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Archive for the ‘Children and Youth’ Category

The War on Terror

In Afghanistan, Children and Youth, civil, Civil Liberties, class warfare, Culture of Corruption, Disaster Relief, Economic Justice, Election 2008, Environment, Freedom of Speech, Global War On Terror, Housing, Immigration, International politics, Iraq War, Media Criticism, Misc., New York City, Progressive Politics, Terrorism, US Politics on March 21, 2013 at 11:36 am

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Growing up in Virginia, I have fond memories of the shooting range.  My father even gave me a turn with his .44 magnum which did in fact kick like a mule.  The violence followed me to New York with 9/11, and where I was fortunate to try to give blood and wait things out in my dorm, many others who I’d grown up with or befriended back in VA were suiting up to go and fight, first in Afghanistan, then to Iraq.  A couple days ago, I caught this letter on a friend’s Facebook Feed – which is starting to make the rounds – and at first, I couldn’t read it.  It had been comforting in a way to forget about Bush and the Axis of Evil, of all the squandered potential we poured into the sand.  But as we’re reminded so often in this endless war, we must never forget.  We cannot hide unpleasant things in the shadows.

And yet, for two years after the attack and ten more after our invasion – the two defining moments of our time – we seem content to do just that.  My relationship to guns came into focus in Millbrook, NY where – eating lunch with my band after playing our first funeral – we saw the horrors of gun violence laid bare on the diner’s TV screen.  CNN’s coverage of Sandy Hook still fresh,  our waitress remarking, “That’s a half-hour from here.”  A member of the jazz community in NYC lost their daughter and even Joe Biden says nothing will be the same.

Except it is.  Exactly the same.  After hearings and meetings and press conferences and statements, there will be no assault weapons ban, no reduction in the capacity of magazines, no new safegaurds against the armed-and-mentally ill.  21 children are dead for absolutely no reason, and for all our wails of grief and shock, no one is willing to really do anything about it.  The 1.4% of us who are NRA members must be fairly satisfied by this.

Immigration is looking a little more hopeful, with real-ish players talking about real-ish solutions – path to citizenship, guest worker visas, living wages?? – but if the current legislative process holds true, which it will, we can expect exactly none of these to make it to any real legislation, no leadership or dialogue will take place.  Just as we have come to expect, as we have chosen to remember.  So on we go with stopping people for their papers, exploiting them with unscrupulous employers and siphoning resources away from the state without putting any tax revenue into – or getting any real value from – the community they’re living in.

The current tally on this War on Terror is coming in to around $6 trillion, with about $4 trillion of that going towards the Iraq war, which I think is over at this point.    No further attacks have been made on the home front, and aside from a few pesky revolutions throughout the region, we haven’t had World War III yet, so, mission accomplished.  But this war isn’t being fought by “America,” it’s being fought by less than 1% of America.  The backlash and destruction caused by what we want is being felt by them, not by us, which makes it easier to saber rattle as the threats continue to pop up in far-flung places all over this hostile world.  It is easy to hide the unpleasantness of war, and that much better to remember all the glory and victory, when only a few have to bleed.

We were lied to.  We were lied to and believed in it so much that we lied to the world.  We remember the attack, the victimization we felt at that moment, but we choose to forget – every day – the reaction that has set us on this path.  Something horrible happens, but the real cause is too scary, too political, too much to bear, so we lie to each other, we lie to ourselves, and talk really loud about something else.  Something that makes us feel good, or empowered and that lasts just long enough for the next crisis to come, and the next cycle to start, and nothing, nothing, nothing is ever really done.

But this is politics, this is Washington, this is Gridlock and Sequester and Special Interests and this is out of our control.  It is also quite uncanny to a nervous breakdown.  As a country, we first experienced trauma then threw ourselves into deeper and deeper trauma’s with no discernible solution or responsibility, which eventually lead us to unearth, then ignore, all the skeletons we’ve amassed inside our closet.  Guns, war, immigrants, health care, economy, housing, the list goes on.

But you can’t make guns safer by talking by talking about “freedom.”  Nor can you keep healthcare prices low by invoking “liberty” or create jobs by claiming to be the victims of “class warfare.”  We can’t claim to be a “nation of immigrants” while installing xenophobic laws, nor can we claim to be “pro-life” and fight against affordable health care.  These are things both the right and left have been guilty of doing – or are at the very least both complicit in – and the apathy/isolation of the electorate has enabled these madmen to hijack trillions of dollars every year and immense power around the globe with little accountability.  We are lied to every day and believe the lie so much, we lie to each other, we lie to ourselves.

During the campaign in 2008, I was reading The Argument by Matt Bai and the quote I wrote with then still rings true now:

The story of modern politics was the story of popular movements molding their candidates, not the other way around. Roosevelt didn’t create progressive government; the progressives of the early twentieth century created him. Lyndon Johnson and Robert Kennedy, while they despised eachother, both derived their essential arguments about social justice from the equality movements of the late fifties and early sixties. Ronald Regan would not have existed without the movement conservatives who offered him a philosophical anchor. These were great and preternaturally talented leaders, men who had the charisma and the intellect to synthesize the arguments that each of these movements had made, to persuade voters of their urgency, and to adapt them to the realm of policy making. But they were merely conduits for change, and they would never have emerged as public visionaries had others not laid the intellectual foundations for their arguments.

There is no magical elected official or working group someplace that will be able to fix all of this shit, but this does not divorce government – federal, state and local – from their responsibility in implementing solutions.  We have to decide, all of us, what the fuck we want, what the alternative is going to be.  We have to build it, prove it works, then demand, in no uncertain terms, that it be given to us better, faster and cheaper by those with the money and resources – e.g. government, business, that guy you know – to do so.  Occupy Wall Street accomplished exactly none of it’s goals, BECAUSE IT HAD NONE – and no, press coverage/raising awareness isn’t enough on the world stage.  We have to be able to confront all of those demons on that list, turn the lights on and get right with everything in honesty before we can expect respect from the dilettantes we’ve been ruled by.

Until then, the government will have no problem treating us the way in which we’ve grown accustomed, and we’ll have no problem taking it.  Never forget what we’ve been through.  Never forget that we deserved – and still deserve – so much better.

