Greener Times

Promoting a sustainable society…one day at a time.

GT for November 3 – 9

Posted by Trey Smith on November 3, 2008

Greener Times for the Week of Nov. 3 – 9

Volume 3 No. 29

an e-publication for Greens anywhere and everywhere
Trey Smith, Publisher/Editor
Tom Herring & Duff Badgley, Columnists

Anything emailed to GreenerTimes@wagreens.us is subject to be published in a future edition. If you wish to contact Trey personally, for whatever reason, please send correspondence to nwtao@centurytel.net.

In This Week’s Issue
* Resolution Proposed to GPoWS Locals
* Green Party Candidates for State Legislature to Watch on Election Day
* Thoughts By the Way: The Effect Spoiled
* Our Climate Crisis: Sea-Change
* This Week in History
* Letters to the Editor
* Pencil Shavings: Pity the 2.3 Percent
* News You May Have Missed

Resolution Proposed to GPoWS Locals
submitted by Leith Kahl & Peggy Wolf

The resolution below was placed before the Green Party of Seattle at last night’s meeting by myself (Leith Kahl) and Peggy Wolf. As per the Seattle local’s established practice, the members will have the weeks between now and their next meeting to study it and prepare for discussion/debate and vote on it. I am asking you to send it to the other WA Green Party locals for their consideration as well, and also that you publish it in Greener Times for the benefit of at large Green Party members throughout the state.

PROPOSED RESOLUTION: MOTION TO JOIN AND SUPPORT THE STRUGGLE FOR AN AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM AND CULTURAL CENTER IN SEATTLE’S CENTRAL DISTRICT

WHEREAS the Green Party’s national platform has for the past eight years stated that the Green Party stands in favor of Reparations to the Black community for slavery and its aftermath,

WHEREAS The effort to build the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center (AAHMCC) was a proactive response to the negative conditions existing in the African American community. These conditions including disproportionate levels of broken homes, crime, academic failure, drugs, violence, incarceration, lack of economic development and unemployment are a direct result of the cultural and socio-economic damages caused by the African Holocaust commonly referred to as the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and the institutionalized oppression of African peopled that followed,

WHEREAS efforts to establish an African American Heritage Museum & Culture Center in Seattle began in 1969 and came to the forefront in 1981 when Omari Tahir-Garrett and Isaiah Edwards led a community-based coalition in opposing the construction of a police precinct in the heart of Seattle’s historically Black Central District, proposing a positive cultural institution instead,

WHEREAS Omari Tahir-Garret, the little league baseball coach, second generation lifelong Central District Resident, Garfield quarterback, Black construction worker, and former public school teacher who initiated this effort also initiated and organized successful boycott campaigns that forced local corporations and the Washington State Liquor Control Board to cease and desist from buying products from Apartheid South Africa during the anti-apartheid struggle that ultimately toppled the white composed government and all white police forces in that part of Africa,

WHEREAS on Nov. 23, 1985 the longest recorded act of civil disobedience in U.S. history began when Omari Tahir, Earl Debnam and a small group of concerned community members including Charlie James, Michael Greenwood and others, occupied the abandoned Colman Elementary School, demanding that the building be developed into the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center in Seattle, WA (http://www.aahmcc.org/downloads/85-11-23_Declaration_of_AAHM.pdf),

WHEREAS the City of Seattle has a documented relationship with the AAHMCC dating back to 1985, and spanning the Charles Royer, Norm Rice, and Paul Schell administrations (http://www.aahmcc.org/Download.html),

WHEREAS In 1994, at the direction of African American Mayor Norm Rice, several of Mayor Rice’s Boule (Sigma Pi Phi) fraternity brothers became involved with the project including one Bob Flowers,

WHEREAS in 1997 the School Board voted to sell the building to the AAHMCC for $329,000,

