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The Ballot, Via the Courthouse
Allegations Fly Over Acne Drug's
Accutane critics claim its use can lead to suicide
By Janice Billingsley
SUNDAY, Dec. 31
(HealthScout) -- Accutane, the
drug of last resort in the battle
against serious acne, is in a
battle of its own over claims it
can trigger suicide in those who
(Complete story at: http://www.healthscout.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/Af?ap=55&id=106825 )
Smile, and we might yet defeat global
By Mark Steel
29 December 2000
"We need a revolution," said the lad, no more than 19, in the packed
meeting organised by People and Planet at the University of Warwick.
"And we, I mean us here, can begin to make that revolution – right
after this meeting by..." He paused. What would he say? By mobilising
the peasantry of the Coventry area? By going on a Long March to
Leicester? "By smiling," he said. "When these capitalist bastards see
everyone smiling, they won't know what to do."
There are obvious flaws to this strategy, not least that such a
movement would be bound to split, with a militant wing breaking away
to laugh, while the smilers denounced them as impatient hot-heads.
But the most notable side to his speech was that somehow it didn't
seem mad. In fact there was an endearing freshness about him. He
was enthusiastic, genuinely interested in what everyone thought of
his idea, and it was positive – his starting point was "we can do
And it came a few days after I'd been on holiday in Athens, during
which I was invited to a meeting about "anti-capitalist protest". The
first shock on arriving was the venue, a beautiful open-air theatre,
bats fluttering through the twilight above clicking crickets while lights
from the Acropolis flickered as a backdrop. I wanted to scream: "This
is all wrong. Don't you know meetings like this are supposed to be in
bare, freezing halls with a broken heater, and start an hour late
because no one can find the bloke with the key? You people don't
know how to organise a meeting at all." Then instead of the customary
10 people, 700 arrived, including the deputy leader of the Greek
equivalent to the TUC, and the writer of the year's best-selling novel
These incidents would tell us nothing about the year 2000, except that
unofficial global rumblings tend to back them up. The book No Logo, by
Naomi Klein, a cry against corporate greed, has sold over 100,000
copies. And it's spawned a library of books with titles like Globalize
This!, Globalization and Resistance and Resist Globalization. Soon
all the permutations will be used up, so we'll get books called
"Resisting national global corporate trans-corporate
globo-nationalness". Susan George, a veteran campaigner against
third-world debt, who has spent 25 years speaking largely to handfuls
of academics, now regularly fills theatres holding a thousand or more,
so that long-term fans probably feel like supporters of Fulham or
Sunderland, muttering "Baaah, it was cosier when we were shite."
One "anti-capitalist conference", in Millau, France, attracted 80,000
people. Internationally newsworthy protests against Third-World debt
and huge corporations took place in Melbourne, Prague and Nice.
Ralph Nader, the US presidential candidate supporting this movement,
won 2.5 million votes and attracted between 10,000 and 16,000 at his
rallies. If enough journalists had been covering these events, one of
them would have declared that anti-globalisation was the new rock
None of this was sufficient to threaten world leaders. But it was a
sign of changing values. In 1989, at the fall of the Berlin Wall, the
consensus was that the free market had triumphed, and was destined
to enrich the planet. Now, while there is little nostalgia for the
grotesque regimes of Stalinist eastern Europe, the free market
staggers across the stage to a diminishing audience. In Russia, life
expectancy has decreased by 10 years, and in Africa the average
income in almost every country continues to decline. "Structural
adjustment programmes", in which economies are taken over by
organisations such as the World Bank, who enforce privatisation and
cuts in public spending, have been imposed on 90 countries.
Gradually, these measures are provoking opposition. One
consequence of this trend is that "globalisation" has become one of
those words – like "glasnost" in the Eighties – that everyone uses
though few can explain what it means. A common definition is that
you can no longer do anything about anything. For example John
Monks, the leader of the TUC, when asked for his opinion on job
closures at Luton, blamed "globalisation". He looked like a football
manager interviewed after a game, wistfully remarking, "I don't agree
with the decision but at the end of the day what globalisation says is
final and we've just got to accept it."
By the end of 2001, if you take a dodgy car back to the dealer you
bought it from, you can expect them to squeal, "Well there's nothing I
can do about that, it's yer globalisation, see."
One strange result of all this has been that the most enthusiastic
backers of the ethos that nothing can function unless someone will
make a profit from it are the old parties once considered to be on the
left – and none more so than Britain's New Labour. They continued to
embrace big business as a virtue, and search for any last utilities to
privatise, like someone with no money hunting down the back of the
settee. Eventually they could yell, "Aha, I've found air traffic control,
So disillusionment with the major parties continued, and when this
was reflected in historically low turn-outs at elections, the excuses
were surreal. "The reason people didn't bother to vote for us," said
New Labour spokesperson Patricia Hewitt, was that "they are
satisfied by us." Which must make for some splendid debates during
canvassing. "Will you vote for us?" "No thank you, because I think
you're marvellous." "Well vote for us then." "No, I don't want to spoil
your splendid record by voting for you."
Across western Europe and America a similar pattern has emerged,
of traditional left-of-centre parties becoming increasingly tied to the
free market, as the failures of that market become more apparent. So
if you're 19, and flushed with a desire to redress the growing
inequality stalking the planet, you're hardly likely to venture in that
direction. And joining Labour to turn it into a radical campaigning party
would seem as ridiculous as joining the RAC to turn it into a radical
campaigning breakdown service.
So the modern generation of activists looks outside the old
organisations. They are often described as anarchists, but only
because "anarchist" has come to mean anyone radical with a
nose-stud. Some are members of groups such as Jubilee 2000,
including the Christian couple who told me that they had taken their
holiday in Prague because "we can go to a museum in the morning
and a protest in the afternoon." But most are not part of any
organisation. Instead, they are the thin end of a wedge that includes
millions around the world who have come to the conclusion that,
when the richest 360 people on the planet own the same amount of
wealth as the poorest two billion, something has gone wrong.
And, when you think about it, if all the two billion got together and
smiled at the 360, that would look pretty spooky.
December 30, 2000
The Pacifica Counter-Revolution Hits WBAI:
Another Call for Action
By Edward S. Herman <email@example.com>
One of the most crushing series of blows to the U.S.
left, and to democracy in this country, has been the gradual
transformation of the five station Pacifica Radio network
from locally-based and left-oriented stations into centrally
controlled, mainstream institutions. Before 1990, all five
stations in the network were locally oriented, locally managed
with strong inputs from local audiences and employees, and
both highly political and progressive. During the 1990s,
however, three of the stations -- Houston, Washington and
Los Angeles -- were pushed into the mainstream by the
Pacifica management, with only KPFA in Berkeley and
WBAI in New York City remaining as holdovers of the
On December 26, however, the Washington management seized
control of WBAI, removing the long-time manager Valerie Van
Isler, firing Program Director Bernard White and producer
Sharan Harper without notice, changing the locks on the
doors in the middle of the night, and installing a new
manager from within the WBAI staff secretly primed for
her new job. Only people on an approved list, which did
not include Pacifica Foundation board member Leslie Cagan,
were admitted to the station on December 27. There has
been nothing democratic about any actions of the Pacifica
management for many years, and with one of its board members
a member of a law firm with a specialty in union-busting,
the management has long mastered the art of using every
trick in that trade.
It will be recalled that the Pacifica management had tried
to remake KPFA in Berkeley several years ago, locking out
the employees, firing many, bringing in security forces
and strikebreakers, but meeting such resistance, with
10,000 protesters in the streets, and getting such negative
publicity that the management had to retreat. The stalemate
resulted in a tacit settlement that gave KPFA and WBAI
temporary autonomy and led to the appointment of several
new representatives of the audiences and stations to the
But this settlement was only temporary, and the new board
members quickly discovered that they were not listened to
and were kept outside any decision-making process, sometimes
by illegal actions (and two of the dissident board members
have an ongoing suit against the board based on these
illegalities). That the central management was on the march
again, and that a takeover of WBAI might be in the works,
was suggested by the sustained attack on Amy Goodman and her
Democracy Now! program that escalated this past September
and October. Goodman has long been harassed by the Pacifica
top management for her lack of sympathy with Clinton and
general failure to stick with the approved media agenda.
She was brought to Washington in September and told quite
clearly that her focus on East Timor, capital punishment,
Mumia Abu-Jamal, Lori Berenson (etc.) was excessive. Former
board chair Mary Frances Berry called her "troublesome,"
and said that she had "embarrassed" the network, possibly
meaning Berry herself and her friends and colleagues in the
Democratic Party. In October Goodman was once again brought
to Washington and directly threatened with termination
unless she refrained from using volunteers and cleared her
programs in advance in Washington (among other demands). She
immediately filed a grievance with the union for harassment
A problem for the Pacifica elite is that Goodman's show
heavily outdraws their regular news programs, and most other
Pacifica programs as well. This makes it awkward for them
as they claim to be reforming Pacifica in the interest of
enlarging audience size, which they have been trying to do
by substituting popular music for politics (and softening
any politics that remains). But Goodman's show and its
successes in drawing audiences suggests that critical
politics can be quite popular if done well. That she is
regarded negatively by the Pacifica brass reflects political
bias and a determination to defang and depoliticize the
network in accord with the biases of the top management and
their constituency. The constituency of the "old Pacifica"
was the local audiences and employees and volunteers; the
constituency of the "new Pacifica" of Bessie Wash and Mary
Frances Berry is Washington power brokers, officials of the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Democratic
Even the New York Times notes that the Pacifica Foundation
was initially based on "a lack of corporate control and
its dedication to peace," and represented "grass roots,
alternative broadcasting" (Jayson Blair, "Pacifica
Foundation Locks WBAI Station Manager Out of Office,"
Dec. 28, 2000). The "new Pacifica" has changed course, and
has abandoned both its grass roots base and alternative
broadcasting. Its attack on Amy Goodman and the current
takeover of WBAI are a part of this de-democratization
and political neutering. This process has resulted from
the capture of the Pacifica Foundation by a small group of
liberal technocrats and Democratic Party-linked officials,
who have added to their controlling board membership
businesspeople in the real estate, construction, and
corporate law fields to support them in their remaking
of Pacifica. They have moved Pacifica's headquarters
from Berkeley to Washington DC, in keeping with the
shift in their constituency from audiences and
employees to Washington power brokers.
We are dealing here with a kind of coup d'etat, and a
systematic destruction of a major left institution in the
wake of that coup. Given the importance of the media in
hegemonic processes, and in contesting those processes,
what is happening to Pacifica, and now WBAI, should be
first order business for the left. This was our only radio
network, and it is being destroyed! It is a horrifying fact
that a chunk of the left actually signed Saul Landau's
letter in 1999 which defended the Pacifica management
and urged the left to stop its "Pacifica bashing," with
"Pacifica" identified with the management group that was
destroying the old Pacifica and picking off left journalists
and stations one by one. Some of the signers are people
trying, for example, to contest corporate globalization,
a subject on which Amy Goodman and the old WBAI would give
their contesting position extensive and friendly coverage,
but which the emerging "new Pacifica" will ignore or treat
perfunctorily. (The "new Pacifica" Washington station WPFW,
formerly run by current Pacifica Executive Director Bessie
Wash, has been notoriously uninterested in protests against
not only the dominant political party conventions, but those
against the World Bank and IMF.) The lack of left solidarity
involved in signing the Landau letter is equalled only by
the sheer short-sightedness and stupidity of helping destroy
a media institution that was a natural ally, if not part of
the left itself.
The battle over Pacifica and WBAI is not over. There are
mounting protests against the WBAI takeover, and there are
at least three legal suits in process against the Pacifica
Foundation control group. I would urge people to get into
action now. This is important! It was encouraging to see the
New York Times finally come up with an article on December
28 putting the WBAI takeover in a negative light for both
tactics and implied violation of organizational purpose.
This is the time to move into action with letters, phone
calls, picketing, and contributions to the funding of
legal responses to illegitimate authority. Information
on the issues and names and actions under way can be
obtained from these key sites:
800-825-0055 to volunteer
718-707-7189 for e-mail and updates
Local WBAI sites:
http://www.glib.com WBAI union
http://www.wbai.net WBAI listeners
General info and background sites:
Committee to Remove Pacifica Board:
707-526-2867, Carol Spooner for info
Copyright (c) 2000 ZNet. All Rights Reserved
Were Original Americans Black Muurs?
By Lamont Muhammad
Her Highness Verdiacee Tiari Washitaw – Turner Goston El-Bey, is the 73-year-old
Empress of the Washitaw de Dugdahmoundyah, one of the oldest Indigenous nations to be found anywhere in the earth, say her followers and other reviewers at the United
Nations (UN). She reigns over conscious descendants of the Muurs or Moundbuilders of the massive ancient ruins that dart the best or most significant points on the upper and lower parts of what is today called the Americas, the Empress explained.
Invasions from Asia and Europe over recent
centuries have uprooted her people from all but
68,883 acres of northern Louisiana, on paper. But
her land titles and deeds, although recognized by
the UN, the United States (US) government and
State of Louisiana as legitimate, nevertheless have
no teeth to force property and business owners on
Washitaw in Louisiana to pay rent or flee the land.
And so the Empress, like the US Marines, “is
looking for a few good men.” They must reclaim
land her resurrecting Nation can call their own,
said Seth Muhammad, the young Washitaw
organizer who helped arrange an exclusive
interview between Her Highness and this writer in
Reston, Louisiana, last June. The Empress is also
author of The Return of the Ancient Ones.
Her effort represents but one of many afoot in the Western Hemisphere to reclaim land by way of litigation in the courts of the invader/settler. Others are buying land and claiming sovereign status within specific frameworks defined by national and international protocols. But this writer found that they all agree that the entire earth is home to the original family without regard to borders and that the so-called children of Africa in this country where not all brought by whites or Arabs in slave ships. “We been here,” declared the Empress, explaining that the original Native Americans were mostly of a dark complexion. She said the light-skin Indians of Hollywood fame were minority tribes in the Northwest that were mixed with the blood of Chinese invaders. “They made up less than a third of the total population of Indians on this land. White folks don’t owe Black people in America 40 acres and a mule. They need to get up off our land or start paying us some rent and taxes,” she said. Reverend RaDine Amen-ra, author of The Forgotten Truth Behind Racism in America: The Hidden Ancestral Identity of the Black American Vol. I, agreed. She said the new fertile homeland (America/s) was given to the “Black American Mound Builders,” as promised (land), before floods separated the east from the west.
“The Mothers of today’s Black American ancestors were delivered from the obscurity, darkness, and ignorance of the growing NEGATIVE wave of consciousness changing to MASCULINE DOMINATION or the ‘mind of the flesh’ (the Ego) that was consuming the once fertile North Africa into a barren desert,” Rev. Amen-ra wrote. The Empress chimed in with a similar note.
“Our society is based on the woman envisioning the Law and the man enforcing it,” the
Empress said. “Not this machismo garbage that has relegated society to the lower planes of existence. In our world the woman inherits the land, not the man. This world is upside down. Whites rule the land and man rules over woman,” she explained.
One man who organizes around a similar argument is Dr. Malachi Z. York, a.k.a.
Amunnubi Raa, leader of the United Nuwaubian Nation of the Moors. He leads a
community that is based in Eatonton, Georgia. He is building a replica of Ancient Egypt there that sits on close to 500 acres, according to Bro. Howard Jones, a.k.a. Meduty Khefe-Re. They teach that Nuwaubian is derived from the word Nuwba (Nuba), in Southern Sudan, which would include Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya. The root word for Nuwaubians, Nubians and Nabi is Nub or Nuwb, meaning “color inclining to Black…kinky or woolly haired people,” Dr. York wrote in his book: Let’s Set The Record Straight! He described the Olmec civilization, the oldest high culture in the “Americas,” as “the original woolly haired, dark-olive toned people who originally came from Nuwba of South and Central Africa. They arrived in the Americas long before the Christian era, but that would have been long after the arrival of those given the promise before the floods.
Land wars are raging in US and world courts for tribal recognitions and sovereignty
rights within former colonial and imposed borders. The classifications can transform a
tribal group from poverty stricken to filthy rich. According to Qualla Kuthera Howard, a Black (Indian) woman who was born on the Qualla Reservation in North Carolina, the US government is fighting hard to dissuade groups from reclaiming their sovereignty status and land. In a brief telephone interview from Schenectady, New York, she said only 150 of the 350 Indigenous tribes in North America have been recognized and only the Navajo and the Iroquois have been granted sovereignty status. In New York State, she said, the Oneida Tribe signed a 100-year land lease with the US government that has expired. They are in court because “the Oneida want their land back,” she said.
According to Bro. Meduty, the mission of the Nuwaubians is to teach their people in the Americas to stop referring to themselves as former slaves because slavery was a legal institution in America but kidnapping and torture is unlawful. “We have to be prepared to argue our cause with intelligence,” he said.
The Empress, who includes in her family: the Olmecs, Maya, Aztecs, Garifuna, Arawaks, Caribs and many tribes of North America, said she was granted Indigenous status by a UN non-governmental organization in 1993. She said she has addressed the world body as Empress of the Washitaw. Her claim to the land is based on what she called flaws in the implementation of the infamous Louisiana Purchase. She said the illegal land transfer violated bilateral treaties and international law when her 86, 883 acres were included.
In addition to land claim issues, the Empress, who is convalescing from a stroke at a
facility near her son in California, is facing scrutiny from federal agencies tracking money, her son Fredrick said, in an exclusive telephone interview from home December 28.
Beyond those arguments, she and many other voices are making a case for the fact that the entire US sits on lands stolen (mostly) from a dark skin people. “We should not be limited to Africa and the east. Our footprints are throughout our earth and we can not allow others to box us up and rip us off for our land,” she advised.
Suicides versus homicides
by Ridgely A. Mu'min Muhammad
December 30, 2000
On the afternoon
of December 22, 2000 as I road in my truck I heard this information on the Peach State National Public Radio:
"Suicides in Georgia have increased 40% among young Black males, ages 15 to
24, over the period of 1994-98 as compared to 1990-94.
Georgia experienced 850 suicides this year which was 18% more than the number
These type of figures may make one wonder if the USA's efforts to reduce drugs and crime has resulted in increased psychological pressure on young Black men. However before this debate can get started the USA Today on December 29, 2000 comes out with a "counter" analysis which you can read by clicking :
Time For A Semi-United Black Front
By Richard Muhammad
While an anxious Black America awaits its fate under President George W. Bush, one
thing is certain: With Bush's victory, Black conservatives return to the media spotlight and battle lines are drawn between them and "mainstream," generally anti-Bush Black
Black conservatives first came to major attention during the 1991 battle over the Supreme Court confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas, largely dropping out of sight during the Clinton years. But ideological skirmishes and name calling have started again. Mainstreamers brand conservatives sellouts and opportunists. Conservatives label mainstreamers poverty pimps, who foolishly put all their eggs in the Democratic Party's basket. The voices of Black nationalists will likely condemn both sides, but won't get as much of a hearing.
What needs to happen is less shouting and more talking based on potential areas of
common agreement and recognition of the current political reality. The reality, as Dr.
Manning Marable of Columbia University's Black Studies Center notes, is that there has been a rightward shift in American politics since the 1980 presidential election of Ronald Reagan.
With that election, the Democratic Party started a metamorphosis which spawned New Democrat Bill Clinton and sidelined old-school Democrats. Mr. Clinton
grabbed Republican issues: He came out pro-death penalty, lukewarm on affirmative
action, vowed to end welfare and dissed Rev. Jesse Jackson to show his
autonomy from the civil rights leader during the 1992 election.
While on the '92 campaign trail, Clinton returned to Arkansas to preside over the
execution of a mentally retarded Black man, just as Bush returned to Texas to
oversee the execution of Black inmate Gary Graham, despite questions about his guilt, this election year.
The rightward shift in America politics and feelings of exclusion and anger during the
"welfare queen," "Willie Horton" Ronald Reagan-George Bush, Sr., years of attacks and federal cutbacks--with Black women stereotyped as the major problem in a horrendous social service system, Black men scapegoated as criminals and little federal money or sympathy for urban problems--fueled Black anger and resentment.
The shift also left Blacks feeling abandoned by Democrats, unwanted by the GOP and
politically impotent. Clinton's ability to vibe with Black folks in churches, wear sunglasses, play the sax, and just talk about race was a welcome change.
Blacks grabbed it and felt Clinton at least felt their pain. Meanwhile he gutted welfare
needed by poor Blacks, abandoned high level Black appointees at any
hint of political liability, hedged on affirmative action and failed other tests. He did make high level Black appointments, offered more Blacks federal judgeships, launched a shaky national dialog on race and put Africa on America's foreign policy map.
To Mr. Bush's credit, he invited some Black religious leaders to a Dec. 19 meeting in
Austin, Texas, has reached out to Rev. Jackson, spoke to the NAACP during the
campaign pledging to uphold civil rights laws and concedes his party's misuse of race as a political tool was wrong. He also selected two Blacks, Gen. Colin Powell for secretary of state and Condoleezza Rice for national security advisor, for major
positions in his administration.
It's time to face reality and stop looking for a great white political hope.
