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Archive for September, 2006|Monthly archive page

Fab Five Freddy heckles Bush Sr.

In Iraq War on September 30, 2006 at 10:27 am

Allhiphop sent out the description of a funny event yesterday:

 Hip-Hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy recently took on former United States President George Bush, Sr. during a football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 25. The match marked the reopening of the Louisiana Superdome, which shut down in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Freddy told the New York Post that he attended the football game with MTV’s CEO Judy McGrath, ex-Viacom CEO Tom Freston, and Viacom’s John Sykes. When the trio stepped on the field to catch performances by U2 and Green Day, George Bush, Sr. walked by. “I got in his way and [yelled], ‘We need to bring the troops home!'” Freddy said. According to the former host of Yo! MTV Raps, Bush replied “We must win this war.” Fab Five Freddy said he reiterated his call to bring the troops home to Bush, who was being shuffled away by associates. The former President reportedly came back to Fab 5 Freddy and said “I don’t really have anything to do with it.”

What a strange scenario.  First of all, what is Fab Five Freddy doing hanging out with all these Viacom big wigs.  i mean i know he’s hosted a good number of MTV shows and specials, but it’s still funny.  Then of course, the exchange between Freddy and Bush.

MySpace gets political

In Children and Youth, Election 2006, Netroots, Technology on September 29, 2006 at 10:31 am

Sarah Phillips, of the Guardian’s NewsBlog, posted about a new profile featured on MySpace which encourages voter registration and voting for the upcoming November elections. She says:

It may not be a website with a reputation for having a social conscience, but MySpace has launched a new service for its ever-expanding troupe of savvy teenage networkers: political empowerment.

The US arm of the self-promotion site has teamed up with the non-partisan youth voting campaigners Declare Yourself to encourage members to make use of their vote in the state elections this autumn.

Designed as a standard MySpace profile, the page combines downloadable voter registration forms and voter information with public service announcement videos directed by David LaChapelle, warning of the dangers of “silencing yourself”. After registering, users can pin a virtual badge to their profile saying “I Registered to Vote on MySpace”.

This sort of gives me a flashback to the 2004 election, where it became cool to register to vote. Companies like Sean John printed up T-shirts saying things like “Vote or Die.” While I do think its important to encourage voter registration, I feel that many of these “campaigns” simplify it too much and don’t actually produce the results that would lead to big change. Simply being registered to vote isn’t enough. All that leads to is a bunch of people saying things like “I registered to vote on MySpace” but not knowing anything about the issues. Plus, on top of it, companies just use it as an excuse to make money off of a part of American society that they previously had left un-branded.

Edit:  Some people seem to be reading this slighlty wrong, so I just wanted to clarify a couple of things.  I am not saying that programs like this are bad or that MySpace should remove it.  People should definitely have easy access to voter registration.  I was just pointing out that there are some negaive sides to it, and that I would like to see even more from the programs in places like this.  For example, why not provide links to voter guides, so that people who registered can find out when, where, and how to vote once registered.  Or how about creating profiles of each candidate, listing all of their stances on issues and brief histories of their careers.  I would rather see direct resources like this on line, rather than the possibility of receiving some junk mail as Keeley suggest in the comment below.  And of course everyone should be able to vote, regardless of their knowledge of the issues or not, but itd be nice to make access to information about issues go hand in hand with access to registration.
Another one of my points was that registraton isn’t enough in the sense that rgistration alone doesn’t lead to voting.  In the 2004 election, over 16 million registered voters didn’t vote due to a wide variety of issues including transportation, conflicting schedules, having incorrect information or no information about times and locations, or not feeling that their vote mattered.  This was in an election where there were a massive amount of people being registered, and large numbers of programs like this started.  Not to mention that more people tend to vote in presidential elections than in other smaller elections.  Finally, while more people both registered and voted in the 2004 election than had happened in quite a while, we still ended up with the results we did.  Obviously registration drives and voter turnout methods are working better on one side of the spectrum than the other (Jerry Falwell?).  So maybe its not that these non-partisan programs are so bad, but that the progressive groups need to do a better job of getting registered voters out to the polls.

