Babies' Mental Delay Tied to Moms' Vegan Diet 
Thu Jan 30, 4:40 PM ET

By Alison McCook 

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The breast-fed infants of two mothers who did not eat any animal
products, including milk and eggs, developed brain abnormalities as a result of a vitamin-B12
deficiency, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) (CDC) reported Thursday. 

The primary sources of vitamin B12, which is essential for brain development, are animal products
like meat, dairy products and eggs. Since the mothers ate little or no animal products, too little
vitamin B12 was transmitted to their children through breast milk, according to the CDC's Dr.
Maria Elena Jefferds. 

Jefferds added that these cases serve as a reminder to parents and pediatricians to ensure that
both pregnant women and mothers who breast-feed their infants consume enough B12, either
through diet or B12-containing supplements. 

"You have to make sure you're getting it," she said, in reference to vitamin B12. 

And don't abandon breast-feeding altogether, Jefferds cautioned. Breast-feeding has many
advantages, and mothers who choose to not eat animal products should still continue to
breast-feed their infants. 

"Vegetarians should absolutely breast-feed, there's no question about that," she said. 

In the January 31st issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Jefferds and her
colleagues describe the cases of two babies who showed signs of brain abnormalities as a result
of a deficiency in vitamin B12. 

In one case, doctors examined and diagnosed the deficiency in a 15-month-old child with slow
growth and mental development. Her mother said she had avoided consuming all animal products
for many years, and had breast-fed the baby for 8 months after birth. 

After receiving supplements of vitamin B12, the child began to improve, but was still below her age
group in speech and language at 32 months of age. 

Jefferds explained in an interview that many children fully recover from vitamin-B12 deficiencies
but that, in some cases, a prolonged period of low consumption of vitamin B12 can cause
irreversible damage. 

"I think it really depends on how severe the deficiency was, and how long it was taking place for,"
she said. 

She added that while both children described in the report showed lingering symptoms of low
vitamin B12, over time, those impairments may disappear. 

The initial symptoms of low vitamin B12 in infants are often vague and not obvious, Jefferds noted.
She recommended that doctors keep the possibility of a deficiency "on their radar screen," and
ask mothers if they eat animal products or take supplements that contain enough vitamin B12,
also known as cobalamin. 

Vegans eat only plant-based foods, using grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables to fill all their
dietary needs. Vegetarians, on the other hand, typically avoid meat, but may eat some animal
products, such as milk, eggs and possibly fish. 

SOURCE: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2003;52:61-64. 

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========================================================

"If You Want To Win An Election, Just Control The Voting Machines" 
by Thom Hartmann 

Friday 31 January 2003 

Maybe Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel honestly won two US Senate elections. Maybe it's true that
the citizens of Georgia simply decided that incumbent Democratic Senator Max Cleland, a wildly popular
war veteran who lost three limbs in Vietnam, was, as his successful Republican challenger suggested in
his campaign ads, too unpatriotic to remain in the Senate. Maybe George W. Bush, Alabama's new
Republican governor Bob Riley, and a small but congressionally decisive handful of other long-shot
Republican candidates really did win those states where conventional wisdom and straw polls showed them
losing in the last few election cycles. 

Perhaps, after a half-century of fine-tuning exit polling to such a science that it's now sometimes used
to verify how clean elections are in Third World countries, it really did suddenly become inaccurate in the
United States in the past six years and just won't work here anymore. Perhaps it's just a coincidence that
the sudden rise of inaccurate exit polls happened around the same time corporate-programmed,
computer-controlled, modem-capable voting machines began recording and tabulating ballots. 

But if any of this is true, there's not much of a paper trail from the voters' hand to prove it. 

You'd think in an open democracy that the government - answerable to all its citizens rather than a
handful of corporate officers and stockholders - would program, repair, and control the voting machines.
You'd think the computers that handle our cherished ballots would be open and their software and
programming available for public scrutiny. You'd think there would be a paper trail of the vote, which could
be followed and audited if a there was evidence of voting fraud or if exit polls disagreed with computerized
vote counts. 

You'd be wrong. 

The respected Washington, DC publication The Hill (www.thehill.com/news/012903/hagel.aspx) has
confirmed that former conservative radio talk-show host and now Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel
was the head of, and continues to own part interest in, the company that owns the company that installed,
programmed, and largely ran the voting machines that were used by most of the citizens of Nebraska. 

Back when Hagel first ran there for the U.S. Senate in 1996, his company's computer-controlled voting
machines showed he'd won stunning upsets in both the primaries and the general election. The
Washington Post (1/13/1997) said Hagel's "Senate victory against an incumbent Democratic governor was
the major Republican upset in the November election." According to Bev Harris of
www.blackboxvoting.com, Hagel won virtually every demographic group, including many largely Black
communities that had never before voted Republican. Hagel was the first Republican in 24 years to win a
Senate seat in Nebraska. 

Six years later Hagel ran again, this time against Democrat Charlie Matulka in 2002, and won in a
landslide. As his hagel.senate.gov website says, Hagel "was re-elected to his second term in the United
States Senate on November 5, 2002 with 83% of the vote. That represents the biggest political victory in
the history of Nebraska." 

What Hagel's website fails to disclose is that about 80 percent of those votes were counted by
computer-controlled voting machines put in place by the company affiliated with Hagel. Built by that
company. Programmed by that company. 

"This is a big story, bigger than Watergate ever was," said Hagel's Democratic opponent in the 2002
Senate race, Charlie Matulka (www.lancastercountydemocrats.org/matulka.htm). "They say Hagel shocked
the world, but he didn't shock me." 

Is Matulka the sore loser the Hagel campaign paints him as, or is he democracy's proverbial canary in
the mineshaft? 

In Georgia, Democratic incumbent and war-hero Max Cleland was defeated by Saxby Chambliss, who'd
avoided service in Vietnam with a "medical deferment" but ran his campaign on the theme that he was
more patriotic than Cleland. While many in Georgia expected a big win by Cleland, the computerized voting
machines said that Chambliss had won. 

The BBC summed up Georgia voters' reaction in a 6 November 2002 headline: "GEORGIA UPSET
STUNS DEMOCRATS." The BBC echoed the confusion of many Georgia voters when they wrote, "Mr.
Cleland - an army veteran who lost three limbs in a grenade explosion during the Vietnam War - had long
been considered 'untouchable' on questions of defense and national security." 

Between them, Hagel and Chambliss' victories sealed Republican control of the Senate. Odds are both
won fair and square, the American way, using huge piles of corporate money to carpet-bomb voters with
television advertising. But either the appearance or the possibility of impropriety in an election casts a
shadow over American democracy. 

"The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which all other rights are protected," wrote
Thomas Paine over 200 years ago. "To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery.." 

That slavery, according to Hagel's last opponent Charlie Matulka, is at our doorstep. 

"They can take over our country without firing a shot," Matulka said, "just by taking over our election
systems." 

Taking over our election systems? Is that really possible in the USA? 

Bev Harris of www.talion.com and www.blackboxvoting.com has looked into the situation in depth and
thinks Matulka may be on to something. The company tied to Hagel even threatened her with legal action
when she went public about his company having built the machines that counted his landslide votes. (Her
response was to put the law firm's threat letter on her website and send a press release to 4000 editors,
inviting them to check it out. www.blackboxvoting.com/election-systems-software.html) 

"I suspect they're getting ready to do this all across all the states," Matulka said in a January 30, 2003
interview. "God help us if Bush gets his touch screens all across the country," he added, "because they
leave no paper trail. These corporations are taking over America, and they just about have control of our
voting machines." 

In the meantime, exit-polling organizations have quietly gone out of business, and the news arms of the
huge multinational corporations that own our networks are suggesting the days of exit polls are over.
Virtually none were reported in 2002, creating an odd and unsettling silence that caused unease for the
many American voters who had come to view exit polls as proof of the integrity of their election systems. 

As all this comes to light, many citizens and even a few politicians are wondering if it's a good idea for
corporations to be so involved in the guts of our voting systems. The whole idea of a democratic republic
was to create a common institution (the government itself) owned by its citizens, answerable to its citizens,
and authorized to exist and continue existing solely "by the consent of the governed." 

Prior to 1886 - when, law schools incorrectly tell law students, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that
corporations are "persons" with equal protection and other "human rights" - it was illegal in most states for
corporations to involve themselves in politics at all, much less to service the core mechanism of politics.
And during the era of Teddy Roosevelt, who said, "There can be no effective control of corporations while
their political activity remains," numerous additional laws were passed to restrain corporations from
involvement in politics. 

Wisconsin, for example, had a law that explicitly stated: 

"No corporation doing business in this state shall pay or contribute, or offer consent or agree to pay or
contribute, directly or indirectly, any money, property, free service of its officers or employees or thing of
value to any political party, organization, committee or individual for any political purpose whatsoever, or for
the purpose of influencing legislation of any kind, or to promote or defeat the candidacy of any person for
nomination, appointment or election to any political office." 

The penalty for violating that law was dissolution of the corporation, and "any officer, employee, agent or
attorney or other representative of any corporation, acting for and in behalf of such corporation" would be
subject to "imprisonment in the state prison for a period of not less than one nor more than five years" and
a substantial fine. 

However, the recent political trend has moved us in the opposite direction, with governments answerable
to "We, The People" turning over administration of our commons to corporations answerable only to CEOs,
boards, and stockholders. The result is the enrichment of corporations and the appearance that democracy
in America has started to resemble its parody in banana republics. 

But if America still is a democratic republic, then We, The People still own our government. And the
way our ownership and management of our common government (and its assets) is asserted is through the
vote. 

On most levels, privatization is only a "small sin" against democracy. Turning a nation's or community's
water, septic, roadway, prisons, airwaves, or health care commons over to private corporations has so far
demonstrably degraded the quality of life for average citizens and enriched a few of the most powerful
campaign contributors. But it hasn't been the end of democracy (although some wonder about what the
FCC is preparing to do - but that's a separate story). 

Many citizens believe, however, that turning the programming and maintenance of voting over to private,
for-profit corporations, answerable only to their owners, officers, and stockholders, puts democracy itself at
peril. 

And, argues Charlie Matulka, for a former officer of one of those corporations to then place himself into
an election without disclosing such an apparent conflict of interest is to create a parody of democracy. 

Perhaps Matulka's been reading too many conspiracy theory tracts. Or maybe he's on to something.
We won't know until a truly independent government agency looks into the matter. 

When Bev Harris and The Hill's Alexander Bolton pressed the Chief Counsel and Director of the Senate
Ethics Committee, the man responsible for ensuring that FEC disclosures are complete, asking him why
he'd not questioned Hagel's 1995, 1996, and 2001 failures to disclose the details of his ownership in the
company that owned the voting machine company when he ran for the Senate, the Director reportedly met
with Hagel's office on Friday, January 25, 2003 and Monday, January 27, 2003. After the second meeting,
on the afternoon of January 27th, the Director of the Senate Ethics Committee resigned his job. 

Meanwhile, back in Nebraska, Charlie Matulka had requested a hand count of the vote in the election he
lost to Hagel. He just learned his request was denied because, he said, Nebraska has a just-passed law
that prohibits government-employee election workers from looking at the ballots, even in a recount. The only
machines permitted to count votes in Nebraska, he said, are those made and programmed by the
corporation formerly run by Hagel. 

Matulka shared his news with me, then sighed loud and long on the phone, as if he were watching his
children's future evaporate. 

"If you want to win the election," he finally said, "just control the machines." 

Thom Hartmann is the author of "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of
Human Rights." www.unequalprotection.com This article is copyright by Thom Hartmann, but permission is
granted for reprint in print, email, or web media so long as this credit is attached. 

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
purposes.) 

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=========================================================

The Reality of Race

There's hardly any difference in the DNA of human
races. That doesn't mean, argues sociologist Troy
Duster, that genomics research can ignore the concept

By Sally Lehrman
Scientific American, February 2003
<http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=0002A353-C027-1E1C-8B3B809EC588EEDF&p>

Race doesn't exist, the mantra went. The DNA inside
people with different complexions and hair textures is
99.9 percent alike, so the notion of race had no meaning
in science. At a National Human Genome Research
Institute (NHGRI) meeting five years ago, geneticists
were all nodding in agreement. Then sociologist Troy
Duster pulled a forensics paper out of his briefcase. It
claimed that criminologists could find out whether a
suspect was Caucasian, Afro-Caribbean or Asian Indian
merely by analyzing three sections of DNA.

"It was chilling," recalls Francis S. Collins, director
of the institute. He had not been aware of DNA sequences
that could identify race, and it shocked him that the
information can be used to investigate crimes. "It
stopped the conversation in its tracks."


> SIDEBAR: TROY DUSTER: THINKING ABOUT GENES
>
> Grandson of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, newspaper publisher,
> muckraker and antilynching crusader.
>
> "The King of Coolocity," says Harry G. Levine of
> Queens College, City University of New York, because
> like a disciplined musician Duster combines
> seriousness, virtuoso skill, grace, balance and a
> relaxed playfulness in his work (he is a jazz
> aficionado).
>
> Current worry: "It is almost inevitable that a
> research agenda will surface to try to find patterns
> of allele frequencies and then create computer-
> generated profiles of different types of criminals."

In large part thanks to Duster, Collins and other
geneticists have begun grappling with forensic,
epidemiological and pharmacogenomic data that raise the
question of race at the DNA level. The NHGRI now
routinely includes experts from the social disciplines
to assist in guiding research priorities and framing the
results for the public. "The complexities of the DNA
sequence require not just simplistic statements about
similarities between groups but a full appreciation of
history, anthropology, social science and politics,"
Collins has realized. "Duster is a person that rather
regularly gets tapped on the shoulder and asked for
help."

The urbane 66-year-old Duster, who splits his time
between appointments at the University of California at
Berkeley and New York University, examines how the
public absorbs news about genetics into existing beliefs
and how those perceptions also shape the use of genetic
sequencing, DNA probes and other molecular techniques.

Those techniques have revealed that race is minor at the
DNA level. The genetic differences between any two
randomly selected individuals in one socially recognized
population account for 85 percent of the variation one
might find between people of separate populations. Put
another way, the genetic difference between two
individuals of the same race can be greater than those
between individuals of different races--table sugar may
look like salt, but it has more similarities with corn
syrup.

DNA profiles
Image: TEK IMAGE Photo Researchers, Inc.

But genetics cannot prove that race doesn't exist,
Duster explains. No amount of logic will erase the
concept or destroy the disparities that arise from it,
because people use race to sort their social groupings
and to define their social and economic interactions.
Moreover, they do so in ways that have significant
biological consequences. Duster recently helped to draft
a 15-page statement for the American Sociological
Association showing how race persists as a factor in
disparities in health and other areas of life. "You
cannot just get rid of the concept without doing
tremendous damage to the epidemiologic research done so
far," Duster says. African-Americans are three times as
likely to die from heart disease, for example. "Blacks
are redlined by banks, followed by department store
security, pulled over by the police. This can produce
hypertension," he points out. "It can give you a heart
attack."

A new approach, gene clustering, avoids race by dividing
according to medically important markers, such as genes
for the enzymes necessary to metabolize drugs. But
society will very likely re-create racial categories and
rankings under the new terms, Duster predicts. And by
failing to name the social context, this strategy gives
base-pair differences undue emphasis at the expense of
environmental influences. Race is a social reality,
Duster observes, and he warns that science itself is a
social institution susceptible to essentialist
perceptions of race.

Raised in poverty during the Great Depression by a
mother from an upper-class family, Duster, whose father
died when he was nine, grew up navigating between
Chicago's tough streets and its privileged intellectual
and civic parlors. He witnessed firsthand the
complexities of social categories and learned to "code-
switch" from one to another, much as he capably moves
among sociology, anthropology and genetics now.

