Friday, August 31, 2007

TEP Responds to Attacks on Cohen


The attacks on Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) for his support of the Matthew Shepard Act continue to disturb fair-minded citizens across the country. Memphis area residents see the issue played out in the media almost every day.
When a few religious leaders spread distortions and set up an ambush in the guise of a forum, it is a scandal to public discourse and the values of truth and hospitality to others that religious communities have taught us for centuries.

The TEP Shelby County Committee has been actively working with GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign to coordinate a response so that reasonable voices for fairness are part of the discussion. Their work has also generated a high volume of calls and emails to Rep. Cohen's office in support of the courageous stand he has taken for an inclusive hate crimes bill. Please contact the Tennessee Equality Project for more information.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Green Choose Chicago for 2008 Convention


WASHINGTON, DC -- The Green Party of the United States will hold its
2008 national nominating convention in Chicago, Illinois.
Delegates from state Green Parties and caucuses in the party's
National Committee completed their vote yesterday, with Chicago taking
the lead over Detroit, Minneapolis, and Oakland.

Greens from all four cities had submitted proposals for the 2008
convention. The National Committee chose the site using ranked choice
voting (also called instant run-off voting) ,
a voting reform the party also recommends for single seat offices like
governor or mayor.

Chicago's proposal can be read at
. The convention will take place
July 10 to 13, 2008.

"We're very proud that Greens will choose our 2008 presidential
nominee in Chicago," said Patrick Kelly, media coordinator for the
Illinois Green Party and coordinator for the Chicago bid. "Our Green
candidate for Governor of Illinois, Rich Whitney, drew over 10% in the
2006 election -- after Gov. Blagojevich spent $800,000 in taxpayers
money trying to keep the Green Party off the ballot. The 2008
convention will show Chicago that we're here to stay."

"Our intention is to run a strong presidential campaign with our
nominee on every ballot line in the country," added Phil Huckelberry,
co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and Chicagoan.

Green leaders are planning a press conference in Chicago next week, at
which they will discuss the convention site and the Green Party's
plans for 2008 in greater detail. Press conference details will be
announced soon.

"We were quite impressed with the presentations from all four cities,
and we know Greens faced a hard choice," said Ruth Weill, co-chair of
the Green Party's Annual National Meeting Committee. "We thank all of
them and congratulate Chicago, and we look forward to seeing everyone
-- and the media too -- in Chicago next summer."

The Green Party held its 2007 national meeting in Reading,
Pennsylvania, in July. Several candidates for the Green presidential
nomination introduced themselves to the party during the meeting, and
more candidates are expected to announce soon.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Anti Arms Trade Campaigners Plan Third Ac

Anti arms Trade Campaigners Plan Third Protest Camp in Wild Park

Campaigners against EDO MBM, a factory manufacturing weapons for the US, UK and Israel in Mouslecoomb, Brighton, plan to hold a four day long protest camp in Wild Park from Monday 27th August. Activists from around the country are expected to attend the event and plan to take part in direct action.

This will be the third protest camp since the Smash EDO campaign was launched in 2004. Previous camps have included mass demonstrations and blockades of the factory.
Sarah Johnson, spokeswoman for Smash EDO, said ‘since the start of our campaign over 650 000 people have died as a result of the occupation of Iraq. EDO MBM continue to make a profit out of the suffering of the Iraqi people despite three years of popular protest. The Smash EDO Action Camp will be a time for people to join us and take creative action to close down the factory’.

Campaigners will hold a vigil at the entrance to Wild Park on Lewes Road, close to the entrance to Home Farm Industrial Estate where the factory is situated, on Monday at 3pm. There will be a ‘Bikes not Bombs’ critical mass’ bike ride leaving from The Level at 5.30 on Tuesday. More events and actions will be announced throughout the week.

email smashedopress@yahoo.co.uk

Thursday, August 23, 2007

SPLC Sues Leading Klan Group over Beating

The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed suit against the nation's second-largest Klan group and five Klansmen, saying two members were on a recruiting mission for the group in July 2006 when they savagely beat a teenage boy at a county fair in Kentucky.

The lawsuit claims that as part of an official recruiting drive organized by the leadership of the Imperial Klans of America (IKA), several members went to the Meade County Fairgrounds in Brandenburg, Ky., to hand out business cards and flyers advertising a "white-only" IKA function.

Unprovoked, two of the Klansmen at the fair began harassing a 16-year-old boy of Panamanian descent, calling him a "spic," according to the lawsuit. The boy, who stands 5-foot-3 and weighs just 150 pounds, was beaten to the ground and kicked by the Klansmen, one of whom is 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds. The beating left the boy with two cracked ribs, a broken left forearm, multiple cuts and bruises and jaw injuries requiring extensive dental repair.

"The defendants are members and high-ranking officials of one of the most violent white supremacist groups in America," said SPLC President Richard Cohen. "They promote violence and intimidation and call for the death of racial and ethnic minorities, homosexuals and so-called 'race traitors.' They targeted and viciously beat our client solely because he has brown skin."

The SPLC has documented a 40 percent rise in the number of hate groups since 2000 — an increase fueled by anti-immigration furor aimed largely at Latinos. The boy who was attacked is a U.S. citizen.

The lawsuit says the boy has endured physical and mental pain and suffering from the attack. It seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Two IKA members at the time of the beating — Jarred R. Hensley, 24, of Cincinnati and Andrew R. Watkins, 26, of Louisville — each are serving three-year prison terms for the beating after pleading guilty to second-degree assault. Hensley was the IKA's Grand Titan in Ohio. Watkins served as the IKA's webmaster.

The center earlier sued Hensley and Watkins for their actions, but Wednesday's filing adds the IKA and three other individuals.

The suit names Ron Edwards, the IKA's founder and highest-ranking member; J. Edward, who as an Exalted Cyclops had "authority over and responsibility for the operations and activities of the IKA in Kentucky"; and Joshua Cowles, another member participating in the recruiting drive.

The IKA's compound in Dawson Springs, Ky., is situated on 28 acres owned by Edwards. It is the site of Nordic Fest, a music festival that brings together Klansmen, skinheads and members of other violent hate groups each year in May.

Over the past 25 years, the SPLC has crippled some of the nation's largest and most violent white supremacist organizations by helping victims of racial violence sue for monetary damages. Its victories include a $7 million verdict against the United Klans in 1987 for the lynching of Michael Donald in Mobile, Ala.; a $12.4 million verdict against the White Aryan Resistance in 1990 for the brutal murder of an Ethiopian student in Portland; and a $6.3 million verdict against the Aryan Nations in 2000 that forced the organization to give up its 20-acre compound in Idaho.

UN Document on Healthcare Released

This article from the W.H.O. below helps illustrate why, in my opinion, we are losing the debate regarding national healthcare in the United States. Most pundits and healthcare advocates in the media are not warning Americans about the historically obvious, now confirmed by the World Health Organization, as being an imminent global threat. The focus needs to be shifted to being directed and centered more on what can and will happen specifically, to United States citizens in general (not just the poor and uninsured), when significant statistical portions of our population are not adequately taken care of. This same debate applies across the board to homelessness, poverty and healthcare; allowing citizens to remain homeless and inadequately norished invites wide-spread infectious disease, as does also not providing adequate universal healthcare.

By shifting the focus of the debate, it would help to convince portions of our population who otherwise, are not altruistically motivated and rather, subscribe to the self-centered "pick up by own bootstraps" theory. Which unfortunately, is a widespread regressive attitude found in capitalistic societies in general and among significant portions of the current American population in particular.

Americans typically relate to plague in terms of it happening in so-called "third-world" countries and can't happen to us. That very bad error in thinking needs to be corrected by those with a media presence. The United States, by not providing healthcare for significant portions of our population, is openly inviting a new form of infectious disease to creep in and decimate our own population. Most infectious diseases represent slow, painful death rather than immediate, which nobody on any side of the political equation wants to risk, if correctly informed of the consequences of not providing adequate food, shelter and universal healthcare. We may as well shoot our own children in the head as to not adequately house, feed and care for all of our population.

----------------------copy from CNN.com---------------------------------
GENEVA, Switzerland (Reuters) -- Infectious diseases are emerging more quickly around the globe, spreading faster and becoming increasingly difficult to treat, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

In its annual World Health Report, the United Nations agency warned there was a good possibility that another major scourge like AIDS, SARS or Ebola fever with the potential of killing millions would appear in the coming years.

"Infectious diseases are now spreading geographically much faster than at any time in history," the WHO said.

It said it was vital to keep watch for new threats like the emergence in 2003 of SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which spread from China to 30 countries and killed 800 people.

"It would be extremely naive and complacent to assume that there will not be another disease like AIDS, another Ebola, or another SARS, sooner or later," the report warned.

