Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rules Must Bend to Allow McCain, Obama on Texas Ballot with Barr

Republicans and Democrats clearly miss Texas deadline

Though Texas election law sets an Aug. 26 deadline for political parties to file their candidates for president and vice-president, John McCain and Barack Obama must work around the law to get on the ballot alongside Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr.

"Agents of the GOP are twisting the law to have Bob Barr thrown off the ballot in Pennsylvania," says Russell Verney, campaign manager for Barr and a former campaign manager for Ross Perot, "while the law has to be twisted for them to get on the ballot in Texas. Rules are rules, except when they inconvenience those who make them."

According to Texas Election Code § 192.031 , a political party is allowed to have their candidates on the ballot if "the names of the party's nominees for president and vice-president" are submitted before "5 p.m. of the 70th day before" the presidential election.

Given that neither the Republican Party nor the Democratic Party nominated a candidate before Aug. 26, it would be impossible for either party to file under Texas law.

"Third parties are never given second chances when it comes to getting on the ballot," says Verney. "And third parties are often thrown off the ballot for the most minor infractions of ballot access laws. In Texas, we have a clear deadline that was not met by the Republicans and Democrats, but it is all but certain that some way, some how, the establishment candidates will find a way on the ballot. Some people are just above the law."

A spokesperson for the Texas Secretary of State's Office claims that both parties "filed something" on time, despite the fact that neither party had nominated a candidate by the deadline as required by Texas law.

"We agree that unreasonably early deadlines are absurd," says Verney. "We've run into them in states like Oklahoma, West Virginia and Maine during our fight for ballot access across the nation. But if third parties are required to adhere to the law, then we expect the same for the candidates of any other party. Maybe this will show Republicans and Democrats what it is like to be on the wrong side of ballot access laws."

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003.

The Libertarian Party is America's third largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.

Please send comments to the Texas Secretary of State at:

General: (512) 463-5770 Fax: (512) 475-2761

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Darfur: Where is our moral compass? Rally Sept. 3 from 5:30 to 7:00pm.
Interfaith service of prayer and hope, Camp Darfur, and calls for action by
local, state, and national elected officials to end the genocide.
Nonpartisan event. For more information, contact Lynne Holman 612-721-2772
or go online at
Peace Island: A solutions driven national conference held at Concordia
University September 2 and 3 to share visions and ideas for the crisis
facing our world. Nationally known speakers on energy and the environment,
global peace and nonviolence and justice and human rights will inspire you.
Cost for the two day conference is $50. For more info go to You may make a reservation on line.
Liberty Parade on Nicollet Mall to Loring Park Aug 31, 1:00 pm - come early
and carry a puppet or just enjoy the fun! Sept 1- Peace March at the Capitol
- if you want to help carry puppets, meet at the park behind the capitol.
FUN. FFI: Mina Leierwood at 612-481-3186.
A Minnesota Peace Team is being formed and trained for service during the
RNC and other events. Learn about the techniques that can be used to
de-escalate violence whenever voices of different perspectives seek to be
heard at eight-hour participant training session on August 30. A two-hour
orientation will be conducted before each session. FFI: or 612-483-6041.

To 9/1, peace walk from Chicago (Grant Park) to St Paul (Republican National
Convention). Details at or or
773-878-3815 or click on a date at

Wednesday, 8/27, noon to 3 pm, training on dealing with the police use of
"less-lethal" weapons, including pepper spray, tasers, and batons,
Convergence Center, 627 Smith Ave S, St Paul.

Wednesday, 8/27, 3 to 6 pm, Psychological First Aid training for activists,
Convergence Space, 627 Smith Ave S, St Paul. or

Wednesday, 8/27, 5 to 10 pm, sign painting workshop in preparation for the
RNC and the Liberty Parade, Bedlam Theater, 1501 S 6th St, West Bank, Mpls.

Wednesday, 8/27, 6 to 9 pm, Youth Against War and Racism makes puppets for
the protests against the RNC, Bedlam Theater, 1501 S 6th St, West Bank,
Mpls. Puppet workshops are led by Chris Lutter of
Puppet Farm Arts, Please RSVP
tytymo@gmail so they know how many folks to plan for.

Wednesday, 8/27, 7 to 9 pm, free workshops with Code Pink for those
interested in a creative presence at the RNC, Heart of the Beast Studio,
Plaza Verde, 1516 E Lake St, Mpls.

8/27 to 8/30, annual national Veterans for Peace convention "Peace, Liberty
and Justice for All," at the Mall of America Ramada (formerly the
Thunderbird), Bloomington, MN. $200 full program registration. Jim
Steinhagen at 612-722-1112.

8/28 and 8/29, 10 am to 2 pm, join Starhawk and the Upwelling Circle: Court
an Upwelling of Earth Wisdom at the RNC, Coldwater Spring, 1.5 miles south
of Minnehaha Falls, (from highway 55, turn east at 54th St, take immediate
right, continue south on frontage road to Magickal Activist Day Camp at
Sacred Coldwater Spring), Mpls. Wear comfortable outdoor clothes, sturdy
shoes, chair or blanket to sit on, bag lunch and fruit or treat to share.
Bring a water container for sacred spring water.

Thursday, 8/28, 5 to 7 pm, sign painting workshop in preparation for the RNC
and the Liberty Parade, Bedlam Theater, 1501 S 6th St, West Bank, Mpls.
Then all are invited to White Bear Lake for a pre-convention celebration,
drumming, boating and swimming, hosted by Mary Jane LaVigne (see following
announcement.) Mina at 612-481-3186.