Duster started out as a journalist but quit in moral
indignation when chided for failing to interview a
trapped subway motorman waiting for a leg amputation.
He turned to sociology and joined Berkeley in 1967,
quickly developing a reputation for thought-provoking
work on drugs and social policy. In the 1970s Duster
was a familiar voice in National Institutes of Health
committees reviewing grants for research on mental
health and drug abuse. While sitting on a panel for
President Jimmy Carter's Commission on Mental Health,
he began to hear researchers speculate that drug
addiction and mental illness were linked to genetic
susceptibilities.

Duster found the conversations alarming. His book,
Backdoor to Eugenics, aimed to stimulate public debate
by showing how genetic-screening policies tended to
reinforce the power structures already within society.
Since then, he has pressed geneticists and molecular
biologists to consider the social meaning that emerges
from what they perceive as unbiased fact.

At first they resisted. As a member of the Ethical,
Legal and Social Implications Working Group advising the
agencies on human genome research, Duster urged the NIH
and the Department of Energy to challenge The Bell
Curve, the 1994 best-seller that argued that race
correlated with intelligence. Government officials held
up a response for eight months, convinced that the
nonexistence of race at the genome level spoke for
itself.

Duster, along with fellow committee member Dorothy
Nelkin of New York University, highlighted the ways in
which cultural context influences the application of
medical and behavioral genetics. Now Collins is relying
on Duster and other collaborators, such as University of
Wisconsin molecular biologist Pilar Ossorio, to help
explain why race must be acknowledged even if it is
biologically inconsequential. "It's a tightrope between
trying to rescue the importance and meaning of research
on race without giving it a false reality," Duster says.

Indeed, although he maintains that race is significant
in genetics, Duster insists it is misleading to
reinscribe race as a definitive system to group people
who share geographic origins and thus some genes. For
one, concepts of race vary geographically as well as
historically. The ethnic status of South Asians, for
example, has changed over the past century in the U.S.
and more often serves to define a political and cultural
"other" than something biological. In 1920 Oregon
granted citizenship to Bhagat Singh Thind of India
during a ban on Asian immigration. But the U.S. Supreme
Court disagreed, stating that even though Thind should
be considered "Caucasian," he still wasn't "white."
(Thind, who had joined the U.S. Army during World War I,
managed to stay in the country, earn a Ph.D. and publish
15 books on metaphysics.)

Researchers have also advocated assessing health risks
within ethnic groups based on inherited variations in
just one DNA base pair. But such single-nucleotide
polymorphism (SNP) profiles can be deceptive, Duster
warns. Ethnic differences in drug metabolism or response
to tobacco exist, but they appear to be minimal and
depend strongly on the environment. The emphasis on DNA,
he remarks, transforms health status into a biological
inevitability, and it is tempting to use the same tools
to profile criminality or intelligence at the genome
level.

Specific variations in DNA can be linked to ancestral
geographic origins, but those differences only
occasionally offer a medically important clue. They fail
to define any essential characteristics of a whole
group. Race, itself a fluid idea, is part of the
environmental context of the genome, Duster suggests.
"Race is a relationship," he says. "When you talk about
race as a relationship, it prevents anyone from giving
it false meaning."

Sally Lehrman is a medical technology and health policy
journalist based in San Francisco.

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========================================================

Subject: Options for Israel's future, by Israel Shamir 

The options for Israel's future shrunk to 
a stark choice between Jewish Fascism and 
the State for All.
After Elections
==============
By Israel Shamir
Received January 29, 2003

The dismal results of the elections confirmed
bankruptcy of the traditional Jewish Left. Do not
regret overmuch: Meretz and Labour competed with the
nationalist parties in anti-Arafat rhetoric and
remained adamant in rejecting the full equality for
non-Jews. They were undermined by demographic shift:
their electorate, wealthy and well-educated Ashkenazi
Jews, voted with their legs and left Israel. Thirty
five per cent of the total electorate did not
participate in the elections for they live abroad, in
Los Angeles and Amsterdam, in Paris and New York. There
are more supporters of Meretz in the US than in Israel.
While bank managers and computer experts leave for
America, poor and less educated remain in Palestine,
and they often vote for fascists or for religious
parties.

But it is not all gloom. The best news concerning
elections hardly made the second page in Israeli
newspapers, but it should lit red light on the
Zionists' board. A few days before the elections, the
Slavic Union, a new political organization of Russians
in Israel, made a historic alliance with the
Palestinians. They supported HADASH, the Communist-led
mainly Palestinian block, and now they intend to forge
ties with another radical force, Azmi Bishara's BALAD.
In their letter to voters, leaders of the Slavic Union
Igor Zhemailov and Alexey Korobov did not beat around
the bush. "We, the Russians, were brought here as cheap
labour force and cannon meat in order to displace and
fight the native Palestinians. But we have no truck
with this dispute. Let us join forces with the
Palestinians against racism and poverty, for equality
and democracy".

There are over a million Russians in Israel, mainly
immigrants of the last decade. Many of them, probably
majority, are not considered 'Jews', even if they have
Jewish-sounding last names. By Israeli law, it is
enough to have one Jewish grandfather in order to
qualify for citizenship, but such a person is not
considered 'a Jew' in law, and therefore suffers of
many legal and illegal disabilities in the racist
Jewish state. Non-Jewish spouses of immigrants form
another discriminated category of citizens. They are
drafted into the army, but refused even decent burial.
These people have a strong personal reason to support
the idea of 'a state for all its citizens', as opposed
to the present concept of 'the state of and for the
Jews wherever they are'.

It is not the racialist division: many Russians that
are considered to be 'Jews' also support the idea of a
democratic state and oppose the Jewish supremacy. They
have a good reason: the Jewish supremacy in Israel
means supremacy of a certain socio-economic group, of
wealthy Ashkenazi establishment. Young generation of
Russian 'Jews' was thoroughly 'dejewified ' in the
Soviet Union and accepted universal humanist values
instead of particularistic ones. Many of them are
Christians forced to hide their belief in Christ. Swept
by the massive propaganda campaign they immigrated to
Israel where they discovered the real face of the
Jewish state. In the yesterday's elections some of them
had voted for Shinui, the anti-clerical party, and gave
it 15 seats in the Parliament. However, Shinui is
rabidly nationalistic and unable to attend to their
problems. Its neo-liberal position makes Shinui
unsuitable for the socially weaker Russians.

Actually true interests of Russians and Palestinians
coincide. For the both communities, the best solution
is creation of non-racist, democratic state, and the
only way to achieve it is to give full citizen rights
to the three million presently disenfranchised native
Palestinians. In the democratised Palestine/Israel of
nine million citizens the concept of a Jewish State
will follow its twin, the Aryan State, to oblivion.
There were cases of Russians taking part in Palestinian
armed resistance, but their political union is spelling
doom to the Zionist state. In the next elections,
probably in a year time, this union will be able to
change the political map of Israel, if properly
supported and nourished. Much depends on the political
maturity and wisdom of Palestinian leadership and the
remnants of the Israeli Left. All the pro-equality
forces should unite in our version of the South African
ANC, and bury apartheid.

The Jewish State is already a sham. Deeply divided
between the Orthodox and anti-religious, between
Ashkenazim and Sephardim, it remains a dangerous
phantom in the mind of its ignorant American backers.
The favourite of Conrad Black's newspaper The Jerusalem
Post, Nathan Sharansky and his nationalist party just
made it to the parliament with only two seats, and as
many voters as the Free Cannabis list. The options for
Israel's future shrunk to a stark choice between Jewish
Fascism and the State for All, from Jordan River to the
Mediterranean Sea.

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========================================================

What Happened to the New Left?
==============================
by Naomi Klein

Published on Thursday, January 30, 2003
by the Globe & Mail/Canada

The key word at this year's World Social Forum, which
ended Tuesday in Porto Alegre, Brazil, was "big." Big
attendance: more than 100,000 delegates in all! Big
speeches: more than 15,000 crammed in to see Noam
Chomsky! And most of all, big men. Luiz Inacio Lula da
Silva, the newly elected President of Brazil, came to
the forum and addressed 75,000 adoring fans. Hugo
Chavez, the controversial President of Venezuela, paid
a "surprise" visit to announce that his embattled
regime was part of the movement.

"The left in Latin America is being reborn," Mr. Chavez
declared, as he pledged to vanquish his opponents at
any cost. As evidence of this rebirth, he pointed to
Lula's election in Brazil, Lucio Gutierrez's victory in
Ecuador and Fidel Castro's tenacity in Cuba.

But wait a minute: How on earth did a gathering that
was supposed to be a showcase for new grassroots
movements become a celebration of men with a penchant
for three-hour speeches about smashing the oligarchy?

Of course, the forum, in all its dizzying global
diversity, was not only speeches, with huge crowds all
facing the same direction. There were plenty of
circles, with small groups of people facing each other.
There were thousands of impromptu gatherings of
activists excitedly swapping facts, tactics and
analysis in their common struggles. But the big
certainly put its mark on the event.

Two years ago, at the first World Social Forum, the key
word was not "big" but "new": new ideas, new methods,
new faces. Because if there was one thing that most
delegates agreed on (and there wasn't much), it was
that the left's traditional methods had failed.

This came from hard-won experience, experience that
remains true even if some left-wing parties have been
doing well in the polls recently. Many of the delegates
at that first forum had spent their lives building
labor parties, only to watch helplessly as those
parties betrayed their roots once in power, throwing up
their hands and implementing the paint-by-numbers
policies dictated by global markets. Other delegates
came with scarred bodies and broken hearts after
fighting their entire lives to free their countries
from dictatorship or racial apartheid, only to see
their liberated land hand its sovereignty to the
International Monetary Fund for a loan.

Still others who attended that first forum were
refugees from doctrinaire Communist parties who had
finally faced the fact that the socialist "utopias" of
Eastern Europe had turned into centralized,
bureaucratic and authoritarian nightmares. And
outnumbering all of these veteran activists was a new
and energetic generation of young people who had never
trusted politicians, and were finding their own
political voice on the streets of Seattle, Prague and
Sao Paulo.

When this global rabble came together under the slogan
"Another world is possible," it was clear to all but
the most rigidly nostalgic that getting to this other
world wouldn't be a matter of resuscitating the flawed
models of the past, but imagining new movements.

The World Social Forum didn't produce a political
blueprint -- a good start -- but there was a clear
pattern to the alternatives that emerged. Politics had
to be less about trusting well-meaning leaders, and
more about empowering people to make their own
decisions; democracy had to be less representative and
more participatory. The ideas flying around included
neighborhood councils, participatory budgets, stronger
city governments, land reform and co-operative farming
-- a vision of politicized communities that could be
networked internationally to resist further assaults
from the IMF, the World Bank and World Trade
Organization. For a left that had tended to look to
centralized state solutions to solve almost every
problem, this emphasis on decentralization and direct
participation was a breakthrough.

At the first World Social Forum, Lula was cheered, too:
not as a heroic figure who vowed to take on the forces
of the market and eradicate hunger, but as an innovator
whose party was at the forefront of developing tools
for impoverished people to meet their own needs. Sadly,
those themes of deep participation and democratic
empowerment were largely absent from Mr. da Silva's
campaign for president. Instead, he told and retold a
personal story about how voters could trust him because
he came from poverty, and knew their pain. But standing
up to the demands of the international financial
community isn't about whether an individual politician
is trustworthy, it's about the fact that, as Mr. da
Silva is already proving, no person or party is strong
enough on its own.

Right now, it looks as if Lula has only two choices:
abandoning his election promises of wealth
redistribution or trying to force them through and
ending up in a Chavez-style civil war. But there is
another option, one his own Workers Party has tried
before, one that made Porto Alegre itself a beacon of a
new kind of politics: more democracy. He could simply
hand power back to the citizens who elected him, on key
issues from payment of the foreign debt, to land
reform, to membership in the Free Trade Area of the
Americas. There is a host of mechanisms that he could
use: referendums, constituents' assemblies, networks of
empowered local councils and assemblies. Choosing an
alternative economic path would still spark fierce
resistance, but his opponents would not have the luxury
of being against Lula, as they are against Mr. Chavez,
and would, instead, be forced to oppose the repeated
and stated will of the majority -- to be against
democracy itself.

Perhaps the reason why participatory democracy is being
usurped at the World Social Forum by the big men is
that there isn't much glory in it. A victory at the
ballot box isn't a blank check for five years, but the
beginning of an unending process of returning power to
that electorate time and time again.

For some, the hijacking of the forum is proof that the
movements against corporate globalization are finally
maturing and "getting serious." But is it really so
mature, amidst the graveyard of failed, left political
projects, to believe that change will come by casting
your ballot for the latest charismatic leader, then
crossing your fingers and hoping for the best? Get
serious.
-------------------------------------------------------
Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and Fences and Windows,
resumes her monthly column in The Globe and Mail.

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc
http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0130-03.htm

Back to Main News Page

========================================================

Mandela: U.S. wants holocaust
Thursday, January 30, 2003 Posted: 12:54 PM EST (1754 GMT)



Former South African president was applauded for anti-war comments


JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CNN) -- Former South African president Nelson 
Mandela has slammed the U.S. stance on Iraq, saying that "one power with a 
president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to 
plunge the world into a holocaust."

Speaking at the International Women's Forum, Mandela said "if there is a 
country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the 
United States of America."

Mandela said U.S. President George W. Bush covets the oil in Iraq "because 
Iraq produces 64 percent of the oil in the world. What Bush wants is to get 
hold of that oil." In fact Iraq contributes to only 5 percent of world oil 
exports.

The Bush administration is threatening military action if Iraq does not 
account for weapons of mass destruction and fully cooperate with U.N. 
weapons inspectors.

Receiving applause for his comments, Mandela said Bush and British Prime 
Minister Tony Blair are "undermining" past work of the United Nations.

"They do not care. Is it because the secretary-general of the United Nations 
is now a black man?" said Mandela, referring to Kofi Annan, who is from 
Ghana.

Blair is expected to discuss the issue of Iraq when he meets with South 
African President Thabo Mbeki in London Saturday, a day after the British 
leader's meeting with Bush.

Mandela said he would support without reservation any action agreed upon by 
the United Nations against Iraq, which Bush and Blair say has weapons of 
mass destruction and is a sponsor of terror groups, including Osama bin 
Laden's al Qaeda network. (Full story)

Nobel Peace Laureate Mandela, 84, has spoken out many times against Bush's 
stance, and South Africa's close ties with Libya and Cuba irked Washington 
during Mandela's own presidency.

In reaction to Mandela's comments, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said 
Bush was grateful to the many European leaders who "obviously think 
differently."

"The president will understand there are going to be people who are more 
comfortable doing nothing about a growing menace that could turn into a 
holocaust. He respects people who differ with him. He will do what he thinks 
is right and necessary to protect our country," Fleischer said

Back to Main News Page

=======================================================
[BRC-REP] Confronting Empire by Arundhati Roy

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. 
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing" 
(Arundhati Roy; January 28, 2003 Porto Alegre, Brazil) 

Confronting Empire 
by Arundhati Roy; January 28, 2003 

I've been asked to speak about "How to confront Empire?" 
It's a huge question, and I have no easy answers. 

When we speak of confronting "Empire," we need to identify 
what "Empire" means. Does it mean the U.S. Government (and 
its European satellites), the World Bank, the International 
Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and 
multinational corporations? Or is it something more than 
that? 

In many countries, Empire has sprouted other subsidiary 
heads, some dangerous byproducts - nationalism, religious 
bigotry, fascism and, of course terrorism. All these march 
arm in arm with the project of corporate globalization. 

Let me illustrate what I mean. India - the world's biggest 
democracy - is currently at the forefront of the corporate 
globalization project. Its "market" of one billion people is

being prized open by the WTO. Corporatization and 
Privatization are being welcomed by the Government and the 
Indian elite. 

