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Greetings to all those who love me and to everyone that feel and practice solidarity. After a month and a half kidnapped, i think it's time to explain to all of you in a public manner how i see everything, although i have to say that there are days in which i see things in a more optimistic matter.
It seems like we are being one of the first experiments of the mossos d'esquadra and of their fight against what they call "anti-system movements, and it looks like they have their lessons well learned, since, without having any real evidence, they have managed to keep us in prison inventing and falisfying evidences.
In 1990 Dorris Haddock, affectionately known as Granny D, walked 3200 miles across the United States in her 90th year to draw attention to the need for campaign finance reform. Quoting an article about Granny D by Ralph Nader in Common Dreams, from the San Francisco Guardian:
"She called her march a "pilgrimage" for social justice and relied on strangers for food and shelter. Thousands of people have supported her, she says, a testament not only to their generosity but also to their passionate commitment to ending the corruption of our democracy by big-money interests. Along the way, Granny D has proved that one person can make a difference. Her walk has generated enormous media interest. She has appeared on NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, National Public Radio, and many other programs to issue a clarion call for reform.
Finally, her 14-month pilgrimage concluded in Washington, D.C. She began her final day's trek in Arlington National Cemetery, beginning, she said, "among the graves of Arlington - so that those spirits, some of whom may be old friends, might join us today and that we might ask of them now, 'Did you, brave spirits, give your lives for a government where we might stand together as free and equal citizens. Or did you give your lives so that laws might be sold to the highest bidder?'"
Another strange phenomena I have noticed lately is that I appear to have established some sort of 'bridge head' within the Christian church. I don't want to make to much of this. Consider the churches of the world to be Europe and Russia together. Well, based on what I have picked up on, I appear to be holding a small patch of beach along the shores of Normandy. Its not much, but its a start.
As I have considered this unusual development, I have become more and more agitated, and my agitation drives me to pick up a keyboard. It is for this reason that I write, not to report on that experiment, since that could wait for Easter, or some weeks after Easter, just depending on how it all works out, but I cannot wait that long.
The notion of direct action, while overly broad in definitions and interpretations, can be simplified to summarize one idea - effectiveness. An action is direct if it is the most effective step taken to stop an act of injustice or oppression. At times direct action may include collecting signatures on petitions, setting up an information table, talking to friends and neighbors, and voting. And at other times, direct action may mean engaging in civil disobedience, sabotage, violence and other illegal activities. Which activity and tactic chosen at a particular time and place should directly relate to that which is going to be the most effective, period. Why this incredibly simplistic idea is overlooked and rarely acted upon today in US social and political movements is not so much a mystery as it is a disgrace.
Here it is, late March of 2006. Inside the United States we have over 37 million people living under the federally established mockery of a poverty line. Millions more beyond that still cannot acquire the necessary finances to have basic needs met. Since the 1960s, we have allowed 90% of our old growth forests to be destroyed, and our water and air to be increasingly contaminated. Today, over 45 million people live without health care in the United States, including over 8.5 million children. And we continue to sit back and watch - as though it were another episode of the 5:00 news or our favorite sit-com - our pseudo-democratic political machine become further dysfunctional and unjust.
I've lived through seven decades and can remember the late 1930s before WW II began. In fact, I began my formal education in kindergarten within days of when Hitler sent his Wehrmacht across the Polish border in an act of illegal aggression and began that near six year horror. I was too young to understand it then, and I can barely remember that fateful "first Pearl Harbor" on December 7, 1941. Franklin Roosevelt wanted in on that fight and did all he could to goad the Japanese to attack us. He knew with enough prodding they would, and when it came, we knew about when and where it would happen. We were ready to mobilize and join the battle, we did it, and nothing's been the same since.
FDR at least took the country to war as the Constitution says we must. On December 11,1941 he asked the Congress to make that declaration against Japan and also Nazi Germany in response to Hitler's declaring it against us. It was the last time a US Congress would ever use the constitutional authority it alone is allowed in Article I, Section 8 of that sacred document.
I lost count on how many times I heard the developers of the Mississippi Lofts, while responding to objections and concerns voiced by Boise residents say that this development was precedent setting and that if it didn't go well - other developers would just "fly under the radar". It always sounded like a threat to me. No wonder since they also said, in response to criticism regarding the proposed height of 45 feet, "we could go 60 feet!" This is just a taste of the threats, lies, and whines we endured. Their constant reminders that they were so nice to come to Boise Neighborhood meetings on their own volition and how hurt they were by how they were treated, was the most tiresome for me. This hurt, they said, would keep them from responding, to the Boise Neighborhood Association after we voted in December 2005 to not give them a letter of support.