A 7 Mile March to the Polls in Texas (2008)

In Children and Youth, civil, Civil Liberties, class warfare, Culture of Corruption, Direct action, Economic Justice, Election 2008, Freedom of Speech, Laws & Regulation, New York City, Progressive Politics, Race, religion & politics, US Politics on February 20, 2008 at 4:05 pm

An incredible story popped up on Crooks and Liars today describing a beautiful answer to a disgusting act in an escalating primary battle:

Early voting starts today in Texas. In Waller County, a primarily rural county about 60 miles outside Houston, the county made the decision to offer only one early voting location: at the County Courthouse in Hempstead, TX, the county seat.

Prairie View A&M students organized to protest the decision, because they felt it hindered their ability to vote. For background, Prairie View A&M is one of Texas’ historically Black universities. It has a very different demographic feel than the rest of the county. There has been a long history of dispute over what the students feel is disenfranchisement. There was a lot of outrage in 2006, when students felt they were unfairly denied the right to vote when their registrations somehow did not get processed.

1000 students, along with an additional 1000 friends and supporters, are this morning walking the 7.3 miles between Prairie View and Hempstead in order to vote today. According to the piece I saw on the news (there’s no video up, so I can’t link to it), the students plan to all vote today. There are only 2 machines available at the courthouse for early voting, so they hope to tie them up all day and into the night.

Yes, we’re talking about this election – 2008 – where black students are forced to these lengths to exercise their rights and draw attention to these abuses. This is early voting in a primary, mind you, I can’t wait to see what these kids will do for the general election. By the way, don’t think Yankees are invulnerable to this, either. A little publicized story in the New York Times has uncovered a drastic underreporting of Obama votes in several counties in New York’s primary – in some cases, not registering a single ballot cast in his favor. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m an Obama man, but these are problems that have persisted since the clusterfuck of the 2000 election. No matter who you’re voting for, your vote deserves to be counted and no one – not Obama, not Clinton, not McCain and certainly not appointees to local election boards – should be allowed to destroy or steal them. Federalism has its place, but shouldn’t there be some sort of standard in national voting and election oversight? Shouldn’t we at least use the same machines and meet the same requirements to use them? How can the world’s most successful democracy tolerate these kinds of problems? If there are aspects I am ignoring, please, educate me.

Vietnow

In Children and Youth, Direct action, Misc., Music, Progressive Politics, US Politics on August 2, 2007 at 11:57 pm

I bought an advance pre-sale ticket almost 3 months beforehand, and at the cost of $105 dollars, I felt it a bargain (one of the few times Ticketmaster had ever given me this experience). The line-up for Rock the Bells – Pharohe Monch, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Jedi Mind Tricks, Public Enemy, the Roots and Wu-Tang amongst others – was in itself an impressive menu, and they all put on great performances. However impressive their sets were, though, there was an undeniable feeling that the entire festival was little more than a 9-hour waiting game for the headliner, Rage Against the Machine. The mosh pits started opening up during Cypress Hill’s set, a good two hours before Zack and the rest were slated to come on. After the sun finally set and Wu-Tang left the stage, the chants for “Rage” began echoing throughout the crowd. Cheers rang out when the stage crew began hoisting the enormous red star back-drop behind the stage during sound check. It began to hit everyone then, I think, that this was real, and in a few minutes we’d be able to see them for the first time in seven years. The anticipation was palpable, everyone impatiently willing the lights to drop.

They opened with Testify and everything exploded. The crowd became a seething, incoherent mass of destruction; bodies careening into, around and through each other in a frenzy of insatiable angst. The next 15 or 20 minutes were spent simply fighting for my life as the band followed up with punishing renditions of Bulls On Parade and People of the Sun. I saw a few people who had gotten hurt, went to the first aid tent and came back to the floor – bandages and all – to continue throwing down. A few unfortunate crowd surfers tumbled off supportive hands and onto the concrete floor a few feet below, while others rolled and kicked their way across the horizon. There was hardly time to catch your breath between songs and the little air there was available felt like it had already been in someone else’s lungs, feeble relief against the sweltering heat. Leaning over with my hands on my knees, dripping sweat by the pound, I realized I had missed this almost as much as the music. Despite the hurtling chaos, there was still that pick-you-up-if-I-knock-you-down camaraderie that you can’t really find anywhere else.

Between the incessant shoving and jumping, though, I was able to catch glimpses of the band: the erratic jerking motions of Tom Morello, guitar strapped high against his chest; Brad Wilk striking the cymbals from 3 feet above; Tim Commoford’s completely inked out shoulders. And then there was Zack. His dreads had flared out into more of an afro since I’d last seen, but everything else was just as mesmerizing as I remembered. During the verses, he stalked like a tiger from one side of the stage to the other with that measured, rhythmic gait, spitting each lyric with eyes piercing the far reaches of the crowd. When time came to open the flood gates, he was out in front with that amazing energy. After spending the past few years in relative anonymity, it was good to see the man out and about, finally back where he belonged.

Once everyone calmed down, though, I could tell the sound was a little off. The mix on the enormous sound system was uneven at times, detracting a little from the experience and it felt like the signal they heard had problems, too. The band wasn’t as tight or together as I thought they’d be. I learned to play electric bass on many of their songs, and my inner nerd cried out at missed riffs and drum fills. Their tempo also seemed slow for a portion of the set, but still, it was well worth the money to hear them live again. Songs I hadn’t heard in far too long – Vietnow, Down Rodeo, Township Rebellion, Wake Up – all finding their legs in a new decade. The subterranean growl of Commoford’s bass and authoritative, aggressive drumming from Wilk formed the foundation for the samplified and other-worldly noises only Morello can conjure up; and many times his solos simultaneous slashed and soared over the crowd. Zack’s machine-gun lyrics cut as deep as ever, and his amazing scream hasn’t lost an inch of force. Like all good showmen, they saved some of their strongest efforts for the encore, a medley of Freeedom and Bullett in the Head that sounded just as fresh, and maybe more important, than it did when I first heard these songs. When all pistons were firing, the band was truly impressive.

The high point of the performance, for me at least, came during Guerilla Radio. After Morello’s solo, the band dropped out and along with Zack, the capacity crowd of 80,000 rose up and screamed “It has to start some place, it has to start some time. What better place than here, what better time than now?”. The people, it seems, are still hungry for something better. Whether angst or politics, they spoke to that part of us that yearned for change and autonomy by any means necessary. There hasn’t really been any another act that can move people with such a sense of urgency towards direct action, or at least one that supports and represents those who do, and that is something that has been sorely lacking over the past few years. The re-emergence of not only the music, but of this voice is what gave their reunion such importance.

