All Notebook Entries
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - November 30, 2004 at 9:33 amOn November 22, a Federal district court judge denied a request by Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb and Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik to expedite the Ohio recount. The judge said Cobb and Badnarik do not face "irreparable harm" if the recount doesn't take place until after the December 7 date to certify presidential electors, since they will not have any electors anyway.
The judge did not consider the irreparable harm faced by the world or the nation, and Cobb and Badnarik as citizens, should constitutional democracy be subverted a second presidential election in a row.
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - November 29, 2004 at 11:16 pmThe United States Supreme Court will have to either allow the use of marijuana to treat pain or else reverse itself on recent limitations to national government intervention in states' internal decisions, reported The Christian Science Monitor today ("Showdown over medical marijuana" by Warren Richey).
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - November 29, 2004 at 9:47 pmCredit card companies call commanding officers in the United States armed forces to pressure soldiers to pay their interest-inflated debt, National Public Radio reported several days ago.
In other news, yellow ribbon magnets emblazoned with "Support Our Troops" are more popular than ever on cars, trucks, and low-mileage so-called Sport Utility Vehicles.
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - November 28, 2004 at 9:42 amNationally and internationally, studying the latest urgent actions of the Venezuelan government, definitely, life in sheer ad hoc probabilities and mere pro forma possibilities is ending here and now.
Stark, dark, stormy, Orwellian realities are spreading very fast across Latin America and the world.
Millions and millions across the globe are already vegetating in sub-human life conditions, generated by corporate, imperialist ultra-exploitation and by bellicose, merciless oppression.
- Posted by Al Giordano - November 26, 2004 at 12:05 pmAccording to Brazilian government records, President Lula da Silva's expected presidential decree authorizing decriminalization of drug users, the creation of safe-use rooms for injected drug users, and the change in the name of the lead agency from "National Anti-Drug Secretary" to "National Secretary about Drugs," was not issued on November 24th.
As reported last week by the daily Folha de Sao Paulo (and translated by Narco News) the various drug policy agencies in Lula's administration had reportedly come to a "consensus" for a policy change that would be signed by Lula this past Wednesday.
However, the national drug czar, General Paulo Uchoa, did give a media interview on Wednesday in which he said there will be safe-use houses for injected drug users established... but only in an "experimental" manner...
Let's read the tea leaves of the information that is available today...
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - November 25, 2004 at 3:45 amA message passed on in an e-mail from the International Action Center - Boston:
On the weekend of December 10, 11 and 12th in Tijuana, Mexico - a conference will give people from North America the opportunity to hear, meet and discuss first hand with Cuban union leaders.
Also in attendence, the e-mail read, will be union leaders and organizers involved in Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution, including Jacobo Torres de Leon, Coordinator of the Venezuelan Workers' Bolivarian Force (Fuerza Bolivariana de Trabajadores de Venezuela), and a lead organizer of the Million Worker March, Clarence Thomas.
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - November 23, 2004 at 6:16 pm11,468 computer viruses were eliminated in the space of one hour by VHeadline.com's firewall at around 7:00 p.m. New York time yesterday, November 22 ... the corporate enemy is becoming desperately dangerous ... all this reminds me of a fatally wounded man-eater that launches the barbaric "law of the jungle," that becomes more ferocious as it nears its inexorable demise.
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - November 21, 2004 at 1:35 pmFriends,
Enjoy the following lecture of Jutta Schmitt, held a few days ago at the University of The Andes, Mérida, Venezuela, concerning coming dangers for Latin America and Venezuela.
Centro de Estudios de África, Asia y Diásporas Latinoamericanas y Caribeñas
José Manuel Briceño Monzillo
Congreso Nacional 1854-2004: 150 años de la Abolición de la Esclavitud en Venezuela. ¿Pasado y Presente de una misma Realidad?
<>Eje Temático: Viejas y nuevas formas de esclavitud que se practican en el mundo de hoy. Los esclavosocultos a plena vista del Siglo XXI.
Ponencia: La esclavitud de la mente: El control mental en sus dimensiones psicológica y fisiológica.
Ponente: Jutta Schmitt M.A
You can also download this document at the following URL:
También se puede escarga el documento aquí abajo:
- Posted by Sean Donahue - November 21, 2004 at 1:33 pmWhat did the Fascist regimes in Italy, Germany, and Spain have in common? They consisted of a highly militarized state, backed by corporation and a wealthy elite, that rose to power through a false populism that exploited the publics fear of foreigners and moral degenerates. This precisely defines the formula that Karl Rove designed to consolidate the Bush administrations power in the recent election.