WHEREAS the Seattle School District entered into an agreement to sell the building to the AAHMCC on February 12, 1998 (see attached copy of said agreement at http://www.aahmcc.org/downloads/Signed_Colman_Purchase_Agreement.pdf),

WHEREAS following the School Board’s signing of this agreement, the AAHMCC ended the civil disobedience occupation of the Colman building and set up several temporary buildings in the building’s parking lot to provide a base of operations for the organization’s community programing, little league baseball, self defense classes, and after school tutoring while preparing for renovation of the Colman building,

WHEREAS Bob Flowers, former AAHMCC board chair and Urban League board member, refused to provide down payment on Colman school violating his fiduciary responsibility to the AAHMCC organization.

WHEREAS in 1999, months before the WTO, the City of Seattle and King County governments conspired to send a police swat team to break down the doors of these portable buildings, tear gas the volunteers present, steal the scholastic and baseball equipment, and then tow away the structures.

WHEREAS during November of 1999, Omari Tahir Garret and the AAHMCC collaborated with many groups including the Green Party in actively opposing the WTO, and organized a movement to re-occupy the building and resume the civil disobedience campaign in collaboration with other anti-WTO organizations, and several Green Party members participated in this campaign,

WHEREAS in 2000, after prolonged negotiations with the School District, the AAHMCC presented the check for $50,000 dollars for the down payment on Colman school,

WHEREAS the $50,000 check was returned by the School Board to the AAHMCC, soon after which the Urban League presented a proposal for a condominium-based real estate development,

WHEREAS the City Council would then take $400,000 earmarked for the AAHMCC and give it to the Urban League for a feasibility study.

WHEREAS the Urban League reportedly purchased the building for $804,000 in 2003 and has been collecting money in the name of the museum.

WHEREAS the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle conspired with City of Seattle to purchase the building in violation of the existing contract with the AAHMCC.

WHEREAS the School Board’s March 2003 vote to give the property to the Urban League was made over the opposition of the only African American member of that school board at that time, who cited the prior agreement with the AAHMCC in her opposing remarks.

WHEREAS two months later in May of 2003, James Kelly, head of the Urban League threatened youth leader and AAHMCC activist Kwame Wyking Garret (who is today a McKinney/Clemente ticket supporter) with a firearm while standing on Seattle Public Schools property outside Ranier Beach High School,

WHEREAS in 2005,Carver Gayton, former FBI agent and fraternity brother of Norm Rice and Bob Flowers, was appointed Executive Director of the Urban League’s “Northwest African American Museum (NAAM)” project at an inflated salary of $100,000 per year,

WHEREAS on March 8th 2007 AAHMCC Seattle police arrested activist Kwame Wyking Garret on videotape to interrupt and silence him and prevent him from non-violently and eloquently stating his frank opinion that the NAAM project would ultimately be exposed as a scam (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMfs44JBrgQ),

WHEREAS, as Kwame Wyking Garret and Omari Tahir Garret both predicted, the Urban League has failed to actually turn the building into a museum, but instead has turned it into 36 private condominium offices run by a Bellevue-based developer called Housing Resource Group, which has become the titled owner of the building, while the NAAM is nothing more than a temporary downstairs tenant in only a fraction of the ground floor and has not even any title to the building,

WHEREAS the NAAM has so far failed to use even this fraction of the building to open any after school youth programs or other youth centered activities, and instead charges the community exorbitant rates for access to its meager set of meeting rooms (See their rental rates at http://naamnw.org/rental_rates.html),

WHEREAS The exhibits in the fraction of the building that the Urban League calls a “museum” do not constitute a true representation of the historical experiences and struggles of African Americans or peoples of African descent either locally, nationally, or internationally, but instead constitute a very edited and censor approved version of that history that is comfortable to the eyes of mainstream white America

WHEREAS the NAAM’s “Development Steering Committee” is so corporate that its members include a retired Quest executive, a retired senior vice president of WAMU, a director of the Gates Foundation Challenge, and even a member of the Gates family,