But their ideology is also a source of great frustration for me as a dedicated fan. There wouldn’t be a Rage show without a diatribe from Zack, and this one even made it into the New York Times:

On Saturday night Mr. De La Rocha responded. He attacked the “fascist” Fox News pundits for “claiming that we said that the president should be assassinated.” As the crowd shouted its approval, he continued, “No: he should be brought to trial as a war criminal and hung and shot. That’s what we said.” Despite the insistence on due process, this still isn’t a position any mainstream politician would endorse. But that’s precisely the point: At a time when unimpeachable causes and pragmatic endorsements are the norm, it’s nice to be reminded that rock stars can get political without sounding like politicians.

Though it is great to finally hear these words being spoken with the blunt aggression that befits the band, the fact of the matter is that they come at a time when Bush’s approval ratings are in the 20s, he’s leaving office on his own in a little more than a year, and the Dixie Chicks said they were ashamed of the man back in 2003. It felt like Rage was a few years too late for the train. They spent their careers preaching against evils like jingoism, the military industrial complex, corporate greed, exploitation of immigrants and the poor, using every album, every show as a scathing indictment of our government and the capitalist system at large. But these were completely useless in the 90’s. A decade of peace, prosperity and inaction across all facets of our country, where the biggest scandal of our day was a blow-job, was not a climate where this kind of message can gain traction. As soon as they broke up in 2000, though, the shit hit the fan: Bush steals the election, 9/11, the War, Katrina the list can go on and on. And where the hell were they?

 

Zack was busy working on a solo album that will never see the light of day, it’s even rumored that a track he did with Trent Reznor was so bad that Trent wouldn’t allow it to be released. The rest of the band was tied up in the half-baked super group, Audioslave, forsaking any political leanings in order to support Chris Cornell’s tan and perfectly groomed facial hair. How, in the face of everything going on in this country and around the world, could they have stayed apart? Imagine if they had been at any of the anti-war protests leading up to the invasion, or in New York during the RNC convention in ‘04 like they were at the Democratic one in 2000. Granted, they might not have made a monumental impact, but they were meant for these times. They represented themselves as people who stand up and tell these opportunistic fascists to go fuck themselves, to demand justice and inspire others to action. But when the opportunity came to do so , they could not find a way to resolve their differences. I’ve played in plenty of bands and am no stranger to the personal issues that break them apart. I must ask, though, how does it take this long to respond in the face of such disastrous times?

 

Don’t get me wrong, I would pay another $1,000 to see them again without thinking twice and I’m not alone in hoping that this is the wake-up call we’ve been waiting for and the tour leads to a new album in 2008 (just in time for one of the most interesting elections in our history). But they do have to answer these questions if they decide to make another run, or at least grow enough artistically and politically to justify such an absence. Other bands can get back together, do tours, make shitty albums, a ton of cash and be forgiven by their fans. But goddamnit, Rage Against the Machine stands for something, for me at least, and I’m gonna hold them to a higher standard. Though their philosophies might be considered anarchist, radical and inflamatory by most, it is – at least – much more substance than most rock bands are able to present these days. They were revolutionary in thought and aesthetic when they went triple platinum with their first album and over the course of their career, they did huge tours and donated part of the profits to activist organizations. The thought of something like this happening at such a critical time, that they might influence another generation the same way they influenced me, it makes me want them back even more. But they must be careful to not ruin what they’ve already built. After 9/11, Clear Channel banned a great deal of songs from the radio that they deemed contained “questionable lyrics”, putting together a list that was forwarded to most stations around the county. Rage Against the Machine was the only band that had every song they released put on that list. How does anyone top that?

Myspace gets more political

In Children and Youth, Election 2008, Netroots, Technology, US Politics on March 20, 2007 at 11:29 pm

Way back last Fall I wrote a post about a feature on Myspace that was allowing users to register to vote.  In that post, I stated that I felt easy access to voter registration was important, but that I’d rather see a site like myspace take steps to inform the public about issues and candidates, or at least provide links to information like this alongside their voter registration programs.  Voter registration in and of itself isn’t enough.

Well, it looks like they either followed my advice (unlikely) or someone over there came up with the same idea, because now they are doing just that.

Tonight I discovered that there is now a page on Myspace called “Impact” which, among other things, features links to Presidential candidate profiles.  I dont know exactly how long this page has existed, but it appears to be a step in the right direction.

Some other features of the page include user videos about various issues such as health or global warming, awards for youth that start their own organizations and initiatives, political news, non-profit job announcements, and the previously mentioned voter registration.

One funny tidbit that I found over at the Guardian Newsblog about the site is that Giuliani’s profile is set to private:

Now, back to Mr Giuliani. Click on his picture and there is just a box that says: “This profile is set to private. This user must add you as a friend to see his/her profile.” That’s it, which rather defeats the purpose of the exercise if he wants people to know more about him. Someone should tell Mr Giuliani and his advisers that his foray into MySpace leaves much to be desired.

Iraq and Immigration Meet in Mass.

In Children and Youth, civil, Civil Liberties, Culture of Corruption, Economic Justice, Global War On Terror, Immigration, Iraq War, Labor, Laws & Regulation, Misc., US Politics on March 8, 2007 at 7:35 pm

Two festering cancers of America’s policy collided yesterday at a New Bedford, MA manufacturing plant. A small army of Immigrations and Customs Enforcements agents (ICE) executed a massive raid at a Michael Bianco, Inc., netting 327 illegal workers – out of 500 overall – and the company’s management. Though they are now prosecuting the company, our government had also awarded Bianco in the neighborhood of $90-$100 Million in contracts to manufacture quality goods for our troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan; this includes around $8.5 Million and $36.1 Million for backpacks and portage equipment in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Many words came to mind when I first read about this, and it will probably take a few paragraphs to get to them all, so please, bear with me.

There are many victims in this story, but I’d like to start with the innocent ones. The majority of the workers at Bianco were women, and while they were being handcuffed a rounded up with helicopters for working a $7 an hour job, their children were left stranded. From the Boston Globe:

About 100 children were stuck with baby sitters, caretakers and others, said Corinn Williams, director of the Community Economic Development Center of Southeastern Massachusetts. The state Department of Social Services found at least 35 children whose families were affected, authorities said.

“We’re continuing to get stories today about infants that were left behind,” she said. “It’s been a widespread humanitarian crisis here in New Bedford.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that no children were stranded and that authorities released 60 detainees for humanitarian reasons, most related to child care issues. Spokesman Marc Raimondi said that the agency coordinated with the state officials Monday afternoon, and that those still in custody were given the option of letting their children stay with a guardian or putting them in state care.

