|Progressive Calendar 11.19.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2009 07:58:43 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 11.19.09 1. Juvenile justice 11.19 1pm 2. Eagan peace vigil 11.19 4:30pm 3. Leslie's home 11.19 4:30pm 4. Northtown vigil 11.19 5pm 5. Health phone bank 11.19 6pm 6. Mpls 2010 budget 11.19 6:05pm 7. Energy system 11.19 7pm 8. AI 11.19 7:15pm 9. Women vets/KFAI 11.20 11am 10. Netroots nation 11.20 1pm 11. Palestine vigil 11.20 4:15pm 12. Transgender 11.20 7pm 13. NOW/warriors 11.20 8:30pm 14. Dave Bicking - fwd - Carrie and Scott taken hostage by the State! 15. John Perkins - Poverty, global trade justice, & the roots of terrorism --------1 of 15-------- From: Peggy Katch <peggy [at] jillclarkpa.com> From: Brian Smith [mailto:bk-smith [at] hotmail.com] Subject: Juvenile justice 11.19 1pm I am hoping that all of you can show support for Juvenile Justice reform in Hennepin County by, making an appearance on Thursday, November 19th between the hours of 1pm and 4pm. Your presence could make the difference in eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in Hennepin County's Juvenile Justice System. If you have any questions please contact me at 651-788-7458, or email me at bk-smith [at] hotmail.com. Please feel free to forward to any interested parties. -Sincerely Brian K. Smith WE NEED YOUR PRESENCE! Hennepin County Board Meeting 300 S 6th Street, 24th Floor, 24A: Administrative side Thursday, November 19, 2009 1pm-4pm Juvenile Corrections is presenting their 2010 Budget. However, there is little funding being proposed for community based alternatives for youth of color. Please attend to show your support for community based alternatives and systems reform. Eliminating the alarming racial and ethnic disparities in Hennepin County's juvenile justice system is a must. --------2 of 15-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 11.19 4:30pm PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------3 of 15-------- From: Lynette Malles <lynettemalles [at] msn.com> Subject: Leslie's home 11.19 4:30pm Press Conference at Leslie Parks' Thursday, Nov. 19th Important developments in the struggle to save Leslie Parks' home. On Thursday, Nov. 19, 4:30 pm we will be officially launching our campaign to "Call IndyMac!" with a press conference at Leslie Parks' house, 3749 Park Ave in Mpls. Please try to be there, and keep reading for the latest developments. Today Nov. 17, was a big day in the legal and financial fight to save the Parks home: Leslie's mother, Tecora Parks, recorded a "quit claim" deed to officially put the property in Leslie's name. While Tecora had homesteaded the property to her daughter years ago, that arrangement made it harder for Leslie to get financing on her own. In any case, today's quit claim deed opens up new avenues for securing financing for the home. But, time is short and we all need to take action to make sure the home stays in the Parks' family. The "redemption period" still ends Nov. 30. If nothing changes, at that point IndyMac could start eviction proceedings. Background: Because of needing to pay for city-ordered repairs, Tecora Parks, Leslie's mother, was swindled into getting an ARM (adjustable rate mortgage). The man from Allied Mortgage who sold her the ARM lied and insisted it was a conventional loan. It is important to note that Tecora Parks had perfect credit and qualified for a conventional loan hands down. But she was lied to, got swindled into an ARM, and after months of trying to keep up, both Tecora and Leslie lost their good credit and went into foreclosure. Remember, these banks got billions in bailout money and the feds "gifted" IndyMac to OneWest Bank. In this time of economic crisis, we have to let them know that it is time that the people got some help. We are currently researching the best contact phone numbers at IndyMac/OneWest and the FDIC. We will present them at the Thursday press conference - earlier if possible. --------4 of 15-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 11.19 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------5 of 15-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Health phone bank 11.19 6pm November 19: Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition Phone Bank for the Minnesota Health Plan. Take part in the Campaign for the Minnesota Health Plan. 6 - 8 PM at MUHCC, 2469 University Ave. W, St. Paul. Sign up. --------6 of 15-------- From: Mike Tupper <miketupperforcitycouncil [at] gmail.com> Subject: Mpls 2010 budget 11.19 6:05pm City holding two public hearings on the proposed 2010 budget Two public hearings on the City's 2010 budget are coming up in the next few weeks. These hearings give you a chance to share your thoughts on the proposal with Council Members. State law requires the City to hold a budget hearing on the same day the City Council scheduled to adopt it (which will be Dec. 7 this year). However, the Council is also holding an additional public hearing in advance of that date. Public hearings on tax levy and 2010 City budget Thursday, Nov. 19, 6:05 p.m. City Hall, 350 South 5th Street, room 317 Monday, Dec. 7, 6:05 p.m. City Hall, 350 South 5th Street, room 317 The Mayor's proposed City budget for 2010 focuses on jobs, while