WHEREAS, in contrast the the Urban League’s NAAM, the AAHMCC organization continues to exist and to produce real positive programing in the community, including a youth employment and outreach program and the Museum without walls program which sponsors numerous events, including the annual Umoja Fest African Heritage Festival & Parade celebration in August, benefit concerts, Black History Month Celebrations, Community Growth & Development Conferences in Honor of Malcolm X, art workshops and more,

WHEREAS, The AAHMCC is a cross section of the community, governed by a 33 member board of directors with six (6) slots reserved for youth and balanced by a citizens’ advisory board and a community organization’s advisory board which are open to an unlimited number of individuals and organizations respectively,

WHEREAS this is clearly a situation in which the AAHMCC constitutes a movement to achieve Reparations for slavery and its aftermath, while the Urban League’s NAAM constitutes an undermining, subversion, and stifling of that movement,

WHEREAS a number of the principle activists of the AAHMCC, including founding member Omari Tahir Garret and Wyking, are McKinney/Clemente supporters who have rendered invaluable assistance to the campaigns of these, our national candidates, including rendering possible the establishment of a McKinney/Clemente campaign office in the center of their neighborhood (where the Obama Campaign has not bothered to establish any campaign center), hosted by them at their Umojafest Peace Center at less than market rent rate to our campaign, and painted the names of these, our national candidates, twelve feet in the air on the sides of their Umojafest Peace Center building, making their community the only one in the US to establish such a physical McKinney/Clemente campaign headquarters during the course of 2008,

WHEREAS Rosa Clemente, our party’s vice presidential candidate, on September 10th and 11th of this year, added her voice to the struggle of the AAHMCC to gain real community control over the Colman building for the purpose of establishing an African American Heritage Museum and Cultural Center,

WHEREAS the AAHMCC, on its website (http://www.aahmcc.org/) and elsewhere, puts forward the following forthright demands:

“WHAT WE WANT…

1. A full investigation into the City of Seattle’s role in the sabotage of the African American Heritage Museum and Cultural Center.
2. The Seattle School District to honor its contract to sell the Colman school building to the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center.
3. Compensation for damages caused by City of Seattle and its agents including but not limited to the $400,000 initially allocated to AAHMCC.
4. A world class African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center in Seattle.
5. An end to the ethnic cleansing (gentrification) of the Central District, Seattle’s historically Black community.

WHEREAS Cynthia McKinney, our party’s presidential candidate, also supports this struggle, as evidenced by her speech at Umojafest Peace Center on October 26th, 2008, and the public letter that she presented to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on October 27th (attached).

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this Green Party local hereby fully endorses these five demands of the AAHMCC,

RESOLVED that this Green Party local shall do whatever is in its power to help advance the struggle of the AAHMCC and its activists to achieve these five demands, and shall by written request call upon all other Green Party locals in this state, and upon the state and national party structures which we are affiliated, to likewise render all possible political, human, and material aid to the success of this struggle, and

FURTHER RESOLVED that we direct, and call upon our statewide and national party structures to also direct, all Green Party members holding public office and all individuals holding public office who have received any campaign assistance from the Green Party, as a condition of continued campaign assistance and or Green Party recognition and endorsement, to render whatever aid they can render as public officials to the AAHMCC’s effort to achieve these demands and to prioritize any requests for help that come to them from the AAHMCC.

Green Party Candidates for State Legislature to Watch on Election Day
The Green Party of the United States is running an outstanding slate of candidates for state legislature in 2008, with a few strong possibilities of victory on Election Day. Four such candidates are profiled below.

The most impressive list of candidates comes from Illinois, where the Green Party (http://www.ilgp.org) is running 54 candidates for public office, more than any other Green Party, among whom 18 candidates are seeking seats in the state legislature.