- Posted by Andrew Stelzer - November 20, 2004 at 6:34 pmTampa, Florida
I was covering the release of a report about the local effects of offshoring, otherwise known as outsourcing, which has become a big topic in the States this election year. Basically, because its so cheap for large companies to do business in other countries, millions of workers in the United States are either becoming unemployed, or are forced to work for sub-par wages and benefits. The 2-hour presentation centered on statistics, and came up with some decent solutions for making the US workforce more attractive to corporations---like better education. The goal of the discussion seemed to be how can we make it so that companies dont want to leave our state/country? But one man in the audience kept asking questions related to labor unions; questions that never really got answered.....
- Posted by Al Giordano - November 18, 2004 at 9:10 pmI received an email today from a producer of the "60 Minutes" TV news magazine program.
She wanted my "contacts" in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - a city where I lived in for a good chunk of 2003 - to do a story on "Rio's out of control crime rate and drug problems."
And, oh, could I also provide her with translators because, she writes, "I cannot speak Portuguese so an English speaker would be great"?
I will publish the text of her email - and my response, in which I explain why the very premise of her story, and how she plans on doing it, will prevent it from telling the whole truth - below...
And I will explain to her (and to all) why the days when this project blindly helped Commercial Media correspondents with their projects, except under carefully specified and disclosed circumstances, are now over...
- Posted by Reber Boult - November 17, 2004 at 3:46 pmAl's hasta luego from Big Left Outside reminds us of the "continuing the battle South of the Border where we are moving toward authentic democracy rather than, as in the North, away from it.." The mean little war criminal in the White House's handlers have reeminded him of it too. Frank Gaffney has outlined a 7-point "checklist." According to Portside, No. 7 is: "Bush must adapt "appropriate strategies for contending with China's increasingly fascistic trade and military policies, [Russian President] Vladimir Putin's accelerating authoritarianism at home and aggressiveness toward the former Soviet republics, the worldwide spread of Islamofascism, and the emergence of a number of aggressively anti-American regimes in Latin America"
- Posted by Julia Steinberger - November 17, 2004 at 1:14 amBoston, Massachusetts, USA - "We have a public policy crisis: we are spending billions of dollars to fight a war on drugs and we don't seem to be able to stop the flow of drugs into this country. We are spending more and more public dollars on housing men and women who are involved with the drug trade, drug addiction seems to be increasing, and yet we don't seem to have the money to help those who want to turn their lives around and recover from addiction." With these words, Boston City Councillor Chuck Turner started the public hearing to investigate the war on drugs. He called the hearing "just the beginning of a long dialogue in Boston to see how we can move forward".
- Posted by Al Giordano - November 15, 2004 at 9:43 amAccording to a report in today's Folha de São Paulo (subscription only), the government of Brazilian President Lula da Silva has reached a "consensus" to step forward into a bold new era of drug policy: decriminalizing the drug user, and opening 250 safe drug use centers across the country during the year 2005.
Lula is expected to sign an executive decree on November 24, taking drug enforcement responsibilities away from police agencies, and placing the problems of drug use under the jurisdiction of the Health Ministry, which will be charged with supporting the safe drug-use centers and make Harm Reduction - a policy to reduce the harms associated with drug use - the law of the land.
Here is an excerpt from today's report from Brazil's largest daily newspaper:
Policy proposal considers drug consumption as a public health problem, and no longer one for the police
The government wants to create centers for drug use
By Luciana Constantino and Iuri Dantas
Folha de São Paulo, Brasília Bureau
After a series of internal disagreements about drug policy, the federal government is preparing a realignment of national policy to define drug consumption as a public health problem, and not one for the police as it is today.
There will be a presidential order creating rules for treating drug dependents, with emphasis on Harm Reduction...
(More of the translation appears after the jump.)
- Posted by Bill Conroy - November 13, 2004 at 12:32 amIn April of this year, Narco New brought you a gruesome story about corruption and murder along the Texas border. The story began as follows:
Between August 2003 and mid-January of 2004, a dozen people were murdered and buried in the yard of a house in Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican border city of 1.2 million people.What the Narco News story didnt mention in its April story was the name of the murdered kid from Socorro. He was Luis Padilla. He left behind a wife and three small kids.
Santillan (an alleged leader in the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Juarez drug organization) and his cronies controlled the house. This group included the informant, known only as "Lalo," who was on the payroll of the U.S. Immigration and Customs (Enforcement) agency....
... The informant, Lalo, say the law enforcement whistleblowers, even brought the tape and the lime used to help dispose of the bodies. The law enforcement sources believe that he was at the death house during up to nine of the 12 murders known to have taken place there. Most of those killed were allegedly Mexican drug dealers, except for one individual, who was a U.S. citizen "some kid from Socorro, Texas, just south of El Paso," says one law enforcement source.
