Bulletin N° 349
Subject: ON STRATEGIES FOR RESISTANCE AND STRATEGIES FOR ACHIEVEMENTS.
2 May 2008
There is one axiom in the social sciences which is of strategic importance but is often overlooked: "It is easier to do the easiest thing than to do the right thing." This is what Hannah Arendt meant when she observed that European fascism (1933-1945) was one example of "the banality of evil"; another was the Spanish Inquisition (1483-1498). The 19th-century Amerindian removals and the 21st-century Israeli policy of ethnic cleansing offer further evidence of the cultural evolution of this axiom.
In his book, The Ethical Animal (University of Chicago Press, 1960), Edinburgh biologist, C.H. Waddington, discussed "the evolution of the evolutionary system" in these terms:
Biological evolution, then, is carried out by an 'evolutionary
system' which involves four major factors . . . : a genetic
system, which engenders new variation by the process of
mutation and transmits it by chromosomal genes; an epigenetic
system, which translates the information in the fertilized egg and
that which impinges on it from the environment into the characters
of the reproducing adult; an exploitive system, by which an animal
chooses and modifies the environment to which it will submit itself;
and a system of natural selective pressures, originating from the
environment and operating on the combined result of the other three
From the point of view of cultural evolution, our bodies and minds are greatly affected collectively by what we do and don't do.Much can be learned from the histories of resistance, as well as from failures to resist. Every would-be tyrant calculates, in some manner or other, the cost effectiveness of his strategies. Contemporary culture offers a myriad of ways to neutralize potential resistance, before it even appears. (If you cannot make the elephant in the theater disappear, you might make the audience in the theater mindless of the elephant's presence. This magic act is accomplished in a variety of ways.) Producing stress and general anxieties are among the effective ways of promoting forgetfulness, and without memory there can be no understanding. Add to the politics of repression, the politics of mystification, the politics of "divide-and-rule", the politics of co-optation, the politics of collaboration, the politics of fear and artificial scarcity, the politics of consumerism, etc., etc. . . . . and it becomes more clear how a small minority of men can maintain control over society for their own short-term benefits and to the detriment of most people.
The history of the powerful U.S. corporation, Monsanto, is an example of "political capitalism" that began to take form in 1901 and today has evolved into "corporate dictatorship". Present in 46 countries, the growth of this corporation has attracted much resistance around the world.
CEIMSA is proud to announce its next local conference in Grenoble showing the award-winning documentary film
on the giant American transnational corporation,
Tuesday, 6 May, at 17h30 in the Grande Salle des Colloques on the Stendhal University Campus
The 6 items below offer CEIMSA readers a look at U.S. political culture and the resistance movements it has sparked around the world. For those of you who intend to come to the CEIMSA premier screening of "The World According to Monsanto" next week, we suggest that you be sure to read Fidel Castro's account of monopoly capitalism and the devastating effect its food shortages are having on roughly half of the world's population (see Item F.)
Item A. is an announcement sent to us by UCSD Professor Fred Lonidier from the Democratic Socialists of America calling for mass mobilization in San Diego, California on May Day 2008.
Item B. is a report from the California border zone by the L-bas Hebdo n 30 du 28 avril 2008, with a very interesting photo exhibit attached.
Item C. is an article sent to us by NYU Professor Bertell Ollman on the Republican management of the Democratic Primary elections.
Item D. is an article from University of Pennsylvania Professor Edward S. Herman on Israel's "tough love" for humanity.
Item E. is a New York Times article sent to us by TruthOut, on growing militancy within the U.S. labor movement, and specifically the West Coast Longshoremen's May Day 2008 political strike.
Item F. is an article by Fidel Castro, sent to us by Information Clearing House, on "the politics of hunger and thirst under the dictatorship of capitalism".
And last but not least, we recommend William Blum's latest issue of the Anti-Empire Report, for a commentary on "the times that try men's souls", as well as Edward Herman's and David Peterson's new essay, Principles of the Imperial New World Order.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Universit Stendhal Grenoble 3
from Fred Lonidier:
Date: 1 May 2008
Subject: May 1 Immigrants Rights March and Rally
May Day it is!!!
DSA encourages our friends to participate in the Immigrants Rights event on May 1. Here are the details:
Meeting in front of City College on Park Blvd at 2:30 pm for pre-rally
Marching down Broadway to Pantoja Park, State St. and G Street
Demonstration at Pantoja Park at 4:00pm with music and speakers from the organizations calling for the march.
Continuing march from Pantoja Park to Chicano Park for People's Assembly, 5:30pm.