At least 245 Green candidates will be on ballots on Election Day, November 4. At least 293 Greens have run for public office throughout 2008, including the November 4 election. More Green candidates to watch are listed at: http://www.gp.org/2008-elections/candidate-news.php

The Green Party’s 2008 national nominees are Cynthia McKinney and running mate Rosa Clemente. Ms. McKinney was interviewed on BreakTheMatrix.com on Sunday evening, October 19 and on Democracy Now!, October 16, following the final presidential debate, from which she was excluded.

Richard Carroll is running unopposed, except for two write-in candidates, for an open seat in Arkansas State Representative District 39. He has strong union support, with endorsements from the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB), United Transportation Union, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, Arkansas State Electrical Workers Association, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and the Central Labor Council of Arkansas, as well as the North Little Rock Fire Fighters, Ride Free, and Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Mr. Carroll has been active in union organizing for 30 years, holding the offices of Vice President, and Recording Secretary of IBB Local 69, and Vice President, Recording Secretary, and Local Chairman of IBB Local 66.

Farheen Hakeem, a popular political personality in Minneapolis, is running for Minnesota State House District 61B. Three candidates are seeking an open seat, and in recent polls Ms. Hakeem is running in a statistical dead heat for the lead. Ms. Hakeem, who has worked as a teacher and volunteers as a Girl Scout Leader, ran for Mayor of Minneapolis in 2005 as a Green and received 14% of the vote. In 2006, she ran for Hennepin County Commissioner (District 4) against a Democratic incumbent, drawing 33%.

Minneapolis Mirror article with video.

Ante Marijan, candidate for State Representative in the Chicago (District 2), received endorsements from the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune.

Kent Solberg, candidate for State Representative District 27, received the endorsement of the Arizona Daily Star, the largest circulation newspaper in Tucson. He also qualified for Arizona Clean Elections funds, enabling him to run a well-financed campaign. The campaign has canvassed the entire district twice with 50,000 brochures each time, and just finished a series of three special rallies with live bands. Additionally for the first time for any Green candidate in Arizona, Mr. Solberg is running 30 second TV and 60 Spanish radio commercials. Mr. Solberg, running an issues-oriented campaign, has a very real chance to defeat one of the two incumbents.

Thoughts By the Way: The Effect Spoiled
A weekly column by Tom Herring from Vashon Island. Catch more of Tom’s thoughts on his blog.

This post hit my fan:
“The Elections and the Responsibility of the Intellectual to Speak Truth to Power; Twelve Reasons to Reject Obama and Support Nader/McKinney” by Prof. James Petras.

I reacted as swiftly as did the seminal gathering so crudely interrupted, knowing instinctively that the centrifugal matter was counterproductive. At first, attempting to explain to an e-mail audience just what was wrong, I stumbled. Calmer now, I think I understand what was wrong with that post. It is counterproductive for us Greens because it assumed that our purpose has been to get Cynthia elected. That is not so. Instead, our purpose has been to build the party, and having a candidate for president was a tactical move directed at earning public funding and gaining popular support. That being the case, criticizing Obama antagonizes a hundred progressives for every left leaner on the fence that is persuaded, thus weakening the party. If this seems confusing, it is because this election is taking place in television land with no connection to the power running the US government.

So let’s look at that antagonism, so unreasonable, so undemocratic, in context. The country is in the hands of corporations which have picked this pair of egomaniacs, which write the bills for Congress, and which tell Congress how to vote. The egomaniacs have been given good cop, bad cop scripts which whip the corralled progressives to a state of high concern lest the “bad cop” win the election. But this insight is privileged copy, not on TV. Enter now the Greens and their inconvenient values, their criticism. The corralled progressives are visited by the nightmare of their slim lead spoiled. The Greens get blamed once again.

Will we never learn? Do we actually think that extolling Cynthia’s merit will persuade a progressive to switch hiserher vote? Don’t we realize that progressives in a state of high concern will not be swayed by the values numbering ten, nor the reasons numbering twelve? In sum, the merit of a Green presidential candidacy is irrelevant. What is relevant is destroying the two-party system. And, every time we put up a presidential candidate, we are by that weakened in our potential to cause change.