Several Boise residents recently sent letters to the city planner outlining their concerns and objections. I wrote a letter and a petition (a condensed version of my letter). The petition was signed by 40 residents, most of whom own property within 200 feet of the Mississippi Loft site. In spite of the rumors, running up and down Mississippi, that those of us with objections to the Lofts are just a bunch of anti-development, incompetent weirdo's we are happy to report that while some of us are certainly weird, we are neither incompetent nor anti-development and we submit:Boise Neighborhood Association Monthly Meeting receives huge turnout | Boise Neighborhood Association Monthly Community Meeting | Boise Neighbors Discuss Mississippi Lofts Project | Boise Neighbors Come Out to Discuss their Community | Boise Voice (neighborhood website)
Just a few words to let you you that we here in Los Angeles want to send a shout out to all of you up there in Portland for your beautiful action, street theater and also to support those arrested in Monday's events.
We here in L.A. can only marvel at what you accomplished and you should all be proud of you efforts which produced what we are being told is the largest march nation wide. "Mad Props" to ya!
Having been part of a small affinity group here in L.A. in which 8 of us were arrested, it was a moving and deeply profound experiance which i am certain your arrestees also felt. We were held from approx. 2:00 until alsmost 9:00 that evening with one woman held until 10:p.m.
related articles: [ War Protest Portland OR 03-19-06 | Sunshine at Last? | Citizens Demand Smith, Wyden, DeFazio Vote Against War Funding - 18 Arrested | Global Nonviolent Resistance Marks Third Anniversary ]
Joseph Wilson spoke about his personal story, the administration and the Iraq War at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia last night. Wilson was a career Foreign Service Officer, chargé d'affaires in Baghdad, Iraq during the Gulf War, and Ambassador to Gabon. He helped get Americans out of Baghdad just before the Gulf war started and President George Sr. acknowledged Wilson as "an American hero." In a strange twist of events, his government turned on him in 2003.
Wilson is not an anti-war guy philosophically but believes the U.S. should only risk the lives of our troops when it is necessary to defend our country. However, he said, this was not the case in Iraq. He believed the President's statement in the 2003 State of the Union speech--"The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa"-- was false. That key sentence, however, was used to justify the war in Iraq.
i've been living in a small city in france called Poitiers for the last year, and as everyone probably knows, france is doing a whole bunch of striking (greve en français). they are bothered about a new law that, as i understand it, says this: the government will start a program (called the CPE) to lessen unemployment by giving money to companies who hire young people under twenty five. after two years of government aid though, their aid gets cut. sounds good to me! the problem (according to the students) is that at the end of two years, many bosses are going to fire their youth worker and rehire another youngster, so that they can continue to recieve government aid. ok, it seems like this could be a problem. but for an american, this is hard for me to get my head around.
in the US, workers have little to no protection against random firing and "layoffs". basically, you can be fired at any given time, for any reason, unless you are the rare type that has a union job. it doesn't work that way in france. you have to mess up pretty well to get fired. the worker/boss relationship is a little more balanced. workers have a little power, as opposed to our system in which the boss has all the power. in my opinion, i would be happy for the US if we could have something like the CPE. hell, at least we'd have a guaranteed job for two years. but for the french, this is not good enough. the workers want more. and really, can you blame them?
In the past nine years, workers making the minimum wage haven't gotten a single raise. Not one. And while the wage of $5.15 an hour has stayed the same, its value has dropped precipitously, putting workers further and further behind.
It's long past time for Congress to help the millions of workers earning the minimum wage or close to it. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) has introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act.
Since 1997, Congress has voted eight pay raises for itself, but not one dime for workers making the minimum wage. The annual salary for members of Congress has gone up by $31,600 in that time, while a minimum wage employee working full-time earns just $10,700 a year. It's time for Congress to stop working for itself and start working for America's families.
[The real terrorists have blood on their hands.] "Is This Really Terrorism?", a National Lawyers Guild/Northwest Constitutional Rights Center panel on the "terrorization" of criminal and free speech acts was held Thursday night at the First Unitarian Church downtown... Steven Wax, Oregon federal public defender, spoke on how the US government considers crimes perceived to undermine social order as the most serious type. He said this is true for all forms of government and that the difference between patriots and terrorists is in who writes the history.
Ashlee Albie, an NLG/NCRC attorney who is challenging illegal wiretapping in Oregon, described how FISA (Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act) with its checks and balances across the three branches of government has been subverted by the Bush administration. She said that the Department of Justice's white paper justifies this by insisting that Bush was granted the power through the congressional authorization of military force, because of his inherent power as commander-in chief and because wiretapping is reasonable under the fourth amendment. Legislation such as the DeWine amendment currently being debated in Congress doesn't appear to solve the problem and will actually make the situation worse with heavy fines for any leaks.
