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Bush guts Health Care for Veterans; Michael Moore's Popularity Surges

by Tompkins County Green Party Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2003 at 2:11 PM

Green news and opion updated daily

Sign up for this weekly e-mail newsletter.

Students Invade US Senate

Hans Blix: Inspections a Scam

Bush Guts Health Care for Veterans

Green Party Appeals to Latinos

Concorde, SST -- The End of the Dream

Eco-lateral Damage

The Precautionary Principle: Good Science

Michael Moore: My Oscar Backlash

US Unilateralism May Hurt Economy

Protestors Block Highways, Establish Peace Camp in Portland OR

Anti-War Boycott Hurts Coke, Pepsi Sales in India

Oakland Cops Fire Rubber Bullets at Crowd; ILWU Shuts Down Docks

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Students Invade US Senate
A group of activists with the Ferrel Collective,including 4 University of Maryland students, brought Thursday's session of senate to an abrupt halt. The group was protesting massive military spending being passed while critical social services such as affordable housing, education, health care, and drug addiction treatment are underfunded and/or experiencing budget cuts.

¨We are concerned that corporate powers continue to control this country over the will of the people. The unjust and dangerous war in Iraq is part of an expanding corporate agenda to put profit interests over our interests as communities. Our government is not hearing us, so we have to make our voices heard. We must retake the space that is being run by dollars and greed,¨ said Chris D. (of the Ferrels) in handcuffs.

The group went to the Senate chambers early in the day, hoping to catch the Senate in the convening during the AM hours to discuss and vote on the proposed budget including billion dollar military allocation for the war in Iraq and a tax cut for next year that could run between 300 and 750 million dollars for next year. However, before noon, senators asked that the senate take a recess until house-senate conferences on the budget could be convened.


Hans Blix: Inspections a Scam
Madrid - The invasion of Iraq was planned a long time in advance, and the United States and Britain are not primarily concerned with finding any banned weapons of mass destruction, the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, said in an interview on Wednesday.

"There is evidence that this war was planned well in advance. Sometimes this raises doubts about their attitude to the (weapons) inspections," Blix told Spanish daily El Pais.

"I now believe that finding weapons of mass destruction has been relegated, I would say, to fourth place, which is why the United States and Britain are now waging war on Iraq.

Today the main aim is to change the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein," he said, according to the Spanish text of the interview.


Bush Guts Health Care for Veterans
Rick Anderson, The Seattle Weekly

War was his best moment and his worst. Visions of whistling bullets, airborne body parts, screams of the wounded—and that was a good day for Joe Hooper. The Medal of Honor winner and most decorated soldier in Vietnam would bolt upward in his Seattle bed, sweating booze from the night before. Those earlier appearances on national TV, the possibility of a Hollywood biopic, hanging out with Bob Hope and several presidents—that just churned him up more inside. The catlike, strawberry-haired 6-footer and former Washington state football scoring champ at Moses Lake High School had enlisted at age 19 because he admired the military.

Then came Vietnam. Staff Sgt. Joe Hooper, 29, of the 501st Airborne Infantry, killed at least 115 of the enemy—24 of them in a six-hour firefight, lobbing grenades into Viet Cong bunkers and wading through withering machine-gun fire to repeatedly rescue wounded American soldiers. Fourteen out of 189 survived. After treatment for his wounds, Hooper broke out of the hospital to return to his unit. Part American Indian, he said he could “smell out” the enemy, and thought he was born to go to Vietnam. His 37 medals were more than those earned by World War II’s Audie Murphy and World War I’s Alvin York—names that, unlike Hooper’s, still ring familiar today. Like others of his era, he arrived home to accusations of being a baby killer. But that’s not what eventually soured him on Vietnam. “At high schools, when I speak, the question kids most often asked me was, ‘Would you do it again?’” he told me once. “I would, the reason being I thought my abilities helped save lives. But I would tell my children, if [we] were to do this over, ‘Go to Canada. Don’t fight a war you can’t win.’”


Green Party Appeals to Latinos
by Starlene Rankin GreenPages, Vol 6, No.4

Representing a critical step adelante for the Green Party, Green gubernatorial candidate Peter Miguel Camejo received 7.4 percent of the Latino vote in California in November, according to estimates by the William C. Velasquez and Tomas Rivera Institutes.

This validates one of the key Camejo campaign strategies: to reach out to Latinos.

