag that they are able to
recognize a rifle by the sound of its shots.
So while the world looks with indignation at the
situation in Gaza, let us not exonerate ourselves from
the events that are unfolding. We can't forget there
are human beings living in that highly politicized
strip of land. We have turned our eyes away from their
miserable reality. While boycotting a government
because of its political positions is legitimate, it
is immoral to put conditions on aid needed to save
lives. It is also immoral to deliberately sow the
seeds of violence and to interfere with a genuine
And it is equally immoral to turn our attention away
from the fact that 40 years later, the people of Gaza
and the West Bank have still not been freed from their
giant prison cell.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Iraq Anti-War Vets Stage Baghdad Martial Law Reenactment
This report was filed by Christina Gonzalez, the Fox News reporter who was attacked by LAPD pigs during an immigration rally on May 1.
Iraq Veterans Against the War members reenact scenes from their service in Iraq on the streets of Santa Monica to protest the ongoing occupation.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Thought For the Day