Saturday, June 30, 2007

We Want

We have bigger houses but smaller families;

more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense;

more knowledge but less judgment;

more experts, but more problems;

more medicines but less healthiness.

We've been all the way to the moon and back,

but have trouble in crossing the street to meet our new neighbour.

We built more computers to hold more copies than ever,

But have less real communication;

We have become long on quantity,

but short on quality.

These are times of fast foods but slow digestion;

Tall mean but short characters;

Steep profits but shallow relationships.

It's a time when there is much in the window

But nothing in the room

- - His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

And to think he says "we", not just americans

Thursday, June 28, 2007

They Ask Why?

Mexicans cross the border for the high wages. America is a nation of people that get large paychecks to enable them to pay the high price of living and supporting their unrealistic life styles and their governments desires. Due to American mentality many of them just skimp by, making their payments and keeping up with their neighbors and friends, acquiring their posessions and luxuries, and so feel close to their edge frequently. Like the whole game could fold in front of them. They must keep ahead, no matter what, or loose it. But with Mexicans, who know what survival really is and live with it closely, they come to a country like America and its simple and they are able to easily take advantage of it and use it how they need too. They can stick together and make it work. They don’t go for the game, the brainwash, the dream, just the money.

Americans always jump at the chance to make more money, that is what their society teaches them, more is better, even required, if your a good citizen. They even send much of their work overseas to other countries workers because it is more profitable to them. At this point they readily abandon the needs of their own country and its workers, and the excuse that they need to make more money is enough for them. But yet they despise the Mexican and fail to understand that basically, the point and history of America, is to make money. This is Americans highest goal and what they live for. It is what they judge each others worth by, how much you have. The Americans say, it proves our country is the best, because Mexicans leave their own country for ours. But their idea of best, just means we have more money. And Mexicans know better, America has no heart, no future. Its just a place to make money in to better things back home, where they really want to be. Money is a necessity, but it does not make those who have more of it, better or right.

And Americans will ask, if Mexico is such a great place, why is everyone leaving? Like all they can fathom of the situation is the numbers fed to them of how many have come, but see no reasons behind it. They seem to willfully ignore the fact that living next to a so called Super Power that sucks up and uses everything it can anyway it can, causes a small nation just coming to its own again, severe imbalances. Americans only want to complain about the results of what they do, without attaching themselves to the blame. From the theft of Mexico’s land, to NAFTA and The War on Drugs, America severely uses and abuses it neighbor. Time honored ways of life have been destroyed by this, causing changes in the poor peoples way of life that can never really be resurrected. They did not want to loose their homes and fields to modern ways and Americanization, they were more than content, they were in their place on this planet. Not poor, just natural. Mexico is not yet equipped to handle this displacement. And for decades on end, America has beckoned, come to us, we need your cheap labor. The border turned its back and let them slide on thru, making only a little fuss for those who like a fuss. Mexicans just drifted back and forth, benefiting all. And then came the 911 mentality, patriotism and fear. And the American government used this to turn its peoples attention to its latest distraction, hating Mexicans and feeling threatened. Not realizing this whole crisis is not over the workers, but over much deeper darker deeds. To stir a war at the border and militarize it, to arm and finance an opposition army here, to destabilize Mexico, to weaken it from within. And to make Americans feel like they must defend themselves, so what they do to countries like Iraq is really ok, its just in self defense of the American Way. Them against the Terrorists.

Americans refuse to educate themselves with the truth, as their lies won't fit in with it. America should open its borders to the workers and it should call off the war on drugs and give their own people what they want, freedom of choice. Give Mexico a chance to get solidly on its feet and deal with real problems of their own country, not always trying to deal with the problems America has caused them. They are also saying that they would accept the workers, but they are illegal, and illegal is a no no, when it suits their needs. It never bothered them before, and it does not bother them that what they do to Iraq is illegal in the eyes of the world. But that the poor here of Mexico, trek thousands of miles with no more knowledge than their work is needed, that they don’t have the right piece of paper is trivial. I am sure that many of these Americans' ancestors would not have gotten papers if they had not had to board a ship that demanded it of them and did not give them the simple choice of just walking in across land that was once theirs. Give them their papers when they get there and decide they want to stay awhile and learn the system a bit. So very few can get them before they come. There is little way for the poor and uninformed to accomplish this paper feat before getting there. America welcomed these people before, legal or illegal and now they must live with that decision and message.

And besides, it is not ALL of Mexico going to America for better wages, that is a ridiculous delusion. The majority of Mexicans are right here, working living improving themselves and their nation, building a future. And for Americans to think that ALL Mexicans are poor is so incredibly stupid of them. It shows the extent of their governments brainwashing and the narrowness of their view and education.

When it comes time for America to finish its fall from power, they will deserve whatever they get. Evil America. May their illgotten land be taken over by much better people.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wise Ideas

Fidel Castro vs. Bush War Policy

Due to its importance, Prensa Latina integrally reproduces reflections by the Cuban President Fidel Castro


A few days ago, while analyzing the expenses involved in the construction of three submarines of the Astute series, I said that with this money "75,000 doctors could be trained to look after 150 million people, assuming that the cost of training a doctor would be one-third of what it costs in the United States.” Now, along the lines of the same calculations, I wonder: how many doctors could be graduated with the one hundred billion dollars that Bush gets his hands on in just one year to keep on sowing grief in Iraqi and American homes. Answer: 999,990 doctors who could look after 2 billion people that today do not receive any medical care.

More than 600,000 people have lost their lives in Iraq and more than 2 million have been forced to emigrate since the American invasion began.

In the United States, around 50 million people do not have medical insurance. The blind market laws govern how this vital service is provided, and prices make it inaccessible for many, even in the developed countries. Medical services feed into the Gross Domestic Product of the United States, but they do not generate conscience for those providing them nor peace of mind for those who receive it.

The countries with less development and more diseases have the least number of medical doctors: one for every 5,000, 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 or more people. When new sexually transmitted diseases appear such as AIDS, which in merely 20 years has killed millions of persons, -- while tens of millions are afflicted, among them many mothers and children, although palliative measures now exist-- the price of medications per patient could add up to 5,000, 10,000 or up to 15,000 dollars each year. These are fantasy figures for the great majority of Third World countries where the few public hospitals are overflowing with the ill who die piled up like animals under the scourge of a sudden epidemic.

To reflect on these realities could help us to better understand the tragedy. It is not a matter of commercial advertising that costs so much money and technology. Add up the starvation afflicting hundreds of millions of human beings; add to that the idea of transforming food into fuels; look for a symbol and the answer will be George W. Bush.

When he was recently asked by an important personality about his Cuba policy, his answer was this: “I am a hard-line President and I am just waiting for Castro’s demise.” The wishes of such a powerful gentleman are no privilege. I am not the first nor will I be the last that Bush has ordered to be killed; nor one of those people who he intends to go on killing individually or en masse.