“We had an agreement in place,” he said. “We are not aware of anyone who had any children that weren’t being cared for.”

Social service officials said they were working with local authorities and community activists to help families.

Since their parents – all but the 60 the ICE mercifully released – spent the night detained in a nearby Army Base, one wonders just exactly where these children were and what kind of care they were given. It is important to note that most of these children are, by birth, American citizens, and as such, are entitled to care in this country. Despite this, a majority of deportees choose to leave with their children, preferring to keep the family together in uncertain poverty rather than burden the state and tear their lives in two. The former, though, will most likely be difficult if not impossible to accomplish given that these workers are now in custody and caught in the unrelenting tide of bureaucracy on their way out of the country. Just what kinds of rights they are granted during processing – most specifically phone calls to loved ones and legal consel – is also suspect:

At Fort Devens, federal agents began a second round of interviews with detainees, ICE spokesman Richard Rocha said.

He said the majority will be flown to detention facilities outside of Massachusetts, where they will appear before an immigration court judge for deportation proceedings.

Depending on the judge’s decision, the detainees will either be deported to their home countries or allowed to return to New Bedford, he said.

The length of stay at the detention facilities depends on where the immigrants are from, Mr. Rocha said. Deportation to Mexico is quicker than those to other countries such as El Salvador and Honduras, he said.

This effectively puts these estimated 100 children in indefinite limbo for doing absolutely nothing. Give me one Minute Man who says this is justice, this is American values, and I’ll write in George Bush on my next Presidential ballot.

The second tier are the workers themselves. Whatever, your opinions on immigration are, it is important to understand the conditions in which these people work:

Investigators said the workers toiled in dingy conditions and faced onerous fines, such as a $20 charge for talking while working and spending more than two minutes in the bathroom.

“The whole story will come out, and at that point it will be a very different scenario,” said Insolia’s lawyer, Inga Bernstein.

I’m sure it will, Inga. The pay they received – $7 an hour – and lack of benefits is, unfortunately, not that much different than many low-skilled jobs US citizens are forced into these days. But the simple fact that these people are without rights negates any inkling of fair, honest, and even humane treatment by their employers as they risk imprisonment and deportation for reporting mistreatment. I say again, whatever your thoughts on this issue, the plain fact is that these people risk life and limb to come here and be exploited all so that their children can escape the burdens they endure. We are also led to believe, over and over, that these people come to this country to do the jobs American’s won’t. An excellent Op-Ed piece from a local paper stated that the raid happened “on the same day that the state reported that the city’s unemployment rate was the highest in the commonwealth and just one day after a historic copper company founded by patriot Paul Revere announced it will close its historic plant in New Bedford” When a big time factory can beat it’s competitors while still keeping it’s local work-force in unemployment, it’s a Red-Letter day for American business. With the closing of any plant, fingers start pointing all over the place over who is responsible for the lost jobs. Is it the fault of the immigrant for working the sub-standard wage, or the employer for offering it?

The most unnerving thing, in my opinion, is that all this was done with the full knowledge, if not complicit action of the government. Not just the Department of Defense, who awarded them the contract, but several government agencies turned the other way to continue the flow of cheap goods Bianco dolled out to our troops. From the Op-Ed piece:

As early as February 2002, the Social Security Administration found that there were problems with the paperwork of nearly one in four of Bianco’s 83 employees. Over the next several years, state and city police stops turned up Bianco employees who said they had purchased fraudulent documents.

And report after report, filed over a four-year period, to Social Security found wholesale problems with Bianco Inc.’s work force, including Social Security cards whose numbers matched those of dead people.

And yet, the company was awarded more than $100 million in federal contracts to manufacture gear for U.S. soldiers. To meet the demands of the federal contracts, Bianco quadrupled its work force from 151 in February 2005 to 646. The company even received tens of thousands of dollars from Massachusetts, apparently to train illegal immigrants how to do taxpayer-supported jobs for the U.S. military that should have gone to U.S. citizens.

Most of what we eat, be it livestock or produce, has been given off the back of illegal labor for years, so I guess it was only a matter of time before the government stopped riding shotgun and started actively working to engorge American business with cheap labor. While we were being pummelled with the “debate” on these issues going on throughout the halls of government, while walls and fences were being built to keep these dastardly illegals out of our country and rhetoric flew like electrons from our elected officials, hundreds of workers – just counting Bianco, mind you – were being ignored if not encouraged to keep quiet and meet their quotas. The Senate felt it appropriate to demonize these workers while ignoring the employers that brought them here in the first place; these captains of industry who supplied Mexicans, Brazilians, Guatemalans and Jamaicans – just to name a few – with false identification and denied them any rights whatsoever in order to avoid the labor laws and civil rights that come with a legitimate workforce. But hey, that crap’s expensive and we live in a global economy. However encouraging it is to see Francesco Insolia, Bianco’s owner, and the rest of the company’s management being led away in the same cars as the their victims, it is merely window dressing when compared to monumental task at hand. It will take much more than raids to cure the culture of corruption we have let infect our economy through lax oversight and an unwillingness to face the issues at hand. It will be curious to see if the new Democratic leadership will be able to cut the bullshit and find a solution, be it amnesty or prosecution, to this festering problem. There are many who believe that they would rather wait out this supposed lame-duck administration and deal with the problem on their own terms come ’08 instead of working with Bush to solve it, thereby reinvigorating his languishing term. How many millions of workers will be prosecuted from now until then? What will be the human cost of all of this useless politcal posturing?