Since the 1970s, the WHO said, new threats have been identified at an "unprecedented rate" of one or more every year, meaning that nearly 40 diseases exist today which were unknown just over a generation ago.

During the past five years alone, WHO experts had verified more than 1,100 epidemics of different diseases.

With more than 2 billion people traveling by air every year, the U.N. agency said: "an outbreak or epidemic in one part of the world is only a few hours away from becoming an imminent threat somewhere else."

Monitoring vital, report says

The report called for renewed efforts to monitor, prevent and control epidemic-prone ailments such as cholera, yellow fever and meningococcal diseases.

International assistance may be required to help health workers in poorer countries identify and contain outbreaks of emerging viral diseases such as Ebola and Marburg haemorrhagic fever, the WHO said.

It warned that global efforts to control infectious diseases have already been "seriously jeopardized" by widespread drug resistance, a consequence of poor medical treatment and misuse of antibiotics.

This is a particular problem in tuberculosis, where extensively drug-resistant (XDR-TB) strains of the contagious respiratory ailment have emerged worldwide.

"Drug resistance is also evident in diarrhoeal diseases, hospital-acquired infections, malaria, meningitis, respiratory tract infections, and sexually transmitted infections, and is emerging in HIV," the report declared.

Although the H5N1 bird flu virus has not mutated into a form that passes easily between humans, as many scientists had feared, the next influenza pandemic was "likely to be of an avian variety" and could affect some 1.5 billion people.

"The question of a pandemic of influenza from this virus or another avian influenza virus is still a matter of when, not if," the WHO said.

It said all countries must share essential health data, such as virus samples and reports of outbreaks, as required under international health rules, to mitigate such risks.

Accidents involving toxic chemicals, nuclear power and other environmental disasters should also be communicated quickly and clearly to minimize public health threats. E-mail to a friend

Richard Aberdeen 615-889-1669
richard@freedomtracks.com
www.FreedomTracks.com

Paul Reid’s Competency on Trial Again


Paul Reid believes that his attorneys are part of a conspiracy to psychologically torture him and that he is under surveillance by a secret government agency. He has tactile hallucinations and is totally out of touch with reality. Reid has been diagnosed with schizophrenia - paranoid type as well as schizoaffective disorder as well as left temporal lobe dysfunction, probably the result of a childhood accident that cracked his skull.

Last year, the state's own forensic psychologist determined that Paul Reid was delusional and therefore could not rationally decide to drop his appeals. The prosecutors had no choice but to concur that Reid was mentally incompetent, a rare admission by the state. But now, in a Davidson County courtroom, lawyers for the state Attorney General’s office are again attempting to prove that Reid is a competent defendant and capable of handling his own legal affairs. The most recent competency hearing began on July 31st and included the testimony of Dr. William Bernet, a forensic psychiatrist and expert for the state, who in past hearings, has testified that Reid made up his illness and has “pretended to have delusions.”

Judge Blackburn adjourned the competency hearing until September 4 when the court will hear from a defense expert.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Clarksville: Get the Facts on Iraq


The Leaf Chronicle: Get the facts before discussing Iraq
By Bill Larson

The Leaf Chronicle has a checkered history, especially when you look their statements in reference to our military misadventures in Iraq. As recently as June, they suggested that those who oppose the war should just shut up. Today they attacked those who are still calling for our troops to be brought home out of harms way.

The Leaf Chronicle statements demonstrate that they are sadly ignorant of the true situation on the ground in Iraq.

"President Bush frequently defers questions about the surge by explaining that we must wait for that progress report from Petraeus.

Many Senate Republicans also have said they are waiting on the report before making any decisions regarding withdrawals..

…Such a strategy would make sense. The United States cannot simply pull up and leave Iraq overnight. Anyone who thinks that is hopelessly naive. - The Leaf Chronicle, Don’t reverse Iraq surge too quickly"

Embarrassing things like this can happen when you drink the kool-aid served to you by the Bush administration and their lackeys in the corporate media. Lets take this editorial and break it down piece by piece and see what the facts really show.

"The 30,000 U.S. troops deployed earlier in this year eventually will be drawn down. But if the troop surge is reversed too quickly, it also could reverse all of the progress that has been made this year."

The first step is that we must come up with a generally understood and accepted definition of what constitutes progress. The media has frenquently repeated grand statements like “victory” and now “progress” without understanding what do they really mean, thus the public is left confused, a state that the spinmeisters prefer. It’s fine for politicians to make vague statements, but the real world works on specifics.

Indeed, how can we have a meaningful gauge of the situation in Iraq, without everyone being on the same page, reading from the same book. Lets see a checklist, one which can not be changed or even tossed out depending on which way the political winds are currently blowing. That my friends would be real progress!

The administration’s initial definition of progress was, training the troops. Indeed we spent over 19.2 billion dollars training the Iraqi police and army units since 2003. Let’s take a look at where that has gotten us.

"A Government Accounting Office report that came out last month found that since 2003, the U.S. gave $19.2 billion to train Iraqi forces. This was accomplished through emergency funding and a shoddy record keeping plan that is now coming back to haunt us. It seems there are serious discrepancies between what the U.S. commanders in Iraq said was issued and what was written in the property books.

As the fog of war has lifted, it shows hundreds of thousands of weapons given to the train-and-equip program are nowhere to be found. Missing are 110,000 AK-47 rifles, 80,000 pistols, 135,000 items of body armor, and 115,000 helmets. - U.S. is still ’sugar daddy’ to the world by Chantal Escoto"

Most of these missing tools of war have likely gone to equip the insurgent forces fighting our troops in Iraq. Indeed the Iraqi police and soldiers we have spent so much taxpayer money training, have often actively been assisting the insurgent forces in killing our brave troops. Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne laid it out for us in a recent New York Times op-ed:

"…This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.

A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. - The War as We Saw It By SPC. Buddhika Jayamaha, SGT. Wesley D. Smith, SGT. Jeremy Roebuck, SGT. Omar Mora, SGT. Edward Sandmeier, SSGT. Yance T. Gray and SSGT. Jeremy A. Murphy of the 82nd Airborne in the NYTimes"

Indeed their view of the situation in Iraq is downright pessimistic. Yep, I guess the Conservative Republicans were right in the end, the media hasn’t been telling us the truth about what’s going on in Iraq; they have been sugar coating it…

"To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.) - The War as We Saw It By SPC. Buddhika Jayamaha, SGT. Wesley D. Smith, SGT. Jeremy Roebuck, SGT. Omar Mora, SGT. Edward Sandmeier, SSGT. Yance T. Gray and SSGT. Jeremy A. Murphy of the 82nd Airborne in the NYTimes"

Now, this administration and their enablers are down to grasping at the straws of progress at the local level, while still ignoring the major problems affecting the lives of the average Iraqi. Things like power, security considerations, running water, sewer service, access to gasoline in one of the most oil rich nations in the world.

"At the same time, the most important front in the counterinsurgency, improving basic social and economic conditions, is the one on which we have failed most miserably. Two million Iraqis are in refugee camps in bordering countries. Close to two million more are internally displaced and now fill many urban slums. Cities lack regular electricity, telephone services and sanitation. “Lucky” Iraqis live in gated communities barricaded with concrete blast walls that provide them with a sense of communal claustrophobia rather than any sense of security we would consider normal.

In a lawless environment where men with guns rule the streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act. Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. When the primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care packages. As an Iraqi man told us a few days ago with deep resignation, “We need security, not free food.” - The War as We Saw It By SPC. Buddhika Jayamaha, SGT. Wesley D. Smith, SGT. Jeremy Roebuck, SGT. Omar Mora, SGT. Edward Sandmeier, SSGT. Yance T. Gray and SSGT. Jeremy A. Murphy of the 82nd Airborne in the NYTimes"

It’s backed up by the Wall Street Journal as they reported in their story “Bush Focuses on Local Successes in Iraq”…

"And even at the local level, progress is slow. In his report to Congress earlier this month, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction said rebuilding is being crippled by power plant problems, mismanagement, corruption and weak spending on capital projects by Iraq’s central government ministries and its provinces."

Let’s conclude our dissection of the Leaf Chronicle Editorial with this:

There’s a tremendous amount of pressure resting on the shoulders of the former Fort Campbell commander. Not only is Petraeus the top U.S. commander in Iraq, but the eyes of the world will be on him and the report he presents to Congress next month on the war’s progress.

But that’s not really correct either, is it? You see, General Petraeus will not be writing the report that he will be presenting to Congress. Instead, he will be presenting a report which he had input on, but that was authored and compiled by the same political hacks in the White House who have been lying to the American people, Congress, and the world since this war began.

"Those positions only hardened yesterday with reports that the document would not be written by the Army general but instead would come from the White House, with input from Petraeus, Crocker and other administration officials.

