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I understand why people are driven to firebomb new SUV's on sales lots, I am not clear why people are driven to buy and drive them though. The pure gluttony of the American lifestyle is assaulting to people who care about the earth and its living things. Driving around, one driver, one car, in gas-guzzling, class-insulated, oblivion, is not innocuous, or even innocent, at this point in the game. And firebombing SUV's is not innocent behavior either. I am sure when people do things like firebomb SUV's, they do it with some understanding of the risk involved and realize if caught, they will be punished. I think all that is a given. So when I see a story like Jeff "Free" Luers' (www.freefreenow.org), it saddens me that our government is so lagging behind in so many areas, and they all culminate at the epicenter of Jeff's sentencing. Yes, he admits he firebombed three SUV's on a sales lot in Eugene, Or., when he was 22 years old. The estimated damages were $40,000. And yes, he admits he did it for political reasons. So that leaves us at the part that is the reconciliation with society for that political statement, and property damage, and that is where everything fell apart in Jeff's case, in my opinion.
This is not like the case of activist/musician Darryl Cherney, where the FBI and Oakland Police accused him and Judy Bari of car-bombing themselves in some bizarre anti-environmentalist scheme the FBI dreamed up (in the end, Darryl's case was awarded $4.4 million in damages). Jeff's case is instead one of an admitted action, for a stated environmental reason, "to bring attention to global warming and the environmental crisis facing the world," which is a coherent political statement, which is why he chose SUV's as a logical target. An under-funded, poorly-run "justice" system, a McCarthyistic hysteria over "anarchism" in Eugene, Or. (of all places!), a new precedent of preemptive strike sentencing, fumbling "intelligence" agencies, and courts with outright political prejudice, have all taken a huge chunk of a politically-conscious, intelligent, kind soul's life. Jeff "Free" was sentenced to 22 years in an Oregon prison, in June 2001, for firebombing three SUV's, arson, amidst a slew of other charges revolving around that incident. The issue is not whether he should be punished, the issue is what is a reasonable punishment, and what is an excessive punishment? The sentencing of Jeff "Free" Luers can only be seen as Draconian. [ read the full article... ]
In Guadalajara, Mexico, violent repression and torture is occurring during protests of the meeting of Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union May 26-29th.Over 100 activists and bystanders have disappeared. Protesters are being held in 5 different jails and 2 different hospitals and the authorities have refused to release their names. Witnesses in the jails have reported torture inside the jail. Women have been forced to strip naked, and men have been brutally beaten while handcuffed on the ground.
Given that the President has held a record low for press conferences during his administration, the news that an impromptu question and answer period revolving around the announcement of a new Iraqi leader would occur this morning was greeted with hope by the myriad of reporters assembling at the White House.
The disappointing performance that followed left many, I am sure, feeling, "why did he bother?"
Technically speaking, the event was frustrating for viewers. The only live mike appeared to be on the podium and so questions asked by reporters were nearly inaudible. And since the President's reponses to all questions were practically interchangeable, it would have helped if either an aide or Mr. Bush himself had rephrased the questions before "answering" them.
At the First Unitarian Church, on May 15th, 2004 two speakers addressed the issue of nuclear weapons. The first to speak was Jonathan Schell, Professor at Wesleyan University and Peace Fellow at the Nation Institute. Schell, author of numerous books, including "The Fate of the Earth" and most recently, "The Unconquerable World - Power, Nonviolence and the Will of the People," is currently director of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute, an organization founded by Helen Caldicott, who was the second speaker at this lecture.
After introductions by a member of the Women In League For Peace and Freedom , we first heard some remarks by a veteran who served in the first Gulf War: "...it doesn't matter how justified a war might be, it doesn't matter what the politicians say or that they think this is the right thing to do. No matter how justified a war might be it is always an atrocity. And so the work I am doing with Jonathan, Helen and others is dealing witht he ultimate atrocity, which is nuclear war. And that's why we brought them here tonight, to talk about what could happen; both the horror of what could happen, but also the hope of what we can do to prevent it from happening."