preserving public safety gains and continuing to invest in infrastructure. It includes expanding a program that offers low interest loans and financing tools to small businesses, and $1.2 million to help more people find and get jobs through the City's Workforce Centers. Minneapolis is facing a number of serious fiscal challenges that affect the City's bottom line. This includes State cuts to Minneapolis of more than $40 million during 2009-2010 and escalating health care and pension costs. To balance the budget, the Mayor's proposal includes a mix of budget cuts, reforms and a new revenue policy. For more information on the proposed 2010 budget, visit the Mayor's Office Web page at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/mayor. --------7 of 15-------- From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Energy system 11.19 7pm 3rd Thursday Forum: ENERGY SYSTEM Free and open to the public. Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale & Hennepin). Park in church lot. Thursday, November 19, 7:00 - 9:00 pm. A CARBON-FREE AND NUCLEAR-FREE ENERGY SYSTEM In 2007, the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research published a ground- breaking analysis of the planet's three-fold energy crisis: severe climate change caused mainly by carbon dioxide emissions; insecurity, violence and war associated with control of oil supplies; and nuclear weapons proliferation connected to the spread of nuclear energy. That work, Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy, examines the feasibility of getting to a zero-carbon dioxide energy system by 2050. Authored by IEER president and senior engineer, Arjun Makhijani, the book provides a technological roadmap for achieving the goals indicated in its title and is popular among clean energy advocates and policy makers. The presentation will summarize the analysis and discuss what is being done to implement the book's recommendations. Presenter: LISA LEDWIDGE. Outreach Director at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Adjunct Instructor at Inver Hills Community College, and former CGS-MN Board member, Lisa has been deeply involved in environmental, peace and security issues for more than a decade. Her focus has been on eliminating nuclear weapons and the Cold War's health risk to present and future generations. She holds Master's degrees in Environmental Science and in Public Affairs. Telecommuting from Minneapolis, Lisa edits and writes for IEER's quarterly newsletter, Science for Democratic Action, and other publications. Additionally, she organizes annual workshops for activists, is a frequent public speaker, and has testified before a Congressional subcommittee on nuclear worker issues. IEER, a nonprofit, nonpartisan technical organization based in Takoma Park, Maryland, provides scientific information and analysis on environmental, energy, and security issues to grassroots activists, policy makers, journalists, and the public. --------8 of 15-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: AI 11.19 7:15pm AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, November 19th, at 7:15 p.m. St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information, contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at] NatureWorksLLC.com. --------9 of 15-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Women vets/KFAI 11.20 11am Fri.NOV.13,11am: WOMEN VETERANS on "Catalyst"/KFAI "Catalyst:politics & culture", hosted by Lydia Howell on KFAI Radio 90.3fm Mpls 106.7 fm St.Paul Live-streaming & archived for 2 weeks after broadcast at: http://www.kfai.org/catalyst Women now make up 15% of the U.S. military and while on paper they are still allegedly not supposed to be "in combat", since the 1991 Gulf war and in the current occupations of Iraq and Afghanisan, women soldiers are in combat. But, they not only face "the enemy", they face harassment, abuse and sexual violence from their male comrades. Hear a conversaton with HELEN BENEDICT, author of "The Lonely Soldier" who interviewed many women and tells the in-depth stories of five women veterans. HALF the women in the U.S> military are women of color and most women come from working-class or poor backgrounds, many of them single mothers.Their voices still remain unheard and the military re-victimizes them when they report rape by fellow soldiers. We'll also remember Veterans' Day as we always do with anti-war music & poetry - since all too often such days for "honoring fallen soldiers" are manipulated to glorifying war and encouraging more youth to join the military. It's THE COST OF WAR that Veterans' Day should stand for. [If we didn't have the rich pushing them, we could end wars tomorrow. -ed] --------10 of 15-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Netroots nation 11.20 1pm St.Paul/NOV.20-21:NETROOTS NATION Conf. Xavier Lopez-Ayala, NetrootsMinnesota.org wrote: GO TO THIS LINK TO REGISTER: http://netrootsminnesota.org/ NOV.20-21: NETROOTS Minnesota St. Paul Hilton Garden Inn 11/20/2009 at 1:00 PM 411 Minnesota Street Saint Paul, MN 55101 "Netroots" refers to a community of progressives committed to discussing important issues and using technology to empower regular people to influence the public debate. From blogging to texting and