Clinton wasn't perfect and despite the conservative choirs' most ardent singing, Bush isn't perfect either. Nearly 80 percent of Blacks feel his election was illegitimate, according to a Dec. 18 poll. And it's been well proven that Black areas were hit hard by voting irregularities in Florida, which gave Bush the White House amid questions about whether he actually won Florida's popular vote.
But its Black leaders who need to end name calling and find ways to coalesce. Why?
Neither side has a monopoly on what is right and their champions aren't without serious flaws.
Coming up with some basic points of agreement can extract more from the Bush
administration than attacks and counterattacks on one another by African American
pastors, activists and leaders.
Bush is starting out in a weakened position, having no Reagan mandate to push through any agenda. He lost the popular vote. And he lost 9 out of every 10 Black
ballots cast and counted.
Black voting has steadily risen in national elections since the 1995 Million Man March,
and in 1996 presidential elections an additional 1.7 Black men joined the process.
Congressional elections in two years will likely show the same trend, meaning Bush could be even weaker halfway through this term, if Republicans lose ground.
Another reality is electoral politics is only one tool needed to break through challenges
faced by Black America. Self-help through harnessing billion dollar
Black economic power, personal responsibility and community building are vital tools that fit the conservative ideology.
What could both sides agree on? They could start with more funding for neighborhood
AIDS prevention programs, call for an end to racial profiling, solicit
more financial and technical help for grassroots organizations, lobby for economic
development in urban areas and Africa, fill the gaps in welfare reform, back funding for
religious groups to deal with some social problems, confront racial discrimination in
government and private industry, and promote moratoriums on racially imbalanced
capital punishment at the federal and state levels.
Joint work on problems can help change reality for Black folks in a positive way. It also survives no matter what political party is in power. Putting loyalty to party or
philosophical label above the needs of the community only makes leaders at both ends of the spectrum appear self serving.
(Richard Muhammad is a writer and columnist based in Chicago, where he serves as
managing editor of The Final Call newspaper, published by Min. Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. He can be reached at here and welcomes responses to his columns. The views of the author represent his opinions alone and
all rights are reserved.)
Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
December 22, 2000 (Issue #165)
At the Movies: The Buzz on "Traffic"
By Christian Ettinger for DRCNet
"Traffic," the soon-to-be released Hollywood film directed
by Steven Soderbergh and starring Michael Douglas and
Catherine Zeta Jones, merits the attention of drug policy
reform activists. An ambitious, sprawling, and panoramic
overview of the drug war, the film dives into the tragedy
and hypocrisy of the War on Drugs like no Hollywood movie
before it. The film's nationwide release in the coming weeks
is certain to spark popular interest in drug policy, and
that represents an opportunity which drug policy reformers
"Traffic" is, at different times, heavy-handed, shrill, and
melodramatic, and it carries mixed messages -- it is, after
all, a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. But its bottom line
-- after all the tragicomic scenes of a futile War on Drugs
in action in Mexico, on the border, on America's streets,
and in Washington's corridors of power -- is that the War
on Drugs is doomed to failure. Instead, the film implicitly
argues that a harm reduction approach centered on drug
treatment is a more realistic approach for reducing
substance abuse and its attendant harms.
Ironically, some of the politicians who designed the current
drug policy and the armed bureaucrats who implement it have
walk-on roles as themselves in the film. Do they realize
their dogma is being questioned? According to the Associated
Press, the filmmakers got Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) appear
in the film by telling his staff, "the movie will be about
how drugs destroy families."
The AP story goes on to say the film has an anti-drug
message, but that is an oversimplification. True, in some
scenes that could have come from "Reefer Madness," teens
fall victim to the allure of drugs. But to call "Traffic" an
anti-drug movie misses the film's primary message, pounded
into the viewer with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer,
that the War on Drugs must end.
The film's plot centers on Michael Douglas as a reluctant
Drug Czar whose high school age honor student daughter dabbles
in drugs and then in an absurdly short time becomes a full
fledged crack whore at the mercy of her demonic African-
American drug dealer. This is the kind of cautionary tale
that fueled the drug war to begin with, and it reads as
if written by Barry McCaffrey himself.
McCaffrey also could have scripted the lurid scenes of the
Drug Czar's daughter and her prep school friends progressing
with astounding speed from smoking pot to using speedballs,
a mixture of cocaine and heroin. In its typically unsubtle
fashion, the movie manages to bring in both the racial-
sexual fears that envelop drug war zealots and the "gateway
drug" theory. If those scenes are to be believed, any teenage
girl who tries marijuana is one step away from ruin.
While these cartoonish scenes certainly convey an anti-drug
message out of the 1930s, it is unlikely that Sen. Hatch and
other drug warrior senators will like the way the movie
plays out. Watching his daughter's deterioration does not
turn Douglas into an even more zealous drug warrior -- far
from it. Instead, Douglas comes to see his job, his office,
and the drug war as a sham. In addition to Hatch's appearance,
in fact, is a cameo by well-known drug war critic Ethan
Nadelmann, director of the Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy
(Ed: Well-known in some circles, anyway. According to the
gossip columns, the Screen Actors Guild is threatening to
fine the film's producers $500 each for allowing Nadelmann,
as well as journalist J.D. Podolsky, to play themselves.
Under union rules, Nadelmann and Podolsky are not well known
enough to play themselves, and should have been portrayed by
union actors. Sorry, Ethan.)
Just as the film-makers provide both anti-drug abuse and
anti-drug war messages, they also try to have it both ways
in the production notes used to promote the film.
"Everybody who read the script -- whether from the political
right or left, law enforcement or drug addicts -- thought
the script was on their side," said screenwriter Stephen
Gaghan in the notes.
Producer Laura Bickford agrees, "What was curious about
the reaction to the script was that everybody felt it
represented their point of view. The DEA, which gave us
enormous support, felt it was one of the most truthful
things they'd ever read about what it's like to be in
law enforcement fighting the fight."
But if the DEA liked the script, it may therefore believe
its mission is futile. In an example of art imitating life,
scenes portraying the Mexican drug czar as himself a corrupt
drug dealer drive home the point that trying to stop the
flow of drugs is like trying to plow the sea.
In one of the most eloquently stunning scenes in the film,
Douglas, headed back to Washington after a fact-finding
mission in Mexico, asks his policy experts whether they
have any new ideas or strategies. The silence is deafening.
Gaghan does concede in the notes that after researching
the issue and speaking with drug policy makers, he found,
"Speaking candidly nobody thought the current policies were
working -- nobody."
"We're trying to be as dispassionate as we can," added
But he sang a slightly different tune in a recent interview
with Salon. "I came away from this process thinking, 'All
right let's talk about realistic stuff.' Stuff like Prop.
36 (the California initiative passed this year that offers
diversion to treatment programs for nonviolent drug offenders);
finding a way to look at this as a health care issue, not a
criminal issue; something other than filling up prisons with
Salon critic Jeff Stark sums up the film's message well:
"'Traffic' is the first mainstream, major Hollywood
production that has come out and said that America's
drug war is not winnable. The film argues both implicitly
and explicitly that going after the suppliers and the
drug traffickers -- where the US spends the bulk of its
$19-billion-a-year budget -- simply doesn't work, that it
kills innocents and turns others into criminals, that it
devastates poor neighborhoods, that it can't stop or even
attenuate an insatiable social maw of illicit drug use"
Despite the filmmaker's protestations, Stark writes that
their intentions were unambiguous. "Soderbergh and Gaghan
have a clear opinion and neither are holding back -- they're
not afraid to risk sounding didactic in service of what they
consider a moral high ground."
The New York Film Critics Circle agrees with Stark. When
they awarded "Traffic" the prize for best picture, they
called the film an indictment of the drug war, not an
indictment of drugs or drug users.
"Traffic" is by no means a perfect film, but it does provide
a huge potential opening to expand popular consciousness of
the evils of the drug war and the search for better answers.
"Traffic" opens in New York and Los Angeles next week and
nationally in January.
DRCNet needs your support! Donations can be sent to P.O. Box
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Freeze damages crops at Muhammad Farms
December 26, 2000
What's Hiding In GW's Cabinet?
by Robert Lederman
"I'm very good at delegating authority...I'll surround myself
with the best minds in America". Exactly who are these, best
minds in America, and where is GW Bush getting them from?
There is a common thread connecting all of Bush's appointees
so far-pharmaceuticals, oil, Wall Street and the historical
connection between the CIA, major US corporations and Nazi
Germany. If you've studied the Bush family history in any
depth you won't find many surprises among his nominations.
Paul O'Neill, the Bush nominee for Treasury Secretary, is the
chairman of Alcoa Aluminum, one of the nation's largest toxic
polluters. O'Neill owns 1.6 million shares of Alcoa, worth more than
$50 million. During WWII Alcoa negotiated a deal with the Nazis
and IG Farben to supply Germany's war machine rather than the
US military with aluminum. "If America loses this war," said then
Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes on June 26, 1941, "it can
thank the Aluminum Corporation of America [ALCOA]."
Alcoa is the producer of hundreds of millions of tons of fluoride.
This highly toxic byproduct of aluminum has been scientifically
linked in thousands of medical studies conducted since the 19th
century to cancer and other degenerative diseases. In the 1950's
Alcoa arranged to have it profitably added to our nation's drinking
water rather than disposed of as toxic waste. During WWII the
Nazis discovered that by adding fluoride to the drinking water in
concentration camps they could make prisoners far more
submissive to authority. .
Melquiades R. Martinez, designated Secretary for Housing and
Urban Development, is a Cuban refugee who established his
political reputation by preventing new housing from being built in
conservative Orange Co. Florida-claiming it was a quality of life
violation. As chair of Orange County, Martinez eliminated the
department of community affairs, a civil rights agency that was set
up to give poor people a voice in local government. It is probable
that Martinez received CIA indoctrination after he arrived in the US
at age 15 as part of a government airlift program of children whose
parents did not want them to grow up under the Castro regime.
NJ Governor Christie Whitman is the Bush designee for the
Environmental Protection Agency. Her massively polluted state
hosts some of the world's largest oil refineries and chemical
manufacturing plants. Environmental non expert Whitman has said
she doubts that the giant ozone hole over the North Pole or global
warming are actually serious problems.
Donald L. Evans, the nominee for Commerce Secretary, is an
insider in the Texas "oil mafia" and is GW's closest friend and
confidant. He's also a close friend, confidant and contributor to one
of America's biggest recipients of government contacts,
Halliburton's Dick Cheney.
Rev. Floyd Flake, Dubya's nominee for Secretary of Education,
was the only prominent African American leader in NYC to endorse
Bush pal Rudy Giuliani, the racist NYC Mayor who has executed a
seven year long campaign of violence, harassment and false arrest
aimed at African Americans. Giuliani's most memorable quote on
education was a proposal to blow up the entire NYC Board of
Last year, to his everlasting credit, Flake publicly denounced
Giuliani as a mental case. Like numerous GW Bush aides and
advisors, Rev. Flake is part of the CIA's Manhattan Institute which
masterminded Giuliani's entire social eugenics agenda. Among the
areas Flake is likely to focus on for Bush is turning public
education over to religious institutions and corporations.
Ann M. Veneman, Bush's appointee for secretary of agriculture,
was deputy secretary for agriculture under President George Bush.
She is known as an advocate for letting corporations exploit public
land and for widespread distribution of foods containing genetically-
altered animal genes, viruses, self-contained insecticides and
bacteria. Bush has said he wants to open up Federal reserves,
national forests and other pristine areas of public land to oil
mining and road construction. Under Bush stewardship, we could
see corporations running frankenfood farms in Yosemite or drilling
for oil in the Grand Canyon.
John Ashcroft, GW's choice for Attorney General, is a self-styled
moral crusader as strongly against abortion as he is enthusiastic
about the death penalty. He lost his Senate seat in the 2000
election to an opponent who died during the campaign. Last year,
Ashcroft received an honorary degree from Bob Jones University
and is closely aligned with the Christian Coalition and Pat
Robertson. Ashcroft is also an outspoken fan of Supreme Court
Justice Clarence Thomas. He is known among lobbyists as an
advocate for drug companies and the automotive industry and for
preventing consumers from suing HMO's.
Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., nominated as director of the Office of
Management and Budget was senior executive of the Eli Lilly drug
company-which Bush's father headed from 1977-79. Daniels was
also previously the president of the arch conservative think tank
Hudson Institute. Daniels, who advocates strict enforcement of
laws against casual drug users, was arrested for marijuana
possession in 1970.
Secretary of State designee Colin Powell is a lifelong operative of
the CIA/military industrial complex. While working for the Pentagon
he helped cover up the Mai Lai massacre, the contra/arms deal
and Gulf War Syndrome. Powell's fame derives from presiding over
a war in which US troops were used as guinea pigs for
experimental vaccines so that they could "safely" fight George
Bush's friend Sadamn Hussein-who had been given the go ahead to
attack Kuwait after being supplied with chemical and biological
weapons by the Bush administration. Like many of GW's
appointees of color, Powell proudly admits he owes his career in
large part to affirmative action while joining an administration that
considers ending affirmative action one of its topmost priorities.
Condolezza Rice, Bush's National Security advisor was formerly a
security advisor under President George Bush and an aide to Colin
Powell. She has the job of explaining the basic elements of foreign
policy to GW, about which Bush admits to knowing almost
nothing. A large part of her career was involved in administering the
CIA's foreign policy objectives. She serves on the board of Chevron
Oil-known as one of the African continents most violent human
rights abusers. A grateful Chevron recently named an oil tanker
The emerging profile of the Bush administration-moderately
conservative and multi-racial-is a facade. To see their real agenda
one has to examine the administration's ideological source-the
Manhattan Institute. GW may cultivate the image of a plain-talkin'
good ole boy who prefers barbecuing to making policy, but virtually
every idea presented as central to his agenda comes from this elite
east coast institution.
A little background MI (The Manhattan Institute) was started in
1978 by William Casey, one of the top intelligence operatives in US
history. During WWII Casey worked with OSS chief William
Donavan and Allen Dulles to bring top level Nazi officials to the US
where they were recruited into the newly-formed CIA, the military,
government-connected medical research institutions and the
media. The stated rational for importing Hitler's top intelligence
operatives, social scientists and propagandists to the US was that
they would be employed in fighting Communism-exactly what Hitler
claimed he used them for. In reality they were brought here to help
establish fascism in America-a goal which they are increasingly
Before WWII started Dulles was involved with GW's grandfather
Prescott Bush on Wall Street where, along with George Herbert
Walker (Prescott Bush's father-in-law) they operated banks and
shipping companies that were later declared by the US Congress
to be fronts for the Nazis. In 1942 shortly after the US entered
WWII the assets of these Wall Street companies were seized by
the US government under the Trading With The Enemy Act.
Dulles was the legal counsel for both Standard Oil and for Nazi
Germany's I.G. Farben-one of the world's largest industrial
powerhouses-which was co-owned by the Rockefeller family-the
main funders of the Manhattan Institute.
The US ambassador to Germany at the time had this to say about
The Rockefellers, the Bush's, the Mellons (owners of Alcoa) and
the other wealthy Americans who were backing Hitler and
promoting Eugenics, or scientific racism:
"A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state
supplant our democratic government and is working closely with
the fascist regime in Germany. I have had plenty of opportunity in
Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families
are to the Nazi regime. . .They extended aid to help Fascism
occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there." -
William Dodd, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, 1937.-Facts and
Fascism, G Seldes, p. 122 Also, Trading with the Enemy, Charles
When IG Farben was broken up after Germany lost the war its
parts became the top pharmaceutical companies in the world-
BASF, Hoechst, Bayer AG, Agfa-Gevaert and Cassella AG. Today
these companies, along with Pfizer and Eli Lilly-which former
President George Bush headed from 1977-1979-are the largest
manufacturers of prescription and over the counter drugs sold in the
U.S. Both the Pfizer and Eli Lilly drug companies are sponsors of
These oil, pharmaceutical and Wall Street investment banking
elites are the foundations of the Rockefeller and Bush dynasties
and are the real constituents of the new Bush administration.
Being a business partner with the Third Reich posed no problem for
Dulles who became the first CIA director in 1947. In fact, their
relationship with the Nazis and Wall Street was exactly how
Dulles, former Pres. Bush and William Casey all became CIA
directors. GW's father was made CIA director in 1976. Shortly after
creating the Manhattan Institute, William Casey was made CIA
director by Ronald Reagan.
In 1954 Casey put together a consortium of investors including top
US intelligence experts who had made fortunes on Wall Street to
form Capital Cities. In the interim, Casey served as Chairman of the
Securities and Exchange Commission from 1969 to 1977. By 1985
Casey's Capital Cities had so much cash it was able to buy ABC
and operate it as a propaganda arm of the US government-which it
continues to be today.
Casey was the top stockholder in ABC while he was director of the
CIA under the Reagan and Bush administrations. ABC, CNN and
Rupert Murdoch's rabidly right wing network FOX were instrumental
in fabricating GW Bush's illegitimate presidency, the myth that
Colin Powell is a hero and the idea that the Gulf War was a military
victory-rather than a human and ecological disaster fought solely to
benefit the oil industry.
The reason this history is crucial to understanding GW Bush and
his ties to the Manhattan Institute is that these same themes-Wall
Street investing, Eugenics, the oil and drug industries, working for
the Rockefeller family, manipulating the media and the directorship
and ideology of the CIA-are the foundation on which the MI and it's
influence within the new Bush administration can be understood.
The connection between Nazi Germany, the Bush family and the
CIA is simultaneously political, financial and ideological. It
encompasses investment banking, legal and illegal drug dealing
and Eugenics, the pseudo-science of population control. Unlike
openly racist groups, they are equal opportunity employers
carefully cultivating operatives among all races. Academics,
politicians, doctors, clergy, prominent new anchors, social
scientists and in some cases even street gangs are among their
assets in the war to exert social control.
If you visit the MI website you will find a list of academics who are
their roster of so-called conservative experts. Their areas of
expertise are race, eliminating welfare, deregulation of business
and the privatization of virtually everything the government presently
manages-including education, prisons, parks, streets, social
security, courts and welfare.
A number of their experts, including Bush's domestic policy advisor
Stephen Goldsmith and Rev. Floyd Flake, are slated for cabinet
positions. Others MI notables, including Myron Magnet, are the
inventors of Bush's doublespeak theme, "compassionate
conservatism". GW has stated that next to Jesus and the bible,
Magnet's book on the so-called underclass has been the single
greatest influence on his ideas.
The Pioneer Fund, perhaps the world's greatest promoter of
Eugenics, funded MI's best-known resident scholar, Charles
Murray, during eight years in which he wrote The Bell Curve.
Despite tremendous controversy about his ideas Murray remains
the MI's leading expert on welfare reform, IQ and affirmative action.
The Bell Curve advances the idea, as do virtually all Pioneer Fund
projects, that African Americans are genetically inferior, disease
prone, have low IQ and are a drain on the US economy. Murray's
books have been heavily promoted by the MI and are the
intellectual foundation for the movement in the US to end affirmative
action and welfare.
Murray is glowingly mentioned hundreds of times on their website,
speaks at their seminars and is cited as a brilliant scholar by none
other than GW Bush's top domestic policy advisor, Stephen
Many Americans didn't seem to mind seeing the CIA ruthlessly
manipulate the political and social fabric of other nations for the
second half of the 20th century. How they will feel about America
being openly run by the CIA and this circle of racist corporate
gangsters may well determine the history of the next century.
Robert Lederman 12/23/2000
NY Times June 12, 2000 Bush Culls Campaign Theme From
Conservative Thinkers ???Gov. George W. Bush has said his
political views have been shaped by the work of Myron Magnet of
the Manhattan Institute.??? Also see: The Dallas Morning Star
4/16/2000 The Godfathers of 'Compassionate Conservatism
NY Times Monday, May 12, 1997 Turning Intellect Into Influence
Promoting Its Ideas, the Manhattan Institute Has Nudged New York
Rightward "...the institute was founded as a free-market education
and research organization by William Casey, who then went off to
head the Central Intelligence Agency in the Reagan
See: Sarasota Herald-Tribune 11/11/2000
of Florida Holocaust Museum links Bush family to Nazis
"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just
so long as I'm the dictator." -12/18/2000 GW Bush See CNN
Boston Globe 12/11/2000 Conspiracy theories on election abound -
"Robert Lederman spies a conspiracy around virtually every corner
of American government, and nowhere more so than in the post-
election drama playing out in Florida. Lederman...spotted signs of
a sinister plot from the moment Florida Governor Jeb Bush flew
home after election night. Since then, the rulings by various courts
and elections officials have only confirmed his worst suspicion: the
existence of a ''vast right-wing conspiracy,'' probably tied to the
CIA, orchestrated to win the White House for George W. Bush."
Robert Lederman, President of A.R.T.I.S.T.
(Artists??? Response To Illegal State Tactics)
ARTISTpres@aol.com (718) 743-3722
for much more detailed info on all of the above see
Please feel free to forward and repost-Happy Holidays!
