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Isreal Cracks Down on Peace Activists; Ithaca Celebrates France

by Tompkins County Green Party Wednesday, May. 21, 2003 at 10:15 AM

Iraq in Chaos Media Ownership Rules in Jeopardy NY Green: Public Supports Same-SeX Marriages Airlines in Tailspin Rumsfeld Agenda Wold Gut US Democracy

Iraq In Chaos

Student Reuse project Supports 88.1 FM

Media Ownership Rules in Jeopardy

Native American Takes Job As Mayor

NJ Green: Public Supports Same-Sex Marriage

TV ignores Cluster Bomb, DU impact on Iraq

Whole Ithaca Stock Exchange

Airlines in Tailspin

Ithaca holds French Festival

Isreal Cracks Down on Peace Activists

Rumsfeld Agenda Would Gut US Democracy

Haliburton Deal: Another Bush Lie

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Iraq In Chaos

Michael Birmingham, Iraq Peace Team

"This dinner is pre-cooked." Ahmed, an Iraqi engineer volunteered his view on what level of involvement Iraqis would be given by the U.S. in determining their future. He likened the choice to the one his mother used to give him on his returning from school. He would be asked what he wanted for dinner, but the finished product was already cooked in the kitchen. Ahmed believes that whatever Iraqis want and are asked, their future government has been pre-cooked by George Bush. He now only wants to get enough money and an opportunity to bring his family out of Iraq, before things get much worse as he believes they will.

Things are bad enough right now. Stories are coming with increasing regularity of the terrible price being paid by Iraqis for the complete lawlessness rampant in the country. There are many stories of women being dragged away in cars at gunpoint. One while with her husband in a car in central Baghdad, another woman from a tight-knit village. A young woman in broad daylight from one of Baghdad's busier squares, and two young women from their homes. These are only the stories that I have personally been told. On more than one occasion when I have asked if these incidents had been covered by media, I was told that there are stories everywhere, who'd cover them all?

People are afraid to send their children to school. Afraid, that even if they drive them, they cannot be sure to be able to protect them in the car. Afraid that there will not be adequate security in the schools.


Student Reuse project Supports 88.1 FM

This year the Student Re-Use Project (SRP) will be donating 50% of it's net proceeds to Ithaca Community Radio (88.1 FM) to help keep alternative programming on the air here in Ithaca.

SRP collects the vast quantities of good items discarded by departing Cornell Students who live in Collegtown when they leave in the spring. Students discard lots of good usefull items because it is not worth packing them and shipping them.

Last year SRP raised about 00 at a two day sale in June. This year promises to be even better.

SRP is an all-volunteer community based organization whos goal is to divert the discarded items from the waste stream and put them in the hands of people who can use them. Items collected include clothing, shoes, housewares, books, computers, furniture, and appliances.


Media Ownership Rules in Jeopardy

by F. Timothy Martin

Supporters of relaxing FCC media ownership rules moved one step closer to realizing their agenda on May 15 as FCC Chairman Michael Powell dismissed an 11th hour attempt by the commission’s two Democratic party members to postpone the June 2 deadline for making a decision on whether to alter its existing rules.

Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathon Adelstein attempted to extend the review period in order to allow for a public airing of the proposed rule changes.

Opponents fear that any relaxation of the rules will lead to further consolidation of media ownership to the detriment of the public. As it stands today just three U.S. media conglomerates, AOL-Time Warner, General Electric, and News Corp, own the majority of cable news networks, 60 percent of top radio stations are owned by Clear Channel or one of two other corporations, and both the Internet and direct broadcast satellite industry are dominated by just a few major U.S. based companies.


Native American Takes Job As Mayor

by Annie Young; GreenPages, Vol 6, No.4

In a three-way race for mayor of Cass Lake, Minn., voters elected Elaine Flemming, an Anishinaabe woman and enrolled member of the Leech Lake reservation.

Cass Lake, population 860, is located in Northern Minnesota, 13 miles east of Bemijdi, inside the borders of the Leech Lake reservation. Flemming surprised 14-year incumbent Ardean Brasgalla and candidate Shirley LaDuke-Fisher. She realized one of her first jobs will be to convince non-tribe members that she will represent all the people of Cass Lake.