tweeting, the Netroots is helping the progressive movement adapt to our new media reality. That's why I'm so excited that Netroots Nation is holding a regional conference here in St. Paul on November 20-21. Netroots Minnesota will offer panels, keynotes, training sessions, and networking opportunities for progressives to come together to exchange ideas. <http://allianceminnesota.org/page/m/3ae5a902/4569acb/1a62d5db/5d47563e/2463350629/VEsH/> The full agenda hasn't been set, but check out some of what's taking shape: * Our New Reality - Why Social Media is Key to Building a Progressive Movement * Read My Lips: We Need Fair Taxes: How Progressives Can Save the Budget * Point, Shoot, Post: Why Online Video Matters & How to Do It * Impact Journalism: Bringing together bloggers and advocacy organizations to further progressive change -- From: Denise Cardinal Subject: Join us for Netroots Minnesota You know you're not alone in wanting to build progressive power in the state. Over the next 12 months, we will be working hard to advocate for progressive policies. But in order to be effective, we're going to need to get the progressive grassroots and Netroots together to network and organize. Join us, along with progressives from all over Minnesota, in St. Paul on November 20th and 21st for the first ever Netroots Minnesota conference. We'll have captivating panels led by national and state experts, practical training sessions and workshops, and a gubernatorial candidate forum. This conference is the premier kickoff to the critical conversations progressives will be having as we approach 2010. *Declare your support for the Netroots community and register to attend Netroots Minnesota at NetrootsMinnesota.org. <http://allianceminnesota.org/page/m/3ae5a902/4569acb/1a62d5db/5d475640/2463350629/VEsF/>* <http://allianceminnesota.org/page/m/3ae5a902/4569acb/1a62d5db/5d475641/2463350629/VEsC/> Netroots Minnesota is modeled after the Netroots Nation conference (formerly known as the YearlyKos Convention). The Netroots have played a critical role in helping shape a progressive agenda over the last several years. We hope to build upon that same success in Minnesota, and with the hotly contested 2010 gubernatorial race on the horizon, now is the time to start this important conversation. Through this conference we hope to strengthen our community, inspire action and serve as an incubator for ideas that challenge the status quo and ultimately affect change in the public sphere. Don't be left out! Space is limited, so visit NetrootsMinnesota.org and reserve your spot today <http://allianceminnesota.org/page/m/3ae5a902/4569acb/1a62d5db/5d475642/2463350629/VEsD/>. > Denise Cardinal Executive Director Alliance for A Better Minnesota [Let us hope this is not just another DFL front to keep unhappy Dems from joining third parties. Unhappy Dems should leave and never return. -ed] --------11 of 15-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine vigil 11.20 4:15pm The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs available. --------12 of 15-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Remember transgender 11.20 7pm November 20: OutFront Minnesota Transgender Day of Remembrance. Throughout the world, people gather this day every year to pay respect to those needlessly killed by hate crimes against the transgender community and to call attention to the threat of violence faced by gender-variant people. This memorial service recalls the lives of those killed in the past twelve months due to anti-transgender violence. 7 PM at Spirit of the Lakes United Church of Christ, 2930 13th Ave. S, Minneapolis. More information: 612-670-1978. --------13 of 15-------- From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org> Subject: NOW/warriors 11.20 8:30pm NOW | America's New Wounded Warriors NOW: "The Pentagon estimates that as many as one in five American soldiers are coming home from war zones with traumatic brain injuries, many of which require round-the-clock attention. But lost in the reports of these returning soldiers are the stories of family members who often sacrifice everything to care for them." [As long as the rich people who make the wars don't have to take care of them, who cares? Dump them on the scrap heap and get new killers. We are expendable/superflous/genocidable, billons of non-rich blots on the earth whose only function is to work for, die for, or kill other non-rich blots for, the rich. -ed] --------14 of 15------ From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com> Subject: Carrie and Scott taken hostage by the State! Still more state repression. This is outrageous. - Dave Bicking -- Fwd -- Date sent: Tue, 17 Nov 2009 14:10:28 -0800 (PST) Subject: Carrie and Scott taken hostage by the State! Today, Minneapolis-based activists Carrie Feldman and Scott DeMuth refused to testify in front of a grand jury in Davenport, Iowa, and were found to be in contempt of court. They were immediately handcuffed and hauled off by U.S. Marshalls. According to District Judge John Jarvey, who presided over the contempt hearings, both will remain incarcerated until they agree to testify. The state can lock them up for the duration of the grand jury - another 11 months. For reasons all too familiar and valid