Saturday, July 24, 2004

What "Free Speech Zones" in America Look Like in 2004 (Boston DNC Convention)

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Free Breasts Implants, Liposuction, Nose-Jobs are New Recruiting Tool
Only in America will taxpayers pay for the disfigurement of our fellow citizens - but not cover health care for all. So now we will be able to add insecure Hollywood wanna be's to the potential recruiter's target list. We kick out thousands of homeosexuals from the military because of their supposed harmful affect on the military, but having huge tits flopping around on the battlefield with guys who haven't got laid in 2 years is no concern.

On the Filipino Hostage Release
I was in a Filipino restaurant last night and they were running non-stop coverage from the Phillipines on the hostage release issue. It made me think. I might disagree with some of my leftist friends here, but I am not so sure that bowing to terrorist demands in this manner was a good idea. We have already seen 6 hostages taken the very next day. In situations like this, if terrorists see terrorism working - it will continue. Sacrificing one person for the good of the rest of the desperate foreign workers in Iraq seems like the humanitarian thing to do. Of course, not allowing one's residents there in the first place, seems like the smart thing.

Politically, yes - this will help President Arroyo, but she just won an election less than a month ago. Is she that insecure? No doubt a bit part of it stems from the fact that the hostage - Delacruz - was from the same province as the President. If she had done nothing the wrath of her countrymen would have been greatest there. On the other hand, of course, the pull-out of 50 troops is insignificant militarily and was going to be done in a few weeks anyhow.

I do admire the decision for one reason thought. This is that a small country, traditionally subserviant to the US. Here, it asserted its independence. I got the sense reading e-mail messages flash across the Filipino restaurant's TV screen, that this is what Filipino's are most proud of.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Bush Misquotes and Manipulates Castro's Words on Prostitution
President Bush, in cynically charging Cuba with promoting "sex tourism," misquoted and took out of context a quote from Fidel Castro made in 1992.  Bush said: "The dictator welcomes sex tourism. Here's how he bragged about the industry." "This is his quote: 'Cuba has the cleanest and most educated prostitutes in the world.' "
The actual quote was "There are no women forced to sell themselves to a man, to a foreigner, to a tourist. Those who do so do it on their own, voluntarily.... We can say that they are highly educated hookers and quite healthy, because we are the country with the lowest number of AIDS cases."
Apparently, the quote was taken from an online undergraduate research paper, that itself was not properly referenced or fotnoted. Researcher Says Student whose paper on Castro was used in a speech is 'annoyed.' He says the president misconstrued the Cuban leader's stance.
Bad enough for an undergraduate not to footnote, but for the State Department (who provided the quote) and President to not only get it wrong, but totally turn the meaning around to promote a anti-Cuba agenda is the lowest... though Cuba watchers have seen this a thousand times.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Limewire Download List 7/16/04

DJ Mitsu F/ Dwele - Right Here - Who kills this more - Dwele or Mitswho?
Sia - Where I Belong
Jean Grae - Keep Livin
RJD2 - Act 2 (already got Take it Back)
Nuyorican Soul cuts that I was missing
Viktor Vaughn - Mr. Clean - nice futuristic action
Visionaries - If You Can't Say Love (aawwwwwww)
"Don't You Worry Bout a Thing" - Sergio Mendes/Tito Puente/
Pete Rock f/ Jay Dill- Niggaz Know
Melisa Morgan - Fools Paradise
Nas - Theif's Theme
New Sector Movements - The Show
Slum Village - Things We Do
Kid n Play - Do This My Way

Me and my man Steve from the acid-jazz listserv were having a back and forth on the topic of "is capitalism good for music. So I thought I'd post this. Not on music (check the Cuban hip-hop story below) but talks about the never-ending quest good socialists have in getting 100% of the country culture (by building Radio Stations and TV Rooms(AVs/Movies/rehearsal speaces) in the most remote areas. Our system can't even conceive of doing something like this. They're screwed and good old towns empty by the thousands every day.