FW: FW: Another reason to eat at home
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 11:10:32 -0500
From: "Eure, Michael" <MEure@es.st-aug.edu>
"Chicken head found in wing box"
Mother still dealing with her discovery
by Keith Rushing Daily Press
Katherine Orteaga was looking forward to eating a chicken dinner after a family outing Tuesday.
She ordered a box of fried wings from McDonald's and was putting them on plates for her two children when she found a chicken part that definitely wasn't a wing.
(more including picture of chicken head)
Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2000 12:12:59 -0800
From: TheBlackList News <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: JAMAICA: Court probing 'Mad Cow' calamity
Court probing 'Mad Cow' calamity
Observer Reporter & AFP
BRITAIN insisted yesterday that its officials who handled the mad cow
disease outbreak had acted "in good faith," as a French court considered
bringing charges of manslaughter against them.
News of the Franco investigation came a day after the French trade
commissioner to Jamaica, Jean-Pierre Laclau, issued a strong defence of the
purity of French corned beef on which Jamaica has placed a temporary ban
because of the disease.
Yesterday, a Paris court opened an investigation into claims that French,
British and European Union officials were guilty of involuntary homicide for
allowing the disease to spread from Britain to mainland Europe.
A spokesman for Britain's Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said
a two-year inquiry into the handling of the outbreak led by Lord Nicholas
Phillips had not found any individuals to be culpable.
"As the Phillips report concluded, officials and former ministers acted in
good faith," he said.
The investigation in Paris was initiated by two families of French people
who have died from the human form of mad cow disease, variant
Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (vCJD).
In their writ the families said that Britain bore a heavy responsibility
for "authorising the mass export of animal meal, which they recognise as
being the main source of contamination".
Britain was the first European country to identify mad cow disease, or
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), in its cattle herds and suffered the
worst outbreak anywhere. More than 80 people in Britain who contracted vCJD
from eating contaminated beef have died, and two have died in France.
The disease in livestock has been brought under control but it has since
cropped up on farms in a number of other countries in Europe.
Meat-and bone-meal (MBM), manufactured from ground-up carcasses is widely
held to be the main vector for propagating BSE. The meal was banned for
cattle in Britain in 1988, two years after the outbreak of the disease
there, but continued to be exported to Europe.
The victims' families also blamed the European Union (EU) for having
"helped by its passivity ... the spread of infection," and accused France of
"complicity ... for not making public health a top priority."
Yesterday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it would be alerting
countries that import beef products from the EU about the economic impact of
WHO experts Maura Ricketts and Francois Meslin told a news conference in
Geneva that the cost of BSE to Britain had been US$7.5 billion (8.1 billion
euro) between 1986 and 1996.
"If this agent is introduced into a country the economic impact for the
country is enormous," Ricketts said, adding this would be particularly the
case for developing countries.
The Jamaica Bureau of Standards did not highlight the economic cost of the
disease, but said its temporary restriction of imports of French corned
beef, announced Wednesday, was a precautionary measure to protect the
According to the Bureau, the concern for health and safety became more
glaring as the agency learnt that a recent study by an Argentine
veterinarian revealed that Jamaica, on a per capita basis, was the largest
consumer of corned beef in the world.
Two local distributors -- Grace, Kennedy and Lasco -- have volunteered to
remove their brands that are imported from France from the market.
But commissioner Laclau, in a statement Thursday, vouched for the safety
of French corned beef, saying that the produce comes from cattle that are:
* under strict veterinary control;
* tested before and after killing;
* killed in controlled and certified slaughterhouses; and
* certified safe and free of BSE.
Commissioner Laclau also said that French corned beef is processed in
"dedicated plants with no risk of contact with other animal parts", and that
the meat used by the plants can be traced back to the individual animal for
each batch of the product.
In addition, Laclau said there are only three producers of corned beef in
France, therefore the source of the products is well established. He also
said that each shipment of corned beef is certified safe and free of BSE
contamination by French official veterinary authorities.
Laclau said, too, that the French Embassy in Jamaica remained confident
"that proper consultations, sincerity and good faith will lead to a prompt
re-establishment of trade in meat products with France".
December 21, 2000
Electoral Racism: Chance For New Alliances?
By Frances M. Beal <email@example.com>
There are two good things that could be said about
the events in Florida and the shameful U.S. Supreme Court
ruling that anointed Bush as president. One is that the
election exposes once again that race is central to U.S.
politics. The other is that political activists have a rare
opportunity to forge new alliances among disparate forces
in the current struggles for democracy, and social, economic
and racial justice. In embryonic form, these new coalitions
have already begun to emerge.
Members of the Electoral College met in 50 state
capitals around the country on December 18th. Inside these
imposing edifices, they went through the motions of casting
votes to select the next U.S. President. Outside, however,
thousands of people amassed to count the ways that this
election has no legitimacy and to demand an end to electoral
racism along with fundamental reform of the electoral laws.
There are those that sneered that the gatherings are
merely an exhibition of sour grapes, but these protests go
far beyond partisanship for the GOP, the Dems, the Greens or
any other political party. The speakers represented a broad
spectrum of groups across the ideological divide and sectors
that heretofore have not recently found common ground:
the civil rights movement, the anti-corporate forces,
environmentalists, trade unionists and electoral
The breadth of the coalition is based on a
developing consciousness on the part of whites that race
plays a central role in U.S. politics and the struggle for
democracy. Ironically, we have the state of Florida to thank
for this new understanding of electoral racism. That state
wrote a shameful page in the electoral history book that
is already crammed with shameful events.
It came as quite a shock to many white progressives
that even the fundamental right to vote was still being
denied to people of color. But now, few progressives can
doubt that Jeb Bush made a conscious decision to deliver
Florida's 25 electoral votes to the Republicans by a
systematic and conscious scheme to curtail the vote of tens
of thousands of African Americans. No other explanation can
account for the outrageous violations of the Voting Rights
Act that have emerged since the election.
The tenuous unity being forged is likewise based on
a growing consciousness among many people of color that the
Democrats cannot be excused from the disenfranchisement
scheme. Under the aegis of the Democratic Leadership
Council, these Dixiecrats have worked for eight years to
push the Democratic Party & nation to the right. One only
has to look at the assault on welfare recipients, or their
promotion of NAFTA, or their refusal to uphold affirmative
action. Above all one can look at their misnamed criminal
justice policies, where social and health ills are
criminalized and the ensuing highest incarceration
rate of any industrialized country.
These policies came back to haunt the Dems in
Florida, since it is one of ten states, mostly in the South,
where a felony conviction means you lose your vote FOR LIFE!
As a result one in three Black male Floridians (200,000) can
never vote again.
Even some of the Gore faithful are asking why
he refused to sign on to a court challenge of all these
violations of the Voting Rights Act. The Gore faithful can
shake their heads in despair, but few can dispute the fact
that he made sure to distance himself from the demands
of Black voters for an immediate remedy to the massive
deprivation of their suffrage. They are more prepared
to listen to an analysis that explains his seemingly
self-destructive behavior by exposing the racist DLC
strategy of ignoring African American concerns and
interests in favor of making the party more
appealing to white surburban America.
Many Black people understand more than others,
however, that much of the impetus for the massive voter
fraud in the 2000 election is not just an aberration. It
can be traced to our undemocratic and racist election
procedures: the winner take all rules in general and
the Electoral College in particular.
This institution is rooted in America's racist
history. When the country was founded after the war for
independence, the slaveowners fearful that they would not
have enough power, insisted that their slaves be counted
as three-fifths of a person in determining congressional
representation and Electoral College strength. This is the
reason that 32 of our first 36 presidents came from Dixie.
>From that time until the civil war ended formal slavery,
the U.S. national government spoke with a southern accent.
Today, that accent persists. This apparent
anachronism is more than a hold over from a less enlightened
era. The Electoral College was established to maintain white
supremacy then and it operates to maintain white supremacy
today. Fifty-three percent of African Americans live in the
South, but in no state do they represent a majority. This
means that in every presidential election, the reactionaries
from the South literally wipe out the votes of millions of
This helps explain why the South remains a bastion
of reaction - it is anti-black and other people of color,
it's anti labor, it's anti immigrant, and it's a hotbed
for the Christian right wing and militarism. And yet,
Black people,the most progressive base in that region,
are rendered voiceless by the winner take all rules that
prevail. The Civil Rights movement may have destroyed the
monopoly over power by whites, but we have not yet put to
rest the tyranny of a white reactionary majority that is
still institutionalized in the two-party, Electoral
It should be evident that one of the most important
political lessons of elections 2000 is that those who fight
for a progressive agenda and racial justice must place
electoral racism at the top of their activist agenda. This
is an opportune moment to do so since millions of people
have been exposed to and shocked by the pervasive dirty
underbelly of racist and exclusionary electoral practices.
If we act decisively against electoral racism, the peoples'
movements for peace and justice can take great strides in
beginning to challenge the political stranglehold of
conservative politics over the nation as a whole.
Frances M. Beal is a columnist for the San Francisco Bay
View newspaper and the National Secretary of the Black
Radical Congress. The views and opinions expressed in
the above article are her own.
Copyright (c) 2000 Frances M. Beal. All Rights Reserved.
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 14:03:08 -0500
From: "Louis Posner" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: INAUGURAL VOTER MARCH - IMPORTANT UPDATE
Thousands of us will be meeting at Dupont Circle In Wash. DC at 10:00 am on
Saturday, January 20th. We will have a stage set up for our
counter-inaugural demonstration at Dupont Circle where we will have various
speakers and entertainment figures performing. We will then have an
organized protest march from Dupont Circle to the Capitol and then to the
U.S. Supreme Court.
Bob "Hawk" Rogers from DC has been doing a great job in securing the permit
applications and Joshua MacFarlane has done a great job in redesigning our
new website at www.VoterMarch.org. Inquiries regarding the website should
be made to email@example.com.
I was also interviewed by the Washington Post which will be publishing an
article this Thursday about VoterMarch.org and other groups who will be
protesting the Inauguration.
If you have any questions for us, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Louis Posner, Esq.
Thursday, December 21, 2000; Page A10
Election Anger Fuels Inaugural Protesters
By David Montgomery and Arthur Santana
Washington Post Staff Writers
The raw wounds left by the presidential election finale have created
enough irritation to unleash one of the largest inauguration protests in
years, according to veteran organizers and police officials.
"This will be by far the biggest counter-inauguration since the 1973
Nixon counter-inauguration," predicted Brian Becker, co-director of the
International Action Center in New York, who has demonstrated at
numerous presidential swearing-in events. "We organize protests not
infrequently, and we know when something has legs and when it
doesn't have legs. This one does."
At the second inauguration of President Richard M. Nixon, police
estimated there were 25,000 to 100,000 demonstrators, including
some who threw fruit and stones at Nixon's car. The total crowd was
D.C. police are expecting about 750,000 people on Jan. 20 when
President-elect Bush is sworn in, and they said they think many
demonstrators will be content to voice their displeasure peacefully.
Becker's group, like several others hoping to flood parts of the city on
Inauguration Day, had been planning to be in Washington no matter
who won the election. But enough people think the outcome was
illegitimate, he said, that it has cranked up protest passion. Within
hours of the Dec. 12 U.S. Supreme Court decision blocking Vice
President Gore's effort to recount votes in Florida, Becker and other
organizers said, their Web sites were deluged with inquiries.
"There's a tremendous amount of spontaneous organizing going on,"
said Becker, 48.
A rainbow of left-leaning groups had planned to rally on the Mall to
vent outrage at a variety of demons, including racism, the death
penalty and the corporate influence on politics. But complaints that
some Florida votes were not counted, including those of many African
Americans, have given demonstrators powerful common issues.
Unlike the street protests against the World Bank in April, no civil
disobedience has been planned, organizers say. They said the
demonstrations will feature signs, chants, giant puppets, skits and a
squad of radical stilt walkers being trained in Philadelphia.
"We are not planning to shut down the inauguration," Becker said. "We
are planning to make it plain that the inaugural route is not the private
property of those who support the death penalty, so we're going to be
well-represented on that parade route."
D.C. police aren't taking any chances with protesters' intentions,
according to Executive Assistant Chief Terrance W. Gainer. He said he
expects fewer than 5,000 unruly demonstrators might try to disrupt the
inauguration, along with thousands of peaceful demonstrators.
In addition to the D.C. force, thousands of suburban and federal
officers will participate in what officials described as an unprecedented
level of security.
The Justice Action Movement, an alliance of Washington area
protesters, yesterday sent D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey a letter
requesting a meeting to discuss plans for peaceful protests. Cmdr.
Michael Radzilowski, who is in charge of special operations, said
yesterday that he would be happy to meet with the protesters.
Half a dozen groups have requested permits, but none have been
granted. A National Park Service spokesman said the agency is waiting
for inauguration planners to make final arrangements before it allots
space to protesters.
The National Organization for Women plans to be there. "It's important
for our own spirit to let people know there is a place to plug in, take
that anger and use it to fuel some additional activism," NOW President
Patricia Ireland said.
The Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Walter Fauntroy plan a "shadow
inauguration" outside the U.S. Supreme Court to swear in those
pledging to uphold the Voting Rights Act.
"We feel the act was violated by George Bush," Sharpton said.
Fauntroy, pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Shaw, said he has
witnessed every swearing-in since President Franklin D. Roosevelt's
fourth in 1945, and "I know of no inauguration that has been the source
of greater controversy than this . . . following a shameful election."
Other activists are planning a Voters March to call for election reform
and the abolishment of the electoral college. "Our nation has been
traumatized by what has happened in this election," said Louis Posner,
a New York attorney leading the effort.
Another group, the D.C.-based New Black Panther Party, and its allies
plan to stage a Day of Outrage march, said spokesman Malik Shabazz.
Other local protest efforts are being coordinated by the Justice Action
Movement, a coalition of many who protested the World Bank. They
have been holding public meetings for several weeks at George
Washington University. They scheduled a news conference today to
bring together organizers of various protest efforts.
On Monday, several dozen people attended a Justice Action Movement
meeting. Most were students or young members of progressive
organizations and unions, but several were old enough to have
protested Nixon's inauguration. Justice Action Movement has dubbed
Jan. 20 the "InaugurAuction," a reference to members' belief that the
major parties buy the White House with corporate funds.
"Because of a corrupt political system, we now have a president who is
going to be threatening the lives of many innocent people because of
his support for the death penalty, military policies abroad and free
trade," said Adam Eidinger, 27, a movement organizer.
At the meeting, the group voted not to use violence, vandalism,
weapons, alcohol or drugs. They also decided to remain in small
groups scattered all over the Mall, employing creative visual effects and
stilt walkers to make their points.
After the meeting, several organizers said they suspected a police
infiltrator was in their midst. A man with a goatee looked just like a
plainclothes officer who figured prominently in confrontations with
World Bank demonstrators, according to organizers who said they have
Before ending a brief telephone interview with The Washington Post,
the man denied he was an undercover officer. A police spokesman said
there is no one on the force with the name the man used at the
meeting. Gainer confirmed that the police have infiltrated the
protesters, but he didn't identify anyone.
"They're looking for excuses to shut us down," Eidinger said.
This week, a few members of Justice Action Movement held a practice
InaugurAuction in front of the White House, offering to auction the
building for $10 to carpenters building bleachers for the parade.
"I don't feel this particular election demonstrates ideally what the
presidency is for this country," said Elizabeth Croyden, 30, an actress
and film producer who participated. "It exposes a lot of flaws in the
system, and I'm upset about it. If you don't get involved, how can you
make a difference?"
International Action Center
39 West 14th Street, Room 206
New York, NY 10011
CHECK OUT SITE
phone: 212 633-6646
fax: 212 633-2889
*To make a tax-deductible donation,
December 22, 2000
Mad Cow Angst Dampens Germans'
By ROGER COHEN
ERLIN, Dec. 21 — The
sausage is sacred in this
country, so there was little surprise
when Chancellor Gerhard
Schröder's cabinet was summoned
today for crisis talks as Germans
panicked over possible connections
between mad cow disease and their
Mr. Schröder, an epicure who
prefers pasta but likes to down a
sausage in carefully rehearsed
meet- the-people moments, issued a
statement after the cabinet meeting
saying, "Ministers are doing their
utmost to ensure that we have the
best possible consumer safety."
In fact, his health minister, Andrea Fischer, an environmentalist Green,
seems to be doing her utmost to ruin the German holiday season, warning
Germans this week that some sausages might contain beef that was
machine-cut from the spines of animals and urging producers to withdraw
any suspect sausage.
Today, the Health Ministry backed away from formally ordering the
withdrawal from stores of any of Germany's many sausage varieties, but
the government crisis talks reflected the damage done.
Two more cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy — commonly
known as mad cow disease — were found in German cattle today,
bringing the total to five since testing began a few weeks ago and
stimulating further concern among an already near-hysterical public.
For full story: http://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/22/world/22GERM.html?pagewanted=1
December 22, 2000
Israel Acknowledges Hunting Down Arab
By DEBORAH SONTAG
ERUSALEM, Dec. 21 — Senior Israeli
officials have acknowledged a new tactic
of hunting down and killing individual
Palestinian militants whom Israel holds
responsible for planning attacks on or attacking
The Israeli radio and the newspaper Haaretz
have quoted senior military officials on a
"liquidations" policy that has provoked an outcry
among Palestinian officials, who call it "state
terrorism." While Israeli officials never denied
that they were tracking down and killing armed
operatives, they are now beginning to
acknowledge this publicly, explicitly and even
Carmit Guy, an Israeli radio interviewer, today
asked Ephraim Sneh, the deputy defense
minister, about "our eliminations."
"When we say that we will punish the murders
and we will prevent terror attacks, we really
mean it," Mr. Sneh said. "The good thing is that
we have succeeded in getting to, in an exact,
pinpoint and clean manner, people who have
launched terror attacks, murdered Israelis and are planning even more
Ms. Guy said, "But they then accuse us."
"So let them accuse all they want," Mr. Sneh said. "You can't beat terror at
symposiums at the university. The most effective and just way to deal with
terror is the elimination or incarceration of the people who lead these
The Israeli Army unveiled this approach quite openly in early November,
but then proceeded quietly.
In early November, it assassinated a paramilitary commander in Beit
Sahur, near Bethlehem. During peak daylight, Israeli helicopter gunships
dropped missiles on his car as he left a site from which Palestinian gunmen
often fired on an Israeli Army post. The missiles killed the commander,
Hussein Obaiyat, and two middle-aged women passing by.
The army admitted the killing, which it referred to as a "surgical strike," in
contrast to the shelling of security force headquarters and other Palestinian
government offices. At the time, several senior government officials were
beginning to question Israel's retaliatory bombardments as
counterproductive displays of force. The shellings damaged public buildings
— which were evacuated because the Israelis gave warnings — but also
hurt private homes, terrified civilians and harmed Israel's image, they said.
The changing nature of the conflict also called for different tactics, they
said. The uprising began with large clashes between Palestinian rioters and
Israeli soldiers. But it mutated into something more akin to a Lebanon-style
guerrilla war, in which Palestinian gunmen mounted shooting attacks and
planted bombs. Israel, too, began thinking as it had in Lebanon, using
intelligence information to track down field commanders.
In three consecutive days last week, Israeli soldiers shot dead three
Palestinian militants — one from the Hamas organization, one from the
Islamic Jihad and one from Yasir Arafat's Fatah organization. All died
instantly in a hail of gunfire.
An Israeli radio report today cited a senior Israeli officer who called the
policy "very effective" in thwarting attacks and damaging the operational
ability of Palestinians. Using their one public case, army officials have
pointed to what they consider the positive aftermath of the Obaiyat
assassination; the shooting from Beit Sahur onto the Israeli Army outpost
dwindled to almost nothing.
Since the Obaiyat attack, the army has carried out its hits more quietly.
"After a dozen such revenge attacks, the army has developed a tactic that
takes into account media coverage of the event," Amos Harel, the military
correspondent for Haaretz, wrote this week. "When operations do not
involve an exchange of live fire, the Israeli Defense Forces spokesman
declines to respond. When attempts are made to stop activists and those
activists open fire, Israel immediately disperses its version of events."
The army generally says it was trying to stop and arrest the militant, who
responded by shooting and was shot dead in an ensuing gun battle.
The Palestinians say Israel has killed about 20 operatives, but the Israelis
say that number is exaggerated. Still, Israeli Army officials believe that the
killings, which they say are not directed at political leaders, have had a
chilling effect on the Palestinian paramilitary operations. Several
well-known Palestinian commanders are keeping a lower profile now, out
of fear that they will be chosen for attack.
Haaretz reported this week that several Islamic militants who were
recently released from prison have asked the Palestinian Authority for
protection. Some have been taken into protective custody, it said.
Meeting with Israeli lawmakers this week, Mr. Arafat said the
"assassinations" fueled violence. He urged them to intervene with their
government, but in Israel there has been little protest over the policy.
Monday December 18 11:56 PM ET
Bush Pledges Healing, Interviews Job
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect
George W. Bush (news - web sites) pledged to help
heal ``whatever wounds may exist'' from the bitterly
contested election as he introduced himself to the
powerful elite who could make or break his
Bush sounded a humble, bipartisan theme on his
first visit to Washington since officially becoming
president-elect on Dec. 13 when Vice President Al
Gore (news - web sites) conceded the election to
him after a 36-day legal war over Florida's electoral
``I look forward to listening and occasionally talking, to work with both the
Republicans and the Democrats,'' he said Monday.