"I hope we can look at ourselves here in Cass Lake as a unified community," the mayor-elect said. "I don't want it to be seen as them and us."

Flemming was inspired to run for office after working alongside friend Audrey Thayer in her race for Beltrami County Commissioner. Flemming, a professor at the Leech Lake Tribal College, has been active in efforts to educate students and tribal members on the effects of cancer-causing dioxins found in the water of nearby Pike Bay, which the EPA declared a Superfund site in 1984.


NJ Green: Public Supports Same-Sex Marriage

Jonathan Oriole, the Green Party candidate for the New Jersey State Assembly's 31st District and one of only three openly gay Assembly candidates statewide, has applauded the results of a recent Jersey Journal poll (May 5, 2003) on same-sex marriage. Oriole says the poll--which found that 55.6 percent of Hudson County residents support legalizing same-sex marriage--underscores the broad public support for an issue that the state's elected officials have ignored.

"This poll confirms what I've known all along - that when people think about same-sex civil marriage, they think about equality and fairness under the law," Oriole says. "More and more Americans are saying that denying gay and lesbian couples the legal right to marry is just plain wrong, and it goes contrary to the very principles on which this country was founded."

Oriole says that in light of the thousands of legal protections that marriage provides--from tax benefits to adoption to hospital visitation rights--denying gays and lesbians the right to marry turns them into second-class citizens.


TV ignores Cluster Bomb, DU impact on Iraq

Media have been quick to declare the U.S. war against Iraq a success, but in-depth investigative reporting about the war's likely health and environmental consequences has been scarce. Two important issues getting shortchanged in the press are the U.S.'s controversial use of cluster bombs and depleted uranium weapons.

According to a May 5 search of the Nexis database, there have been no in-depth reports about cluster bombs on ABC, CBS or NBC's nightly news programs since the start of the war. There have been, however, a few passing mentions of cluster bombs-- enough so that viewers may be aware of their existence. Not so with depleted uranium. Since the beginning of the year, the words "depleted uranium" have not been uttered once on ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News or NBC Nightly News, according to Nexis.

Depleted uranium is a dense metal used in various U.S. and British munitions as ballast and to cut through tank armor. The U.S. military insists it is not a major health threat, but many link it to Gulf War Syndrome and to increased cancers and birth defects in Iraq. As explained in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (11/12/02)-- one of the few mainstream outlets to seriously investigate the issue-- DU is radioactive and remains so for billions of years. What's more, when a DU weapon hits its target, "an extremely fine ceramic uranium dust" is created "that can be spread by the wind, inhaled and absorbed into the human body and absorbed by plants and animals, becoming part of the food chain." According to the London newspaper the Guardian (4/25/03), it's unclear exactly how much DU was used in the most recent Iraq war, but some experts estimate 1,000 to 2,000 tons-- roughly three to six times the amount of DU dropped in the 1991 Gulf War.


Whole Ithaca Stock Exchange

Everybody wants more money so they can enjoy life, send kids to college and retire well. To achieve these, over 40% of American households have invested in stocks and bonds.

But Wall Street is risky and even destructive. Bull markets lure the middle class to bet heavily then, often, their money dissolves. ,000 worth of Nortel stock one year ago now yields .00. Enron's ,000 is now ; Worldcom lost 5 of the thousand. These tophat crooks can't be controlled: the watchdog workload of the Securities & Exchange Commission grew by 80% between 1991-2000 while staff grew just 20%.

Even when the market's rising, only 3% of trading is essentials like food and fuel. Warmaking, prisons, traffic accidents and environmental depletion are profitable, while neighborhoods and family farms fail.

Where's a safer place to invest? Many now realize that unless the global economy is based on a world of stable communities amid healthy environments, trading stable currencies, then bank accounts are just worthless big numbers. Getting reliably rich means investing in community.