New sounds in a silent zone

"global poverty that we accept so commonly turns people into property - one step from hell"-- lyrics born "last
Looks like the BBC listened to my gripes the other day :)

BBC News - Havana, Cuba
Cuba to help Caribbean fight Aids
The Cuban government has offered to train nurses and doctors throughout the Caribbean as part of the region's fight against Aids.  Cuba also says it will provide anti-retroviral drugs to its neighbours at well below market prices. 
The offer has been enthusiastically accepted by representatives of Caricom - the Caribbean regional grouping that has been meeting in Havana.  Only sub-Saharan Africa has higher HIV infection rates than the Caribbean.  But Cuba, the region's largest island, has largely escaped the disease.  It has one of the world's very lowest infection rates. That is for a combination of reasons.... (click link above for the rest). 
By the way, Cuba has one of the most visible gay populaitons anywhere in the world.... if anyone is thinking about the great but misleading Before Night Falls situation (repression) going on. This was a hold-over from the machismo of the Batista days and something Castro never supported.
US Allows the Licensing of Promising Cuban Cancer Drugs
California biotechnology company has received U.S. government permission to complete the development of three experimental cancer drugs created in Cuba.

The CancerVax Corporation made the announcement Thursday, saying the U.S. Treasury Department has granted permission to licence the drugs and begin conducting tests.
The drugs are intended to block the growth of certain cancerous tumors by inhibiting a protein associated with their development. Patients with lung, breast and colon cancer could benefit from the treatment.

U.S. officials approved the arrangement despite a long-standing U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.
(Cuba has developed the cure for Menengitis B and its work on cancer and AIDS are some of the most promising in the world. If Cuba were to develop some sort of wonder drug before the US, this would be one of the best things for humanity the world has ever witnessed.... low prices.)

Why Haven't We Heard More About Iraq's PM Allawi Terrorist History? 

It is bad enough that we recruited some son of a one of the richest families and a guy who spent most of his life in London. But the fact that this guy was also a known assassin and is responsible for bowing up school buses full of children as recently as 10 years ago - as lead agent of covert CIA operations - really should be raising some red flags in the media.
These are not disputed facts, as far as I can tell. This is a guy who was recruited into the Baath Party for much the same reasons as Saddam Hussein - for his ruthlessness and skill in killing opponents. He moves to London and works at this job for a bit, then breaks with the Party. He does the logical thing, and hooks up with the UK's intelligence services. Saddam finds out and tries to have him hacked. Now it's personal and Allawi organizes others like him into a front group for the CIA's and M16's activities in Iraq, which soon turn to terrorism - in an attempt to destabilize the regime. No such luck - but untold are killed in bombs in the capital instead. One bomb exploded in a movie theater. Finally, in the run-up to war Allawi provides the final link the UK needs to justify war - the now ridiculed "45 minute" claim about Iraq's ability to deliver WMDs in such time. But he shows his loyalty to the cause and willingness to lie - perfect attributes for the CIA-led political process - and is rewarded by the US with a spot on the Governing Council. Showing himself to be one of the more popular figures (because of the utter unfitness of most Council members) with his Shiite background and original Baathist ideology, he is chosen to lead the country. So much for a "war on terrorism." Anyone who knows anything about the CIA's work around t
he world knows that the US never has a problem with terror when it is directed by the US and our allies. As a former US official who worked with Allawi during his bombing spree (another of which exploded in front of a newspaper office, killing women and children), "No one had any problem with sabotage in Baghdad back then..."
What are the first signs of Mr. Allawi's leadership style? Well reports say that police immediately started to use rough tactics on the streets of Baghdad, and implying the use of torture. 500 are rounded up in one neighborhood, but residents say the real criminals are not touched. The next day Allawi institutes a new special intelligence service, that will sound quite familiar to Iraqis. Today, one can imagine that few people in the US have a problem with strong armed tactics, rule of law or the recreation of secret intelligence services acting in the night.
This is a joke and it is only because everything else is going so bad that the press can't be bothered to heap it onBy any objective measure, we giving this man a free pass.  The American people deserve to know the truth about our new man in Baghdad.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

UN Releases 2004 Human Development Index (HDI)

This index of indexes is the shit. It ranks countries on things that matter like health, education and equality - rather than stgraigh economic factors. Had a quick look and several things stand out:

Quasi-socialist countries do well overall - Norway, Sweeden, Netherlands, Canada.. better than the US and UK (8th and 11th).

A interesting measure compared overall human development measures compared to countries' GDP per capita (that is, how well do countries do in HD compared to their available wealth?) Well, guess who ranks best in the his measure?? Anyone?? Well CUBA of course! Actually Tajikistan is #1, Cuba #2, then: Moldova, Unzbekistan, Albania, Ukraine.... what else do these countries have in common?

