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2003 has seen the rise of a new current in US politics, best described as Neo-Centrics, or simply Neo-Cens, for ease of comparison with a better known defection of Socialists to the Conservative Right. Although allied with long-time social democrats (who were once distinguished by whether they accepted secret funding in bags from John A. McCone's office or Armand Hammer's office), the Neo-Cens are former radical critics of "lesser-evilism" who have decided a year before the 2004 election that the whiff of fascism is in the air.
Funding for a some of the Neo-Centrics comes from George Soros, who gives away $400m a year through his Foundation and thus subsidizes many of the activist groups, luminaries and publications of the American left, probably dwarfing the sums that once trickled out of Langley or Moscow. Soros does not control the left, as right-wingers imagine, but his monetary influence is one of those hushed secrets inside the left usually dismissed as conspiracy-thinking.
Shortly after more than two dozen of us entered Fort Benning and were arrested, US Military Police took us to a warehouse on the base for "processing." I was directed to a station for an initial search, where a woman soldier began shouting at me to look straight ahead and spread my legs. I turned to ask her why she was shouting at me and was ordered to keep my mouth shut, look straight ahead, and spread my legs wider. She then began an aggressive body search.
Today I have a black eye and the soreness that comes with severe muscle strain. Mostly, I'm burdened with a serious question, "What are these soldiers training for?" The soldiers conducting that search must have been ordered not to tolerate the slightest dissent. They were practicing intimidation tactics far beyond what would be needed to control an avowedly nonviolent group of protesters who had never, in thirteen years of previous actions, caused any disruption during the process of arrest.
This morning's aches and pains, along with the memory of being hogtied, give me a glimpse into the abuses we protest by coming to Fort Benning, GA. As we explore the further invention of nonviolence in our increasingly volatile time, it's important that we jointly overcome efforts to deter our determination to stand together against what Martin Luther King once called, "the violence of desperate men," - and women.
I read Carlton Smith's article with disgust, largely because I can picture him lengthening this piece on Jacob Sherman into his 17th bestselling book (he's best known for co-authoring The Search for the Green River Killer back in 1991) and laughing all the way to the bank. I was also disgusted with how he delved into various voyeuristic details, from Jacob's mom's rape by a fellow cop to his separated father's detachment and other lurid details of this "dysfunctional" family. These details would be relevant in a book length analysis, but seemed to lean more towards the sensational in this short piece.
At last we have a culprit: it's all Tre Arrow's fault. I love Smith's inclusion of a quote from a psychiatrist who testified at trial about how Jacob was groomed: "Tre Arrow [came] across him [Jacob]. And for some reason that is not very clear ... Mr. Sherman got picked out in a way which I would describe as being very similar to the kind of grooming behaviors that you see where you're looking at, say, sexual predators." Ooooh ... scary men with kiddie porn. Smith neglects to mention that expert witnesses are hired to say whatever it takes to keep their side's client on or off the hook, depending on which side is hiring them. Come on, Smith ... can't you at least make one reference to Michael Jackson's bedroom while you're at it?
Repost of 2002's Thanksgiving feature: Over 300 million turkeys are killed every year in the United States, 40 million of them specifically for Thanksgiving. The majority of these are raised in factory farms where they are stacked in cages in windowless sheds where they can't live naturally (or happily) in any sense of the word. Often they cannot move, and many die in the conditions before they are fully grown. They are debeaked and declawed without anesthesia, making it difficult or even impossible for them to eat, and research shows that they feel the pain of this for the rest of their lives. Those who survive are fed until they are grotesquely obese and cannot stand because their skeletons are too weak from confinement. Over-burdened in this way, and trapped in close quarters with too little oxygen, many turkeys die when their hearts explode from the physical stress.
The birds are unable to reproduce naturally in these conditions, and the males are "milked" for their semen, which is then shot into the females with a syringe or tube. Turkeys do not recieve even the scant protection given to pigs and cows by the Humane Slaughter Act and many are tied upside down still alive and conveyed to the part of the factory where they are knifed. Not all die right away and suffer unspeakably by bleeding slowly to death.