“Ideas cannot be killed”, Sarr¡a emphatically said. Sarr¡a was the black lieutenant, a patrol leader in Batista’s army who arrested us, after the attempt to seize the Moncada Garrison, while three of us slept in a small mountain hut, exhausted by the effort of breaking through the siege. The soldiers, fuelled by hatred and adrenalin, were aiming their weapons at me even before they had identified who I was. “Ideas cannot be killed”, the black lieutenant kept on repeating, practically automatically and in a hushed voice.

I dedicate those excellent words to you, Mr. W. Bush.

Fidel Castro Ruz
May 28, 2007
6:58 p.m.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Fortress America

A border fence with a hole big enough for
Mexican trucks

If we define one slice of "globalization" as the effort of
multinational corporations to cut costs by exploiting cheaper labor
overseas, then the Mexican trucker fight offers as good a
demonstration as one could hope to find on how fraught with
contradictions the whole project is. Globalization requires more
permeable borders while security concerns demand bigger walls. But
bigger walls -- the creation of an impregnable Fortress America in
which no al-Qaida sleeper cell, illegal immigrant, or pollution-
belching Mexican trucks can get through -- could just as easily fuel
the kind of anti-American resentment that makes achieving true
security impossible. And attempting to protect the standard-of-
living differential that exists between the U.S. and Mexico (by, for
example, keeping cheaper Mexican truckers out) only serves to
maintain the very imbalance that spurs people to cross the border,
legally or illegally, in the first place.

[The rest of the article follows below and is well worth the read. The issue over the Mexican trucks shows just one of the many ways America uses the NAFTA agreement for its own advantage and the oppression of others.]

A border fence with a hole big enough for Mexican trucks
On Tuesday, a House Subcommittee on Transportation Security and
Infrastructure Protection held a hearing on "Cross-Border Trucking
Threats." At one point, Stephen Russell, the founder, chairman and
CEO of Celadon Group Inc., one of the dozen largest trucking
companies in the United States, compared the situation in North
America to that of Europe.

If you put yourself in Europe and were a pasta maker in Venice and
had an order to ship pasta in a truckload to Amsterdam, it wouldn't
go in an Italian truck to the French border, a French truck to the
Belgian border, Belgian truck to the Dutch border, Dutch truck to
Amsterdam. It would be taken by an Italian truck or a Dutch truck
going through.

And that's how it works for Canadian truckers in North America --
they drive from Canada across the border into the U.S. and then back
again. But not Mexican truckers. They must unhook their trailers
just south of the border, where their cargo is transferred by local
trucking companies across the customs line and then shifted to
American trucks. For years, the Bush administration has been
attempting to fulfill a requirement of NAFTA that would permit
Mexican truckers the same freedom to operate as Canadian truckers. A
pilot program is supposed to allow 100 Mexican trucking companies to
start hauling goods across the border this summer, but has been
delayed by congressional opposition.

Resistance to letting Mexican truckers roam the U.S. interstate
highway system has been orchestrated by an odd-bedfellows alliance
of environmental organizations, independent truckers and the
Teamsters Union. But at the subcommittee hearing there were only
glancing references to the concerns often expressed by such groups
as to the safety or environmental cleanliness of Mexican trucks.
This was an opportunity for politicians to bolster their homeland
security profiles. So there was much grandstanding by both Democrats
and Republicans, who asked what they hoped would seem like tough
questions about how security would be enforced at the border. How
accurate are the databases of truck drivers? How would we know where
the truckers go after they cross the border? How do we determine
which trucks would be designated high-risk and require closer
attention? There were imposing references to all kinds of
technological fix-it solutions: "large-scale X-ray and gamma imaging
systems and a variety of radiation portal detection devices."

It was all a waste of hot air. The real issue underlying the Mexican
trucker controversy is not terrorism or the environment. It's
economic. Mexican truckers cost less per mile than either American
truckers or Canadian truckers. The American Trucking Association and
big trucking companies like Celadon support opening up cross-border
trucking, because the big trucking companies are multinational
operations that own fleets of Mexican trucks in addition to their
American and Canadian trucks. They'd love to be able to use their
cheaper Mexican fleets to transport goods all the way to the
ultimate point of destination. Independent truckers would face
tougher competition, so they are naturally opposed.

If we define one slice of "globalization" as the effort of
multinational corporations to cut costs by exploiting cheaper labor
overseas, then the Mexican trucker fight offers as good a
demonstration as one could hope to find on how fraught with
contradictions the whole project is. Globalization requires more
permeable borders while security concerns demand bigger walls. But
bigger walls -- the creation of an impregnable Fortress America in
which no al-Qaida sleeper cell, illegal immigrant, or pollution-
belching Mexican trucks can get through -- could just as easily fuel
the kind of anti-American resentment that makes achieving true
security impossible. And attempting to protect the standard-of-
living differential that exists between the U.S. and Mexico (by, for
example, keeping cheaper Mexican truckers out) only serves to
maintain the very imbalance that spurs people to cross the border,
legally or illegally, in the first place.

Raul Salinas, the mayor of Laredo, Texas, a city in which 13,000
trucks go back and forth across the border every single day, made an
interesting point in his testimony to the subcommittee. If the U.S.
wants assurances as to the safety and security of the Mexican
drivers coming across the border, then it needs good relationships
with Mexican authorities.

You know, one of the problems that we have today is that, if we
don't establish databases, if we don't have the informants, the
confidential informants, if we don't have dialogue with our
neighbors, here we are thinking about -- well, I think it goes
beyond thinking about building a wall, you know. We ought to be
building bridges of friendship.

And really, that's where we have a little bit of a problem. How do I
expect to work with our counterparts, with our business people on
the other side, when we're going to build a fence?

Raul Salinas is the mayor of a city that is an integral part of a
metropolitan area that spans the border, so his discomfort with
anything that makes cross-border interaction harder is easy to
understand. He'd much rather the border between the U.S. and Mexico
was like the border between, say, France and Spain.

How the World Works has previously explored how, during the process
of European Union integration, fears were often expressed that
opening the borders of the European community to poorer countries
like Spain and Portugal would result in a flood of cheaper labor and
consequent economic misfortune for the working classes of the richer
countries. It didn't work out that way at all, but the exact same
fears are now playing out with respect to the integration of the
latest new EU members from Eastern Europe.

Integrating Mexico into a North American equivalent of the EU poses
much greater challenges than EU integration. The economic
disparities are greater, the border is bigger, the cultural
animosities more intense. And it doesn't help at all that the chief
advocates of making it easier to cross the border are those who want
to exploit the cost savings possible by shipping goods in Mexican
trucks. True security will only come when Mexican truckers are paid
as well as American or Canadian truckers. Want cross-border
trucking? How about a cross-border trucker's union?

-- Andrew Leonard

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Another Solution?