Why we march:
Stop the raids and deportations
Legalization for all
Right to migrate
Right to dignified work for ALL people
Right to live in peace
Right to a just and equitable education
PHONE FOR BASIC INFORMATION:
619 696 9224
MEDIA CONTACT PERSONS:
619 781 2431
619 952 5569
619 258 3925
A coalition of approximately 30 different organizations in the San Diego area; including, but not limited to:
ACORN of San Diego, Activist San Diego, Amnesty International of City College, Border Angels, California Coalition Against Poverty, Center for Social Advocacy, CITTAC, Colectivo Cosme Damin, Comit de Derechos Humanos Latinos Unidos, Educacin Sin Fronteras, Environmental Health Coalition, Gente Unida, La Otra Campaa de Tijuana, La Otra Campaa de San Diego and its collectives, MEChA of SDSU, MEChA of UCSD, Migrant Rights Awareness-UCSD, Raza Rights Coalition and its collectives (Somos Raza, Comite de Mujeres Patricia Marin, Chicano Mexicano Prison Project, Association of Raza Educators, Committe of Human Rights Digna Ochoa-Barrio Logan and 02 de Octubre-San Ysidro), Rouge Forum, San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice, S Se Puede Immigrants Rights Organization, Son Sin Fronteras, Unite H.E.R.E. Union, VAPPOR-Oaxaca, and others.
San Diego DSA P.O. Box 15635 San Diego, CA 92175
email@example.com http://www.dsausa.org (619) 287-5535
from Si j'y suis l bas :
Date: 29 April 2008
Subject: L-bas Hebdo no 30
L-bas Hebdo n 30
du 28 avril 2008
Entre le 18 juin 2006 et le 8 juillet 2006, vous avez t plus de 200 000 signer la ptition Sauvons l-bas , soit 10 000 par jour pendant 20 jours. Un record ingal. A ces Auditeurs Modestes et Gniaux, (AMG) fidles au poste, nous adressons sporadiquement quelques nouvelles du front.
Le dveloppement d'une grande entreprise, c'est tout simplement la survie du plus apte (...) C'est tout simplement l'application de la loi de la Nature et de la loi de Dieu.
John Rockfeller Jr (1839-1937)
En route pour Tijuana, voici 93 photos pour 3114 kilomtres de frontires. (cliquer ici)
Un drapeau jaune et noir
Tout se rsume cet incroyable panneau routier peu aprs la frontire ct Californie aprs Tijuana. Attention ralentir, passage de famille de travailleurs trangers clandestins !
Nous devons en faire le drapeau de tous les clandestins du monde. Sur toutes les frontires, parmi les autres drapeaux, ajoutons celui-l, en jaune et noir,. En hommage toutes les familles qui ont fui misre et oppression esprant asile, pain et libert une fois la ligne franchie, la montagne ou locan. En badge, en t-shirt, pas besoin de sous-titre, tout le monde comprendra.
Sauf peut-tre Monsieur Sarkozy. Monsieur Sarkozy ne comprend pas ce que veulent ces gens-l. En France depuis le 17 avril, dans la restauration, dans le btiment, dans le nettoyage, des travailleurs sans papiers se sont mis en grve au grand jour pour demander une rgularisation. Soutenus par des syndicats et des associations, ils sont plus de 1000 aujourdhui. Mais Monsieur Sarkozy ne comprend pas. Monsieur Sarkozy fait mine de croire que ces gens-l veulent devenir franais.Il fait semblant de mlanger naturalisation et rgularisation. On ne devient pas franais en travaillant dans la cuisine dun restaurant expliquait Monsieur Sarkozy le 24 avril. Les sans-papiers ne demandent pas devenir franais, ils demandent le droit de travailler dans la lgalit avec un titre de sjour. Monsieur Sarkozy le sait parfaitement. Mais il entretient lquivoque, il mnage ce qui lui reste de voix dans la droite dure, il fait vibrer la bonne grosse ficelle xnophobe. La loi prvoit un certain nombre de critres pour devenir franais, dabord il faut le demander, ensuite il faut parler franais, enfin il faut justifier soit dun contrat de travail soit dun minimum de ressources . (voir dailymotion Arrt sur image , cliquer ici)
Le journaliste qui lui pose la question ne relve pas, il le laisse dire. Mais monsieur le Prsident, ces travailleurs demandent une autorisation de sjour et non pas une carte didentit franaise. Vous confondez Monsieur le Prsident. Vous connaissez parfaitement ce sujet, vous avez t Ministre de lIntrieur, vous tes prsident Monsieur le Prsident, le journaliste ne relve pas.
Alors, confusion volontaire ou non ? Les commentateurs sinterrogent ingnument.
Les mmes smerveillent que les patrons des sans papiers en grve soutiennent les revendications de leurs employs. Sans papier et patrons, mme combat. Et pourquoi pas pour bientt, une version de Merci Patron dans une langue malienne ? Cest le dos au mur que les patrons lchent du lest, comme toujours. On ne demande pas un loup de manger de la luzerne.
En attendant, lopinion soutient 68% les travailleurs sans papiers ( Sondage CSA/Parisien du 27 avril). Mais Monsieur Sarkozy sen fout. Pas de rgularisation. Que du cas par cas. A lheure o le vieux Le Pen ressort son dtail , Sarkozy lui aussi espre se refaire avec la France qui craint. Avec la France des petits blancs mpriss et "beaufiss"par les malins bobos.
En mai 2006 aux Etats-Unis, il y eut des manifestations normes contre les lois de 2005 sur le contrle aux frontires. Trois millions de manifestants travers le pays pour dfendre les travailleurs trangers lgaux ou clandestins. Comparer aux protestations du monde ouvrier ce fut la plus large mobilisation des travailleurs de toute lhistoire des Etats unis.