The fact that many of our troops are now equipped with the products made by this company is nothing short of poetic irony. At the very least, corners have been cut and rules have been bent in countless ways to keep this war afloat. The complete and total lack of responsible oversight and accountability that has been so well documented in Iraq has finally been revealed to us at home, and one can only wonder how much more of our military is being supported by these illegal and unethical companies. We have been told that we wage this war for the people of Iraq to have a taste of the freedom we take for granted here, that it is our job to cast away the darkness of oppression with the enduring light of liberty. Yet here we are, oppressing our own people with unemployment and foreigners with much worse, supplanting the equipment our troops deserve with that which is cheapest and orphaning scores of children without any consideration to their future, all in the broad daylight of this liberty we take for granted. My mother was born of Polish and Czech immigrants who arrived here at the turn of the century and my father came here from the Philippines in his twenties, which makes immigration a very personal issue for me, and probably why I’ve written more of a manifesto than a post. Most immigrants don’t come here for themselves, they do so for their families and their children, seeking to spread the apparent overflow of prosperity upon those they love. This was the founding principal of our nation, it was the reason why George Washington didn’t want to pay his taxes and why Jose’ worked 3 jobs with no insurance, they both wanted to be citizens of the United States. Should people come here legally? Yes. Regulating this, though, must start within our own borders by prosecuting the companies perpetuating it. The fact remains that there are millions of people who have spent year after year toiling in sheer exploitation that deserve, if not the name, at least some of the rights guaranteed by citizenship. By instead putting them in shackles and tearing apart their families, we relive another notorious and shamefull period of our history. If we cannot enforce our laws equally across tax brackets, guarantee the well being of our citizens and the humane treatment of those who are not, we scar the traditions that built this country. If we can’t fulfill our promises here, how are we supposed to fight and die to fulfill them elsewhere?

Prison Babies

In Children and Youth, Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice / Prison Reform on March 1, 2007 at 7:06 pm

West Virginia is considering whether or not it should join the ranks of States that have programs for incarcerated mothers of infants to be able to care for their babies while in prison.

According to the West Virginia Gazette:

Some newborns could spend the first 18 months of their lives behind bars in West Virginia, under a bill passed by the Senate.

The idea of allowing female inmates to live with their infants in special prison housing is to encourage such a strong bond between mother and child that the mothers clean up their acts to avoid returning to prison.

Still, prison nurseries are rare. West Virginia would become only the sixth state to offer such a service. But as the national female prison population grows at record rates, experts say, other states will soon be looking at similar plans.

States that already have prison nurseries — New York, Ohio, Nebraska, California and Washington — tout reduced recidivism rates among their inmates.

In New York, the recidivism rate among women who raised their babies in prison between 1997 and 2001 was less than half what it was among the general female prison population, according to a study by the New York Department of Correctional Services.

“We really believe in the value of the program,” said spokeswoman Linda Foglia. “You’re going to have better behavior so you can continue to have that relationship with that baby.”

The numbers in Ohio, which started its prison nursery in 2001, have been even more promising, according to Elizabeth Wright, assistant to the warden at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville. Of the 123 women who have completed the program, only eight have been convicted of subsequent felonies, a recidivism rate of 6.5 percent, compared to 30 percent in the general population.

In West Virginia, the bill before the House of Delegates would allow women to keep their newborns with them in a minimum-security unit at the Lakin Correctional Center for Women near Point Pleasant. Like almost all the other prison nursery programs, only nonviolent offenders serving short sentences would be eligible.

Women could have their newborns with them for up to 18 months. If the mother’s sentence runs longer, the baby would be placed with family or social services.

The women and their children would live in one of three specially designed units already built at Lakin for minimum-security inmates. The units have bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and laundry area, and can be occupied by other prisoners if there aren’t enough pregnant inmates to fill them……

While I do strongly believe in the importance of the bond between mother and child, as well as the life changing effects that the bond can have, I have some questions to raise about this program.

1) Considering the large amount of physical and emotional disease and problems that many prisoners face, what is being done to ensure a safe environment for the babies? Given the track records tht prisons have in these areas, I don’t know that i would trust their discretion in creating baby development-friendly environments.

2) Considering the above mentioned stresses related to prison life, how does the added stress of caring for and raising a child effect the psychology of the mothers?

3) How does the stress of prison life compare to the emotional stress of a child being separated from its mother (both long term and short term) on both the child and mother?

These are just some questions that i came up with off the top of my head.  I’m sure there are many more.  I can definitely see the positive potential for a program like this, but at the same time i don’t know that I trust the U.S. prison system to pull it off in a good way.

Police Taze UCLA student, twice!

In Children and Youth, Civil Liberties, Global War On Terror, Habeas Corpus, Misc. on November 21, 2006 at 1:17 am

Just watch. Thanks Olbermann.

Bring that Draft Back?

In Children and Youth, class warfare, Economic Justice, Global War On Terror, Iraq War, Laws & Regulation, Misc. on November 20, 2006 at 8:23 pm

I don’t know how I feel about this, from the Gothamist. I can see Rangels point, but… Any counterpoints?

 

Rangel Is All About The Draft

2006_11_rangeldraft.jpgCongressman Charles Rangel is in the news again, but this time he’s not upsetting Southern states – he’s scaring the bejesus out of young Americans! He told CBS’s Face the Nation that he will will propose legislation to bring back the draft. Why? Because it might act as a war-deterrent, as well as fulfill the need for more troops.

There’s no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm’s way. If we’re going to challenge Iran and challenge North Korea and then, as some people have asked, to send more troops to Iraq, we can’t do that without a draft.

Additionally, when speaking to Baruch College, Congressman Rangel said, “If the country’s in danger, everyone should share in the sacrifice.” Naturally, there is little support for bringing back the draft, though many agree that U.S. policy in Iraq has been unsuccessful. Rangel would be introducing the legislation in January, but even if it passed the House, it would need to be passed by the Senate and approved by President Bush.

UN: Pro-poor mortgages to curb growth of slums

In Children and Youth, Disaster Relief, Economic Justice, Environment, Housing, International Public Health, International Trade, Labor, Land rights, Laws & Regulation, Progressive Politics, Technology, Urban Planning / Space on November 14, 2006 at 2:24 pm

From the UN late last month:

Mortgages that allow poor people to buy housing will soon be needed to curb the worldwide growth of slums and improve living standards, the head of the United Nations agency charged with promoting socially and environmentally sustainable housing has warned, saying that her organization has already begun testing various financing methods… But she said that there were some signs of progress, noting in particular that new rules, effective since August, meant that UN-HABITAT could finally act as a catalyst, enabling countries to meet the slum upgrading and water and sanitation targets of 2015.

First off, has there been a sudden crisis in the world’s urban slumdwelling population that is in such an emergent need for an innovative tool, but only in need of this tool “soon?” I guess the living standards are deteriorating, but at a slowth enough speed that they’re not needed now… soon will do.

I agree that the expansion “pro-poor” financing options will be useful to the “poor,” but enforcing contracts/mortgages can also be a dangerous tool.

Let’s pull this string through:

Living in a slum, oftentimes on squatted land, and then, as this articles alludes to, water and utility infrastructure improvements shift people off squatted land and onto land where they will be formally recorded and deeded. If they’re not shifted, they are at the very least recorded and deeded. (Here’s a post about utility work and land displacement.)