Cynthia, by her great speeches, is affecting public awareness. Us Greens in helping her are helping in that effect. But the party itself is ineffective at the national level — according to this column.

Somehow we have to destroy the two-party system. This has been said time and time again, but the Green Party still has not laid down pavement. The few Greens making it into public office are good for our morale, but gains no advance toward destruction of the two-party system. It will take clout based on turf conquered by grassroots community building. That most emphatically does not mean community organizing. Membership in a Green local serves Green morale, but is otherwise irrelevant to building the community. Political clout is generated when a community has taken charge of its vital affairs and found its communal voice. When enough communities have done this, the combined effect of their voices will be able to exert more power than any mass demonstration yet seen in this country.

That is the desired effect, and it has been spoiled.

Our Climate Crisis: Sea-Change
Duff Badgley is the leader of the One Earth Climate Action Group and was a candidate for Governor as a Green in 2008. He can be reached at 206-283-0621.

Our Climate Crisis is now undergoing a sea-change, literally.

Here’s my take on how we in the climate activist community might respond. I think it incumbent on us to adapt our message and actions to rapidly worsening global conditions.

First, the sea-change:

The Arctic ocean is now foaming with methane escaping from the thawing sea – floor in such volume and with such speed that it does not dissolve in the water. It rises as gas in ‘methane chimneys’ to the surface where methane concentrations are being measured at 100 times normal.

This 9/23/08 article starts:

“The first evidence that millions of tons of a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide is being released into the atmosphere from beneath the Arctic seabed has been discovered by scientists. The Independent has been passed details of preliminary findings suggesting that massive deposits of sub-sea methane are bubbling to the surface as the Arctic region becomes warmer and its ice retreats. Underground stores of methane are important because scientists believe their sudden release has in the past been responsible for rapid increases in global temperatures, dramatic changes to the climate, and even the mass extinction of species.”

“Scary” CO2 emissions jump in U.S. and world.

From the 9/25/08 AP article:

“The world pumped up its pollution of the chief man-made global warming gas last year, setting a course that could push beyond leading scientists’ projected worst-case scenario, international researchers said Thursday. The new numbers, called “scary” by some, were a surprise because scientists thought an economic downturn would slow energy use. Instead, carbon dioxide output jumped 3 percent from 2006 to 2007.

“That’s an amount that exceeds the most dire outlook for emissions from burning coal and oil and related activities as projected by a Nobel Prize-winning group of international scientists in 2007.

“Meanwhile, forests and oceans, which suck up carbon dioxide, are doing so at lower rates than in the 20th century. If those trends continue, it puts the world on track for the highest predicted rises in temperature and sea level.

” ‘Things are happening very, very fast,’ said Corinne Le QuDerDe, professor of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia and the British Antarctic Survey. ‘It’s scary.'”

In the U.K. this summer, high-level debate started about how to adapt to a 4C rise in temperature. One strategy involves abandoning chunks of the country as indefensible because of climate change.

From the 8/8/08 Guardian:

“We begin to have to talk about ordered retreat from some areas of Britain because it becomes impossible to defend,’ the government’s former chief scientific adviser, Sir David King said. ‘There’s no choice here between adaptation and mitigation, we have to do both.’… Globally, a 4C temperature rise would have a catastrophic impact.”

Back to me:

One Earth is keeping in contact with the public about our climate crisis—at the Sustainable Ballard Festival where we tabled and I presented, at our on-going Seattle City Hall biodiesel protests and in our upcoming series of workshops at the Interfaith Community Church in Seattle.

I think public awareness of our Climate Crisis has passed a threshold so that calls for bold action are being heard, or are starting to be heard.