Bush, setting a hectic pace during a three-day visit to Washington, interviewed
prospective Cabinet appointees at the Madison Hotel as electors across the
United States carried out the traditional formality of meeting and officially
picked Bush as the 43rd president of the United States.
Normally the Electoral College (news - web sites) official count is routine but
this year took on added drama, although the final tally was not in doubt.
Bush won 271 electoral votes, just one more than needed to become president,
when Nevada cast its four votes in his favor. Democrat Gore should have won
267 votes but one elector in the District of Columbia cast a blank ballot in
protest of the nation's capital not being a state and having representation in
Bush advisers, who asked to remain unidentified, said Bush was meeting Alcoa
aluminum company head Paul O'Neill, who is emerging as a top contender for
Treasury secretary but is a Wall Street unknown and is getting a lukewarm
He also met former Republican Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana, a former member
of the Senate Armed Services Committee who is now believed to have the
inside track for defense secretary.
They also said Bush was meeting former California agriculture chief Ann
Veneman as a possible agriculture secretary.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman was to meet Cheney
and was spotted at Bush's hotel. She has been under consideration for a
Cabinet post like labor secretary.
Bush expressed confidence in Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan
(news - web sites), who is credited with helping push the U.S. economy to its
longest peacetime expansion. The two men had a breakfast meeting and Bush
said they focused on high energy costs.
May Be ``Head-Knocking''
At a news conference after his talks on Capitol Hill with the two Republican
and two Democratic leaders of Congress, the Texas governor playfully said he
might have to resort to ''head-knocking'' and arm-twisting.
``I told all four that there are going to be some times where we don't agree with
each other, but that's OK. If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot
easier, just so long as I'm the dictator,'' he chuckled.
But turning serious, he said he wanted to work with both parties because the
closeness of the election ``should make it clear to all of us that we can come
together to heal whatever wounds may exist, whatever residuals there may
Even Democrats who feel Gore was probably the
rightful winner but had it taken away from him by
the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme
Court (news - web sites) were willing to give Bush
a honeymoon greeting, calling him now the
``It's an opportunity for us to wipe the slate clean, to begin anew, with a
recognition that we have many, many challenges ahead,'' said Senate
Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. ``And as we face those
challenges, the only real choice for us is to recognize that bipartisanship isn't an
option, it's a requirement.''
Republican leaders, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and
House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois, said they hoped Bush would improve
what has been a partisan tone during Bill Clinton's presidency.
``This is a time for a new beginning, a new atmosphere, a new tone. I believe
we have a leader in George W. Bush that will provide direction toward a more
cooperative atmosphere,'' Lott said.
In his meetings, Bush said he would push for his proposed 10-year, $1.3 trillion
tax cut despite concerns about it on Capitol Hill, particularly among Democrats.
Laura Bush At White House
At the White House, Bush's wife Laura paid a visit to first lady Hillary Rodham
Clinton (news - web sites) for talks about the Bush transition to the venerable
``I'm glad to see you,'' Mrs. Clinton told Mrs. Bush after the Texas first lady
overcame a jammed door and finally managed to get out of her limousine.
It was unclear whether Greenspan told Bush about his concerns about the
president-elect's proposed 10-year, $1.3 trillion tax cut.
Greenspan differs with Bush on the need for across-the-board tax cuts, saying
surplus tax revenues should go toward paying down the national debt. Bush's
father, former President George Bush, has groused in the past that Greenspan
did not take steps to revive the U.S. economy in the early 1990s, helping seal
Bush's re-election defeat by Clinton.
``I talked with a good man right here. We had a very strong discussion about
my confidence in his abilities,'' Bush told reporters after the meeting.
He is to meet Gore and Clinton separately on Tuesday before returning home to Austin, Texas, where a Bush
news conference is possible on Wednesday.
Clinton told reporters at the White House he would ``do what I can to help President-elect Bush have a good
transition.'' The White House predicted a cordial meeting between Clinton and Bush, including lunch, despite
Bush's campaign vow to ``restore honor and dignity'' to the White House.
Bush's recently named national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites), met for an hour and a half
with her Clinton counterpart Samuel Berger. White House Chief of Staff John Podesta will meet his Bush
counterpart, Andrew Card.
December 21, 2000
Woman in the News: Ann M. Veneman
By MICHAEL JANOFSKY
OS ANGELES, Dec. 20 —
For California Republicans,
President- elect George W. Bush's
selection of Ann M. Veneman to
be secretary of agriculture came as
As a deputy secretary of
agriculture for Mr. Bush's father,
Ms. Veneman had been the
highest-ranking woman ever to
serve in the department. If
confirmed as secretary, she would
become the first woman to lead it.
And last year, when Mr. Bush
began organizing his presidential
campaign, Ms. Veneman
volunteered to serve on his
exploratory committee in
California. That posed a daunting
challenge since Vice President Al
Gore, as a candidate, was far
more popular, and even among
Republicans, Mr. Bush had his
opponents: Bill Jones, the
secretary of state who is the senior elected Republican official in
California, was an early supporter of Senator John McCain of Arizona.
Thus, by his selection today, Mr. Bush has returned a favor.
"She's bright. She's capable. She'll do an outstanding job," Mr. Bush said
of Ms. Veneman, 51, a former secretary of the California Department of
Food and Agriculture.
Representatives of farming, timber and mining groups applauded her
selection, characterizing Ms. Veneman as a centrist willing to balance the
interests of all sides in any policy debate.
But as a possible prelude to conflict, environmental groups and
organizations representing small farmers called her a troubling choice.
They complained that as a strong proponent of free-market trade and
multiple-uses for public lands — and as a chairwoman of Mr. Bush's
campaign in California — Ms. Veneman would favor a larger role for
business and a retreat from policies that have helped family farms and
protected national forest lands.
Mr. Bush's comments today in Austin, Tex., were echoed by
representatives of interest groups whose fortunes are tied closely to
policy set by the agriculture department. The agency regulates such
disparate issues as price supports for farmers, food safety and national
forests, which the department oversees through the Forest Service.
"She is a great choice," said Bill Pauli, president of the California Farm
Bureau, a group that represents 90,000 farmers and ranchers.
"She clearly knows and understands process and procedure of
agriculture," Mr. Pauli said. "Equally important, she understands the
importance of good trade policy, relative to agriculture."
Laura Skaer, executive director of the Northwest Mining Association,
said the selection of Ms. Veneman meant that "the pendulum is going to
swing the other way" in a Bush administration, after a series of initiatives
by President Clinton to withdraw nearly 70 million acres of public lands
from resource development or recreational use.
"We expect she'll be more friendly to natural resource development," Ms.
Pete Wilson, who as governor of California from 1991 through 1998
was Ms. Veneman's boss, recalled a 1996 incident that demonstrated to
him her ability to analyze a problem and deal with it.
"There was a scare with respect to California strawberries being tainted
and fears they could cause hepatitis," he said. "I was out of Sacramento,
but she was unflappable. She determined there was no evidence of a
problem. She called a news conference. She stood before the reporters
and ate a considerable portion of the strawberries.
"To me," he added, "that took moxie."
Yet to others, the naming of Ms. Veneman, now a lawyer in private
practice, is problematic, and could presage a contentious Senate
Environmentalists said they were disturbed by Ms. Veneman's clients,
which have included groups that favor less strict protections for public
lands. "We have some very serious concerns about her background,"
said Bruce Hamilton, conservation director for the Sierra Club
Published December 20 - 26, 2000
Shrub Pushes Faith-Based Welfare, Appoints African Americans to Key Posts
Bush Makes End Run Around Black Leaders
by James Ridgeway
WASHINGTON, DECEMBER 19—With Jesse Jackson calling George W. Bush
the victor in "a coup d'etat, led by the U.S. Supreme Court," African
American leaders stepped up their attacks on the "legitimacy" of the new
Jackson plans rallies at federal buildings around the country during the
days before the January 20 inauguration. L.A. congresswoman Maxine
Waters says she'll boycott the inauguration itself. "I think I will not have
healed by that time and will not be prepared to be in a celebratory
mood," she told Roll Call. Ditto for Congressman Donald Payne from New
Jersey, who won't attend either.
Congressional Black Caucus members in Washington are furious with Bush,
who they believe is trying to blindside them by appointing African
Americans to highly visible posts, such as Condoleezza Rice as national
security adviser and Colin Powell as secretary of state.
Meanwhile, Bush is moving to circumvent black civil rights leaders by
creating a new office of faith-based welfare in the White House. All this
is very much according to a script written at the Republican convention
in Philadelphia. There, Bush's chief domestic adviser, Stephen Goldsmith,
former mayor of Indianapolis and current contender for a cabinet post as
secretary of Housing and Urban Development, led a revival meeting of
black ministers in a Baptist church, promising churches, especially black
churches, a major new role in a Bush administration. Both Bush and GOP
theoreticians at the Heritage Foundation argue belief in a God of some
sort makes a person a better citizen. That being the case, they want to
pump up churches, giving them control over day care centers, drug
rehabilitation projects, welfare-to-work programs, schools funded by
vouchers, and even—as in Texas—parts of prisons.
For this to happen, Congress must pass legislation increasing tax benefits
for giving to charities as well as liberalizing government rules so that
churches can receive more public welfare funds. Bush wants to introduce
a $500 tax credit for individuals who contribute to charities that work
with the poor.
Despite his telephone exchange with the new president last week,
Jackson lay down a blistering attack at a Los Angeles press conference,
in which he charged that Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
has a conflict of interest because she supposedly said at an election
night party that what then appeared to be the election of Gore would be
"terrible." Jackson said Clarence Thomas has a similar conflict, because
his wife works at the Heritage Foundation, which is pushing individuals for
top jobs in the Bush administration and driving key parts of the
December 14, 2000
16.7 Million Pounds of Ready-To-Eat
Poultry Products Recalled
Waco, TX (SafetyAlerts) - Cargill Turkey Products has
announced it is recalling approximately 16.7 million pounds
of ready-to-eat turkey and chicken products produced at
its Waco, Texas facility, the product may be contaminated
with Listeria monocytogenes.
The products were produced from May 1 to December 11
and distributed nationwide through grocery stores,
restaurants and institutions - and to Venezuela and
Iceland. The affected product is marked with the
establishment number "P-635".
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and
the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) are studying whether
some products from the Waco facility might contain
Listeria monocytogenes associated with 25 cases of
listeriosis, most of which have occurred since July 2000.
Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause
serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children,
frail or elderly people, pregnant women and individuals with
weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals
may suffer short-term symptoms such as fever, headaches,
stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeria
infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among
Retail Sliced Packages: In 10 to12-ounce packages.
Owens's Hickory Smoked Pre-Sliced Turkey Breast,
Fiesta Pre-Sliced Turkey Breast, fresh
Mesquite Smoked Pre-Sliced Turkey Breast,
fresh and frozen
Pre-Sliced Smoke banquet-style Turkey
Breast, fresh and frozen
Black Forest Turkey Ham, fresh
Pre-Sliced Turkey Pastrami, fresh and frozen
Pre-Sliced Star Turkey Breast
Pre-Sliced Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast,
fresh and frozen
Pre-Sliced Oven prepared Turkey Breast,
Honeysuckle White Pre-Sliced Oven Prepared
Turkey, fresh and frozen
Un-sliced Products: For slicing or consumer sale whole.
Dine Rite Picnic Dark Turkey, fresh and frozen
Old South Turkey Ham, fresh
Plantation Cajun Fried Turkey, frozen
Honeysuckle White Cajun-Style Fried Whole
Wholesale: Products sold in bulk and sliced at
delicatessens, restaurants, and institutions
Our Premium Low Salt Turkey, frozen
Golden Catering Skin-on Turkey Breast, fresh
Carmel Colored Our Premium Turkey Breast,
Our Premium Low Salt Skinless Turkey
Smoked Turkey Breast, fresh
Oil Browned Chicken Breast, fresh
Oven Prepared Skinless Turkey Breast, fresh
Smoked Chicken Breast, fresh
Other products were sold in bulk and would not be
labeled at the point of purchase.
The Waco facility sold other products in bulk and that were
sliced at delicatessens and restaurants and would not be
readily identifiable by consumers. Cargill Turkey Products
has contacted establishments who purchased those
products, which are being removed and returned.
Consumers with questions about the recall may call Cargill
Turkey Products at 888-621-2717 or visit the website
www.plantation-foods.com. Cargill Turkey Products is
based in Springdale, Ark., and is part of Minneapolis-based
Thought you all might be interested in this petition for electoral
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McEnomics: Black Gold
By Frank McCoy
Renard D. Euell\'s friends may want to call him \"Three B\" from now on.
This month, the African American owner of Euell Energy Resources, an
Aurora, Colorado pipeline company, will buy three million barrels of
crude oil from the government of Nigeria and then sell it to U.S.
refiners. The oil will be used to increase the supply of heating fuel
available this winter. At the selling price of roughly $35 per barrel,
Euell stands to put about $105 million into his revenue column.
But that\'s prologue. The real money flows in 2001. That\'s when Euell
will purchase 24 million barrels of \"sweet\" crude. It is the easiest
oil to refine into jet, diesel and heating fuel. If the current price
holds steady, the revenue from selling two million barrels every 30
days could be worth $70 million a month or $840 million for the year.
If you pardon the pun, that\'s real \"Three B\" or
black-on-black-in-the-black success. It will also make the 50-year-old
Denver native the most successful African American oilman ever.
Of course getting the business was hard and Euell isn\'t the first black
American to buy and sell crude. I found out about him by accident. I
was preparing for this column by looking at how the black chief
executive officers at major corporations have been faring. Their
fortunes are mixed and will be explored at another time. I searched
using the words \"African American CEO\" and Euell popped up.
On October 16th, his tale wasn\'t a success story. The deal should have
been straightforward and virtually fool-proof. Euell borrows the money
to buy the crude for a set price. He then ships it to a refiner who
pays him a higher price, out of which the oilman pays off his investors
and shippers and takes a profit. No muss or fuss.
Unfortunately, the initial attempt to buy the oil stalled because Euell
couldn\'t get the up-front financial guarantees needed. He won\'t point
fingers but wonders if bias had to be a factor. He says, \"during the
past few years, I have marketed oil from Holland, Nigeria and the
Caribbean. But banks still do not look at our opportunities in the same
light as other oil companies. When non-minority firms take the same
offers to the bank, the bankers look at the oil as the collateral. For
some reason, the oil that I wanted to trade was seen as risky.\"
That would have been bad enough but he also suffered a bit of
humiliation. In October Euell wasn\'t the only African American to try
to get a piece of the government allocation, but he was the only one
with experience. The two other black men had no oil business
experience. One bidder, Lance Stroud, tried to run the deal out of his
Harlem apartment. He said he couldn\'t find financial backing because
his mother\'s death distracted him from the deal. The other, Ronald Peek
of Tallahassee, took his allocation and flipped it, selling to Hess
Energy Trading Co. for an undisclosed sum.
Meanwhile Euell simmered as he saw his name in newspaper articles
criticizing the inexperienced oil men. Euell\'s situation was ironic as
well because he is a Republican. So it must have hurt when Sen. Larry
Craig, an Idaho Republican, remarked at a Senate Energy Committee
hearing on the oil allocation that \"when you are in a crisis, you don\'t
turn to amateurs.\"
The odd thing is that the newspapers stopped covering the story at that
point. They reported Euell\'s rejection but missed his acceptance. I
called him after reading the first piece because he said he\'d submit
another bid and I wondered what happened. Last week, the answer
appeared as Euell said he found financiers, that he will not identify,
and they put up an irrevocable letter of credit.
But the Denver native, who has been in the oil business since age 20,
is unsatisfied. He says the real money is made when you own a refinery
and the oil and cut out the middle man. Euell says there are refineries
on the market for about $45 million. He hopes his current deals will
give him the leverage to attract financing to bid on one.
Thinking big is natural in the oil business. And Euell is not the first
black American to do so. That was Jake Simmons, an Oklahoman whose
family owned oil-rich land during the middle of the last century. To
find out more about him, pick up Staking a Claim: Jake Simmons and the
Making of an African-American Oil Dynasty, by Jonathan D. Greenberg.
Since then, many black entrepreneurs have been local fuel oil
wholesalers. But the only other oil broker of size is Dick Griffey. The
Beverly Hills-based entrepreneur\'s firm, Dick Griffey
Productions/ADPIC, has traded African crude, and other items, for years
and had 1999 revenues of $61 million.
If Euell realizes his dream, the revenue stream will dwarf his
predecessors. But to get there, he must break through what he calls the
wall of unfamiliarity. Euell is convinced much of the resistance he
meets stems from American whites not being used to seeing African
American success in this industry. That will change, he says: \"After
all, if I can design and build pipelines, why can\'t I sell what goes
Makes sense to me.
For more information, see: http://www.euellenergy.com/
(Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Director
The Shalom Center )
Beyond the Dyslection: Ten Days for Democracy.
King, Heschel, Voting Rights, and Praying with Our Legs
By Rabbi Arthur Waskow *
During the five-week struggle over the presidential dyslection, public
discussion was driven almost entirely by lawyers and politicians. Rarely were
voices of religious faith, universal ethics, or spiritual search heard above
the angry mutters on TV.
Those voices are needed now.
Imagine that our religious communities were to begin this coming year by
shaping Ten Days for Democracy: the ten days from Friday, January 12, through
Sunday, January 21, into a sacred time for reflection, affirmation, and
action on behalf of electoral democracy.
And imagine that we were to make the Inaugural moment, noon on January 20,
into a time of prayerful presence in Washington DC and in the hearts of our
Why those days, and what would we be doing?
Thirty-five years ago, in Selma Alabama, two of America’s greatest spiritual
leaders -- the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rabbi Abraham Joshua
Heschel – walked together, with hundreds of other clergyfolk, at the
climactic march for voting rights. Their commitment finally brought Congress
to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Returning home, Rabbi Heschel
explained, "I felt that my legs were praying."
The next celebration of Dr. King’s birthday will fall on Monday, January 15.
The next celebration of Rabbi Heschel’s "yohrzeit" (the anniversary of his
death in the Jewish calendar, which Jewish tradition celebrates rather than
the birthday) begins on the Sabbath evening of Friday, January 12, and
continues on Saturday, January 13. And the inauguration of the next President
takes place a week later, on Saturday, January 20.
So the ten days from January 12 through January 21 encompass two curves on
the spiral of spiritual time: Two occasions for the Muslim community’s Friday
gathering, the Jewish Shabbat, and the Christian Sabbath.
Two times when we could pray for change, using our throats and lips – and
also our minds and arms and legs, to pray. Praying and acting for the next
step in broadening the right to vote.
For out of the furnace of our recent national bafflement and anger there is
arising one glowing redemptive recognition: The electoral status quo is
dangerous. If our electoral system is not to fall even further in
undemocratic flames, we must take vigorous action to make it far more
democratic than it is now.
So we have a crucial opportunity to focus public attention on the immorality
of an electoral system that rewards great wealth, penalizes the poor whose
ineffective voting machines operate to disfranchise them, punishes the
creative exploration of new policy, and enhances the power of local machines
through winner-take-all votes for the electoral college. An electoral system
that even now, 36 years after passage of the Voting Rights Act, lets some
states turn African-Americans away from the polls in greatly disproportionate
So let us shape Ten Days for Democracy into a sacred time for action on
behalf of some real demands for real change to renew electoral democracy:
1) Either abolishing the electoral college or dividing each state’s electoral
vote in proportion to the vote inside that state;
2) Requiring "clean money elections" and campaign finance reform: Public
financing of political campaigns, with strong incentives to forego private
money and soft money, as recently adopted in Maine, Vermont, and
3) Requiring and paying for uniform, safe, accurate, and effective voting
mechanisms for all federal elections.
4) Providing Instant Runoff Voting (IRV): Voters name their second choice,
who gets their votes if their first choice does not reach a majority. This
encourages the creativity of third parties without penalizing the leading
parties or the voters themselves if they want to build support for an
What could our churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples do?
We could make many or all these reforms the focus of sermons, congregational
meetings, teach-ins, town-meetings, and other such forms of citizen education
during the Ten Days for Democracy.
Just as the churches and synagogues worked for voting rights in 1965 with
secular organizations, we could work with groups like the Independent
Progressive Politics Network and Public Campaign that can supply educational
materials on these questions.
We could even make the Inaugural moment, noon on January 20, into a time of
prayerful presence in Washington DC and in the centers of our major cities –
Proclaiming it is God’s work to make sure that when we assess the will of the
people, everyone is able to take part, without corruption or confusion,
coercion or connivery.
Marching once again alongside Dr. King and Rabbi Heschel; marching once again
for the right to vote and vote fully. Not simply marching: praying as they
did, with our arms and legs.