“Americans deserve an even-handed assessment of conditions in Iraq. Sadly, we will only receive a snapshot from the same people who told us the mission was accomplished and the insurgency was in its last throes,” warned House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.). - An Early Clash Over Iraq Report: Specifics at Issue as September Nears By Jonathan Weisman and Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post"

Rahm Emanuel is right: we do deserve, and our soldiers should be able to expect, a neutral presentation of the facts, letting us make up our own mind on the information presented. But I do not think we will get that from our infamous “I do not recall, Senator” Administration.

Our troops can’t and shouldn’t be expected to police a civil war in a foreign land. They are setup in a situation where they are friendless, bound to fail, and targeted by all sides. Our troops are being injured and killed in order to protect politicians and the politiically connected groups and organizations which benefit from this war being continued. There is only one way left to truly support the troops: bring them home now!

The Leaf Chronicle Editorial board should spend some time, and do more research, before penning future op-eds. If they do so, then perhaps they won’t be wrong on the facts, and they will appear to be better educated, when they discuss situations like these with the residents of our city.

reprinted with permission from the Clarksville Online
http://www.clarksvilleonline.com

Sewanee: 'Hacking Democracy' Aug 24th


Hacking Democracy, a documentary film about the dangers of voting machines used in U.S. elections, will be screened at the Sewanee Community Center Friday, August 24, at 8 p.m. The film is free, and everyone is welcome. A discussion will follow for those who would like to stay after the showing.

The film was broadcast on HBO in Nov. and Dec. 2006. It has all the elements of a fictional thriller, but it's true. It follows citizen activists and computer hackers who travel from Texas to Florida to Ohio, uncovering secrecy, votes in the trash, election officials rigging the presidential recount, suspicious memory cards, and hackable software. It culminates in the famous "Hursti Hack," in which computer hacker Harri Hursti from Finland takes on a random Diebold voting machine.

The two Ohio election staffers who are shown in "Hacking Democracy" were sentenced on March 13 of this year for rigging the 2004 presidential recount. Footage from this documentary film was used in their court case as evidence.

Electronic voting machines count about 90% of America's votes in county, state and federal elections.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Mayoral Candidate Forum on Homelessness


The Nashville Homeless Power Project invited both candidates to attend the Mayoral Candidates Debate for August 20th on Monday, August 6th. Both campaign offices indicated that their candidate had nothing scheduled at 11am on August 20th and said they would confirm as soon as possible. Dean’s office confirmed the next day and on August 14th Clement’s office called to decline the offer. Nonetheless, the forum will continue with the same questions as planned but with only one candidate publicly available to respond to the questions.

On the June 13th, 2007 the Metro Police launched the Quality of Life Initiative. It involves undercover officers downtown and along the West End corridor targeting individuals identified as panhandling (not illegal), trespassing, vagrancy, public intoxication and other activities typical of low-income individuals and homeless people struggling to survive as well as many Titans fans. Data shows that officers have arrested 91 unique homeless persons 113 times while working the initiative through Friday, Aug. 3. In their history in Davidson County, these 91 individuals have been arrested 4,397 times on 6,860 charges, and spent a total of 21,339 days in jail since March of 2000. Using a jail cost estimate of $55/day, this adds up to $1.2 million (which is only the Sheriff’s portion of the expense). When reviewing the 4,397 arrests, 2,117 resulted in a conviction.

The Nashville Homeless Power Project, has factored in minimal costs of the Metro Police and Criminal Justice System, this means that Nashville government is spending a minimum estimate for these 91 individuals of at least $3 millions dollars. John Zirker, president shares, “We think that not only homeless people but all Nashvillians will be interested to know if this how the next Mayor will spend our tax dollars.” NHPP also notes that if 2,117 of the 4,397 arrest resulted in conviction that more than half of those arrested were found innocent and/or had charges dropped. It should also be noted that often times when someone does not “cop a plea” and declares innocence, this will necessitate 1 – 20 days in jail while this person waits for a court date and have the charges dismissed or found innocent.

This Mayoral Candidate Forum will focus on how Nashville best utilizes taxdollars for the well being of it’s citizenry.

Nashville to Host SPP Protest Monday


Activists are gearing up across the country to host solidarity protests against the SPP summit being held in Canada. The SPP, another boosted version of Free Trade has renewed efforts by anti-globalization activists to call for actions against corporate free trade. In Nashville There will be a picket and leafletting action against the Security and Prosperity Partnership on August 20th from 5-7pm outside of Centeniall Park. Please join the action and bring your own sign expressing your distaste for unfair trade and undemocratic policies. Meanwhile Green Party leaders in Canada and the US are alerting their respective parties and the public about the 'Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America' (SPP), a secretive deal between President Bush (US), Prime Minister Harper (Canada), and President Calderón (Mexico).

Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May stated, "The SPP is integrating the military, security, trade, economic, regulatory, and foreign polices of Canada, the US, and Mexico without public input or Parliamentary or Congressional scrutiny. The threat of widespread surveillance of citizens, greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands development and 'super-corridors,' increased fossil fuel dependence, privatization of water, erosion of food safety and environmental regulations, and expanded corporate power at the expense of economic stability for working people -- these are some of the reasons we oppose the SPP."

North American Green Parties are calling for transnational opposition, beginning with a 'Counter Summit' teach-in and strategy session August 20 in Ottawa to coincide with a meeting of the leaders of Canada, the US, and Mexico at the third annual summit in Montebello in nearby Quebec. The Green Party of the United States has endorsed the Counter Summit and will send representatives. Greens will also participate in civil society opposition to the Montebello Summit, with two days of activites planned for August 19 and 20.

Dr. Janet M. Eaton, International Trade Critic with the Green Party of Canada, who spoke about the SPP at the annual meeting of the Green Party of the United States in Reading, Pennsylvania, in July, said:

"The SPP, also called 'NAFTA-Plus' within a 'security trumps all' framework, is the next big step in moving from a free trade agreement to a customs union and some suggest common market and eventually a union like the European Union."

"But we should heed the words of the Secretary General of the European Greens, Juan Behrand, who said that the process for North American integration does not resemble the democratic and consultative European Union model."

Eaton said that the so-called North American Partnership is fraught with profound implications for sovereignty and Constitutional and Charter rights.

"The Bush, Harper, and Calderón administrations are taking their countries down a dark road to a future where decisions are made in virtual secrecy by undemocratic supranational organizations such as the North American Competitiveness Council. This group of powerful corporate leaders represents the large transnational companies that stand to profit from the SPP's globalist economy, an economic model which has been largely recognized as a failure when it comes to protecting working people and the environment," said Dr. Julia Willebrand, co-chair of the US Green Party's International Committee and co-president of the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas.

Greens dispute claims by NAFTA proponents that NAFTA has proved successful and that the SPP is the logical and necessary next step. Green Parties have called for withdrawal from and renegotiation of NAFTA, and for enactment of 'fair trade' policies where economic, social and ecological justice take precedence over corporate profit and privilege and the short term economic demands of investors.

""Security and Prosperity are attractive goals. The use of these words disguises that the Harper-Bush agenda undermines true security by imperiling global eco-systems, revving climate change into over-drive, and ignoring the needs to protect true peace and prosperity through flourishing, open democratic process. The 'Security and Prosperity Partnership' scheme deserves widespread public exposure and opposition," said Elizabeth May.

Greens warn of numerous dangers if SPP remains unchallenged, including:

• Super-corridors lined with oil, gas, and water pipelines, which will carve up arable land, damage biodiversity across North America, and increase fossil fuel consumption and emission of greenhouse gases.

• Military and security integration of the US, Canada, and Mexico, with an expansion of surveillance over private citizens and forced forced subordination of Canada and Mexico to imperial US military goals.

• Privatization and unconstrained exploitation of natural resources for the benefit of US-based corporations, e.g., Mexico's state-owned oil industry and Canadian watersheds.

• Erosion of food safety standards

• Empowerment of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), which gives corporate leaders access to government information and resources while denying the latter to civil society leaders.