This deed is then exchanged for a mortgage, be it a “pro-poor” mortgage or what seems under this framework to be an “anti-poor” or perhaps “pro-wealthy” mortgage. Times get tough though because, say, unfair subsidies artificially deflate the prices of the goods these “pro-poor” borrowers can get for their crops. These “pro-poor” homeowners fall behind on their mortgage and while they are unable to sell their goods in an open economy (due to maladjusted subsidies) they are certainly going to tossed from their home, which will then be sold on an open market.

“Pro-poor” mortgage means nothing unless the strongest protections are reserved for the homeowner, not the lender. Shift the “pro” in “pro-poor” to be short for “protection.”

And don’t think this call for protection is paternalistic… it’s actually self-serving.

We all need protections brought back a bit more to the borrowers of the world; the scales are tipped too far in favor of “investors’ rights” at the expense of human rights, in my not-so-modest opinion.
If this were in fact for the urban poor the alarm for this innovative tool would have sounded to have it developed NOW; the call was made for this tool to be developed “soon.” This is for investors, not for the world’s “pro-poor” urban slumdwellers.

LA’s Homeless Are Like LA’s Old Nikes

In Children and Youth, Civil Liberties, Culture of Corruption, Economic Justice, Housing, International politics, International Public Health, Labor, Laws & Regulation, Media Criticism, Netroots, Progressive Politics, Race, Urban Planning / Space, US Politics on October 24, 2006 at 10:45 pm

I hate the terminology used in these stories. They discuss the “dumping” of the homeless.

The frame gets across the mentality of those doing the “dumping,” though, and that may be for the best. Those doing the dumping see these people the same way Nike sees their unsold extra shoes — expendable goods that should be dumped into undesireable locations at the going rate.

Los Angeles police have launched a criminal investigation into the dumping of homeless people on a rundown area in the city after ambulances were spotted dropping off discharged hospital patients there. The practice had long been suspected but police say they now have evidence, releasing pictures and video to the media on Tuesday of five hospital patients being left in the downtown area commonly known as skid row. “We cannot allow the dumping of the most needy … into that environment, and shame on those who do,” Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton told reporters on Tuesday…

The investigation will focus on possible violations of federal laws that require medical facilities to screen and stabilize patients before releasing them. It comes as Los Angeles city council seeks a compromise on a policy that attempted to ban people from sitting, lying or sleeping on the streets. It was ruled unconstitutional in April on the grounds of cruel and unusual punishment.

The Military Commissions Act and Bush’s history of prisoner treatment

In Children and Youth, Civil Liberties, Global War On Terror, Immigration, Laws & Regulation, Race, Terrorism, US Politics on October 21, 2006 at 11:02 am

I was doing a little searching on the topic of the Military Commissions Act and found a great piece by Heather Wokusch at the Guerilla News Network.  I decided to repost the entire article below:

What the Military Commissions Act of 2006 means for you

Now that you could be labeled an enemy combatant…

Since Congress recently handed Bush the power to identify American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” and detain them indefinitely without charge, it’s worth examining the administration’s record of prisoner abuse as well as the building of stateside detention centers.

As Texas governor (from 1995-2000) Bush oversaw the executions of 152 prisoners, and thus became the most-killing governor in the history of the United States. Ethnic minorities, many of whom did not have access to proper legal representation, comprised a large percentage of those Bush put to death, and in one particularly egregious example, Bush executed an immigrant who hadn’t even seen a consular official from his own country (as is required by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which the U.S. was a signatory). Bush’s explanation: “Texas did not sign the Vienna Convention, so why should we be subject to it?”

Governor Bush also flouted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child by choosing to execute juvenile offenders, a practice shared at the time only by Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Significantly, in 1998 a full 92% of the juvenile offenders on Bush’s death row were ethnic minorities.

Conditions inside Texan prisons during Bush’s reign were so notorious that federal Judge William Wayne Justice wrote, “Many inmates credibly testified to the existence of violence, rape and extortion in the prison system and about their own suffering from such abysmal conditions.”

In September 1996, for example, a videotaped raid on inmates at a county jail in Texas showed guards using stun guns and an attack dog on prisoners, who were later dragged face-down back to their cells.

Funding of mental health programs during Bush’s reign was so poor that Texan prisons had a sizeable number of mentally-impaired inmates; defying international human rights standards, these inmates ended up on death row. For instance, a prisoner named Emile Duhamel, with severe psychological disabilities and an IQ of 56, died in his Texan death-row jail cell in July 1998. Authorities blamed “natural causes” but a lack of air conditioning in cells that topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit in a summer heat wave may have killed Duhamel instead. How many other Texan prisoners died of such neglect during Bush’s governorship is unclear.

As president, Bush presides over a prison population topping two million people, giving America the dubious distinction of having a higher percentage of its citizens behind bars than any other country. When considering that (based on 2003 figures) the US has three times more prisoners per capita than Iran and seven times more than Germany, the nation looks more like a Gulag than the Land of the Free.

The White House has also stifled investigation into the roughly 760 aliens (mainly Muslim men) the U.S. government rounded up post-9/11, ostensibly for immigration violations. Amnesty International reports that 9/11 detainees have suffered “a pattern of physical and verbal abuse by some corrections officers” and a denial of “basic human rights.”

Then of course, there’s Guantanamo, where the U.S. is holding hundreds of detainees in top secrecy and without access to courts, legal counsel or family visits. Add to that the thousands of Afghans and Iraqis the U.S. has imprisoned (including a large percentage of innocent civilians) and countless U.S. secret prisons across the globe, and it looks as if incarceration is the nation’s best export.

While Abu Ghraib may have left administration officials falling over themselves with protestations of compassion, it’s worth remembering that the Bush White House has fought hard against the International Convention Against Torture, especially a proposal to establish voluntary inspections of prisons and detention centers in signatory countries, such as the United States.

Put it all together, and last week’s passage of the Military Commissions Act is ominous for those in the U.S. As Bruce Ackerman noted recently in The Los Angeles Times, the legislation “authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any protections of the Bill of Rights.” The vague criteria for being labeled an enemy combatant (taking part in “hostilities against the United States”) don’t help either. Would that include anti-war protestors? People who criticize Bush? Unclear.