Thursday, 8/28, 7 pm, Drum Boat Hope Float, hosted by Mary Jane LaVigne, 31
Birchwood Lane, St Paul. Bring boats, drums, costumes or swimsuits, food
and drink to share, out-of-town guests, to a party with Mary Jane LaVigne
and Allen Christian, Mina and Greg Leierwood, Barak Obama (via TV) and a
Floating Polar Bear on gorgeous White Bear Lake. Questions? Call Mina at

Thursday, 8/28, 6:30 to 8:15 pm, the Seattle Peace Chorus gives concert as
part of Peace Train tour, Presbyterian Church of the Apostles, 701 E 130th
St, Burnsville. 952-890-7877.
Freewill offering. Local musicians wanted to join the chorus.

Thursday, 8/28, 7:30 pm, free film "The Listening Project" about how people
around the world answer the question "What does the world think of America?"
Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave, Mpls.

Friday, 8/29, 2 pm, health and safety training to become the best-dressed
activist in the street at the RNC (including what to wear, what to bring,
how to be safe on the streets), Bedlam Theater, 1501 S 6th St, Mpls. (West
Bank near the LRT station.)

Friday, 8/29, 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support of
the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St Paul.

8/29 (5 to 7 pm) and 8/30 (9 am to 5 pm), Macalester-Plymouth United
Church, 1658 Lincoln Ave, St Paul, intensive weekend trainings to
participate as peace team members during the Republican National Convention.
$35. Send registrations to or Minnesota Peace
Team/Wojtan, 13341 Everest Ave, Apple Valley 55124. Questions?

Friday, 8/29, 11 am to 12:30 pm, NLG sponsors legal observer/videographer
training for RNC, William Mitchel College of Law auditorium, 875 Summit Ave
(at Victoria), St Paul. RSVP

Friday, 8/29, 12:30 to 2 pm, NLG sponsors legal observer finishing school
for RNC, William Mitchel College of Law auditorium, 875 Summit Ave (at
Victoria), St Paul. RSVP

Friday, 8/29, 5 to 10 pm, sign painting workshop in preparation for the RNC
and the Liberty Parade, Bedlam Theater, 1501 S 6th St, West Bank, Mpls.

Friday, 8/29, 5 pm, Critical Mass bike ride, from the fountain on the
downtown side of Loring Park near Grant Street, Mpls. (Note: Both last year
in Minneapolis and 4 years ago in New York, the Critical Mass ride was the
scene of massive police sweeps and over-reaction. To avoid this, the editor
suggests you invite your favorite city council member, mayor, state or
federal legislator to go along for the ride. It might just save a few sore
heads and stinging eyes.)

Friday, 8/29, 7 pm (and every Friday until the RNC convention), meditation
and vigil for peace at the RNC at the State Capitol lawn, St Paul. or 612-227-1817.

Friday, 8/29, 7:30 pm, MN Vets for Peace sponsors former UN weapons
inspector Scott
Ritter talking about "The Iran Talks," at the Veterans for Peace Convention,
Ramada Mall of America, 2300 E American Blvd, Bloomington. 612-821-9141.

8/29 to 8/31, documentary "Crawford," examining what happens to the 705
Texas residents when W comes to town, Oak St Cinema, 309 Oak St SE, Mpls.

Saturday, 8/30, 11 am to 12:30 pm, NLG sponsors legal observer/videographer
training for RNC, William Mitchel College of Law auditorium, 875 Summit Ave
(at Victoria), St Paul. RSVP

Saturday, 8/30, 1 to 3 pm, free workshops with Code Pink for those
interested in a creative presence at the RNC, Heart of the Beast Studio,
Plaza Verde, 1516 E Lake St, Mpls.

Saturday, 8/30, 12:30 to 2 pm, NLG sponsors legal observer finishing school
for RNC, William Mitchel College of Law auditorium, 875 Summit Ave (at
Victoria), St Paul. RSVP

Saturday, 8/30, 2 pm, St Paul welcomes the Peace Walkers from Chicago, St
Joseph's Church, 1890 Randolph (near St Kate's), St Paul.

Saturday, 8/30, 3 pm, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter talks about
"The Iran Talks," William Mitchell College of Law, auditorim, 875 Summit
Ave, St Paul. 612-827-5364.

Saturday, 8/30, 6 pm, New Moon Ritual for an Upwelling of Earth Wisdom led
by Starhawk and the local Upwelling Circle, Mounds Park, ancient sacred
burial site above the Mississippi River, St Paul. Walk the labyrinth,
prepare the rite. Directions: follow Mounds boulevard exit off I-94 (east
of downtown St Paul), follow Mounds Blvd up the bluff, park along the road.

Saturday, 8/30, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, The UnConventional Gathering Place opening
reception, with RNC-related interactive performances by Politaoke, Nonsense
Company/Prince Myshkin and unveiling of gallery installations, Intermedia
Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave S, Mpls.
(Media installations remain until November 8.)

Saturday, 8/30, 10 to 11 pm, Chris Baker project Urban Echo at Intermedia
Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave S, Mpls Part of Solutions Volume 3, or see

Saturday, August 30th Noon - 22nd Annual Tea Party & Hempfest Rally at the Capitol
Cass Gilbert Memorial Park
Sherburne & Cedar - Saint Paul, MN
More info at:

Sunday, 8/31, 10 am to 2 pm, veterans Solemn Memorial March on the RNC, in
solidarity with detainees who have been tortured, Minnesota State Capitol,
75 Rev Martin Luther King Boulevard, St Paul. Orange jumpsuits available
for $10. or 651-388-3898.

