Saturday, January 28, 2006

It's 2006... Happier New Year! :-) You go Oo-go, you go on goin' on about what's been goin' on and on and on and goin' wrong...




"I'm a b-boy, standing in my b-boy stance..."

- K-OS, "B-Boy Stance"



(...)


Man, I love this dood.

K-OS for sure, but I also mean Hugo Chavez.

He's having so much fun being a badass.

And really, I think that's the key, and of special interest to special interest doom and gloom prognosticators, of which at times I am one.

Sure, we may all be screwed, but really, we may not be either.

"What we've got here is... failure to communicate."

- from the movie "Cool Hand Luke"


And yet, I am constantly amazed by the mainstream press Mr. Chavez gets for his mass-media mooning of American Imperialism. Unbelievable.

"Before September 11th 2001 America had a secret history. Secret especially from its own people. But now America’s secrets are history, and its history is public knowledge. It’s street talk."

- Arundhati Roy, "Confronting Empire"


And so it is, Ms. Roy, so it is.

(Actually it might be "Mrs." Roy since she's married, drat the luck. First Anglina "two-divorces and then Brad-freakin'-Pitt!" Jolie and now this. Drat the luck.)

Either way, it appears that the trillions of dollars the U.S. spends on espionage and and military and economic strong-arming are finally scratching the surface of collective consciousness, and bully for us: it ain't like we haven't seen a tonne of flix that show us a tonne of clues.

"Military intelligence" has long been seen as an oxymoron, and despite their phenomenal PR work, you've gotta admit that every war since World War II has been at best a mistake made to benefit war-profiteers on the take. Taxes are high, poverty rates are high, and apparently the army's own accountants are high...

"According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions."

- Donald Rumsfeld, quoted on CBS News, 29/Jan/02


(sigh)

So, the evil and incompetent military-industrial complex has wrought one hell of a worldwide mess, and finally, almost all of us understand it. Maybe not on a conscious level, but we're never surprised when something trickles to the surface and is finally admitted widely in the press, and our sense of reason merely confirms our worst fears using our best judgment.

"Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'..."


- Bob Dylan, "The Times They Are A-Changin'"


And that's good to know.

Sure, old Bob may have scribbled this timeless ditty in 1963, but hey, he was simply ahead of his time.

That was the year President John F. Kennedy was killed, probably the first martyr for the battle against military-industrial complex dominance. He had big plans to scale back the insanity having just inherited the Presidency from the man who coined the term "military-industrial complex", President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his farewell speech to the nation. Since the Warren Commission cover-up of JFK's assasination and the "magic-bullet/lone-gunman" nonsense we've been mighty suspicious of the U.S. Government's desire to be honest, and if they couldn't honestly investigate the murder of America's favorite President, then what else could they lie about?

In fact, that may have been the original mass-market "conspiracy theory".

JFK II: The Bush Connection

- http://jackblood.netfirms.com/home/multimedia.html


But here we are today, in 2006, with just a couple of years to stave off the endless tyrannical rule of Republican dictators waging wars on invisible enemies that will last generations.

It can happen, I hope it doesn't, but it sure can...

"It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."

- Joseph Stalin


Of course, as long as there are good people willing to throw good effort behind it, and good people willing to throw good effort behind them, it's entirely possible that this nightmare can be avoided.

Black Box Voting.org

- http://www.blackboxvoting.org/


Either way, back to K-OS and Hugo, both defiantly popping-off in their own ways, and both defiantly standing in their b-boy stances. K-OS named his album "Joyful Rebellion", and ironically around the same time Talib Kweli released his album called "The Beautiful Struggle".

Neat.

Seems we've got to have a bit of fun around here, after all, the best parties are fun, and if Saving The World can't be a blast, then what's the point?

We'll make the world we create, and dour revolutions like Mao and Pol Pot had only resulted in big sucky dictatorships with millions of people enslaved and killed.

Boo.

So, I cheer on Chavez, for his cheery "screw you" puts a smile on my face, and on the faces of billions of other faces we almost never get to see.