By Ed Quillen
Denver Post Columnist

After watching an immigration-reform bill that had bipartisan support stall in the U.S. Senate last week, it struck me that most of its opponents probably aren't just against that particular bill. They don't want any immigration bill to pass.

Consider Colorado's own Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Littleton Republican and candidate for the presidency. His distinguishing issue is his antipathy to illegal immigration. If the system were reformed, his issue would go away, and he would return to obscurity.

Little wonder, then, that he threatened to go out and support primary opponents of any Republican senators who supported the proposal and who were up for re-election in 2008. As long as he can run around shouting, "No amnesty for those who break the laws of our country" (unless the lawbreaker happens to be named "Libby"), then Tancredo is important. If the issue goes away, so does his prominence.

But just in case somebody wants a solution, there is one: Finish the job begun in 1846.

That was the year the United States provoked a war with Mexico by sending soldiers into a disputed area between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. Texas had just joined the Union. Mexico insisted the Nueces was its western boundary; Texans had more expansive notions of their domain.

Eventually some shots were fired. President James Knox Polk could claim that the American flag had been insulted, and he got a declaration of war from Congress. (That seems quaint now, but there was a time when the federal constitution meant something.)

American forces quickly took the northern parts of Mexico. Santa Fe was occupied without a shot being fired, and though there was some actual fighting in California, the U.S. Army and Navy soon prevailed.

However, the Mexican government refused to recognize reality and come to terms with the United States. To make that happen, Gen. Winfield Scott landed at Vera Cruz in February 1847. After 260 miles and six months of fighting, outnumbered and far from home, he captured Mexico City.

Now that the United States could acquire Mexican territory, there was a question: How much? There were American politicians who wanted to take it all, instead of settling for the current boundary (as adjusted by the 1853 Gadsden Purchase).

Those expansionists were opposed by moralistic do-gooders, primarily from New England and the Midwest, who saw the Mexican War as nothing more than a conspiracy by slave owners to expand their domain. The more of Mexico the United Sates took, the argument went, the more slave states, and thus more power for the "slavocracy."

Thus the border was essentially the result of a domestic political compromise. Had it not been for anti-war whiners like Abraham Lincoln and Henry David Thoreau, the Stars and Stripes might have flown clear down to the Yucatan Peninsula.

Slavery is not an issue anymore. Already, many Americans construe illegal immigration from Mexico as an invasion, which can be defined as an act of war, giving the current administration a plausible excuse to respond militarily. Our Army, Navy and Air Force should be able to roll right over Mexico's small military.

Invading and annexing Mexico would obviously eliminate the major source of illegal immigration, since Mexican citizens would become American citizens. Mexico is the sixth-ranking oil producer in the world, and the 10th-largest exporter, so adding it to the United States would improve our energy security.

Granted, some prissy countries might denounce "unilateral American aggression," but those opinions carry little weight with the current administration, which should be able to spin the action as a "humanitarian relief effort to bring freedom and democracy to oppressed people who have been fleeing their current government by the millions."

It should be noted that even though we have a good track record here, the first Mexican War lasted two years, when President Polk had expected it to last only 90 days. And the ensuing occupation was not always pacific, as evidenced by the insurrection in Taos that included the brutal murder of Territorial Gov. Charles Bent.

So the second American conquest of Mexico might be more difficult than it appears at first. But it would be worth the price, since it will improve our border security, enhance our domestic energy supplies and put an end to nearly all illegal immigration. How could even Tom Tancredo be against that?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

War Foretold

Mark Twain and the Sins of Our Race

by Ramzy Baroud / June 18th, 2007

I found this article on Dissident Voice. I'll reproduce it here.

When I resorted to Mark Twain’s writings I attempted to escape, at least temporarily from my often distressing readings on war, politics and terror. But his “The Mysterious Stranger,” although published in 1916, still left me with an eerie feel. The imaginative story calls into question beliefs that we hold as a “matter of course” — a favorite phrase of his. It summons the awful tendencies of “our race”: our irrational drive for violence, be it burning “witches” at the stake or engaging in wars that only serve the “little monarchs and the nobilities”

As the Iraq war rages on, Twain’s words ring truer by the day. “The loud little handful will shout for war. Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will out shout them and presently the anti-war audiences will thin and lose popularity. Before long you will see the most curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men. And now the whole nation will take up the war cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open.”

“Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after the process of grotesque self-deception.”

Twain, whose genius undoubtedly surpasses time and space, wrote the above passages nine decades before the world’s leading statesmen, President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair forged their case for war, based on falsities and refused to examine any refutations; they rallied millions, investing in their ignorance and blind patriotism to carry out a war whose outcome is akin to genocide. The text was also written long before the thousands who stood for human rights, rallied and organized against the war, defended the constitution and civil liberties were “shouted out” and “stoned from the platform”; thousands of those “fair men” and women have endured such a fate, the latest being Cindy Sheehan, the bereaved American mother who lost her son, Casey, in Bush’s war for oil, strategic repositioning of the empire and the neoconservatives’ ceaseless hunt for Israel’s illusive “security”. She too was shouted out, and in a heart-wrenching letter, she reached the conclusion, most difficult for any mother to reach, that her son, Casey died for nothing.

But Bush is adamant to carry on with his costly endeavor that has espoused so many new chasms within his country, and in the world at large: religious contentions and political turmoil, damage that neither Mr. Bush, nor his most luminous advisors have the will nor the brains to remedy.

“But what does it amount to?” says Twain, using one of his story’s characters, an angel to convey the idea: “nothing at all. You gain nothing. You always come out where you went in. For a million years the race has gone on monotonously propagating itself and monotonously re-performing this dull nonsense” to what end? No wisdom can guess! Who gets a profit out of it? Nobody but a parcel of usurping little monarchs and nobilities who despise you; would feel defiled if you touches them; would shut the door in your face if you proposed to call; “whom you slave for, fight for, die for, and are not shamed of it, but proud.”

Sheehan couldn’t get an answer for why Casey was killed; many more might want to live with the illusion that their loss didn’t go in vain; but dead American bodies continue to arrive back to US soil only at night; the wounded are maltreated and hidden from the public eye, only occasional courageous reports manage to break the silence and the perfected propaganda. In Iraq, the sheer number of dead and dying defies belief; the entire country is now gripped in an endless strife that shall define the cultural and social disposition of future generations; it?s often easy to comprehend and come to terms with a total number of deaths when they are presented in a neatly packaged chart or a website, no matter how harrowing; but once you learn of the individual stories, you wonder whether the days of burning witches at the stake were better times: a young girl raped before her own family and later killed with her own baby; entire families massacred in broad daylight; militants chopping off limbs and ears and noses under the watchful eye of the Iraqi police, for their victims belonged to the wrong sect and stood on the wrong side of the war.