* Rabbi Waskow directs The Shalom Center <www.shalomctr.org> and is the
author of From Race Riot to Sit-in (Doubleday), Godwrestling – Round 2
(Jewish Lights), and Down-to-Earth Judaism (Morrow). The Independent
Progressive Politics Network can be reached at email@example.com; Public
Campaign , at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trying to Bridge the 'Death Gap'
Confronting Minority Groups
New York Times
December 18, 2000
The Ballot, Via the Courthouse
By Lani Guinier <email@example.com>
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- What began as judicial overreaching
may be a clarion call for major democratic reform. Some legal
experts already argue that last week's United States Supreme
Court decision, though heavily criticized for deciding an
election, could help open the local courthouse doors to
Perhaps, given its new rhetoric about restoring citizen
confidence in the outcome of elections, the conservative
majority will now look closely at other suits based on the
principle of equal protection -- others that, like Bush v.
Gore, challenge disparate treatment of voters in voting
procedures. The more important effect of the court's choice
of language, explicitly valuing no person's vote over
another's, may be to launch a citizens' movement.
The one person, one vote language of the court under Chief
Justice Earl Warren -- language which the recent decision
draws on -- did exactly that, inspiring civil rights marchers
in the 1960's. Current efforts could focus on creating new
federal reforms, like financial assistance to poor counties
to upgrade voting equipment and the elimination of all ways
of recording votes that fail to give the voter feedback as
to how his or her intent is being registered.
Also needed are meaningful assistance to semi-literate
or non-English-speaking voters, 24-hour polling places
and a national Election Day holiday. Enacting standards for
federal elections is consistent with the Voting Rights Act,
which has banned literacy tests nationwide as prerequisites
for voting. That ban was passed by Congress in 1970 and
unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court.
But reforms to equalize voting access, while important, are
not enough. The circumstances of this election call for a
larger focus on issues of representation and participation.
If we are to build a genuine pro-democracy movement in this
country, we cannot limit ourselves to butterfly ballots and
A pro-democracy movement -- needed now more than ever
in the United States -- would look seriously at forms of
proportional representation that could assure that Democrats
in Florida (or Republicans in Democratic-controlled states)
or racial minorities in all states are represented fairly in
the legislatures themselves. The five-member Supreme Court
majority allowed the interests of the Florida Legislature
to trump any remedy to protect the rights of the voters. If
legislatures are to enjoy such power, it is imperative for
voters' voices to be reflected in fully representative
That means that voters must have a more meaningful
opportunity to participate in the entire democratic process
-- and not just on Election Day. Such an opportunity is not
possible when the majority party holds a disproportionate
amount of power over a heterogeneous citizenry, divided
along racial and party lines, as is evident in the Florida
Legislature. Recognizing the danger of majority legislative
tyranny is crucial at a time when every state legislature
will soon be engaged in the decennial task of redistricting.
Under current law, the members of the Florida Legislature
can use their legislative authority to create winner-take-all
districts to cement their power. The drawing of districts
often becomes the real election. We cannot sustain the
confidence of citizens to vote and participate beyond
Election Day if we continue to allow election outcomes
to be determined when the legislature draws districts.
A winner-take-all scheme in appointing a state's delegates
to the Electoral College is similarly unfair. Florida gave
all of its electors to President-elect Bush, even though,
while he won a plurality of the popular vote in that state,
he did not win a majority. A system that apportions a state's
electoral votes based on the popular vote received by each
candidate in that state would better reflect the will of
all the voters.
Proportional voting -- where the political parties gain
seats in proportion to the actual percentage of votes won
on Election Day -- means everyone's vote counts toward the
election of someone he or she voted for. In conjunction with
other reforms, it makes voting the first step in a democratic
system by which we, the people, not they -- the court or the
unrepresentative legislature -- rule.
Copyright (c) 2000 New York Times Company. All Rights Reserved.
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 11:47:01 -0800
Subject: AIDS: African Consensus and Plan of Action...
The African Consensus and Plan of Action: Leadership to Overcome HIV/AIDS
was constructed by Karin Santi, of the African Development Forum 2000.
forum consists mainly of African physicians, scientists, and researchers,
wherein current information and strategies of how to combat the HIV/AIDS
virus is focused and discussed. For anyone who is interested in the issue
AIDS in Africa on a very serious level, you may want to visit this site:
<A HREF="http://www.uneca.org/adf2000/consensus.htm">THE AFRICAN CONSENSUS
AND PLAN OF ACTION: LEADERSHIP TO OVERCOME HIV/AIDS</A>.
Forward Ever; Backward Never!
Get Black World Event - BW-Events@topica.com
Events, Happenings and Time Specific News
of interest to the World Wide African Family
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 05:26:45 -0800
Subject: Does HIV?AIDS exist, ....
The PARP Monitor
Your Free-Thinking, On-Line, Independent & Challenging Black Expression
Supporting the Global Struggle Against Racist Aggression
Does HIV/AIDS exist, or is the notion of the so-called disease
just simply f___ing with our minds?
by Brian e Ebden
In my previous piece with the same title, I outlined my hypothesis about
HIV?AIDS. To recap, it was the following:
1. HIV?AIDS is a hastily concocted myth created by the white media
(and those who own and control it), in an attempt to control the level
of fertility and reproduction amongst black, brown, red and yellow
people on the planet, more so in Africa.
2. The so-called HIV?AIDS pandemic is also a mechanism to create
humungous cash markets for the multi-national Pharmaceutical and
3. The piece also succinctly covered the so-called symptoms of
HIV?AIDS which closely resembles that of malnutrition, tuberculosis,
pneumonia, diarrhea and other illnesses prevalent and rampant in Africa,
as a direct result of impoverished conditions
4. There is no scientific method developed to accurately test blood
samples for the supposed HIV?AIDS virus other than a simplistic test for
a T4-cell count.
5. Continued usage of antiretroviral drugs like AZT will cause death
100% of the time.
Now, for part II...
I am aware and am sorry that many black people in the popular media
(subsequent to and on World AIDS Day) have been engaged in the emotive
issue of HIV?AIDS and find my hypothesis/information not only hard to
believe, but quite frankly, ludicrous. The question? Who the hell is
this guy, he is not one of those in white coats (doctors). Another
question, if what he says is in fact true, then I made an ass of myself
by crying crocodile tears in public during and subsequent to
International AIDS Day? Now look at this pitiful picture...
Pictures like this one of Nkosi Johnson who supposedly has HIV?AIDS has
had many people crying snot en trane! Look who is behind him!!!!
This white women is posturing to receive huge sums of grant monies from
Now, you'all want back-up from me? This is sad, because unfortunately we
will rather consume whatever unsubstantiated drivel the white media
spoon feeds us without question. So, you want backup, now here's your
Now for the Backup:
I have stated that the World Health Organisation is behind the
engineering of the myth of HIV?AIDS. Here is proof. The official WHO
guesstimate on globally infected people with HIV?AIDS for the year 1999,
is 89 819 000 of which 74 449 000 reside in Africa. (This data is
obtainable off their website under The World Health Report 2000, Annex
table #4: Burden of disease in disability-adjusted life years).
However, the United Nations AIDS desk, UNAIDS, claims that only 36 000
000 people have HIV?AIDS with 25 300 000 residing in Africa. This can be
obtained either at the UN website of go to:
Now, why would two supposedly credible global authorities have such
substantial and stark differences in figures, in fact a difference of 64
519 000. Something stinks again! But, UNAIDS goes on to say that
approximately 20% of all adults in Africa are HIV positive. That means
to say that given the 616 000 000 population of Africa, 123 200 000
people should be HIV positive. The numbers simply don't add up! In other
words, from the one side of their mouth they state categorically that 25
Million Africans are HIV positive but from the other side of their
mouth, their calculations should reflect 123 Million HIV positive
Africans. Something stinks again, doubly!!
Now you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that both UNAIDS and
WHO haven't got the foggiest when it comes to HIV?AIDS. Why? Because you
cannot accurately measure something that does not exist! The percentage
of the continental total of Africans with HIV?AIDS if it is supposedly
25 Million, is only 4%. If it is 89 Million as according to WHO, it
would be 14%. Where does figures like 20% come from? Someone needs to
make their minds up and find general consensus at worst.
On the subject of figures, here are some startling figures for you:
In the year 1999, according to the Official WHO World Health Report
2000, there were 59 965 000 mortalities (deaths) on planet earth. Here
are some facts:
~ 16 970 000 people died of heart disease with Ischemic and
Cerebrovascular disease being the chief killers.
~ 7 065 000 people died of various cancers
~ 4 039 000 died of Respiratory Infections chiefly by acute lower
respiratory infections (PNEUMONIA!!!)
~ 3 575 000 people died of Respiratory disease with chronic
obstructive pulmonary being the chief killer
~ 2 356 000 women and children died of maternal and perinatal
~ 2 213 000 people died of DIARRHOEAL Diseases!
~ 2 049 000 expired of Digestive Diseases mainly by way of Cirrhosis
of the liver and Peptic Ulcers
~ 1 669 000 people died of TUBERCULOSIS!
~ 1 554 000 children died of measles, tetanus, pertussis (all curable
diseases) and others
~ 1 086 000 died of malaria
~ 911 000 people died of Neuropsychiatric conditions including
Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Epilepsy and others
~ 893 000 suicides
~ 527 000 homicides (murder)
and of course...
~ 2 673 000 of supposed HIV?AIDS
(All these statistics are available on the WHO Official Site under The
World Heatlh Report 2000 and includes Annex Table 3 - Deaths by cause,
sex and mortality in WHO regions, estimates for 1999)
What is the summary and take-out of all of this information? Simply put,
Heart Disease (17 Million), Cancer(7 Million) and Lung Disease (8
Million) have a much higher and more effective kill rate on the planet
than HIV?AIDS! Furthermore, HIV?AIDS can be slotted into any and all
sub-sections of death causing diseases at will.
It is claimed that over the last 10 years, 20 Million people have died
of HIV?AIDS, yet at the same time, 152 Million people have died of Heart
Disease, over 60 Million from Cancers and over 70 Million from Lung
Disease!!!! In fact during this same period, more than 20 Million women
and children have died due to and from childbirth, over 30 Million from
TB and Diarrhea and over 20 Million from ulcers and liver disease!!! In
other words, over the last 10 years, the death rate from what is
construed to be normal and non-alarming disease is 352 Million to 20
Million (HIV?AIDS). But you may say that HIV?AIDS is growing at a faster
rate than any other. Well, my answer would be to take a look at this, =
apart from the obvious, "WHY IS HIV?AIDS ENJOYING AND RECEIVING MORE
ATTENTION THAN ANY OTHER DISEASE?":
This table (according to WHO) are the volume of people in Africa, living
with life threatening & death causing disease in 1999:
~ 37 Million people have Malaria
~ 37 Million women and children are at extremely high risk of death
during and shortly after childbirth
~ 33 Million have Tuberculosis & Pneumonia
~ 24 Million people have Diarrhea which can and does cause death in
~ 16 Million people have Neuropsychiatric Disorders
~ 12 Million have serious and chronic heart conditions
~ 11 Million have serious nutrional disease
~ 9 Million have Tuberculosis!!!
~ 8 million have common STD's
~ 7 Million have a variety of cancers
(This data is obtainable off their website under The World Health Report
2000, Annex Table #4: Burden of disease in disability-adjusted life
This is a total of 195 Million people or 31% of the total population of
Africa, currently living with life-threatening diseases, which, in all
probabibility will kill them. These diseases are largely caused by and
as a direct result of ACUTE & CHRONIC POVERTY!!!
IN OTHER WORDS, 31% OF AFRICA'S POPULATION CAN DIE AT ANY TIME, DUE TO
LARGELY CURABLE DISEASES!!! THIS GRINDING CONDITION OF POVERTY IS ALSO A
DIRECT RESULT OF COLONIALISM AND MULTI-NATIONAL CORPORATE MANIPULATION.
SIMPLY PUT, HIV?AIDS BY COMPARISON TO OTHER CURABLE AND MANAGEABLE
DISEASES, PALES IN COMPARISON! (If it exists at all)
Here's the Crunch!!!:
(Click on the links beneath each heading to gather confirming
HIV?AIDS is a MASSIVE business. In 1997, Glaxo Wellcome, manufacturer of
AZT, reported sales of over $2,7 Billion of this highly toxic drug. Yes,
that is 2,7 BILLION US Dollars. AZT does not have official USFDA
approval yet! Subsequent to this, the same company has not released
figures for sale of the drug for the last three years? Why not?
In 1999, AIDS Conferences, NGO's, Medical Salaries, Researchers cost in
the excess of $3 Billion. No reports on Condom Sales are available, as
this obviously would be in Triple Billion Dollar bracket.
Major multi-national drug producing companies such as Boehringer
Ingelheim, a German pharmaceutical based Frankfurt said it would provide
its Aids drug, Viramune, free of charge to help prevent mother-to-child
HIV infections in developing countries. My question is, why will they
not attempt this so-called free service in the developed world? Here is
Drug effects on pregnant women unknown:
Pledge of free Aids drug for pregnant moms:
I had stated previously that the frequent agro-chemical use of DDT &
Parathion affects humans in that they will display similar or exactly
the same symptoms as HIV?AIDS. Furthermore, I stated that not only is
DDT and Parathion used in KwaZulu Natal, but this region of South Africa
has the highest rate of so-called HIV?AIDS infections. Co-incidence?
Here is the answer:
DDT used to counter malaria in KZN:
Malaria study says safer alternatives to DDT:
(DDT still used in South Africa and the rest of Africa)
I had also stated in HIV?AIDS PIECE #1, that the test for HIV?AIDS is a
non-test. It simply measures the amount of T-4 Cells in the blood and is
called the Elisa or Western Blot test. You try and find on this highly
regarded medical website whether you will get positive information on
exactly how the test is conducted. You wont, PERIOD!
Furthermore, our esteemed President, Thabo Mbeki, has come under intense
media belittlement and pressure for his stance on HIV?AIDS. Here has
convened a special task team of medical experts to study exactly the
validity of the Elisa and Western Blot tests. The media has responded in
their usual hysterical way. Here are the answers:
State slammed for study into Aids test:
ELISA or Western Blot test:
South Africa running critically low on condom stock:
HIV?AIDS is Nothing But a MIND-FUCK!!!!
Research for yourself, debate, intellectualise, don't allow yourself to
be spoon-fed information by the white media! and as Public Enemy said,
"DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE!"
(Person Against Racist Pigs)
Fight the Power!!!
Stop the Systematic Violence & Genocide
Perpetrated against Black Males!!!
Keep the Debate High on the Public Agenda!!!
Get Black World Event - BW-Events@topica.com
Events, Happenings and Time Specific News
of interest to the World Wide African Family
December 14, 2000
Blacks & Labor Belatedly Take to the Streets
By Frances M. Beal <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Taking marching orders from the Gore campaign managers,
those most concerned about Florida voting irregularities,
outright fraud and racist intimidation had been playing it
somewhat cool since the election. Labor and Black leaders
had reluctantly, but obediently followed the Democratic
Party's stratagem of relying on the courts and their
hordes of lawyers to carry the day. The U.S. Supreme Court's
politically motivated 5-4 ruling that stopped the hand count
of votes, however, has showed the limits of this "judicious"
Even before this ideologically motivated court decision,
it is clear that Jesse Jackson and AFL-CIO head John Sweeney
were beginning to feel queasy about the strategy of ensuring
a democratic victory. They made some moves toward mobilizing
people and almost tepidly began to muster their troops with
banners that screamed "Count Every Vote." Simultaneously,
the Greens and others who have been criticizing the two-party
arrangement have begun organizing protests with banners that
demand a fundamental overhaul of electoral laws.
The civil rights establishment that has invested so much in
a Gore victory had a serious dilemma. On the one hand, their
demand for a remedy to address the extensive deprivation of
the black vote did not have the capacity to impact the
immediate election. They could only ask that the Justice
Department launch an investigation of egregious violations
of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA). Even if Attorney Janet
Reno had been willing to act upon these complaints in a
timely way - and she was not - this would have put off
the resolution of the accusations for at least months
if not years.
On the other hand, the type of mobilization of people that
brought us the civil rights statutes of the 1960s and is a
historical strength of the progressive constituencies that
compose the base of the Democratic Party, were scorned by
Gore's campaign advisors. In fact, labor and Black leaders,
in particular, were specifically cautioned by Gore's campaign
managers not to mobilize their troops into the streets, but
to go the judicial route. In the meantime, the GOP fielded
demonstrators and gangs of threatening white men at strategic
points to consistently disrupt the count or recount of
By the time Jesse Jackson began to think for himself and
see the ineffective tactics of his Democratic Party buddies,
it was too little, too late. The same can be said of the
AFL-CIO. Right after Election Day, the labor federation
dispatched an army of labor representatives to Florida. But
instead of using their historic strength as mobilizers, they
bowed to Gore's campaign directives to "be nice and polite."
Rather than amassing the people to confront the attempt at
an illegitimate election coup, AFL-CIO operatives were
fielded to sit and count votes or as bystanders.
A month later, Jesse Jackson and AFL-CIO president, John
Sweeney, came to their collective senses, particularly after
the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the vote count the first time.
This combined with mumbling in the ranks and calls for action
in the streets to confront the right wing's henchmen. Finally,
the civil rights and the labor movement came together to
belatedly take the fight into streets.
Speaking at a mass rally in Tallahassee on Dec. 6th Sweeney
announced a campaign of nationwide protests by labor. "We
are taking our case beyond the Florida courts and into the
court of public opinion," he proclaimed to a cheering crowd.
Following on his heels, Jackson then orated, "Our mission is
to honor a standard that everybody matters and every vote
counts. We want democracy by inclusion and not exclusion,
democracy by the count and not by the clock." And around
the country people began to rally at courthouses, at civic
centers, at federal buildings, but the gatherings remained
small and did not get much mainstream press coverage and
before the momentum could be built that would lead to
impressive national protest demonstrations, the U.S.
Supreme Court appeared to usurp and undermine the
battle for democracy.
As tardy as it is, people are beginning to realize that
they cannot rely upon the Democratic Party, the courts,
the politicians and the political operatives to carry on
the dramatic battle for democracy which has been unfolding
before our very eyes. As the fighters for racial justice
turn their attention to mass mobilization of people, it
is hoped that this lesson will not be forgotten again.
Frances M. Beal is a San Francisco Bay View news columnist
and the National Secretary of the Black Radical Congress.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are her
own. Contact: <email@example.com> or <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Copyright (c) 2000 Frances M. Beal. All Rights Reserved.
13 MYTHS ABOUT THE RESULTS OF THE 2000 ELECTION (please forward!!)
Millions of dollars are now being raised for a public relations
war between the Democrats and the Republicans to determine the next
president of the United States. Will the outcome of the election
be determined by ratings in the polls? Will the present standoff
be resolved by escalation and threats? Or will the intention of the
voters on election day and the right of the states to choose their
own electors actually matter?
Our involvement this week is essential in order to uphold the
principles of democracy. Propaganda is flying left and right.
To combat this barrage, we present a point by point analysis of
some key myths in the media today, substantiated with footnotes.
Please read, copy, and forward to friends, relatives and colleagues!
[This draft #4 was prepared by Rich Cowan (email@example.com) with
help from Paul Rosenberg, Dan Kohn, Jonathan Prince, Marc Sobel,
subscribers to the Red Rock Eater News Service and the electronic
mail discussion firstname.lastname@example.org, and the Yale
Law School Student Campaign for a Legal Election, 127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511 -- email@example.com]
1) Myth: Al Gore has a responsibility to concede the election.
Fact: A 330 vote margin out of 6 million votes cast in Florida is
incredibly close! It is roughly equivalent to a 1-vote margin in
a city with 40,000 people and 18,000 voters.
It is extremely rare for an election this close NOT to be
contested for several weeks until a manual recount can take place,
with observers from both sides taking part and inspecting ballots.
This kind of detailed recount has not yet taken place.
According to the US Constitution and the Laws of Florida, it is
the responsibility of officials in Florida to certify the election
results. November 17 is the deadline for absentee ballots sent
from overseas to arrive. Since the election is close enough
in Florida, Oregon, and New Mexico to be affected by absentee
ballots, the results in those states cannot be certified before
2) Myth: the number of "spoiled ballots" in Palm Beach County was
typical. In a press briefing televised live on all networks
on 11/9/00, Karl Rove of the Bush campaign compared the 14,872
invalidated ballots in the 1996 Presidential race to 19,120
ballots for President that were spoiled in this election.
Fact: the Bush campaign was comparing apples and oranges. There
were actually 29,702 invalidated ballots this year in Palm Beach
County. This is almost twice the number in 1996. "19,120" refers
to only those 2000 ballots which were thrown out for voting for
two Presidential candidates. The remaining 10,582 ballots had no
choice recorded for President
According to the Palm Beach County elections office
(www.pbcelections.org), voters this year were not confused at
all by the rest of the ballot. For example, less than 1% of
U.S. Senate votes were invalidated because of multiple punches,
compared with over 4% in the Presidential contest.
3) Myth: The Palm Beach ballot is definitely illegal due to the
presence of punch holes to the left of some of the candidates.
Fact: According to the Secretary of State's office, there is a
loophole in Florida law that may allow ballots used for voting
machines to deviate from the rules governing paper ballots. This
view has been contested by hundreds of Florida voters. The final
decision on the legality of the ballot is likely to be made in
court, as long as this issue could have an effect on the election.