Something I though was also very interesting. Besides the high ranking in health, education, life expentency and things like this, Cuba is also ranked 13th in the world in hi-tech exports! This is higher than even I thought and despite a strangling US blockade that also impairs other countries from doing business with Cuba!

Cuba BEATS the US in the number of child deaths (under 5) among other things.
A very interesting matrix also shows how the US stands virtually alone in not having signed the major Human Rights Instruments and Conventions: Social-Cultural (NO), Civic-Political (YES), Discriminate Vs. Women (NO), Children Rights (NO), Geneva (YES - but we don't honor it) ... the US stands with only Singapore and the Emerites among top countries not having signed all 7 - AND we are a dismal 2 for 5 with the major Labor conventions.

Hip-hop as counterculture movement in Cuba

The Dallas Morning News

HAVANA - (KRT) - Seven men, some wearing nothing but bikini underwear, spent a recent morning rolling around on the floor, chanting, running in circles and literally banging out tunes using old Soviet typewriters as instruments.

They're members of Omni-Zona Franca and represent one of the more extreme examples of Cuba's fast-growing counterculture movement.

Artists, street performers, rappers, reggae singers and others are carving out precious new space in the traditionally rigid socialist society.

Some openly criticize the government, complaining about 50-cent-per-day wages, racial discrimination, economic inequality and police abuse.

The government's reaction has been astonishing, some Cubans said. Instead of repressing the movement, it has embraced it - helping to organize rap concerts and festivals and allowing artists and musicians to use state-owned workshops. And the government finances counterculture publications.

"The entire political culture supports rap," said Ariel Fernandez, editor of Movimiento, a state-funded magazine about Cuban hip-hop.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Sorry, just turned the comments on. Not that I think I have any readers out there... are there?

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

A Bush Mass Grave in Iraq

At least 11,000 - probably no more than 13,500. That is the probable number of dead Iraqi civilians that the War has resulted in. Please check out first study, which gives the names, ages, occupations, # of dependents and income of each casualty during the awar itself. The second site is based solely on news accounts and therefore probably is low.

Other quotes gleaned from teh excellend Baghdad Blogs website linked on the right:

Of the 37 members of the new Iraqi government, 11 were actually living inside of Iraq. Of those 11, one or two are known to be quite competent. The rest are either unknown or generally infamous

It feels like anyone who can, is trying to find a way out of Iraq. Last summer, people who hadn't been inside of Iraq for years were clamoring to visit the dear homeland that had been 'liberated' (after which they would clamor to leave the dear homeland). This summer, it is the other way around. The Syrian and Jordanian borders are packed....

Monday, July 12, 2004

Main Issues at AIDS Conference Already Crowded Out of Headlines
As the AIDS Convention in Bangkok heats up with the controversy over protected sex versus no-sex, the real issues threaten to get muddled. The number one issue remains whether access to prevention and treatment resources will be spread to all or whether a two-tier (rich-poor) system will continue to divide the life chances of people (ie. the theme "Access for All." The US should stop playing petty politics and ensure that Bish's $15B AIDS committment does not get wasted. It should be added to the UN's Aids fund rather than have its own agenda. Another issue is whether religious and traditional beleifs will continue to get in the way of education and prevention strategies (education, needle-sharing, pregnancy testing, condoms, etc). The Bush Adminstration believs that outmoded beliefs hold sway, even on the most threatening of global issues. Yet, we are lead to believe that South Africa, which attempts to give its generic drugs to all, is the source of problemativ thinking on AIDS.

Cuba, a Rare AIDS Success Story, is Ignored
Thailand was chosen as the locale for the UN's AIDS Conference, and Uganda was given a hefty role - for their supposed succcess in combatting the AIDS epidemic. Meanwhile, not one article or official item has appeared in the press regading the most obvious of AIDS sucess - that of Cuba. Cuba's AIDS rate is less than .03 per 1000 - the lowest in the Americas - and in stark contrast to the rates 100 hundred times higher in neighboring Haiti, Trinidad or even Barbados. The reason for the success in Cuba is simple - very early recognition of the AIDS threat, a completely open and free public health care system and a humanitarian ideology, that puts the good of all and the well-being of the individual in proper perspective. Cuba dispenses vaccines for all, tests all pregant women and engages in a comprehensive program of education and public awareness (condoms a big part). For me, the success of Cuba shows hte idiocy of the condoms vs. abstinence debate. One would be hard=ressed to find a more sex-crazed population, yet the results speak for themselves.
Venice Gentrification Stirs Class Stuggle

Arguments about who can live by the ocean has erupted into open political struggle over the fate of Venice's local neighborhood coulcil. Thus far tires have been slashed, urine-soaked paper towels have been delivered and the local representative Council has been de-funded and thrown in disarray.