MORE INFORMATION

Green Party of Canada
http://www.greenparty.ca

Green Party of the United States
http://www.gp.org
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193
• Green Party News Center http://www.gp.org/newscenter.shtml
• Green Party Speakers Bureau http://www.gp.org/speakers
• 2007 national Green Party meeting in Reading, Pa.: video footage, blog and media coverage http://www.gp.org/meeting2007/

Green Party to Host SPP Counter-Summit
http://www.greenparty.ca/en/node/2467 [Counter-Summit agenda included]

The Security and Prosperity Partnership: Why We Need to Take a Closer Look at Continental Integration [displaying a map of North American Super-corridors]
http://www.greenparty.ca/en/policy/documents/deeper_look_spp
Security and Prosperity Partnership Q&A
http://www.greenparty.ca/en/policy/spp_FAQ

"Green Party of Canada Takes on the SPP Alerting US Greens and Planning Cross Border Summit!!"
By Dr. Janet Eaton, International Trade Critic, Green Party Shadow Cabinet
http://www.greenparty.ca/en/newsletter/august2007/B

"Threats to Our Water: NAFTA, SPP, Super-Corridors, Atlantica"
By Dr. Janet Eaton, PhD. Power Point with images and photos
http://www.greenparty.ca/files/Threats_to_our_Water.ppt

Sewanee Vigil to End the War


End the Iraq Occupation Vigil Scheduled

A silent vigil calling for an end to the Iraq occupation is scheduled for Friday, August 17, at 4:30 pm, on the corner of University Avenue and Highway 41A. Organized by the End the Iraq Occupation committee of CCJP, the vigil is being held in conjunction with the Third Fridays Iraq Moratorium, a national movement to set aside the third Friday of every month to demonstrate opposition to the Iraq War. Participants should gather in the Sewanee Gardener’ Market lot at the corner of Highway 41A and Hawkins Lane. If possible, wear black and bring a sign expressing your opposition to the war.

In September, Congress will face a decision on funding another year of war. Twenty-three people participated in the first vigil on July 20, including Glenda Clark of Tullahoma, mother of a returning Iraq War veteran. Your presence will make a powerful statement, and encourage others to be brave and take a stand. Please join us!

Minneapolis to Host Media Reform


Minneapolis to Host 2008 National Conference for Media Reform

WASHINGTON -- Free Press, the national, nonpartisan media reform group, today announced that the fourth National Conference for Media Reform will be held on June 6-8, 2008, in Minneapolis. Thousands of activists, artists, policymakers, journalists and concerned citizens from all 50 states are expected to attend the conference -- the only national event devoted exclusively to reforming the media.

"Through the tremendous activism of millions of everyday citizens, media is rapidly becoming an unavoidable political issue," said Robert W. McChesney, president and co-founder of Free Press. "The National Conference for Media Reform is about harnessing this expanding movement and going on offense to create a better media system."

The National Conference for Media Reform will focus the national spotlight on issues like media consolidation, public media, quality journalism and the future of the Internet.

The Minneapolis event will build on the success of last year's conference in Memphis, which was attended by nearly 3,500 media reformers who participated in more than 100 interactive panels and workshops. They drew inspiration from rousing speeches by headliners Bill Moyers, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jane Fonda, Geena Davis and Danny Glover. Previous conferences were held in St. Louis and Madison, Wis.

"People from all walks of life understand that fixing the problems of the media is the first step toward progress on any issue we care about," said Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press. "After years of fighting to prevent a bad system from getting worse, this conference can focus on pushing reforms that will create the kind of open and democratic media this country needs."

For more information, visit www.freepress.net/conference

Thursday, August 16, 2007

NPJC Screening Two Films on Tibet


The NPJC will host a night of film on Saturday, August 25, at 7 p.m., for a DOUBLE FEATURE screening of Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion and Ethics & the World Crisis: A Dialogue with the Dalai Lama. The first film chronicles the Tibetans' non-violent struggle for freedom under Chinese rule, and Ethics & the World Crisis (a shorter film) brings His Holiness the Dalai Lama together with respected journalists, environmentalists, economists and politicians to tackle the most pressing issues of our day. Discussion will be led by Ngawang Losel, Nashville's first Tibetan! Ngawang escaped Tibet when he was age 12, walked to India through the Himalayan Mountains and settled in India and then Israel. From the 'roof of the world' to the 'lowest point on earth' (the Dead Sea in Israel), Ngawang has seen it all and has much to share.....

Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion

BEST DOCUMENTARY - SANTA BARBARA INT'L FILM FESTIVAL
Saturday night, August 25, at NPJC
1016 18th Ave So, Nashville 37212
Showtime: 7 p.m.
Discussion following the film
321-9066

Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion is an epic story of courage and compassion. Ten years in the making, this award-winning documentary was filmed during 9 remarkable journeys through Tibet, India and Nepal. The film brings audiences to the long-forbidden "rooftop of the world" with an unprecedented richness of imagery... from rarely-seen rituals in remote monasteries, to horse races with Khamba warriors; from brothels and slums in the holy city of Lhasa, to magnificent Himalayan peaks still traveled by nomadic yak caravans. The dark secrets of Tibet's recent past are powerfully chronicled through personal stories and interviews, and a collection of undercover and archival images never before assembled in one film. (Running time: 100 minutes)

Ethics & the World Crisis: A Dialogue with the Dalai Lama

Showtime: 9:15 p.m.

Tibetan Buddhist leader His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama is the focal point of this panel discussion, featuring panelists U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rev. Al Sharpton, Susan Sarandon, Russell Simmons, Amy Goodman, Ben Cohen, and more. Ethics and the World Crisis: A Dialogue With the Dalai Lama features discussions of ethical issues and how they relate to the media, global economics, the peace movement, and the environment. (Running time: 68 minutes)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

MoveOn.Org Hosts Nashville Event Thursday


Nashville Wastes Local Tax Dollars on Unwinnable Civil War

Nashville: On Thursday, August 16, members of MoveOn.org Political Action in Nashville will release a new report, "War at Home" highlighting the cost of the Iraq War to residents in every congressional district including the 5th Congressional District. Since the Iraq war began, Congress has spent almost a half-trillion dollar on an unwinnable civil war. The cost of the war to residents in the 5th Congressional District is $855 million.

Every day the war goes on means more of our hard earned tax dollars are
wasted on an endless religious civil war that cannot be won, said Chris
Lugo, local MoveOn member. In Nashville that money should be spent where
we really need it on our public schools, health care system and public
infrastructure. We have had enough. Rep. Cooper needs to vote in September to
end this war and bring our troops home, concluded Lugo.

After the event, local MoveOn members will deliver the report to Rep. Cooper
at his office in Nashville.

War at Home Report Release at Centennial Park
MoveOn members in Nashville
Sidewalk in front of Centennial Park opposite Borders
Thursday, August 16 at 6 PM
Local residents expose the $855 million of local tax dollars that
Congress has spent on the unwinnable civil war in Iraq.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Answer Fined $10,000 for Posters


In an unprecedented action, the ANSWER Coalition today received citations fining the organization $10,000 for the placement of posters announcing the September 15 March on Washington DC. The fines come after a campaign led by FOX news calling for the DC government to take action against those putting up posters for the September 15 demonstration.

They have told us that we have 72 hours to remove every poster, or the fines will go into effect. Tens of thousands of dollars in additional fines are expected in the coming days. Bush’s Interior Department is threatening similar actions against ANSWER. The September 15 posters are legal and conform to city regulations. We will not allow the government's intimidation tactics to slow our outreach or silence the antiwar movement.

This is part of a systematic effort to disrupt the organizing for the September 15 Mass March that is timed to coincide with the report of General Petraeus and the debate in Congress on the Iraq war. Iraq war veterans and their families will lead this dramatic march from the White House to the Congress on September 15. The last thing the government wants is to see the streets of Washington DC fill up with throngs of anti-war protesters right in the middle of the debate. But we will not be stopped. Organizing for this demonstration is taking place in cities and towns throughout the country. Buses and car caravans are coming from 90 cities and towns.

Please send a letter today to Washington DC Mayor (Adrian M. Fenty) and to the Director of DC Department of Public Works (William O. Howland, Jr.) demanding an end to the fines, harassment and repression of the anti-war movement. We have a right to publicize the September 15 March. Fining the anti-war movement tens of thousands of dollars for putting up Free Speech-protected literature makes a mockery out of the First Amendment.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
http://www.answercoalition.org/
info@internationalanswer.org
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Chicago: 773-463-0311

Village Drums Showcase Nashville Talent


VILLAGE DRUM AND DANCE ENSEMBLE UMOJA NIGHT SHOWCASE

Nashville, TN. The Village Cultural Arts Center, located at 340 W. Trinity Lane, Nashville, TN is hosting the Umoja Night Drum and Dance Ensemble Showcase Saturday, August 18, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. Special performances by The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Omega Lambda Lambda Chapter, Capoeira Angola Palmares, and staff and students of Nashville School of the Arts. Admission is only $5.00 with limited seating; doors open at 6:15. No advance purchases. For more information call 228-9553.

· Village Drum and Dance Ensemble Umoja Night Showcase
· August 18, 2007 7:00 p.m.
· The Village Cultural Arts Center
· 340 W. Trinity Lane (behind Jack’s Barbeque)
· Photography Permitted
· Interviews Welcome

The Village Cultural Arts Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to
providing unique arts entertainment and education highlighting the
contributions of the culturally rich African Diaspora including but not
limited to West Africa, the Caribbean and North and South America.