Stu Sugarman, an NLG lawyer who has defended local activists, explained how the government is using the label of terrorism to raise the penalties on some crimes formerly not considered political and to criminalize actions once regarded as free speech. This has come about, he said, primarily because of the leverage of corporate political contributions in legislatures and the perceived threat to capitalism.
The next forum in this three-part series "Crimes against the Environment vs Crimes for the Environment" will be held again at the First Unitarian Church downtown on April 5 at 7pm.
The main idea behind this commentary is that with bold action comes bold results. Thus, if our war actions appeared more committed, elected officials would be forced to respond congruently. First, I want to recognize all the hard work that organizers, around the US had done on the protests last weekend. In particular, Portland was likely the largest action in the US and one of the largest in the World. That could not have happened without some awesome organizing. So, job well done. [ read more ]
An Open Letter to the Anti-War Movement
It was heartening to see upwards of 20,000 students, union members, church people and others march through my city of Portland, Oregon this past Saturday. Anti-war activists did an amazing job organizing Portland's largest anti-war protest since the 2003 invasion. I am certainly not writing this letter to condemn large, permitted rallies. I believe that they could be an important part of a broader, campaign-based and tactically diverse anti-war movement. [ read more ]
Your March Accomplished NOTHING! Now what?
At this most recent march (and I know you were there), did you listen carefully to the calls to action: write or email your Congressman or your Congresswoman - who is an equal opportunity turncoat in her own, liberated right, vote, listen to Air Hysterical, join Code Pink or mArCh. There were no calls to shut this mutha fucka a.k.a. the country/guv'ment down, march on the Congress and take it over, don't let the bizness of INjustice proceed until WE the people are finally in charge. Even though the Declaration of Independence makes clear that a government injurious to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness MUST be overturned, you're suddenly dyslexic. [ read more ]
As students in Paris embarked on a massive insurgency against neo-liberal labour laws occupying buildings and rioting, thousands of students from schools across Auckland walked out of school in protest against youth rates, with a thousand turning up to an inspiring demonstartion of solidarity and direct action. Many students returned to school to be commended by their principals and teachers for taking a courageous stand against injustice.
Messages of solidarity for the striking students have been released from the Unite union, Maritime Union, Green Party and the Council of Trade Unions. The walkout was organised by Aotearoa Radical Youth, a network of anticapitalist Auckland youth with support from Supersizemypay.com
Phew! That was close! I thought that when my SO told me that the WW had written a response to my response about the PDXPress.net (click here!) article (aka. the Punk Rock Faggots article) that they would tear a hole in one of my central arguments. But, luckily they didn't. Not only that, but a larger than life font, half a page, some nice photoshop work on the computer generated picture, and a page sub-head that reads, "WW's guide to portland concerts, performances, food and movies. C'mon, what else do you want?". Well, let me tell you.
I'll start with the truth. And, just to be fair, a direct response to the central arguments laid out in Mr. Baumgarten's response. I think the good stuff is actually after my first two paragraphs though. Put that shit in your inverted pyramid and smoke it. [ read more ]
Wednesday, March 22, 2006, 7 pm
First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Avenue in downtown Portland
Terrorist Creep - the 'Terrorization' of Criminal and Free Speech Acts: A discussion about the impact of characterizing crimes as "domestic terrorism" solely because of the political message allegedly associated with these crimes. With Steven Wax, of the Federal Public Defender's Office, Ashlee Albies, a local NLG attorney working to challenge the illegal NSA wiretapping program, Stu Sugarman, co-chair of the NLG Litigation Committee.
By labeling animal-rights and environmental defense activists as 'eco-terrorists,' the government hopes to clamp down political dissent and protest. Last month, 11 people were indicted in Oregon and California by federal grand juries in Oregon and California on various conspiracy charges for their alleged involvement in the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) or the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) activities. After the recent arrests, FBI Director Robert Mueller stated that animal rights and environmental "extremism" was one of the bureau's highest domestic terrorism priorities.
In response to the recent indictments and arrests of individuals accused of engaging in "domestic terrorism" - specifically arson and conspiracy to commit arson - on March 22, the National Lawyers Guild - Portland Chapter, the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center and the First Unitarian Church of Portland will launch a discussion series titled "But, is this really Terrorism? An ongoing forum about the impact of the 'War on Terror' on dissent in the United States." This series will provide the public an opportunity to dig deeper into the Bush Administration's policies and their ramifications. [ NorthWest Constitutional Rights Center (NWCRC) | National Lawyers Guild (NLG) ]
Greg Schumacher could be seen popping up from between furs in the display window like a crazed manikin come alive desperately trying to photograph protesters breaking the law, any law. But sandwiched between the $1400 pink fox purse and the $300 mink headband, Greg was out of luck. Unfortunately for Greg, no one was doing anything illegal.