In 2002, former Attorney General John Ashcroft called for the indefinite detainment of U.S. citizens he considered to be “enemy combatants,” and while widely criticized at the time, Congress went ahead and fulfilled Ashcroft’s nefarious vision last week. Ashcroft had also called for stateside internment camps, and accordingly, in January 2006 the U.S. government awarded a Halliburton subsidiary $385 million to build detention centers to be used for, “an unexpected influx of immigrants or to house people after a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space.” New programs that require additional detention space. Hmm.

The disgraceful Military Commissions Act and the building of domestic internment camps are yet more examples of blowback from the administration’s so-called war on terror, and we ignore these increasing assaults on our civil liberties at our own peril.

Action Ideas:

1. Read the Military Commissions Act of 2006 for yourself here: Find out how your congressmembers voted on this legislation, and raise the topic when they ask for your vote this November.

2. For more information on U.S. prisoner abuse, check out BBC’s report from 2005 entitled “Torture Inc. Americas Brutal Prisons.” Text and video versions are archived here. You can learn more about U.S. prisoner’s rights from the American Civil Liberties Union.

3. To take action regarding “the plight of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other detainees held as part of the War on Terror,“ visit Cageprisoners.com.

GNN contributor Heather Wokusch is the author of The Progressives’ Handbook: Get the Facts and Make a Difference Now (Volumes 1 and 2). Heather can be reached at www.heatherwokusch.com.

I strongly recommend clicking on some of the links in the article, in particular the one to Amnesty International’s article on the death penalty in Texas. While I had heard of some of this stuff before, it’s worse than I thought. Something must be done to put a stop to this madness.

Tanzania Sees Water Privatization-Driven Resistence, Violence

In Children and Youth, Civil Liberties, class warfare, Culture of Corruption, Economic Justice, Election 2006, Election 2008, Environment, Freedom of Speech, HIV/SIDA, Housing, Immigration, International politics, International Public Health, International Trade, Labor, Laws & Regulation, Netroots, Progressive Politics, Race, religion & politics, Terrorism, Urban Planning / Space, US Politics on October 18, 2006 at 8:45 pm

I was living in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 2003, during the “build up” to the Iraq inavsion. I was about 4 miles from the fortress that was the newly opened US Embassy — it replaced the US embassy bombed in 1998.  It was painful to be an American in another city that had also been victimized by Al-Queda (I was coming from NYC, where I was on 9/11/01) . Many of the people in Dar, like many in NYC, saw the attck on Iraq as a pitiful distraction from the true perpetrators of NYC/DC attacks in 2001, but that is a story for another day…

While in Tanzania, I analyzed a World Bank-induced public utility privatization scheme that was clear to me to be an impending disaster. Beyond the complications that would arise from tiered access to safe water and increased prices, the sheer number of landholders without deeds in Dar es Salaam, I believed, tipped the equation of potential problems beyond even that of Bolivia’s wonderfully horrific water privatization scheme. (My opinionated, poorly written report on Dar’s plan is at my old blog. It includes interviews w officials from the city’s to-be-privatized water utility, representatives from the World Bank  and the Tanzanian government, as well as ‘everyday’ Tanzanians I played basketball with while there.)

My study focused on the land rights of residential properties, not that of unregistered and “unofficial” businesses. The problems, though, are similar in many ways. 

There is unfortunate news from Dar today. As reported by the BBC:

Thousands of Tanzanian market traders are up in arms after being moved away from the centre of the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

More than 40,000 traders have been relocated to the city’s remote Kigogo area. They say they now have to pay taxes before they can ply their wares…

But the government insists that the traders have been occupying space in the city centre illegally – preventing the installation of sewage and clean water pipes and reducing traffic in the busy area to a single lane… In March, two people were killed in violent clashes between police and street vendors in the northern town of Mwanza.

Mwanza is the section I lived in and Kigogo is way out there. I mean, it is WAY out there. There is no way these vendors will be able to do the same type of business as they would in downtown Dar. Especially since much of their business is based on downtown-oriented foot traffic, as opposed to foot traffic intending to go to the market.

This is part of a much larger conversation of the suburbanization of the poor.  It is happening in the US (usually boiled down to the concept of gentrification, although these ideas are not synonymous) and it is happening in countless cities throughout the world.

This will have incredibly negative effects on the poor, in terms of their access to social infrastructure — transportation will be losing funding, public utilities such as electricity and water are currently being installed in cities under the guise of the economies of scale (more water users and payers in the city makes the infrastructure investment feasible) while not being supplied to the suburbs. While saying nothing of the access to health services and disaster relief infrastructure,  first-and-foremost in my book, this facilitates the deeding of the unrecorded class and, subsequently, taxation.

If we can’t get our system implemented on them in their squatter town, the thought goes, let’s move their squatter town to where we can implement our system on them. It’s how the government makes money and maintains social control.

Plus, the thinking follows, there’s good times to be had in the city, let’s freshen it up a bit and give the tourists access to it — those low-wage workers will find a way to get into work for them ‘cuz they got nowheres else to work… except that export processing zone

P.S. Hey, investors! Don’t worry, those pesky “existing” Tanzanian exporters have been disallowed from investing in the EPZ… this is strictly for folks like you!

“The price of same-sex marriage is paid by the children,” said Romney

In Children and Youth, Civil Liberties, Economic Justice, Election 2006, Election 2008, Freedom of Speech, Laws & Regulation, Netroots, Progressive Politics, religion & politics, Sexuality, US Politics on October 16, 2006 at 11:07 am

Read this mess here.

“The price of same-sex marriage is paid by the children,” said Romney during a brief but peppy speech from Boston duringa forum hosted by the Family Research Council. “The child’s development is enhanced by the nurturing of parents of both genders. Every child deserves a mother and a father.”

Critics called Romney’s attack on Massachusetts for legalizing gay marriage an insult.

“Once again he chooses to demonize loving couples and families in Massachusetts as part of his heartless crusade for the presidential nomination,” said Marc Solomon, campaign director from MassEquality. “Everyone but Romney has moved on and we just wish he’d finally bite the bullet, move out and drop this pretend game of governing.”

Some Tasteless Political Humor

In Children and Youth, Culture jamming, Culture of Corruption, Election 2006, Freedom of Speech, Laws & Regulation, Misc., Netroots, religion & politics, Sexuality, US Politics on October 10, 2006 at 2:39 pm

An email from a friend of mine that goes to school in Boston:

I’m thinking of coming home the weekend before election day – will there be things for me to do?