“The Mysterious Stranger” ended up being a figment of a little boy’s imagination — or was it? — its meaning is overreaching and very much real. The war is real and frightening and hurtful; it’s not an intellectual argument; it cannot be reduced to a few images and captions and editorials; nothing can ever capture a moment where a mother receives the corpse of a son or the scene of a father kneeling before the shattered body of a daughter. It’s all real, and it’s all our own doing, whether by supporting, financing and fighting the war, or by staying silent as it rages on.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Mother's Tears

I been thinking !!!!How many mothers have cryed during war.
Does anyone have the names of all the children who have ever been killed in war?
Does each country add up the lives of the children ?
Can people who just demand of them selfs to hate others so blindly and in such disrespect ever count the cost our children of the world ?
I as a american ask this of the world when will it stop?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Trotsky In English

Click here for YouTube of Trotsky speaking English.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Evil Deeds

Heed The Warning Signs

I see America doing two things right now with Mexico that really should be looked at and made public so the truths of it can be sorted out and displayed as a whole that will enable the world to see it clearly.

America is not just severely abusing Mexico and its people, but they are setting them up for worse. This War on Drugs they have created is to just get the American public sympathy and fear behind their efforts, and to cover up for deeper reasons and actions. The NAFTA Invasion is meant to destabilize the country and take advantage of it. The War on Migrants serves many purposes, some obvious, and many others little known to the public.

One of the things I have been observing is the direction the drug war is taking. First America makes drugs illegal and creates an underground market to meet the needs of its people. Drug lords and drug territories are established and a lax system of controlling it legally is set up. So the profits come in, everyone on the take and getting their share, one way or another, off the illegality of it. Then next, tear this system apart by pretending America is protecting its citizens from themselves by cracking down on Mexico. The drug trade then splinters into many many want to be drug leaders, down to the local gangs and neighborhoods. This has caused chaos and untold harm to government and society here. The battle is on, the demand for drugs increase and the violence fighting for dominance in this war spreads like a plague. Mexico is blamed for this, America paints a picture to the world to show how it is our fault for not cooperating.

Now, to make matters even worse, the Americans are supplying these drug gangs with weapons, they pour across the border in huge supply. Weapons that compete with the military here. The Mexican military which America has demanded they fight their own people over this war. Soon America will have these gangs organized into small armies that will help them continue to undermine this country and its present government. They already have an iron grip on Mexico’s throat with their drug policies and how they use them to control even what type of world loans we can get here and what type of international help for progress can be had. America is doing nothing less than trying to destroy Mexico, any way it can.

And I have been watching the way this immigration farce has been going. They are setting it up like a money making business that specializes in oppression as its main working tool. No more the easy flow of workers crossing back and forth, picking up the work Americans feel they cannot do themselves. Being able to pay low wages is not enough profit now. There are many things that are wrong with the new immigration policies, but one that really deserves attention is Americas ability to now jail these workers and put them to work for free in these facilities. American jails are crowded with the innocent, and now they will have their share of people because they were seeking work that they got the message was available for them if they could get there.

Here are some quotes of what is planned when the Mexican workers are caught now.

Illegal entry – 6 months in prison
2nd illegal entry — 2 years in prison
3 misdemeanors plus illegal entry — 10 years in prison
Felony with 30 months in prison followed by illegal entry — 15 years in prison
Illegal reentry after deportation — 2 years in prison
Visa fraud — 15 years in prison

Making criminals of these people is wrong in everyway. America is a nation that does not care about people, but only how to use them. They have stirred up this whole stink in order to open up the situation for more abuse. Their decisions are not ones that take in the welfare of humans or the needs of others. Any policies or laws they are making are to spread the oppression even deeper.

Criminal nation, it needs a lesson that will forever stop it from the evil it does in the name of its progress.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Free Puerto Rico

Trying to Shake the Invader Loose

FREE PUERTO RICO: End Colonialism NOW!!

Every year a Delegation from Puerto Rico comes to the United Nations to testify to the U.N. De-Colonization Committee; to make the case for the liberation of Puerto Rico, Vieques and the release of the Puerto Rican Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War.

This delegation is made up of various activists from the different
organizations throughout Puerto Rico that fight for the independence of Puerto Rico.

A little history [Wikipedia]

Since Puerto Rico is a territory and not an incorporated State of the United States of America, not all constitutional rights, privileges and immunities provided by the U.S. Constitution were extended to the island and its residents by the Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917. The Jones Act established that Puerto Ricans born prior to 1899 were considered naturalized citizens of Puerto Rico, and anyone born after 1898 were declared naturally-born citizens of the United States; unless the Puerto Rican expressed intentions to remain as a subject of Spain. Since 1917, all Puerto Ricans, whether born within the U.S. or in Puerto Rico are citizens of the United States.

Puerto Ricans residing in Puerto Rico cannot vote in the U.S. Presidential election, nor are they represented by a U.S. Representative or Senator. They are represented by a Resident Commissioner in the U.S. House of Representatives who has the right of voice, but not vote. Puerto Ricans residing in the United States, however, do have all rights and privileges associated with residing in a U.S. State.

As statutory U.S. citizens, Puerto Ricans may enlist in the U.S. military. Puerto Ricans have been included in the compulsory draft, when it has been in effect. Puerto Ricans have fully participated in all U.S. wars since 1898, most notably in World War II, in the Korean and Vietnam wars, and the current Middle-Eastern conflicts. Recently, nearly 60 Puerto Ricans have died serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Click here for The Puerto Rican Political Prisoners website

The poet Mariposa puts it best when she declares, “I wasn’t born in Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico was born in me.”

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Long Emergency

I just listened to an interesting podcast from Unwelcome Guests by James Howard Kunstler entitled America's Culture of Denial and Betrayal. It's about what the world will be like once big oil runs out and the massive changes that will be necessary.

This prompted me to find a very thought provoking article by the same author on the same subject that was published in Rolling Stone magazine a couple of years back: What's going to happen as we start running out of cheap gas to guzzle? by James Howard Kunstler. Mar 24, 2005
A few weeks ago, the price of oil ratcheted above fifty-five dollars a barrel, which is about twenty dollars a barrel more than a year ago. The next day, the oil story was buried on page six of the New York Times business section. Apparently, the price of oil is not considered significant news, even when it goes up five bucks a barrel in the span of ten days. That same day, the stock market shot up more than a hundred points because, CNN said, government data showed no signs of inflation. Note to clueless nation: Call planet Earth.

Carl Jung, one of the fathers of psychology, famously remarked that "people cannot stand too much reality." What you're about to read may challenge your assumptions about the kind of world we live in, and especially the kind of world into which events are propelling us. We are in for a rough ride through uncharted territory.

It has been very hard for Americans -- lost in dark raptures of nonstop infotainment, recreational shopping and compulsive motoring -- to make sense of the gathering forces that will fundamentally alter the terms of everyday life in our technological society. Even after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, America is still sleepwalking into the future. I call this coming time the Long Emergency.