to anyone who has followed the escalation of Green Scare repression, both Carrie and Scott refused to cooperate with the grand jury by providing information about themselves and their comrades. We stand in solidarity with them for refusing to be complicit in their own persecution. We will stand with them every day until they are free. While the law does not compel the U.S. Attorney's Office to disclose the subject of the grand jury investigation, supporters believe that it is likely related to an unsolved Animal Liberation Front action in 2004 at the University of Iowa. At the time, Carrie was only 15 years old and Scott was only 17 years old; both were residents of the Twin Cities. However, both have more recently been involved in supporting political prisoners, specifically those incarcerated as a result of the government's targeting of animal-rights and environmental activists. Carrie, Scott, and their communities feel that this support work has now made them targets as well. Prior to their grand jury appearances today and the contempt hearings that followed, between 30 and 40 supporters rallied outside the Federal Courthouse in Davenport. The support rally was characterized by a disproportionate law enforcement presence, and the proceedings themselves by a sense in the courtroom that the state´s actions were perfunctory at best. District Judge Jarvey dismissed out of hand arguments offered by both Carrie and Scott´s counsel regarding the need for them to remain free. For instance, Carrie is her ailing grandmother´s caretaker and Scott is currently a graduate student whose intellectual and professional integrity would be irreparably damaged by participating in a sealed investigation. In response, the judge simply read verbatim the legal language about contempt charges and then ordered the two taken into custody immediately. For his part, U.S. Attorney Cliff Cronk not only ignored the calls that flooded his office on Monday demanding that the subpoenas be quashed, allowing Carrie and Scott to continue on with their lives, but went substantially further down the rabbit hole. In Carrie´s case, in particular, his arguments and implications were egregiously over-the-top. Cross-examining Carrie´s father, for instance, Cronk cynically implied that the elderly grandmother she cares for was a sort of pawn in an elaborate ruse to avoid incarceration. He suggested that a shirt Carrie had been photographed wearing, in which the letters "L" and "F" were visible, was evidence of "membership" in either the ALF or ELF. And he even cited the fact that she has a white rat companion animal as evidence of ... something or other. It would all be a rather inspired piece of satire if he were kidding. With both Carrie and Scott currently incarcerated, it´s unfortunately clear he´s not. But the community members who attended the morning´s rally - as well as those who publicly gathered in support from Minneapolis to Dallas, TX - aren´t laughing, either. They have vowed to mount pressure on Cronk´s office, demanding Carrie and Scott´s immediate release. Since the grand jury process gleans much of its power from its secrecy, they intend to increase the attention currently being cast on these Orwellian proceedings. Prior to appearing before the grand jury, Carrie and Scott prepared statements regarding the repression they are facing: Carrie Feldman Today I have my second appearance before a federal grand jury that is investigating animal rights actions that occurred at the University of Iowa in 2004. Last month, after being subpoenaed in Minneapolis with one day´s notice, I appeared before this grand jury and plead my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Today, that right will be sidestepped with technical legal "protections" that have little or no substantive value. I will once again be put in front of a grand jury with no lawyer present in the room, and once again they will attempt to coerce me to testify. The prosecutor has filed to grant me immunity. I do not need immunity from prosecution for a crime that I was not involved in and have no relation to. This will not change my decision to refuse to cooperate with the grand jury. I stand here today in solidarity with everyone who has stood up to resist the exploitation of the environment and animals, the repression of the state, and the abuses of the justice system. In anticipation of my refusal to cooperate, the court has scheduled a contempt hearing for today at ten o´clock. And they´re right. I do feel contempt for a justice system that prosecutes people for property damage that is done in defense of life, while real violence is committed at the hands of vivisectors, the police, and the military on a daily basis. I feel contempt for the federal agents that would use these prosecutions as a pretext to investigate above ground movements and activists like me, with no apparent grounds other than my political beliefs and legal activities. I will not help them to do this, and I will not let them violate my rights and privacy. Today, I may be taken to jail for up to eleven months, solely for taking a moral stand against an institution that I believe to be corrupt and obsolete. I have not been accused of any crime. So let me ask you this, Clifford Cronk. Is