- Posted by Julia Steinberger - November 12, 2004 at 6:54 pmBoston, Massachusetts, USA - Boston City Councillor Chuck Turner is calling for a public hearing this Monday to investigate the War on Drugs. The purpose of the November 15th hearing is to gather data on the resources devoted to the war on drugs by different city, state, and federal agencies...
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - November 12, 2004 at 10:02 amFriends,
Enjoy Jutta´s Comments.
Fallujah: Fiction meets Reality
By Jutta Schmitt
With one of the first strategic military targets being a hospital so as to avoid pictures of civilians reduced to bits and pieces reaching the world and negatively impacting on Operation "Bomb 'em all into Oblivion," the razing to the ground of Fallujah ... the city of the "die-hard insurgents" and "home to absolute evil" ... has taken its course.
In a truly asymmetric "war," the American military has been using novel and devastating methods to clear Fallujahs streets. It has adapted a mine-clearing system, based on a rocket-propelled hose with explosives attached, used for the first time on D-Day on the fortified beaches of Normandy", as we learn from Times Defense editor, Michael Evans.
Marveling at the wonders of modern technology at the disposal of the American aggressor and the seamless transition from bomb-blasted streets to reality TV, war reporter James Hider describes how "the green video screen in the back of a Bradley fighting vehicle is the ultimate in reality television, and that is how we watched the battle of Fallujah unfold as our 30-tonne steel beast advanced into the district of Jolan, the rebels' bastion, in the small hours of yesterday morning ... on a screen accurate enough to show rats scavenging on the rubbish piles."
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - November 11, 2004 at 9:35 pmA while ago, during the American elections, we quoted Orwell, warning the peoples of the USA about what Big Brother Bush and his fascist, military consorts have in mind for them, and for the rest of the world:
"We shall crush you down to the point, from which there is no coming back. ... Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you.
Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves."
- Posted by Nancy Davies - November 11, 2004 at 5:04 pmReaders may be interested in Wired 12.11: The Mystery of the Coca Plant That Wouldn't Die
by Contributing editor Joshua Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The article describes a new coca plant that is now taking over in Columbia. It's herbicide resistant. Heidi-ho.
Issue 12.11 - November 2004
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - November 7, 2004 at 6:26 pmEvery line of serious work that I write now is written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarian media and for the creation of democratic communication, as I understand it. (Yes, I'm attempting to rip off Orwell here.)
We may never know which candidate, Bush or Kerry, truly won the 2004 presidential election. And if you believe in any kind of democracy, that should really tick you off.
In 2000 we knew more people cast their ballots for Gore than Bush, both nationwide and in Florida. (Some 20,000 Jewish "Gore and Buchannan" votes, when they meant "Gore and Lieberman," easily swamps the phony 537 endorsed by the U.S. Supreme Court.)
This time, there's no way to recount half the votes cast in Florida on paperless touch-screen machines, and in both Florida and Ohio central tabulating computers could be rigged to give false vote counts. They may not have been, but they could have been, and there may be no way for us to know. That's a problem. Especially because there is reason to believe that key tallies are fraudulent.
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - November 7, 2004 at 8:31 amFor a quarter of a century, I spent ny whole youth in Apartheid South Africa, and have experienced what fascism is all about. My very birth was a "racial" scandal in "White" South Africa; my father, of British origin, was as "white" as snow, seen through "Boer" eyes, my mother, of indigenous descent, was as black as the night.
I was classified as "Colored", and was not accepted in any camp, across the "race" barrier. I suffered all the evils of Apartheid, even escaped attempts to assassinate me. The "Afrikaner" nazis who conquered political power in 1948, led by Malan's Nationalist Party, immediately applied what the architect of Apartheid, Verwoerd, had learned in "Duitsland".
- Posted by David Keating - November 5, 2004 at 1:33 amI am not sure if this person has been discussed here but I thought it interesting enough to post and let y'all run with it.
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon should be fairly famous to most people. Here is the Wikipedia file on him (although the neutrality of the article is "disputed" through the wikipedia system): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Myung_Moon
"After the end of the Japanese occupation of Korea, Moon personally suffered the brutal excesses of North Korean communism and he found a fellow opponent of Communism in Ronald Reagan. Moon spent a billion dollars of church funds to support the conservative, influential Washington Times, which in 2002 he called "the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world." And decades after Congressional scrutiny and a prison term for tax fraud, his generosity to the New Right (including opening an account for the "Contra" part of the Iran-Contra equation) has earned him a world of deference from his former enemies."
The main part of this post is below from a pretty famous webblog. So what do you think?
