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May 2010
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THE GREENS / GREEN PARTY USA (G/GPUSA)
The Original Green Party
Publishing Green Politics Since 1992

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Dear Reader,

The following are the first and third stanzas of a poem by Pablo Neruda. These lines seem to speak to us today. We often include articles that by their very nature anger us, which of course they should. In fact, we must not be complacent on the threat of fascism; the defeat of single payer on the recently passed healthcare bill, or the many costs of war. You will find articles on these topics and other subjects in this publication. Perhaps it is time for us to pause for a moment to listen to the poets.

The truth of the green tree
in spring and the Earth’s crust
is proven beyond a doubt:
the planets nourish us
despite eruptions
and the sea offers us fish
despite her quaking:
we are slaves of the earth
that is also governess of air…
Nothing is gained by flying
to escape this globe
that trapped you at birth.
And we need to confess our hope
that understanding and love
come from below, climb
and grow inside us
like onions, like oak trees,
like tortoises or flowers,
like countries, like races,
like roads and destinations.*

We welcome comments, articles and news about your communities. We look forward to hearing from you. You can reach us at http://www.greenparty.org/newsletter/contact_us.php.

In solidarity
The Print Collective

Phil Ardery, Jr
Barbara Chicheiro
Devin Ceartas
Elizabeth Fattah
Wes Wagar

* Pablo Neruda, "Philosophy," The Yellow Heart. Translated by William O'Daly. Copper Canyon Press (1990), p. 21.

To the Broad Peace and Anti-War Movements (and all who resist injustice)

By Michael T. McPhearson

Michael T. McPhearson, a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was a field artillery officer in the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division during Desert Shield/Desert Storm, also known as Gulf War I. McPhearson joined the Army Reserve in 1981 as an enlisted soldier at the age of 17 and attended basic training the summer between his junior and senior high school years. He is a ROTC graduate of Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina. His military career includes 6 years of reserve service and 5 years active duty service. He separated from active duty in 1992 as a Captain.

Now living in Saint Louis, McPhearson is currently the Executive Director of Veterans For Peace and Co-Chair of United for Peace and Justice.

Photo Michael McPhearson (center) with Dr. John Johnson (left) and Lionel Nixon at a 2008 panel discussion reviewing the suspicious circumstances in the non-combat death of Dr. Johnson's daughter, Private First Class LaVena Johnson, in Iraq. Photo by Don Fitz.

Compost-Dispatch, a publication of The Gateway Greens, St. Louis, received a letter from McPhearson as 2010 began. An eloquent affirmation of the activist life, Green Politics reprints the letter in its entirety here.

Is This Factory Farming's Tobacco Moment?

By Will Allen and Ronnie Cummins

Cartoon: Warning! All items in this store approved by the U.S. Regulatory System

In an April, 2010 article published by Organic Consumers Association, authors Will Allen and Ronnie Cummins report that "Economically stressed and distracted consumers have become dependent on a factory farm system designed to provide cheap processed food that may be cosmetically perfect and easily shipped, but which is seriously degraded in terms of purity and nutritional value.

"USDA studies reveal that the food currently grown on America's chemical-intensive farms contains drastically less vitamins and essential trace minerals than the food produced 50 years ago (when far less pesticides and chemical fertilizers were used)."

Read the entire article here.

Why the US Owes Haiti Billions – The Briefest History

By Bill Quigley

photo, children in Haiti 2010 Haiti photograph courtesy of US Armed Forces Information Service.

Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Bill Quigley makes the case in an article published by Common Dreams that American financial assistance offered to Haiti after January's earthquake is pocket change compared to the true American obligations.

Quigley writes, "Why does the US owe Haiti Billions? Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State, stated his foreign policy view as the 'Pottery Barn rule.' That is: 'If you break it, you own it.'

"The US has worked to break Haiti for over 200 years. We owe Haiti. Not charity. We owe Haiti as a matter of justice. Reparations. And not the $100 million promised by President Obama either. That is Powerball money. The US owes Haiti Billions: with a big B."

Read Quigley's article here.