Sunday, 8/31, 11 am to 12:30 pm, NLG sponsors legal observer/videographer
training for RNC, William Mitchel College of Law auditorium, 875 Summit Ave
(at Victoria), St Paul. RSVP

Sunday, 8/31, 12:30 to 2 pm, NLG sponsors legal observer finishing school
for RNC, William Mitchel College of Law auditorium, 875 Summit Ave (at
Victoria), St Paul. RSVP

Sunday, 8/31, 12:30 to 4 pm, Darfur documentary "The Devil Came on
Horseback" and panel discussion, University of Minnesota, Tate Hall, room
150, 116 Church St SE, Mpls.

Sunday, 8/31, 1 pm, Liberty Parade down Nicollet Mall to Loring Park, with
music, speakers, art displays and activities, all to answer the question
"What does liberty mean to you?" downtown Mpls.

Sunday, 8/31, 1 to 2:30, meeting of Youth Against War and Racism to plan the
student strike on September 4, YAWR office, 3024 Chicago Ave S, Mpls. (Note: meeting may have changed to Bedlam Theater,
due to puppet making.)

Sunday, 8/31, 2 to 5 pm, Youth Against War and Racism makes puppets for the
protests against the RNC, Bedlam Theater, 1501 S 6th St, West Bank, Mpls. Puppet workshops are led by Chris Lutter of Puppet Farm
Arts, Please RSVP tytymo@gmail so they
know how many folks to plan for.

Sunday, 8/31, 2 pm, peace marshall and volunteer trainings for the March on
the RNC and to Stop the War on September 1, U of M, Hubert Humphrey
Building, room 30, 301 - 19th Ave S, Mpls. or or 612-379-3584.

Sunday, 8/31, 7 pm, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter talks about
"Possibility of War with Iran," First Unitarian Society of Mpls, 900 Mount
Curve Ave, Mpls. Suggested $10 donation; no one turned away.

Sunday, 8/31, 7 pm, Rabbi Michael Lerner speaks on the Global Marshall Plan
at Shir Tikvah Temple, 50th and Girard, Mpls. $10 (scholarships available).
RSVP at or

Sunday, 8/31 (2 pm) to Monday, 9/1 (2 pm), Veterans for Peace 24-hour fast,
Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 840 E 6th St, St Paul. Wayne at 651-774-4008.

9/1 to 9/4, 1 to 9 pm, Translating Politics, a group exhibition featuring
painting, photography, sculpture, digital media and more, 1500 Jackson St
NE, Mpls.

9/1 to 9/4, 8 am to 8 pm, the Twin Cities Community of Ignatian Associates,
working with other , is providing a "Peaceful Presence"--a sanctuary to
which people can come during the RNC, at the Central Presbyterian Church,
500 Cedar Ave, St Paul. Each day will open and close with public prayer led
by members of diverse denominations, with the remainder of the time spent in
quiet, allowing private prayer, contemplation or simply sitting.

9/1 to 9/4, various times and places during the RNC, the Peace Is Green Bike
Brigades and the Pink Police on Rollerblades will following gas-guzzling
delegate busews and circle their hotels and parties with bikes and
rollerblades, pushing a green agenda and serenading delegates with peace
songs, etc. Bike people contact and
rollerbladers contact Liz at

Monday, 9/1, 8 am, bus leaves from Peace Church in Duluth for big RNC march,
returns late the same evening. $35. Contact or or 728-9395.

Monday, 9/1, 10:30 am, grandmothers march at the RNC, meet at the corner of
Sherburne and Rice Sts by the Women's Consortium Building, 2 blocks north of
University on Rice, St Paul. Wear all black, bring pots and pans to band
and an enlarged picture of a grandchild or child in a war-torn area. or 612-871-2229 or 612-227-3228.

Monday, 9/1, 11 am, starting from the MN Capital Building, big march on the
Republican National Convention "U.S. Out of Iraq Now!" St Paul. or 612-379-3584 or 612-234-8774.

Tuesday, 9/2, MN Eyes Wide Open (the famous "boots" memorial) display will
be at the MN capitol Grounds during the 2nd day of the Republican National
Convention. The program from noon to 1 will include American Friends
Service Committee Chicago office director Michael McConnell and former State
Senator Becky Lourey. About 50 volunteers are needed. Volunteers needed at
6 am to set up, then at 1 pm to take down. If you can help, contact Gail
at or 651-647-5709.

9/2 and 9/3, 10 am to 10 pm, Peace Island: A Solutions-Driven Conference at
Concordia University, 275 Syndicate St N, St Paul. Registration $50 plus
$10 lunch per day. Topics include energy & the environment, global peace &
nonviolence, justice & human rights. Many amazing and famous speakers,
including Starhawk, Lisa Ledwidge, Antonia Juhasz, Leslie Cagan, Kathy
Kelly, Medea Benjamin, Mel Duncan, Coleen Rawley, Ray McGovern, Ann Wright,
and many more.

Tuesday, 9/2, 12:30 pm, Rally for the Republic by Ron Paul supporters as a
counter-RNC convention, Target Center, downtown Mpls. Tickets $17.76 (I
wonder how they came up with that exact figure).

Tuesday, 9/2, 12:30 to 7 pm, Ripple Effect festival for sustainability,
justice and equality, with Michael Franti, Anti-Flag, Dead Prez, Wookie
Foot, Matisyahu, Medea Benjamin, Will Steger and others, Minnesota State
Capitol, 75 Rev ML King Boulevard, St Paul.

Tuesday, 9/2, 4 pm, Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign sponsors
March for Our Lives, Mears Park, 221 E 5th St, St, St Paul. 612-821-2364 or

Tuesday, 9/2, 8:30 pm, "Support Our Oil Companies Rally" at a party hosted
by Mississippi governor Haley "Offshore Drilling" Barbour, 510 - 1st Ave N,
Mpls. Support more oil wars, surging gas prices, obscene profits, drilling
and drilling and drilling. or or 612-332-3742.