Certes les hommes ont toujours migr vers une vie suppose meilleure. Mais aujourdhui, mondialisation librale oblige, cest la violence des politiques conomiques imposes aux pays pauvres qui arrachent par millions des hommes leur terre pour survivre et faire survivre leurs familles. Les remesas , largent envoy par les immigrs mexicains constitue la deuxime rentre de devises du pays aprs le ptrole.
Aux Etats-Unis, le thme des manifs tait Une journe sans immigrs . Histoire de dmontrer que sans eux, lgaux ou clandestins, le pays cale. Et pourquoi pas ici en France ? Une journe sans sans-papiers, depuis le temps quon en parle. Restauration, btiment, scurit, nettoyage, aide la personneA quoi ressemblerait ce jour-l le pays de ltourdi Monsieur Sarkozy qui confond la carte didentit et la carte de sjour ?
Avec tout ces drapeaux jaunes et noirs.
L-bas (28 avril 2008)
Que tout a, en attendant, ne vous empche pas de vous rgaler les oreilles avec :
Une srie autour de lUIMM, commence le jeudi 24 avril
Cliquez ici pour couter l'mission du 24 avril 2008
Cliquez ici pour couter l'mission du 25 avril 2008
Cliquez ici pour couter l'mission du 28 avril 2008
Jean ZIEGLER, la faim du monde
Comment les politiques cyniquement imposes par Banque Mondiale et FMI depuis des dcennies, comment la spculation financire qui se rfugie sur les produits alimentaires de base, comment la transformation de lagriculture au profit des agro-carburants, comment la combinaison de ces politiques imposes par les gouvernements des pays riches, entranent famines et meutes dans des dizaines de pays.
Cliquez ici pour couter l'mission du 18 avril 2008
Le cercle du succs
Un stage de relooking , organis par lANPE. Comment entrer dans le cercle du succs en soignant votre aspect.
Cliquez ici pour couter l'mission du 17 avril 2008
En route pour Tijuana, toute la srie
Mais surtout :
Cliquez ici pour couter l'mission du 2 avril 2008
Tout en Corridos
Cliquez ici pour couter l'mission du 28 mars 2008
from Bertell Ollman :
Date: 29 April 2008
Subject: The GOP is managing the Democratic race.
Read this for the best overview of what's really happening in the elections here. Also very worth including in your mailings.
The GOP is managing the Democratic race or might as well be. Now in "retirement," Karl Rove is obviously playing the process like a violin, as his machines, and Limbaugh's troops, have been providing Clinton with enough support to keep her in the race. (Rove is not responsible for her campaign's extensive vote suppression--which, however, is a giant gift to him and his accomplices.)
Ernest Partridge's sharp piece, below, is a must-read for anyone who wants to know what's really going on. Partridge notes the many inconvenient facts about this race that most observers either haven't heard or won't perceive: facts that ought to make it clear to any reasonable person that the Democratic nominating process has been hijacked by the GOP, just as it was by Tricky Dick's "ratfuckers" back in 1972.
If I may say so once again, all such deft manipulation is intended less to scare up a majority of votes for John McCain than it is to enable a convincing explanation for his startling "victory" on Election Day. And all of you who keep pronouncing that Obama's cooked --whether it's because of his long fight with Clinton, or Jeremiah Wright's big mouth, or whatever else--are only helping to cement the rationale for his "defeat."
he pre-convention Democratic campaign could not be working out better for the Republicans even if the GOP had planned it this way.
Perhaps they did.
If so, their wholly-owned subsidiary, the corporate media, appears to be dutifully following their instructions to the letter.
Prolonging the Agony.
The optimum course of events for both the GOP and the media is a continuation of the Clinton-Obama slugfest for as long as possible. The media benefits with sustained public interest and inflated ratings, while the Republicans enjoy the advantage to a severely damaged Democratic candidate in the November election.
And so, when Clinton entered the primaries a heavy favorite, the media chatter was all about "Obamamania." Then Obama won the Iowa primary and most states in "Super Tuesday" and headed toward New Hampshire, ahead in the polls. An Obama victory in New Hampshire could have wrapped up his nomination.
But instead, Clinton's campaign stayed alive with an upset win - timely, crucial, and, as I will suggest below, just a little bit suspicious.
Going into the Texas and Ohio primaries, Obama still had a formidable lead in pledged delegates. So up crops the Rev. Wright story ("God damn America!"), and the phony report that Obama surrogates had told the Canadians not to take Obama's anti-NAFTA rhetoric seriously. Obama loses the primaries, and his campaign bogs down.
Then Pennsylvania, disclosure of Obama's "elitism" and comments about voter "bitterness," and another Clinton win, by 9.2 points, which the media and the Clinton campaign spinners somehow interpret as "double digits. Even so, Obama now has a near-mathematical lock on the convention. With Clinton's candidacy now on life support, the media must now keep it alive.
Time now, as Thomas B. Edsall puts it,
for the media to "jump ship from Obama to Clinton:"
In a blink of an eye, the media has jumped ship from the Obama campaign and become a crucial Clinton ally, pressing just the message -- that Obama is a likely loser in the general election -- that Hillary and her allies have been promoting for the past six weeks.