Someone needs to exercise leadership about global conditions worsening so rapidly, meeting or exceeding many frightening predictions. Why not us?

I think it imperative that we do not allow despair and passivity to rule us now. We have a Climate Crisis, the most daunting threat humans have ever faced, on our hands. But our current path is feeding this beast. Let’s come together to figure out mitigation and adaptation strategies, like the British. One Earth has assembled a number of proposals for starting to address these “scary” developments.

I am also seeing the need for a presence in Olympia during the upcoming legislative session— lobbying, protesting, advocating for things desperately needed now but which have no other champions. Things like stiff carbon taxes, car-free zones in our major cities, and rescinding carbon trading in the WCI. Thanks to our efforts at UW, the lobbyist representing WA university students will be working to eliminate biofuel mandates.

And how about a state-wide coalition of climate activists bound only by our common need to salvage our Earth–now? We could join together for larger campaigns, support each other on local efforts. Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated.

This Week in History
This Week in History, published by Carl Bunin and edited by Al Frank, is a collection designed to help us appreciate the fact that we are part of a rich history advocating peace and social justice. While the entries often focus on large and dramatic events there are so many smaller things done everyday to promote peace and justice. Find more info at http://www.peacebuttons.info/E-News/thisweek.htm.

November 3, 1972: Five hundred protesters from the “Trail of Broken Treaties,” a Native American march, occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs offices (part of the Department of Interior) in Washington, D.C., for six days. Their goal was to gain support from the general public for a policy of self-determination for American Indians.

November 6, 1913: Mohandas K. Gandhi led 2,500 ethnic Indian miners, women and others from South Africa’s Natal province across its border with Transvaal in the Great March. This was a violation of the pass laws restricting the movement of all non-whites in the country. Originally granted the rights of British subjects, Indians’ rights were steadily eroded beginning in the 1890s with the denial of the right to own property.

November 9-10, 1938: Nazis looted and burned synagogues and Jewish-owned stores and homes, and beat and murdered Jewish men, women, and children across Germany and Austria. Known as Kristallnacht, it was a night of organized violence against Jews marking the beginning of the Holocaust with the killing of 91 and the deportation of 30,000 to concentration camps. The German word translates to “the Night of Broken Glass,” so called because of the vast number of broken windows in Jewish shops, 5 million marks worth ($1,250,000).

Letters to the Editor
Got something you want to get off your chest? Did an article in a previous edition of Greener Times make you madder than a hornet or cause you to stand up to say, “Right on!”? Well, this space is reserved each week for your comments and opinions.

THE NIGHTMARE OF ALL TIME
So much bleakness. Pain unrivaled and horrors defy spoken word. How much worse will it get? I am afraid so much worse, so, so, so much. How to call to the best humanity has to give?? How many minutes do we have to act and how many will? Voting is not the ticket, but it symbolizes what could be, but truthfully, won’t. I am utterly astounded at the hope pinned on a mere man saddled with his corporate foundation endowing him with the thrust so essential for a shred of voice in this corrupt and defiled country. Even if he does live thru the threats and exposure of true red, white and blue bigotry, how much will he capitulate to the killing machine devastating all life and the future?

I, for one, cannot vote for any who support the death penalty; any who ignore the millions of homeless, the many millions more who go hungry and slowly die before their time of preventable diseases; any who have not sat and listened deeply to the traditional Indigenous elders of this stolen land; any who push the very resource extraction killing the esteemed Dine resisters on the sacred lands of Black Mesa covering the coveted coal both permitted contenders claim can be made “clean” so Americans need not fear sacrificing lifestyle in the least. I can never vote in this 2 party system that masquerades as democracy when it truly displays all the hallmarks of fascistic genocidal blood drenched greed.

The US has now begun it’s terrorism in Syria killing 8 civilians justifying it’s massacring ways in the name of stopping what it teaches millions how to carry out. Pakistan is experiencing increasing incursions by US drones killing civilians and combatants alike. Afghanistan is in turmoil with an upsurge in Taliban control amid the devastation already plaguing the populace just as it is in Iraq. The cycle of warape culture is unceasing.