History: A progressive slate has had control of the local Neighborhood Council since an opposition candidate's dog was caught voting in an earlier election (she was supposedly testing the system). The progressives have opposed the City's homeless vagarance ordinance and are openly anti-gentrification in their support for the right of the poor to live in Venice. The opposition claims that the activists have not given the same attention to other issues as they have for the homeless and affordable rental housing and that the quality of life is at risk.

Analysis: Local land use decisions are often the point at which class and issues of property rights versus the public good come into most stark relief. I have often viewed fights over affordable housing and gentrification as having great potential for class-consciousness raising. Why should a long-time resident who has worked his/her entire life for a neighborhood's benefit have to move once the neighborhoods finally does get better. The message: It is the economic system (real estate markets) that makes such conflict necessary. Fight the larger issuse, with a mind on the smaller one.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Biggie Case Against LAPD Allowed to Go To Court!

After 2 years of courtroom arguing a judge has finally allowed the suit against members of the LAPD to go forward in the murder of Biggie Smalls. The plot alleged by BIGs mom and Faith Evans is the same one featured in the Biggied and Tupac documentary and a recent article in Rolling Stone - that is corrupt cops on the payroll fo Suge Knight carried out the murder of BIG. Evidence places 2 cops at the scene on Wilshire Blvd and witnesses have IDd the shooter as a member of the force. Evidence approved in Court also points the finger at the LAPD Chief for shutting down the investigation by taking a lead officer off the case and never interviewing the suspects.

Don't know why this wasn't bigger news when it broek 2 weeks ago. I just happened to go online after watching Broomfield's documentary on Trio, wanting to know what the status of the lawsuit was. If this is true - and it does make perfect sense - than this might be the crowing layer of the endemic corruption that infests the LAPD - and police across the country.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Cuba Bits

As always, news on Cuba gives some of the clearest insights into the Amerian foreign policy mind and modern day impreialism.

Along with the tangible new draconian Bush Administration measures on Cuba (adopted from teh Commission for a Free Cuba - see below), it appears the Administration is adopting aggressive legal techniques to bludgen those who have the guts to invest and sell goods to Cuba. In the past week, we have the folowing nuggets:

+ The biotechnology firm Chiron Corporation was fined $168,000 for exporting vaccines for children to Cuba. Chiron had permission to sell one type of vaccine to Cuba, via the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), but did not have authorization from Washington for two other vaccines it sold. The corporation itself informed the US Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of what it called an oversight.

+ Earlier this year, Alpha Pharmaceutical Inc., based in Panama, was forced to pay a fine of $198,700 dollars for having traded with the island.

+ This week, Club Med was hit with a lawsuit oer its resort in Veradero, Cuba. Club Med plans to fight the lawsuit, arguing it did nothing wrong. Club Med is accused on land vacated by a 95 year old Cuban-American living in Miami.

+ A couple weeks ago, the Jamaican Supperclubs showed much less spine and simply gave up its stake in 2 all-inclusive resorts in Cuba over threats to its investors.

In other news:

U.S. medical students leave Cuba for fear of Bush measures

THE majority of U.S. students who have been studying medicine in Cuba have returned to their country over the last few days, fearing that they will be imprisoned or fined as a result of the Bush administration’s new measures against the island.

On June 25, the Office for Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) warned them that they could remain in Cuba until August 1. Curiously, the students did not receive this information in time and have missed their end-of-year exams as a result.

Relief convoy defies Cuba embargo

HIDALGO, Texas — School buses and other vehicles loaded with medical and office equipment crossed the border into Mexico on Wednesday on a relief trip to Cuba that violates the U.S. embargo. It was the 14th consecutive year that Pastors for Peace, an American humanitarian aid group, has sought to bring supplies to the impoverished communist nation in spite of the embargo.

There are fears that this trip may be the one that gets its organizers in trouble. Look out for what happens when the voluteers return in 2 weeks.