A first generation Venezuelan-American who speaks fluent Spanish, Camejo defied stereotypes about Green candidates by doing even better with Latino voters than non-Latinos (which gave him a still respectable 5 percent).

Galvanizing support for Camejo was also the growing dissatisfaction among Latinos with Democratic incumbent Governor Gray Davis, particularly around Davis' veto of Assembly Bill 60. AB60 was driver's license legislation that would have given licenses to immigrants who are in the process of applying for legal residency. Following upon Davis' earlier foot-dragging on signing farmworkers' rights legislation, this veto even caused key Democrats in the Latino Legislative Caucus to withdraw their endorsement of Davis.


Concorde, SST -- The End of the Dream
British Airways and Air France have announced that the Concorde will be permanently grounded by the end of this year, bringing about an end to civilian supersonic transport.

Aside from the noise problem, supersonic aircraft are massively inefficient. There is a simple reason for this. When an aircraft passes through the air, there is a compression in front of it. The speed at which the compression wave can travel through the air is the speed of sound. If a plane travels faster than sound, this wave builds up a large compression shock wave as the plane runs into its own wake- and it is this wave which creates the characteristic "boom" when the plane passes over. This "boom" represents a huge amount of energy, which implies very high fuel consumption. This is why the flights cost, as the BBC reported in the announcement, 4000 pounds for a roundtrip from London to New York.


Eco-lateral Damage
by Ross Mirkarimi, Published on March 28, 2003 by In These Times.

We felt a sense of impending catastrophe, difficult to define at first, as we crossed the Jordanian border into Iraq and sped toward Baghdad. As we drove down the desert highway, the fault lines of a military conflagration started to reveal the pockmarks of the war's chaos. We arrived. My focus turned to an ancient nation, once advanced, now engulfed in the onslaught of the war's aftermath.

Baghdad, the barometer for the western media, stood resolute but seriously wounded. I knew that a return to normalcy there, the center of Saddam Hussein's realm, was key to his remaining in power. Yet outside the city, any impressions of efficiency were merely delusions. That was 1991.

Once a modern nation, Iraq is now a country of waterborne diseases induced by improper sanitation and deficient supplies of potable water; imperiled flora and fauna due to uncontrolled pollution and habitat displacement; contaminated ecosystems peppered by depleted uranium bullets; soil and agricultural erosion caused by reduced photosynthesis and poor irrigation; and depleted livestock due to disease and the interruption of food chains.


The Precautionary Principle: Good Science
The precautionary principle is simply a statement that we should not go ahead with a new technology, or persist with an old one, unless we are convinced it is safe. This sounds such an obviously sensible idea that we might expect it to be accepted by almost everyone and without question. Yet many objections have been raised against it.

We are told it is nothing more than a statement that we should be careful, and so says nothing that’s not already accepted, while at the same time others argue precisely the opposite: that it is so powerful that applying it would stop progress dead in its tracks. We are told that it sanctifies unscientific prejudice when in fact it requires scientific evidence before it is applied and demands that good science be used in place of sweeping and unjustified assurances of safety. We are even told these matters should be left to the courts as if that were an alternative, whereas it is the courts themselves that should be applying the precautionary principle.

Most of those who support the precautionary principle would accept that it is well expressed by the Wingspread statement:

"When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof."

This immediately deals with two of the common objections raised. First, the principle does not support unscientific prejudice. To say that the potential hazards do not have to be fully established scientifically makes it clear that the principle is about cases where there is scientific evidence. The European Commission states this explicitly in its Communication on the Precautionary Principle, writing that it applies "where preliminary objective scientific evaluation indicates that there are reasonable grounds for concern …"


Michael Moore: My Oscar Backlash
Dear friends, It appears that the Bush administration will have succeeded in colonizing Iraq sometime in the next few days. This is a blunder of such magnitude -- and we will pay for it for years to come. It was not worth the life of one single American kid in uniform, let alone the thousands of Iraqis who have died, and my condolences and prayers go out to all of them.

So, where are all those weapons of mass destruction that were the pretense for this war? Ha! There is so much to say about all this, but I will save it for later.

What I am most concerned about right now is that all of you -- the majority of Americans who did not support this war in the first place -- not go silent or be intimidated by what will be touted as some great military victory. Now, more than ever, the voices of peace and truth must be heard. I have received a lot of mail from people who are feeling a profound sense of despair and believe that their voices have been drowned out by the drums and bombs of false patriotism. Some are afraid of retaliation at work or at school or in their neighborhoods because they have been vocal proponents of peace. They have been told over and over that it is not "appropriate" to protest once the country is at war, and that your only duty now is to "support the troops."