Iraqi War Deaths: Week of August 5th-11th


Those who died in Iraq from Aug 5 to 11:

Spc Daniel Reyes 25 SanDiego CA
Sgt Bradley Marshall 37 Little Rock AR
Spc Charles Leonard Jr 29 Monroe LA
Sgt Joey Link 29 Portland TN
Spc Justin Blackwell 27 Paris TN
Pvt Jeremy Bohannon 18 Bon Aqua TN
Spc Kareem Khan 20 Manahawkin NJ
Cpl Juan Alcantara 22 New York
Sgt Nicholas Gummersall 23 Chubbuck ID
Sgt Jacob Thompson 26 No Mankato MN
Spc Christopher Neiberger 22 Gainesville FL
Pvt Craig Barber 20 Ogmore Vale UK
Sgt Jon Bonnell Jr 22 Fort Dodge IA
Air Martin Beard 20 Rainworth UK
Cpl Reynold Armand 21 Rochester NY

Spc Donald Young Helena MT
Sgt Michael Tayaotao 27 Sunnyvale CA
Cpl Chris Casey 27 London UK
Cpl Kirk Redbath 22 Romford UK
Sgt Joan Duran 24 Roxbury MA
Pvt William Edwards 23 Houston TX
Spc Justin Penrod 24 Danville IL

87 were seriously wounded and maimed.
88 wounded were returned to kill fields.

420 Iraqi sisters and brothers wee killed.

Cf: www.icasualties.org

Cpl Chris Casey

Monday, August 13, 2007

August 14 Nashville Day of Action


Nashville, TN. -- Several Nashville justice advocacy groups and more
than 200 United Methodist Women members will join forces for public
actions against poverty, protection of immigrant rights and support for
dignity, respect, and fairness for all workers at several locations
around the city on Aug. 14, 1-2 p.m. The Aug. 14 day of action will
include three public vigils, all from 1-2 p.m.


Interfaith Vigil for Workers
Benton Chapel, Vanderbilt Divinity School,
(On 21st Ave and Scarritt Place, across the Street from Starbucks)
Contact: Megan Macaraeg, Vanderbilt Community Alliance
615-495-6902

Vigil to Stop the Immigration Raids in Columbia
Tennessee State Capitol at the War Memorial Plaza
(Union and 6th Avenue)
Contact: Ariel Safdie, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition
615-833-0384 x19

Vigil to Stop the Violence of Poverty
Riverfront Park
(1st Avenue and Broadway)
Contact: Matt Leber, Nashville Homeless Power Project,
615-414-3788
Gary Bright, 516-6875

The Vigil to Stop the Violence of Poverty will address one of the least
visible yet most destructive aspects of systemic violence in our
country—the oppression of poor and homeless people. Says Clemmie
Greenlee, of the Nashville Homeless Power Project, “On this day we will
gather to mourn the lives of those lost on the streets to systemic
violence.” Now an organizer for the Nashville Homeless Power Project,
grandmother of one, and “mother” to many in need, Clemmie knows
personally of the losses experienced by those on the streets. “We will
share memories of loved ones and commitments to change the systems of
power with clear and powerful action,” continued Ms. Greenlee.

Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) is working with
the United Methodist Women to hold a vigil for the immigrants who have
experienced fear and suffering due to the often unconstitutional
immigration raids in Columbia, Tenn. Columbia experienced the first of a
series of ICE raids on trailer park homes in May. Since then, more than
80 men, women, and children have been deported. “Raids such as those
that have taken place in Columbia tear families apart,” said David
Lubell, director of TIRRC. “The head of household is often taken into
custody in front of children and neighbors without any idea when they
will see each other again. This form of arrest and deportation leads to
immense fear in the community and people are not being treated with the
dignity they deserve.”

The Interfaith Vigil at Vanderbilt University will bring together more
than 30 different worship communities, and other community organizations
who will ask Nashville’s broader community to enter into a covenant to
support dignity, respect, and fairness for all workers.” Says Jamie
Kopetz, Vanderbilt Divinity Student with Interfaith Worker Justice,
“while Vanderbilt University, the community, and workers came
together to make some significant changes for workers at Vanderbilt, we
know we need to continue moving forward.” Continued Ms. Kopetz, “One
Tennessee’s largest private employers can be a great example of leading
the way in this effort, and we are excited at the broad array of
community leaders who will be part of the process.”

United Methodist Women will be part of the faith community standing with
immigrant families, homeless persons and workers in the vigils. The
vigils coincide with United Methodist Women’s 2007, “For Christ’s Sake,
Turn the World Upside Down” National Seminar at Scarritt-Bennett Center
in Nashville, Aug. 11-16. The quadrennial event equips members to renew
their commitment to know God and to join in the local and global mission
of justice and advocacy. “National Seminar is an opportunity for members
of United Methodist Women to explore God’s actions in the current moment
and dialogue about how we must respond,” explained Sung-ok Lee, Women’s
Division executive for Christian social responsibility. “In a gathering
that reflects our rich diversity of race, ethnicity and age, we will
reflect on the early Christians who were accused of `turning the world
upside down’ in Acts. 17:19.”

An Open Letter to Christians


Today I wish to talk about progressives and Christians. I don’t know why the Christian community is following something so against the principles of the religious teachings. I am not a Christian as my Grandmother taught me to give honor to all the revelers. However she also taught me to follow my own inner guidance and give honor to the Great Mystery in my own way. I do follow the teachings of Yesha bar Yusef in my own way. To begin with I follow the Great law of Peace. Seems he who is called Anointed had many of the same ideas. He said blessed be the peacemakers, and the so called Christians support the war mongers. Why? He said do not store up treasures for your self on earth. Yet the so called Christians support a party whose primary thrust is more. You can not be the slave both of God and money. Which way is Christian? You decide.

I believe that we were put here to be caretakers of the Earth not to use it all for greed. So does your story of Genesis. I believe we have to take care of the least among us. Seems your founder had much the same idea. I believe we have to think of the world as our inheritance and the inheritance of the next seven generations. That means learning to respect every man woman and child. Governments are given to protect us to help resolve difference among us and to do things we as individuals can’t do for our self. To do things such as build roads and bridges and hospitals and parks. Things that is needed but not profitable. For these things do they collect taxes. Everyone should pay their fair share of taxes not because they can but because everyone benefits from the taxes collected. I also believe that public service is a privilege, one that means just that. Public Service should be not a contradiction in terms. Too many of our politicians service is just a way to get power or money. A politician who only has one note is suspect. Unless he serves people, she’s not doing the job she was hired to do.


Bob Smith (Big Tree)
us dii dada dv ni

WE are all related - Cherokee

Free the Jena 6


by Li Onesto and Alice Woodward

An intense and growing struggle in the small southern town of Jena, Louisiana reveals this country's deep roots of slavery, Jim Crow law, and lynch mobs: Black high school students sit under a "whites-only" tree in the schoolyard. Racist white students respond by hanging nooses from the tree. After Black students stand under the tree as a form of protest, a school assembly is called. A white district attorney tells the Black students to keep their mouths shut about the nooses and that if he hears anything else about it, he "can make their lives go away with the stroke of his pen." When racist white students jump a Black student, one white student gets probation.


But when a fight breaks out that sends a white student to the hospital
for an hour, the law comes down on six Black students—now known as the
Jena 6. Mychal Bell, Robert Bailey, Theo Shaw, Carwin Jones, Bryant
Purvis, and an unnamed minor are arrested, originally charged with
attempted murder, and now face decades of prison time (see "Free the
Jena Six! Jim Crow Injustice in Jena Louisiana," Revolution #96).

Mychal Bell has already been convicted of second degree battery and
conspiracy to commit second degree battery and could be sentenced for
up to 22 years in prison. And the system is trying to make good on the
threat to ruin the lives of the other five youth who still face
serious charges.

On July 31, some 300 people rallied in support of the Jena 6 at the
courthouse where Mychal Bell was scheduled to be sentenced. People
came from all over the country, including people from New Orleans
fighting for justice in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And a massive
stack of petitions, which organizers said contained 43,000 signatures,
was delivered to the Assistant District Attorney of Jena. On August 5,
Al Sharpton spoke at a church in Jena. And in recent weeks this story
has started to get more national and international coverage

Still, the story of the Jena 6 has been way downplayed in the
mainstream media. Many people still do not know about this tremendous
outrage—and the importance of a real battle to free the Jena 6. And
the authorities, from the local DA on up to the U.S. Department of
Justice, are moving to both ruin the lives of these youth, and to
confuse and demobilize the people who are struggling to free them.