Wednesday, 9/3, 8 am (yes, am), join the CEOs of Big Oil in thanking the
Texas Republican Delegates at their hotel, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 11 E Kellogg
Blvd, St Paul. As CEOs of ExxonMobil, Chevron, CopnocoPhillips, Shell and
Hess host a party, celebrate the oily loot with Republican Party clothes,
party hats, "Freedom Flags" (with oil company logos) and yellow "Support Our
Oil Companies" ribbons.

Wednesday, 9/3, 5:30 to 7 pm, program "Darfur: Where is our Moral Compass?"
and Camp Darfur interactive exhibit, State Capitol Mall, 75 MLK Blvd, St

Wednesday, 9/3, 7 pm, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ridder talks about
Iran, St Joan of Arc Church, Hospitality Hall, 4537 - 3rd Ave S, Mpls.

Thursday, 9/4, 9:30 am to 4 pm, Camp Darfur: interactive exhibit about
genocides, Gustavus Adolphus College, 300 W College Ave, St Peter.

Thursday, 9/4, 10 am to 8 pm, "American Politica Sideshow: Weird and Wild,"
a day-long sideshow of speakers, discussions, performances and Art on
Wheels, at the Weisman Museum, 333 E River Rd, East Bank U of M campus,

Thursday, 9/4, 1 to 8 pm, Peace Island Picnic, with a human peace sign (6 to
6:30), music (Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, Larry Long, David Rovics, Tuesday's
Robot and others), peace kite flying, MN TrueBlue Jumbotron programming, the
AFSC Costs of War display, a sing-a-long (6;30 to 7), and other UnConvention
events, Harriet Island, St Paul.

Thursday, 9/4, student strike against the Republican National Convention. 11
am, walkout of class, them bus/carpool/bike/walk to the capitol, finally
noon to 4 antiwar festival, rally and theater. (A permitted protest and
march.) Info at or or

Thursday, 9/4, 4 pm, stand up to John McCain on the day he is declared
official Republican cendidate for the presidency, rally "No Peace for the
War Makers" at the State Capital, then march to the Xcel Center, St Paul. or 612-379-3899.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Support Sister's Camelot!

I just read a post that Sister's Camelot is one of three finalists competing to receive a MySpace Impact Award. They give away free food in various locations all over Minneapolis - and it's all organic! Seriously a great organization, that I think we should all vote on to ensure they get more attention.

Please vote for Sister's Camelot at:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Building a Movement for REAL Change


Something magnificent and truly extraordinary happened at the 2008, Green Party Presidential Convention in Chicago, Illinois. Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente; two dynamic, highly intelligent, experienced, and politically committed women of color were chosen by the Green Party of this nation to be its nominees for President and Vice President respectively, of the United States of America. Former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney who demonstrated the guts and integrity to leave the politically opportunist and bankrupt Democratic Party has, for quite some time now been yet again demonstrating her guts and integrity by crisscrossing this nation and informing people in every nook and cranny about the "Power To The People" Campaign. Now Sister McKinney has been joined by Puerto Rican people's grass root activist / journalist / and intellectual hip hop artist Sister Rosa Clemente in this ever growing campaign and people's movement and struggle. Indeed, something extraordinary has happened and there is yet more to come.

While CNN, ABC, C-SPAN, etc. did give some limited coverage of and to this incredibly momentous event; none of the pundits of these so-called "main stream news" media outlets dared elucidate to the "American" people the enormous present-day and historical significance and opportunities of what just happened in Chicago. None of these pundits dared explain and emphasize the revolutionary aspect of what had just happened in Chicago: That the Green Party and the Reconstruction Movement this past weekend, in selecting Cynthia McKinney as their primary standard bearer, is a stinging rejection and rebuke of the Democratic and Republican Parties [i.e. the Republicrats] with their putrid, hypocritical, corporate / military apparatus-fueled politics of dishonesty, subterfuge, smoke & mirrors, and unending wars abroad and increasing economic disparity and social misery at home. The sleeping dragon, consisting of the rank and file, everyday woman, man, and child in this nation, has finally begun to awaken once again.

The Empire, including its Democratic and Republican Party surrogates, has been put on notice by politically conscious Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, and White peoples of this nation of who are sick and tired of being hoodwinked, manipulated, and politically blood sucked. What happened this past week end in Chicago is a wake up call to all persons of good will: Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow!

By supporting the candidacies of Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente we are supporting a people's movement -- our movement for real, fundamental, "systemic" change, not mealy-mouth meaningless / feel good rhetoric. We are self-actualizing our hopes and dreams, not allowing others to pimp and manipulate us by playing on those hopes and dreams. We are supporting the very best in ourselves. We are laying the foundation in 21st Century "America" for a genuine and ongoing people's movement that says NO to the corporate / military / prison apparatus of the U.S. Empire at home and abroad.

We are supporting so much more than only candidates for political office -- we are supporting our commitment to the building of an uncompromising, unswerving, people's movement that is unhindered by this system's Democratic and Republican [i.e. Republicratic] Party election time lines and political machine. We are refusing to collaborate with this Empire's system of oppression. Rather, we are working to dismantle it and build a fundamentally and systemically different system that addresses human needs, not human greed. We are emphatically stating that we will not sit back and allow principled, intelligent, revolutionary / politically progressive, honest, and for-real women to be by-passed and ignored any longer by this system in "America."