It is not a coincidence that the Prime Minister, the Home 
Minister, the Disinvestment Minister - the men who signed 
the deal with Enron in India, the men who are selling the 
country's infrastructure to corporate multinationals, the 
men who want to privatize water, electricity, oil, coal, 
steel, health, education and telecommunication - are all 
members or admirers of the RSS. The RSS is a right wing, 
ultra-nationalist Hindu guild which has openly admired 
Hitler and his methods. 

The dismantling of democracy is proceeding with the speed 
and efficiency of a Structural Adjustment Program. While the

project of corporate globalization rips through people's 
lives in India, massive privatization, and labor "reforms" 
are pushing people off their land and out of their jobs. 
Hundreds of impoverished farmers are committing suicide by 
consuming pesticide. Reports of starvation deaths are coming

in from all over the country. 

While the elite journeys to its imaginary destination 
somewhere near the top of the world, the dispossessed are 
spiraling downwards into crime and chaos. This climate of 
frustration and national disillusionment is the perfect 
breeding ground, history tells us, for fascism. 

The two arms of the Indian Government have evolved the 
perfect pincer action. While one arm is busy selling India 
off in chunks, the other, to divert attention, is 
orchestrating a howling, baying chorus of Hindu nationalism 
and religious fascism. It is conducting nuclear tests, 
rewriting history books, burning churches, and demolishing 
mosques. Censorship, surveillance, the suspension of civil 
liberties and human rights, the definition of who is an 
Indian citizen and who is not, particularly with regard to 
religious minorities, is becoming common practice now. 

Last March, in the state of Gujarat, two thousand Muslims 
were butchered in a State-sponsored pogrom. Muslim women 
were specially targeted. They were stripped, and gang-raped,

before being burned alive. Arsonists burned and looted 
shops, homes, textiles mills, and mosques. 

More than a hundred and fifty thousand Muslims have been 
driven from their homes. The economic base of the Muslim 
community has been devastated. 

While Gujarat burned, the Indian Prime Minister was on MTV 
promoting his new poems. In January this year, the 
Government that orchestrated the killing was voted back into

office with a comfortable majority. Nobody has been punished

for the genocide. Narendra Modi, architect of the pogrom, 
proud member of the RSS, has embarked on his second term as 
the Chief Minister of Gujarat. If he were Saddam Hussein, of

course each atrocity would have been on CNN. But since he's 
not - and since the Indian "market" is open to global 
investors - the massacre is not even an embarrassing 
inconvenience. 

There are more than one hundred million Muslims in India. A 
time bomb is ticking in our ancient land. 

All this to say that it is a myth that the free market 
breaks down national barriers. The free market does not 
threaten national sovereignty, it undermines democracy. 

As the disparity between the rich and the poor grows, the 
fight to corner resources is intensifying. To push through 
their "sweetheart deals," to corporatize the crops we grow, 
the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the dreams we 
dream, corporate globalization needs an international 
confederation of loyal, corrupt, authoritarian governments 
in poorer countries to push through unpopular reforms and 
quell the mutinies. 

Corporate Globalization - or shall we call it by its name? -

Imperialism - needs a press that pretends to be free. It 
needs courts that pretend to dispense justice. 

Meanwhile, the countries of the North harden their borders 
and stockpile weapons of mass destruction. After all they 
have to make sure that it's only money, goods, patents and 
services that are globalized. Not the free movement of 
people. Not a respect for human rights. Not international 
treaties on racial discrimination or chemical and nuclear 
weapons or greenhouse gas emissions or climate change, or - 
god forbid - justice. 

So this - all this - is "empire." This loyal confederation, 
this obscene accumulation of power, this greatly increased 
distance between those who make the decisions and those who 
have to suffer them. 

Our fight, our goal, our vision of Another World must be to 
eliminate that distance. 

So how do we resist "Empire"? 

The good news is that we're not doing too badly. There have 
been major victories. Here in Latin America you have had so 
many - in Bolivia, you have Cochabamba. In Peru, there was 
the uprising in Arequipa, In Venezuela, President Hugo 
Chavez is holding on, despite the U.S. government's best 
efforts. 

And the world's gaze is on the people of Argentina, who are 
trying to refashion a country from the ashes of the havoc 
wrought by the IMF. 

In India the movement against corporate globalization is 
gathering momentum and is poised to become the only real 
political force to counter religious fascism. 

As for corporate globalization's glittering ambassadors - 
Enron, Bechtel, WorldCom, Arthur Anderson - where were they 
last year, and where are they now? 

And of course here in Brazil we must ask .who was the 
president last year, and who is it now? 

Still . many of us have dark moments of hopelessness and 
despair. We know that under the spreading canopy of the War 
Against Terrorism, the men in suits are hard at work. 

While bombs rain down on us, and cruise missiles skid across

the skies, we know that contracts are being signed, patents 
are being registered, oil pipelines are being laid, natural 
resources are being plundered, water is being privatized, 
and George Bush is planning to go to war against Iraq. 

If we look at this conflict as a straightforward eye-ball to

eye-ball confrontation between "Empire" and those of us who 
are resisting it, it might seem that we are losing. 

But there is another way of looking at it. We, all of us 
gathered here, have, each in our own way, laid siege to 
"Empire." 

We may not have stopped it in its tracks - yet - but we have

stripped it down. We have made it drop its mask. We have 
forced it into the open. It now stands before us on the 
world's stage in all it's brutish, iniquitous nakedness. 

Empire may well go to war, but it's out in the open now - 
too ugly to behold its own reflection. Too ugly even to 
rally its own people. It won't be long before the majority 
of American people become our allies. 

Only a few days ago in Washington, a quarter of a million 
people marched against the war on Iraq. Each month, the 
protest is gathering momentum. 

Before September 11th 2001 America had a secret history. 
Secret especially from its own people. But now America's 
secrets are history, and its history is public knowledge. 
It's street talk. 

Today, we know that every argument that is being used to 
escalate the war against Iraq is a lie. The most ludicrous 
of them being the U.S. Government's deep commitment to bring

democracy to Iraq. 

Killing people to save them from dictatorship or ideological

corruption is, of course, an old U.S. government sport. Here

in Latin America, you know that better than most. 

Nobody doubts that Saddam Hussein is a ruthless dictator, a 
murderer (whose worst excesses were supported by the 
governments of the United States and Great Britain). There's

no doubt that Iraqis would be better off without him. 

But, then, the whole world would be better off without a 
certain Mr. Bush. In fact, he is far more dangerous than 
Saddam Hussein. 

So, should we bomb Bush out of the White House? 

It's more than clear that Bush is determined to go to war 
against Iraq, regardless of the facts - and regardless of 
international public opinion. 

In its recruitment drive for allies, The United States is 
prepared to invent facts. 

The charade with weapons inspectors is the U.S. government's

offensive, insulting concession to some twisted form of 
international etiquette. It's like leaving the "doggie door"

open for last minute "allies" or maybe the United Nations to

crawl through. 

But for all intents and purposes, the New War against Iraq 
has begun. 

What can we do? 

We can hone our memory, we can learn from our history. We 
can continue to build public opinion until it becomes a 
deafening roar. 

We can turn the war on Iraq into a fishbowl of the U.S. 
government's excesses. 

We can expose George Bush and Tony Blair - and their 
allies - for the cowardly baby killers, water poisoners, and

pusillanimous long-distance bombers that they are. 

We can re-invent civil disobedience in a million different 
ways. In other words, we can come up with a million ways of 
becoming a collective pain in the ass. 

When George Bush says "you're either with us, or you are 
with the terrorists" we can say "No thank you." We can let 
him know that the people of the world do not need to choose 
between a Malevolent Mickey Mouse and the Mad Mullahs. 

Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to 
lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To 
mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our 
stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer 
relentlessness - and our ability to tell our own stories. 
Stories that are different from the ones we're being 
brainwashed to believe. 

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy 
what they are selling - their ideas, their version of 
history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of 
inevitability. 

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more

than we need them. 

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a 
quiet day, I can hear her breathing. 

-Arundhati Roy 

Porto Alegre, Brazil 

January 27, 2003 

Back to Main News Page

=======================================================
>
> Our Nuclear Talk Gravely Imperils Us
>
> Notion of a first- strike use in Iraq carries the seed of world
> disaster.
>
> By Edward M. Kennedy, Senator for Massachusets
>
> January 29 2003
>
> A dangerous world just grew more dangerous. Reports that the
> administration is contemplating the preemptive use of nuclear
> weapons in Iraq should set off alarm bells that this could not only
> be the wrong war at the wrong time, but it could quickly spin out of
> control.
>
> Initiating the use of nuclear weapons would make a conflict with
> Iraq potentially catastrophic.
>
> President Bush had an opportunity Tuesday night to explain why he
> believes such a radical departure from long-standing policy is
> justified or necessary. At the very minimum, a change of this
> magnitude should be brought to Congress for debate before the U.S.
> goes to war with Iraq.
>
> The reports of a preemptive nuclear strike are consistent with the
> extreme views outlined a year ago in President Bush's Nuclear
> Posture Review and with the administration's disdain for
> long-standing norms of international behavior.
>
> According to these reports, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has
> directed the U.S. Strategic Command to develop plans for employing
> nuclear weapons in a wide range of new missions, including possible
> use in Iraq to destroy underground bunkers.
>
> Using the nation's nuclear arsenal in this unprecedented way would
> be the most fateful decision since the nuclear attack on Hiroshima.
> Even contemplating the first-strike use of nuclear weapons under
> current circumstances and against a nonnuclear nation dangerously
> blurs the crucial and historical distinction between conventional
> and nuclear arms. In the case of Iraq, it is preposterous.
>
> Nuclear weapons are in a class of their own for good reasons --
> their unique destructive power and their capacity to threaten the
> very survival of humanity. They have been kept separate from other
> military alternatives out of a profound commitment to do all we can
> to see they are never used again. They should be employed only in
> the most dire circumstances -- for example, if the existence of our
> nation is threatened. It makes no sense to break down the firewall
> that has existed for half a century between nuclear conflict and any
> other form of warfare.
>
> A nuclear bomb is not just another item in the arsenal.
>
> Our military is the most powerful fighting force in the world. We
> can fight and win a war in Iraq with precision bombing and
> sophisticated new conventional weapons. The president has not made a
> case that the threat to our national security from Iraq is so
> imminent that we even need to go to war -- let alone let the nuclear
> genie out of the bottle.
>
> By raising the possibility that nuclear weapons could be part of a
> first strike against Iraq, the administration is only enhancing its
> reputation as a reckless unilateralist in the world community -- a
> reputation that ultimately weakens our own security. The nuclear
> threat will further alienate our allies, most of whom remain
> unconvinced of the need for war with Iraq. It is fundamentally
> contrary to our national interests to further strain relationships
> that are essential to win the war against terrorism and to advance
> our ideals in the world.
>
> This policy also deepens the danger of nuclear proliferation by, in
> effect, telling nonnuclear states that nuclear weapons are necessary
> to deter a potential U.S. attack and by sending a green light to the
> world's nuclear states that it is permissible to use them. Is this
> the lesson we want to send to North Korea, Pakistan and India or any
> other nuclear power?
>
> The use of nuclear weapons in Iraq in the absence of an imminent,
> overwhelming threat to our national security would bring a
> near-total breakdown in relations between the U.S. and the rest of
> the world. At a minimum, it would lead to a massive rise in
> anti-Americanism in the Arab world and a corresponding increase in
> sympathy for terrorists who seek to do us harm. Our nation, long a
> beacon of hope, would overnight be seen as a symbol of death,
> destruction and aggression.
>
> In the introduction to his national security strategy last fall, the
> president declared: "The gravest danger our nation faces lies at the
> crossroads of radicalism and technology." On that he was surely
> right -- and the administration's radical consideration of the
> possible use of our nuclear arsenal against Iraq is itself a grave
> danger to our national interests, our nation and all that America
> stands for.
>
> *
>
> Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy represents Massachusetts.If you
> want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at
> latimes.com/archives. For information about reprinting this article,
> go to www.lats.com/rights.
> ------------------------------------

Back to Main News Page

========================================================

Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003
From: talion@ix.netcom.com
To: rich@organizenow.net
Subject: BREAKING NEWS: Senate Ethics Director Resigns; Senator
Hagel Admits Owning Voting Machine Company


CONTACTS: Bev Harris, "Black Box Voting," 425-228-7131
http://www.blackboxvoting.com

Dan Spillane, Senior Test Engineer for voting machines: 206-860-2858

Chuck Hagel: 202-224-4224 -- Senate Ethics Committee: 202-224-2981
Charlie Matulka, ran for office against Chuck Hagel: 402-228-1009

Rebecca Mercuri, expert on computerized voting
machines 215/327-7105 The Hill Article:
http://www.thehill.com


U.S. CHUCK HAGEL NOW ADMITS OWNERSHIP IN VOTING MACHINE
COMPANY SENATE ETHICS COMMITTEE DIRECTOR RESIGNS

"Hagel's ethics filings pose disclosure issue" -- "The Hill"
1/29/2003

On October, 10, 2002 Bev Harris, author of the upcoming
"Black Box Voting: Ballot-Tampering" in the 21st Century,
revealed that Republican Senator Chuck Hagel has ties to the
largest voting machine company, Election Systems & Software
(ES&S). She reported that he was an owner, Chairman and CEO
of Election Systems & Software (called American Information
Systems until name change filed in 1997). ES&S was the ONLY
company whose machines counted Hagel's votes when he ran for
election in 1996 and 2002. The Hill, a Washington D.C.
newspaper that covers the U.S. national political scene,
confirmed her findings today and uncovered more details.

Hagel's campaign finance director, Michael McCarthy, now
admits that Senator Hagel still owns a beneficial interest
in the ES&S parent company, the McCarthy Group. ES&S counts
approximately 60 percent of all votes cast in the United
States. According to the Omaha World-Herald which is also a
beneficial owner of ES&S, Hagel was CEO of American
Information Systems, now called ES&S, from November 1993
through June 2, 1994. He was Chairman from July 1992 until
March 15 1995. He was required to disclose these positions
on his FEC Personal Disclosure statements, but he did not.

Hagel still owns up to $5 million in the ES&S parent
company, McCarthy Group. But Hagel's office, when
interviewed by Channel 8 News in Lincoln, Nebraska for the
evening news on October 22, 2002, said he had sold his
shares before he was elected. His office issued a fact sheet
claiming that he had made full disclosure.

Last week, Hagel's campaign finance director, Michael
McCarthy (currently an owner and a director of ES&S)
admitted to Alexander Bolton of The Hill that Hagel is still
an owner of ES&S parent company, the McCarthy Group, and
said that Hagel also had owned shares in AIS Investors Inc.,
a group of investors in ES&S itself. Yet Hagel did not
disclose owning or selling shares in AIS Investors Inc. on
his FEC documents, a required disclosure, nor did he
disclose that ES&S is an underlying asset of McCarthy Group,
in which he lists an investment of up to $5 million in 1996,
1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001.

SENATE ETHICS COMMITTEE CHIEF COUNSEL / DIRECTOR RESIGNS

Harris spoke with Victor Baird of the Senate Ethics
Committee office January 9, and asked him who is responsible
for ensuring that FEC disclosures are complete. She asked
whether anyone had followed up to see why Senator Hagel did
not list his positions with the voting machine company, and
she asked about his characterization of the McCarthy Group
as an "excepted investment fund" and his failure to disclose
that it owned ES&S. Baird was silent, and then said "If you
want to look into this, you'll need to come in and get hold
of the documents."