Most immediately we face the end of the cheap-fossil-fuel era. It is no exaggeration to state that reliable supplies of cheap oil and natural gas underlie everything we identify as the necessities of modern life -- not to mention all of its comforts and luxuries: central heating, air conditioning, cars, airplanes, electric lights, inexpensive clothing, recorded music, movies, hip-replacement surgery, national defense -- you name it.

The few Americans who are even aware that there is a gathering global-energy predicament usually misunderstand the core of the argument. That argument states that we don't have to run out of oil to start having severe problems with industrial civilization and its dependent systems. We only have to slip over the all-time production peak and begin a slide down the arc of steady depletion.

The term "global oil-production peak" means that a turning point will come when the world produces the most oil it will ever produce in a given year and, after that, yearly production will inexorably decline. It is usually represented graphically in a bell curve. The peak is the top of the curve, the halfway point of the world's all-time total endowment, meaning half the world's oil will be left. That seems like a lot of oil, and it is, but there's a big catch: It's the half that is much more difficult to extract, far more costly to get, of much poorer quality and located mostly in places where the people hate us. A substantial amount of it will never be extracted.

The United States passed its own oil peak -- about 11 million barrels a day -- in 1970, and since then production has dropped steadily. In 2004 it ran just above 5 million barrels a day (we get a tad more from natural-gas condensates). Yet we consume roughly 20 million barrels a day now. That means we have to import about two-thirds of our oil, and the ratio will continue to worsen.

The U.S. peak in 1970 brought on a portentous change in geoeconomic power. Within a few years, foreign producers, chiefly OPEC, were setting the price of oil, and this in turn led to the oil crises of the 1970s. In response, frantic development of non-OPEC oil, especially the North Sea fields of England and Norway, essentially saved the West's ass for about two decades. Since 1999, these fields have entered depletion. Meanwhile, worldwide discovery of new oil has steadily declined to insignificant levels in 2003 and 2004.

Some "cornucopians" claim that the Earth has something like a creamy nougat center of "abiotic" oil that will naturally replenish the great oil fields of the world. The facts speak differently. There has been no replacement whatsoever of oil already extracted from the fields of America or any other place.

Now we are faced with the global oil-production peak. The best estimates of when this will actually happen have been somewhere between now and 2010. In 2004, however, after demand from burgeoning China and India shot up, and revelations that Shell Oil wildly misstated its reserves, and Saudi Arabia proved incapable of goosing up its production despite promises to do so, the most knowledgeable experts revised their predictions and now concur that 2005 is apt to be the year of all-time global peak production.

It will change everything about how we live.

To aggravate matters, American natural-gas production is also declining, at five percent a year, despite frenetic new drilling, and with the potential of much steeper declines ahead. Because of the oil crises of the 1970s, the nuclear-plant disasters at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl and the acid-rain problem, the U.S. chose to make gas its first choice for electric-power generation. The result was that just about every power plant built after 1980 has to run on gas. Half the homes in America are heated with gas. To further complicate matters, gas isn't easy to import. Here in North America, it is distributed through a vast pipeline network. Gas imported from overseas would have to be compressed at minus-260 degrees Fahrenheit in pressurized tanker ships and unloaded (re-gasified) at special terminals, of which few exist in America. Moreover, the first attempts to site new terminals have met furious opposition because they are such ripe targets for terrorism.

Some other things about the global energy predicament are poorly understood by the public and even our leaders. This is going to be a permanent energy crisis, and these energy problems will synergize with the disruptions of climate change, epidemic disease and population overshoot to produce higher orders of trouble.

We will have to accommodate ourselves to fundamentally changed conditions.

No combination of alternative fuels will allow us to run American life the way we have been used to running it, or even a substantial fraction of it. The wonders of steady technological progress achieved through the reign of cheap oil have lulled us into a kind of Jiminy Cricket syndrome, leading many Americans to believe that anything we wish for hard enough will come true. These days, even people who ought to know better are wishing ardently for a seamless transition from fossil fuels to their putative replacements.

The widely touted "hydrogen economy" is a particularly cruel hoax. We are not going to replace the U.S. automobile and truck fleet with vehicles run on fuel cells. For one thing, the current generation of fuel cells is largely designed to run on hydrogen obtained from natural gas. The other way to get hydrogen in the quantities wished for would be electrolysis of water using power from hundreds of nuclear plants. Apart from the dim prospect of our building that many nuclear plants soon enough, there are also numerous severe problems with hydrogen's nature as an element that present forbidding obstacles to its use as a replacement for oil and gas, especially in storage and transport.

Wishful notions about rescuing our way of life with "renewables" are also unrealistic. Solar-electric systems and wind turbines face not only the enormous problem of scale but the fact that the components require substantial amounts of energy to manufacture and the probability that they can't be manufactured at all without the underlying support platform of a fossil-fuel economy. We will surely use solar and wind technology to generate some electricity for a period ahead but probably at a very local and small scale.

Virtually all "biomass" schemes for using plants to create liquid fuels cannot be scaled up to even a fraction of the level at which things are currently run. What's more, these schemes are predicated on using oil and gas "inputs" (fertilizers, weed-killers) to grow the biomass crops that would be converted into ethanol or bio-diesel fuels. This is a net energy loser -- you might as well just burn the inputs and not bother with the biomass products. Proposals to distill trash and waste into oil by means of thermal depolymerization depend on the huge waste stream produced by a cheap oil and gas economy in the first place.

Coal is far less versatile than oil and gas, extant in less abundant supplies than many people assume and fraught with huge ecological drawbacks -- as a contributor to greenhouse "global warming" gases and many health and toxicity issues ranging from widespread mercury poisoning to acid rain. You can make synthetic oil from coal, but the only time this was tried on a large scale was by the Nazis under wartime conditions, using impressive amounts of slave labor.

If we wish to keep the lights on in America after 2020, we may indeed have to resort to nuclear power, with all its practical problems and eco-conundrums. Under optimal conditions, it could take ten years to get a new generation of nuclear power plants into operation, and the price may be beyond our means. Uranium is also a resource in finite supply. We are no closer to the more difficult project of atomic fusion, by the way, than we were in the 1970s.

The upshot of all this is that we are entering a historical period of potentially great instability, turbulence and hardship. Obviously, geopolitical maneuvering around the world's richest energy regions has already led to war and promises more international military conflict. Since the Middle East contains two-thirds of the world's remaining oil supplies, the U.S. has attempted desperately to stabilize the region by, in effect, opening a big police station in Iraq. The intent was not just to secure Iraq's oil but to modify and influence the behavior of neighboring states around the Persian Gulf, especially Iran and Saudi Arabia. The results have been far from entirely positive, and our future prospects in that part of the world are not something we can feel altogether confident about.