- Posted by Bill Conroy - November 4, 2004 at 7:37 pmBetween February and May of this year, Narco News published online, chapter by chapter, a book called Borderline Security: A Chronicle of Reprisal, Cronyism and Corruption in the U.S. Customs Service. The book was the culmination of a multi-year intensive investigation into the dysfunction and racism that pervades this nations federal law enforcement agencies. In particular, the book focuses on problems within U.S. Customs, which is now part of the Department of Homeland Security mega-bureaucracy.
Narco News stepped out on a limb in agreeing to put the entire book on its site, but publisher Al Giordano and his compadres are not new to that game. They recognize that Borderline Security offers readers a crucial perspective on law enforcement in the United States with respect to the so-called war on drugs.
The decision by Narco News to run with Borderline Security, to get the book out to the people, takes on even more importance given the corporate culture that dominates the mainstream publishing industry. The lame conformist state of the book industry in this country probably comes as no surprise to many of you, but it is still a frustrating fact of life for any author who makes the decision to commit to a journalistic project that seeks to break new ground.
- Posted by Fabio Mesquita - November 4, 2004 at 3:21 amMayor Marta Suplicy (of the Workers Party, or PT in its Portuguese initials) lost the elections in São Paulo, the biggest city in Brazil with 11 million inhabitants, even as her government finished the term with the highest approval ratings in the history of the city. Based in social priorities, her government was built for the poor people in the peripheral regions of the city and emphasized public education and public transportation.
In the health sector Marta did a lot, but considering the debit of many years without priorities in health, that is the main problem in the City still.
The campaign of her adversary was based in the prejudice against a courageous female that has a very coherent way of life, including the decision to divorce the most popular Senator of Brazil (Eduardo Suplicy) at the beginning of her term, and to marry someone who she was in love with. All the big media in the country worked hard to improve the prejudice against her and to support her adversary.
Jose Serra, the former Minister of Health of Fernando Henrique Cardoso Government (PSDB Social Democratic Party), won the election last Sunday. Serra is suitable for the fight against AIDS but is very conservative in fields like drugs and the Harm Reduction approach, or themes like gender or sexual orientation issues.
- Posted by Al Giordano - November 3, 2004 at 11:15 pmThe second Bush term is going to make the first four years look like the good old days.
Now that the American president really was elected, his gnawing sense of illegitimacy removed, his father's curse exorcized, his religious right flank empowered, and a hesitant world now falling to its knees to bow before him, watch out.
During the first four years, he and his gang restrained themselves from fully unleashing the repressive measures of the Patriot Act, knowing that it could cost them the election. The restraints are now gone.
And other repressive policies like the drug war? Watch that get used, now, as politically as the terror war.
It's mourning in America. My mailbox runneth over today with emails from friends and strangers who want to leave the United States and come down here to Latin America.
Nobody should do that to run from a fight: After all, if you are a citizen of the U.S.A., there is no place to hide from your own country's foreign policy...
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - November 3, 2004 at 12:46 pmUSA – Our democratic republic was car-jacked, beginning with the hot-wiring four years ago, and now we see most of our citizens just watch or cheer on the thieves. This country's going to be taken on a joy-ride and left trashed; don't doubt that.
But there's a lot left in this old gas-guzzling SUV of a nation worth saving, a hell of a lot of beautiful land and not a few wonderful people. And maybe, just maybe those of us stuck in the back will be able to distract the driver and his fellow hoodlums from their attempt to run over the innocent bystanders of this theft – the rest of the people in the world – even if we can't jam the gears.
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - November 3, 2004 at 9:28 amMassachusetts liberals descended on New Hampshire this election day to help defeat court-appointed President Bush, and elect their own Senator Kerry. Some had arrived or commuted to New Hampshire to interview potential Kerry voters in the day or days before. A few paid co-ordinators had been working there for months.
The strategy was simple and built around the many volunteers MoveOn has available for short-term involvement but its limited resources for an extended field effort. First, identify people who aren't regular voters and who are fairly likely to support Kerry, meaning registered Democrats and Independents. Second, ask them if they support Kerry. Third, make sure that those who say they support Kerry vote.
Based on this reporters anecdotal impressions participating in this get-out-the-vote effort in a conservative, rural area about a half hour from Manchester, New Hampshire's allowance of same-day registration, its good voting equipment, and its well-run polling stations proved even more important for Kerry's victory in this state.
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - November 1, 2004 at 1:40 pmIn previous commentaries we have underlined the emancipatory quintessence of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. We have explained why it is an emancipatory paradigm for all the exploited, dominated, discriminated and alienated peoples of the world.
Yesterday, once more, the Venezuelans have shown to the world, what the kratos (rule, government) of, by and for the demos (people), what real, true, democracy, that is, revolutionary emancipation, is all about.