Mychal Bell has now been sitting in jail since December 4 and was not
able to graduate. His trial was a complete outrage, with the
court-appointed lawyer not even calling any witnesses! Now, a group of
lawyers from Monroe, Louisiana have come forward to take up Bell's
case, and upon their request his sentencing date has been moved to
September 20. Bell's new legal team says their goal is to overturn
Bell's conviction. Bob Noel, one of the lawyers now on the case, said
they got involved not only because Bell came to them, but because it
was the right thing to do. "The interest of justice cried out [for us]
to get involved," Noel said.

"We Want the Entire World to Hear"

The weekend before the July 31 scheduled sentencing of Mychal Bell,
the "whites-only" tree in front of the high school was cut down. NPR
reported that "Jena High School had the big shade tree in the
courtyard chopped into firewood." But the tree disappearing hasn't in
any way lessened people's anger and their determination to spread the
word about this case and build the struggle to free the Jena 6.

Talking about the significance of the July 31 rally, Caseptla Bailey,
mother of one of the defendants, Robert Bailey, Jr., said, "This is a
beautiful thing that I'm seeing here today— all types of browns,
seeing all types of blacks, all types of whites. We love that, people
coming together." And Khadijah Rashad, representing Lafayette's
Community Defender television show, said, "We must remember that the
entire world is watching… When there is going to be sentencing again,
we need to flood this area with as much people as we possibly can. We
want the entire world to know" (towntalk.com).

Bell's father, Marcus Jones, agreed: "Justice, that's the main thing
we want. He's still in jail, and we want justice for him and the other
boys. And now the whole world sees the wrong done to these boys."

Bell's mother, Melissa Bell, told The Town Talk (a paper in
Alexandria, Louisiana), that the actions on July 31 should send a
message to the community: "We are serious, and everyone is serious
about freeing these kids."

U.S. Department of Justice: Nothing "Irregular" or Wrong with Jim Crow
"Justice"

Jena is a small town where racism and segregation is the status
quo—enforced in official and unofficial ways as well. A young Black
man told us, "Well you walk a sharp line and you cross the line and
you face the consequences." He told us there was a history of the KKK
in Jena. One resident told us that not that long ago, a Black man was
killed by a group of white men because of his relationship with a
white woman—and that the murderers are now free.

But the forceful imposition of white supremacy is not simply or even
fundamentally a case of "good ole boys" going wild. The case of the
Jena 6 is happening at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest
judicial body in the land, has overturned Brown vs. Board of
Education— officially fortifying segregation and savage inequalities
in the schools. And from the school officials to the police to the
courts –authorities and government officials have been and are a part
of the completely unjust and racist treatment of the Jena 6.

For anyone who doubts this, officials from the highest levels of the
U.S. government recently descended on Jena to make this crystal clear.

On July 26, more than 165 people packed into the Good Pine Middle
School auditorium. The crowd was almost all Black. The event was
billed as a "community forum" to discuss issues arising out of the
Jena 6 case. But this was definitely a case of the fox guarding the
chicken coop.

The four-hour forum hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice featured
Lewis Chapman, assistant special agent in charge of the New Orleans
FBI office; U.S. Attorney Donald Washington from the Justice
Department; and Carmelita Freeman, regional director of the Department
of Justice's Community Relations Service.

Washington (who is Black) told the crowd that he empathized "very
publicly with all the families involved in this dispute…white, black,
purple and green."

Some people in the crowd may have thought this was good because it was
an attempt to "bring people together." But this is not about "can't we
all (including racists and the government that enforces this whole
racist setup) get along." This is about justice and stopping and
reversing a terrible outrage that is now going on. And what kind of
"justice" is it when someone from the U.S. Justice Department says he
supports all sides in this conflict? The lynching nooses, and those
Black students who sat under a "whites-only" tree? You can't support
all sides. The question is—which side are you on? What Washington said
means support for the status quo of racism and segregation and all the
rights this gives to racist whites. What Washington said means
supporting the racist white students who hung nooses and attacked
Black students. What Washington said means NOT taking a stand against
the injustice of what is being done to the Jena 6.

During the Q&A period at the end, someone in the audience asked
whether the hanging of the nooses on the tree was a "hate crime."
Chapman, from the FBI, responded, first of all, by revealing that the
FBI had agents in Jena a week or so after the incident. Then
Washington claimed that there were all the elements of a "hate
crime"—except for the threat of use of force. In fact, force was used
-- by the goverment -- to back up those nooses. The the arrest of the
Jena 6, who are facing decades in jail, is all about enforcing those
nooses with the force of the state.

The Department of Justice serves as an enforcer for a system that has
enslaved, worked to death on plantations, lynched, enforced Jim Crow
against, segregated against, and turned fire hoses and KKKers (often
organized by the FBI) on Black people and those who joined in the
struggle for equality. This is part of the same "justice" system that
sent a DA to the school assembly to threaten Black students who
protested the nooses. Washington and the FBI are no friends of the
people, and identifying with the system's logic is not any kind of way
for the people to be thinking.

History tells us, no question about it— when white people hang nooses
on trees, this is nothing but a murderous, racist threat against Black
people. And Washington and Chapman, as representatives of the FBI and
U.S. Justice Department, have only underscored how this kind of lynch
mob "justice" is bolstered and supported by the government
institutions of this system.

And then came the most revealing moment in the so-called "community
forum." The Jena Times quoted Washington discussing the high school's
handling of the noose incident and the fight for which the Jena 6 are
on trial. He said: "We have examined all of their actions and I'm not
saying I agree with what they've done but I can say that we could find
no violation in the way they handled each event. All of their
procedures were `regular' and not `irregular.'"

"All their procedures were regular and not irregular."

Well, this was the one statement in the meeting by Washington we have
to agree with.

No punishment for white students who hang lynch nooses on a schoolyard
tree: REGULAR. Threatening Black students who protest this racist
threat: REGULAR. Giving a slap on the hand to white students who
attack Black students: REGULAR. Black students facing decades of
prison time for fighting with white students: REGULAR.

On this, Washington is right: This is the "regular" workings of a
white supremacist system.

And we would add another "regular." Officials from the highest offices
of the system, holding a "community meeting," wolves in sheep's
clothing— to cool things out and at the same time justify and bolster
the enforcement of segregation and white supremacy: REGULAR.

General Strike Announced for Sept 11th


It's been a long time since the U.S. has seen a general strike. On September 11, 2007, that changes. The goal isn't just to go against a particular business. This is a general strike, with the goal being to shut the entire country down. I mean complete paralysis of the United States and its government. That's what it takes to take our country back.


The unique thing about this particular strike is that it's viral in nature, coming from the above web site. Organization isn't to be found, or needed. Want to help the strike, join it. The more the merrier - we need everyone possible to participate in order to take action against the illegal war in Iraq, the destruction of our civil liberties, the grand-scale theft of our tax dollars, the systematic destruction of our way of life.

http://www.strike911.org/

Keep Space for Peace Local Events

Bruce Gagnon writes . . . Each year in October the Global Network (with co-sponsorship from Women's International League for Peace & Freedom) organizes Keep Space for Peace Week. In 2007 the week of local events will be held during the period of October 4-13. During this time we are encouraging local groups to hold protests, educational events, teach-ins, video showings, religious services, Congressional office visits, and the like in order to expand the level of debate and consciousness world wide about U.S. plans for "control and domination" of space.

The current effort by the U.S. to deploy "missile defense" systems in Poland and the Czech Republic and recent announcements about upgrade of U.S. space technology bases in the UK have only added more importance to the actions this year.

Please let us know as soon as possible what local actions you are planning. Give us the date of your action, the location of the event, and contact information that we can include in the list we will develop and share worldwide. Let us know if you need space week posters, other literature, or copies of our space videos.

Please check our web site for an on-line source of our space videos as well.

Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://www.space4peace.org
globalnet@mindspring.com
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Blog)
http://www.myspace.com/brucekgagnon (MySpace profile)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Greens Called for Renewed Infrastructure



WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders expressed
sympathy and support for the people of Minneapolis,
especially the families of victims, in the aftermath
of the collapse of the I-35W Bridge, and called for a
new era of investment in infrastructure and public
safety to prevent future tragedies.

Greens also noted the quick response and leadership of
Minneapolis Ward 2 Council Member Cam Gordon
, a member of
the Green Party, after the bridge collapsed last week.

A statement issued by Mr. Gordon, in whose ward the
disaster occurred, is excerpted below. The Green
Party of Minnesota has also issued a statement
.

"In the wake of the terrible Minneapolis bridge
collapse, Cam Gordon has rolled up his sleeves and
dived straight into the trenches," said Adri Mehra,
one of Mr. Gordon's constituents and a member of the
Fifth Congressional District Green Party's Steering
Committee. "The day of the bridge collapse, Cam
participated in the Emergency Operations Command
Center discussions, which resulted in a decision to
call off the divers searching the river on their
rescue and recovery mission. After that, Cam spent
hours in the family service center set up at the
Holiday Inn Metrodome. He spoke with families and
friends missing loved ones, connected with Red Cross
volunteers, and filled in on the hotline phone for the
team of chaplains while they conducted a meeting."