It is possible that the ballot could be ruled illegal on other
grounds, such as the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and
Handicapped Act or the Americans With Disabilities Act.
4) Myth: "The more often ballots are recounted, especially by hand,
the more likely it is that human errors, like lost ballots and
other risks, will be introduced. This frustrates the very reason
why we have moved from hand counting to machine counting." --
Former Sec. of State James Baker, speaking on behalf of the
Bush campaign at a press briefing televised by all networks on
Fact: In 1997, George W. Bush signed into law a bill stating that
hand recounts were the preferred method in a close election in
Texas. The bill, "HB 330", mandated that representatives of all
parties be present to prevent fraud.
Laws establishing rights and procedures for hand recounts also
exist in Florida (see Title IX, Chapter 102). In fact, the
Orlando Sentinel, (orlandosentinel.com) reported that a partial
hand count of Presidential ballots this year was ordered by
Republicans in Seminole County, where Bush led Gore. This count
took place on 11/9 and 11/10, widening Bush's lead by 98 votes.
The Bush campaign did not complain about this hand count; nor
did it complain about the hand count on 11/11/00 which put Bush
slightly ahead of Gore in New Mexico.
There do exist machine voting systems which are fairly accurate,
but antiquated punch card systems are notoriously inaccurate.
They were outlawed in Massachusetts in 1997 by Secretary of State
William Galvin after a Congressional primary that was also "too
close to call". The problem is that if the punched-out pieces
of cardboard are not completely removed from the punch card, they
can obstruct the card reader and the votes will not be counted.
A manual recount of such cards can clearly reveal the voter's
5) Myth: The process is unfair because hand recounts were held only
in liberal areas of Florida, where Gore stands to pick up the most
Fact: It is true that a statewide recount would be more fair, and
the Bush campaign has every right to request one. According to
Florida law, hand recount requests must come from the campaigns,
not from the state. To fail to request what is commonly referred
to as a "defensive recount" in conservative areas of Florida, they
may be making a tactical blunder that will cost them the election.
It is also true that there were voting irregularities in the
counties where the Gore campaign requested recounts.
6) Myth: "Palm Beach County is a Pat Buchanan stronghold and that's
why Pat Buchanan received 3407 votes there. According to the
Florida Department of State, 16,695 voters in Palm Beach County
are registered to the Independent Party, the Reform Party, or
the American Reform Party, an increase of 110% since the 1996
presidential election" -- Ari Fleischer of the Bush Campaign,
11/9/00. The 2,000 votes received by the Reform party candidate
for Congress indicate that party's strength in Palm Beach County
(James Baker on Meet the Press, 11/12/00).
Fact: Of those 16,695 voters, only 337 (2 percent) are in the
Reform Party according to Florida state records. The Reform
party candidate for Congress, John McGuire, is connected to a
more centrist wing of the Reform Party, predating Buchanan's
involvement. An analysis of his support indicates that it came
largely from reform-minded Ralph Nader voters.
Regarding Buchanan's vote total, the Washington Post reported that
his vote percentage in Palm Beach county was four times as high at
the polls as in absentee voting. Even Buchanan himself admitted
on 11/8/00 on the Today Show that many of his votes actually
"belonged to Al Gore". So did his campaign manager, Bay Buchanan.
7) Myth: If Gore (or Bush) ends up winning the popular vote, he
really should win the election even if he loses Florida and other
Fact: This is not the way the U.S. Constitution is written.
The Electoral College decision, imperfect as it may be, is the
only one that matters. It may be possible to reform or eliminate
the electoral college in the future, so that small states would
no longer receive extra electoral votes out of proportion to
their population. But until this change is made by Constitutional
amendment, the Electoral College is still the law of the land.
8) Myth: The Cook County, Illinois ballot from the home district of
Gore campaign chair Richard Daley is similar to the "butterfly"
ballot used in Palm Beach County (reported by Don Evans, 11/8/00)
Fact: According to the Chicago Daily Herald on 11/10/00, the
ballots in Chicago which had "facing pages" were referendum
questions which only had two punch holes, Yes and No.
9) Myth: The election process in Florida outside of Palm Beach County
Fact: Actually, thousands of irregularities in over a half-dozen
categories have already been reported:
-Ballots ran out in certain precincts according to the LA Times
-Carpools of African-American voters were stopped by police,
according to the Los Angeles Times (11/10/00). In some cases,
officers demanded to see a "taxi license".
-Polls closed with people still in line in Tampa, according to
the Associated Press.
-In Osceola County, ballots did not line up properly, possibly
causing Gore voters to have their ballots cast for Harry Browne.
Also, Hispanic voters were required to produce two forms of ID
when only one is required. (source: Associated Press)
-Dozens, and possibly hundreds, of voters in Broward County were
unable to vote because the Supervisor of Elections did not have
enough staff to verify changes of address.
-Voters were mistakenly removed from voter rolls because their
names were similar to those of ex-cons, according to Mother
-According to Reuters news service (11/8/00), many voters
received pencils rather than pens when they voted, in violation
of state law.
-According to the Miami Herald, many Haitian-American voters were
turned away from precincts where they were voting for the first
-According to Feed Magazine (www.feedmag.com), the mayoral
candidate whose election in Miami was overturned due to voter
fraud, Xavier Suarez, said he was involved in preparing absentee
ballots for George W. Bush. (11/9/00)
-According to tompaine.com, CBS's Dan Rather reported a possible
computer error in Volusia County, Florida, where James Harris, a
Socialist Workers Party candidate, won 9,888 votes. He won 583
in the rest of the state. [11/9/00] County-level results for
Florida are available at cnn.com.
-Many African-American first-time voters who registered at motor
vehicles offices or in campus voter registration drives did not
appear on the voting rolls, according to a hearing conducted by
the NAACP and televised on C-SPAN on 11/12/00.
10) Myth: "No evidence of vote fraud, either in the original vote or
in the recount, has been presented." -- James Baker, representing
the Bush campaign on 11/10/00, in a Florida briefing.
Fact: The election was held just last week, so of course many
instances of fraud have not yet been substantiated. Even so,
authorities have already uncovered clear evidence of voter fraud
involving absentee ballots.
In Pensacola, Florida, Bush supporter Todd Vinson never received
the absentee ballot he requested. According to the Associated
Press on 11/9/00, it was determined after an investigation that
this ballot was received by a third party, filled out with a
forged signature, and then sent in. Assistant State Attorney
Russell Edgar, when asked if other absentee ballots might had been
intercepted, said, "I agree there may well be many more than just
Much media attention on the issue of voter fraud has been focused
on Wisconsin where cigarettes were offered to homeless people
who were casting absentee ballots, presumably for Gore. The
Gore campaign claims the cigarettes were not used to "buy" votes.
On Monday 10/13, the London Times reported a suspected pro-Bush
vote fraud operation in Miami involving over 10,000 ballots.
11) Myth: It is highly unusual for judges to intervene after an
election. Since the designer of a disputed ballot in Florida is
a member of the party contesting the election, a legal challenge
Fact: The most fundamental right of a democratic society is
the the right to vote, and to have one's vote correctly counted.
The legal system exists to ensure that people's rights are not
violated. Whether the person committing a violation is a Democrat
or a Republican does not affect how that violation should be
Elections are ultimately struggles for political power so it
should not be surprising that disputes are often resolved in
court. Of course judges can be biased. That is why they must
explain their decisions and why bad arguments can be overturned
The Florida Supreme Court ruled in 1998, in connection with a
disputed Volusia County election, that if there is "substantial
noncompliance" with election laws and a "reasonable doubt" about
whether election results "expressed the will of the voters" then
a judge must "void the contested election, even in the absence
of fraud or intentional wrongdoing." (source: Wall St. Journal,
10/10/00). The Journal indicated that there was little legal
precedent for a revote in just one area where an election
occurred. It would be more likely for a court to order a new
election or to overturn the result.
These issues have arisen in other states as well. In a
Massachusetts Democratic primary in 1996 for the US House, the election was
so close after recounts that a judge had to make
the final decision after examining some of the ballots that were
incompletely punched, to determine the intention of the voter.
The law clearly dictated that it was the will of the voter that
mattered, and the candidate who was behind, William Delahunt, went
on to win the final election. Call the Capitol Switchboard if you
have any doubts at 202-225-3121.
12) Myth: Richard Nixon's party in 1960 did the honorable thing in not
contesting the results of the election.
Fact: According to a column in the Los Angeles Times, 11/10/00,
"on Nov. 11, three days after the election, Thurston B. Morton,
a Kentucky senator and the Republican Party's national chairman,
launched bids for recounts or investigations in not just Illinois
and Texas but also Delaware, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri,
New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.
A few days later, Robert H. Finch and Leonard W. Hall, two
Nixon intimates, sent agents to conduct what they called "field
checks" in eight of those 11 battlegrounds. In New Jersey, local
Republicans obtained court orders for recounts; Texans brought
suit in federal court. Illinois witnessed the most vigorous
crusade. Nixon aide Peter Flanigan encouraged the creation
of a Chicago-area Nixon Recount Committee. As late as Nov. 23,
Republican National Committee general counsel H. Meade Alcorn
Jr. was still predicting Nixon would take Illinois." Recounts
continued into December, but did not succeed in overturning the
result of the election.
13) Myth: "Governor Bush is still the winner, subject only to counting
the overseas ballots, which traditionally have favored the
Republican candidates" -- James Baker, Press Briefing, 11/10/00
Fact: The number of yet-to-be-counted overseas military ballots
is likely to be in the range of 500 to 2000, based on the 1996
election in which there were 2,300 oversees absentee ballots
overall, with roughly 60% of them coming from people enlisted in
the military. According to CNN [11/10/00], the military overseas
ballots that arrived before the election were already counted.
The biggest difference from 1996 is that Clinton -- who avoided
the draft -- was running against Dole, a decorated military
In 2000 George W. Bush -- who avoided service in Vietnam and
actually lost flying privileges in the Texas Air National Guard
-- is running against Al Gore, a veteran who served in Vietnam.
It is just as possible that Gore will gain a few hundred votes
from veterans as the other way around. It is also possible that
the Gore ticket will pick up votes from Democratic diplomatic
appointees, or temporary residents and dual citizens of Israel.
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Myth 1: Time to Concede the Election
330 votes out of 6 million is 0.00550% of the vote.
1 vote out of 18 thousand is 0.00555% of the vote.
A margin of 0.500000% of the vote is the Florida recount threshold.
Myth 2: Number of Spoiled Ballots.
Article giving counts for invalidated ballots in 2000:
Odd ballot prompts allegations of widespread mistaken voting
by MITCH LIPKA, Orlando Sun-Sentinel, 11/9/00.
Myth 3: Ballot Definitely Illegal
Those Florida Ballots Were Clearly Illegal
Some Florida Ballots Illegal, Dems Say
Palm Beach Ballot Illegal, Demo Lawyers Say
United Press International Story: Eye doctors say palm beach ballot
confused voters, 11/9/00, filed from Ft. Lauderdale at 4:11:44 PM EDT.
Access to Voting for Disabled and Elderly Citizens
Myth 4: Hand Recounts Introduce Errors
Seminole County delivers edge to Bush in recount
Election Workers' Nightmare
William Galvin, interviewed on CNN, 11/8/00.
Texas State Law, HB 331 (also ? 212.005(d), Texas Election Code)
Hand recounts used in New Mexico, overturn Gore lead
Bush Signed Recount Rule in Texas
Myth 5: Selective Recounts are Unfair
Bush Team Prepares 'Scorched-Earth Plan'
Volusia Elections Votes for Manual Recount
Votes may be missed in Broward County
Myth 6: Palm Beach a Pat Buchanan Stronghold
Numbers Add Up to More Dispute
State of Florida Party Registration
Buchanan Says Disputed Florida Votes Are Gore's
Bay Buchanan strongly denounced the Republican spin:
Precinct-level Correlations Between Reform Party Candidate for Congress John
McGuire and all presidential candidates, analysis by
Paul H. Rosenberg" based on Palm Beach County data.
Myth 7: Candidate Should Win Without Electoral Majority
see the US Constitution.
Myth 8: Butterfly Ballots in Chicago Too
Cook ballot designer says his ballots are not like Florida's
Myth 9: Florida Respects Voting Rights
Jesse Jackson Questions Florida Voting
On Pencils Vs. Pens
NAACP Alleges Voter Suppression in Florida, Reuters, Wednesday November
Problems at Polls Prevent Hundreds from Casting Votes (Miami Herald)
Ballots Ran Out According to St. Petersburg Times
More Irregularities Alleged
Voting Scrutinized All Over Florida
Florida Ballot Quirks Scrutinized
Florida Cops Accused of Harassing Black Voters
Election Day Allegations Could Form Basis for Legal Challenges, Experts
Moving Toward a Lawsuit
Many Mistakenly Removed from Voter Rolls
Xavier Suarez Involvement in Absentee Drive
Florida Recount Continues As Lawsuit Threats Rise
NAACP Says Fraudulent Calls Surface in Florida (before election)
NAACP Alleges Voter Suppression in Florida
Voting Irregularities, Chaos Reported in Florida
Voters Statewide Say They Had Poll Troubles
Widespread Voting Irregularities Marred Presidential Results in S.
After Bizarre Vote, Experts Question Whether Election Process Is Fair
Dade's Ballot System Delays Tally
New York Times, "African Americans Demand Revote"
Registered Voters' Names Failed to Appear on Voting Rolls
Myth 10: No Vote Fraud in Florida
Transcript: James A. Baker III on Fla. Recount, Nov. 10, 2000
Associated Press story was available as of 11/9 at:
Wall St. Journal Article
NAACP hears testimony of Florida voting irregularities
Breed, Allen G, Associated Press Wire, 11/11/00.
(Hearings Televised on CSPAN, 11/12/00)
Pensacola Ballot Prompts Fraud Investigation
Cigarettes Distributed for Gore Vote
Gore camp demands FBI inquiry
Myth 11: Judges Stay Out of Elections
PHIL KUNTZ and DAVID S. CLOUD, "Neverending Election Draws Questions
About Electoral Process, Constitution," WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/11/00
Yale Law Students CAMPAIGN FOR A LEGAL ELECTION
Myth 12: Nixon Didn't Fight in 1960
It's a Myth That Nixon Acquiesced in 1960
The Fallacy of Nixon's Graceful Exit
Was Nixon Robbed? (October 16 article)
Senate History Interview (1987): The "Good Old Days" Were Not
"Illinois Republicans Lose", New York Times, Dec. 13, 1960, p. 23.
"Texas Recount Denied", New York Times, Dec. 13, 1960, p. 23.
Myth 13: Republican Absentee Advantage
Texas Air National Guard
London Sunday Times, June 18, 2000, "Bush flies into an air force
cocaine cloud," online at http://www.sunday-times.co.uk
Dear Members and Friends of United for a Fair Economy and/or Responsible
Please take 2 minutes out of your busy schedule today to make one call
to the President today. The number is (202) 456-1414. You can also email
the President at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ask him to veto the
Bankruptcy Reform Act, H.R. 2415.
Send us an email or call us to let us know if you contacted the President.
Thank you for your help on these issues, and for all the time you give to
efforts for economic justice. If you would like to get more involved in
these or other UFE campaigns, please contact me by telephone or email
at the number and address below.
--Dara Silverman, National Organizer
Bankruptcy Bill Action:
Please call President Clinton and urge him to veto the Bankruptcy Reform
Act that has been passed by both houses of Congress. The financial
services industry has poured millions of dollars into congressional coffers
to pass this anti-consumer, pro-industry bill. This bill would hurt low and
middle income households who have not shared in the benefits of the last
decade of economic growth.
Here is some background information:
* Individual Restrictions: This bankruptcy bill would impose numerous
additional restrictions on Americans making it very difficult for the average
person to restructure their debt in a manageable way. For example, banks
would be able to require even more personal information about consumers
and use lawsuits to challenge people who file bankruptcy. Most people
cannot afford to hire a lawyer to defend themselves against these lawsuits and
would have no choice but to agree to the creditor's unreasonable demands.
* Pitting Economic Classes: Under the new bill, a credit card company
would have the same rights to claim individual assets as child support or
alimony payments. According to the Consumer Federation of America, the
bankruptcy bill is stacked against people who use public transportation and renters,
by offering benefits to people who own their own property.
* Unusual Process: This bill was passed using highly irregular process in
Congress. The bill sidestepped the normal process of bipartisan negotiations
and was brought to the Senate floor for a voice vote. Retired Senator
Howard Metzenbaum, said "I thought I'd seen every trick in the book,
but substituting one-sided, secretly negotiated bankruptcy legislation
for a State Department bill is shameful. This shoddy legislative maneuver
shows the lengths creditors will go to ram through harmful barriers to
*Campaign Bribery: Banks, financial services, and credit card companies all
contribute heavily to individual lawmakers and both political parties to
pass legislation that benefits their business interests. On the day the House
was voting on an earlier version of the Bankruptcy bill, credit card company,
MBNA Corp. made a $200,000 contribution to the National Republican
Senatorial Committee. The bill would later be debated in the Senate
Some information provided by the Consumer Federation of America
http://www.consumerfed.org/releases.html and a special report in
Time magazine on May 15, 2000 by Donald Bartlett and James Steele
December 5, 2000
Over 1 Million Pounds of Ground Beef
Recalled in 21 States
Green Bay, WI (SafetyAlerts) - Green Bay Dressed Beef
Inc., also doing business as American Foods Group, is
voluntarily recalling approximately 1.1 million pounds of
ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli
O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety
and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
E. coli 0157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacteria that can
cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. The very young,
the elderly, and persons with compromised immune
systems are the most succeptible to foodborne illness.
Retail packages identifiable to consumers includes:
"B Bar Brand 100% Pure Ground Beef" in frozen 3
pound tubes with a sell by date of Nov/02/01,
bearing the establishment number Est. 410. This
product was distributed to Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and
"Kroger Ground Beef 75/25", "Kroger Ground Round
85/15" and Kroger Ground Beef Sirloin 90/10" in 1.5
pound packages with a production code of 0308,
bearing the establishment number Est. 18076. This
product was distributed to Memphis, Tennessee.
"Kroger Ground Beef", "Kroger Ground Chuck",
Kroger Ground Round" and "Kroger Ground Sirloin"
in 1, 3 and 5 pound tubes with a sell by date of
Nov/20/00, bearing the establishment number Est.
410. This product was distributed to Georgia,
Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and
In a statement released by Kroger, the company stated
that they are cooperating with the American Foods Group
Kroger is asking consumers to check their freezers for any
ground beef dated from November 4 through November 22
that was purchased from Kroger, King Soopers, City
Market or Hilander stores in the following states: Ohio,
West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri,
Michigan, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Colorado
and Wyoming. Consumers should return this ground beef
to the store for a full refund or replacement.
Kroger is also asking customers to check their freezers for
Kroger-brand ground beef purchased in one-, three- or
five-pound tubes dated November 19 or November 20 from
Kroger stores in the following states: Georgia, South
Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West
Virginia and North Carolina. This ground beef should also
be returned to the store for a full refund or replacement.
Additional ground beef products for further
processing, produced on Nov. 2 and 3, are also being
recalled. According to a press release issued by
American Foods Group, the following products are also
2,900 pounds of the product recalled was produced
in 5 pound tubes bearing the brand name Sysco
Supreme Angus and carries the identification of
USDA Establishment No. 410, distributed by Sysco
Corp. The production date of these tubes is
11/02/00 and was shipped to the following states:
38,623 pounds of product recalled was produced in
10 pound tubes with the box bearing the brand
name Sysco Classic and identification of USDA
Establishment No.410, distributed by Sysco Corp.
The production date of these tubes is 11/02/00 and
was shipped to the following states: Florida,
Michigan, North Carolina, Texas.
"Because of the potential hazard of foodborne illness from
consumption of meat products contaminated with
pathogens such as the E. coli 0157:117 bacteria, I urge
consumers who have purchased the suspect product not to
eat it and return it to the place of purchase,"said Thomas
J. Billy, FSIS administrator. "USDA is informing the public
so consumers who may have purchased and stored the
product in their refrigerators or freezers can know to
Consumers with questions about the recall may contact
Sally Vande Hei with American Foods Group at (920)
Consumers with food safety questions can phone the
toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1.-800-535-4555
The hotline can be reached from 10a.m. to 4p.m. (Eastern
Time) Monday through Friday, and recorded food safety
messages are available 24 hours a day.
Notice of this product warning was sent via email to
SafetyAlerts subscribers December 5, 2000. For more
information regarding the SafetyAlerts free email alert
service please click here.
December 12, 2000
Slave Insurance Law Highlights Role of Modern
US Corporations in the Slave Trade [1073 words]
By Brian Oliver Sheppard <email@example.com>
A new California State law slated to take effect on January
1st, 2001, will compel insurers doing business in California
to reveal to what extent they may have been involved in the
slave trade. The so-called "Slave Insurance Bill" aims to
force insurance companies to admit whether or not they
insured slave holders' slaves in the past, and to what
extent this was done. Supporters of this bill hope that
it will lend weight to the movement to grant reparations to
descendants of slaves, and more fully expose the origins of
the wealth of many successful companies today.