Unfortunately, according to Alexander Bolton, a reporter at
The Hill, when he went to the Senate Public Documents Room
to retrieve originals of Hagel's 1995 and 1996 documents he
was told they were destroyed. "They said anything over five
years old is destroyed by law, and they pulled out the law,"
says Bolton. However, when he spoke with Hagel's staff, they
said had obtained the documents from Senate Ethics Committee
files. Copies of the documents are available at
OpenSecrets.org/pfds -- a repository for FEC disclosures.

In 1997, Baird asked Hagel to clarify the nature of his
investment in McCarthy Group on his 1996 FEC statement.
Hagel had written "none" next to "type of investment" for
McCarthy Group. In response to Baird's letter, Hagel filed
an amendment characterizing the McCarthy Group as an
"Excepted Investment Fund," a designation for widely held,
publicly available mutual funds. He never disclosed his
indirect ownership of ES&S at all, but apparently no one
questioned this omission, nor his curious characterization
of the McCarthy Group, a privately held company that is not
listed on any public brokerage.

Baird told Bolton that the McCarthy Group did not seem to
qualify as an "excepted investment fund." He reportedly met
with Hagel's staff on Friday, January 25 and Monday, January
27, 2002. Then, also on Monday, he stepped down. On Monday
afternoon Baird's replacement, Robert Walker, provided a
new, looser interpretation of "publicly available" (though
experts disagree, saying that a privately held company like
the McCarthy Group cannot be called "publicly available" in
order to avoid disclosing underlying assets.)

Hagel's challenger in the Nebraska Senate race, Charlie
Matulka, wrote to Baird in October 2002 to request an
investigation into Hagel's ownership in and nondisclosure of
ES&S. Baird replied, "Your complaint lacks merit and no
further action is appropriate with respect to the matter,
which is hereby dismissed," in a letter dated November 18,
2002.

SENATE CANDIDATE QUESTIONS HAGEL'S CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Charlie Matulka, the candidate who ran against Chuck Hagel
in Nebraska's U.S. Senate race in November 2002, also wrote
to the Nebraska Secretary of State and to state elections
officials in October 2002. He pointed out that his opponent
had ties to ES&S, and asked them to look into the conflict
of interest, but received no answer.

Several Nebraska ES&S machines malfunctioned on Election
Day, and Matulka filed a request for a hand count on
December 10, 2002. It was denied, because Nebraska has a new
law that prohibits election workers from looking at the
paper ballots, even in a recount. The only machines
permitted to count votes in Nebraska are ES&S.

CAN VOTING MACHINES BE TAMPERED WITH THROUGH ACCESS TO
PROGRAMMERS?

The Washington Post characterized Hagel's election in 1996
as the biggest upset of the election season. At the time,
voters did not know that he owned and had held key positions
with the company that counted his votes. But is it improper
for a candidate to have ties with voting machine
companies?

Harris examines the issue of tampering security in the
upcoming "Black Box Voting" book. One of her sources, Dan
Spillane, a former Senior Test Engineer for a voting machine
company, believes that the computerized voting machine
industry is riddled with system integrity flaws.

"The problems are systemic," Spillane says, and he contends
that the certification process itself cannot be trusted.
Despite industry characterizations that the code is checked
line by line, this does not appear to be the case. Spillane
points to frequent, critical errors that occur in actual
elections and identifies omissions in the testing procedures
themselves. His own experience as a voting machine test
engineer led him to address his concerns about integrity
flaws with the owner of the voting machine company, who then
suggested that he resign. He did not, but shortly before a
General Accounting Office audit, Spillane was fired, and so
was his supervisor, who had also expressed concerns about
system integrity.

Election Technology Labs quit certifying voting machines in
1992. Its founder, Arnold B. Urken, says that the
manufacturers, specifically ES&S (then AIS), refused to
allow the detailed examination of code needed to ensure
system integrity. Wyle Labs refused to test voting machine
software after 1996; testing then went to Nichols Research,
and then passed to PSINet, and then to Metamor, and most
recently to Ciber.

But even if certification becomes adequate, nothing
guarantees that machines used in actual elections use the
same programming code that was certified. Machines with
adjusted code can be loaded onto delivery trucks with inside
involvement of only ONE person. To make matters worse,
"program patches" and substitutions are made in
vote-counting programs without examination of the new codes,
and manufacturers often e-mail technicians uncertified
program "updates" which they install on machines immediately
before and on Election Day.

Both Sequoia touch screen machines and Diebold Accuvote
machines appear to have "back door" mechanisms which may
allow reprogramming after votes have been cast. Diebold's
Accuvote machines were developed by a company founded by Bob
Urosevich, a CEO of Diebold Election Systems and Global
Election Systems, which Diebold acquired. Together with his
brother Todd, he also founded ES&S, where Todd Urosevich
still works. ES&S and Sequoia use identical software and
hardware in their optical scan machines. All three
companies' machines have miscounted recent elections,
sometimes electing the wrong candidates in races that were
not particularly close.

For more information, call 425-228-7131.

________________


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(Background of this story:  Letter from Election Systems & Software:
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=======================================================

Senate GOP drafts new plan on minorities
By Noelle Straub
January 29, 2003

http://www.thehill.com/news/012903/minorities.aspx

Senate Republicans have developed a
12-point plan to reach out to minorities in
the wake of the debacle that cost Trent Lott
(Miss.) his job as majority leader, GOP
Conference Chairman Rick Santorum (Pa.)
said Tuesday.

In an interview with The Hill, Santorum said
Republicans tend not to understand the need
to communicate their message, especially to
reach specific groups such as African
Americans.

PATRICK RYAN
House and Senate leaders brief reporters before the
State of the Union speech Tuesday: from the left,
Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Senate Majority Leader Bill
Frist and Senate Republican Conference Chairman
Rick Santorum.


“It took us the last two years to convince our members that actually having a communications plan
and a message and a strategy by which to implement that is a good thing,” he said. 

While declining to reveal his entire strategy, Santorum said it includes outreach to conservative
African American commentators and elected officials, as well as working with the African American
media.

Santorum also said legislative efforts will include an initiative to fight the global AIDS epidemic,
funding for historically black colleges, a school choice bill targeted at Washington, D.C., and CARE
legislation.

The CARE (Charity, Aid, Recovery and Empowerment) Act would provide incentives for charitable
giving and some direct aid for social services.

“All of those will be issues that will be coming out of the box within the month,” Santorum said.

Describing the GOP Conference at a “communications 101” level, Santorum said they’re now aiming
to improve to the next stage.

“Communications 201 really, I think, is advanced by what happened with Sen. Lott in that we have
to be very focused sometimes about how we communicate and reach different groups,” he said.
“Republicans tend to just sort of speak and assume everybody listens, instead of speaking through
avenues in which you’re going to get an audience.”

While arguing the GOP does not need to overhaul its policies, Santorum said Republicans do need to
retool their message and its delivery.

For example, Santorum said that Republicans should emphasize that small non-denominational
churches, most often found in minority communities, will benefit most from the so-called
“faith-based initiative.”

Santorum said the fact that Republicans must capture more of the minority vote to stay politically
viable in the future adds urgency to the need to deliver their message.

“I would argue that roughly a third of the African American community are culturally and fiscally
fairly conservative,” he said. “That’s a block that we should get if we do a good job communicating
what we’re all about and why it makes sense for them to vote for us.”

Santorum acknowledged that his party needs to do a better job recruiting and supporting minority
candidates in order to establish a “farm team” of candidates who can run for higher office.

Republicans have come under increased scrutiny on racial issues in the wake of the Lott debacle.

Democrats have criticized the Bush administration for opposing the University of Michigan’s use of
race in its admissions policy and for renominating District Judge Charles Pickering to the 5th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals.

But Santorum said Republicans must articulate their vision on such hot-button issues, saying he
talked with African American leaders in Philadelphia about the issues on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“I have principled reasons to believe that that is not in the best interest of the community in the long
term, it’s not in the best interest of America,” he explained. “We can’t be afraid of going out there and
confronting that issue and talking to the community even at times where it may be uncomfortable to
do so.”

Similarly, Santorum said Bush could have taken the “easy way out” by not renominating Pickering,
whose record he vigorously defended.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted down Pickering’s nomination last session after Democrats
questioned his civil rights record and argued that he would be a conservative activist on the bench.

The nomination became even more controversial after the Lott debacle, because he was a friend and
the main supporter of Pickering’s nomination.

But Santorum argued, “The bottom line is this is a man who is unfairly characterized by a very few
people as a racist. His record simply is ... opposite to that characterization. It’s just unfair.”

As for additional GOP outreach, Santorum also cited initiatives on historically black colleges, a
Library of Congress program on gospel music, and a summit with African American elected officials
from around the country.

“We’re doing a lot of things that … certainly in the media go unnoticed, but these are things that
hopefully are beginning to be noticed within the community,” he said.

He said members of his party cannot understand how it is viewed by minority communities unless
they spend time in the community.

“It is important to have those lines of communication and that contact because you will look at things
differently and you will see issues in the eyes of others that otherwise you would not see,” he added.

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Bush Trades Rx Benefits for tax Cuts 

Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/globe/

January 28, 2003

By Thomas Oliphant

WASHINGTON

President Bush took office two years ago
with a preposterous message against the gauzy backdrop
of a phantom budget surplus that we could have it all -
lower taxes and more services and benefits.

This week the message hidden in the fog of pre-State of
the Union propaganda is that we can't and that Bush
wants to attack the services and benefits that make up
America's social contract to keep the tax cuts coming.

The best and biggest example is Medicare.

Behind PR words like ''choice'' and ''competition'' and
the alleged ''magic of the marketplace'' lies an option
for the country's retired people that Bush has
rejected. He hasn't rejected it because he considers it
bad policy; it was considered an obvious part of a
responsible health care policy. Instead, he has
rejected it because he places a higher priority on
cutting the top income tax rate and eliminating the
levy on stock dividends.

The rejected choice would have added a prescription
drug benefit to Medicare. It would have required major
changes in basic Medicare to reduce the growth in its
costs - currently more than $260 billion a year. But
the changes would not touch Medicare's essential
features, which nearly two generations of retired
people have embraced wholeheartedly.

In studying this option, administration officials went
to great lengths to estimate how many retired people
would choose it. Their conclusion was that virtually
everyone would. The idea would have stimulated
bipartisan discussion. There would have been vigorous
arguments about the scope of the drug coverage and the
extent of the cost controls, but the option would have
nudged toward agreement.

The rejection of this choice had nothing to do with its
merits and everything to do with Bush's domestic
priorities. The cost was estimated to be nearly $470
billion over the next decade. In demanding that $100
billion come out of a Medicare initiative, the
president changed the politics from center to right.

To protect his tax cuts, Bush came up with a three-
pronged hybrid based on coercion and cave-ins to his
party's campaign cash cows - insurance companies and
their health maintenance organizations, drug companies,
and for-profit health care providers. To call these
three prongs ''choices'' borders on the obscene.

The first one is fee-for-service Medicare as we know
it. Not even Bush would propose eliminating this choice
for those in or nearing retirement. The only problem
with his initiative is that for those who choose it
there would be no prescription drug benefits - none.
That is the classic Hobson's Choice - in reality, no
choice at all.

To get even a puny drug benefit as well as limited
coverage for the catastrophic illnesses that can land a
person in a nursing home, there would be two paths open
to the elderly.

One is HMOs and the managed care that Americans, with
good reason, love to hate. For the growing population
of basically healthy Americans in retirement this can
be a genuine option were it not for the fact that
insurance companies have been dropping coverage under
Medicare by the millions recently because they don't
like the profit margins. In many parts of the country
there are simply no HMOs offering retired people
coverage. Bush wants to offer them higher profits and a
new, coerced market.

To fill the remaining, cavernous gaps, he is also
offering a national alternative run by for-profit
companies. The details are sketchy, but this
''coverage'' would reimburse no catastrophic costs up
to $6,000 annually. For drugs, a retired person would
pay half his costs up to $3,000 and receive no
reimbursement for costs between $3,000 and roughly
$5,500. For the first time, there would even be a
requirement for copayments for home health care - in
effect a new tax on the infirm trying to stay out of
the hospital.

You can also bet that the Bush proposal will include
nothing resembling restraints on soaring drug prices or
for-profit provider charges. Given current trends, you
could almost imagine every one of Bush's new dollars
getting snapped up in higher prices and fees.

This abomination did not emerge out of administration
discussions about health care policy. Instead, it
emerged out of discussions about budget priorities.

Right now the government's hemorrhaging finances are
mostly the result of a slumping economy and the higher
costs of war. Down the road, however, the cause of an
even greater hemorrhage will be tax cuts.

Something had to give, and Bush has decided that to
preserve all those tax cuts, that something should be
Medicare and its 40 million elderly beneficiaries.

Thomas Oliphant's e-mail address is oliphant@g...

© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

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Desert Caution: Once 'Stormin' Norman,' Gen. Schwarzkopf Is
Skeptical About U.S. Action in Iraq

By Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 28, 2003; Page C01

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52450-2003Jan27.html

TAMPA--Norman Schwarzkopf wants to give peace a chance.

The general who commanded U.S. forces in the 1991 Gulf War says he
hasn't seen enough evidence to convince him that his old comrades
Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Paul Wolfowitz are correct in moving
toward a new war now. He thinks U.N. inspections are still the
proper course to follow. He's worried about the cockiness of the
U.S. war plan, and even more by the potential human and financial
costs of occupying Iraq...

In fact, the hero of the last Gulf War sounds surprisingly like the
man on the street when he discusses his ambivalence about the Bush
administration's hawkish stance on ousting Saddam Hussein. He
worries about the Iraqi leader, but would like to see some
persuasive evidence of Iraq's alleged weapons programs.

"The thought of Saddam Hussein with a sophisticated nuclear
capability is a frightening thought, okay?" he says. "Now, having
said that, I don't know what intelligence the U.S. government has.
And before I can just stand up and say, 'Beyond a shadow of a doubt,
we need to invade Iraq,' I guess I would like to have better
information."

He hasn't seen that yet, and so -- in sharp contrast to the Bush
administration -- he supports letting the U.N. weapons inspectors
drive the timetable: "I think it is very important for us to wait
and see what the inspectors come up with, and hopefully they come up
with something conclusive."

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9/11 Probe: Aiming High 
By Timothy J. Burger 
TIME.com 

Sunday 27 January 2003 

The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks wants to talk to top Bush Administration officials 

After a bumpy start that included the resignation of Henry Kissinger as its first chairman, the
commission investigating pre-Sept. 11 government lapses may remain just as controversial. Two
commissioners of the bipartisan panel, which holds its first meeting this week, told TIME they will push for
a wide-ranging, aggressive probe that will include testimony from top Bush Administration officials who
didn't testify last year in a joint inquiry by the House and Senate intelligence committees. 

One panelist, Tim Roemer, a Democrat who just retired from Congress, complained in a statement he
issued last month as a member of the House-Senate panel that the congressional probe suffered because
such officials as Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, John Ashcroft and Condoleezza Rice "were not
questioned directly about issues related to the Sept. 11 attacks." A Rumsfeld spokesman refused to
"speculate on what participation will be extended" to the commission. 

But Roemer told TIME that all relevant Bush officials must be interviewed this time around, along with
officials from prior Administrations. 

His view is echoed by another commissioner, who says, "I can't imagine that we wouldn't be talking to
them." Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, a key architect of the legislation forming the
commission, said the Bush Administration "slow-walked and stonewalled" the House-Senate inquiry. "I
don't see how you can have a thorough investigation without talking to the people who were in charge
throughout the time period prior to 9/11," he told TIME. McCain said the new investigation should go at
least as far back as 1989, when U.S.-backed mujahedin drove the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan--and the
U.S. pulled back from involvement in the war--scarred region 

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
purposes.) 