Bank Spying Update

In Misc. on September 29, 2006 at 10:03 am

Back in June, Liftwhileclimbing did some reporting on a program between U.S. authorities and Belgian Financial records company SWIFT, in which data regarding financial transactions was turned over to U.S. authorities in the name of “anti-terrorism.”  Today, Washington Post gave an update of the situation:

A secret U.S. program to monitor millions of international financial transactions for terrorist links violated Belgian and European law and will have to be changed, the Belgian government said Thursday.

The decision, announced by Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, came as the country’s Data Privacy Commission released a 20-page report finding that the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, had improperly turned over data from millions of global financial transactions to U.S. anti-terrorism investigators.

“It has to be seen as a gross miscalculation by SWIFT that it has, for years, secretly and systematically transferred massive amounts of personal data for surveillance without effective and clear legal basis and independent controls in line with Belgian and European law,” the report says…

SWIFT said in a statement that it had relinquished data to the U.S. Treasury Department only after it had been “subject to valid and compulsory subpoenas” from U.S. authorities.

The Belgian ruling is the latest in a string of European complaints about how the United States is conducting global operations against terrorism. European governments, politicians, human rights groups and citizens have also criticized the treatment of inmates at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the operation of secret prisons by the CIA — including some reportedly in Europe — and the CIA’s extrajudicial transfers of terror suspects.

Europeans tend to support strong efforts against terrorist groups — many of their countries have terror cells within their borders, and two, Britain and Spain, have suffered major attacks on their transit systems. But many Europeans believe that U.S. policies go too far and fuel radicalism in the Muslim world….

The program was begun without congressional or court approval shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. With SWIFT’s cooperation, U.S. investigators tapped records from the cooperative’s banks, a total of millions of transactions, looking for suspicious patterns and links to terrorists.

A SWIFT spokesman said Thursday that “the status of the program is unchanged.”

Same-Sex Partner Benefits & Lieberman’s Election-Time Liberalism

In Civil Liberties, Economic Justice, Election 2006, International politics, Laws & Regulation, Misc., Progressive Politics, religion & politics, Sexuality, US Politics on September 29, 2006 at 9:58 am

A bipartisan team of senators introduced a bill Wednesday to offer federal benefits to same-sex domestic partners of civil servants. The bill (S. 3955) offered by Sens. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., and Gordon Smith, R-Ore., would allow domestic partners to benefit from federal retirement, life insurance, health insurance, workers’ compensation, long-term care insurance and dental and vision benefits…

In an August letter seeking co-sponsors, Lieberman and Smith said the Congressional Budget Office has estimated it will cost less than one-half of 1 percent of the current cost of the benefits to extend them.  “While this bill has a very modest cost to the government, it will have a significant impact on federal employees living in domestic partnerships and will assist our government in competing for the most qualified personnel,” the senators wrote.

Liberals Are Sex Fiends in Their Dreams?

In International politics, International Public Health, Misc., Progressive Politics, US Politics on September 29, 2006 at 9:44 am

“If you’ve recently dreamed about sex with a stranger, flying or the dead coming back to life, chances are you’re probably a liberal instead of a conservative… While left-wingers might be more adventurous in the subconscious bedroom, they’re also more likely to wake up in a cold sweat. Liberals showed slightly higher levels of nightmares than conservatives — a statistic at odds with a similar dream study Mr. Bulkeley conducted in the late 1990s. He said the ideology of the United States’ governing party may affect the dream patterns of Republicans and Democrats.”

No Immunity For Ashcroft

In Civil Liberties, Global War On Terror, Laws & Regulation, Terrorism, US Politics on September 29, 2006 at 9:42 am

According to the Washington Post:

A federal judge in Idaho has ruled that former attorney general John D. Ashcroft can be held personally responsible for the wrongful detention of a U.S. citizen arrested as a “material witness” in a terrorism case.