Our Victory March Is On

By Paul Kesler

(Sung to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic")

You have rigged the system and you think that you're above the law,
But we've analyzed you thoroughly and found your fatal flaw;
We will beat your asses bloody till you're up against the wall -
Our Victory March is on.

We will trample on your Wall Street party till it turns to shit,
We will stamp upon your faces with a boot that never quits;
You may think you've hit a homer but we've got a catcher's mitt -
Our Victory March is on.

Power Power to the People,
Power Power to the People;
We've already planned a sequel -
Our Victory March is on.

We have targeted the Treasury and Federal Reserve,
We'll destroy your market bubble, that is just what you deserve;
You'll be throwing lots of fastballs but we've got a faster curve -
Our Victory March is on.

Glory glory Hallelujah,
We are gonna sock it to ya,
All our lawyers will pursue ya -
Our Victory March is on.

It's a real abomination how you've privatized the State,
But your propaganda can't begin to save you from your fate;
And all your bailout money's come a little bit too late -
Our Victory March is on.

Glory glory Hallelujah,
Our maneuvers will undo ya;
Now we're gonna barbecue ya -
Our Victory March is on.

Confronting Tea Baggers and Having a Cup of Coffee

By Elizabeth Fattah

Some weeks ago I was part of a counter demonstration where tea baggers had gathered. At the time, healthcare was the topic du jour with a plethora of signs denouncing "government run healthcare." When some of us asked about Medicare, there were usually several variations on a theme.

One woman said that she would rather die on the streets than take government healthcare. An older woman just walked away when I asked about her views on Medicare. Several people said that neighbors, family, and friends should help out if one can't afford a doctor or hospital costs. Most of the people there did not seem wealthy enough to help themselves or anyone else. The irony is that the healthcare bill that was recently passed does not provide government run "single payer" healthcare and does not even include a "public option" component.

"Green is the new Red" along with "Obama is a Socialist" were on placards that the tea baggers carried. Although government spending, taxes and the deficit were also major concerns of the crowd that day; cutting military spending was not an option. The other theme was illegal immigration, targeting Mexicans, Latin Americans and Chinese. There is definitely an underlying racism in tea baggers' rants against illegal immigration and immigration in general. At other tea party gatherings, the racism was more blatant, as evidenced by the spitting at a black Congress person and using the "N" word freely.

To offset the effects of my interaction with the tea partiers, I joined a coffee party several weeks later. This party was started by a young professional who had been a part-time Obama volunteer and had become upset by the politics of the tea baggers.

Continue reading Confronting Tea Baggers and Having a Cup of Coffee here.

US Social Forum in Detroit, June 22-26, 2010

The US Social Forum is not a typical conference, although it will offer hundreds of workshops, discussion sessions and cultural events. It is instead a space for people to build relationships, learn from one another and develop a shared analysis of the problems our communities face. Tens of thousands of activists, community members, and progressive leaders from the US and around the world will participate. To learn more about the US Social Forum, please visit http://www.ussf2010.org.

Animal Care in Missouri: What Is Going On?

By Darvin Bentlage

You would have to look hard to find a ballot initiative that has been more talked about than the Humane Society of United States (HSUS) "Puppy Mill Bill." It has caused many agriculture associations to form together to make coalitions. It is difficult to understand what problems this ballot initiative about dogs can cause the Pork Association, Cattlemen’s Association, and most grain associations to think we need more groups to represent one side. Dogs are a little different as far as Animal Agriculture goes. I have not seen Bessie ride in the front seat or hang out the window of the pickup truck. It is production agriculture that is a for-profit business. Missouri State statutes and USDA standards already cover most of dog proposals on the ballot.

If you read the initiative, most people would not see a problem with most of it, but there is language in this bill that causes fear to the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO). The language that a dog in a cage should be able to turn a complete circle and stretch out without touching the sides was used in ballot initiatives to outlaw gestation crates in hogs and battery cages in chickens that have passed in other states. The bill says DOGS not hogs or chickens. The Farm Bureau makes the claim “HSUS wants to shut down the livestock industry." Go to a restaurant and see how many people are enjoying a meal with some meat in it. The only groups that can shut down animal agriculture are the consumers. When we cannot guarantee a nutritious safe product that tastes good, then the consumer will quit buying our product.