"A particular high point for Cam during his time at
the Holiday Inn was when he was able to help one of
his constituents -- a Riverside Park neighbor of his
-- locate a loved one on the phone. In the days since
the bridge collapse, Cam has toured the accident site
with other elected officials, and last night he helped
to lead a moment of silence on the Mississippi river
with a West Bank National Night Out party," Mr. Mehra
added.

Green Party leaders said that the bridge collapse
proved the need for greater investment in public works
and the improvement of deteriorating infrastructure.

"With a fraction of the money the US is spending on
the Iraq occupation and on porkbarrel military
contracts, we could launch a nationwide public works
program to restore crumbling bridges and other
structures, ensure public safety, improve and expand
public transportation, develop sustainable alternative
energy sources, and reduce the need for car traffic,"
said Budd Dickinson, co-chair of the Green Party of
the United States.

"We should begin in places like New Orleans, where the
levees were unable to withstand Katrina, and
Minneapolis, where the bridge collapse showed what
might happen as structures built decades ago continue
to age. Such a program would create millions of new
living wage jobs. Most importantly, we'd save lives
by preventing future disasters," added Mr. Dickinson,
an engineer who has worked on infrastructure and has
witnessed the reduction of infrastructure budgets.


Council Member Cam Gordon's statement on I-35 Bridge
Collapse [excerpted]
August 6, 2007

The media and City staff, particularly our
Communications Department, have been working hard to
provide information and access to information about
the tragic I-35W bridge collapse over the Mississippi.
I would like to offer some of my own comments and
observations.

First and foremost, my thoughts go out to all who have
lost loved ones, who are missing family and friends
and who are suffering because of the collapse. I hope
that you and your family, friends and loved ones are
safe and unharmed after this catastrophic event. For
all of us, as individuals and as a community, this has
been a shocking experience and a devastating loss.
While things may seem stable now and in many ways our
community is coming to terms with this shock, let's
not forget that some are still caught in the moment,
grieving the loss of family members, co-workers and
friends, in anguish for loved ones who are still
missing, or struggling to recover and survive from
injuries resulting from the fall. Please keep these
people, as well as our recovery workers still on the
scene, in your thoughts and prayers and wishes.

Second, I want to share a little of how proud I am of
our City, our community and all the personnel of the
City and other government agencies, volunteers and
others who were able to respond quickly and
competently to this disaster. City staff and elected
officials are, and have been, fully engaged in doing
everything we can to respond to this terrible
disaster. From courage and competence on the street
in the actions of the scores of first responders to
the highly skilled and focused leadership at the
Emergency Operations Command Center, we have a lot to
be proud of.

We also have so much to be grateful for. The
outpouring of support from the emergency response
teams from all over the County and State, the
chaplains, Red Cross personnel, those who have donated
food and supplies, all must be acknowledged.

As we enter the recovery phase we are just beginning
to get a sense of the difficult work ahead. Divers,
structural engineers, and other recovery experts are
checking vehicles that are still submerged in the
Mississippi River following the accident. Currently
the site is under the command of the Minneapolis
Police Department and will likely remain so until all
vehicles have been checked and all bodies recovered.

We are in discussions with other agencies, including
the County, the National Transportation Safety Board,
Army Corps of Engineers, Coast Guard and others to
develop a plan and unified command and control
structure for after the recovery phase is complete. A
clean-up plan is also being developed to address the
styrene monomer spill from the train car that was
crushed under the bridge....

From the reports I have seen, I believe we should be
grateful that this collapse did not result in more
loss of life. We should take this opportunity to
remind ourselves to cherish those around us.

Lastly, I am hopeful that in the months and years
ahead, this catastrophe will help refocus our
attention on maintaining our infrastructure, so that
nothing like this happens in our city, our state or
our country again.

[Distributed by]
Robin Garwood
Council Aide, Second Ward Council Member Cam Gordon
612.673.3654 (office)
651.338.7699 (cell)
http://secondward.blogspot.com


MORE INFORMATION

Green Party of the United States
http://www.gp.org
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193
• Green Party News Center
http://www.gp.org/newscenter.shtml
• Green Party Speakers Bureau
http://www.gp.org/speakers
• 2007 national Green Party meeting in Reading, Pa.:
video footage, blog and media coverage
http://www.gp.org/meeting2007/

Green Party of Minnesota
http://www.mngreens.org/

Links to information on the response to the I-35W
Bridge tragedy
http://pages.e-democracy.org/35W#Government

'Open Letter to Michael Moore' from the Green Party on
'Sicko,' health care reform
http://www.gp.org/press/pr_2007_07_09.shtml
http://www.commondreams.org/news2007/0710-03.htm
http://www.gp.org/organize/sicko.html

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Iraqi War Deaths: July 29 - Aug 4


Those who died in Iraq from Jul 29 to Aug 4:

Pvt Cody Grater 20 Spring Hill FL
Sgt Wilberto Suliveras 38 Humacao PR
Sgt Jack Richards 39 Oklahoma
Cpl Sean Stokes 24 Auburn CA
Cpl Jason Kessler 29 Vernon WA
Pvt Alfred Jairala 29 Hialeah FL
Pvt Charles Heinlein Jr 23 Hemlock MI
Spc Zachariah Gonzalez 23 Indiana

Sgt Stephen Maddies 41 Elizabethton TN
Cpl Steve Edwards 35 Sutton UK
Sgt Travis Bachman 30 Garden City KS
Sgt Julian Rios 52 Anasco PR
Sgt Eric Salinas 25 Houston TX
Spc Christian Rojas Gallego 24 Loganville GA
Sgt Fernando Santos 29 San Antonio TX
Cpl Christian Vasquez 20 Coalinga CA
Pvt Mtthew Murchison 21 Independence MO
Spc Bradon Long 19 Sherman TX
Pvt Jaron Holliday 21 Tulsa OK
Cpl Jason Lafleur 28 Ignacio CO
Sgt Dustin Wakeman 25 Ft Worth TX

65 were seriously wounded.
86 wounded were returned to occupation.

480 Irqi sisters and brothers were killed.

Cf: www.icasualties.org

Genocide Awareness Project at MTSU

The Genocide Awareness Project, a group that compares the genocides of
the Holocaust, Rwanda, the Killing Fields, etc. with abortion will be
making a visit to MTSU and UTK in September. They will be at MTSU
September 10th and 11th from 9-4 on the knoll and at UTK the 13th and
14th.

The GAP, affiliated with Center for Bio-ethical Reform, uses religious
ideology and graphic images instead of rational debate. While many
students at these universities oppose GAP's aruguement, because of
free speech, we feel it's better to counter with speech than try to
ban the group. Vox: Voices of Planned Parenthood of MTSU does plan to
counter their demonstration with rational and accurate information.
(The UTK Vox may be doing something as well). If you are interested
in countering GAP at MTSU and are coming from off campus, then let me
know.

matchbox20_jessica@yahoo.com

Monday, August 6, 2007

Petition Seeks Redress for Native Prisoners


The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee kindly requests that you take a few minutes to read the information on the following petition that the LPDC will be sending to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations and to the Special Rapporteur on Religion of the United Nations Council on Human Rights. This will recognize the urgent need for international oversight and further investigation of the serious ongoing human rights violations, in order to insure that the freedom of religion for Native Prisoners is protected.

Our goal is to submit the petition by September 12, 2007. We kindly ask that you help support this petition by sending it to your lists. Together with your support and help, we can help to make a difference for Leonard Peltier and all of our brothers and sisters. The U.S. Department of Justice as a branch of the United States Government has a legally binding trust responsibility to protect Native religions, spiritual and cultural practices.

Testimony has been presented at the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C. regarding the following violations of the spiritual, cultural, and religious rights of Native prisoners in U.S. federal and state prison systems;

Denial of access to traditional counseling and ceremonies;
Lack of equal access to religious and spiritual leaders;
Lack of Native American spiritual leaders employed as chaplains within the prison system;
Lack of equal access to religious and spiritual items;
Denial to the right to wear long hair or traditional hair according to the religious customs of respective Indian nations;
Denial of access to ceremonial foods;
Placement /transfer to state facilities where American Indian religious practices are prohibited;
Denial of access to Last Rite Ceremonies for American Indian inmates on Death Row;

Both U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Civil Rights Commission committed to investigate and address these serious issues but to the knowledge of those involved, nothing has been done to date.