U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge, in a ruling issued late Wednesday, dismissed claims by the Justice Department that Ashcroft and other officials should be granted immunity from claims by a former star college football player arrested at Dulles International Airport in 2003.

   

Attorneys for the plaintiff in the civil suit, Abdullah al-Kidd, said the decision raises the possibility that Ashcroft could be forced to testify or turn over records about the government’s use of the material witness law, a cornerstone of its controversial legal strategy after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks….

The law was intended to give authorities the power to detain witnesses they feared might flee before testifying. But after the Sept. 11 attacks, the government used it to hold 70 men, nearly half of whom were never called to testify in court, according to a study by the ACLU and Human Rights Watch.

CRS: Bush Asserting ‘Functioning and Determinitive Control,’ Leveraging ‘Power and Control Away From Congress’

In Civil Liberties, Culture of Corruption, Election 2006, Election 2008, Laws & Regulation, Misc., US Politics on September 28, 2006 at 8:54 pm

More stuff:

“It seems evident that the Bush signing statements are an integral part of the Administration’s efforts to further its broad view of presidential prerogatives and to assert functional and determinative control over all elements of the executive decisionmaking process,” the CRS study said.

“It appears that recent administrations, as made apparent by the voluminous challenges lodged by President George W. Bush, have employed these instruments in an attempt to leverage power and control away from Congress by establishing these broad assertions of authority as a constitutional norm.”

… See “Presidential Signing Statements: Constitutional and Institutional Implications,” September 22, 2006.

Batman and Mr. Freeze unite for a positive cause

In International Trade, Laws & Regulation on September 28, 2006 at 5:15 pm

 batman and robin

I subscribe to Fusicology for news about parties and events, I didn’t expect to see political news on the top of their most recent mailer!

Anyway, fusicology reports:

On Monday, September 25th, 2006 California Governor Schwarzenegger signed two bills that prohibit the state’s pension funds from investing in companies with active business in Sudan, hoping to help convince other states to do the same. Ultimately, it is to pressure the Arab-dominated government of Sudan, which is blamed for the deaths of at least 200,000 non-Arabs since 2003 and the displacement of more than 2.5 million people in the nation’s western Darfur region.

At the bill signing, the Governor was joined by other governmental leaders and advisors alongside Documented Liberal Democrat Actor-vists, Don Cheadle and George Clooney were also on hand for the signing. When asked if he wasn’t worried that he might not be giving California’s Right—Of-Center Governor a perfect photo-op, Clooney first quipped that he’d done that years ago when the two co-starred in the franchise downside, “Batman and Robin”. Refusing to allow politics the shade the humanitarian efforts being championed on the day, Clooney added, “I couldn’t be more proud of this bipartisan effort, and thank Gov. Schwarzenegger for his leadership at this most crucial time,” said George Clooney. “It’s a great step forward in holding people responsible for their actions, and a great blueprint for other states. Two and a half million refugees just got a little safer because of this, and we have much more work ahead of us…….”

Now hopefully other states, heros, and villains will do the same.

Fox News Chief is Animal House’s Otter

In Media Criticism, Misc., Netroots, US Politics on September 28, 2006 at 10:03 am

I like this one, so much:

Fox News chief Roger Ailes says ex-President Bill Clinton’s response to Chris Wallace’s question about going after Osama bin Laden represents “an assault on all journalists.”

Ailes said Clinton had a “wild overreaction” in the interview, broadcast on “Fox News Sunday.”

This is great. It reminds me of the scene in Animal House where Otter, the Ferris Bueller-type that sleeps with the Dean’s wife, gives a speech before the disciplinary board, saying that if they try to hold his fraternity responsible for the “liberties” they took, it is an indictment of society as a whole. Beautiful.

Otter: Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests – we did.
[winks at Dean Wormer]
Otter: But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg – isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!
[Leads the Deltas out of the hearing, all humming the Star-Spangled Banner]

P.S.- My runner up on quote of the day is courtesy of The Hotline: “When asked why she requested cookies and milk, 5-year-old leukemia patient Sydney Chehab ‘said it was just a civil way to have a conversation with’ Bush.” Fabulous — I’m glad we’ve trusted that guy to be in the room w Musharraf and Karzai at the same time.