The new tenor of media coverage is visible almost everywhere, from Politico, Time and The New Republic to The Washington Post and The New York Times.
For Hillary, the shift is a potential lifesaver as she struggles to keep her head above water; without it, she would, metaphorically, drown.
With an Obama lead assured all the way to the convention, the pattern of Clinton-boosting and Obama-knocking is likely to continue on course. Unless, of course, Clinton, however improbably, takes the lead again.
So who's ahead? Clinton or Obama? Whoever has the lead can expect to be beaten back and piled on by the media. If one or another candidate appears about to wrap it up, there's likely an "upset" primary dead ahead. First New Hampshire and then Pennsylvania. Next, Indiana and North Carolina?
It's almost as if the Republicans, not the voters, decided the outcome. However, as we know by now, the media and even the Democrats won't even hint of such a thing, much less investigate it.
But consider: the New Hampshire paper ballots that were hand-counted favored Obama. But the votes that were machine-generated and "contracted out" to a private firm with GOP ties, and then reported back without validation, tipped the race to Clinton. As Kirsten Anderson reported to The Huffington Post:
"Clinton won 46% of the hand-count vote to Obama's 54%. Out of the machine counts, Clinton took 53% while Obama won 48%."
In Pennsylvania, Clinton admitted that she had to win to stay in the race. And in fact, late polls showed that Obama was closing fast, with some polls reporting a statistical tie. So, sure enough, Clinton did win, just shy of those essential double digits.
But did she win fair and square? That's unknown and unknowable, for 85% of the votes were cast on paperless, touch-screen ("DRE") machines. And as I pointed out immediately before the Pennsylvania primary,
The official results will be what the voting machines ... tell us they are, which is to say what the programmers of the secret machine codes have told the machines to report. These results may accurately report the actual totals, or they may be entirely bogus. That's up to the Republican owners and managers of the private voting machine companies, who issue instructions to the programmers. They can make this decision with total disregard of the legal consequences. The voters have no say in the matter.
Accurate or bogus? We simply and absolutely do not and can cannot know. The codes that process the votes are secret, and, moreover, it has been demonstrated time and again that these software codes can alter the results and leave no trace whatever of the finagling.
These are the plain, undisputed facts of the matter; however the media and (astonishingly!) the Democrats refuse to face them, publicize them, much less remedy them...
Accordingly, the announced results of the Pennsylvania primary will be accepted purely "on faith." If they report the people's choice, this will be because the programmers have been instructed to make it so. Or they might be instructed otherwise. There is simply no way of knowing. What we do know is that the owners and managers of the private voting machine companies are overwhelmingly committed to the Republican party. It's on the record.
Do I have any substantial evidence that any primaries were rigged? I do not. That's the way the system is set up: with secret software and no independent auditable record. But that misses the point by misapplying the burden of proof. It should not and must not be the task of ordinary citizens to prove election fraud. Instead, it is the responsibility of the legislatures, election officials, and the criminal justice system to assure the sanctity of each citizen's vote, and to track down, indict and convict any and all persons who would violate the franchise. Whenever and wherever DRE voting machines are in use, there is no proof whatever that the vote totals were correct. And that's where the burden of proof should lie.
Meanwhile, there is abundant and compelling statistical, anecdotal and circumstantial evidence of rigged elections during the past decade, which you can find here, here, here, here,
This past week, we have repeatedly heard the complaint, "Why can't Obama close the sale?" The answer is simple and straightforward: "Because the media won't let him." The mainstream media and its corporate GOP sponsors and owners want this contest to continue to boost ratings and to disable the eventual Democratic candidate.
And what the GOP and media want, the GOP and media get.
Keeping Our Eyes Off the Prize.
In no election in memory have the stakes been higher, the issues clearer, and the failures of the incumbent political party more apparent and grave: a war of aggression disapproved by two thirds of the American people, war crimes, violation of international treaties, looting of the federal treasury, abolition of civil liberties, dictatorial powers (e.g. "signing statements"), economic devastation, and a failing health care system, education and physical infrastructure. And the list goes on.
You wouldn't know all this by reading or listening to the mainstream media's so-called "news."
Instead, the media's focus of attention is on the repudiated remarks of some retired minister, lapel pins, "elitism," "bitterness," electability, and even, would you believe, bowling scores.
Not that any of this is new. Remember? Inventing the internet, earth tones, Love Canal, "likeability," swiftboats, philly-cheese sandwiches, french-look. But rarely Harken Energy, AWOL from the National Guard, "The Pet Goat," least of all the above-mentioned issues of war, the economy, civil liberties, economic justice, etc.
Trifles and distraction. That's how the GOP wins elections, and how it might very well win the next election.
Occasionally, the media's obsession with paltry distractions is in such wretched excess that it gets beaten back. Such was the case with "George and Charlie's Trivial Pursuits," aka the ABC "debate" of April 16. The criticism of that fiasco was severe and well-deserved, and the media quite properly embarrassed. But now, scarcely two weeks later, it has been forgotten, and the media's absorption with trifles is back as if nothing had happened to interrupt it.