Turkeys and other poultry are often infected with salmonella and campylobacter bacteria from their unnatural living conditions, and deregulation of the industry means that more diseases are reaching the dinner table. Even if a particular bird is free of these bacteria at the point of purchase, it was most likely raised on a steady diet of antibiotics and chemical growth stimulants which are not good for human health. Additionally, working conditions in poultry factories are unpleasant and dangerous, and big business has blocked legislation that would grant workers relief. The turkeys lose, and the people lose.
Still hungry for that drumstick? [ Newswire article ]
Sources & More information: [ The Turkey Day | Save a Turkey | Turkeys Want to Be Friends, Not Food | Gruesome treatment of turkeys as exposed by PETA | Turkeys: Hooked on Drugs (Jim Hightower) | United Poultry Concerns, Inc. Turkey Brochure | Reviews of Karen Davis' Book "More Than a Meal" | At Our Mercy: The Eating of Animals | About Factory farms | Meat Is Murder (Resources) | VEGETARIAN FOOD SOURCES | United Poultry Concerns | Animal Liberation Front | portland indymedia animal rights news ]
Related: [ Why I Hate Thanksgiving ]
MIAMI, Nov. 24 - We were loading our video equipment into the trunk of our car when a fleet of bicycle cops sped up and formed a semi-circle around us. The lead cop was none other than Miami Police Chief John Timoney. The former Police Commissioner of Philadelphia Timoney has a reputation for brutality and hatred of protesters of any kind. He calls them punks," "knuckleheads" and a whole slew of expletives. He coordinated the brutal police response to the mass-protests at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in 2000. After a brief stint in the private sector, Timoney took the post of Miami police chief as part of Mayor Manny Diaz's efforts to "clean up the department."
We had watched him the night before on the local news in Miami praising his men for the restraint they had shown in the face of violent anarchists intent on destroying the city. In reality, the tens of thousands who gathered in Miami to protest the ministerial meetings of the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit were seeking to peacefully demonstrate against what they consider to be a deadly expansion of NAFTA and US-led policies of free trade. There were environmental groups, labor unions, indigenous activists from across the hemisphere, church groups, grassroots organizations, students and many others in the streets. What they encountered as they assembled outside the gates to the building housing the FTAA talks was nothing short of a police riot. It only took a few hours last Thursday before downtown Miami looked like a city under martial law. [ Read more... ]
USWA Calls for Congressional Investigation into Police-State Assaults in Miami
Citing "countless instances of humiliating repression in which the Miami police force disgraced itself," Gerard said that Miami police chief John Timoney should be fired, all charges against peaceful demonstrators should be dropped, and a Congressional investigation into the Miami police department's systematic repression should immediately be launched. "To do less would be to endorse homeland repression in the guise of homeland security," Gerard's letter concluded. [ Read more... ]
Help spread the word about Miami with this indymedia news sheet
The entrance of Texas Pacific Group into the PGE picture has not changed the plans of PUD campaigns in three counties to hold elections in 2004.
Yamhill County is headed for an election on March 9, 2004. Last week, PUD formation in that county was endorsed by the Yamhill County Democratic Party.
Clackamas County volunteers, who have the endorsement of the Democratic Party there, along with Washington County volunteers, have collected enough signatures to require PUD elections for those counties during 2004 as well.
The Oregon Public Power Coalition believes that the Texas Pacific Group offer to buy PGE through a newly formed and inexperienced entity called Oregon Electric Utility increases the uncertainty of PGE's fate in the Enron bankruptcy. The actual deal has not been disclosed. The last time Enron arranged a deal to sell PGE was in September 2001. The deal was advertised as a simple sale of PGE stock to Northwest Natural Gas Co. When finally revealed, the deal included ten years of higher rates for PGE ratepayers and making Enron both the largest single shareholder in PGE and the in Northwest Natural Gas Co. The press has not yet uncovered even the tiniest amount of detail about the proposed deal.