McCain Stumping Across the Pond

In Election 2006, Election 2008, International politics, Misc., US Politics on September 28, 2006 at 9:47 am

Building allies for ’08, no doubt:

One of the golden rules for younger politicians, I’d assumed, was never to compare yourself to John F Kennedy.

The problem is that you can come across as more of a Dan Quayle, the former US vice president once told: “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy.”

Luckily for David Cameron, he has someone else to do it for him (and not for the first time).

US senator John McCain tells the Spectator (registration required) that, although young, the Tory leader has the leadership qualities to be prime minister.

“Oh, sure,” he says. “Probably the most respected – can I say beloved – leader of my time was Jack Kennedy, who bought youth, incredible youth, the Camelot era, to the American public.”

The Tories are delighted that their guest at next week’s conference is talking this way.

[read it all]

Gov to New Mex Voters: Don’t Bother, Here’s Your New Rep

In Election 2006, Election 2008, Laws & Regulation, US Politics on September 27, 2006 at 10:44 pm

[Sorry for the funneling of other sources today, but it’s just like that sometimes.]

From Ballot Access News:

New Mexico state house representatives have two year terms. This year, the voters who live in the 68th district have lost their right to elect a state representative.

The only person running for that seat in this year’s primary was incumbent Democrat Hector Balderas. Naturally, he was re-nominated by the Democrats. Normally his name would then have appeared on the November ballot, unopposed. Although New Mexico permits write-ins, no write-in space is printed on the ballot for a particular office if no declared write-in candidate filed by early June.

In September, Balderas was chosen by a meeting of the Democratic State Committee to be the party’s nominee for State Auditor, since the person nominated for that office in June had withdrawn due to charges of sexual harassment. Since New Mexico law does not permit anyone to run for two offices simultaneously, Balderas’ name was removed from the ballot as the Democratic nominee for State Representative, even though it was too late for anyone to withdraw. Therefore, the office has no candidates, and won’t even appear on the ballot.

Most shocking, there will be no special election to fill the seat next year. The Governor will appoint someone who will serve until the November 2008 election.

NYS “Redistricting” Hearings

In Culture of Corruption, Election 2006, Election 2008, Laws & Regulation, New York City, US Politics on September 27, 2006 at 9:05 pm

From ReformNY:

The Assembly Governmental Operations Committee held hearings on redistricting yesterday and Monday in Utica and Buffalo, with a hearing in NYC scheduled for October 17. At issue are three bills (A.624, A.2056, and A6287-a) that seek to alter New York’s redistricting process, which currently allows for a bipartisan gerrymander, giving incumbents the power to draw their own preferred districts and effectively eliminating serious electoral challenges.
Even though the lines won’t be drawn until after the release of the 2010 census data, it’s not too early to start raising the profile of the broken redistricting process in New York. It will be an uphill battle, and legislators, comfortable in their incumbent protection districts, will need all the pressure we can put on them to actually make a change in this entrenched system. Kudos to NYPIRG, Common Cause, and the New York League of Women Voters for pushing reform at the Assembly hearings, and we hope to see the Senate convene similar discussions.

HUD Secretary Cleared of Partisan Favors, Kind of

In Culture of Corruption, Economic Justice, Housing, Laws & Regulation, New York City, Race, US Politics on September 27, 2006 at 6:29 pm

There was all kindsa crap about this one initially after it happened (not the least of which was the Wonkette’s bestowing “spokeshottie” status on Dustee Tucker of HUD):

A recent investigation into remarks by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson raises as many questions as it answers, with conflicting accounts on how political affiliations may have played into contract award decisions at the agency.

The inspector general investigation was requested by several members of Congress in May after a news story in the Dallas Business Journal that Jackson told participants at a minority business conference that he had personally scuttled the contract of a man who said he did not support President Bush. Shortly after the news account, Jackson released a statement saying the story he had shared was made up.