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Half a democracy 
By Gideon Levy,
Ha'aretz, January 26, 2002
http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?
itemNo=256023

What sort of democracy is this, if exactly half the
state's residents don't benefit from it? Indeed, can
the term "democratic" be applied to a state in which
many of the residents live under a military regime or
are deprived of civil rights? Can there be democracy
without equality, with a lengthy occupation and with
foreign workers who have no rights? And what about the
racism?

The storm that was engendered by the leak of a document
to the press by an attorney in the Tel Aviv District
Attorney's Office, Liora Glatt-Berkovich, and by the
police interrogation, under caution to boot, of
Ha'aretz correspondent Baruch Kra was perfectly
justified. More and more cracks are becoming apparent
in the democratic regime. Kra's interrogation was an
ominous portent, the all-out assault on attorney
Glatt-Berkovich is terrifying, and the conduct of the
attorney-general, Elyakim Rubinstein, is disgraceful.

We must not lightly let these phenomena pass by. We
must not forget that the entire structure is wobbly.
Once Israel became an occupying state, it ceased to be
a democracy. There is no such thing: Israel's claims
about its democratic character are empty boasts. Just
as there is no such thing as a partial pregnancy, there
is no such thing as a partial democracy, either.

No democracy exists only as far as a particular
territorial line within the country, and no democracy
is reserved exclusively for a particular religion or
nationality. In a truly democratic regime, everyone
enjoys his freedoms and rights in equal measure. That
is not the case in Israel.

More than 10 million people live between the
Mediterranean and the Jordan River, in the state and in
its occupied territories. The separation between the
occupied areas and the state is anachronistic: Israel
has existed for far more years with the occupation than
without it, and the territories are an integral part of
it, with all this entails. Some 3.5 million
Palestinians have been living under a brutal, rigorous
military occupation for well over three decades. Surely
no one will try to claim that they are free. Another
300,000 to 400,000 foreign workers live among us and
are also without basic rights. They, too, are not part
of a democracy.

Nor can anyone serious maintain that the 1.3 million
Arabs who live in Israel are equal citizens. With the
exception of the right to vote and the right to stand
for office, which was almost taken from some of their
representatives this month, there is hardly a sphere in
which they can be said to be citizens of a democracy.
They are discriminated against in every realm of life,
and they are excluded from the democratic public
discourse. One of their newspapers was recently shut
down for two years by the interior minister and a mass
movement of the Arab population is under threat of
being outlawed. "Democracy" doesn't seem to be the
appropriate word here, either.

Even some of the new immigrants do not share in Israeli
democracy. A soldier in the Israel Defense Forces named
Michael Gorkin cannot become an Israeli citizen only
because he is not a Jew. The father of an immigrant
from Ethiopia named Yisraeli Isham could not attend his
daughter's wedding because the Interior Ministry cast
doubt on his Jewishness. A regime that treats its
people in this way cannot be called democratic.

What's left? Democracy exists only for the state's
(proven) Jewish residents. That is, for about 5.3
million people, half of the 10.6 million people who
live here. They are the only intended beneficiaries of
the rule of law, freedom of expression, civic freedoms,
equality before the law and a fair and just legal
system.

Cracks have appeared in this democracy of late. The
rule of law has been breached, the corruption scandals
and the way they have been treated are raising serious
questions, the government is trying to intimidate the
press, social justice is a lost cause and equality,
too, is far from being a fact.

We have to fight with all our might to get rid of all
these ills, but, above all, the lying impression that
we are democratic must be quashed. It is impossible to
be both occupiers and democrats; there is no such thing
as enlightened exploiters and racists. Those are
unresolvable contradictions, flagrant oxymorons. Even
if propriety is restored and the attorney-general no
longer betrays his trust, the Supreme Court becomes a
beacon of justice, the Knesset enacts only just laws
and the government rules according to the law, the
conditions for democracy will not yet exist in Israel.

On the day after tomorrow, when tanks guard the voters
in Yitzhar and other West Bank settlements, when curfew
protects the election process in the Jewish settlement
in Hebron, when thousands of soldiers will defend the
roads on which the polling stations will be transported
and when foreign workers with no rights will sweep our
streets, we should remember that this is half a
democracy, no more.

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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 09:01:29 EST
From: Hakimida@aol.com
Subject: Muslims in prison ask for help



IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL.

As-Salaam-Alaikum

Dear believer, I'm writing you about a matter that is very serious and very
important to the Islamic Faith all over the United States. I'm in prison,
and at this institution where I'm currently incarcerated, there is a security
threat group coordinator, named Nicky Jordan, that has taken the Islamic
Universal Greeting and made it into a gang sign. We at this institution are
very upset about this, because we know where this is going. This man is
trying to destroy and dismantle Islam in the prison system. One of our
Muslim Brothers received a class A infraction (the most serious one) for
holding up his finger bearing witness that there is no God but Allah. We
have been told by this man that we are not allowed to hold up any finger in
making Salat, greeting a fellow Muslim, or to even take the Kalima Shahadah.

This is a great problem for Muslims, and a direct attack on Islam. We are
hoping and praying to Allah ta alla, that you are able to make a phone call
to this institution and speak to the Warden of this institution, James M.
Davis, and give him some dawah on this situation of our religious practice of
holding up the index finger in Greeting, Salat, and in taking the Kalima
Shahadah. Call between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. phone number
931-676-3345 or fax 931-676-3350 Monday through Friday. If you are unable to
reach the Warden Davis, please contact Shift Commander Captain Carl Odle.
Also write the Warden at this address: W.C.B.C., P.O. Box 182, Clifton, TN
38425.

Thank you for your support,
Raheem Muhammad #208009

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From: Michael Novick <antiracistaction_la@yahoo.com>

Here's the lead editorial from the latest issue of "Turning the Tide:
Journal of Anti-Racist Action, Research & Education," Volume 15 #4,
Winter 2003. For a free sample copy of the entire issue, email
ara-la@antiracistaction.us, or write to the address at the bottom of
the articles. Paid subscriptions are always welcome.

Learning the Lessons of George the First's First Gulf War
by Michael Novick,
Anti-Racist Action-LA/People Against Racist Terror

Malcolm X said that of all studies, history best rewards our diligent
efforts, because of the light it casts on our current reality. With
that in mind, a look back at the previous U.S. war in Iraq, and the
opposition to it, will pay dividends in dealing with the current Bush
administration plan to launch a renewed military assault in the
on-going US war against Iraq. Unless we want to repeat the failures
of that previous effort, we must understand why we were not capable
of derailing Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the early 1990's, or
doing much to materially impede the decade of war that has followed.
What were the key weaknesses of our organizing and resistance
efforts? What were the main strategies of the U.S. ruling elite
in building its international coalition and support base within the
U.S.?

How can we overcome those weaknesses, and undermine those strategies,
in the current period? How can we expose to people in the US, whose
consent is still pivotal to the ability of the US regime to wage such
wars, what its real costs are? Not by seeking a level of opposition
that will minimize people's discomfort level, but by exposing the
system that produces war.

We can identify four key weaknesses of the anti-war movement in that
earlier period.

The most obvious and basic weakness was that the movement against the
war flat-lined once the war began.

People are talking excitedly today about how the current growing
opposition to the war is much greater than at a comparable period in
the development of the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement of the
60's. But they are forgetting that most of the protest and opposition
to the first Bush war in Iraq came during the build-up of Bush's
international coalition and the massing of US and "allied" forces in
Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in preparation for the invasion.

Once Congress voted to approve Bush Sr.'s proposed use of armed
force, and troops went in, the anti-war movement pretty much
collapsed. The litany of "We have to support our boys" became
predominant. the Democrats fell loyally in line behind the President
once the vote was taken. That's because they ultimately represent the
same class and colonial interests as the Republicans.

Vietnam an Exception to the Pattern of Acquiescence to War

This is in fact the general pattern in U.S. history, to which the
Vietnam War was a striking exception, because the Vietnamese were
able to effectively apply a strategy of protracted people's war.
Combined with US over-extension and weakness, this allowed the war's
impact to be experienced first-hand by a conscript army, and seen as
a prospect by millions more facing conscription. The rulers of the US
learned two key lessons, which mean such a process is unlikely to be
repeated. First, they abandoned the legal draft, obligatory military
service, in favor of a poverty draft and a professional, high tech
army. Second, they abandoned "escalation" (slow incremental increase
in US military forces). Instead they opted for a combination of
"low-intensity warfare" (covert military actions fought mainly under
CIA control via puppet soldiers from the colonies) as in Nicaragua,
Guatemala, El Salvador and Afghanistan in the 80's; and nazi-style
"blitzkrieg" (lightning war) as in Granada, Panama, Iraq and
Kosovo/Yugoslavia.

Remember that there was opposition to the US war with Mexico in 1846.
Abraham Lincoln, in Congress, actually voted against a declaration of
war. People like to quote him now from that speech about the dangers
of executive power. But they neglect to mention that once the
declaration passed, he along with the rest of Congress voted to
"support our boys" and pass the appropriations bills necessary to
fight that war of aggression. Congress later approved the annexation
of the additional territories conquered in that war (including
California), as they had approved the annexation of Texas, which
precipitated the war.

There is no reason to expect that a war in Iraq will be protracted,
once launched. Remember that people made dire predictions to the
effect that Afghanistan would be a snare for the U.S. because of its
long history of protracted, bloody battles against foreign invaders,
and the fact that they had bogged down the Russians for almost a
decade. Yet neither the Afghan winter, nor its mountains, nor its
clans, proved to be any substantial impediment to the US military
operations. (This is not to say the US operation was a success,
either on its own terms or from the perspective of the Afghan people,
who are now suffering under a new set of mujaheddin
warlords.)

Iraq, in comparison, has almost no natural protection from invasion
in terms of terrain, and only a little in terms of weather. Its army
and people have been weakened by over a decade of warfare by the US
and Britain. It will no doubt pay a horrible price if Bush succeeds
in once again sending in troops and launching a full-scale air war on
Baghdad.

But we cannot expect that the course of the war will provide
opportunities for an incremental growth of opposition and anti-war
organizing based on the costs of the war for the U.S. in conventional
terms. It is racist to assume that a massive deadly toll in Iraq will
do our organizing for us. We must do it now -- the building, the
extending, and the engaging of people in a critical dialogue that
will deepen their questioning of the whole sick system.

It's an Empire, not a Policy

A second related weakness of the anti-war movement a decade ago was
that it fell into the trap of a "foreign policy" debate. Seeking the
lowest common denominator, people focused on the need for using
diplomatic means to achieve US goals, rather than on exposing and
opposing the US empire. Forces that did present a supposedly
"anti-imperialist" analysis mostly tried to portray Saddam Hussein as
a bulwark of anti-capitalist development. The connection between the
war and the totality of the imperialist system, including the way it
functions inside the U.S. itself, was not dealt with.

Recall that once the war was launched, there was in fact a massive,
jingoistic outpouring of support, especially to hail the conquering
heroes. Yellow ribbons appeared everywhere and in cities across the
US there were victory parades greeting the returning troops with
crowds far larger than any opposition march had been. Anti-war
organizing must take on, head-on, this identification with the
empire. It must challenge both the costs that the empire extracts
from, and the inducements it offers to, people in this country.
Without this key element, simply trying to expose how Saddam used
to be the CIA's man does little to motivate people to the sacrifices
necessary to really confront the war machine. The anti-war movement
cannot perpetuate illusions about democratic decision making in
Congress or Democratic opposition to war. The Congressional vote this
year, like that in 1990, came to a foregone conclusion. Enough
Democrats vote 'no,' once passage is assured, to preserve the
illusion of debate and 'loyal opposition.' The war must be fought
through forms of direct action, resistance, education, and the
development of the social and political forces that can stop it.
These lie outside of Congress and the political parties of the
rulers. We must take into account that the empire began
here, in the territories and among the people of America, and it is
here that it will ultimately be ended.

Racism, Police Brutality, and the War at Home

Even more critically, the anti-war movement against Desert Storm
failed to deal with the central issue of racism. This had several
manifestations. Here in Los Angeles, for example, the struggle over
the war practically coincided with the widely publicized police
beating of Rodney King. Yet the peace movement was invisible on the
issue of this manifestation of a "war at home." Although there was
some significant Black participation in peace rallies in L.A.,
including several Black war resisters in the ranks of the
military, there was minimal white involvement in the justice struggle
to end police brutality.

More than 5000 people marched on the LAPD's Parker Center on Mother's
Day 1991 to protest the King beating and demand a house-cleaning with
top to bottom change at the LAPD, but the folks from "Another Mother
for Peace" or other white, west-side and student based peace groups
were not there. It was mostly a "Black thing."

The fall-out from this failure of the peace movement to connect to
the issue of police abuse was profound for both issues and movements.
The white-dominated peace movement failed to make connections or sink
roots by linking the issue of militarism at home and abroad, despite
lip service to the theme of "peace and justice." It failed to add its
force to a push for radical social transformation and community
empowerment. As a result, the powers-that-be were able to install a
few minor cosmetic changes at LAPD, allowing Chief Gates to stay in
power for another year or more and for the cops who beat King to be
acquitted. Warren Christopher went from brokering a deal for phony
"reforms" in the LAPD to charting the course of the empire
as a king-maker and Secretary of State for Bill Clinton. And the
peace movement condemned itself to irrelevance.

Compare that to the high water mark and lasting impact of the
anti-war, anti-imperialist struggle at the time of the Vietnam War,
which was in many ways led and pushed by Black, Chicano and Asian
liberation forces in this country. Even a figure like Martin Luther
King, Jr. was clear that the struggle for justice and against war
were one and the same. He declared that the struggle against the war
in Vietnam had to be a struggle against the system that produced war
or we would simply be fighting a rear-guard action against another
war in short order. It was the Black Power movement that coined the
slogan, "Hell No! We Won't Go!" which set a standard of resistance
that galvanized anti-draft and anti-war protests. It was Muhammad Ali
who said, "No Viet Cong ever called me nigger." It was the Chicano
Moratorium that seared into people's consciousness the visceral
connection between racist police brutality and imperialist war.

The anti-war movement today must follow that earlier example and
overcome the weaknesses of the movement against the first Gulf War in
this regard, or it is doomed to irrelevance.

In the USA PATRIOT law and the Homeland Security Department, in the
anti-immigrant crackdown and Operation Tarmac, and in LA police chief
William Bratton's definition of supposed gang violence as a 'national
security problem,' police repression and brutality are tightly
connected to the drive towards endless colonial wars around the
globe. The empire becomes ever more seamless. The "peace movement"
must address the needs, issues and leadership of the "peace makers,"
the gang truce activists who are trying to bring peace to their own
communities, and assert community control over abusive police. And
clearly, anti-war activists must get ourselves organized to protect
ourselves from and defend against police abuse and repression of
political dissidents.

War and Fascism

The fourth and final aspect of a failure by the peace movement of the
early 90's to deal with racism and the nature of the system is
two-fold, and we are still seeing its repercussions. It has to do
with a failure to deal with fascist activity in the U.S. On the one
hand, racist and fascist elements seized on the war to present
themselves as opponents of the government and the Bush "New World
Order," and thereby sought to infiltrate and recruit from the
anti-war movement. In Seattle, a member of the Lyndon LaRouche
fascist network took a position of leadership in the main anti-war
coalition. In many cities the John Birch Society as well as openly
anti-Semitic forces hiding behind Pat Buchanan, attempted to worm
into peace rallies. White Aryan Resistance leader Tom Metzger sent
racist propaganda to US soldiers in the Gulf. At the same time a wave
of bigoted violence broke out within the US, directed at both Arabs
and Jews. These twin phenomena have continued unabated to this day,
in fact on a far larger scale. They must be high-priority areas for
the peace movement to act, particularly in defense of immigrants
targeted as scapegoats by both the state and out-front racists. If
the anti-war movement clearly opposes the totality of the empire,
defends the human rights and needs of oppressed people around the
world and inside the US, and struggles for justice against racism and
police abuse, it will clearly demarcate opposition to the war based
on a commitment to human liberation, from the propagandistic
posturing and racist scapegoating carried out in war time by fascist
forces. Neo-nazi groups in substantial numbers are presenting
themselves as opponents of the US war drive in order to recruit
disaffected young whites to their ranks. The anti-war,
anti-imperialist forces must be explicitly anti-racist, and also
explicitly revolutionary-minded, to effectively out-organize such
nazi formations.