Meanwhile, John McCain is behaving like a world-class Klutz, as the media continues to give him a free ride. While Obama is still being stung by the repudiated remarks of Rev. Wright, no notice is taken of McCain's embrace of religious-right loonies such as John Hagee and Rod Parsley. Almost daily, McCain validates his admission that he "doesn't know much about economics." And he continues to articulate an undiminished appetite for war and distaste for diplomacy.
On Track Toward the Election of John McCain.
Read and listen to that minuscule voice, the authentically "liberal media," and you will frequently read and hear the hopeful prediction that "the Democrats can't lose this time."
The issues are overwhelmingly with us, we are told, and the public is totally fed-up with Bush, Cheney, and the Republicans.
This exuberant optimism rests on three assumptions: (a) the media will give equal and fair access to both sides and will deal with substantive issues. (b) All who wish to vote may do so. And (c) that all the votes will be fairly counted.
All three assumptions are indisputably and demonstrably false. Even so, the "establishment Democrats" simply refuse to face up to these false assumptions, much less to deal with them. The Democratic National Committee and the Congressional Democrats are behaving as if they had learned nothing whatever in the past decade. All that is missing is the appointment by the DNC of Bob ("zero for eight") Shrumm as campaign chair.
Consequently, if conditions continue as they are, McCain is certain to win. All that he needs to do is get about 45% of the vote. Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia will take care of the rest.
And be assured that this is no ordinary election, whereby the party in power is prepared to gracefully relinquish power if defeated in the November election. Bush, Cheney, their accomplices, along with their sponsors, have much more to lose than their offices and privileges. At stake is the possession of untold billions of looted public funds, the reinstatement of just tax rates, and, for many, continuing evasion of the criminal justice system and federal prison sentences.
How to Derail the "Bomb Bomb Express".
In an open and fair election, accurately reported, the Democrats would trounce John McCain in November. But the Democrats' likely nominee, Barack Obama, has little chance against the combined opposition of the Republicans, the corporate media propaganda machine and the privatized election industry.
If the Democrats are to have a chance of winning in November, their triad of false assumptions - that the media will be fair and unbiased, that voters will have access to the polls, and that the election returns will be accurate - must be addressed decisively and soon.
Judging from the behavior of the congressional Democrats and the Obama and Clinton campaigns, I doubt that there will be any such response. Absent such a response, we are probably headed straight for a McCain administration promoting endless wars, provoking international ostracism and retaliation, and totally incapable of dealing with domestic economic collapse and global environmental catastrophes.
Even so, despair is not an option. In desperate times, astonishing reversals occasionally appear, suddenly and unannounced. Nor are these arbitrary "acts of God." Rather, they are brought about by an angry and aroused public. As I have often said before, our cause is as hopeless as that of Gandhi in India, of Sakharov in the Soviet Union, of Mandela in South Africa, and of Martin Luther King in Alabama. Add to that the hopelessness of Washington at Valley Forge, and the founders in Philadelphia in July, 1776.
So this is the way out:
The corporate media must be repudiated by a sizeable portion of the public. We know that this is possible, for it has happened before: in the Soviet Union, when the lies of Pravda ("Truth"), Izvestia ("News") and Gostelradio eventually destroyed their credibility, and discerning Soviet citizens looked abroad and at unauthorized publications ("Samizdat") for news, information and opinion.
US media is similarly losing its credibility. It is also losing its income (not a problem with the state-owned propaganda in the USSR) along with declining circulation and ratings.
Today American citizens, like the Russians under communism, also have a "Samizdat:"
the internet, and with it, access to the still-free and independent foreign press, and citizen-based websites.
If the few remaining responsible news organizations, such as McClatchey, and journalists, such as Keith Olbermann and Dan Abrams, and opinion networks such as Air America Radio, were to get a sudden increase of audience share, the shareholders of the captive corporate media would have to take notice.
The progressives and reform-minded Democrats don't need equal propaganda time. The truth will suffice.
Voter access is a hugely underrated issue. If Greg Palast is to be believed, "caging"
and other modes of disenfranchisement are being actively pursued by the GOP, and could, by themselves, deprive the Democrats of victory in November. These practices must be aggressively investigated and remedied in Congress, as time to do so is running out. And Democratic activists must intensify voter registration drives.
And finally, the election fraud issue must at long last break out into the public consciousness. The mainstream media has kept the lid on this scandal for eight years. Crimes of this magnitude, involving hundreds of co-conspirators, which means hundreds of potential whistle-blowers, eventually will "out." Unfortunately, this often happens decades later after the criminals have escaped punishment and died in opulent retirement. Other times, a tipping point of investigation, disclosure and publicity is reached, and, as Richard Nixon discovered, the impossible "come-uppence" suddenly becomes possible, and then inevitable.
The evidence of massive election fraud is out there: ignored, dismissed, and all the while irrefutable. This evidence must be publicized, vigorously and relentlessly. Meanwhile, the Democrats must aim for an overwhelming victory: a tsunami of votes that will be required to overwhelm the secretly programmed fraud in the paperless, touch-screen voting machines.