Investigators concluded that the substance of Jackson’s remarks was partly true. But they did not unearth evidence that would implicate the HUD chief for unethical or illegal contracting practices.

Rather, the report presented page after page of sworn testimony by Jackson and senior staff members — some of it conflicting — on procurement practices at the department and Jackson’s involvement in contracts since he joined the agency in June 2001.
[…]

Investigators also heard from two senior staff members — Chief of Staff Camille Pierce and Deputy Secretary Roy Bernardi — that Jackson told political appointees at a staff meeting that it was important “to consider presidential supporters” in the award of “discretionary” contracts. Other officials said they had not heard Jackson make that remark.

Another official, General Counsel Keith Gottfried, said he had heard rumors that Jackson tries to help his friends win contracts, though he said he had never heard of contracts being rescinded or terminated as a result of the secretary’s actions.

[…]

The investigators’ report delves into several specific contracts that were handled questionably. One of those was a contract with Abt Associates, a company that many officials recalled the secretary disliked. According to Pierce, his chief of staff, “There was a question about the Abt award, and he said the quality of Abt work is inferior, and besides, they are a Democratic organization. No, no, he didn’t — he said he believed that they would take their money, the HUD money, and contribute it to the Democratic Party or something.”

That award eventually was signed, Pierce recounted, when Jackson learned Congress already had been notified of the award recipient.

[…]

The investigators’ report, prepared by Anthony Medici, special agent in charge of the HUD inspector general’s office’s criminal investigations division, has not been publicly released but has been distributed to those members of Congress who requested it. A congressional staffer with access to the report said the department considers it to have the same protections as a personnel file, and thus, to be subject to the Privacy Act. Mike Zerega, spokesman for the IG’s office, would not comment on the reasons for not publishing it.

The executive summary of the 340-page report has been leaked online, and a staffer said Democratic senators likely would call for hearings and further investigations after a rush of last-minute business this week.

Chertoff Threatens to Contract w. Halliburton Unless We Deport Salvadorans

In Culture of Corruption, Economic Justice, Election 2006, Immigration, International politics, International Trade, Laws & Regulation, US Politics on September 27, 2006 at 8:29 am

Election Years rule! (side note: The Julie Myers of ICE at DHS mentioned below is the neice of former Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Richard B. Myers. A critical look at here resume is here.)

The Homeland Security Department soon may need to either buy additional space in existing jails to detain apprehended illegal immigrants or implement a $385 million contingency contract to build more detention centers, sources told Government Executive Tuesday.

Unless lawmakers revoke a provision that prevents the deportation of Salvadorans, a contingency contract already agreed upon with Halliburton subsidiary KBR may be put into effect to offset the amount of space being taken up by arrested Salvadorans, one of the sources said.

[…]

At Tuesday’s hearing, Rep. Stevan Pearce, R-N.M., told Chertoff that detention space for illegal immigrants is in short supply in his district, which borders Mexico.

“We’re at the threshold where it begins to deteriorate,” he said.

Pearce is not the first lawmaker to push DHS officials to fix detention problems; another Republican congressman, Rep. Mark Foley of Florida, told Julie Myers, head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency within DHS, during a July hearing that “there’s no place to put” illegal immigrants.

[…]

Another DHS source said an abundance of space is available in existing facilities, but the department would need to rent it.

This source said the department is still pushing to meet its goal of having nearly 28,000 beds at jails for arrested illegal immigrants. “All we really need is money,” the source said, adding that “there is excess bed capacity in state and local facilities that is available to the extent we can afford it.”

But there is a possibility that “we may construct some new detention facilities,” the source said.

