Friday, July 07, 2006

Another Stolen Election: Mexico

John Ross and Greg Palast have the goods on how the Mexican election was stolen from PRD candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. In a scene reminiscent of the US 2000 Presidential Elections, millions of votes were made to disappear, and a complete ballot-by-ballot recount rebuffed by both the government and the election authorities that are also under the thumb of the government. It seems also that every trick was pulled to suppress the left vote in keeping with Mexico's history but also learning new techniques from the US.

What to do? There will be street protests on Saturday, but the media has already beginning mounting a campaign in support of the "official" winner, the PAN candidate Calderon. Things might get hairy -- will the Mexican people let their rights be trampled, or will they stand up the orchestrated attempt to dispossess them once again?

[Palast | Ross]

While Ross has been reporting from Mexico, Palast will fly in again to investigate the story even deeper.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Another Tragedy: The Bulldozing of the South Central Farms

I know it may be too late to avoid the worst of it, but a highly successful community garden in the impoverished community of south central LA has been almost bulldozed. One of the only big green spaces left in that city, the supposed "owner" is clearing the land to make way for warehouses, after at least 14 years of the US's biggest urban farm existing at that site. However, there is still a chance as the deal itself is coming up for questioning in court.

Here's the details (from Indymedia LA)

Los Angeles Police Forcibly Evict and Bulldoze the South Central Farm

Despite widespread popular resistance, including years of struggle against the city and developers on the part of farmers, a three-week old occupation and treesit, a successful effort to raise millions of dollars in order to try to buy the land on which the farm stood - a bid which was ultimately rejected, and a day full of nonviolent civil disobedience including lockdowns and blockades, the largest urban farm in the United States was evicted on the morning of June 13th.

The farm, which had been started on property taken from developers under eminent domain laws after the 1992 popular uprising following the videotaped police beating of Rodney King, and which provided healthy food for over three hundred and fifty families as well as an ecologically sustainable model for building urban economy and community with dignity in the midst of poverty, was destroyed by bulldozers today to make way for the construction of commercial warehouses serving the (activists speculate that Wal-Mart maybe the primary intended beneficiary.)

Los Angeles Indymedia is reporting that at least 45 people have been (in many cases violently) arrested while defending the farm from re-enclosure and destruction. Many Hollywood celebrities came out to support the farm, including getting arrested, but to no avail.

[South Central Farmers]

Thursday, June 01, 2006

2004 Elections Were Stolen

Rolling Stone finally got the theft of the 2004 US presidential election out into the open with a hard hitting article by Robert Kennedy Jr.

RFK Jr. details the mountain of evidence that points to a broad based effort to rig the elections, all the way from hacking the electronic voting machines to various dirty tricks to reduce the Kerry's vote count and pump up Bush's. In fact, the list of dirty deeds is so extensive, that even one of them would delegitimize the current occupant of the White House.

The last two presidential elections have been fateful for the future of the US and for the planet. If they were stolen, and there is every indication that they were, then we are currently living through the nightmare of one the greatest real world conspiracies in human history.

Return of Gore?

While Gore is not a radical figure, his new found voice over the last few years against the Iraq War and the shredding of the Constitution by the Bush Administration have been commendable. His crusade on global warming as witnessed in the new documentary An Inconvenient Truth, is also significant and will hopefully make an impact.

With the 2008 presidential elections looming, Al Gore is increasingly looking like the only man who could save the American Republic from its forced implosion under the Bush Imperium. Hillary Clinton is already tilting heavily to the right, and would continue Bush's aggressive policies, especially in the Middle East. Al Gore at least had realized the folly of rampant militarism, even as he was a hawk while Senator.
He is also a consummate believer in the system, and thus represents something of a last chance for the old Republic to redeem itself.

His turn on Saturday Night Live (QT) on May 14th was hilarious, but also poignant for what could have been...

Here's Gore in an interview in the Guardian.

WP: Canada Pays Environmentally for U.S. Oil Thirst

Interesting, a sympathetic Washington Post article on the devastating being wrought in Alberta, although the environmental toll is not really wholly unexpected:

FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta -- Huge mines here turning tarry sand into cash for Canada and oil for the United States are taking an unexpectedly high environmental toll, sucking water from rivers and natural gas from wells and producing large amounts of gases linked to global warming.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Story of Independence takes Cannes

Leftist British director Ken Loach's latest film, Wind that Shakes the Barley, won the Palme D'Or (highest film award) at Cannes this year.

Eery in its parallels to modern day Iraq, this historic film tells the story of Ireland's War for Independence (1919-1922) the tragic aftermath of civil war that pitted various factions of the freedom fighters against one another. While the contemporary political relevance is palpable, the film also provides important social commentary missing from other films such as Michael Collins.

Check [Harry Browne's review in Counterpunch], for an indepth look at the film.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Arundhati Roy on Democracy Now

Arundhati Roy, the eloquent writer-activist, recently sat in a session of Democracy Now!, speaking at length and in greate detail about India, Iraq, U.S. Empire and Dissent. Her unequivocal support of resistance marks her as a genuinely fearless figure in a time of intimidation and threat against all dissenters.

Roy also recently spoke in the Hindu about the "rising fury across the country" against the corporatist rule of the Manmohan Singh regime. While providing a relief from the creeping fascism of the BJP years, Congress has only renewed the neoliberal project with an even more pronounced tilt to the US. This is perhaps one of the reasons that contributed to the massive Left victories in state elections this past month.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Two Giants Pass Away

John Kenneth Galbraith, economist, former ambassador to India, and advisor to presidents from FDR to Clinton, recently passed away at the ripe old age of 97. See commentary here and here

Jane Jacobs, urban critic and community activist, also recently passed away at the age of 89. See commentary here and here.

What should be noted that both Galbraith's Affluent Society and Jane Jacobs' Dark Age Ahead, are even more relevant today as India and China's exploding middle classes binge on crass consumerism, without the necessary reinvestment into the public domain. So instead of all around development, you see pockets of private wealth surrounded by public squalor, as both countries repeat the same mistakes as the Western World.

Also, the motor-vehicle led development is leading to a dangerous over-dependence and over-consumption of oil. More pollution, more unhealthy sedentary lifestyles, and a faster speed of life might mean mobility, but at a huge cost.

Galbraith, a Canadian who settled in the US, and Jacobs, an American who settled in Canada, represent two visions that must be heeded as our global civilization approaches a decisive turning point.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Geographic illiteracy in the US


"Take Iraq, for example. Despite nearly constant news coverage since the war there began in 2003, 63 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 failed to correctly locate the country on a map of the Middle East. Seventy percent could not find Iran or Israel."

"Nine in ten couldn't find Afghanistan on a map of Asia."

Shouldn't you know where a country is located before destroying it? Can't even respect that??