We the undersign call upon the Special Rapporteur on Religion of the United Nations Council on Human Rights to recognize the urgent need for international oversight and further investigation of these serious ongoing human rights violations in order to insure that the freedom of religion for Native Prisoners is protected.
To address the above violations of the Native American prisoners the religious freedom rights; we the undersigned, recommend:

Congressional hearings are undertaken to hear testimony from tribal leaders, spiritual leaders, ex-offenders and family members to determine the magnitude of the problems and whether these problems are pervasive throughout the Federal Bureau of Prison and state prison systems.

We request that a Commission be developed and convene to investigate the ongoing violations within the Federal Bureau of Prisons and US prison systems.

We ask that upon completion of the investigation by the Commission that a congressional hearing be held to introduce Federal legislation for the protection of freedom of religion for Native Prisoners.

We ask that the Federal Bureau of Prisons and US prison systems hire
Bona fide Native American Spiritual Leaders/Advisors to conduct Native American religious ceremonies and provide Spiritual guidance to Native Prisoners.

http://www.petitiononline.com/inipi/petition.html

Greenpeace Responds to Heathrow


GREENPEACE, UK - The aviation industry is taking five million people - including a lot of their own staff - to court. If you're a member or supporter of a group that's concerned about climate change, the chances are you're a defendant too. The industry seems to want to ban five million of us from Heathrow and all routes to the airport, including the Piccadilly line, parts of the rail network, and sections of the M25 and M4.

In three weeks' time, the Camp for Climate Action is due to gather near
Heathrow to peacefully protest against Heathrow's vast contribution to
climate change (the airport's planes emit more greenhouse gases than
many individual countries) and its planned third runway expansion.

The owner of Heathrow, the British Airports Authority, seems to be,
frankly, terrified. It's seeking an injunction, which names as defendants "all persons acting as members, participants or supporters" of anti-aviation group
Plane Stupid, anti-noise group HACAN and AirportWatch. The injunction is
to stop people from setting foot on Heathrow and "the arterial
infrastructure serving" it.

So far, so good. Just another example of the aviation industry's
corporate bullying, albeit a draconian one.

But the interesting bit is that AirportWatch, named on the injunction,
is just an umbrella organization. Its member organizations include the
National Trust, the RSPB, the Woodland Trust, the Campaign for the
Protection of Rural England, Transport 2000, Friends of the Earth and
Greenpeace, among many others.

The combined supporter base of these organizations is well over five
million people.

And it includes the Queen, patron of the RSBP and CPRE. Prince Charles,
president of the National Trust, would also be banned from Heathrow and
its surrounds . . .

Even more bizarrely, the injunction covers many of BAA's own staff.
Their 2006 Corporate Responsibility report tells us that BAA sent its
airport staff to the RSPB nature reserve at Lochwinnoch "where they
spent the day building nest boxes for the native bird population". Which
seems to fit the description of "persons acting as members, participants
or supporters".

A source who's spoken to BAA has just told us that BAA is deliberately
making the ban as broad as possible, and leaving it up to the police to
apply it with common sense. Which means, if BAA wins, the police will
have the right to stop you, me or Her Maj from, say, getting on "all
railway trains and carriages operating upon the Piccadilly line. . .

http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/climate/aviation-industry-takes-the-queen-five-million-brits-and-itself-to-court-20070726

Ban All Electronic Voting Machines


By Phil Schoggen and Deborah Narrigan

It was a wonderful breakthrough for expectant mothers who were experiencing nausea. They got great relief from thalidomide therapy and were far more comfortable during their pregnancy. Medical science had achieved a major accomplishment at great expense. Later, however, many of those mothers' babies were born with deformities--no arms, legs, or with other deformities. So we learned that thalidomide, wonderful in some ways, had unacceptable consequences when used against nausea by mothers-to-be.

Now, Direct Recording Electronic voting machines (DRE's) like the ones used
in 93 of 95 counties in Tennessee might well be called the "thalidomide of
the voting process." They do a great job of easing the work of running
elections and make election results easy to tally and quick to read. In
addition, many persons with disabilities can vote privately and
independently on DREs.

But DRE's cause unacceptable consequences for the voting process. There is
simply no way to determine whether the intentions of the voters are
faithfully recorded and reported by the machine. Unlike paper ballots that
can be viewed and recounted in case of questions, no meaningful recount of
electronic votes cast with such machines is possible. The only record of
votes in such machines is electronic, stored in the software inside the
machine. Our votes are invisible.
In using these paperless voting machines, we have handed over control of the
voting process to private corporations that manufacture the hardware (the
machines) that contain their jealously guarded trade secret programs and
codes. Counting votes is a task which we should entrust only to the
election officials who serve the public, not employees of corporations who
only answer to shareholders.

DREs, are really computers. Like all computers, DREs are subject to
technical malfunction (crashes, etc.) and willful manipulation (cheating).
Many reports document that vote totals on DREs are highly questionable based
on registration data or exit poll estimates. There have even been cases of
DRE reported precinct vote totals that are larger than the number of
registered voters in a precinct-plainly not an accurate report of the vote
totals. A recent example of another problem comes from Florida where, in
the 13th Congressional district race using ES&S Ivotronic DRE voting
machines like those in many Tennessee counties, the winner's margin of
victory was less than 400 votes. But the DREs reported that 13,000 ballots
showed no vote cast in this race. Yet absentee paper ballots in the same
district had a normal number-at a far lower rate--of such non-votes. But
because the votes were cast electronically, no recount could be done. To
date, this race is still being contested.

Fortunately, a paper ballot electronic system is available and already
approved by Tennessee election officials for use in our elections--the
optical scan electronic vote counting system. It quickly counts paper
ballots marked by voters. Then these paper ballots drop into a locked ballot
box and are stored by election officials for possible recounts or audits of
the vote totals. Such machines have been used in many states. In
Tennessee, Hamilton County has employed optical scan machines for the past 9
years. Persons with disabilities who find filling out a paper ballot
difficult or impossible, can use a special device to mark their ballot and
their ballots are then counted by the optical scan ballot counter.

Another advantage of the optical scan system is that it is a much faster
system of voting. One optical scan machine can count an average of 60 votes
an hour, while DRE's take 5 minutes or longer per voter, or 12 or fewer
voters per hour. Many voters can be filling out paper ballots at the same
time and then have their vote counted and saved in seconds. Thus voters
avoid the long lines experienced during the last election where each voter
had to wait a turn on the limited number of DREs assigned to the precinct.

Another and very important advantage of using the paper ballot with optical
scan vote counting system is cost. This system is less expensive than DREs.
Last year, our counties spent millions of dollars for the paperless
electronic machines. But, having sacrificed the integrity of the voting
process, such voting machines should be banned. Of course, this proposal is
expensive, but the sanctity and security of the voting process is too
important to allow these untrustworthy machines to render our elections
questionable, either through machine malfunction or willful manipulation.
Voter Verifiable Paper Ballots are now required by law or executive order in
some 30 states. Tennessee should join this enlightened group.

Our very democracy is at stake! Ban these paperless electronic voting
machines and replace them with paper ballots and electronic optical scan
paper ballot counting systems.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Deborah Narrigan is the spokesperson for Gathering to Save our Democracy and
Common Cause Tennessee. Phil Schoggen is a professor emeritus at Cornell
University and Nashville resident

GLBT Themed Presidential Forum


On Thursday, August 9, the Human Rights Campaign will host a Democratic Presidential Candidate Forum on issues of interest to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender voters. The Forum will take place in Los Angeles and will be televised by Logo. It will air at 9:00 pm EDT/8:00 pm CDT. Check local listings for the availability of Logo in your area.

For more information about the GLBT Themed Candidate Forum, visit http://www.hrc.org.

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition encourages all voters to be informed of how the candidates stand on issues of importance.

Marisa Richmond
President

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC)
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
http://ttgpac.com
TTGPAC@aol.com
(615)293-6199
(615)353-1834 fax

Keith Durbin Elected to Metro Council


Nashville Elects First Out GLBT Candidate In Tennessee History

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition congratulates Keith Durbin who has become the first openly gay elected official in the history of the State of Tennessee. Last night, Durbin was elected to the Metro Nashville Council from District 18. The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition looks forward to working with Durbin to advance equal rights for all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Nashville.

Another openly gay candidate, Shane Burkett, lost his race in District 12. We hope Burkett will continue to be involved in local political affairs on behalf of the GLBT community of Nashville and Tennessee.

We encourage more people to consider running for office in the future. In 2008, Tennessee will elect a U.S. Senator, all nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives, half of the State Senate, all of the State House of Representatives, and several local offices, including School Boards, in many counties.

Marisa Richmond
President


The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC)
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
http://ttgpac.com
TTGPAC@aol.com
(615)293-6199
(615)353-1834 fax