Millions of civilian innocents have been killed in the name of 9/11 vengeance. Millions more are refugees. Millions are terribly maimed and how many generations will be born deformed by the depleted uranium and other DNA altering poisons we have yet to learn of. Millions have been irrevocably damaged by the United States of America and we, yes all of us, fund every single evil bit of it. Just as all of us fund the billionaire liars, thieves and jugglers of global economics who dance away as slick as slugs from their dire responsibility in creating the 21st Century Nightmare of All Time. WE PAY FOR THE DRENCHING OF THE EARTH IN THE BLOOD OF INNOCENTS. WE PAY FOR OUR OWN DEMISE. WHEN WILL WE CEASE?

The eyes of the world are upon us. In one week how we choose to behave will signal to the rest of the earth’s inhabitants whether or not any of us have the guts to do the right thing beyond this weak sideshow of an election. Voting is nowhere near enough. Millions will be denied the right, while millions more will have their votes disappeared. We know too much about the past 2 elections to ignore this major problem, these glitches of intent. Those worth voting for have no voice, no chance, nothing but wisps of fantasy…. But there my heart lies.

I cannot for one second feel there is an iota of hope when I read daily of the killings in Mexico that have made it as dangerous as Iraq. Beheadings and executions are in the thousands and the assassins hired by the battling drug cartels are all too often graduates of the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia or US Marines Special Forces Schools in Guatemala and elsewhere. Gangs who are the direct results of death squad mentality in Central America, South America, Mexico and the US are foretelling what we all face no matter how exclusive or safe we may think we are. It is over. Oh, is it over.

One teenage girl meets a man she met on myspace in Tacoma and is found dead. Another 17 year old disappears for several days ’til her body is found in a lake near Seattle. Her death is blamed on MS13, a deadly gang from El Salvador said to be established in Washington State now according to the article in the Seattle Times. I myself have witnessed underage girls being pimped by middle aged men. Up to 1000 underage girls work as sex slaves along Aurora Ave. The numbers of runaways are astounding to see on Seattle streets.

A powerful family takes over a chunk of land outside Ciudad Juarez to erect a sprawling fabulous compound, burning down shanties that have been there many years before. One home has 2 children inside who die in the flames. Just as the killings of over 544 young women go unsolved, so nothing is done about the thugs who set fire to the shanties. A deep trench is dug all around this compound, a moat to keep the killers as safe as the rest of Juarez killers. Over 1000 people have been killed in Juarez so far in 2008.

The killings in the Congo are escalating again over the extraction of coltane used in cell phones and laptops(what do you think about this Bill Gates?). Rapes are in the tens of thousands and 20,000 refugees have had to flee in the past week or so. In the past decade 10 million have died in the region. Oil, gold, diamonds, hard wood all feed into the free trade genocidal mentality. Juarez is rapidly becoming what the Congo has been for several decades now.

30,000 migrants have returned to their homes in Mexico and Central America since the collapse of the US economy. Many never wanted to leave home in the first place. Now the lack of jobs is felt globally.

Can activists in the US call for and carry out a full tilt strike? How about vote then camp? No work til the troops come home, no excuses, no exceptions. We are looking at the end of the world and are we going to allow human idiocy take us all down? 3 billion a week is spent on these insane genocides carried out in our names. 3 BILLION DOLLARS A WEEK! In just over a year, it equals what the greedy billionaires got us to fork over for the “keep em fat and happy” bailout. WHEN ARE WE REALLY GOING TO DO SOMETHING OF SIGNIFICANCE THAT WILL PUT A STOP TO THE KILLING AND INSPIRE THE WORLD? Geez, i would hope to be part of something like that before I die. I would hope….. I want to see this nightmare of all time end. I mean, i really want to see it end and i am willing to do whatever it takes to NONVIOLENTLY put an end to the killing madness of such incredible greed. Why else am I a mother? After I vote, I will vigil all night in downtown Vashon.