US Nuke Commish to Publish Uranium Export Numbers (Again)

In Global War On Terror, International politics, International Public Health, International Trade, Terrorism, US Politics on September 27, 2006 at 8:21 am

“The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says that it will no longer conceal the amounts of highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel proposed for export to foreign research reactors. The announcement marks a step back from the heightened secrecy adopted by the NRC and other government agencies post-September 11.”

read on

African Civic Orgs Opposing Free Trade Agrmt with EU

In class warfare, Economic Justice, International politics, International Public Health, International Trade, Labor, Laws & Regulation, US Politics on September 26, 2006 at 9:59 pm

Courtesy of Poverty News Blog:

NAIROBI, Sept 26 (Reuters) – African countries risk sinking further into poverty if the European Union pushes ahead with new free trade deals that could harm local industry and farming by unfair competition, non-governmental aid groups said on Tuesday.

[…]

Three non-governmental bodies — ACORD, EcoNews Africa and Oxfam — said they would petition the EU and African countries attending trade talks in the Indian Ocean city of Mombasa on Wednesday to address their concerns over fair trade deals. [read it all]

Santorum Opponents Don’t Support Apple Cider

In Election 2006, Misc., US Politics on September 26, 2006 at 3:34 pm

I am just plain confused by this one from PA’s Times Leader:

WILKES-BARRE – A city man who drove his car through a department store in the Poconos two years ago will be cited after committing another “bizarre” act on Monday which ended when he threw a jug of apple cider at an off-duty police officer, authorities said.

Patrick Tosh, 54, of Barney Street, walked into the Republican headquarters near Boscov’s on South Main Street at about 2 p.m. Monday and shouted profanities while holding a jar of apple cider and a sign that read, “Santorum did nothing for FIMA. He sucks,” according to police and witnesses.

“He started to put down (U.S. Sen.) Rick Santorum … and he demanded that Rick Santorum come to his home for two straight days,” said Joyce Dombroski-Gebhardt, a Republican committeewoman who volunteers at the center, which opened four weeks ago.

“He was going berserk,” said another volunteer, Gina Nevengloski. “He was as red as a fire engine.”

Tosh also demanded that 200 signs for Republican state House candidate Christine Katsock be placed on his lawn, said Dombroski-Gebhardt.

Wilkes-Barre police Lt. Paul Middleton, who was off duty and not in uniform, happened to be inside the headquarters when the incident occurred.

“Paul said, ‘Those are ladies, watch your mouth,’” Dombroski-Gebhardt recalled.

Tosh eventually walked outside the building and began pouring apple cider on the windows, said Dombroski-Gebhardt. When Middleton walked outside to stop him, Tosh threw the apple cider and the jar at the officer and ran.

“His bizarre behavior continues,” said city police Lt. Steven Olshefski.

An officer arrived on a motorcycle and Middleton hopped on, but they couldn’t find Tosh, said Dombroski-Gebhardt. But Olshefski said police know where to find him and he will be charged with summery counts of disorderly conduct, scattering rubbish and harassment. Olshefski noted that Middleton was struck in the leg with the jug and was not injured.

Tosh could not be reached for comment. Olshefski said police received a few calls over the weekend about Tosh “acting silly.”

In 2004, Tosh was arrested after police said he crashed a stolen car through a Target store in Stroud Township, drove around in the store, then drove back out. No one was injured. Police said Tosh was not under the influence. He pleaded no contest to criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and receiving stolen property and in June 2005 was sentenced to nine to 23 months in the Monroe County Correctional Facility and two years of probation, according to court documents. He was also ordered to pay more than $12,000 in fines.

Common Dreams archive: Citgo Buy-cott

In Economic Justice, International politics, International Trade on September 25, 2006 at 12:23 am

In light of the recent events at the UN involving Chavez, as well as Chavez’s program for donating heating oil to low income Americans, Common Dreams reposted an article from their May, 2005 archives about Citgo and Venezuelan Oil. Here is the article, by Jeff Cohen, in its entirety:

Buy Your Gas at Citgo: Join the BUY-cott!

Looking for an easy way to protest Bush foreign policy week after week? And an easy way to help alleviate global poverty? Buy your gasoline at Citgo stations.

And tell your friends.

Of the top oil producing countries in the world, only one is a democracy with a president who was elected on a platform of using his nation’s oil revenue to benefit the poor. The country is Venezuela. The President is Hugo Chavez. Call him “the Anti-Bush.”