Airlines in Tailspin

By Milt Neidenberg

Donald J. Carty, chief executive officer of American Airlines--the biggest airline carrier in the world--has reluctantly resigned. He and other top executives in the industry were caught sticking their grubby, greedy hands into AA assets.

Gerard J. Arpey, a board of directors' favorite, is now CEO. He is a beneficiary of the same freebies that Carty and the others secretly grabbed.

Meanwhile, AA union members have suffered mass layoffs and drastic cuts in wages and benefits. Work loads have increased immeasurably. Worker safety has been endangered.

In an airline crisis of unprecedented proportions, AA workers had voted to give up .62 billion annually to save the company.

In stark contrast, Carty and seven top executives tried to take "retention" bonuses for the next two years worth up to twice their base salaries. Carty's bonus would have been more than .6 million, based on his salary of 1,000.


Ithaca holds French Festival

Matthew Vernon

In response to the anti-French movement in America, Ithacans coordinated an event to celebrate French culture yesterday.

The event, called Frenchfest, was hosted by the Autumn Leaves bookstore in the Commons. The event was open to the public, offering free French bread, wine, cheese and jam, all of which were donated by local vendors. Reporters from news organizations including Fox News covered the event.

Paul Glover, one of Frenchfest's principal organizers, thought that this sort of event was necessary given the United States' reaction to France's refusal to support the war in Iraq.

"I think it is ridiculous that the U.S. would demolish 200 years of friendship with France because France has confronted us, on behalf of most of the world's population, about our invasion of Iraq," Glover said.


Isreal Cracks Down on Peace Activists

Israeli military forces are trying to stamp out the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a nonviolent direct action group active in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. On April 16, Israeli Army Chief of Staff Lt. General Moshe Yaalon announced that he had given the order to “take the ISM out,” because it limited the “freedom of action” of his troops. Over the last week, he made good on his order.

On May 9, Israeli police and military forces raided the Media Office of the ISM in Beit Sahour, as well as the nearby Palestinian Center for Rapprochement. The Israelis confiscated and damaged computer equipment and files, and detained three women – one Palestinian volunteer and two internationals, both of whom the Israelis have pledged to deport as part of a new general strategy barring international observers from the Occupied Territories. With the ISM’s media coordinators under lock and key, Israeli forces detained two British peace activists entering Gaza through the Erez checkpoint. Detentions spread the next day to the West Bank where three internationals were grabbed in the town of Tulkarem.


Rumsfeld Agenda Would Gut US Democracy

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A legislative proposal from the office of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld would, if enacted, grant the military nearly unlimited freedom from civilian oversight, and, in combination with other recent laws and policies, bring the U.S. to the brink of a military-dominated state, say members of the Green Party of the United States.

The "Defense Transformation for the 21st Century Act" would allow the Secretary of Defense to choose billion-dollar corporate contractors without public accountability or Congress' review; strip Defense Department employees of union rights, whistleblower protections, annual pay raises, and right to appeal disciplinary actions; exempt the Pentagon from environmental protection rules on more than 23 million acres of U.S. land; and exempt the Pentagon from numerous Congressional oversight rules.

In a March 7 memo, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said President Bush should exempt defense facilities from certain environmental laws "for reasons of national security."


Haliburton Deal: Another Bush Lie

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "The revelation that Halliburton's multibillion-dollar postwar contract involves distribution of Iraqi oil tops off a list of White House deceptions about the purpose of the invasion of Iraq," said Jake Schneider, treasurer of the Green Party of the United States. "Rep. Henry Waxman's [D.-Calif.] exposure of the Halliburton deal proves what Greens and other opponents of the war have said all along. The U.S. victory over Saddam's forces wasn't a matter of liberation for the people of Iraq, but of conquest -- of regional political dominance and control over Iraq's oil resources."

Many of the deceptions surrounding the U.S. invasion have been blatant and known to be false all along, say Greens.

"What does it say for the health of American democracy, when President Bush or Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld can make patently false statements, without challenge from most of the media or most Democrats?" asked Mark Dunlea, chair of the Green Party of New York State. "Many Americans seem to believe that the dishonesty is justified simply because the U.S. won the war."


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