By supporting the Cynthia McKinney / Rosa Clemente "Power To The People" Campaign we are making it crystal clear that we will intensify the struggle the dignity and human rights of all people: women, men, and children -- Black, Brown, Red, White, and Yellow -- all peoples.

To be sure, the U.S. Empire's corrupt and biased news media disinformation machine can be expected to go into high gear in an effort to discredit and neutralize the McKinney / Clemente ticket and the "Power To The People" Campaign. Indeed, these slimy tactics have already begun. However, such tactics merely confirm the absolute importance of what we are committed to and what this movement is all about.

For those who may not have seen and heard Cynthia McKinney's acceptance speech on C-SPAN at the Green Party Convention this past July 13, 2008; it is urged that you turn on your computer's speakers, view her presentation, and hear her remarks and those of Rosa Clemente on the internet at under the heading Green Party Presidential Convention (July 13, 2008).

The "Power To The People" Campaign is the only one to boldly and seriously address not only the issues of militarism, economic disparity, social and environmental inequities, single payer health care, government malfeasance and neglect, corporate greed, equal opportunity and education, racism, reparations, gender parity, and homelessness, etc; but just as importantly, this campaign is about building an ongoing movement to fundamentally address the root causes of these pressing concerns. The twin demons of the Empire, i.e. the Democratic and Republican Parties [increasingly known as the Republicrats] and their accomplices, are in opposition to any real systemic change. Thus, every conceivable means will be utilized to deter this campaign, its ultimate movement, and objectives.

We must get out into our towns, cities, and municipalities of all kinds with one fundamental objective: Getting and putting the "Power To The People" Cynthia McKinney / Rosa Clemente Green Party ticket on the ballot in high numbers in every viable state of this nation, while simultaneously building and nurturing this people's movement. Let us start voting right now by organizing to support Cynthia and Rosa in the streets, the back woods, the schools, on the reservations, in the barrios, ghettos, and every possible nook and cranny and community of this nation. WE ARE NOT COLLABORATORS AND WE WILL NOT COLLABORATE WITH THE EMPIRE IN OUR OWN OPPRESSION OR THAT OF OTHERS. Organize, organize, and organize some more!

We are the people and it is WE ourselves who are the essence of, and motivation for, real change. Let us call out to our sisters and brothers in Haiti, in Venezuela, in Bolivia, in Cuba, in Palestine, in Myanmar, in the Congo and throughout the entire world. Let us send them a message of comradely greetings and let them know that we are reawakening from slumber here in the belly of the Empire. We have seen their examples and are emulating them for the mutual betterment of all our peoples.

We must build coalitions that serve the interests of the people. We must pry open the systemic, strangling, amoral death grip that the Democrats and Republican Parties [i.e. the Republicrats] have around our proverbial necks and minds. We must work together with the Reconstruction Movement which began around the despicable U.S. Government criminality of both the Republicans and Democratic Parties re hurricane Katrina (and subsequently hurricane Rita). Being Green is just the beginning. We must keep in mind that there are also other progressive peoples out there in parties such as the Peace & Freedom Party, and we must work together with them to the mutual advantage of the people's movement. We must remember that "no one of us is as smart or as strong as all of us."

We must remember our sister and brother political prisoners, liberation fighters, and exiles such as Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Reverend Edward Pinkney [no relation], the San Francisco 8, Assata Shakur and so very, very many more. We must remember why we are waging this struggle. This is about more than votes. This is about our very survival and that of Mother Earth - this planet.

This is about saying NO to the Empire and its collaborators, and YES to a NEW DAY a NEW SOCIETY, a NEW WORLD. This is about struggling to be that NEW PERSON who self-actualizes and addresses human needs, not human greed, lies, and hypocrisy.

Viva Cynthia McKinney! Viva Rosa Clememte! Long live "The Power To The People' Campaign! Let's get busy brothers and sisters. "Each one reach one". There is much work to be done!

Onward then

---------- Editorial Board Member, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS NewsHour, formerly known as The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker , by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book). Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

10 Reasons why offshore oil drilling is a BAD IDEA

no offshore drilling

Gas prices have been jumping over and under the $4 mark all summer, your grocery bills are soaring, and campaign ads are blasting you about the benefits of offshore drilling. So what's an average Joe or Jane supposed to believe? Will offshore drilling really make things better for you?

What you're hearing on the news is pretty one-sided, and most reporters are talking about this issue like it makes perfect sense. Well, it doesn't.

What can I say, sometimes dumb ideas get a lot of attention. That's exactly what's happening right now as President Bush has lifted the executive moratorium on offshore drilling, and Congress is being pushed to do the same.

Let me take just a second to review the top 10 reasons offshore drilling is such a dumb idea:

10. Offshore oil drilling won't impact gas prices today, and it won't have a significant impact on gas prices in the future.

9. This is nothing more than a money grab by the oil companies - who are already making record-breaking profits.

8. We burn 25% of the world's oil here in the U.S., but we have only 3% of the world's oil reserves. So even if all offshore oil magically came to market today, the vast majority of our oil would continue to be imported, and we wouldn't see price relief at the pump.

7. The current moratorium was put in place decades ago to protect us from the danger of oil spills along our coastlines and beaches.

6. Burning fossil fuels like oil causes global warming, which causes stronger hurricanes, which will threaten the very offshore drilling rigs being proposed, which will contribute to even more global warming.

5. To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, we need to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy within the next 10 years. The billions of dollars that would be spent on offshore oil drilling just postpones the inevitable transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

4. Oil exploration requires massive seismic testing - which threatens whales and dolphins.

3. Oil prices are set on the global oil market, so American oil is no cheaper than Saudi oil. We won't get a discount for oil drilled in the U.S.