it worth it to you? Is it worth it to you when my friend´s eight year old sobs, wondering if her mother could be going to jail next? Is it worth it, Tom Reinwart? Is it worth it to you when my elderly grandma is without a caretaker? Is this what you work for, Melissa Hendrickson? Is it worth it to tear an innocent 20-year-old woman away from everyone that she loves and cares for? Is this justice? Thank you for your support. Scott DeMuth Hau Mitakuyapi. Cante wasteya nape ciyuzapi do. Iyuskinyan waciyankapi do. Dakota ia Hepan emakiyapi do. Wasicu ia Scott DeMuth emakiyapi do. Damakota do. Oyate mitawa kin hena Bdewakantunwan ewicakiyapi do. Bdote heciya tanhan wahi do. Wanna nina cante mawaste do. Hello all my relatives. With a good heart, I greet you all with a handshake. It is good to see all of you here today. My name is Scott. My place name is Dakota is Hepan. I am from Bdote, the confluence of the Mnisota and Mississippi Rivers, where the creation of the Bdewakantunwan took place. Before anything else, I wanted to address you all in the Dakota language. State repression isn´t anything new to this country, or even to this city. One hundred and forty-six years ago, only a few miles from this courthouse, over 300 Dakota prisoners of war were held in a concentration camp. Over a third of them died in their captivity. Whatever happens to me today, whatever I face, it will be easy in light of the hardships those men faced. Right now, my heart is really good. I am glad to see so many people from so many of the communities I am a part of here to support me today. Being part of a community means we help each other. We support each other. We strengthen each other. And sometimes, we must make sacrifices for each other. Grand juries started as an important part of our justice system to prevent over-reaching prosecuting powers. However, this process has been used historically against political movements. In the context of this history, most recently in the Green Scare, when investigative techniques of law enforcement have been halted by the silence of political movements, grand juries have been used as a tactic to intimidate our communities and as an attempt to coerce testimony from movement members. This is an abuse of a constitutionally mandated process by using it as an investigative tool rather than its intended purpose. Grand juries can be very disempowering for us all, and especially for those targeted by them. We face questioning without legal counsel present or a right to remain silent. We can be threatened, coerced, and jailed. However, no punishment could be worse than surrendering our values. And this decision, whether we cooperate or resist, is the one thing we, as individuals, have control of in this process. Luckily, this is the choice that allows these grand juries to succeed or to fail. Our willingness to cooperate and to be complacent, our willingness to be intimidated and to be scared, not only serves to legitimize these proceedings, but it also empowers the tactics of state repression. However, when we as individuals, with the strength and backing of our communities, are no longer afraid of their punishment, choose to resist this process and refuse to cooperate, we dis-empower this tactic and give strength to our communities. We return the strength that is given to us. So thank you all for giving me that strength. And I only hope to give back as much as has been given to me. *** Supporters are still determining where Scott and Carrie are being held. Watch for more information about where to send them mail, as well as other ways to help. Meanwhile, legal funds are needed. To donate, and for more information about Carrie and Scott, please visit http://davenportgrandjury.wordpress.com. ------- End of forwarded message ------- --------15 of 15-------- Poverty, Global Trade Justice, and the Roots of Terrorism by John Perkins Sunday, November 15, 2009 YES! Magazine Common Dreams To combat terrorism, we should address the root causes of poverty, says former "economic hit man" The following is adapted from Hoodwinked: An Economic Hitman Reveals Why the World Financial Markets Imploded - and What We Need to Do to Remake Them. Random House, 2009: Navy Seal snipers rescued an American cargo ship captain unharmed and killed three Somali pirates in a daring operation in the Indian Ocean on Sunday, ending a five-day standoff between United States naval forces and a small band of brigands in a covered orange lifeboat off the Horn of Africa. The New York Times published that article in April 2009. The very words "pirates," "daring operation," "standoff," and "brigands" were typical of the U.S. media; they made it sound as though white-hatted cowboys had ridden to the rescue of a town besieged by Billy the Kid and his gang. Having lived in that part of the world as an economic hit man, I knew there was another side to what had happened. I wondered why no one was asking about the causes of piracy. I recalled my visits with the Bugi people when I was sent to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in the early 1970s. The Bugi had been infamous pirates since the time of the East India companies in the 1600s and 1700s. Their ferocity inspired returning European sailors to discipline their disobedient