We offer this analysis as a contribution to building a more powerful,
more effective and more revolutionary movement against the latest
phases in Bush's "endless war." We invite feedback and criticism, and
hope that by understanding and debating this history, we can overcome
the problems that hamstrung the anti-war efforts a decade ago. Please
respond to: ara-la@antiracistaction.us

Lead editorial from "Turning the Tide: Journal of Anti-Racist Action,
Research and Education"
Volume 15, Number 4, Winter 2002-2003
Anti-Racist Action/People Against Racist Terror (ARA/PART)
PO Box 1055
Culver City CA 90232
310-495-0299
ara-la@antiracistaction.us

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========================================================

Tears in the Fabric of Tenure 
The Case of USF

By ROBIN WILSON and SHARON WALSH

January 10, 2003, Chronicle of Higher Education

<http://chronicle.com/weekly/v49/i18/18a00801.htm>

[For more information on the struggle to defend academic
freedom and on the attempt to dismiss a Palestenian faculty
from the University of South Florida see:
http://web.usf.edu/%7Euff/]

Through good times and bad, professors have been able to
count on the job protection and academic freedom that come
with tenure. But faculty members at public universities in
two states are beginning to wonder whether the cloak that
has shielded them is beginning to tear.

In recent months, the University of South Florida has made
it much easier to fire tenured professors, and the Texas A&M
University System has limited the kinds of job benefits
guaranteed to tenured faculty members. Both sets of changes
were adopted to give university administrators more control
over tenured professors and to keep the institutions out of
court -- and out of the public eye -- when they fire or
discipline a faculty member.

The changes at South Florida were approved in the midst of
statewide uncertainty over the governance of higher
education.The new rules, approved by the institution's Board
of Trustees in November, create a new definition of
"misconduct," which is any behavior South Florida deems
"detrimental to the best interests of the university."

At Texas A&M, the university's Board of Regents declared
last month that tenure guarantees faculty members their
salaries, but none of the other duties or benefits typically
associated with the job -- including laboratory space, an
office, and the ability to teach graduate students. The
university wants to avoid lawsuits from professors who have
been stripped of such standing.

While no one asserts that the strictures mark a national
trend, some experts on tenure and academic freedom say the
developments are worrisome. Robert M. O'Neil, a law
professor at the University of Virginia and director of the
Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free
Expression there, calls the changes "cause for grave
concern." He says universities should simply deal with
problematic faculty members individually, rather than
establish rules that erode the value of tenure for all.

The new policies, he says, "share an implicit premise at the
board level that tenure and academic freedom are somehow
privileges rather than integral components of faculty
status."

A System in Turmoil

To say that the governance of Florida's higher-education
system is in flux would be an understatement. Because of a
ballot measure approved by voters in November, a new
statewide Board of Governors that will oversee individual
university boards is slated to take over this month. And the
contract between the state universities and the United
Faculty of Florida, the union that represents faculty
members, is set to expire this week.

In this time of turmoil, some boards of trustees established
new rules because, officials said, policies were needed to
cover basic functions, such as paying employees, during the
interim period, and in some cases the changes were
innocuous. At the University of Central Florida, for
example, the rules were simply changed to replace "Board of
Education" with "Board of Governors."

But some faculty members at South Florida say the changes
there go beyond the cosmetic, and they worry that their
board eventually may make the rules permanent. In that case,
they fear, it could be open season on tenured faculty
members.

The new rules there have roiled an already enervated
faculty. The university has been at the center of a
firestorm as it seeks to get rid of a tenured professor of
computer science, Sami Al-Arian, who it contends is linked
to terrorist groups, an allegation he has denied.

Now, some professors have concluded that the new rules are
the board's attempt to weaken the protections of tenure. If
the rules had been in place last year, they say, the
university could simply have fired Mr. Al-Arian under a new
definition of "misconduct" that is so broad it could apply
to virtually anything administrators want it to.

"Al-Arian has convinced the board that the university would
be a better place if they had the same right to fire someone
that Wal-Mart does," says Roy Weatherford, a professor of
philosophy and president of the university's chapter of the
United Faculty of Florida.

In a state where one public university -- Florida Gulf
Coast-- already has no tenure at all, Mr. Weatherford is
convinced that the new rules indicate state officials'
desire to phase out tenure altogether. (A university
spokesman says that the new rules will have no bearing on
Mr. Al-Arian and that his case had nothing to do with their
adoption.)

The list of 14 actions that could prompt dismissal for
any university employee, even a tenured professor,
includes insubordination, improper conduct, and what many
consider the most worrisome reason: "Any other properly
substantiated cause or action that is detrimental to the
best interests of the university, its students, or its
employees."

Mr. O'Neil of Virginia says the rules as written are
"potentially dangerous" to tenure. Stephen H. Balch,
president of the National Association of Scholars, goes
even further. "If anything that discomforts the university
can allow the university to take away a faculty member's
tenure, then in fact tenure doesn't exist," he says.

But officials at South Florida contend that the faculty
is better served now than it was by a contract that had
offered no definition of misconduct at all. "Arguably, the
university used to have unbridled > discretion in what it
defines as misconduct," says > R.B. Friedlander, interim
general counsel at South Florida. "If the university were
going to act in an irresponsible way, it could have done
so. ... We're not going to act precipitously toward our
faculty."

Ms. Friedlander says that the definition of misconduct >
was taken from rules that since 1987 have governed the >
staff of the College of Medicine and other faculty > members
who are not in the collective-bargaining unit. > In that
time, she says, "we haven't fired one faculty member that
I know of."

But most faculty members at the university feel much
less secure with that definition of misconduct. "We are
absolutely not better off," says Fraser Ottanelli, a
professor of history. "The faculty contends that this is
so broad and so vaguely written as to make tenure
meaningless."

Ms. Friedlander acknowledges that the policy "is broad,
there's no question about that." But she notes that the
institution will be "seeking faculty input" when it crafts
permanent rules in the coming months.

No Faculty Role

The lack of faculty input on what some have called
"emergency" rules was a primary source of outrage among
professors. When the board adopted the rules, in November,
few faculty members were even aware of the proposed
policies. And there was no consultation with the Faculty
Senate.

Although the university complied with its legal duty to
announce the board's agenda beforehand -- it sent out
notices to more than 80 groups and published the agenda in
a newspaper -- it failed to notify the faculty.

"There's a large part of the faculty that's reacting to
the fact that we weren't consulted," says Gregory Paveza,
president of the Faculty Senate. "To me, that's the bigger
issue."

Ms. Friedlander notes that there was little time to
consult with anyone. However, Michael Reich, a spokesman
for the university, says that, on the day of the vote,
when Mr. Paveza raised the issue, the board agreed that
the Faculty Senate should have been involved.

The lack of a faculty role in the rule making has left
some professors skeptical about whether they will be
listened to the next time around, and fearful that the
administration is gunning for tenure. "It's clear that
they want to do away with tenure and with any attempt at
shared governance," says Mr. Ottanelli, who was one of
several professors appointed to consult with
administrators on permanent rules after complaining that
they had no voice in the original rules.

Mr. Reich says it's "absurd" to contend that the
administration wants to abolish tenure. "Rules or no 
rules," he says, "the university supports tenure for
faculty."

Mr. Paveza is willing to give administrators the benefit
of the doubt at this point. And he is also heartened by
changes in Florida law that make the Faculty Senate
president a voting member of each university's Board of
Trustees. "That means that if I truly believe it's a bad
rule, my objections and my No vote will be on the record,"
he says. "There are things that are changing."

What Does Tenure Include?

Texas A&M officials changed the definition of > tenure
last month because they had grown weary of > lawsuits filed
by professors the institution had disciplined or tried to
fire. Several faculty members have sued Texas A&M over
the last few years, complaining that the university had
failed to give them due process when it removed certain
duties or attributes of their jobs that they said were
guaranteed by tenure.

Dhiraj K. Pradhan, a former computer scientist, was one
of them. He held an endowed chair at the institution's
College Station campus until the administration suspended
him with pay in 1997, charging him with misusing
university money. He sued the following year, complaining
that the university had violated his right to due process
when it took away his laboratory and his ability to teach
graduate students. He contended in his suit that he had a
"property interest" in those benefits that was > protected
by the U.S. Constitution.

The claim was based on a 1972 decision in which the U.S.
Supreme Court determined that tenure gives faculty members
a "property interest" in their jobs, meaning that the
positions may not be taken away by the state without due
process. The question, though, is what aspects of a
tenured job are protected -- just the salary, or all of
the duties and benefits as well?

In Mr. Pradhan's case, the institution successfully
argued that he did not have a property interest in his
laboratory and courses. But the case dragged on until
2001, a year after Mr. Pradhan was fired.

Bob Wright, a spokesman for the Texas A&M System,
says that lawsuits like Mr. Pradhan's have been nuisances
that "take time, money, and energy." He notes that faculty
members who are unhappy about a university action still
can file internal complaints.

In the new definition of tenure, the A&M system's
policy was changed to say that "tenured faculty who remain
in good standing" can expect "those privileges customarily
associated with tenure, including ... a suitable office
and workspace, serving as a principal investigator and
conducting research, teaching classes, [and] participating
in faculty governance." But the policy says that tenure
"shall not be construed as creating a property interest in
any attributes of the faculty position beyond the ...
annual salary."


The lawyer who represented Mr. Pradhan, Gaines West,
says the change is dangerous, and some faculty members
agree with him. "Let's say the dean comes in and says
they're moving me to an office by myself 20 miles from the
campus," says Charles Zucker, executive director of the
Texas Faculty Association, a union affiliated with the
National Education Association. Mr. Zucker says a faculty
member will now be deterred from going to court to
complain.

Jonathan Knight, associate secretary of the American
Association of University Professors, says he has "never
come across something like" the A&M policy. "The
university could say to a person, 'Well, you're no longer
going to teach, serve on any committees, or have any
responsibilities, but we'll continue to pay you.' A
person's reputation is in tatters, but they are unable to
mount a defense."

Doesn't tenure ensure a right to more than just a
paycheck? One expert thinks so. "If that's all it was, you
could strip me of so many things that I'd end up with a
job that didn't look at all like the one I expected," says
William A. Kaplin, a professor of law at Catholic
University of America who is working on a new edition of
The Law of Higher Education (Jossey- Bass), a 1983 book he
wrote with Barbara A. Lee, dean of the School of
Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University at
New Brunswick.

But Mr. Kaplin acknowledges that deciding which benefits
tenure guarantees is difficult. "When you start trying to
list up all of the things, then reasonable people can
differ," he says.

Cathy Ann Trower, a researcher at Harvard University's
Graduate School of Education, takes a different view. She
says universities must be able to alter the conditions of
a faculty member's job. "How else is an institution to
effectively impact the productivity of faculty members
once they have tenure if you can't take anything away or
change anything?" she asks. "Imagine running a business
like that. The further the academy stretches that
argument, the more ridiculous we look."

In coming up with the new definition of tenure, the
university worked with representatives from the Faculty
Senates at all nine of the A&M system's campuses, and
those professors signed off on the language last summer.

> Richard L. Carlson, a professor of geology and
geophysics who led the College Station senate last year,
agrees with Ms. Trower that the university "has to be able
to protect itself and its students from faculty
misconduct." He also says the change offers more
protection for most tenured faculty members by spelling
out what those in good standing enjoy.

But Mr. Carlson acknowledges that professors "would
rather not have seen this other language in there" -- that
faculty members are guaranteed nothing but their pay. "I'm
not saying this is good," he adds. "This was a
compromise."

Just because the system says professors have no right to
anything but their salaries does not mean that those who
lose other benefits cannot try to persuade a judge that
the university was wrong. Mr. West, the lawyer, says he
will still sue on behalf of tenured professors.

It will just be much harder to win. "Our federal
judiciary is already looking for any reason to toss me out
of court," he says. "They think, 'It's the ivory tower.
Let them do their ivory tower thing over there.' The facts
will now have to be even more egregious."

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=========================================================

US Librarians See 'Big Brother' in Monitoring of Library
Patrons Under 'USA Patriot Act' 

By David B. Caruso 

January 26, 2003, the Associated Press 

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0126-05.htm

PHILADELPHIA -- A federal law aimed at catching terrorists
has raised the hackles of many of the nation's librarians,
who say it goes too far by allowing law enforcement agencies
to watch what some people are reading.

The USA Patriot Act, passed after the Sept. 11 attacks, gave
the FBI new powers to investigate terrorism, including the
ability to look at library records and computer hard drives
to see what books patrons have checked out, what Web pages
they've visited, and where they've sent e-mails.

The Department of Justice says the new powers are needed to
identify terrorist cells.

But some librarians, who were meeting in Philadelphia for an
American Library Association convention, worry that the FBI
has returned to routinely checking on the reading habits of
intellectuals, civil rights leaders and other Americans.

Those tactics, common in the 1950s and 1960s, were
occasionally used to brand people as Communists.

"Some of this stuff is pretty scary, and we are very
concerned that people's privacy is being violated," American
Library Association President Maurice J. Freedman said.

Some 10,000 librarians from around the world were expected
in Philadelphia for the association's midwinter meeting,
which began Friday. The group will discuss the Patriot Act
at a forum Sunday and is likely to draft a resolution
condemning sections of the law that open library records to
police inspection, Freedman said.

Judith Krug, director of the group's Office of Intellectual
Freedom, said routine government inquiries into library
records could have a chilling effect on patrons. For
example, she said, some might be afraid to take out books on
Islam out of fear that they might wind up on an FBI watch
list.

Speaking to reporters in Philadelphia last week, FBI
Director Robert S. Mueller sought to play down concerns that
the bureau would abuse its powers.

Mueller said he couldn't recall a case where agents had
sought library records to see what books someone had been
reading. Most recent FBI inquiries into library files, he
said, involved tracking suspects who had used public-access
computers to communicate with conspirators or send
threatening e-mails.

He said agents "would not be doing our duty" if they didn't
follow leads into libraries, if that's where an
investigation takes them.

The government's new surveillance powers are also limited.
The Patriot Act only gives agents the power to research the
library habits of "agents of a foreign power." Proponents of
the law say that should offer ordinary Americans protection
from unwarranted surveillance, although critics said the
term could apply to anyone.

Agents also must obtain a search warrant from a judge,
although the act lets them do so in a secret federal court
without the library's knowledge.

"What's next, installing cameras in libraries so we can see
what books people are reading?" Freedman said. "Sure it
sounds far fetched, and it smacks of Stalinist Russia, but
look at what's going on now and you'll see many things that
you never would have believed a few years ago."

Similar outrage has been expressed overseas. On Thursday in
Vienna, Austria, the media watchdog in Europe's leading
security organization criticized the United States for
snooping on the private lives of Americans.

Freimut Duve of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe condemned the FBI and the U.S.
Immigration and Naturalization Service for monitoring
library records and bookstore receipts under the Patriot
Act.

"This goes much too far," he said. "It may invite other
governments to do the same."

The library convention in Philadelphia is scheduled to run
through Monday. Participants are also expected to protest
cuts in library funding, discuss how to incorporate
Internet-based books into their collections and announce the
winners of several awards.