2. We can't solve the world's energy problems with the same drilling that created them.

1. Renewable energy is available now, so it's time to walk away from fossil fuels and toward a clean energy future.

Take Action >> make sure Congress hears from YOU about offshore oil drilling.

Let's face it, there's really no good reason to drill offshore. More drilling is good for Big Oil, not for you and your family. We can't drill our way out of this mess - oil drilling is already at an all-time high and prices are still skyrocketing.

As a matter of fact, even if we could tap into all of the energy stored in the Earth's reserves - coal, oil, and natural gas - it would equal the energy in just 20 days of sunshine. Tell Congress to look on the bright side to solve our energy crisis. It's time to invest in renewable energy and leave oil to the dinosaurs. It's time for an energy revolution.

Power to the people,

Melanie Duchin
Global Warming Campaigner
Ways to Help

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Unreasonable Mandate

Ralph Nader, Bob Barr and Cynthia McKinney find common ground: state laws designed to keep third parties off the ballot

By Andy Bromage

Vic Lancia's phone rang. It was Ralph Nader asking for help gathering signatures to get him on the presidential ballot in Connecticut.

Lancia, a loyal foot soldier for third party political campaigns, didn't believe it was Nader. He hung up. Nader called back. Lancia still didn't believe him. "Stop fucking with me," Lancia said, and hung up again.

So Nader called Ken Krayeske, who's running his state campaign. "What are you doing giving me a guy who hangs up the phone on me?" Nader asked. Krayeske made a quick phone call to explain, and before long Lancia was outside a Middletown supermarket sweet-talking shoppers into signing for Nader.

The Nader campaign submitted 17,000 signatures to state election officials in Hartford last week—twice the number needed to secure a line on the ballot this fall—but they didn't do it alone. Nader had help petitioning from Libertarians and the Greens, who in turn got help from Nader.

In a rare show of third party unity, the campaigns of Nader, Libertarian Bob Barr and the Green Party's Cynthia McKinney, the last two former Congress members, are joining forces across state lines to overcome ballot access rules designed to keep minor party candidates out. The camps are sharing workers, swapping petitions and urging voters to sign up for another third party candidate along with their own. They've joined forces in Maine, West Virginia, Hawaii, Pennsylvania and now Connecticut, where Barr submitted 13,000 signatures and McKinney turned in "close to the necessary number," a Green Party boss says.

Libertarian petitioners were instrumental in getting Nader on the ballot in the all-important state of Pennsylvania last month, so Nader's team repaid the favor in Connecticut, dispatching his clipboard-equipped raiders on sidewalks and town greens. Not because the campaign especially loves Bob Barr, though.

"I couldn't care less about Libertarians," says Krayeske. "The hurdles to democracy that the two parties put out in front of you are so onerous that third parties are learning to cooperate."

Sidewalk petitioning can be thankless work: Campaigns pay workers $1 to $1.50 per signature to stand on baking asphalt, asking irritated grocery shoppers to sign in support of a candidate they've often never heard of, or might consider a "spoiler." Nader's national ballot coordinator, Christina Tobin of Illinois, arrived in Hartford last week to turn in the fruits of their labor.

In true Nader fashion, Tobin used the occasion to agitate rather than celebrate, telling reporters that petitioning onto Connecticut's ballot is a "tedious" and "ridiculous" process designed to "make our lives more difficult." For example: State law requires petitions be certified by local officials in Connecticut's 169 towns, even though federal law requires states maintain a centralized list of all registered voters.

That means petitioners must carry a form for every town—Andover to Woodstock—which the state then mails to those towns. Another law says petitioners must be state residents, which poses a problem because the most reliable workers are the few paid national staffers who travel from state to state, not local volunteers. Beyond that, requiring 7,500 valid signatures when other New England states require a fraction as many (1,000 in Rhode Island, 3,000 in New Hampshire) disadvantages small-dollar grassroots campaigns, Tobin says.

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, the state's top election official, is unsympathetic. She says town officials must validate petition signatures because only they have the original signed voter cards. If something looks suspicious—say, several signatures in the same handwriting—officials need to check the source documents.

On requiring circulators to be state residents, Bysiewicz says it's perfectly reasonable. "You ought to be able to have support in the state you're running in if you are going to have a real candidacy," Bysiewicz says. But third party campaigns are modest endeavors, often relying on a few dedicated staffers to do heavy lifting over huge geographic areas. Besides, can't voters just register their support at the polls? Is luring state residents away from their jobs to spend a full day collecting signatures for $1 a pop the only way to demonstrate ballot-worthy support?

Bysiewicz is unmoved. "You ought to have people in the state willing to go out and get petition signatures."

Mike DeRosa, the state Green Party chair, disagrees. "Not everyone can just go out and petition. Some people are too shy. The two major parties will create all kinds of barriers to full participation in the political process."¦

Send your comments to editor AT hartfordadvocate DOT com

Friday, August 08, 2008

An open letter to Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner

Dear Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner:

George W. Bush will be within your jurisdiction on September 1 as he speaks to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. As you know, as President of the United States, Bush ordered military action against the Iraqi government on the false premise that Iraq represented a direct threat to the security of the United States. There have been two significant books published recently that detail the culpability of George W. Bush: Elizabeth de la Vega was a federal prosecutor. Her book, U S v Bush, details the case she would make against Bush before a federal grand jury. Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor of the Manson family, has published The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. His book further documents the legal case to be made against George W. Bush.

I would welcome an opportunity to meet with you and discuss this matter, and at that time I would like to present you with copies of both books.