And then there is the issue of China, which, in 2004, became the world's second-greatest consumer of oil, surpassing Japan. China's surging industrial growth has made it increasingly dependent on the imports we are counting on. If China wanted to, it could easily walk into some of these places -- the Middle East, former Soviet republics in central Asia -- and extend its hegemony by force. Is America prepared to contest for this oil in an Asian land war with the Chinese army? I doubt it. Nor can the U.S. military occupy regions of the Eastern Hemisphere indefinitely, or hope to secure either the terrain or the oil infrastructure of one distant, unfriendly country after another. A likely scenario is that the U.S. could exhaust and bankrupt itself trying to do this, and be forced to withdraw back into our own hemisphere, having lost access to most of the world's remaining oil in the process.

We know that our national leaders are hardly uninformed about this predicament. President George W. Bush has been briefed on the dangers of the oil-peak situation as long ago as before the 2000 election and repeatedly since then. In March, the Department of Energy released a report that officially acknowledges for the first time that peak oil is for real and states plainly that "the world has never faced a problem like this. Without massive mitigation more than a decade before the fact, the problem will be pervasive and will not be temporary."

Most of all, the Long Emergency will require us to make other arrangements for the way we live in the United States. America is in a special predicament due to a set of unfortunate choices we made as a society in the twentieth century. Perhaps the worst was to let our towns and cities rot away and to replace them with suburbia, which had the additional side effect of trashing a lot of the best farmland in America. Suburbia will come to be regarded as the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world. It has a tragic destiny. The psychology of previous investment suggests that we will defend our drive-in utopia long after it has become a terrible liability.

Before long, the suburbs will fail us in practical terms. We made the ongoing development of housing subdivisions, highway strips, fried-food shacks and shopping malls the basis of our economy, and when we have to stop making more of those things, the bottom will fall out.

The circumstances of the Long Emergency will require us to downscale and re-scale virtually everything we do and how we do it, from the kind of communities we physically inhabit to the way we grow our food to the way we work and trade the products of our work. Our lives will become profoundly and intensely local. Daily life will be far less about mobility and much more about staying where you are. Anything organized on the large scale, whether it is government or a corporate business enterprise such as Wal-Mart, will wither as the cheap energy props that support bigness fall away. The turbulence of the Long Emergency will produce a lot of economic losers, and many of these will be members of an angry and aggrieved former middle class.

Food production is going to be an enormous problem in the Long Emergency. As industrial agriculture fails due to a scarcity of oil- and gas-based inputs, we will certainly have to grow more of our food closer to where we live, and do it on a smaller scale. The American economy of the mid-twenty-first century may actually center on agriculture, not information, not high tech, not "services" like real estate sales or hawking cheeseburgers to tourists. Farming. This is no doubt a startling, radical idea, and it raises extremely difficult questions about the reallocation of land and the nature of work. The relentless subdividing of land in the late twentieth century has destroyed the contiguity and integrity of the rural landscape in most places. The process of readjustment is apt to be disorderly and improvisational. Food production will necessarily be much more labor-intensive than it has been for decades. We can anticipate the re-formation of a native-born American farm-laboring class. It will be composed largely of the aforementioned economic losers who had to relinquish their grip on the American dream. These masses of disentitled people may enter into quasi-feudal social relations with those who own land in exchange for food and physical security. But their sense of grievance will remain fresh, and if mistreated they may simply seize that land.

The way that commerce is currently organized in America will not survive far into the Long Emergency. Wal-Mart's "warehouse on wheels" won't be such a bargain in a non-cheap-oil economy. The national chain stores' 12,000-mile manufacturing supply lines could easily be interrupted by military contests over oil and by internal conflict in the nations that have been supplying us with ultra-cheap manufactured goods, because they, too, will be struggling with similar issues of energy famine and all the disorders that go with it.

As these things occur, America will have to make other arrangements for the manufacture, distribution and sale of ordinary goods. They will probably be made on a "cottage industry" basis rather than the factory system we once had, since the scale of available energy will be much lower -- and we are not going to replay the twentieth century. Tens of thousands of the common products we enjoy today, from paints to pharmaceuticals, are made out of oil. They will become increasingly scarce or unavailable. The selling of things will have to be reorganized at the local scale. It will have to be based on moving merchandise shorter distances. It is almost certain to result in higher costs for the things we buy and far fewer choices.

The automobile will be a diminished presence in our lives, to say the least. With gasoline in short supply, not to mention tax revenue, our roads will surely suffer. The interstate highway system is more delicate than the public realizes. If the "level of service" (as traffic engineers call it) is not maintained to the highest degree, problems multiply and escalate quickly. The system does not tolerate partial failure. The interstates are either in excellent condition, or they quickly fall apart.

America today has a railroad system that the Bulgarians would be ashamed of. Neither of the two major presidential candidates in 2004 mentioned railroads, but if we don't refurbish our rail system, then there may be no long-range travel or transport of goods at all a few decades from now. The commercial aviation industry, already on its knees financially, is likely to vanish. The sheer cost of maintaining gigantic airports may not justify the operation of a much-reduced air-travel fleet. Railroads are far more energy efficient than cars, trucks or airplanes, and they can be run on anything from wood to electricity. The rail-bed infrastructure is also far more economical to maintain than our highway network.

The successful regions in the twenty-first century will be the ones surrounded by viable farming hinterlands that can reconstitute locally sustainable economies on an armature of civic cohesion. Small towns and smaller cities have better prospects than the big cities, which will probably have to contract substantially. The process will be painful and tumultuous. In many American cities, such as Cleveland, Detroit and St. Louis, that process is already well advanced. Others have further to fall. New York and Chicago face extraordinary difficulties, being oversupplied with gigantic buildings out of scale with the reality of declining energy supplies. Their former agricultural hinterlands have long been paved over. They will be encysted in a surrounding fabric of necrotic suburbia that will only amplify and reinforce the cities' problems. Still, our cities occupy important sites. Some kind of urban entities will exist where they are in the future, but probably not the colossi of twentieth-century industrialism.

Some regions of the country will do better than others in the Long Emergency. The Southwest will suffer in proportion to the degree that it prospered during the cheap-oil blowout of the late twentieth century. I predict that Sunbelt states like Arizona and Nevada will become significantly depopulated, since the region will be short of water as well as gasoline and natural gas. Imagine Phoenix without cheap air conditioning.

I'm not optimistic about the Southeast, either, for different reasons. I think it will be subject to substantial levels of violence as the grievances of the formerly middle class boil over and collide with the delusions of Pentecostal Christian extremism. The latent encoded behavior of Southern culture includes an outsized notion of individualism and the belief that firearms ought to be used in the defense of it. This is a poor recipe for civic cohesion.

The Mountain States and Great Plains will face an array of problems, from poor farming potential to water shortages to population loss. The Pacific Northwest, New England and the Upper Midwest have somewhat better prospects. I regard them as less likely to fall into lawlessness, anarchy or despotism and more likely to salvage the bits and pieces of our best social traditions and keep them in operation at some level.