children with threats that "the bugiman will get you." In the 1970s, we feared that they would attack our oil tankers as they passed through the vital Strait of Malacca. I sat with one of their elders on the Sulawesi shore one afternoon. We watched his people build a sailing galleon, known as a prahu, much as they had for centuries. Like a gigantic beached whale, it was high and dry, propped upright by rows of gnarled stakes that resembled roots sprouting from its hull. Dozens of men hustled about it, working with adzes, hatchets, and hand drills. I expressed the concerns of my government to him, intimating that we would retaliate if the oil lanes were threatened. The "terrorists" I have found in Andean caves and desert villages are people whose families were forced off their farms by oil companies, hydroelectric dams, or "free trade" agreements, whose children are starving, and who want nothing more than to return to their families with food, seeds, and deeds to lands they can cultivate. The old man glared at me. "We were not pirates in the old days," he said, his bushy white hair bobbing indignantly. "We only fought to defend our lands against Europeans who came to steal our spices. If we attack your ships today, it is because they take the trade away from us; your 'stink ships' foul our waters with oil, destroying our fish and starving our children." Then he shrugged. "Now, we're at a loss." His smile was disarming. "How can a handful of people in wooden sailing ships fight off America's submarines, airplanes, bombs, and missiles?" A few days after the rescue, the Times ran an editorial entitled "Fighting Piracy in Somalia" that concluded: Yet left to its own devices, Somalia can only become more noxious, spreading violence to its East African neighbors, breeding more extremism and making shipping through the Gulf of Aden ever more dangerous and costly. Various approaches are being discussed, such as working through Somalia's powerful clans to reconstitute first local and then regional and national institutions. These must be urgently explored. Nowhere did the Times - or any of the other media outlets that I read, heard, or saw - attempt to analyze the roots of the problem in Somalia. Debates abounded about whether to arm ships' crews and send more Navy vessels to the region. There was that vague reference to reconstituting regional and national institutions, but what exactly did the author mean by that? Institutions that would truly help, like free hospitals, schools, and soup kitchens? Or local militias, prisons, and Gestapo-style police forces? The pirates were fishermen whose livelihoods had been destroyed. They were fathers whose children were hungry. Ending piracy would require helping them live sustainable, dignified lives. Could journalists not understand this? Had none of them visited the slums of Mogadishu? Finally, NPR's Morning Edition on May 6 aired a report from Gwen Thompkins; she interviewed a pirate who went by the name Abshir Abdullahi Abdi. "We understand what we're doing is wrong," Abdi explained. "But hunger is more important than any other thing." Thompkins commented, "Fishing villages in the area have been devastated by illegal trawlers and waste dumping from industrialized nations. Coral reefs are reportedly dead. Lobster and tuna have vanished. Malnutrition is high." You might think we would have learned from Vietnam, Iraq, the "Black Hawk down" incident in Somalia back in 1993, and other such forays, that military responses seldom discourage insurgencies. In fact, they often do the opposite; foreign intervention is likely to infuriate local populations, motivate them to support the rebels, and result in an escalation of resistance activities. That was the way it happened during the American Revolution, Latin America's wars for independence from Spain, and in colonial Africa, Indochina, Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, and so many other places. Blaming pirates and other desperate people for our problems is a distraction we cannot afford if we truly want to find a solution to the crises confronting us. These incidents are symptoms of our failed economic model. They are to our society the equivalent of a heart attack to an individual. We send in Navy Seals to rescue the hostages, as we would hire doctors to perform a coronary artery bypass. But it is essential to admit that both are reactions to an underlying problem. The patient needs to address the reasons his or her heart failed in the first place, such as smoking, diet, and lack of exercise. The same is true for piracy and all forms of terrorism. Our children's futures are interlocked with the futures of children born in the fishing villages of Somalia, the mountains of Burma (Myanmar), and the jungles of Colombia. When we forget that fact, when we see those children as remote, as somehow disconnected from our lives, as merely the offspring of pirates, guerrillas, or drug runners, we point the gun at our own progeny as well as at the desperate fathers and mothers in lands that seem so far away but in reality are our next door neighbors. Every time I read about the actions we take to protect ourselves from so-called terrorists, I have to wonder at the narrow-mindedness of our strategy. Although