Citgo is a U.S. refining and marketing firm that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company. Money you pay to Citgo goes primarily to Venezuela — not Saudi Arabia or the Middle East. There are 14,000 Citgo gas stations in the US. (Click here http://www.citgo.com/CITGOLocator/StoreLocator.jsp to find one near you.) By buying your gasoline at Citgo, you are contributing to the billions of dollars that Venezuela’s democratic government is using to provide health care, literacy and education, and subsidized food for the majority of Venezuelans.

Instead of using government to help the rich and the corporate, as Bush does, Chavez is using the resources and oil revenue of his government to help the poor in Venezuela. A country with so much oil wealth shouldn’t have 60 percent of its people living in poverty, earning less than $2 per day. With a mass movement behind him, Chavez is confronting poverty in Venezuela. That’s why large majorities have consistently backed him in democratic elections. And why the Bush administration supported an attempted military coup in 2002 that sought to overthrow Chavez.

So this is the opposite of a boycott. Call it a BUYcott. Spread the word.

Of course, if you can take mass transit or bike or walk to your job, you should do so. And we should all work for political changes that move our country toward a cleaner environment based on renewable energy. The BUYcott is for those of us who don’t have a practical alternative to filling up our cars.

So get your gas at Citgo. And help fuel a democratic revolution in Venezuela.

Jeff Cohen is an author and media critic (www.jeffcohen.org)

I read somewhere that people are taking out anger at Chavez on Citgo.  One example I read was that a Citgo sign that had been hanging in a Boston stadium for years was taken down.  I’m posting this article so that people see the other side of the arguments and don’t do things based simply on blind patriotism.

Chavez and the World opinion of the U.S.

In International politics, International Trade on September 25, 2006 at 12:11 am

This past week, many media outlets and politicians joined forces in defending Bush and the U.S. after comments that were made at the UN by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.  While much of this “defense” ended up looking more like offense and name calling, people are missing out on the bigger picture, which is that Chavez’s remarks reflect much of what the rest of the world has been feeling or is starting to feel.

The Washington Post ran an article about these sentiments, which stated the following:

Anti-Americanism never really left the United Nations, but this year’s gathering of world leaders demonstrated an unusually strident disrespect for the United States. The United States is perceived as weakened by a draining war in Iraq, while many of its adversaries feel emboldened with newfound oil wealth.

Resentment of American power has also been exacerbated by the United States’ close association with Israel during the recent war in Lebanon and even the administration’s campaign for greater democracy throughout the Middle East. A theme running through a number of the speeches delivered here is that democracy cannot be imposed through force…

As Chavez put it in his fiery speech, which was greeted by wild applause in the chamber: “They say they want to impose a democratic model. But that’s their democratic model. It’s the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original democracy that’s imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons. What a strange democracy. . . . What type of democracy do you impose with Marines and bombs?”

The rising anger at American policies comes as some U.S. officials privately acknowledge that they feel stymied on many international fronts: The war in Iraq is going poorly, the drive for sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program has faltered, the disarmament talks with North Korea are all but dead, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is frozen, and the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region seems unsolvable.

According to the article, world leaders from Iran, Egypt, Bolivia, and other countires expressed similar ideas and distaste for U.S. Foreign policy, all of which was was greeted by applause.  So instead of responding to these remarks by counter-attacking and calling Chavez names like “El Loco,” maybe newspapers like the NY Post and Daily News should do some self reflection on the state of the U.S. and its foreign policy, because the egotistical arrogant attitude sure isn’t working.

The Unity Petition

In Children and Youth, Culture jamming, Election 2006, Election 2008, US Politics on September 22, 2006 at 5:41 pm

An interesting project from high school students, even if it isn’t the most earth-shattering or revolutionary language — any politcal involvement at that age is a positive thing. I can’t find the funding stream for it, but will be sure to GuideStar it later.

Anyway, check it out: The Unity Petition.