I found this to be an extremely illuminating presentation. This synopsis barely outlines the depth and range of his remarks, and only covers less than the first half of his lecture, which is about 25 minutes in length. Well worth the listen! This entire audio file, is about 30 minutes in length. Hopefully in the near future I can post the talk by Helen Caldicott, whose presentation was less scholarly and more spontaneous. Hers was much longer, about 45 minutes. Eventually these lectures will be aired on Community Television stations in the Portland area. For schedules of this and other programs, check out Community T.V. Schedules
Here are some photos from VBC4. I spent the week visiting different building sites and saw some amazing and beautiful work. VBC is an annual event in Portland that demonstrates and showcases alternative building techniques that are intended to make better community spaces. This year's VBC is over now, but planning for next year's will begin at a meeting at People's Co-op on June 10th, at 6pm.
I just learned that the money budgeted for housing by the city will probably be cut due to a wages dispute with the police, and the final county budget hearing is on Tuesday. I've pasted in details from housing organizations and I hope you will consider taking action.
ADVOCACY IS NEEDED AT BOTH CITY AND COUNTY LEVELS!
The final County budget hearing is:
Because the Regional Forester in Portland, Linda Goodman, authorized the Monument timber sale as an 'emergency' under 'Healthy Forests Initiative,' it was being cut despite ongoing efforts to stop this illegal logging in court. Looks like vandals had to step in to put a 'people's injunction' on the logging for a couple of weeks. These are not 'terrorists' as the ignorant 'Undersheriff' claims below, they are at worst vandals, at best - heroes. DR Johnson would have likely kept cutting through the Memorial Day weekend in their malicious race to get the old growth trees on the ground before the courts stop them.
In May 1997, one individual, Rick Bogle, began a seven month tour of the seven regional primate research centers in the United States. This sparked a national caravan tour against primate experimentation in the summer of 1999 that stopped at over 20 primate research facilities.
Jeremy Beckham started the 2005 Primate Freedom *Pre-tour* road trip Thursday, May 20, 2004, from the Washington National Primate Research Center in Seattle, WA. Today, Saturday, May 29th was the first day at the Oregon National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro, Oregon. Local activists turned out in support of what will be a week-long (May 28-June 3) visibility and education outreach in front of the Primate Center.
The 2005 Primate Freedom Tour's purpose is to educate the public about primate experimentation and to speak out against its existence. Activists will tour the country in buses, stopping at the nation's largest primate labs to demonstrate the seriousness of the issue and their moral resolve through rallies, marches, protests, and vigils. Basic rights for primates can also serve as a model for helping other oppressed beings. Demanding protection for those who demonstrate characteristics we generally deem morally significant is the best place to start in tearing down the artificial species barrier.
Anti-Globalization protestors clashed with police yesterday in the Mexican City of Guadalajara. The violent police repression occured at the end of a trade summit between representatives of the European Union and Mexico.
According to an announcement from the Libertarian Commune of Guadalajara, posted on the Mexico IMC, the protests were planned as a response to the imperialist ambitions of the delegates to the trade summit. The demonstrators were protesting what they see as a small group of capitatalists and neoliberals attempting to decide the economic and social fate of an entire region of the world. In the eyes of the protestors, the summit was planned as a vehicle for the imposition of free market ideology on the communities of Mexico, for the benefit of trade relation with the EU, with no regard for the adverse effects that such ideology has had on the communities of Mexico.
The main march was yesterday, May 28. According the the target="_blank">Mexico IMC there were approximately 2500 people in the March. They represented diverse groups including: Students, teachers, campesinos, union members, anarchists, sexual minorities, civil society groups, and political parties.
We Need Your Help!!! Western Shoshone Payoff Bill is on the Move Again!