Above all, there must be, throughout the land, an inferno of public disgust with the crimes and betrayals of the Busheviks, along with determination to restore the founding principles of the American republic. Unfortunately, there is, at this moment, little evidence of such fiery determination, as the public is being drenched with trivia, and the distractions of personal financial hardship. But it is just possible that the fuel of discontent is accumulating in the public, along with the oxygen of hope and aspiration. What is required to ignite this new revolution is the third element of combustion: the fire of inspired and courageous leadership.
It is time for our Gandhi, our Sakharov, our Mandela, our M. L. King, to step forward.
A year ago, there were many among us who might plausibly fulfill this role. Now intervening events have narrowed that selection to just one: Barack Obama. We know that he has the words and the intellect to fulfill that role. But does he have the courage, the inspiration and the charisma to do so? And if so, who will follow?
We may soon find out.
from Ed Herman :
Date: 21 Aptil 2008
Subject: Siegman on "tough love for Israel".
Henry Siegman, at one time head of the American Jewish Committee, but now ostracized by the U.S. establishment and media for his excessive balance, once again puts his finger on the unacknowledgeable truth.
Tough Love for Israel
by Henry Siegman
We now have word that Tony Blair, envoy of the Middle East Quartet (the UN, the EU, Russia and the United States), and German Chancellor Angela Merkel intend to organize yet another peace conference, this time in Berlin in June. It is hard to believe that after the long string of failed peace initiatives, stretching back at least to the Madrid conference of 1991, diplomats are recycling these failures without seemingly having a clue as to why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is even more hopeless today than before these peace exercises first got under way.
The scandal of the international community's impotence in resolving one of history's longest bloodlettings is that it knows what the problem is but does not have the courage to speak the truth, much less deal with it. The peace conference in Germany will suffer from the same gutlessness that has marked all previous efforts. It will deal with everything except the problem primarily responsible for the impasse. That problem is that for all the sins attributable to the Palestinians--and they are legion, including inept and corrupt leadership, failed institution-building and the murderous violence of rejectionist groups--there is no prospect for a viable, sovereign Palestinian state, primarily because Israel's various governments, from 1967 until today, have never had the intention of allowing such a state to come into being.
It would be one thing if Israeli governments had insisted on delaying a Palestinian state until certain security concerns had been dealt with. But no government serious about a two-state solution to the conflict would have pursued, without letup, the theft and fragmentation of Palestinian lands, which even a child understands makes Palestinian statehood impossible.
Given the overwhelming disproportion of power between the occupier and the occupied, it is hardly surprising that Israeli governments and their military and security establishments found it difficult to resist the acquisition of Palestinian land. What is astounding is that the international community, pretending to believe Israel's claim that it is the victim and its occupied subjects the aggressors, has allowed this devastating dispossession to continue and the law of the jungle to prevail.
As long as Israel knows that by delaying the peace process it buys time to create facts on the ground, and that the international community will continue to indulge Israel's pretense that its desire for a two-state solution is being frustrated by the Palestinians, no new peace initiative can succeed, and the dispossession of the Palestinian people will indeed become irreversible.
There can be no greater delusion on the part of Western countries weighed down by guilt about the Holocaust than the belief that accommodating such an outcome would be an act of friendship to the Jewish people. The abandonment of the Palestinians now is surely not an atonement for the abandonment of European Jews seventy years ago, nor will it serve the security of the State of Israel and its people.
John Vinocur of the New York Times recently suggested that the virtually unqualified declarations of support for Israel by Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are "at a minimum an attempt to seek Israeli moderation by means of public assurances with this tacit subtext: these days, the European Union is not, or is no longer, its reflexive antagonist." But the expectation that uncritical Western support of Israel would lead to greater Israeli moderation and greater willingness to take risks for peace is blatantly contradicted by the conflict's history.
Time and again, this history has shown that the less opposition Israel encounters from its friends in the West for its dispossession of the Palestinians, the more uncompromising its behavior. Indeed, soon after Sarkozy's and Merkel's expressions of eternal solidarity, Israel's Ehud Olmert approved massive new construction in East Jerusalem--authorizing housing projects that had been frozen for years by previous governments because of their destructive impact on the possibility of a peace agreement--as well as continued expansion of Israel's settlements. And Olmert's defense minister, Ehud Barak, declared shortly after Merkel's departure that he will remove only a token number of the more than 500 checkpoints and roadblocks that Israel has repeatedly promised, and just as repeatedly failed, to dismantle. That announcement shattered whatever hope Palestinians may have had for recovery of their economy, as a consequence of $7 billion in new aid promised by international donors in December. In these circumstances, the international donor community will not pour good money after bad, as they so often have in the past.
What is required of statesmen is not more peace conferences or clever adjustments to previous peace formulations but the moral and political courage to end their collaboration with the massive hoax the peace process has been turned into. Of course, Palestinian violence must be condemned and stopped, particularly when it targets civilians. But is it not utterly disingenuous to pretend that Israel's occupation--maintained by IDF-manned checkpoints and barricades, helicopter gunships, jet fighters, targeted assassinations and military incursions, not to speak of the massive theft of Palestinian lands--is not an exercise in continuous and unrelenting violence against more than 3 million Palestinian civilians? If Israel were to renounce violence, could the occupation last even one day?