In a company-wide email today, co-CEO Sylvie Horne, under the guise of "answering employee questions," detailed how employees could quit the union. In point 5 Horne states that employees can withhold union dues now that the contract has expired (thanks to management's spending months pushing non-starter proposals that would make it impossible for most employees to both purchase health insurance for themeselves and their loved ones and to buy food and pay the rent).
The citizens of Portland deserve to know the true agenda of Powell's Books Inc., which is becoming just another greedy corporation, trying to cut health-care benefits to employees who make as little as $8.15 an hour while refusing to reveal sales figures. (Hoover's Online business website puts Powell's 2001 sales at $44,000,000, with sales growth of 25.7%, and that was two years ago...no wonder they're sitting on those numbers.)
Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich today released the following statement: Reports have come out that the FBI is collecting data on people who attend peace demonstrations. Retired Gen. Tommy Franks recently said that if the United States is hit with a weapon of mass destruction that inflicts large casualties, the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government. The Bush Administration is clearly not waiting for an attack to discard the First Amendment. This past weekend supporters of my campaign who were peacefully protesting the FTAA in Miami were attacked by police with tear gas as part of a security operation funded through the bill that poured another $87 billion into Iraq. Also this past weekend, supporters of my campaign who joined those protesting the School of the Americas in Georgia found their demonstration drowned out by loud music blasted at them by the military. The FBI's data collection is part of this pattern of restricting Americans' right to free speech.
The National Conference on Media Reform held in Madison, WI November 7-9, 2003 originally expected 200 attendees, but grew to accommodate 1700 independent and working journalists, media activists and organizers, media-wannabees, and media celebrities. I attended representing KWVA, KBOO and my own InForm Radio, TV and Productions.
Rep. Maurice Hinchey spoke impressively about how after Powell's FCC ruling was overturned that he would introduce legislation to rescind the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which allowed ownership - consolidated control of radio, resulting in the heavy presence of both Clear Channel and Cumulus Radio in the Eugene area and throughout the nation. Hinchey took my breath away when he also committed to reinstate "The Fairness Doctrine", which established the origin of "fair and balanced" reporting of equal time for opposing points of view in media and had been rescinded during the Reagan years.
The conference was filled with excellent landscape and strategic workshops, from 'New Initiatives in Media Funding' to 'Youth and Campus Activism for Media Reform' to 'Radio: Reclaiming the People's Medium' and many, many more.
The highlight of the conference was when, to the surprise of everyone, 92-year-old Studs Terkel came on stage to introduce Bill Moyers, and did so by saying that Moyers was the one person he knew in whom he would have perfect confidence in having as a US President.
My heartfelt reaction to this inspiring experience was that a free and open American press is crucial to the establishment of free and open societies with real democratic constitutions and institutions throughout the world.
Angela Davis advocates decarceration through developing new socialist institutions to combat social problems that are worsened by and built into the prison system; these injustices include sexualized violence, lack of access to mental and physical health care & education, and the loss of the civil right to vote through felony disenfranchisement. These inequalities contribute to the undemocratic system of oppression that we are being assimilated to accept.
In Mid-October apparently, Mumia Abu Jamal was granted honorable citizenship in the City of Paris. She asks if anyone present knew that this happened... I didn't. "This is the first person to receive this honor in that City since Picasso...This event was reported widely all over Europe, but The American media refused to cover it."
Ms. Davis then went on to explain the concept of "Civil Death". She wonders if Paris recognizes the significance of granting the right of citizenship to one who has been stripped of all his civil rights in the U.S. She goes on to make the point that those on death row have suffered the ultimate level of disenfranchisement; They can't vote and so are already "civilly dead".
The following statement drew a moment of silence and chills went up my spine: "Remember: Were it not for Felony Disenfranchisement in fact, Bush would have not been sElected!"