These are daunting and even dreadful prospects. The Long Emergency is going to be a tremendous trauma for the human race. We will not believe that this is happening to us, that 200 years of modernity can be brought to its knees by a world-wide power shortage. The survivors will have to cultivate a religion of hope -- that is, a deep and comprehensive belief that humanity is worth carrying on. If there is any positive side to stark changes coming our way, it may be in the benefits of close communal relations, of having to really work intimately (and physically) with our neighbors, to be part of an enterprise that really matters and to be fully engaged in meaningful social enactments instead of being merely entertained to avoid boredom. Years from now, when we hear singing at all, we will hear ourselves, and we will sing with our whole hearts.

Stand Up



These are ugly, urgent days. Step by step, big business and its allies are taking control of the government and restructuring it to give the corporations and the class that owns them—the capitalists—total, iron-fisted control of the country. One of their major tools in doing so is the current brutal attack on immigrant workers. Because immigrant workers represent a significant sector of the U.S. working class, this divide-and-conquer tactic will weaken the entire class. So it is time for the entire class to stand up!

The marches of immigrant groups last spring terrified the corporate ruling class. In many cities across the country they were the largest marches ever held, a massive show of strength in response to draconian anti-immigrant legislation proposed in the U.S. Congress.

The ruling-class response against immigrant workers and their families has been swift, systematic, and widespread, reaching deep into immigrant communities in every part of the country, from small towns in Montana, Connecticut, Colorado, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Iowa to cities like Baltimore, Las Vegas, Chicago, Miami, New Orleans, and San Diego.

In effect, actions by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, elements of the news media and local police, racist groups such as the Minuteman Project, and corporations such as Halliburton have created a laboratory for establishing outright, tyrannical rule by corporate America—in a word, fascism. ICE RAIDS

Created by the Bush administration after 9/11, ICE has conducted raids of workplaces and homes across the country. Every week ICE agents raid another business. Agents armed with automatic weapons and handcuffs swarm in massive assaults on workplaces and often outnumber those arrested. The raids terrify workers and break up families without consideration of their civil rights. Kids come home from school to find their parents are missing. Nursing babies cry and scream for their mother's milk. Families are broken up. And a mood of intimidation and fear sweep communities of folks who are just trying to make a living.

Not only are communities under attack from ICE raids but anti-immigrant forces are organizing politically in towns across the country. Beginning in April of 2006 in San Bernandino, California, and Hazelton, Pennsylvania, a wave of anti-immigrant city ordinances have swept the country, most of them attacking immigrant workers by punishing landlords who rent to them or calling for English only in all city business. But, while 86 such ordinances have been proposed across the country only 26 have passed, and those that have passed are being fought in the courts. Yet they are an ominous sign of what is to come as more American workers, frightened about their own economic situation, are steered toward scapegoating immigrant workers and away from the true causes of their own economic insecurity. These causes being major changes in the economy such as new technologies that replace more and more workers, and similarly transformations emerge to control society.

Fascist elements of the media are playing their part, tapping into the most racist and hateful strands of U.S. history to demonize and criminalize immigrant workers and other workers who don't fit the most narrow profile of what it means to be an "American".


And the Minutemen and other vigilante groups are "mustering" along the borders with both the U.S. and Canada to illegally detain anyone they think looks like an "illegal." Minutemen have also been reported performing surveillance for ICE and posing as immigration agents and conducting their own rogue raids of homes and businesses.

Many good people have organized to monitor and oppose these vigilante squads. But as workers and their families are left living in fear and are driven deeper into hiding, others are called on to do much, much more.

The attack and terrorization of immigrant workers, the division of the working class against itself, is a path consciously taken to control the class as a whole—indeed, to control the American people as a whole. The powers that be seek to dominate the democratic majority and subject it to the outright tyrannical rule of a tiny minority: big capital, the corporations and their political and social allies.

Now is the time to stand up, to organize ourselves in defense of the defenseless among us who are being scapegoated, and, among other things, to march arm-in-arm with our sisters and brothers.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Shores Of Tripoli

(original article by Ury Avnery is found here)

THE BLOODY battles that have erupted around the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp near Tripoli in Lebanon remind us that the refugee problem has not disappeared. On the contrary, 60 years after the "Nakba", the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948, it is again the center of attention throughout the world.

This is an open wound. Anyone who imagines that a solution to the Israel-Arab conflict is possible without healing this wound is deluding himself.

From Tripoli to Sderot, from Riyadh to Jerusalem, the Palestinian refugee problem continues to cast its shadow across the whole region. This week, the media were again full of photos of Israeli and Palestinian refugees fleeing from their homes and of mothers mourning the death of their loved ones in Hebrew and Arabic - as if nothing had changed since 1948.

THE ORDINARY Israeli shrugs his shoulders when confronted with the suffering of the Palestinian refugees and dismisses it with five words: "They brought it on themselves."

Learned professors and market vendors repeat that the Palestinians caused their own downfall when, in 1947, they rejected the Partition Plan of the United Nations and started a war to annihilate the Jewish community in the country.

That is a deeply rooted myth, one of the basic myths of Israeli consciousness. But it is far from reflecting what really happened.

First of all, because at that time there did not even exist a Palestinian national leadership which could take a decision.

In the Arab Revolt of 1935 to 1939 ("the troubles" in Israeli parlance), the Grand Mufti, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, then the leader of the Palestinian Arabs, had most of the prominent Palestinians who did not accept his authority killed. He then fled the country and the remaining Palestinian leaders were exiled by the British to a remote island.

When the hour of destiny struck and the UN adopted the partition resolution, there was no Palestinian leadership capable of deciding one way or the other. Instead, the leaders of the neighboring Arab states decided to send their armies into the country once the British Mandate had come to an end.

True, the masses of the Palestinian people opposed the partition plan. They believed that all of Palestine was their patrimony, and that the Jews, almost all of whom had recently arrived, did not have any right to it. The more so, since the UN plan gave the Jews, then only a third of the population, 55% of the country. Even in this territory, the Arabs constituted 40% of the inhabitants.

(In fairness it should be mentioned that the territory allotted to the Jews included the Negev - a huge desert that was desolate then and has mostly remained so to this day.)

The Jewish side did indeed accept the UN decision - but only in appearance. In secret meetings, David Ben-Gurion did not hide his intention to take the first opportunity to enlarge the territory allotted to the Jewish state and to assure an overwhelming Jewish majority in it. The war of 1948, which was started by the Arab side, created an opportunity to realize both aims: Israel grew from 55% to 78% of the country, and this territory was emptied of most of its Arab inhabitants. Many of them fled the terrors of war, many others were driven out by us. Almost none were allowed to return after the war.

In the course of the war, some 750,000 Palestinians became refugees. Natural increase doubles their number every 18 years, so they are now approaching five million.