Israel's designs on the West Bank are not much different from the designs of the Arab forces that attacked the Jewish state in 1948--the nullification of the international community's partition resolution of 1947. Short of addressing the problem by its right name--something that is of an entirely different order than hollow statements that "settlements do not advance peace"--and taking effective collective action to end a colonial enterprise that disgraces what began as a noble Jewish national liberation struggle, further peace conferences, no matter how well intentioned, make their participants accessories to one of the longest and cruelest deceptions in the annals of international diplomacy.
from Truth Out :
Date: 5 May 2008
Subject: Union's War Protest Shuts Down West Coast Ports.
The New York Times
West Coast ports were shut down on Thursday as thousands of longshoremen failed to report for work, part of what their union leaders said was a one-day, one-shift protest against the war in Iraq. Cranes and forklifts stood still from Seattle to San Diego, and ships were stalled at sea as workers held rallies up and down the coast to blame the war for distracting public attention and money from domestic needs like health care and education.
Union's War Protest Shuts Down West Coast Ports
by William Yardley
Seattle - West Coast ports were shut down on Thursday as thousands of longshoremen failed to report for work, part of what their union leaders said was a one-day, one-shift protest against the war in Iraq.
Cranes and forklifts stood still from Seattle to San Diego, and ships were stalled at sea as workers held rallies up and down the coast to blame the war for distracting public attention and money from domestic needs like health care and education.
"We're loyal to America, and we won't stand by while our country, our troops and our economy are being destroyed by a war that's bankrupting us to the tune of $3 trillion," the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Bob McEllrath, said in a written statement. "It's time to stand up, and we're doing our part today."
About 25,000 union members are employed at 29 West Coast ports, but the protest took place only during the day shift. A spokesman for the main West Coast employers' group, the Pacific Maritime Association, said it appeared that about 6,000 workers did not show up for work, which meant that about 10,000 containers would not be loaded or unloaded from about 30 cargo ships.
The spokesman, Steve Getzug, cast the action as a strike and therefore a violation of the union's labor contract, which is up for renewal this summer.
"What the union says and what the union does are two different things," Mr. Getzug said. "This is genuine defiance."
Union leaders said that the association had rejected their request weeks ago for Thursday's one-shift work stoppage, but that local longshoremen continued to promote the protest. It went forward, the union leaders said, despite a demand on Wednesday by an independent arbitrator that they instruct members to go to work.
In many cases, dock workers were joined at port entrances or at rallies by other groups protesting the war or frustrated by economic issues or immigration policies. Some rallies seemed as much like street fairs as angry acts of resistance, with booksellers setting up stands and supporters of the presidential candidate Ralph Nader carrying banners.
On the Seattle waterfront, members of the United Auto Workers and the Service Employees International Union mixed with self-described socialists while many of the scores of police officers on the scene ate box lunches and petted their horses.
In Oakland, Calif., some truckers who said they were angry about high gas prices decided not to cross picket lines at the port.
"I got here ready to haul," said Cesar Lara, 41, a resident of Richmond, Calif., born in Zacatecas, Mexico. "They told me it was a picket but if I wanted to go in I could. But I'm supporting them and to end the war."
Several drivers said truckers were planning their own nationwide work stoppage in the next several days to protest record-high gas prices and surcharges.
In Long Beach, Calif., part of nation's largest port complex, truck drivers from California and neighboring states waited for the port security gates to reopen on Thursday evening, when union members said they planned to return to work. Nearby, in Wilmington, longshoremen met inside a hall while some union members outside read pink fliers stating the reasons for work stoppage.
Kevin Schroeder, director of Local 13's political action committee, said, "The children of middle-class people are over there dying, so we decided to do something. We are fortunate enough to be in an organization that has a platform to do something."
Rebecca Cathcart contributed reporting from Long Beach, California, and Carolyn Marshall from Oakland, California
from Information Clearing House :
Date: 14 April 2008
Subject: World-wide Food Shortages.
More than three billion people condemned to premature death
from hunger and thirst
by Fidel Castro
14/04/08 " Granma
" -- - T
HAT is not an exaggerated figure, but rather a cautious one. I have meditated a lot on that in the wake of President Bushs meeting with U.S. automobile manufacturers.
The sinister idea of converting food into fuel was definitively established as an economic line in U.S. foreign policy last Monday, March 26.
A cable from the AP, the U.S. news agency that reaches all corners of the world, states verbatim:
WASHINGTON, March 26 (AP). President Bush touted the benefits of flexible fuel vehicles running on ethanol and biodiesel on Monday, meeting with automakers to boost support for his energy plans.
Bush said a commitment by the leaders of the domestic auto industry to double their production of flex-fuel vehicles could help motorists shift away from gasoline and reduce the nation's reliance on imported oil.
That's a major technological breakthrough for the country, Bush said after inspecting three alternative vehicles. If the nation wants to reduce gasoline use, he said the consumer has got to be in a position to make a rational choice.
The president urged Congress to move expeditiously on legislation the administration recently proposed to require the use of 35 billion gallons of alternative fuels by 2017 and seek higher fuel economy standards for automobiles.
Bush met with General Motors Corp. chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner, Ford Motor Co. chief executive Alan Mulally and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group chief executive Tom LaSorda.