Tonight Sparkle Girl had the good fortune to attend a reading by the Reverend Billy (praise Jesus) at Elliot Bay Book Company. The Reverend, spreading the "good news" of his Church Of Stop Shopping- from New York to the savage wilderness of Seattle, graced this city with a visit en route to do the Lord's work in London.
After a captivating reading from his newest gospel, "What Should I Do If Reverend Billy Is In My Store?" (this man is one HELL of a talented thespian), the Rev. fired up his farr and his chutzpah and led a flock of the faithful into the belly of the beast, the FIRST Starbucks in the Pike Street Market. Cowed by the humbling authenticity of the original LOGO, we listened in awe as the Reverend expounded on the Gnostic meanings of this sacred tablet. [ Read More ] [ Reverend Billy dot Com | http://portland.indymedia.org/media/images/2003/11/275368.mp3 ]
Hi all--below is my report from yesterday in Miami and some breaking news from today, and below that, our appeal for help and solidarity. Please pass it along--right this moment our friends are in jail, facing brutality and torture, and we need your help! Thanks, Starhawk
Miami 11/21/03 Bitter Beauty
But if we only stand together, in solidarity and love, we can withstand anything they throw at us. We are one movement, a movement of life, putting down roots and unfurling leaves, and we can and must continue to grow. This week we have seen the possibility of love unfolding in hostile soil. Help us nurture that love and keep it alive.
WASHINGTON DC - On Tuesday, November 18th, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm the promotion of Major General Robert T. Clark to the rank of Lieutenant General, the Army's second highest rank. The senate confirmation drew rancor from the nation's major Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Organizations, including the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC).
In 1999, Clark was the commander of Fort Campbell, Kentucky at the time PFC Barry Winchell was murdered when his fellow soldiers came to believe to him be gay. Winchell, whose death was subject of a Showtime Movie, "A Soldier's Story," had a romantic relationship with Calpernia Addams, a pre-operative transsexual woman.
Clark failed to take steps to deal with the homophobic climate of Fort Campbell, and obey and implement "Don't Ask Don't Tell" regulations. Clark's inaction in response to the anti-gay harassment suffered by Barry Winchell in the weeks leading up his death has been the subject of much controversy, and has been cited as a possible contributing factor to his murder.
"Instead of being considered for a "promotion," General Clark should have been court-martialed, and sent to prison for dereliction of duty!" fumed Cliff Arnesen, Vice President of the New England GLBT Veterans. "George W. Bush, and all those in the U.S. Senate who voted to confirm Clark's promotion, ought to be ashamed of themselves"
Last year two Irish filmmakers were eye witnesses to one of the most extraordinary events in recent central America. Donnacha O'Brin and Kim Bartlet had travelled to Venezuela to film an intimate portrait of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, and found themselves centre stage when coup was staged by the military and powerful forces in the privately owned oil companies
Donnacha and Kim were inside the presidential place when the coup erupted in April 2002, and captured extraordinary scenes during and after the coup. They witnessed how the private TV stations actively aided and supported this military coup, and how events were manipulated and twisted on air. Most importantly the two filmmakers captured the scenes of how millions of ordinary citizens in Caracas rose up within days of the coup who fought, and restored the elected president, Hugo Chavez.
The clouds had blocked out the sun down a pioneer square for at least an hour. It was freezing down there. I, of course, only had a jacket on with no head protection or gloves. We milled around for awhile, about fifty of us. There was a Christian telling us we could be saved if we only believed. I had a brief conversation with him. I explained to him how the group was called Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, and how we came to the square every Friday at 5PM to promote world peace. He was cool with that and walked away. There were several persons from the Muslim community present because todays theme was "Isreal out of Palestine." A bald headed man got in the face of several of the Muslim men and chanted "Saddam was the most evil man alive." The men took it in good humor, and there was no incident. The speeches were brief because we all wanted to get walking in order to warm up. We marched down the usual route and there were speeches and singing in front of Nike town. There were the usual number of hecklers but the whole march was fairly subdued.