Young men from Ramsey County died in Iraq as a direct consequence of the lies that were told by George W. Bush: Army Spc. Jacob Vanderbosch, 21, of Vadnais Heights was killed October 3, 2005 in Haqlaniyah, Iraq, when a roadside bomb exploded; White Bear Lake resident Pfc. Elden Arcand's fuel supply truck overturned on a road on August 21, 2005 in Mosul--officials say he was thrown from the vehicle, and it rolled onto him; Army Specialist Gregory Rundell of North St. Paul was killed Wednesday March 26, 2008 while manning a guard tower in Iraq. The crime of reckless endangerment of these young men happened in Ramsey County when they were told they had to serve in Iraq.

If a person in legitimate authority told a lie to someone and that person acted on good faith in believing that lie, then the person who told that lie is guilty of reckless endangerment and must be held accountable for the death of that innocent. If the Chief of Police in St. Paul were to tell someone that they could speed at 95 mph on Highway 35, and that person were to die in an automobile accident in Iowa, then the St. Paul Chief of Police would be guilty of reckless endangerment, and that crime would have occurred in St. Paul. In a like manner, Jacob Vanderbosch, Elden Arcand and Gregory Rundell were lied to in the jurisdiction of Ramsey County. The crime of reckless endangerment or Murder in the Third Degree happened in Ramsey County.

Because Bush committed troops of the Minnesota National Guard to tragic danger and fatalities in Iraq for the sole purpose of enriching his family's business, Halliburton, and, thereby, causing the death of Minnesota citizens, he is guilty of committing murder in the third degree: Section 609.195: MURDER IN THE THIRD DEGREE: whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years on each count.

As you may know, I appealed to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to bring charges against George W. Bush. He was extremely cordial but he refused. I filed a writ of mandamus with the 4th District Court asking the judge to order County Attorney Mike Freeman to bring charges. The County Attorney responded, and I answered his response. Finally, Judge Gary Larson denied my writ agreeing with the County Attorney's office that they had discretion in the matter of whom to prosecute. I agree that, generally, the County Attorney's office should have discretion on whom to prosecute, however, exception to this absolute authority can be seen in Minnesota Statute 388.12: "Attorney to Assist. The judge of any district court may by order entered in the minutes at any term of court appoint an attorney of such court to act as, or in place of, or to assist the county attorney at such term, either before the court or grand jury. The person so appointed shall take the oath required by law of county attorneys and thereupon may perform all duties at such term of court, but shall receive no compensation where the county attorney is present at such term, except by the county attorney's consent, and to be paid from the county attorney's salary."

I have attached my Appeal, writ of mandamus, their response, my answer and Judge Gary Larson's order to this email.

I would most sincerely appreciate an opportunity to discuss this matter with you at your earliest convenience,

Ed Felien


Response from Susan Gaertner

August 1, 2008
Dear Mr. Felien:
Thank you for contacting me via email about your desire to have President George W. Bush prosecuted for various crimes.

I respect the passion and sincerity of your deep concerns about the actions of President Bush and the war in Iraq. You argue eloquently and forcefully for your point of view and desired course of action. Although I have not read Mr. Bugliosi's book, I know and admire Ms. De la Vega and have her book at home.
Many people share your conviction that President Bush should be held accountable, and there are various ways in which that might occur. I do not believe, however, that a criminal prosecution by a county attorney and/or an individual appointed by the court to assist the county attorney is the appropriate way to seek to hold a president accountable for the actions you describe-regardless of the merits of the arguments that might be presented. On the legal issues, I also come to the same conclusions stated in the brief filed by Mr. Diamond and the order issued by Judge Larson.

Even though I have not come to the conclusion you might favor, I appreciate the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of the arguments you presented.
Thank you again for contacting me, and best wishes.
Susan Gaertner
Ramsey County Attorney

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Breastfeeding Not for You? Sisters, Listen Up

World Breastfeeding Awareness Week is this week and Aisha Qaasim flags the need for stronger cultural support in the United States, particularly for African American moms. Negative attitudes, she says, are making our children sick.

"That is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen," she said to the small woman at her side loudly enough to ripple through the weekday lunch crowd at the Westfield Shopping Mall in Bethesda, Md. I've brushed off some pretty awful insults in my life.
In law school I received hate mail covered with pictures of gorillas demanding that I, and all of the other African American first-years, go back to "Cooley High."

Yet, I was caught off guard when I realized the insult was aimed at me, as I sat on a bench breastfeeding my 2-month-old daughter.
A nameless woman at a mall was somehow the one to find the insult that I could not toss onto the neat pile of words that would never hurt me. It did hurt. And, these attitudes toward breastfeeding are making our children sick, especially African American children, who are the least likely to get the benefit of mothers' milk.

Our babies are more than twice as likely to die before age 1 than Asian, Latino or white babies. A 2001 study in Pediatrics concluded that an increase in African American breastfeeding rates alone could reduce this disparity. In other words, we cannot afford to treat breastfeeding like the choice between cloth and disposable diapers.

More Outreach Needed
As mothers we have gotten out of the house and have shown off our pregnant bellies at the office and on the red carpet. Now we need to give and get strong cultural support to breastfeed wherever we please.

We also need to know our legal rights: Forty-five states have enacted laws that either grant mothers the right to breastfeed in public or exempt breastfeeding from state obscenity laws.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers feed infants breast milk and nothing else for the first six months of life, and continue to breastfeed for at least one year. Yet, many women dread the negative attention they receive while breastfeeding in public.

To counter that, we all need to amplify the reasons breastfeeding is so good for mother and child. Compared to their formula-fed counterparts, breastfed children stand a better chance of withstanding a long list of health problems including diabetes, leukemia, cold and flu viruses, bacterial meningitis and obesity to name a few. Some of these benefits continue into adulthood.