I have met such people in Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran, and Nicaragua, I have never met one who wanted to take up a gun. I know there are crazed men and women who kill because they cannot stop themselves, serial killers, and mass-murderers. I am certain that members of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other such groups are driven by fanaticism, but such extremists are able to recruit sizable numbers of followers only from populations that feel oppressed or destitute. The "terrorists" I have found in Andean caves and desert villages are people whose families were forced off their farms by oil companies, hydroelectric dams, or "free trade" agreements, whose children are starving, and who want nothing more than to return to their families with food, seeds, and deeds to lands they can cultivate. In Mexico, many of the guerrillas and narcotraffickers once owned farms where they grew corn. They lost their livelihoods when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) gave subsidized U.S. producers an unfair price advantage. Here is how the Organic Consumers Organization, a nonprofit that represents more than 850,000 members, subscribers, and volunteers, describes it: Since NAFTA came into effect on January 1, 1994, U.S. corn exports to Mexico have almost doubled to some 6 million metric tons in 2002. NAFTA eliminated quotas limiting corn imports . . . but allowed U.S. subsidy programs to remain in place - promoting dumping of corn into Mexico by U.S. agribusiness at below the cost of production. . . . The price paid to farmers in Mexico for corn fell by over 70 percent. . . The passage above exposes the dark side of "free trade" policies. U.S. presidents and our Congress have implemented regulations that prohibited other countries from imposing tariffs on U.S. goods or subsidizing locally grown produce that might compete with our agribusinesses while permitting us to maintain our own import barriers and subsidies, thus giving U.S. corporations an unfair advantage. "Free trade" is a euphemism; it prohibits others from enjoying the benefits offered to the multinationals. It does not, however, regulate against the pollution that is melting glaciers, the land grabs, and the sweatshops. Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, a Nicaraguan priest who ministered to Sandinista guerrillas and is now president of the U.N. General Assembly, has a firsthand appreciation for such euphemisms and the power of words used to sway public perceptions. "Terrorism is not really an 'ism,' " he told me. "There's no connection between the Sandinistas who fought the Contras and Al Qaeda, or between Colombia's FARC and fishermen turned pirates in Africa and Asia. Yet they are all called 'terrorists.' That's just a convenient way for your government to convince the world that there is another enemy 'ism' out there, like communism used to be. It diverts attention from the very real problems." Our narrow-minded attitudes and the policies that result from them foment violence, rebellions, and wars. In the long run, almost no one benefits from attacking the people we label as "terrorists." With one glaring exception: the corporatocracy. Those who own and run the companies that build ships, missiles, and armored vehicles; make guns, uniforms, and bulletproof vests; distribute food, soft drinks, and ammunition; provide insurance, medicines, and toilet paper; construct ports, airstrips, and housing; and reconstruct devastated villages, factories, schools, and hospitals - they, and only they, are the big winners. The rest of us are hoodwinked by that one, loaded word: terrorist. The current economic collapse has awakened us to the importance of regulating and reining in the people who control the businesses that benefit from the misuse of words like terrorism and who perpetrate other scams. We recognize today that white-collared executives are not a special, incorruptible breed. Like the rest of us, they require rules. Yet it is not enough for us to reestablish regulations that separate investment banks from commercial banks and insurance companies, reinstate anti-usury laws, and impose guidelines to ensure that consumers are not burdened by credit they cannot afford. We cannot simply return to solutions that worked before. Only by adopting new strategies that promote global environmental and social responsibility will we safeguard the future. John Perkins adapted this excerpt of Hoodwinked: An Economic Hitman Reveals Why the World Financial Markets Imploded.and What We Need to Do to Remake Them for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. John is also the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, The World is as You Dream It: Shamanic Teachings from the Amazon and Andes, and Spirit of the Shuar. YES! Magazine encourages you to make free use of this article by taking these easy steps. Perkins, J. (2009, November 12). Poverty, Global Trade Justice, and the Roots of Terrorism. Retrieved November 15, 2009, from YES! Magazine Web site: http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/poverty-global-trade-justice-and-the-roots-of-terrorism. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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