The law was sponsored by Democratic Senator Tom Hayden of
Los Angeles, a member of Students for a Democratic Society
(SDS) in the 60s and author of the Port Huron Statement in
1962, seen by many as being a key declaration of principles
of the New Left of that era. The bill, as finally passed by
the state Legislature, seeks no punishment against any
corporations that may have had their hands in slavery.
Rather, it seeks to simply get them to admit their
role as insurers of slaves.
The original, undiluted bill contended that money paid by
insurance companies to slave holders was owed to the family
or to descsendants of slaves. It would have called for
government hearings to determine to what extent African
Americans were owed this back money. Unfortunately, the
bill's final version was stripped of these provisions.
Still, many are hailing the bill as a victory, if only
partial. Civil War historian Eric Foner said the bill helps
"direct attention to the centrality of slavery in American
Washington attorney Alexander Pires, who is currently trying
to gather information to aid in a class action lawsuit to
demand reparations for slavery, said the bill would help
in such cases because it will make companies acknowledge
complicity in the enslavement of Africans in the past. "The
more we hear about these things, the easier it's going to be
for plaintiffs to say: 'Look, this is not a fairy tale, this
is true,'" he told the Los Angeles Times in their December
Aetna, Inc., the largest insurer in the US, has admitted its
role in insuring slaves in the 19th century. Other companies
have predictability not been as quick to look into their
records or admit responsibility. In fact, this law will
probably be met with foot-dragging and evasion on a scale
little seen before. Aetna was forced to admit it insured
slaves when an African-American woman in New York discovered
slave insurance policies held on her ancestors had been
issued by the firm. She called the corporation's headquarters
in Hartford, Connecticut, to seek an apology. Aetna did issue
a public apology. But most agree that more must be done.
A single slave, when insured, was insured for as much
as $30,000 of today's US dollars. The value of a slave was
often determined after something akin to a medical exam took
place. "Generally, the buying of slave insurance would be
preceded by a medical exam in the slave market," said Walter
Johnson, a New York professor. "It would be a real complete,
naked, invasive physical examination." The slaves were judged
and their value was affixed after factoring in such attributes
as labor power, stamina, size, etc. "Slaves were big-time
investments," Johnson adds.
The practice of insuring the lives of slaves led, later, to
the modern practice of selling life insurance to people in
general. Disability insurance, in which the productive power
of workers is insured against disabling disasters that could
relinquish their ability to work, is similar. Nevertheless,
unlike these modern variants of slave insurance, the insurance
policies issued by companies like Aetna were legally considered
to cover productive property and not an actual human life.
Slaves were insured in much the same way a farmer today
might insure a tractor or other piece of equipment upon
which his profitability depends.
Naturally, the insuring of slaves led to much insurance
fraud in which sick or disabled slaves were killed off so
that owners might collect on these policies. The Los Angeles
Times mentions one such incident when the captain of a slave
ship committed the equivalent of insurance fraud when he
cast at least 200 slaves with cholera overboard, causing
them to drown. He tried to collect insurance on the loss
of these slaves, and a long court battle ensued.
Robert Hartwig, a spokesman for the insurance industry,
bristles at the suggestion of insurance companies facing
responsibility for their role in slavery. "If you want to
cast a net of blame for slavery, you're going to have to
cast it over the entire 19th century economy and virtually
every industry and company which can trace its roots back
to the mid-1800s," he said. "The question is why now, why
insurers, and does this nation need to tear open wounds
which are still being healed today?"
Hartwig, a man obviously concerned with just reconciliation
and not "tear[ing] open wounds" - and certainly not motivated
at all by personal vested interests in the insurance industry
- also claims most insurers that existed then have dissolved
and thus no longer exist. However, it is more likely that
larger firms like Aetna acquired smaller companies over
the course of time. As to "why now?" the answer is "why
not now?" And as for tearing open wounds, it seems obvious
the wounds are already there, open and bleeding angrily, and
that one way to ensure they are healed permanently is to let
the process of reparations take its course. Letting wounds
heal, to people like Hartwig, simply means covering things
up and throwing them down the memory hole.
It is important that we begin to explore the complicity
of corporate America in slavery in the same sense it is
important to discover the role of corporations in Nazi
slave labor schemes. Current lawsuits under way on behalf
of imprisoned Jews and their families have highlighted the
often sinister role played by such prominent companies
as Krupp, Siemens, Bayer, Volkswagen, and even American
companies like Ford. We should not be so selective in our
indignation as to only feel outraged when foreign companies
commit atrocities. We need to see to what extent the current
American economy has been built upon an infrastructure of
slave labor. We need to come to terms with the role the
business community has historically played in profiting
off others' misery and loss of liberty.
Brian Oliver Sheppard is a writer, poet, Anarchist activist,
and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World.
Copyright (c) 2000 Brian Oliver Sheppard.
December 3, 2000
The Courts & the Count
By Robert Parry
During the Iran-contra investigation in the 1980s, special
prosecutor Lawrence Walsh likened the Reagan-Bush federal
judges in Washington to “the strategic reserve of an embattled
When President Reagan's guys were under the gun, the Reagan-Bush judges
searched for some legal excuse to jump into the trenches.
At a crucial moment of the Iran-contra scandal, for example, tough
appeals court judges Laurence H. Silberman and David Sentelle both appointed
by Ronald Reagan suddenly went soft on criminals and carved out a broad new
legal right for defendants relating to grants of limited immunity.
The defendant who benefited from this new liberal legal construction was named
Oliver North. Silberman and Sentelle overturned North's conviction on three
The surprising intervention of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Florida vote count
underscores again Walsh’s observation. When the going gets tough for
politicians, the conservative jurists in the federal courts get going.
In this case, the high court’s conservative “strict constructionists,” who
sputter with rage at the idea of federal intervention in a state legal
determined to throw out a recount in Broward County that produced a net
gain of 567
votes for Vice President Al Gore.
A ruling favorable to Texas Gov. George W. Bush could exclude those Broward
ballots and boost Bush's tally from 537 votes to a more respectable 1,104
That could help Bush survive any additional recounts that might be included
The fear among Bush's team about a fuller recount makes more sense following a
new study by the Miami Herald that surveyed the state's 5,885 precincts and
concluded that Gore probably would have won Florida by a 23,000-vote
for various flaws in the voting system and tabulations. [Miami Herald, Dec.
If the Miami Herald is correct, then Bush appears to be heading to the
not only as the first national popular-vote loser in more than a century
but also as the
voters' runner-up in the decisive state of Florida.
With Bush's holding such a dubious claim on the presidency, enter the U.S.
During oral arguments on Dec. 1, the Reagan-Bush judges left little doubt
long-held commitment to federalism and states' rights didn’t extend to the
In a unanimous ruling, that state court had sought to reconcile two
laws by extending the initial deadline for certifying the vote in the
One state law set Nov. 14 as the initial certification date while another
manual recounts that couldn’t physically be done that quickly, at least not
So, the state judges ruled that the right of the voters to have their votes
the recount law’s provision for a more accurate tally should be given
than the technical deadline. Noting also that the law gave some leeway in the
deadline to the secretary of state, the court allowed 12 more days for the
During that time, Broward County completed its recount awarding a net gain
votes to Gore. But the two other counties Dade and Palm Beach had more
The canvassing board in populous Dade County canceled its recount on Nov. 22
after the Bush campaign dispatched paid demonstrators who stormed the county
offices in Miami.
The protesters pounded on the walls as the cancellation was being voted.
Afterwards, they cheered their victory. The official reason given for the
recount was that the canvassing board felt it still lacked enough time to
The day after the assault, Bush and his running mate, Dick Cheney,
the rioters during a celebration at a Fort Lauderdale hotel and joked with
their Miami action, the Wall Street Journal reported. [Nov. 27, 2000]
In Palm Beach, less violent tactics were used. Republican legal representatives
slowed the recount by lodging repeated objections.
When the Palm Beach canvassing board missed the new deadline by two hours,
Republican Secretary of State Katherine Harris, a co-chair of the state Bush
campaign, rejected the revised tally and smilingly certified Bush the
winner in Florida
and thus the next occupant of the White House.
The Gore team challenged Harris's certification in court, demanding
inclusion of the
Palm Beach ballots and the counting of the disputed ballots in Dade County.
The High Court
While the Gore challenge crept along slowly in a state circuit court, the Bush
campaign’s lawyers took aim at the Broward votes before the U.S. Supreme Court.
To the surprise of many observers who considered the Florida Supreme Court’s
decision a garden-variety case of judicial review the U.S. Supreme Court
to intervene and give the case a rare expedited hearing.
Again, surprising to many observers, the court’s Republican majority expressed
strong objections to the Florida Supreme Court’s actions during public oral
arguments on Dec. 1.
For the U.S. Supreme Court, the question of who will be the next president
insignificant, since the president fills vacancies on the court and could
the court’s ideological balance years into the future. Most of the Reagan-Bush
appointees sounded like they wanted another Republican president filling those
Gov. Bush's central legal argument against the state court’s ruling was
based on a
federal law passed in 1887 that called on states to have rules for presidential
elections in place before the vote.
Bush’s legal team argued that by extending the deadline, the Florida
violated that provision. The Reagan-appointed justices on the U.S. Supreme
picked up the theme.
“Certainly the date changed,” declared Justice Sandra Day O’Connor during the
questioning of a lawyer for Florida's attorney general. “That is a dramatic
The date for certification. That is a dramatic change, the date for
certification. … And
it was done by the court. … And the legislature had very clearly said, you
seven days after, that’s the date. And it just does look like a very
made by the Florida court.”
Justice Antonin Scalia, regarded as the most ideological conservative on
suggested that faulty balloting did not justify the postponed certification
“Do you know of any other elections in Florida in which recounts were
manual recounts, because of allegation that some voters did not punch the
way they should have, therefore no problem with the machinery, it’s working
you know, there were, what? Pregnant chads, hanging chads, so forth?” Scalia
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, another Reagan appointee, saw the Florida Supreme
Court’s action to postpone the certification date as akin to a decline in
“In fact, we can change the rules after the game; it’s not important.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was elevated to the top judicial job
also staked out a position on Bush’s side. He criticized the Florida
for citing the Florida Constitution as a factor in its decision, rather
confining its legal reasoning to statutory provisions.
“That is a real problem, it seems to me, under Article II [of the state
because in fact there is no right of suffrage under Article II. There’s a
right of suffrage
in voting for the legislature, but Article II makes it very clear that the
itself appoint the electors” for president, Rehnquist said.
“Who would have thought that the legislature was leaving open the date for
by the court?” chimed in O’Connor. “Who would have thought that?”
Scalia added, “I just find it implausible that they [the state legislators]
the Florida Supreme Court to interpose the Florida Constitution between
enacted by statute and the ultimate result of the election.”
Justice Clarence Thomas, a conservative appointee of President George H.W.
Bush, sat silently, but normally hews closely to Scalia’s positions.
While oral arguments do not always reflect how the court will ultimately
Reagan-Bush justices appeared to have at least a 5-4 majority to side with Gov.
Bush and toss out Gore's Broward County votes.
On a more political level, the Reagan-Bush justices on the U.S. Supreme
fired warning shots across the bow of the Florida Supreme Court.
The oral arguments made clear that the U.S. Supreme Court is prepared to
intervene if it feels that the Florida Supreme Court, dominated by Democratic
appointees, is asserting itself too strongly in determining the outcome of the
To date, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled in ways that have favored and hurt
both Gore and Bush. On Dec. 1, for instance, the court rejected a citizens’
Palm Beach County seeking a revote because of confusion caused by the illegally
designed “butterfly” ballot.
The ballot, with two rows of candidates rather than one vertical list, may
Gore about 10,000 votes, when many elderly Jewish voters mistakenly voted for
Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan or accidentally voided their ballots by
for Gore and Buchanan.
Throughout the post-election legal disputes, the Florida Supreme Court has
as its overriding principle that the right of voters to have their votes
technical legal provisions.
Now, the message from what appears to be a majority of the U.S. Supreme
that technical legal provisions should have supremacy.
Ironically, the one case that could most clearly erase Gov. Bush’s 537-vote
the official Florida tallies is the one in Seminole County that turns on a
There, local Democrats complain that county officials violated state
election law by
giving rejected Republican absentee ballot applications to Republican Party
so they could fill in missing data, while similarly flawed applications
and others were tossed aside.
Florida’s strict absentee ballot law seems to prohibit outsiders from altering
information on absentee forms, though the county officials argue that the
were merely technical revisions.
As a remedy for the allegedly illegal preference given to Republicans, the
Democrats want nearly 5,000 votes taken away from Bush’s column, a change that
would tip the election to Gore.
So, in Seminole County, the Bush camp is arguing that technical legal
should not prevent ballots from being counted, a seemingly contradictory
its position before the U.S. Supreme Court.
If the Bush legal argument from the high court were to be applied to the
case, the notion that pre-election laws are chiseled in stone might come
down on Gov. Bush’s foot.
If a technical deadline is so important that votes cast for Gore must be
thrown out in
Broward, doesn’t if follow that a technical violation on ballots for Bush
discarded in Seminole? Is it fair to change the rules of the game for some
and not for
Cynics, however, might expect that the Reagan-Bush appointees on the U.S.
Supreme Court simply would search out a whole new set of cherished
Those new principles would explain why technical election-law provisions
precedence when they help George W. Bush win the White House, but should be set
aside if they help Al Gore.
[In the 1980s, Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-contra stories for The
Associated Press and Newsweek. ]
Environment ENS -- Environment News Service
Healing Our World: Weekly Comment
By Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D.
We have forgotten who we are
we have alienated ourselves from the unfolding of the cosmos
we have become estranged from the movements of the Earth
we have turned out backs on the cycles of life.
-- Author unknown
It takes only a few years for a deadly pesticide to infiltrate the
ecosystem, causing harm to our bodies and our world. In some cases,
takes only a single exposure to one of these deadly chemicals to
that a birth defect will occur. However, it seems to take about 50
years for politicians to gather enough evidence in the form of deaths
of children and horrible defects to take action.
Modern chemical and biological protective mask (Photo courtesy U.S.
Department of Defense)
Pressure from greedy chemical companies and a decision making process
that puts unfair weight on the concerns of the industry rather than
individual safety has virtually paralyzed the Environmental
Agency and most other pesticide regulators.
I'm fed up with the lies and inaction. Even when the EPA takes
as it did with Dursban earlier this year and with Diazinon earlier
this month, the agreements always allow production of the poisons to
continue and allows stores to sell existing stocks.
In the case of Diazinon, the EPA said it is phasing out this most
widely used lawn and garden pesticide because of unacceptable risks
people, especially children.
But then, in the same breath, this agency that seems to put the
welfare of industry above that of people, said that the manufacture
retail products can continue until June 30, 2003!
Even more unbelievable is the fact that they said stores could
continue to sell existing stocks. No move is under way to attempt to
collect unused products from consumers. This chemical has been sold
the U.S. for 48 years and most of the 14.7 million pounds sold
annually winds up in lakes, rivers, streams and, eventually, into
animal and human tissues.
Children are at greatest risk because they consume a greater amount of
pesticides per unit of body weight than adults. (Photo courtesy U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) )
In King County, Washington, the Local Hazardous Waste Management
Program has found Diazinon in every stream in the Seattle area
in amounts above what is considered safe for aquatic life.
Diazinon is part of a deadly family of pesticides that came from
chemicals developed as nerve gases during World War II. Please take
that in for a moment. Chemicals that were specifically designed to
kill all life forms quickly during wartime were approved by our
government for use on our lawns, in our homes, and around our
Richard Wiles of the Environmental Working Group, a Washington, DC
based lobbying organization, is quoted in the "Seattle Times" as
saying that chemicals like diazinon "come in like nuclear weapons. If
you're a toddler on the lawn, you're getting the gas, your getting it
dermally and you're sticking your hand in your mouth."
This family of organophosphate pesticides - nerve gases - were first
synthesized in Germany before and during World War II. Tabun, Sarin,
and Soman were made by Gerhard Schrader. In the 1930s and 40s.
Methyl bromide pesticide (Photo courtesy USDA))
Sarin, still available today, is lethal to an adult human if he or
gets only 1700 mg on their skin. It doesn't even have to be taken
internally to kill. Sarin gained worldwide attention when on March
1995, the Aum Shinrikyo, a terrorist group in Japan, placed Sarin on
five subway trains traveling toward Kasumigaseki station. This subway
stop is a common one for those working in Tokyo government offices.
Twelve commuters died and over 5,000 were injured.
More than 100,000 human made chemicals have been introduced into the
environment in the past 50 years. More than 1,000 new chemicals are
developed each year. Wherever you live, there are probably more than
250 synthetic industrial chemicals in your body that were not present
in the bodies of your grandparents when they were your age.
Earlier this year, the Environmental Working Group released a report
estimating that every day, 1.1 million children eat food that, even
after it is washed, contains an unsafe dose of 13 organophosphate
pesticides. Of those children, 106,600 exceed the EPA's own safe
dosage level for adults by 10 times or more. The foods found to most
likely contain unsafe pesticide levels are peaches, apples,
nectarines, popcorn and pears. Among baby foods, pears, peaches and
apple juice had the highest levels.
Remember - many of these pesticides on vegetables are not water
soluble and cannot be washed off simply with water.
Invisible pesticides become part of the most ordinary looking meals.
(Photo courtesy USDA)
With the experience of the last 50 to 75 years, we know that these
pesticides cause birth defects in many species, including humans.
cause mutations, and harm the nervous system. Symptoms such as
headache, intestinal cramps, excessive secretions and spasms are
confused by doctors with those of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, low
blood sugar, gastroenteritis, and severe respiratory infections.
Environmentally, these poisons become deeply embedded in our planet's
life support systems and are particularly toxic to birds, aquatic
and, of course, insects.
Yes, the EPA is now conducting a review of the organophosphates
because of a 1996 law and it is considering whether to change the
acceptable residue levels in food. The new law requires that instead
of examining the impact of individual chemicals as has been done in
the past, the EPA must consider the cumulative impact of the entire
family of poisons.
In the meantime, while the officials are studying and assessing the
impact on industry, children whose only mistake was playing on their
lawn or eating a meal are at risk and many are dying.
Ladybugs perform natural aphid control services (Photo courtesy USDA)
Please go to your garages and closets at once and immediately remove
ALL the pesticides you have in ANY form, regardless what the label
says. Use rubber gloves to handle the containers, even if they
been opened. Do not throw them in the trash or pour them down the
train. Tie them tightly in a plastic bag and take them to a hazardous
waste facility in your area. You can find out where by calling your
city's garbage collection agency.
There are many safe materials you can buy or make to control insects.
Or maybe you can do some research and find ways to live with the
insects and the natural world instead of trying so desperately to
separate from them.
For your garden, there are flowers you can plant to repel many
insects. You can release ladybugs in your yard that will eat aphids.
If you have a nest of wasps under your house that is putting your
family at risk, you can set up a wet/dry shop vacuum, filled with
water, and leave it on all night.
Whatever you choose, do not take any chemical label at face value and
do not wait for the EPA, or any agency, to tell you what is safe. Our
lives really do depend on doing what we know in our hearts to be
- not what the label says is safe.
1. See a list of toxic poisons and how much it takes to kill at:
2. Read a report on chemical and biological terrorism at:
3. See some startling facts about home pesticide use at:
4. See a news report about young children at risk from pesticide
residue on food at
5. Visit the Greenpeace Toxics Site for a worldwide perspective at:
6. Find out who your Congressional representatives are and e-mail
them. Tell them that the time is now to start mandating building
materials recycling. If you know your Zip code, you can find them at
http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/ziptoit.html or you can search
by state at
http://www.webslingerz.com/jhoffman/congress-email.html. You can
also find your representatives at
[Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D. is a writer and teacher in Seattle. He
can be found walking with his wife, their unborn child, and with his
dog, keeping them all off lawns when they walks around the
neighborhood. Please send your thoughts, comments, and visions to him
at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit his web site at
December 7, 2000
The Structure of White Power and the Color of Election 2000
By Bob Wing <email@example.com>
What if there was an election, and nobody won?
Thank you, Florida, for exposing as fraud the much-vaunted
sanctity of the vote in this country and placing electoral
reform back on the country's agenda. It turns out that a
real election has more votes disqualified, miscounted, or
lost than the margin of error of a well-designed poll.
More importantly, the botched election exposed that voting
discrimination in Florida was widespread and that racism is
institutionally structured into the two-party, Electoral
Reports out of Florida show that people of color cast
a disproportionate number of the disqualified votes. On
election day, black and Haitian voters were harassed by
police, their names removed from the rolls, and their
ballots left uncounted by outdated machines. Thirty-five
years after passage of the Voting Rights Act, racist
violations of election law are rampant and should be
pursued to justice in Florida and elsewhere.
But beyond these immediate issues, this election reveals
again just how central race is to U.S. politics and how
racism is actually structured into election law. The
election reaffirms that people of color are the most
consistent liberal/progressive voters in the country and
that their clout is increasing -- but that electoral racism
effectively nullifies almost half of their votes. The Civil
Rights movement destroyed the monopoly over power by
whites, but the tyranny of the white majority is still
institutionalized in the winner-take-all, two-party,
Electoral College system.