Greg Schumacher, like the boy who cried wolf, continuously called the police anyway on Saturday. We watched as our tax dollars went down the drain to send police several times to Schumacher for absolutely nothing, one officer staying in the store for over half an hour as Greg whined about the protests. The officers didn't bother us at all, and simply left.
Despite the war and the wiretapping, the worldwide protests and the general sense of doom over our disappearing democracy, my neighbor reminds me that it is important to celebrate the earth and the first day of spring.
As she has done for the past thirteen years, she hauls buckets of bubble-blowing liquid (sometimes store-bought, sometimes made from liquid detergent—she is still searching for the perfect recipe) and a wide array of bubble-blowing paraphernalia down to Percival Landing. She sets flowers on "The Kiss" statue, hangs a "welcome spring" banner on the railing, and plants her earth flag. Beautiful batik windsocks and colorful butterflies borrowed from the Procession of the Species are set along the boardwalk as the final touch to create a festive spirit.
Any way you cut it this death is an outrage, I had the privilage to know this mid 40's gentleman for over 36 years, he was suffering from a disease known as hepatitis C and had extensive chemo therapy treatments and was nearly cured. The news reports from the eye witness indicate he was on the ground before the officer arrived to give him the double taser dose that ended this life. | read more >>
Could have been my son...Six months ago, my 18 year old son left a party where he had been drinking and was walking down the middle of the street (somewhere near NE 25th and Couch?) when he was ordered to stop by police. When he didn't, they tasered him, TWICE, then tackled him to the ground breaking his two front teeth. He was taken into custody, not charged with anything, and held overnight. (Actually, he was released about 4 am, and had to walk home to St. John's.) He returned home with severe bruises on his wrists and scrapes on his face, back and chest.
When I called the NE precinct, there was no record of his arrest (since he wasn't, apparently "arrested") or of the "arresting" officers. The desk sargeant that I spoke to (and i can't now remember his name) said, "If that was MY kid, I'd kick his ass." | read more >>
On March 20th, a delegation of 19 Oregonians took the call for peace to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden's office where they engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience to urge the Senator to introduce legislation ending the occupation of Iraq. Members of the media were turned away when they attempted to enter the federal building where delegates were eventually arrested and charged with failure to comply with a federal officer.
comment: I suggest we focus on funding for the war, and trying to get Congress to cut it off. Senator Wyden did vote against the original resolution authorizing the war. Since then he has voted FOR funding to continue the war. (As have Reps. DeFazio, Hooley and Walden.) We should try to pressure Wyden to vote against funding. This is the only real power Congress has to stop the war.
Report from inside Wyden's office
A group of 19 committed peace activists came to the office of Ron Wyden to speak with him regarding his sponsoring of legislation to bring the troops home.
The group was made up of a diverse collection of people, both politically and in age. They ranged from 20 to in their 60's. The group was almost evenly split between men and women (with a couple more women).
While many in the group had differing political philosophies, we managed to stay unified in solidarity when it came to tactics. I.E. Peaceful, non-violent, and unified.
related articles: [ brilliant activists taking it to congressional official's doorsteps | Report Back from Wyden Sit In | PLDN - protesters at federal bldg released | go to the federal bldg at 5:30 | PLDN - arrests at the federal building now | URGENT call Wyden now | Right now! about 15 folks occupying Sen. Wyden's downtown office ]
Three years ago hundreds of citizens attended hearings and testified on the Hanford Solid Waste EIS in Portland, Hood River, Seattle and Richland. The Department of Energy (DOE) was planning to truck in thousands of loads of radioactive waste from across the nation's weapons' complex to treat, bury, or hold indefinitely at Hanford. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington Department of Ecology (the regulators of the DOE) agreed with the public that the data supporting these actions was flawed due to poor computer modeling and poor assumptions. The final document that was to come from these hearings has been delayed for three years because of public and regulator outcry. We have been heard.
Basic decisions will be formed from your comments and new data about much of the final state of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. What is your vision, what do you want for your children? This new document, which will come together after these new scoping hearings, is supposed to be based on new and hopefully adequate modeling of impacts. The public has an opportunity to give input into this new, much broader EIS, to reiterate its vision for the cleanup of Hanford. Attend one of the meetings to hear from others and to give your input into the future of our region. What will we leave our children and grandchildren?
This scoping will also cover the decommissioning of the Fast Flux Test Facility, the issues of "how clean is clean" when it comes to treating and disposing of buried waste all over the site, and the cumulative impacts of all decisions that are to be made about the on-going and final cleanup of the site.
March 22nd, Wednesday
Red Lion Hotel Convention Center, Portland, Oregon
1021 NE Grand Avenue
Workshop at 6 pm; Meeting from 7pm-10pm
Meetings will be held at 7 pm, with a workshop at 6 pm, at Portland and the following locations:
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