They discussed support for flex-fuel vehicles, attempts to develop ethanol from alternative sources like switchgrass and wood chips and the administration's proposal to reduce gas consumption by 20 percent in 10 years.
The discussions came amid rising gasoline prices. The latest Lundberg Survey found the nationwide average for gasoline has risen 6 cents per gallon in the past two weeks to $2.61.
I believe that reducing and moreover recycling all motors that run on electricity and fuel is an elemental and urgent need for all humanity. The tragedy does not lie in reducing those energy costs but in the idea of converting food into fuel.
It is known very precisely today that one ton of corn can only produce 413 liters of ethanol on average, according to densities. That is equivalent to 109 gallons.
The average price of corn in U.S. ports has risen to $167 per ton. Thus, 320 million tons of corn would be required to produce 35 billion gallons of ethanol.
According to FAO figures, the U.S. corn harvest rose to 280.2 million tons in the year 2005.
Although the president is talking of producing fuel derived from grass or wood shavings, anyone can understand that these are phrases totally lacking in realism. Lets be clear: 35 billion gallons translates into 35 followed by nine zeros!
Afterwards will come beautiful examples of what experienced and well-organized U.S. farmers can achieve in terms of human productivity by hectare: corn converted into ethanol; the chaff from that corn converted into animal feed containing 26% protein; cattle dung used as raw material for gas production. Of course, this is after voluminous investments only within the reach of the most powerful enterprises, in which everything has to be moved on the basis of electricity and fuel consumption. Apply that recipe to the countries of the Third World and you will see that people among the hungry masses of the Earth will no longer eat corn. Or something worse: lend funding to poor countries to produce corn ethanol based on corn or any other food and not a single tree will be left to defend humanity from climate change.
Other countries in the rich world are planning to use not only corn but also wheat, sunflower seeds, rapeseed and other foods for fuel production. For the Europeans, for example, it would become a business to import all of the worlds soybeans with the aim of reducing the fuel costs for their automobiles and feeding their animals with the chaff from that legume, particularly rich in all types of essential amino acids.
In Cuba, alcohol used to be produced as a byproduct of the sugar industry after having made three extractions of sugar from cane juice. Climate change is already affecting our sugar production. Lengthy periods of drought alternating with record rainfall, that barely make it possible to produce sugar with an adequate yield during the 100 days of our very moderate winter; hence, there is less sugar per ton of cane or less cane per hectare due to prolonged drought in the months of planting and cultivation.
I understand that in Venezuela they would be using alcohol not for export but to improve the environmental quality of their own fuel. For that reason, apart from the excellent Brazilian technology for producing alcohol, in Cuba the use of such a technology for the direct production of alcohol from sugar cane juice is no more than a dream or the whim of those carried away by that idea. In our country, land handed over to the direct production of alcohol could be much useful for food production for the people and for environmental protection.
All the countries of the world, rich and poor, without any exception, could save millions and millions of dollars in investment and fuel simply by changing all the incandescent light bulbs for fluorescent ones, an exercise that Cuba has carried out in all homes throughout the country. That would provide a breathing space to resist climate change without killing the poor masses through hunger.
As can be observed, I am not using adjectives to qualify the system and the lords of the earth. That task can be excellently undertaken by news experts and honest social, economic and political scientists abounding in the world who are constantly delving into to the present and future of our species. A computer and the growing number of Internet networks are sufficient for that.
Today, we are seeing for the first time a really globalized economy and a dominant power in the economic, political and military terrain that in no way resembles that of Imperial Rome.
Some people will be asking themselves why I am talking of hunger and thirst. My response to that: it is not about the other side of the coin, but about several sides of something else, like a die with six sides, or a polyhedron with many more sides.
I refer in this case to an official news agency, founded in 1945 and generally well-informed about economic and social questions in the world: TELAM. It said, and I quote:
In just 18 years, close to 2 billion people will be living in countries and regions where water will be a distant memory. Two-thirds of the worlds population could be living in places where that scarcity produces social and economic tensions of such a magnitude that it could lead nations to wars for the precious blue gold.
Over the last 100 years, the use of water has increased at a rate twice as fast as that of population growth.
According to statistics from the World Water Council, it is estimated that by 2015, the number of inhabitants affected by this grave situation will rise by 3.5 billion people.
The United Nations celebrated World Water Day on March 23, and called to begin confronting, that very day, the international scarcity of water, under the coordination of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), with the goal of highlighting the increasing importance of water scarcity on a global scale, and the need for greater integration and cooperation that would make it possible to guarantee sustained and efficient management of water resources.
Many regions on the planet are suffering from severe water shortages, living with less than 500 cubic meters per person per year. The number of regions suffering from chronic scarcity of this vital element is increasingly growing.
The principal consequences of water scarcity are an insufficient amount of the precious liquid for producing food, the impossibility of industrial, urban and tourism development and health problems.
That was the TELEAM cable.
In this case I will refrain from mentioning other important facts, like the melting ice in Greenland and the Antarctic, damage to the ozone layer and the growing volume of mercury in many species of fish for common consumption.
There are other issues that could be addressed, but with these lines I am just trying to comment on President Bushs meeting with the principal executives of U.S. automakers.
March 28, 2007