Until now.




Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez surrounded by bodyguards greets the crowd upon his arrival during the 6th World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, Jan 27, 2006. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)



Yahoo! News

Chavez Says He Will Jail U.S. Spies

By CHRISTOPHER TOOTHAKER, Associated Press Writer Fri Jan 27, 10:49 PM ET

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called the U.S. government an "immoral empire" and repeated accusations of spying Friday, threatening to arrest any American officials caught gathering intelligence on his military.


Chavez's warning came hours after his vice president, Jose Vicente Rangel, accused officials at the U.S. Embassy of involvement in a spying case involving several Venezuelan naval officers who allegedly passed sensitive information to the Pentagon.

Chavez focused his speech to thousands of activists on summoning a global "battle" to resist what he termed U.S. imperialism.

The frequent and vocal critic of U.S. global policy used especially harsh terms to describe the U.S. government, calling it a "perverse, murderous, genocidal, immoral empire."


He addressed the spying accusations for the first time since the allegations came to light earlier this week.

"We've just discovered a case, one more espionage case," Chavez told the audience of activists who are attending the World Social Forum in Caracas this week.

"I warn the U.S. government: the next time we detect a soldier or civilian official — but above all American soldiers — trying to obtain information about our armed forces, we're going to put them in prison."

Chavez has repeatedly accused the U.S. government of spying and plotting to oust him, while U.S. officials have firmly denied the allegations.

The latest accusations have brought new tension to an already rocky relationship between Washington and Chavez's government.

The U.S. Embassy declined comment on Rangel's remarks Friday. The U.S. State Department has called the allegations an internal matter for the Venezuelan government.

In his speech at a Caracas coliseum, Chavez called for activists to form "a great international anti-imperialist front to do battle in the entire world."

"The battle must be waged in the entire world. We have to link all of our causes — unity," Chavez said.

Activists chanted Chavez's name when he entered the arena. They held a banners reading "No to imperialism" and another with an image of Cuban revolution leader Che Guevara.

Chavez waved to the throng and blew kisses to the assembly, timed to coincide with the annual market-friendly World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.


Washington has raised concern about the health of democracy under Chavez and has accused him of destabilizing the region. Chavez has shrugged off the claims, saying his government is democratic and it is the U.S. that is a destabilizing force.

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SOURCE - http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060128/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/venezuela_us



(...)



BONUS: Live in Caracas...


The World Social Forum is a week-long gathering of 300,000 people from around the world taking place in Caracas, Venezuela. Luis Rodriguez, a contribuing editor at Rock & Rap Confidential and the best-selling Latino author in the U.S., files this report (for more, check www.luisjrodriguez.com/blog):

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Poor and the World Social Forum

When Cheri Honkala spoke about the woman in Tennessee with a debilitating disease who lost her health care from the state when 300,000 people were removed from TennCare, her voice cracked and she brought home the tremendous toll that poverty and government neglect can have on a person, on families, on whole communities. Cheri is head of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign. This week around 100 members of PPEHRC are in Caracas, Venezuela as delegates to the World Social Forum.

Cheri's words joined those of migrant workers, families who have had their children taken away by the government because they were poor, a mother who lost a son in the War on Iraq, and disabled Iraqi war veterans against the war. These people came here to voice the often misunderstood or misrepresented story of being poor in the richest, most powerful country in the world.


At a press conference on Thursday, January 26, across from the US Tent near the Museum of Bellas Artes in Caracas, the mostly Spanish-language media heard one heart-felt story after another of homelessness, government neglect, repression, imprisonment (the US has more prisoners than any other country in the world), and lack of media coverage that the poor in the US face every day.

The Venezuelan press seemed most eager to understand this phenomena of poverty in the US, news of which rarely comes their way from US media outlets. It was also clear that most Americans don't get an accurate account of the Venezuelan revolutionary process, nor the immense leadership of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in helping make "another world possible."

Presently, Chavez is being demonized in much of the US press as a murderous dictator (he hasn't murdered anybody, and he was elected in nationwide elections). We don't get the news about the tremendous support Chavez has among the poor, the marginalized, the forgotten.