On the Net:

American Library Association: http://www.ala.org/

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press

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========================================================

San Francisco Examiner

Sowing the Wind 

By Conn Hallinan

When the Bush Administration threatened North Korea
with nuclear weapons last year, it did more than ignite
the present standoff in North Asia, it opened a
Pandora's Box of proliferation.

The genesis of the present crisis goes back to the
Administration's 2001 Nuclear Policy Review (NPR),
which proposed using nuclear weapons against non-
nuclear nations, including Libya, Syria and North
Korea. While the North Koreans have caught flak for
withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Agreement, it was, in fact, the U.S. that violated the
Treaty by making the threat in the first place.

Under the 1968 Agreement, signed by 188 nations,
nuclear powers agreed never to threaten non-nuclear
nations unless those countries were in alliance with
another nuclear power. That pledge was the heart of the
Agreement: signers agreed not to develop nukes so long
as they were never threatened with such weapons by the
major powers.

In spite of the insular and rigid nature of the North
Korean regime-and anyone who describes its enemies as
"beasts in human skin steeped in misanthropy to the
marrow of their bones" is a tad odd-it is George Bush,
not Kim Jong Il, who thumbed his nose at the
international community. Washington, not Pyongyang,
has dismantled the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the
Strategic Arms Limitation Agreements, and is preparing
to violate the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by testing
its new "bunker busting" nuke.

How did this happen?

It happened because the spineless Democrats remained
silent while the Bush Administration briskly demolished
one treaty after another. And it happened because the
United Nations Security Council is so cowed by the U.S.
that it failed to challenge the Nuclear Policy Review
as a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Where will this lead? How about a nuclear arms race in
Asia? North Korea is not the only proliferation problem
on the Korean peninsula. In March 1994, the head of the
South Korean National Security Planning Agency, Suh Su-
Joong, revealed that former President Roh Tae Woo had
approved a covert nuclear weapons program. South Korea
has also successfully tested a mobile missile launcher
and has more than 24 tons of plutonium on hand.

There are at least two other countries in Asia that can
produce nuclear weapons within months if they so
choose- Japan and Taiwan.

According to the CIA, Taiwan, Israel and the then
apartheid regime in South Africa tested a nuclear
weapon over the South Atlantic on Sept. 22, 1979. We
can assume the Taiwanese didn't throw away the
blueprints from that test and can recreate it any time
it wishes.

And in May of last year, Japan's Chief Cabinet
Secretary, Yasuo Fukuda, said that Japan was
considering abandoning its long-term opposition to
nuclear weapons. In the face of Korean and Chinese
alarm, the government backed away from the statement,
but experts agree it would be easy for Japan to build
nuclear weapons.

How about nuclear weapons in South America?

Early this month, Brazil's Minister of Science, Roberto
Amaral, said that Brazil could not afford to renounce
any form of scientific knowledge, "whether the geome,
DNA or nuclear fission."

Brazil's 1988 constitution forbids nuclear weapons, and
the left-wing government of President Luiz Inacio da
Silva quickly distanced itself from Amaral's remarks.
However, Brazilians are well aware of the inequality
that the Non-Proliferation Treaty enforces on the
world. Back in September, Da Silva himself said that
"If someone asks me to disarm and keep a slingshot
while he comes at me with a cannon, what good does that
do?"

Both Brazil and Argentina have nuclear programs dating
back to the 1950s and, during the period of their
respective military dictatorships, pursued nuclear
weapons research. Both countries have also signed the
Non-Proliferation Treaty, but Brazil has cause to be
jumpy, given the Bush Administration's attitude toward
left-wing regimes in Latin America.

Republican heavyweight Rep. Henry Hyde, chair of the
House International Relations Committee, calls Brazil,
Cuba and Venezuela a Latin "axis of evil" and says Da
Silva is a "pro-Castro radical." Constantine Menges,
President Reagan's Security Director for Latin American
Affairs and former National Security Council member,
says this "new axis" is linked to Iraq and Iran.

Talk like that ought to make everyone nervous these
days, particularly with right-wing extremists like John
Bolton, Otto Reich and Elliot Abrams heading up the
Administration's Latin America policy.

If Brazil decides to take this "axis" stuff seriously,
it may indeed decide to go nuclear. If Brazil builds a
bomb, so will Argentina.

"Sow the wind, reap the storm" goes the old dictum. The
Bush Administration has been sowing nuclear threats
since early last year, and we are reaping the results
of that policy.

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Los Angeles Times
January 25, 2003

Smallpox Program Lags at Start

Only four people receive inoculations as effort gets
underway in Connecticut. Unions resist, worried about
side effects and compensation. 

By Charles Ornstein, John J. Goldman and Nita 
Lelyveld - Times Staff Writers

January 25 2003

The nation's effort to inoculate emergency health-care
workers against smallpox sputtered to a start Friday as
only four physicians agreed to be vaccinated in
Connecticut -- the latest sign of growing resistance to
the Bush administration's aggressive plan.

An increasing number of unions urged members not to
roll up their sleeves for the voluntary inoculations,
saying that the federal government has not yet created
a compensation fund for people who suffer side effects
and miss work because of the vaccine. They want free
screenings for conditions that put people at high risk
of complications, and protection against discrimination
if they decline to participate, among other things.

Health experts are worried that the unions' public
outcry could slow or even cripple the president's plan
to vaccinate as many as 500,000 emergency health-care
workers within weeks. This is the first phase of the
administration's effort to protect the country against
a bioterrorist attack using the smallpox virus.

The resistance may not stop the plan completely, "but
it certainly is going to make it roll out a lot more
slowly than we had anticipated," said Dr. Georges
Benjamin, executive director of the American Public
Health Assn. He predicted that the anti-vaccination
movement is going to grow.

The concern is mounting as vaccinations are set to
begin next week in Los Angeles County, the first
inoculation site in California.

County public health nurse Rosie Martinez, 58, said she
had already said no. She is worried that she could
unintentionally infect her clients -- high-risk
pregnant women and children. "Even though they've given
us reassurance that it won't happen, I'm still
concerned," she said.

Federal health officials said they are trying to
address the health workers' concerns. "They can be
worked out," said K.D. Hoskins, spokeswoman for the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Once
it's clear what the federal government is going to do,
unions will get behind this. They want to see this
happen. They realize it's important."

The unions raising concerns or calling for their
members not to participate include the Service
Employees International Union, the California Nurses
Assn., the American Federation of State County and
Municipal Employees and nursing unions in Massachusetts
and Rhode Island. The California Nurses Assn., the
state's largest nurses union, announced Thursday that
it opposes the vaccinations, in part on political
grounds, objecting to the mobilization for war with
Iraq.

Meanwhile, at least five hospitals in Los Angeles
County have told health officials that they will not
participate when the inoculations begin next week. Some
say that they need more time to consider the matter or
don't see smallpox as an immediate threat.

The hospitals are Huntington Memorial Hospital in
Pasadena, Beverly Hospital in Montebello, St. Mary
Medical Center in Long Beach, Suburban Medical Center
in Paramount and Bellflower Medical Center in
Bellflower, according to the county Emergency Medical
Services Agency.

"We chose not to proceed based on the threat analysis,"
Huntington spokeswoman Connie Matthews said. "We do
have a plan to vaccinate a team of first responders,
should the threat become more imminent."

At the nation's first vaccination site, dozens of
reporters watched Friday as three doctors including the
state's chief epidemiologist, rolled up their sleeves
for inoculations at the University of Connecticut
Health Center in Farmington. A fourth doctor had been
vaccinated earlier in the day.

The Connecticut plan called for most of the 20 members
of the state's Genesis Team to receive the vaccine. The
team, consisting of volunteers, will travel to
hospitals throughout the state to administer smallpox
vaccine to other health professionals.

Dr. Michael Grey, associate professor of clinical
medicine at the health center, said the number of
volunteers dwindled from 15 at the week's start to 8 or
9 on Thursday and then to the 4 on Friday. Grey
attributed the reluctance to the opposition of various
health-care unions.

Hoskins said the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention was not concerned by the slow beginning to
the vaccine program. "Today is only the beginning of
the implementation."

Unions aren't the only ones concerned about the Bush
administration's program. The Institute of Medicine
last week called the vaccination effort "a program with
inherent serious risks and with publicly unknown and
unstated benefits."

Among these risks is death. About one to two people per
million die of complications caused by the vaccine,
which is harvested from calves' bellies. As many as 52
people per million experience life-threatening
complications including encephalitis, while 1,000 more
suffer reactions such as serious rashes.

"Failure may be a good thing," said Linda Rosenstock,
dean of the UCLA School of Public Health. "Then we're
going to expose less people now to an intervention
strategy that doesn't meet scientific muster."

Others said it is too soon to say whether Bush's plan
is workable.

Dr. Richard Raymond, chief medical officer for
Nebraska's Health and Human Services System, said he
thinks Connecticut's first day of vaccines may have had
a low turnout because there wasn't enough time for
preparation.

"Everybody wants to be first. Maybe they didn't have
enough time to pull it off," he said.

Raymond said Nebraska hospitals enthusiastically
support the vaccine program, despite the union
opposition.

In Los Angeles County, where officials are preparing
for next week's inoculations, the health department
asked for 900 doses of vaccine for public health
workers and other governmental agencies that would need
to respond rapidly to suspected smallpox cases. An
additional 8,300 doses were requested for hospital
emergency personnel.

Public health officer Dr. Jonathan Fielding said the
county wants 30 immunized public health workers who can
vaccinate others and an additional 12 to respond to
suspected cases.

Opal Craft, a 51-year-old emergency room nurse at Long
Beach Memorial Medical Center, said she won't be
vaccinated, and doesn't know a single colleague who is
willing.

"I just don't think it's been investigated enough," she
said.

At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Dr. Joel Geiderman, co-
chairman of the Department of Emergency Services, said
only six of the 26 doctors he recently polled said they
would volunteer. Geiderman is joining them.

"I sort of feel a sense of duty to get it done -- duty
to my patients, to the public, even to my country. I'm
patriotic," he said. "I want to be able to help my
patients if they need me." 

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-
vaccination25jan25,0,3324066.story?coll=
la%2Dhome%2Dheadlines 

Copyright 2003 Los Angeles Times

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========================================================

Jan 25, 2003

Farmer must wait for USDA funds

Official to review case; award stands

BY GORDON HICKEY
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER 

Farmer Will Sylvester Warren's 17-year wait for redemption and reparations
will have to wait at least a few more
weeks.

An official for the U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided against
appealing a record $6.6 million discrimination
award to Warren, but will take time to review other aspects of a judge's
ruling against the government.

Lou Gallegos, the department's assistant secretary of administration,
decided Thursday not to appeal the $6.6
million award to Warren, 77, a black farmer in Southampton County.

However, department spokesman Jim Brownlee said Gallegos decided to review
the case with the exception of the
monetary award.

Constance T. O'Bryant, an administrative law judge in the Department of
Housing and Urban Development, had
awarded the money to Warren last month. The Department of Agriculture had
35 days to accept the ruling or
decide to review it for appeal.

Gallegos' decision to allow the monetary award and review the rest of the
ruling came at the last minute.

When the review is completed, the government will have 10 days to pay Warren.

Warren could not be reached for comment.

But John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, said
the award to Warren "changes things
dramatically."

The USDA has agreed to pay about $630 million to 13,000 black farmers as
part of a settlement of a class-action
case. However, 500 to 600 farmers opted not to join that settlement, and
their cases are still being handled
individually.

Warren was one of the black farmers who began the groundswell of
discrimination complaints against the USDA
about a decade ago. He opted out of the class-action settlement, and his
was the first case to be settled by a
judge.

"[The other cases] have this one as a guide," Boyd said.

The delay in paying the money to Warren will hurt him, Boyd said. He has
debts that are growing daily, and he
cannot get a loan to operate his farm.

James W. Myart Jr., a lawyer for a number of black farmers and the Black
Farmers and Agriculturalists Association,
hailed Gallegos' decision. Myart does not represent Warren.

Myart called for the government to vacate the class-action consent decree,
which he called "a miserably flawed
settlement," and use the Warren case as a model.

Myart also said Gallegos should complete his review of the case quickly and
get the money to Warren. "There's no
reason to fiddle-faddle around any longer."


Contact Gordon Hickey at (804) 649-6449 or ghickey@timesdispatch.com


This story can be found at:
http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/vametro/MGBM8SHYCBD.html

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=========================================================

USDA Agrees to Pay $6.6M to Black Farmer

By EMILY GERSEMA
Associated Press Writer

January 24, 2003, 6:50 PM EST

WASHINGTON -- The Agriculture Department will pay a black farmer $6.6
million for discriminating against him, officials said
Friday. 

Department officials had been considering for a month whether to appeal a
judge's decision which ordered the agency to pay
Will Sylvester Warren, of Southampton County, Va., for 17 years of
discrimination. 

Alisa Harrison, a department spokeswoman, confirmed the agency will pay
Warren the large sum, but added that officials are
reviewing other aspects of Judge Constance T. O'Bryant's decision to ensure
it "does not violate any of the laws under USDA
authority." 

Harrison declined to elaborate. 

Warren did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment. However, the
77-year-old farmer felt strongly about his case
and his trade. Records show he told a federal investigator in 1997: "I will
die to save my farm." 

Black farmer groups said the agency's decision to pay Warren gives them
hope that the department -- along with the judges,
adjudicators and arbitrators who hear their cases -- will be more
sympathetic. 

"I think this opens up the door to give all of those people a fair trial,"
said John Boyd, head of the National Black Farmers
Association. 

Thousands of black farmers across the country alleged in a class action
lawsuit, Pigford vs. Glickman, that they routinely were
denied loans because of their race. As part of a settlement for the 1997
court case, the department agreed to allow farmers to
seek a $50,000 settlement in cases where the government determined
discrimination happened. So far, it has paid $634 million
in 12,690 cases but denied 8,540 cases. 

Warren opted out and sought a judgment. 

Most black farmers are upset with the results of the 1997 agreement,
arguing the agency didn't discipline the loan agents blamed
for discrimination and unfairly rejected thousands of cases. Tom Burrell,
president of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalist
Association, said he wants the Bush administration to throw out the
settlement and start anew. 

Citing the judgment in the Warren case, he said: "If that's not a basis for
someone to revisit this decision of this lawsuit called
Pigford, I don't know what is." 

* _ 

=======================================================

From: Monique Code <moniquecode@hotmail.com>
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2003 19:31:48 -0500

Chairman Fred Hampton told us that "Everything is Political".
Food too? Yep, that's right for those of you who didn't know. Check
out the story by our Sister Crystal and continue to send love and
prayers to her father Robert "Seth" Hayes as well. Take care.

Food politics
by Crystal Hayes

Crystal Hayes
I am going to do a Spike Lee and scream "WAKE UP" if I hear
another health professional, politician, the president or my next door
neighbor, for that matter, talk about obesity in the United States as
a condition solely attributable to poor eating habits and poor
exercise, without a word about the $33 billion a year that the food
industry spends on marketing and promotion to pressure people to
eat, or the lack of healthy food choices available in predominately
low-income black and Hispanic communities. They tell us that we
are eating too much and exercising too little. Indeed, there is
direct correlation between poor diets, lack of exercise and fat. It
stands to reason that if you eat more than you expend, then you are
likely to gain unwanted weight. We get that! Besides, fat is
inconvenient at best and it kills at worst. We know from the
healthcare community that there is a strong relationship between
being overweight and heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure,
arthritis, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. And, according
to the United States Surgeon General, being fat is expensive: in 2000,
healthcare for fat Americans cost a whopping $117 billion.
In other words, fat does not just cost us our vanity, it costs us
financially too - if it does not kill us!