Anyone want to join me?

P.S. I am voting for Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente
~ Swaneagle Harijan ~

Pencil Shavings: Pity the 2.3 Percent
Pencil Shavings appears in this space most weeks and solely represents the opinions of the publisher. If you’d like to read more of Trey’s ruminations, visit The Rambling Taoist.

A lot of people — both on the right AND the left — get rather queasy anytime class is invoked in a political discussion. Class, it is said, is not a predominant feature of the American landscape as it doesn’t hold the same footing as it does in Europe. While many Greens do accept the fact that class has some bearing on political policies and discourse, many still don’t embrace it as a key issue.

>From my perspective, this is a tragic mistake as class issues permeate our society. It is there — just below the surface — in almost any discussion that takes place. Even worse, it is very prevalent in mainstream media reporting.

For example, while watching the stock ticker on CNNMoney.com this week, I found a remarkable posting entitled, “The American dream – on hold: Meet the HENRYs (high earners, not rich yet). They make $250,000-plus and get taxed to high heaven. And they’re about to be socked again.”

“Aspiring HENRYs played by the rules: They won the best grades in high school, got accepted at good colleges and grad schools, and worked daunting schedules as medical interns or associates in law firms. Now this group of superachievers is being targeted as a cash machine. Barack Obama has pledged to pay for middle-class tax cuts and credits by raising taxes on the HENRYs. Obama and the congressional Democrats frequently refer to households earning over $250,000 as the “rich.” But whether the HENRYs are truly “rich,” or ever will be, is debatable.”

Now I will be the first to admit that rising income leads to rising expenses. I will also grant that families in the $250-$500K range may not be “super wealthy” by today’s standards. The lament of the article, however, only illustrates to me that people in this bourgeois class have no clue whatsoever how nearly 2/3 of American households struggle to get by from month-to-month.

One family bemoans the fact that the current economic climate and the potential for increased taxes will put a crimp in their savings plan. If taxes are increased, they may have to pare back the $100,000 — more money than 88% of the population realizes — they invest for retirement each year! Another family reports having a mere $225K in their savings account; that’s the equivalent of 11 year’s total salary for those of us in the bottom 66%. Another couple puts $800 per month into their children’s college education fund. That amount is equal to about 50% of the monthly take home pay for wage earners at the lower end of the scale.

And this article only features the moderately wealthy. Imagine how out of touch the top 1% is!!! While many GT readers (including the editor) have to juggle which bills to pay each month to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads — no health insurance, thank you — the families in this article bemoan the fact that they may lose another 1 – 5% of their largess.

While the economic inequities illustrated in this article are galling, that’s not what really gets my dander up. It’s the first sentence that really irks me. It rather blatantly equates hard work and personal diligence with financial wealth. It’s as if to say, if you have a lot of money, then it means you’ve worked hard and paid your dues!

Leading a disciplined life is a personality trait NOT tied to a person’s financial standing. There are people of means who are hard workers and there are also people of means who are lazy bums who’ve had everything handed to them on a silver platter. In this same vein, there are people of little financial means who are hard workers and there are also such people who are lazy malingerers. In reality, a commitment to the ideal of “playing by the rules” doesn’t guarantee much of anything.

But this same theme is played out in American life again and again. We are told that the “haves” have what they have because of their industry, work ethic and commitment to a goal. The “have nots” don’t have what others have because [we] lack the necessary industry, work ethic and vision. Few people want to accept the fact that many of the have nots work just as hard — if not harder — than the haves but, because of a variety of interlocking and complex variables, we always seem to come out with the short end of the stick.

To view the article, go to: http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2008/fortune/0810/gallery.tully_henrys.fortune/index.html.

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