Unless we place fighting electoral racism at the top of the
racial justice agenda, we cannot challenge the political
stranglehold of conservative white voters or maximize the
growing power of people of color.
By the Numbers
The idea that race and racism are central to American
politics is not just a theory that harkens back to the
days of slavery. It's a current-day lived reality that is
particularly evident in this country's biggest and most
sacred political event: the quadrennial presidential
In Election 2000, 90 percent of African Americans voted
for Gore, as did 63 percent of Latinos, and 55 percent of
Asians. (No exit poll data on the Native American vote is
available, but most have historically voted Democratic.)
Combined, people of color accounted for almost 30 percent
of Gore's total vote, although they were only 19 percent
Latinos, the country's fastest growing voting bloc, went
heavily Democratic -- even in Texas -- despite extensive
efforts by the Republicans to sway them. Most Asians
followed suit. People of color are becoming a larger portion
both of the U.S. population and of the electorate, and voting
largely in concert with each other in presidential elections.
On the other hand, whites constituted almost 95 percent of
Bush's total vote.
Conventional electoral wisdom discounts race as a political
factor, focusing instead on class, the gender gap, union
membership, etc. But, the only demographic groups that had a
fairly unified vote -- defined as 60 percent or more for one
of the candidates -- were: blacks, Latinos, Jews (81 percent
for Gore), union members (62 percent for Gore), residents of
large cities (71 percent for Gore), and white males (60
percent for Bush). All but union members and big-city
residents are racial or ethnic groups.
And, the large numbers of people of color in unions (about
25 percent) and big cities largely account for the heavy
Democratic vote of those demographic groups. White union
members and city dwellers vote to the left of whites who
live more racially isolated lives, but they barely tilt
Democratic. Similarly, women voted 54-43 for Gore, but
white women actually favored Bush by one point. Women
of color create the gender gap.
The same can be said of the poor: although 57 percent
of voters with incomes under $15,000 voted for Gore, poor
whites -- who make up just under half of eligible voters
in this category -- broke slightly for Bush. The income
gap in presidential politics is thoroughly racialized.
As the sociologist William Form pointed out long ago, if
only a bare majority of white working class people voted
consistently Democratic, we could have some kind of social
democracy that would provide much more social justice than
the conservative regimes we are used to.
Despite the pronounced color of politics, Ralph Nader
(and his multi-hued progressive pundits) blithely dismiss
the fact that he received only one percent of the votes of
people of color and that the demographics of his supporters
mirrored those of the Republicans (except younger). In The
Nation, Harvard law professor Lani Guinier points out that
more votes were considered "spoiled" -- and therefore
disqualified -- than were cast for the so-called
"spoiler," Ralph Nader.
Electoral College: Pillar of Racism
The good news is that the influence of liberal and
progressive voters of color is increasingly being felt
in certain states. They have become decisive in the most
populous states, all of which went to Gore except Ohio,
Texas, and (maybe?) Florida. In California an optimist might
even envision a rebirth of Democratic liberalism a couple of
elections down the road, based largely on votes of people of
The bad news is that the two-party, winner-take-all,
Electoral College system of this country ensures, even
requires, that voters of color be marginalized or totally
As set forth in the Constitution, the Electoral College
negates the votes of almost half of all people of color.
For example, 53 percent of all blacks live in the Southern
states, where this year, as usual, they voted over 90
percent Democratic. However, white Republicans outvoted
blacks in every Southern state (and every border state
except Maryland). As a result, every single Southern
Electoral College vote was awarded to Bush. While nationally,
whites voted 54-42 for Bush, Southern whites, as usual, gave
over 70 percent of their votes to the Republican. They thus
completely erased the massive Southern black (and Latino,
Asian, and Native American) vote for Gore in that region.
Since the South's Electoral College votes go entirely
to whichever candidate wins the plurality in each state,
whether that plurality be by one vote or one million votes,
the result was the same as if blacks and other people of
color in the region had not voted at all. Similarly negated
were the votes of the millions of Native Americans and
Latino voters who live in overwhelmingly white Republican
states like Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, Montana -- and
Texas. The tyranny of the white majority prevails. And the
impact of the mostly black voters of Washington, D.C. is
unfairly minimized by the unfair denied statehood and the
arbitrary allocation to it of only three electoral votes.
In his New York Times op-ed, Yale law professor Akhil Amar
reveals that the hitherto obscure Electoral College system
was consciously set up by the Founding Fathers to be the
mechanism by which slaveholders would dominate American
The Constitution provided that slaves be counted as
three-fifths of a person (but given no citizenship rights)
for purposes of determining how many members each state
would be granted in the House of Representatives. This
provision vastly increased the representation of the
slave states in Congress.
At the demand of James Madison and other Virginia slave-
holders, this pro-slavery allocation of Congresspersons also
became the basis for allocation of votes in the Electoral
College. It is a dirty little secret that the Electoral
College was rigged up for the express purpose of translating
the disproportionate Congressional power of the slaveholders
into undue influence over the election of the presidency.
Virginia ended up with more than a quarter of the electors
needed to elect a president, and Virginia slaveholders
proceeded to hold the presidency for 32 of the
Constitution's first 36 years.
Since slavery was abolished, the new justification for the
Electoral College is that it allows smaller states to retain
some impact on elections. And so it does, but to the benefit
of conservative white Republican states. As Lani Guinier
reports, in Wyoming, one Electoral College vote corresponds
to 71,000 voters while in large population states (where the
votes of people of color are more numerous) the ratio is one
electoral vote to over 200,000 voters. So much for one
person, one vote.
The Electoral College remains a racist mechanism that
renders powerless the presidential votes of almost half of
all people of color in the country. This year the Electoral
College will apparently enable the winner of the conservative
white states to prevail over the winner of the national popular
vote -- a tyranny of the minority.
Two Party Racism
The two-party system also structurally marginalizes voters
First of all, to win, both parties must take their most
loyal voters for granted and focus their message and money
to win over the so-called undecided voters who will actually
decide which party wins each election. The most loyal Democrats
are strong liberals and progressives, the largest bloc of whom
are people of color. The most loyal Republicans are conservative
whites, especially those in rural areas and small towns. The
undecideds are mostly white, affluent suburbanites; and both
parties try to position their politics, rhetoric, and policies
to woo them. The interests of people of color are ignored or
even attacked by both parties as they pander to the "center."
Another consequence is that a disproportionate number of
people of color see no reason to vote at all. The U.S. has
by far the lowest voter participation rate of any democracy
in the world. The two party system so demobilizes voters
that only about 65 percent of the eligible electorate is
registered, and only 49 to 50 percent usually vote (far
less in non-presidential elections).
Not surprisingly, the color and income of those who actually
vote is skewed to higher income, older, and more conservative
white people. In the 1996 presidential election, 57 percent
of eligible whites voted compared to 50 percent of blacks
and 44 percent of Latinos. Seventy-three percent of people
with family incomes over $75,000 voted compared to 36
percent of those with incomes below $15,000.
In addition, current electoral law disenfranchises millions
of mainly Latino and Asian immigrants because they are not
citizens. And, according to Reuters, some 4.2 million
Americans, including 1.8 million black men (13 percent of
all black men in America), are denied the right to vote
because of incarceration or past felony convictions.
To remedy these racist, undemocratic electoral structures,
Lani Guinier and many others propose an electoral system
based on proportional representation. Canada, Australia,
all of the European countries except Britain, and many Third
World countries have proportional electoral systems. In such
systems, all parties that win a certain minimum of the popular
vote (usually five percent) win representation in the Congress
(or Parliament) equal to their vote. To win the presidency,
a party must either win an outright majority or form a
governing coalition with other parties.
Thus, for example, the German Green Party, which gets about
seven percent of the vote, is part of the ruling coalition
in that country. If we had such a system, parties representing
people of color could be quite powerful. Instead, in our current
system, voting for a third-party candidate like Nader takes votes
from Gore and helps Bush. And someone like Jesse Jackson, who
won 30 percent of the Democratic popular vote in 1988, is not
a viable candidate and his supporters have virtually no clout
in national politics.
If we fail to place fighting electoral racism at the very
top of a racial justice agenda, we will continue to be
effectively disenfranchised and white people, especially
conservative white Republicans, will enjoy electoral
privileges that enable them to shape the policies and
institutions of this country at our expense. We must fight
for a system of proportional representation, for eliminating
the role of big money in elections, and for making voting
readily accessible to poor folk.
Until we win a proportional system -- or unless there is
some other major political shakeup -- the vast majority
of people of color will continue to participate in the
Democratic Party. Therefore we should demand that the
Democrats more strongly represent their interests. We must
fight the Democratic move to the right, led by people like
Al Gore, or the majority of voters of color will be left to
the tender mercies of the racist, pro-corporate rightwing of
the Democratic Party. However, our ability to do this --
or to support or shape third parties that truly represent
our interests and include our peoples -- depends upon our
ability to form mass, independent racial justice organizations
and to build alliances with other progressive forces both
inside and outside the electoral realm.
Building electoral alliances -- around issues, referenda,
and candidates, both inside and outside the Democratic Party
-- is key to the maturation of a racial justice movement that
functions on the scale necessary to impact national politics,
social policy, or ideological struggle in this country.
Bob Wing is executive editor of ColorLines and a longtime
fighter for racial and economic justice.
Copyright (c) 2000 Bob Wing. All Rights Reserved.
Bob Wing, Editor
Oakland, CA 94612
From: "Vaughn Grisham" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Federal Elections Review Commission Act Introduced
Federal Elections Review Commission Act Introduced
A bipartisan bill, HR 5631, sponsored by U.S. Representatives Peter
DeFazio (D-OR) and Jim Leach (R-IA), was introduced on November 15,
2000. It would establish a nonpartisan, 12-member commission to examine
the advisability and feasibility of proportional voting systems, instant
runoff voting, cumulative voting, and other election-related issues --
including the electoral college; voter registration options like
same-day registration and universal registration; ballot access issues;
mail-in balloting; internet voting; polling place closing times; ballot
design; voting system technology; presidential debates; early voting;
and other issues.
Membership on the commission would include a broad cross section of
regional and political perspectives, and would include experts in the
fields of federal election law, the U.S. Constitution, and United States
history. The Center for Voting and Democracy provided assistance and
suggestions in the drafting of this bill. Passage of this legislation
will boost electoral reform efforts nationally.
Members of Congress are starting to pay attention -- let's contact our
representatives and get them to co-sponsor this legislation, the
Elections Review Commission Act." You may contact your Member of
For full bill text and much more, see:
For Immediate Release
For more information:
December 5, 2000 Ted Glick, 973-338-5398
IN WAKE OF UNFAIR ELECTIONS,
PROGRESSIVES FROM ACROSS THE U.S.
LAUNCH SERIES OF PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIONS
Over the weekend of Dec. 2-3, at the National 4-H Conference Center
just outside of Washington, D.C., leaders from close to 50 local, state,
regional and national organizations, a mix of races, ages, and parts of
the country and experience in the struggle, came together for
"Progressive Dialogue II." The main purpose of this annual conference
was to discuss "where do we go from here" as an independent progressive
movement in light of the political energy unleashed over the past year.
This upsurge began with the creative and effective actions in Seattle
and continued through other mass actions and the Nader/LaDuke campaign,
leading to the current popular dissatisfaction with the present election
debacle, particularly the outright denial of the right to vote for many
people of color, especially in Florida.
Discussions centered around a "Pro-Democracy Campaign;" the need for
race to be placed at the center of a newly-emerging, 21st Century
progressive movement; finding and linking our various movements; and a
call to establish a "shadow government." The climate of the discussions
was encapsulated by the long-time civil rights leader, Ms. Victoria
Gray-Adams, as "creating a new way of being."
Ted Glick, the national coordinator of the Independent Progressive
Politics Network and a co-convener of the dialogue, commented
afterwards, "As the nation waits to find out who will be the next
President, it is tremendously encouraging that groups from around the
country have come together to develop a plan to defend the rights of
working people and move towards a real democracy whoever becomes
President. Concrete plans, people prepared to work, energy, and the
beginnings of a vision for the future--as we witnessed here--have
inspired me and others to step up the battle for true freedom."
The Pro-Democracy Campaign will be initiated by actions this month and
-PROTEST THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE on Monday, Dec. 18, 2000 at state
capitols around the country.
-PRO-DEMOCRACY WEEK from January 15 (Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday)
to January 20 (Inauguration Day). Teach-ins, demonstrations, rallies and
other forms of action will be taking place in localities throughout the
country during this week.
-A PROGRESSIVE GATHERING in Washington, D.C. January 17-19 being set in
motion by the Progressive Challenge Project of the Institute for Policy
Studies. The Gathering will include speakers and workshops toward the
goal of launching Working Groups and an electronic network that will
link progressives across the country with allies in Congress.
The specific focus of the Pro-Democracy campaign will be a Voters Bill
of Rights: abolishing the Electoral College, investigating and ending
violations of the Voting Rights Act, clean money elections/campaign
finance reform, voting rights for former prisoners, making voting easier
and more reliable, instant runoff voting, proportional representation,
D.C. statehood, access to media and debates for all ballot-qualified
candidates, and non-partisan administration of elections.
People volunteered to establish websites, media portals, listserves and
other technologies to find, link and keep informed the activists and
activities across the country of this emerging movement. These
activities are projected as leading in the near future to what has been
christened by former National Rainbow Coalition Executive Director Ron
Daniels as a "Progressive Unity Conference spearheaded by people of
color." Out of such a conference, or prior to it, could emerge some form
of "Shadow Government" to carry on the progressive agenda developed in
the struggle from Seattle to Nader and beyond.
Other discussion focused on the need to recognize the power of the
voices of labor, youth and seniors, the need to oppose the
interconnected systems of domination-class oppression, white supremacy,
patriarchy and heterosexism, and the importance of incorporating art and
culture into our strategies for education and movement-building.
For more information on the December 18 protest, contact Global Exchange
at 415-255-7296 or email@example.com.
For more information on the January 15-20 Pro-Democracy Week contact the
Independent Progressive Politics Network at 973-338-5398 or
For more information on the January 17-19 Progressive Challenge
Coalition event in Washington, D.C., call 202-234-9382, x. 238 or
December 6, 2000
Choking the Florida black vote
By Derrick Z. Jackson,
Boston Globe Columnist
AS THE US SUPREME COURT acts as tourniquet to stop the flow of democracy and
as a crusty circuit court judge slams into pulp the fingers that would
actually count the ballots, evidence continues to emerge that George W. Bush
will become president with voter blood left on the floor.
Leon County Circuit Court Judge N. Saunders Sauls has ruled against manual
recounts. The Supreme Court has vacated the Florida Supreme Court's
extension of manual recounts. On the strictest or most cowardly notions of
''no credible statistical evidence,'' the courts are blessing the ramrodding
of this election by Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris.
The blessings come despite even more evidence in the past week that black
votes are being left on the floor.
The Washington Post found that heavily Democratic and African-American
precincts in Florida lost far more votes than other areas. In Duval County,
while one in 14 ballots were thrown out in heavily white precincts, one in
five ballots were disqualified in heavily black precincts.
In some black precincts in Jacksonville, one out of every three ballots were
In Miami-Dade County, voters in heavily African-American precincts were
three times more likely to have not recorded a vote for president than in
precincts where black voters made up less than 30 percent of the population.
The rejection rates were easily enough to have affected the outcome of the
Patronizing, if not racist, Republican strategists imply that black voters
displayed a low IQ in the voting booth. ''The NAACP did a tremendous job of
turnout in Florida,'' a Republican strategist told the Post. ''But in a way,
they overachieved and got people out who couldn't follow instructions.''
The Republicans will not talk about how Florida suspiciously underachieved
on Election Day. Black voters were far more likely than white voters to
receive bad voting equipment.
The Post and The New York Times have both reported within the last week that
black voters were more likely to have used punch-card ballots than white
voters, while white voters had more access to voting on cards that went under
The Post found that about 34 percent of white Florida voters live in
counties where the more modern equipment could immediately alert poll
workers to ballot errors which could give those voters a second chance,
compared to only 26 percent of African-American voters. The Post found that
the overall rate at which voters cast ballots but did not vote for president
was four times higher in punch-card counties - where there is no chance for
an instant check - than in optical-scanner counties.
The Times also found that computer laptops that could have instantly cleared
up voter registration problems at the polls were not distributed to heavily
black precincts in Miami-Dade or the Tampa area. That left poll workers at
the mercy of busy signals from county election headquarters.
One poll worker at a heavily black precinct in Fort Lauderdale told the Times
she turned away 100 people who said they were registered but whose names did
not appear on voter lists.
''This was the first year we didn't get through,'' said the poll worker,
Elease Williams, 72, who has been a clerk for more than two decades. ''I was
The Times found that even though Gore won Miami-Dade, Bush won the precincts
that were equipped with laptops. In Hillsborough County, which Bush won
overall by 51-47 percent, his victory was 55-45 percent in precincts with
In addition, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel last week found that one-third
of 22,807 disqualified votes in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties
came from from heavily African-American precincts. The Sun-Sentinel's
analysis concluded that had those votes been counted, nearly 18,000 of those
votes would likely have gone to Gore. Voters in heavily black areas of Palm
Beach and Broward had their votes rejected at a rate more than twice as high
as the rest of the counties.
It is an ever-diminishing prospect whether any of this can change this
election. But the more evidence that comes out, the more stolen and stained
would be a Bush presidency. Contrary to Sauls, there always was enough
credible evidence to force a more patient, thoughtful, and thorough counting
of the ballots.
The courts have spoken. The fingers of democracy are black and blue. At this
moment, the American flag, flying behind the candidates as they speak, is
less a symbol of freedom than a tourniquet.
Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:
Florida's Lessons For Black Leaders
Yale Law Professor AKHIL REED AMAR is the expert on the Electoral College,
slavery, etc. Here is a piece he wrote recently for the NY Times.
November 9, 2000
The Electoral College, Unfair From Day One
By AKHIL REED AMAR
As we await results from the Florida recount, two things should be clear.
First, if George W. Bush, having apparently lost the popular vote, does
indeed win at least 270 electoral votes when the Electoral College
meets, he is the lawful winner, who played by the Constitution's rules and
Second, we must realize that the Electoral College is a hopelessly outdated
system and that we must abolish it. Direct election would resonate far
better with the American value of one person, one vote. Indeed, the college
was designed at the founding of the country to help one group -- white
males -- and this year, it has apparently done just that.
In 1787, as the Constitution was being drafted in Philadelphia, James Wilson
of Pennsylvania proposed direct election of the president. But James Madison
of Virginia worried that such a system would hurt the South, which would
have been outnumbered by the North in a direct election system. The creation
the Electoral College got around that: it was part of the deal that
Southern states, in computing their share of electoral votes, could count
slaves (albeit with a two-fifths discount), who of course were given none of
the privileges of citizenship. Virginia emerged as the big winner, with more
than a quarter of the electors needed to elect a president. A free state
like Pennsylvania got fewer electoral votes even though it had approximately
the same free population.
The Constitution's pro-Southern bias quickly became obvious. For 32 of the
Constitution's first 36 years, a white slaveholding Virginian occupied the
presidency. Thomas Jefferson, for example, won the election of 1800 against
John Adams from Massachusetts in a race where the slavery skew of the
Electoral College was the decisive margin of victory.
The system's gender bias was also obvious. In a direct presidential
election, any state that chose to enfranchise its women would have
automatically doubled its clout. Under the Electoral College, however, a
state had no special incentive to expand suffrage -- each got a fixed number
of electoral votes, regardless of how many citizens were allowed to vote.
Now fast-forward to Election Night 2000. Al Gore appears to have received
the most popular votes nationwide but may well lose the contest for
electoral votes. Once again, the system has tilted toward white Southern
males. Exit polls indicate that Mr. Bush won big among this group and that
Mr. Gore won
decisively among blacks and women.
The Electoral College began as an unfair system, and remains so. So why keep
Advocates of the system sloganeer about "federalism," meaning that
presidential candidates are forced to take into account individual state
interests and regional variations in their national campaigns. But in the
current system, candidates don't appeal so much to state interests (what are
those, anyway?) as to demographic groups (elderly voters, soccer moms)
within states. And direct popular elections would still encourage candidates
to take into account regional differences, like those between voters in the
Midwest and the East. After all, one cannot win a national majority without
getting lots of votes in lots of places.
Direct election could give state governments some incentives to increase
voter turnout, because the more voters a state turned out, the bigger its
role in national elections and the bigger its overall share in the national
tally. Presidential candidates would begin to pay more attention to the
needs of individual states that had higher turnouts.
The nation's founders sought to harness governmental competition and rivalry
in healthy ways, using checks and balances within the federal government and
preserving roles for state governments. Direct presidential elections would
be true to their best concepts -- democracy and healthy competition --
rather than to their worst compromises.
Akhil Reed Amar, a law professor at Yale, is author of "The Bill of Rights:
Creation and Reconstruction"
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