That is an immense human tragedy, a humanitarian issue and a political problem. For long periods it seemed that the problem would disappear by itself with the passing of time, but it has repeatedly reared its head again.

MANY PARTIES have exploited the problem for their own ends. Various Arab regimes have at times tried to hitch their wagon to it.

The fate of the refugees varies from country to country. Jordan has accorded them citizenship, yet has kept many of them in miserable camps. The Lebanese have not given the refugees any civil rights at all, and have committed several massacres. Almost all Palestinian leaders demand the implementation of UN resolution 194 which was adopted 59 years ago and which promised the refugees a return to their homes as peaceful citizens.

Few noticed that the Right of Return has served successive Israeli governments as a pretext to reject all peace initiatives. The return of five million refugees would mean the end of Israel as a state with a solid Jewish majority and turn it into a bi-national state - something that arouses the adamant opposition of a minimum of 99.99% of the Israeli-Jewish public.

This has to be realized if one is to understand the way Israelis view peace. An ordinary Israeli, even a decent person who sincerely desires peace, tells himself: the Arabs will never give up the Right of Return, therefore there is no chance for peace, and it isn't worthwhile even to start doing anything about it.

THUS, PARADOXICALLY, the refugee problem has turned into an instrument for those Israelis who oppose any peace based on compromise. They rely on the fact that almost no Arab leader would dare to give up the Right of Return openly. In private conversations, many Arab leaders recognize that the return is impossible, but they dare not say so openly. To do so would mean political suicide - just as announcing a readiness to take back refugees would be suicidal for an Israeli politician.

In spite of this, a subterranean shift has taken place in recent years on the Arab side. There have been hints that Israel's demographic problem cannot be ignored. Here and there, creative solutions have been proposed. (Once, in a public meeting of Gush Shalom, a Palestinian representative said: "Today, the Arab minority constitutes 20% of Israel's citizens. So let us agree that for every 80 new Jewish immigrants coming to the country, 20 Palestinian refugees will be allowed to return. In such a way, the present proportion would be maintained." The public reacted enthusiastically.)

NOW, A REVOLUTIONARY development has taken place. The Arab League has offered Israel a peace plan: all 22 Arab states would recognize Israel and establish diplomatic and economic relations with it, in return for Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The offer did not ignore the refugee problem. It mentioned UN resolution 194, but added a qualification of fundamental importance: that the solution would be reached "by agreement" between the two parties. In other words: Israel would have the right of veto over refugees returning to Israeli territory.

This put the Israeli government in a difficult position. If the Israeli public understood that the entire Arab world was offering a comprehensive peace agreement without the actual realization of the Right of Return, they might accept it gladly. Therefore, everything was done to obscure the decisive word. The guided (and misguided) Israeli media emphasized the plan's mention of Resolution 194 and played down the talk of an "agreed upon" solution.

The government treated the Arab offer with manifest disdain, but nevertheless tried to derive advantage from it. Ehud Olmert announced his readiness to talk with an Arab delegation - provided that it did not consist of Egypt and Jordan alone. This way, Olmert and Tzipi Livni hope to attain an important political achievement without paying for it: to compel Saudi Arabia and other states to enter into relations with Israel. Since there are "no free lunches", the Arabs refused. Nothing came out of the whole affair.

IF SOMEONE had offered Israel this Arab League peace plan on June 4, 1967, a day before the Six-Day War, we would have thought that the Messiah had arrived. Now, our government considers this offer nothing but a clever trick: the Arabs are indeed ready to relinquish the return of the refugees, but want to compel us to give up the occupied territories and to dismantle the settlements.

In a historical perspective, the Arab League is correcting an error it made 40 years ago, which had far-reaching consequences. Soon after the Six-Day War, on September 1, 1967, the heads of the Arab states assembled in Khartoum and decided upon the "Three No's" - No peace with Israel, No recognition of Israel, No negotiations with Israel.

One can understand why such a misguided resolution was adopted. The Arab countries had just suffered a humiliating military defeat. They wanted to prove to their peoples and the world that they had not gone down on their knees. They wanted to keep their national dignity. But for the government of Israel, it was a present from heaven.

The resolution freed it from any need to conduct negotiations which might have compelled it to return the territories it had just conquered. It gave the green light for the founding of settlements, an enterprise that continues unhindered to this very day, removing the land from under the feet of the Palestinians. And, of course, it swept the refugee problem from the table.

The new Arab League proposal could repair the damage done to the Palestinian cause at Khartoum. The entire Arab world has now adopted a realistic resolution. From now on, the task is to get the Israeli public to grasp the full meaning of this proposal, and especially its significance concerning the return of the refugees. This task rests on the shoulders of the Israeli peace forces, but also of the Arab leadership.

TO ACHIEVE this goal, the refugee problem must be transferred to the realm of reality. It must undergo a process of de-mystification.

At present, an Israeli sees only a nightmare: five million refugees are waiting to flood Israel. They will demand the return of their lands, on which Israeli towns and villages are now located, and their homes, which have been demolished long ago or in which Israelis are now living. Israel, as a state with a Hebrew majority, will disappear.

This fear must be neutralized, and this wound must be healed. On the psychological level, we must recognize our responsibility for that part of the problem which was actually caused by us. A "Committee for Truth and Reconciliation" could, perhaps, determine the dimensions of this part. For this we must sincerely apologize, as other nations have apologized for injustices committed by them.

On the practical level, the real problem of five million human beings must be solved. All of them will have a right to generous compensation, which will enable them to start a new life any way they wish. Those who want to stay where they are, with the consent of the local government, will have the ability to rebuild the life of their families. Those who want to live in the future State of Palestine, perhaps in the areas cleared of settlements, must receive the necessary international assistance. I, personally, believe that it would be good for us to receive back a certain agreed-upon number of refugees in Israel proper, as a symbolic contribution to the end to the tragedy.

That is neither a dream nor a nightmare. We have already mastered more difficult tasks. It would be much easier and cheaper than to continue a war that has no military solution and no end.

Sixty years ago, a deep wound was opened. Since than it has not healed. It infects our life and endangers our future. It is high time to heal it. That is the lesson of Tripoli in the north and Sderot in the South.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Rotting Fruit

[translation of text on the picture]
I am a union farmworker
Laborer of the nation
I will struggle with the poor
We've had enough of the landowner
We want liberation.

Not Enough Workers

America cries out in fear and anger over their migrant workers, workers who have been coming generation after generation to work their fields and pick their fruits. They say they are taking the jobs and no work remains for themselves, although they do not do this type of work. They prefer welfare or park benches and begging. This article shows how much damage is being done to Americas farming industry by not letting in these migrant workers like they always did in the past. I see many articles like this one complaining about the lack of these type of workers this year, and the loss of crops. The American government would rather ruin its produce industry to stir up a stink over Mexicans so that they can preocuppy the minds of the citizens to distract them from the real issues at hand. Issues far more urgent and dangerous then who picks what.

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