Dr. Hagler, Director of Missouri's Department of Agriculture, has stated that the Department is committed to cleaning up the problem of unlicensed breeders and is tackling a big job. Missouri is the number-one state for licensed breeders at over 1500. We probably have close to that many unlicensed breeders. Most are good responsible breeders, but if 10% are bad, that is 300 breeders with the capability of producing several thousand dogs. With only about 13 inspectors in the state, they have a big job ahead even if the initiative does not go forward.

Continue reading Animal Care in Missouri: What Is Going On? here.

The $$ Cost of War

By National Priorities Project

Dollar measurements of the direct costs of war tell only part of the story. For example, Barry Sanders in his 2009 book The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of the Military (reviewed in the new Synthesis/Regeneration #52), documents the costs of the US military releasing 73 million tons of carbon annually in greenhouse gas emissions and dumping 320 tons of radioactive waste on Iraq during two days of bombardment with munitions rich in depleted uranium. That said, the National Priorities Project has put together an interesting series of reports on the direct dollar costs of war, making it easy to understand what COULD have been done with the hundreds of billions of dollars that the US has chosen to spend on military operations inside Iraq and Afghanistan.

For a running "counter" of the direct dollar costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, closing in on the $1 trillion number, see NPP's http://www.costofwar.com. For timelines, charts, and related links, see http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar_home. On its website, NPP states, "Use of the information gathered by NPP or links to NPP's website by other organizations does not imply NPP's endorsement of the views or actions of such organizations."

Birth Defects, Cancers Traced to US and British Weapons Used in Iraq

From Multiple Sources

Middle East news outlets and the BBC have reported a high incidence of birth defects and new cancers in Iraq, seemingly attributable to residues from uranium-based weapons used by US and British attackers during the two invasions of Iraq since 1990.

Within the Iraqi government, one faction seeks to downplay the findings, reluctant to upset the government's western partners, while a second faction, including leaders of Iraq's Ministry for Human Rights, wants to file lawsuits against Britain and the US to recover damages.

Photo of child with birth defects

Here are two links to articles and broadcasts reporting on the birth defects and new cancers. Mainstream U.S. media have largely ignored these developments.

Blogger/columnist William Bowles, in an article distributed by countercurrents.org, expresses his outrage in these words: "As if destroying a country and its culture ain't bad enough, how about destroying its future, its children? I want to scream it from the rooftops! We are complicit in crimes of such enormity that I find it difficult to find the words to describe how I feel about this crime committed in my name! In the name of the 'civilized' world?

Read the entire Bowles column here.

Diary of a Wimpy Health Care Bill

By Rose Ann DeMoro

Rose Ann DeMoro serves as executive director of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC). Modern Healthcare magazine has named DeMoro one of the 100 most influential people in health care for the past five years running.

Writing for Huffington Post about the recently enacted U.S. "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," DeMoro says, "The legislation fails to deliver on the promise of a single standard of excellence in care for all and instead makes piecemeal adjustments to the current privatized, for-profit healthcare behemoth." For an examination of what the new law does and doesn't do, read DeMoro's entire article here.

The Crisis and the Potential

By Kim Moody

Writing for Solidarity, an independent socialist organization, Kim Moody takes an in-depth look at the current state of organized labor in the US, and specifically the state of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Moody sees crises in the SEIU arising from top-heavy management and from a merging of locals predicated on simplistic "bigger is better" thinking. Moody concludes, "…there are millions of workers out there facing low incomes and high stress on the job as employers take advantage of the recession to cut jobs and intensify work even further. These are workers at the center of the nation's most stressful workplaces: four million call center workers; the 3-4 million or more unorganized union eligible workers in hospitals; the 1.3 million working at Wal-Mart; the nearly 400,000 in meatpacking without a union; and, of course, the countless millions in the South who have no union representation whether in manufacturing, transportation or services.

"The question remains, when and if these workers demand unionization: Will today's or tomorrow's union leaders have learned enough from the twin crises to answer the call with a genuine grassroots movement?"

Read Moody's entire article here.

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