We just got notification that Sen Reid's bill S.618 will be on the House Floor under Suspension on Tuesday June 1st. Current legislation before the United States Congress, entitled the Western Shoshone Distribution Bill (HR 884/S 618), is an attempt to strip away U.S. treaty obligations and Western Shoshone connections to their homeland by a mere one time payment of cents on the acre. Last week we received information that under the guise of bi-partisanship, Senator Harry Reid and Congressman Jim Gibbons are once again gearing up to force this one time payment on the Western Shoshone people for 24 million acres of land at approximately 15 cents an acre. The bill is HR 884/S 618, entitled the "Western Shoshone Claims Distribution Act".
The fear of many Western Shoshone people and the majority of Councils is that the forced distribution of these monies by Congress will be used to silence Western Shoshone concerns regarding U.S. violations of the Treaty of Ruby Valley and ongoing violations against Western Shoshone rights to property, due process and equality under the law. This push is being made at the same time that the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste repository is being pushed along and Congressman Gibbons' is sponsoring other legislation, HR 2869 and HR 2772, which would open up Shoshone lands to privatization by multinational mining companies and massive geothermal energy development with no provision for Western Shoshone interests or concerns. Additionally, in the last two weeks, Notices of Intent to Impound livestock have again been received by Western Shoshone grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann and other Western Shoshone ranchers.
A Reward in the form of a $50.00 Gift Certificate to Laughing Horse has been offered to a winning entry in the Laughing Horse & Video Collective's T-Shirt Design Contest. A local non-profit collectively-run bookstore, that has been on the search for a new T-shirt design for a short time now, announces that entries must be turned in by this week to qualify.
WHAT: Code Pink Memorial Ribbon Walk -- Remember, Mourn, Resist
WHEN: Monday, May 31st, 2:00 pm
WHERE: Gather at Waterfront Park, at the Salmon Street fountain
WHO: Code Pink and anyone interested in acknowledging those killed in the Iraq invasion
The latest Willamette Week cover story pinpoints several arguments against supporting Starbucks; however, Taylor Clark's article ignores Starbucks' forged business relationships with companies such as Kraft and the Delek Group in Israel(a company responible for oil exploration, distribution and biochemical manufacturing).
Rarely is a company ALL bad, and rarely is a company, especially an international one, without flaw. The question is not simply: Is Starbucks good or bad? A more apt question is: Does Starbucks' environmental-conscious practices in some areas of business excuse the partnerships it has forged with companies that pay low wages to workers and degrade the environment? For some consumers, the answer to this question will be yes, for others the answer will be no. The important thing to remember is that consumers have power to influence markets, but only when we possess all the facts to make well-informed decisions about where to put our dollars. By not including key information in the cover story on Starbucks (Thoroughly Starbucked March 26, 2003), Taylor Clark's article is little more than an editorial with a front-page photo. While Clark does pinpoint some important issues, the follow-through is weak and offers a false sense of Starbucks as a company.
For several weeks our caller ID had "The United States Government's" local phone number on it. It was the armed forces calling for my son. I was appalled! I could not believe the nerve of them barging into our lives with their mendacious offer to help pay for my son's education and then assist him in finding a job after school. That is the way that they slyly presented their bid for my son.
My daughter first talked with them. On the second call she asked who was calling and told them that she did not think that he would be interested. The recruiter commanded her to tell him who she was (their ordering of others never stops).
The calls came in quite regularly, several times per week, sometimes 2-3 times per day (they were zealous!) always when I was not at home. When I told my son about the phone calls, (who was not living her at the time), he just rolled his eyes and said "whatever".
Finally, one day when I was at home, the United States Government lit up on the caller ID. I was so ready to give them a peace of my mind. The (young sounding) man on the other end of the phone asked to speak with my son. I told him that he was not here and asked what he wanted with him. He asked who I was (the audacity; he's calling my home and asking me to identify myself!) I said "This is his mother", in the most indignant voice I could muster.