Women Lower Risks
Women who breastfeed lower their risk of developing uterine cancer, osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes and breast cancer over their lifetimes. But the irony is that in today's ambitious parenting climate--where millions of dollars are being spent on educational toys and organic baby products--breastfeeding as the most important developmental head-start is often neglected. Among African American women that's particularly true.

In 2004, 74 percent of U.S. women initiated breastfeeding soon after giving birth. Among black women it was 60 percent. By the time infants reached 6 months of age--a key health target--only 14 percent of U.S. infants were breastfed exclusively. Among black infants it was 7 percent.

Only 36 percent of U.S. babies received breast milk in combination with formula or other foods at 6 months of age. For African American babies make that 29 percent. Black women are the least likely to breastfeed, even those of us with a college education, health insurance and a nice paying job. African American women across the spectrum breastfeed less than women who have only a high school education, less than women who live below the poverty line and less than adolescent mothers, according to the Centers for Disease Control 2004 National Immunization Survey.

Interrogations Instead of Support
Ironically, the criticism I faced while breastfeeding in public almost always came from other women. When I would complain to friends or family about the ridicule or hostility I received, instead of feeling supported I felt interrogated. "Did you forget to feed the baby before you went out?" "Didn't you have a blanket to cover yourself with?" I was often asked.
"So what if I did?" I would always respond, feeling like the caricatured rape victim scorned for wearing a miniskirt where both men and booze were present.

America's cultural obsession with the breast as a sexual object undermines the U.S Health and Human Services Department's goal of having 50 percent of infants breastfed exclusively at 6 months of age. If anything, we should be more disturbed as a society by the sight of breasts filled to bursting with silicone and perched unnaturally on collarbones than the sight of a woman breastfeeding a child.

If we as a society can somehow find a way to tolerate breast augmentation, shouldn't we also be able to support the natural and healthy role of the breast in mother-baby nutrition and bonding? We need to desensitize our communities away from viewing the breast as either titillating or obscene.

Out and proud, I nursed my daughter at the salon, on the subway, in dozens of restaurants, at the swimming pool and on airplanes. I pumped breast milk in my office while on conference calls. "What is that whooshy sound?" colleagues would sometimes ask, as I smiled to myself. Que viva la leche!

The positive impact of breast milk on the mental and physical development of children is unparalleled. Want a healthy baby? Put the Baby Einstein videos and hand sanitizer away and breastfeed. All the mammals are doing it. And, our children's health depends on it.


Editor's Note: The above article is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women's eNews.
Aisha Qaasim is a civil rights attorney and writer based in Redondo Beach, Calif.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Fairvote joins IRV Lawsuit

FairVote Minnesota to Intervene in Lawsuit against Instant Runoff Voting

Minneapolis, MN (July 31, 2008) - Today, FairVote Minnesota, the organizational anchor of the Saint Paul Better Ballot Campaign, announced that it will seek to intervene as a defendant in an on-going lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of instant runoff voting (IRV). In 2006, Minneapolis voters and its City Council authorized the use of IRV in city elections, with implementation planned for 2009. The lawsuit that FairVote Minnesota seeks to join opposes IRV in Minneapolis and was brought by a small group of activists who support the return of partisan local elections.

"Joining this lawsuit as a co-defendant is the most logical and efficient manner for us to resolve the constitutional question," said FairVote Minnesota Board member and Saint Paul IRV Campaign Coordinator, Ellen Brown. "We will help dismantle the St. Paul City Council's cover for blocking this important reform."

Both the plaintiffs and the City of Minneapolis have indicated that they will support the intervention request.

"Intervention is the right of a third party when it feels it can be of assistance to the court in arriving at a just decision," said former Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi attorney and FairVote Minnesota board chair, Tyrone Bujold. "Our plea will be to expedite the case so a decision can be reached as soon as possible."

On July 2, the St. Paul City Council blocked a certified petition submitted by more than 7,000 voters. The petition would have placed a charter amendment on the ballot this November to authorize use of IRV in future municipal elections. The block was justified in the eyes of the Council leadership based on a city attorney opinion that raised questions of constitutionality. After blocking the initiative, the Council voted unanimously to put the measure on the ballot once the constitutionality of IRV is resolved in the Minneapolis case.

The St. Paul Campaign does not believe the Council may legally block petition initiatives except in cases of "manifest unconstitutionality." "The Council, with the exception of Ward 6 member Russ Stark, had chosen to interpret the muddled attorney opinion as providing legal cover for their action. In doing so, the St. Paul Campaign believes that the Council has overstepped its legal authority," said Brown. The St. Paul Campaign considered suing the City to force a court interpretation of "manifest unconstitutionality" but decided this route was not likely to produce a decision in time to allow for sufficient voter education before the 2008 election, and might not have resulted in a definitive conclusion to the matter.

James Dorsey of the Fredrikson & Byron law firm and Keith Halleland of the Halleland, Lewis, Nilan and Johnson law firm will serve as lead co-counsel in the matter. Assistance will be provided by Jay Benanav, Alan Weinblatt, Weinblatt and Gaylord; Steve Kelley, Humphrey Institute Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy; David Schultz, Hamline University; Tyrone Bujold, FairVote MN chair; Aaron Street, Center for Law and Politics; Gena
Berglund, National Lawyers Guild; Cecily Hines, retired attorney; Andrea Rubenstein, attorney at law; and Teresa Ayling, Mansfield, Tanick and Cohen P.A.; and Jane Prince, attorney at law.

FairVote Minnesota
PO Box 19440
Minneapolis, MN 55419-0440
(763) 807-2550
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