One purpose behind the Poor People's Campaign's presence here is to defeat the lies about US poor (mostly by the media not talking about them) and the lies about the Venezuelan poor (again, by keeping this away from media attention). If an exchange of truths about our two countries is the main thing we achieve, it would have been worth all the work, funds, travails, and tears in making sure the US poor had a presence in the World Social Forum.

Later that night, I did a poetry reading and talk in Spanish and English to about 250 people at the US tent. The lights blew out and I had a hard time reading my text, but it was still a spirited and well-received event. It is important to make sure poetry becomes part of these types of gatherings. For beside the poverty of material things and the necessities of life, the poor everywhere face a poverty of spirit, of hopes, of imagination.

The World Social Forum is about creating and emphasizing a politics of imagination, of hope, of spirit--as well as meeting the material and health needs of all people. It's about establishing foundations for a healthy and balanced earth, for healthy and balanced people, across borders, languages, races, religions, and political affiliations.

As globalization (capitalism in the age of electronics) spreads from one nation to another, bringing more misery, war, and poverty, there is a growing response that is also global in nature for peace, justice, equity, and a dignifed life for every human being. From the indigenous groups that came here from every part of the hemisphere to the people fighting for health care in Ohio, whatever differences exist between the poor is nothing compared to what we have in common--hunger and the need to create effective organization and policies in our international efforts to eradicate poverty once and for all.



posted by Luis J. Rodriguez at 9:24 AM

SOURCE - www.rockrap.com







BONUS: Lively up Caracas...




U.S. anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan hugs a supporter before speaking about the U.S. war in Iraq at the 6th World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2006. Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, said she was considering running for office against Sen. Diane Feinstein while she waited for the California lawmaker to back a filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. (AP Photo/Leslie Mazoch)



Sheehan Considers Challenging Feinstein

By IAN JAMES, Associated Press Writer 7 minutes ago

CARACAS, Venezuela - Cindy Sheehan, the peace activist who set up camp near President Bush's Texas ranch last summer, said Saturday she is considering running against Sen. Dianne Feinstein (news, bio, voting record) to protest what she called the California lawmaker's support for the war in Iraq.

"She voted for the war. She continues to vote for the funding. She won't call for an immediate withdrawal of the troops," Sheehan told The Associated Press in an interview while attending the World Social Forum in Venezuela along with thousands of other anti-war and anti-globalization activists.


"I think our senator needs to be held accountable for her support of George Bush and his war policies," said Sheehan, whose 24-year-old soldier son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004.

Feinstein's campaign manager, Kam Kuwata, said the senator "doesn't support George Bush and his war policies."

"She has stated publicly on numerous occasions that she felt she was misled by the administration at the time of the vote," Kuwata said by phone from California.

But with troops committed, Feinstein believes immediate withdrawal is not a responsible option, Kuwata said.

"Senator Feinstein's position is, let's work toward quickly turning over the defense of Iraq to Iraqis so that we can bring the troops home as soon as possible," he said.

Sheehan accused Feinstein of being out of touch with Californians on the issue.

She said she would decide whether to run after talking with her three other adult children. The Democratic primary will be held in June, and candidates must submit their statements for the voter guide by Feb. 14.

Kuwata said Feinstein and Sheehan appear to have a fundamental disagreement over whether troops should be pulled out right now. "That's why they have elections, and if she decides to file (paperwork to run), so be it," he said.

Sheehan said running in the Democratic primary would help make a broader point.

"If I decided to run, I would have no illusions of winning, but it would bring attention to all the peace candidates in the country," she said.

Sheehan, 48, who lives in Berkeley, Calif., said she would head to Washington on Sunday for protests against Bush's State of the Union address on Monday, and then return to California to discuss her idea of running against Feinstein with her son and two daughters.

"I can't see — if they think it's going to help peace — that they would be opposed to me doing it," she said.


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SOURCE - http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060128/ap_on_el_se/sheehan_senate

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