Can I share with you what it's been like for me since I used my time on the Oscar stage two weeks ago to speak out against Bush and this war? I hope that, in reading what I'm about to tell you, you'll feel a bit more emboldened to make your voice heard in whatever way or forum that is open to you.


US Unilateralism May Hurt Economy
Unilateral action may prove an effective way to win the war in Iraq, but some scholars at Emory University and its Goizueta Business School say that it’s not a good strategy for winning more world trade. Despite the sweetheart deals some U.S. companies seem likely to receive in post-Saddam Iraq, some Emory University scholars believe America’s current tendency to go-it-alone on a wide range of global economic, environmental, legal, and military issues could have a longer term negative impact on the U.S. economy.

Whether the issue is global warming, the world criminal court, or international trade, the Bush Administration’s refusal to commit to a variety of international agreements in the past several years has frustrated many of America’s largest trading partners, according to Jagdish Sheth, a marketing professor at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. And in politics as in physics, every action has a reaction: Sheth believes that one result of this unilateralism will be reluctance to trade with or invest in the U.S.

Even if the war ends quickly, Sheth believes that international frustration with the U.S. will not dissipate. “I’m convinced that the war is just an excuse,” for other countries to act on their frustration with the U.S., notes Sheth, who specializes in global business strategy. “Whether the war finishes quickly or is prolonged will make no difference to the distancing from America because America has become unilateral in its decision-making.”


Protestors Block Highways, Establish Peace Camp in Portland OR
March 21, Portland OR -- Police in Portland arrested about 135 protesters after a day of freewheeling anti-war demonstrations shut down several bridges, freeways and intersections.

Late Thursday, police warned hundreds of protesters at the foot of the Burnside Bridge to leave the area. Some left, but about 100 seated themselves on the rain-slicked road and linked arms in defiance.

Soon after, police began picking up the seated demonstrators one-by-one, and putting them in police vans. Most of those arrested Thursday were charged with disorderly conduct or criminal mischief, Police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz said. Police used pepper spray to clear crowds near the bridge and threatened people on a nearby street with "impact weapons and chemical spray."

"I feel this war is unjustified," said Celine Fitzmaurice, who was in the crowd at the foot of the Steel Bridge, where police on horses used pepper spray to hold back the crowd. "It's about oil. This is precisely the time to keep the pressure on. People can make a difference."


Anti-War Boycott Hurts Coke, Pepsi Sales in India
The All-India Anti-imperialist Forum has called for a boycott of Pepsi, Coca-Cola, McDonald and all American and British goods in India and other countries in protest against the ‘unjust’ US war on Iraq.

"We give a call to all peace-loving people of the world and India to rise up in protest against the imperialist aggression against Iraq and boycott Pepsi, Coca-Cola, McDonald and all American and British goods in the markets of respective countries in protest," Forum's general secretary, S K Mukherjee, said.

Such a boycott, he asserted, would constitute a powerful and coordinated gesture of recording global protest against the attack on Iraqis.

Distributors of Coca Cola and Pepsi said sales in the state of Kerala had dropped by about 50% since the call was made two weeks ago.


Oakland Cops Fire Rubber Bullets at Crowd; ILWU Shuts Down Docks
4/7: Anti-War demonstrators arrived around 5AM at the port of Oakland to picket American President Lines (APL) and Stevedoring Services of America (SSA). APL receives millions of taxpayer dollars every year for shipping military cargo through the Department of Defense Maritime Security Program (MSP). SSA was awarded a .8 million contract for a year's operation of the Port of Umm Qasr in Iraq.

The picket line was successful in provoking the ILWU into sending many of its workers home for the day. After approximately 30 minutes, the Oakland Police Department moved in to disperse the demonstrators, using concussion grenades , wooden bullets, and beanbags full of metal shot. Scores of people, including six onlooking workers, suffered injuries and Jack Heyman (Business Agent, ILWU Local 10) was arrested with over 35 other protesters and port workers.

Police violence quickly forced protesters back to the West Oakland BART station and there was then a spirited march downtown to the Oakland Federal Building. A press conference was held at 2:30 in front of City Hall to address issues of police violence towards workers and protesters.

Strong anti-war sentiments by longshoremen combined with disgust at OPD violence kept large portions of the Oakland docks shut down for most of the day, but as would be expected Mayor Jerry Brown defended the police brutalization of protesters.


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