I have to level with you, this Foley thing has really affected me…I think I’m going to vote Republican now. If these people will f**k little boys, just imagine what they’ll do to that guy running North Korea.

You know they’re replacing Foley on the ballot in Florida? And they’re trying to get his name taken off so that people won’t feel like they’re voting for Foley himself. Unfortunately, the name of the Republican they found to run against him…..John Wayne Gacy.

No one in my Congress class liked that one either.

Teenagers? Nope, “Screen-agers” Says White House Drug Control Director

In Children and Youth, Culture jamming, International Public Health, Media Criticism, Race, The War On Drugs, US Politics on October 6, 2006 at 3:39 pm

“We call [kids] ‘screen-agers,’ because they spend so much time with televisions and computers,” said Robert Denniston, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s anti-drug media campaign.

Guns

In Children and Youth, Laws & Regulation, US Politics on October 5, 2006 at 10:24 am

The Independent published an article yesterday on gun violence in America, which is a topic that deserves some attention in the wake of the recent school shootings.

Some figures and interesting points from the article:

Is it about the guns?

There’s no question that the gun culture – stemming back to the frontier spirit of the 19th century and justified, at least by gun-ownership advocates, by the Second Amendment of the Constitution – plays a major role in perpetuating the high numbers of violent deaths.

In the US, there are roughly 17,000 murders a year, of which about 15,000 are committed with firearms. By contrast, Britain, Australia and Canada combined see fewer than 350 gun-related murders each year. And it’s not just about murder. The non-gun-related suicide rate in the US is consistent with the rest of the developed world. Factor in firearms, and the rate is suddenly twice as high as the rest of the developed world.

Children are affected particularly hard. An American youth is murdered with a firearm every four and a half hours on average. And an American youth commits suicide with a firearm every eight hours. It’s worth remembering that many of the most spectacular mass murders of recent years were really suicides, with the perpetrators choosing to take a few other people with them while they were at it. Gun-control advocates argue they manage to carry out their murderous fantasies only because firearms give them the means to do so…

Is there hope for an end to America’s gun violence?

Yes…

* With every high-profile mass murder, victims’ advocates and gun-control lobbyists gain more visibility, and more influence

* Someone, eventually, will make the link to homeland security: why make it so easy for al-Qa’ida to acquire assault weapons?

* The numbers of American children who die in gun violence means sooner or later, the madness will stop

No…

* Congress is in thrall to the NRA, and is too scared to act

* The burst of reformist energy that followed Columbine has subsided, and the most recent mass murders have been greeted with resigned indifference

* The US media is too addicted to its regular, real-life horror show to want it to stop

I suggest that people read the entire article and reflect on America’s gun situation, because it sure doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

The “Flop Sweat” of Rep. Tom Reynolds

In Children and Youth, Culture of Corruption, Election 2006, Laws & Regulation, Misc., Netroots, Progressive Politics, religion & politics, US Politics on October 5, 2006 at 9:18 am

Gross. Tom Reynolds has more than his feet to the fire for this whole GOP, alcohol-fueled, gay, clergy abuse, pedophilia, online predator thing.  Now, Reynold’s website that usually carried his remarks is mysteriously down.
And, just to be sure you didn’t miss this: One senior House Republican told CBS news that the fault here lies not at the feet of Denny Hastert or the knees of Mark Foley but actually on ‘a network of gay staffers and gay members who protect each other and did the Speaker a disservice.’

Columbia Students Invade Minutemen Project Event

In Children and Youth, Civil Liberties, Economic Justice, Immigration, International politics, International Trade, Labor, Laws & Regulation, Netroots, New York City, Progressive Politics, Race, religion & politics, US Politics on October 5, 2006 at 8:49 am

“As a large, vocal protest raged outside Roone Arledge Auditorium at Columbia University, Minutemen founder Jim Gilchrist was heckled and confronted onstage by students, prompting a fistfight between students and the Minutemen. According to an on-scene report, ‘there [were] at least two minutes of chaos between students, other students and the Minutemen.'” Read it at NYC Indymedia.

I whole-heartedly support this, supposing that students first went through other means to have Gilchrist dis-invited. In late 2002, someone I know snuck into NYU’s student center ‘dressed as a Republican,’ in order to get into the student center and remove prominently placed signs promoting the “need” to invade Iraq, prepared by the College Republicans. The signs were the nauseating “if-you’re-against-this-war-than-you’re-against-getting-this-five-year-old-Iraqi-girl-medical-supplies-and-clean-drinking-water” type of signs. Through this low-key act of disobedience and the intense conversations with a small group of activist friends, I feel I came to a much clearer understanding of free speech on campus. Gilchrist is a xenophobic fascist, yes, but he also has the right to speak in public. To speak on private ground, such as a Columbia University, where student tuition pays a substatial portion of the overall bills, I believe students have the right to fight not to have someone on campus. If they went through other channels first, such as petitions and targeted media work to shame him and his inviters into cancelling the event, I support this action. I do wish they would have interrupted it loudly and with the strong message they clearly had and then allowed the mess of a show to continue. Beat back ignorance with open-mindedness and universal respect.

In NYC’s guest-oriented college demo circuit, New School activists recently demo’ed against an appearance by New Gingrich.

The World Can’t Wait Demos

In Children and Youth, Civil Liberties, class warfare, Culture of Corruption, Economic Justice, Education, Election 2006, Environment, HIV/SIDA, Housing, Hurricane Katrina, Immigration, International politics, International Public Health, International Trade, Iraq War, Labor, Laws & Regulation, New York City, Progressive Politics, Race, religion & politics, Sexuality, The War On Drugs, US Politics on October 4, 2006 at 2:05 pm

Tomorrow there will be a “Day of Mass Resistence,” organized by The World Can’t Wait. They’ve placed ads in newspapers across the country for this event that will be centered in DC, but will have locations throughout the nation. Our friends from Outernational, who Tom Morello says will be the next Rage Against the Machine, will be playing the NYC demo.

It’s going to take all kinds to get the change we need in this world, and this group is one that is making the necssary noise to make people turn and listen. That is for damn sure.

Join in–get loud–demand more. The time to be silent has long since passed.

Denny Hastert Down the Drain

In Children and Youth, Culture of Corruption, Election 2006, Laws & Regulation, Misc., Progressive Politics, Sexuality, US Politics on October 4, 2006 at 7:59 am

Denny Down the Drain

‘Bout time this story broke.  Protect the kid, nail any leader to the wall that didn’t step up, Repugnicant or Democrat.