Later, the drum corps from the march supported the Janitorial action at Regal Cinemas close to the South Park blocks. The security guard on duty got upset with being filmed by an Indymedia camera operator. One of the managers came out and photographed the protesters in front of the theater.
From a comment posted to this story: If you want to see what happened at the Fox tower protest tonight, you should come to a local indy video showing in December. This action was awesome!!!! The Labor activists entered the Fox tower and held up a banner and made all sorts of noise. Then they went outside and kept the noise up. Also they handed out about 350 fliers. The security guard got well versed in our legal rights. A regal employee got a little rough with a videographer and a mother gave her whatfor. So come and see this video plus all the other new and exciting stuff that will be shown.
When in the course of human events, there comes a time in the non-profit sector where management overlooks the rights of other employees and the successful structure of the agency, a decent respect to the services provided requires the employees take a stand.
We hold these truths to be self evident: that all employees of the Portland Women's Crisis Line hold equal standing, that they are endowed by the participatory democratic structure certain inalienable rights, among those are safety, sanity and a pleasant workplace. To secure these rights a Board of Directors and an Executive Director are elected, deriving power from the consent of their electors. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the right of those who suffer at their hands to refuse allegiance to said governing body and to insist on a new way of doing things, laying a new foundation based on mutually agreed upon principles and organizing to bring about such change.
Tonight [Nov.18] at Laughing Horse there were a couple movies shown, movies that I think should be reshown around town and across the country, to let people know what the 12 billion dollars a year we give to Israel is going toward. It is sickening and horrifying to know that we are perpetuating this systematic occupation and genocide. Laughing Horse will hopefully have at least one of these films available to rent sometime in the near future... so ask about these!
The presenter was in Palestine, in Gaza starting in February of this year. I don't know when he returned, but he says he has been recovering from being present when his friend Rachel Corrie was killed on march 16th. He says that since then it has become harder and harder for people to get into Gaza, and that right now most ISM work is being done in the West Bank. He says that as far as he knows there are only a handful of ISM protesters who are in Gaza now. Nobody else is being let in, and journalists are not safe there either. It seems that foreigners have been effectively excluded from bearing witness to the horrors of life in Gaza.
As top trade officials from 34 nations negotiated the extention of the "free trade" agreements binding North America to the rest of the continent, protesters, also in Miami, Florida, took to the streets in a massive display of opposition to the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) pact. The demonstrations, ranging from civil disobedience to a large permitted march organized by the AFL-CIO, were met with police intimidation, unlawful restriction of the right to protest, and violence.
Beginning on Wednesday, when 9 people were arrested by undercover officers while walking down the street, the police began a strategy of random arrests and confiscation of legal possessions of those who fit what the police believe to be the demonstrator "profile". During protests today, that tactic expanded as the police violently apprehended march participants and dragged them behind police lines. Often these officers were dressed in civilian clothes, or even dressed as demonstrators. Seven people living in an abandoned house were arrested, as the police declared that their bicycle tubes were in fact sling shot weapons, despite no evidence to support that claim. [ Read more... ]
Solidarity Statement of SOA, FTAA & Bush Protests
This week George W. Bush faces a week of intense, non-stop protests. But you would never realize the importance or significance of these events if you relied on the corporate media or even the so called "alternative" or "progressive" media.
Bush and his administration faces a week of protest, first in the UK and then in Miami. To get the news as it happens, unfiltered by corporate editors and journalists, and untampered by money, follow http://www.indymedia.org.uk/ and http://www.indymedia.org.uk/ and link to www.ftaaimc.org.
On November 17, 2003, in solidarity with those in Miami and around the world protesting the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the Lewis and Clark Organization for Peace and Politics and the Campus Greens held a Symposium on the harmful effects of free trade. Two speakers, Martin Hart-Landsberg, professor of economics at Lewis and Clark, and Barbara Dudley, professor of Political Science at Portland State University gave presentations on the FTAA and then took questions.
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