politics

Gradually Eroding Freedoms

I can't remember where I first was referred to this, but according to various blogs, there's an amendment to a bill in Congress now, Section 220 of S. 1, though "on hold," that would basically require anyone writing about Congress to register quarterly with Congress. WTF? Insane. Both left and right bloggers and organizations seem to be complaining, but there's not as much chatter about this, or media attention, as I would expect. I looked further and found this on the SF Bay Times site:

Checking the actual text of Section 220, a laborious exercise indeed, I find that the text requires that third parties who pay money in order to engineer what might appear to be a grassroots lobbying effort must declare themselves. I also learn that the tactic, presumably one close to the heart of James Dobson and Focus on the Family, is called

Tucson Activists and La Otra

Here's a video I made recently that I just uploaded about the appearance of the Zapatista La Otra Campaña caravan coming to Magdalena, Sonora, Mexico, about one hour south of the Arizona border.


You can also download it from my server (33 MB).

yay! Pinochet is Dead!

Wow. Former Dictator of Chile Augusto Pinochet has finally shuffled off his mortal coil. Of course I should wait a bit before getting too excited, since there was talk that he'd died a week ago and then he apparently had not. But this time it looks real. It's just too bad he was not brought to justice before kicking the bucket.

Marian Franz Dies

Director of the national Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund died a couple weeks ago.

In 1982, Franz became the first full-time director of the National
Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund.

Franz believed that war taxes have enormous consequences.

"They kill twice," Franz said. "First, they directly enable war . . .
particularly paying for weapons. Second, taxes allocated for war
represent a distortion of priorities. Money is taken away from the
important work of healing and spent to destroy and kill."

Chingo Bling on Holamun2

This little video is a hilarious but inspiring history and civics lesson.

Stick A Yellow Ribbon On Your SUV

I don't remember who sent me this video but it's pretty great. The beginning part is sort of infantile, so just wait it out or skip ahead about a minute, and then when the actual yellow ribbon song starts, you will enjoy.

Locality

I've been to 2 different neighborhood, urban-development, "should-we-allow-more-gentrification?" kind of meetings in the last week and a half, even though I'm just 3 days into living in the neighborhood. It's odd, thinking of getting involved - well, being involved, already - considering that 2 months ago I didn't know if I'd even be able to stay in Tucson and remain sane. Also, I've lived in enough places to see that this gentrification, re-development struggle is happening everywhere, albeit at different rates and in different stages depending on which city we're talking about. I've never known where to settle down, dig in, and join the fight.

Here I'm talking about a "green" (solar panels, rooftop gardens, etc) condo project just a few blocks from my new place called OneWest, which was voted down by the neighborhood association in March and then it was brought back and that vote was reversed last week, amid much controversy (now the talk is that the re-vote was against Robert's Rules of Order, which ostensibly the neighborhood association follows as its decision-making process).

Meanwhile just south of me is part of the target area of something called Downtown Links. It's the legacy of battle that's been happening in Tucson since the 70s when the state wanted to just punch a freeway right through downtown to link the east side of town to the interstate. They got most of the way but then the opposition was so fierce that they gave up and handed it off to the city government in the late 80s. The city has been trying to finish it in some form, and it's been gradually downgraded to basically a 25mph surface street with a bunch of awkward connections to existing surface streets and some accompanying urban development along the side, supposedly, like bike paths, some greenery, maybe some noise abatement walls, etc - but also lots of "opportunities" for business development along the route.

These things are both very contentious. There's just a couple opinions/observations that I want to mention: first, they're both really all about money; second, they involve bait-and-switch "quality of life" or "greenwashing" tactics to make them seem more palatable to regular people, and to obscure the fact that it's really to serve the relevant members of the business class that wants to exploit the situation; third, about the Downtown Links specificially: this project is 15 to 20 years from being done. By then, for all we know 90% of us will not be able to afford gasoline or any other means for propelling personal motor vehicles. What are we doing continuing to make decisions revolving around motorists and a car-centered lifestyle?

Beyond Hope

In the latest issue of Orion Magazine we are brought an excerpt from Endgame, the upcoming new book by Derrick Jensen, one of my favorite authors to make it their business to meticulously describe exactly what's wrong with western culture and civilization. The excerpt is on a subject I've seen him write and speak about before at great length, but it's nice to see it in this form. It's about the problem with hope.

When we stop hoping for external assistance, when we stop hoping that the awful situation we're in will somehow resolve itself, when we stop hoping the situation will somehow not get worse, then we are finally free

Voter Reward

Wow. there's actually someone trying to get this initiative on the ballot in Arizona for this fall:

This law will establish a voter reward random drawing every two years with a first prize of one million dollars or more. The purpose is to increase voter participation. Voters who cast ballots in primary or general elections will be eligible to win. The money will come from the Arizona Lottery and private donations.

What a good idea. Maybe it would even get some of my misguided anarchistoid friends to vote.

(thanx José)

Unifier of Latin America

george monkey boyNice article in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Bush has presided during one of the most significant political re-alignments in the history of the Western Hemisphere. By this summer, every major Latin American nation but Colombia is likely to be run by elected leaders with stronger backgrounds in Marx than free markets. If Cold War-era domino theory has been a bust elsewhere, it's working in Latin America.

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