President Bush has even jumped on the fat bandwagon to intervene.
He has called for a healthier U.S., led by his Council on Physical
Fitness and Sports, chaired by Lynn Swann, NFL Hall of Fame 2001
inductee. Still, the criticism of Bush and his cohorts who advocate
for more exercise and better diets is that they all focus far too
much on individual behavior and too little, if any at all, on the
institutional, psychological and environmental factors that are
fattening Americans generally, and wreaking havoc in the black
community specifically! Before we can even begin to take
responsibility for a healthy, healing and transforming relationship
with our bodies, we must first deconstruct the politics of food in
the United States and tell the truth about obesity. The food
industry manipulates what we eat to our detriment.
While it spends $33 billion a year promoting high fat, high caloric,
sugary foods, the federal government spends only $3.6 million
a year on nutrition education, according to the watchdog group
Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Consequently, what we eat, how much we eat, where we eat, what is
in the food we eat, and how much we spend on what we eat is
controlled by an industry that has an unfair advantage to manipulate and
distort the realities of unhealthy foods. Have you ever seen a McDonald's
commercial where the people were fat and despondent. Of course
you have not. Instead, these commercials depict happy fun-loving
healthy people enjoying their super-size meals with family and friends.
McDonald's boasts about "over a million served" in their restaurants,
but I guess they prefer that you not eat their foods if you plan to
sell them. How else can you explain the beautifully slim people in
their commercials and ads? Realistically, how many burgers would
they sell if they told the truth about their food and our fat - not many!
The market understands this, and we continue to be tricked by its
illusions. To add insult to injury, black Americans are
disproportionately poor in this country and are more likely to live
in neighborhoods that do not offer high quality nutritiously healthy
foods that are responsibly priced. You cannot begin to have a
conversation about managing weight with a healthier diet of fresh
fruits and vegetables that include dry beans and whole grains if the
foods are not made available.

It makes me wonder who Bush is talking about when he tells
America to get fit! It certainly cannot be the urban poor, since his
initiative completely overlooks the wretched conditions of most food
markets in America's ghettoes that sell rancid meats, old milk and
little if any fresh fruits and vegetables. Even those that are better are
only a little better. For example, instead of rancid meat, they usually
sell us the throw-away parts, and when they make fresh fruits and
vegetables available, they are not of the highest quality or
nutritionally rich. In the ghetto you might get a head of lettuce
which has very little nutritional value, while our white contemporary
living in the suburbs enjoys a diversity of fresh fruits and vegetables.

In fact, researchers at the University of North Carolina's Chapel
Hill School of Public Health found that it's important to consider
the context in which people live and their physical environment in
terms of their behaviors. In the past, there has been a strong
focus in public health in looking at behaviors without considering
what it is like where people live day in and day out.

We must begin to see our health as a social justice issue and
make it a priority to demand healthier food distribution in our
communities.

We must become food activists and militant about what we put in
our bodies. Our lives depend on it!

Healing and transforming our bodies is not going to be easy. We
are up against a powerful enemy that plays by its own set of rules
corporate dollars! Not to mention the fact that many of us continue
to live under some of the most miserable conditions imaginable.
Our energies are spent just surviving day to day. I understand.

If you have to summon the spirits of our ancestors who dwell deep
inside of us and ask them for the strength to overcome this
capitalist patriarchal system of oppression that wants to claim
your life, JUST DO IT! Do not be afraid to ask. That is what they are
there for.

Be sure also to include your neighbors, friends and families and
build communities of resistance and education, teaching each
other how to nourish the body. Learn about the natural healing
properties of the body and figure out how to heal your body naturally.

Build relationships with your community for support so that you
can affect change as a group. Most importantly, create a space in
your life so that your health comes first.

But whatever you do, get angry about this system that wants to
shove garbage in your mouth that will eventually kill you. There is no
way that we can be an agent for social justice and change in the
world if we are dis-eased and dying. When we nurture ourselves,
we give our spirits the necessary power to be in the world as whole
human beings protected with the armor to fight and win in a political
economy dependent on exploitation, corruption and oppression.

This is a mighty war. Do not be fooled. This is not simply a war to
eat an extra apple or walk a flight of stairs - it is a war against
an industry that emphasizes profit over our health. The food
industry makes major campaign contributions. They therefore
influence the policy in this country to their advantage and to our
disadvantage. To fight back, we have to be organized, educated
and motivated.

Sure, we can begin by making healthier food choices in our daily
lives and increase our daily activity as much as possible. But
most importantly, we need to become more politically involved, and
that could mean boycotting your local food markets until they sell
healthier foods!

We can win this if we want to! Much love and solidarity!

Crystal Hayes is a mother, student at Mount Holyoke College in
Western Massachusetts, activist, writer and daughter of Political

Prisoner Robert Seth Hayes.

Back to Main News Page

=========================================================

Gleaned from:
WestPapua@topica.com digest, issue 750


> Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 09:32:18 +0000
> From: Tapol <tapol@gn.apc.org>
> Subject: US Senate Votes Down Restrictions On Military Training For
Indonesia
>
> Media Release
> January 23, 2003
>
> SENATE VOTES DOWN RESTRICTIONS ON MILITARY TRAINING FOR INDONESIA
>
> RIGHTS GROUPS SAY MOVE ENDANGERS U.S., EAST TIMORESE AND INDONESIAN
CITIZENS
>
> For Immediate Release
>
> "Today's Senate floor vote against an amendment offered by Senator Russ
> Feingold (D-WI) to restrict International Military Education and Training
> (IMET) for Indonesia is an outrage which jeopardizes the rights of
> Indonesians, East Timorese and Americans living in Indonesia," said Karen
> Orenstein, Washington Coordinator of the East Timor Action Network (ETAN).
>
> "The Indonesian military has sabotaged international efforts to attain
> justice for crimes against humanity committed in East Timor, exonerated
> itself of the strong implication that its elite Special Forces recently
> murdered two U.S. teachers, and beat a U.S. nurse -- yet the Senate voted
to
> give the military a level of support not seen in more than a decade. Why
is
> the Senate rewarding this behavior?" asked Kurt Biddle, Coordinator of the
> Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN).
>
> "These Senators could not have sent a more ill-timed message. Never before
> has the Indonesian military displayed such boldness in attacking U.S.
> citizens as it did in 2002. It's not difficult to imagine how the TNI
treats
> Indonesian citizens," said Orenstein. "The Senators who voted against the
> amendment have effectively given U.S. backing to continued gross human
> rights violations."
>
> Indonesian police and non-governmental organization investigations point
to
> TNI responsibility for the murder of two U.S. citizens and one Indonesian,
> and the wounding of eight other U.S. citizens, including a six-year-old
> child, in the Indonesian province of West Papua in an ambush in the mining
> operations area of the Louisiana-headquartered Freeport-McMoRan.
>
> Patsy Spier, who was wounded and whose husband was killed in the ambush
> said, "Thank you to all the Senators who voted for Senator Feingold's
> amendment. The eight American survivors of the West Papua, Indonesia,
ambush
> of August 31, 2002, continue to strive for justice."
>
> The TNI has successfully evaded accountability for crimes against humanity
> it committed in East Timor in 1999 and the previous 23 years of illegal
> occupation. Indonesia's ad hoc Human Rights Court on East Timor has been
> internationally acknowledged as a sham. Thus far, the court has acquitted
> eleven Indonesian defendants. The architects of the scorched-earth
campaign
> in East Timor remain free, often wielding significant power within the
> government and security forces.
>
> Joy Lee Sadler is a U.S. nurse who traveled to Aceh, Indonesia, to treat
the
> sick and injured in refugee camps. She was recently released from four
> months in Indonesian jails for minor visa violations. Sadler was
physically
> assaulted, threatened and held incommunicado for six days by Indonesian
> security officers.
>
> "The Bush administration and some in Congress have pushed for resumption
of
> military ties with Indonesia in the name of fighting the 'War on Terror.'
> But the TNI continues to terrorize Indonesian civilians, including the
> torture and murder of human rights defenders and political opposition
> figures," said Biddle. "Further, the TNI itself has conspired with and
> supported Islamic fundamentalist militant groups such as the Laskar
Jihad."
>
> "Regardless of what terms Congress or the administration uses to phrase
> IMET resumption, the message heard by the TNI will be the same. The
> restoration of prestigious U.S. military training will undoubtedly be seen
> as an endorsement of business as usual," said Orenstein.
>
> "This is a major setback for military reform and democracy in Indonesia.
It
> gives a green light for the Indonesian military to continue its use of
> brutal tactics against civilians, especially in Aceh and Papua," said
> Biddle.
>
> ETAN and IHRN thank Senator Feingold, along with amendment co-sponsors
> Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy
(D-VT),
> and Ron Wyden (D-OR), as well as other Senators who voted for the
amendment.
> Thirty-six Senators voted in favor of the amendment, and 61 against.
>
> Background
>
> Congress first voted to restrict IMET for Indonesia, which brings foreign
> military officers to the U.S. for training, in response to the November
12,
> 1991 Santa Cruz massacre of more than 270 civilians in East Timor. All
> military ties were severed in September 1999 as the Indonesian military
and
> its militia proxies razed East Timor following its pro-independence vote.
> Congress first passed the "Leahy conditions" in late 1999. The FY00
through
> FY02 foreign operations appropriations laws required the president to
> certify that Indonesia had met these conditions before regular IMET and
> Foreign Military Financed (FMF) weapons sales were restored for Indonesia.
> Congress only recently allowed civilians from Indonesia's defense ministry
> to participate in the Expanded IMET program, which involves course work in
> such areas as civilian control of the military and human rights.
>
> Contact:
>
> Karen Orenstein, East Timor Action Network, 202-544-6911, www.etan.org
> Kurt Biddle, Indonesia Human Rights Network, 510-559-7762,
> www.indonesianetwork.org
>
> TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign
> 111 Northwood Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon CR7 8HW, UK.
> tel +44 (0)20 8771 2904 fax +44 (0)20 8653 0322
> tapol@gn.apc.org http://tapol.gn.apc.org

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==========================================================
 25 Jan 2003 

================================

JESSE JACKSON EMBRACES HIP HOP
by Davey D

Hip Hop was definitely in the house for Jesse Jackson's 6th Annual Wall St 
Conference as there was day long symposium that focused
on the genre. In the past Jackson had hosted a couple of Hip Hop
panels, but this time around he decided to dedicate an entire day
including a well attended evening event which featured, Def Poetry
Slam poets, Naughty By Nature and comedian Mark Curry. It is apparent
that Hip Hop is way too large to ignore even for the Wall Street
crowd.

There were three main panels which were packed to the hilt. One dealt
with Hip Hop and Media the other dealt with the Business of Hip Hop.
The one I participated in dealt with Hip Hop and politics. All sorts
of people attended including Grandmaster Dee of Whodini, Doctor Dre of
NY's Power 105, Minister Ben Muhammed of the Hip Hop Action Summit
Network, attorney Londell McMillan, Ed Dejesus of the Source Youth
Foundation, Tracey Walker of the Artist Empowerment Coalition, Willie
Montanez of Willie Esco Designs, Toni Blackman of Freestyle Union,
Bill Stephaney of Stephsun Music and original Public Enemy member, The
Wonder Twinz, Four Korners Magazine and that's just the tip of the
iceberg.

While all three panels were well attended and dealt with some
compelling issues, one of the themes that kept surfacing throughout
the day was media accountability. People wanted to know who is in
charge of picking the videos and playing the songs. People wanted to
know why there wasn't more diversity on the airwaves in terms of
positive, socially conscious music. Over and over again from old to
young it was a common complaint. There were a number of parents,
school teachers and youth counselors who spoke up and complained that
the images being shown in rap videos and the types of songs being
played on radio are undermining the types of values and themes that
they are trying to impart and unduly influencing the kids they are
trying to reach. These same concerns were even echoed by the large
contingent of young high school and college students who attended our
late afternoon Hip Hop and Politics section.

It was explained by several panelist like Toni Blackman, Minister Ben
as well as Tracey Walker that there are a number of artist out and
about doing some very positive things and putting out some very
positive songs. Toni spoke about the formation of Freestyle Union and
how she began hosting emcee battles and adding themes that forced
people to come with some positive lyrics.

Minister Ben spoke about the successful campaign and demonstration
they launched in cooperation with a number of prominent Hip Hop artist
like P-Diddy and Jay-Z to get Mayor Michael Bloomberg to return the
millions of dollars he had axed from the NYC school budget. The
campaign culminated in more than 100 thousand people coming down to
City Hall to make sure their voices were heard.

Tracey Walker talked about the work she is doing with the Artist
Empowerment Coalition [AEC] which was initiated and inspired by artist
like DMX, Doug E Fresh, Prince, Stevie Wonder and attorney Londell
McMillan who was spoke on the Hip Hop and Business panel. Walker
explained that they have been setting up speaking engagements for Hip
Hop artist who want to speak at schools and community centers.

She noted that one of the guiding principals of the Artist Empowerment
Coalition is to support the climate and conditions for creative talent
and help cultivate the seeds of scholarship and ingenuity. They feel
art should serve as an educational tool and that too much of today's
commercial music and "so-called" art forms denigrate the cultural and
educational brilliance of the American people.

Charles Fisher of the Hip Hop Youth Council in which LL Cool J is an
honorary chairman, talked about the large network of school children
he has access to through the various programs he has set up. At last
count, Fisher has access to more than 6 million kids. He has also
established a Media Complaint Board that can lobby the FCC and other
outlets overseeing music.. Fisher notes on his website..

The purpose of this board is to mediate complaints made against Radio,
Record, Film, T.V ,Internet and Video Game companies who violate
government policies by marketing adult rated material and products to
minors, play music or air T.V shows that promote violence, substance
abuse, and the degradation of women. We will also address complaints
made against the FCC, FTC and other government agencies as well. We
will work with parent groups, government agencies, elected officials,
community leaders, corporations and our youth to police these , issues
and improve the image of the 'Hip Hop Community.

Moderator Ed DeJesus of the Source Youth Foundation also spoke about
the challenge even someone like him has in getting positive messages
across the airwaves. Currently he has an album out called 'Strength
of a Nation' that features 15 songs from artist who are committed to
setting a good example and serving as a role model. Many of the
tracks are banging and don't come across as preachy. He has also
released an accompanying workbook called 'Makin' It'The Hip Hop Guide
to True Survival'

However, despite being down with the Source Magazine and putting out a
this positive material positive album, station after station all over
the place have only given him lip service. DeJesus noted that almost
all of the radio station headz he visits say they wanna get down with
the project but somehow never get around to it...This lack of action
is not only discouraging to him, but also to all the young artist who
are unfortunately seeing first hand that being positive and doing the
right thing is NOT rewarded by the gate keepers who control radio..
DeJesus noted that he and his partner Derrick Dolphin are committed to
maintaining their high standards and continue to educate and uplift
youth. They will continue to put out music that does not promote
violence, materialism and/or misogyny.

"Why do we have to hear about how much bling bling rappers have; why
do we have to hear about Nas dissing Jay Z or DMX dissing Ja-Rule; or
why does it take the death of Jam Master Jay, Tupac or Biggie to give
the industry a temporary sense of responsibility," DeJesus said ina
recent interview. "We are sick of it. The Industry needs to come
clean. Real knows real."

Lastly Congressman John Conyers (Dem-Mi)who was in the audience came
up to the podium to address this concern of media accountability. He
told the audience to show up in mass the next day to hear what FCC
Chairman Michael Powell would have to say at the luncheon where would
be speaking. He wanted the audience to be familiar with him and the
FCC and then meet afterwards to plan a course of action.
Unfortunately the next day when people showed up, Powell made little
mention about the important job he holds. He than left without
speaking to reporters. No one had a chance to voice their concerns
about media accountability. However, I did catch up with Powell as he
was leaving and explained that there are some issues he may want to
consider exploring.. We will follow up on that real soon

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