Dear Amy Goodman:
We, the undersigned, would like to state that the recent (5/26/04) appearance of David Ray Griffin on Democracy Now! (DN) repudiates every principle of press freedom that you claim to represent. It was a shameful betrayal to the movements opposing the Bush() Regime around the globe.
First of all, it is very revealing that you chose to have Griffin appear on your show in a hostile "debate" format. This contrasted remarkably from the easy, non-confrontational (and extended) interviews recently given to Richard Clarke, Peter Lance and Sibel Edwards. (Richard Clarke is a "defector" from the Bush Regime. Peter Lance is an author. Edwards is a "whistle-blower". All three uniquely advocate the official story of 911.) The clear implication is that DN is biased in favor of sources who advocate the official propaganda of the State.
"Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money". -- Cree Indian Proverb
Profit is the motivating force behind the mass destruction of our Mother Earth. We see her as a commodity to use as we please, with no intelligence as to the dire consequences that such shortsighted greed produces.
In protest of the corporate machine and in defense of Mother Gaia, the number of ecoactivists speaking up and acting out is on the rise. One such group, Greenpeace, founded in 1971 with the mission to bear witness to the destruction of nuclear weapons, has grown to be the largest environmental movement in the world; 2.5 million members (worldwide) strong...
he latest in Greenpeace's victories in a case "Bush vs. Greenpeace", is their triumph over their right to engage in civil disobedience in protest against environmental abuses. Bush and Ashcroft tried stifling the voice of Greenpeace by using an archaic law to shut the organization down. It was overruled and thrown out as unconstitutional.
Please help get information out to folks arrested in the afternoon of Dec 1 1999 at 1st & Broad during the WTO protests in Seattle. As the attorneys explain below, the judge agreed to the settlement so now people must TURN IN THEIR PAPERWORK BY JUNE 22nd to be included in the class and receive the $$ they are due. It's no longer just a possibility, this is happening and the time frame is short so please help now.
Judge Pechman also recently ordered the City to seal the arrest records for all of those arrested at First and Broad, and furthermore to remove all records of the arrests from the databases it uses to give information to outside agencies. This should help considerably in clearing the records of those who were arrested at First and Broad, although even after the City cleans its databases, there may be some residual effect in national databases that have the old information. We had requested that the court order the City to inform any such databases, but the order did not go that far. For those arrested inside the city's no-protest zone, not at First and Broad, we continue to await the decision of the Ninth Circuit.
No "specific information" . . . the "credible sources" are unidentified, and since there's nothing specific to stew about there will be no change in the color alert system. But administration officials have said "they are going to extraordinary lengths to secure upcoming events." In the meantime, what is the American public to do? The days of duct tape have apparently passed, but Tom Ridge is recommending only two things:
1) Ridge gave the following advice on CBS's "Early Show": "We need Americans to just go about living their lives and enjoying living in this country." "America's job is to enjoy living in this great country and go out and have some fun," he said on CNN.
To the best of my memory, these are the listed "suspicious things" citizens should watch for in order to identify terrorists:
Yesterday (May 26) housing advocates held a short and sweet rally outside of the Housing and Urban Development office in downtown Portland. They were protesting budget cuts being made in the national Section 8 low income housing voucher program. If the cuts take effect, they could result in 250,000 families being booted from the program by 2005, including 3,837 families here in Oregon.
Raising your own food has many advantages. Rising gas prices are driving up the cost of food in the markets. The insidious spread of genetic engineering is reducing the safety of that food. The industrialization of agriculture funnels increasing amounts of money into corporate hands, rather than to farmers. These are economic, health-conscious, and political reasons. Less quantifiable but no less real are the emotional and spiritual rewards attained from nurturing seeds or starts into full grown plants that end up on your plate.
Urban gardening presents its own challenges - space, light, uncooperative landlords, etc. i want to share with indymedia readers a few photos and thoughts from my own attempt to grow as much food as possible on a front porch in the middle of the city.
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