Monday, November 28, 2005

Bush Visit is Misuse of Government Funds

Okay... we knew Bush was coming to Phoenix several weeks ago. But it was only a few days ago that he decided to come to Tucson for a few minutes before heading to Phoenix. This touching the Tucson Tarmac to justify using taxpayer funds to pay for this AZ trip typifies the disregard Bush has for the law and the people. He sees nothing wrong with sticking the taxpayer with the expense of transporting Bush and his vast entourage to a Republican Fundraiser.

The "meetings" had no public audience, no real business was done, it was just a photo op during the hour plus he was on the ground in Tucson.

Veterans are Key to Restoring America the Beautiful

Vets are running for Congress, as Democrats. The corruption in government scandal is spreading from D.C. to Texas to Ohio to...a state near you? Occam's razor does not often apply when we analyze behavior -- the easiest explanation is not always the most likely. We of other views cannot just say corruption is a Republican problem. But neither can we say there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats.

Many folks who are now in power should not be representing us in governmental processes. From both parties. Why? Because they see themselves as being in power and not as public servants.

I think we need to remember the simple distinction between the two parties in American politics that my father taught me. Republicans represent business interests and Democrats represent the little guy. That is still basically true, in principle. But another factor has woven itself throughout the fabric of our society.

But a factor that many folks don't seem to grok is that there is another major player... the corporation. Business in the U.S. was originally what was done by the landed white men and was the reason these guys wanted to escape from the grip of control by corporate entities such as the Monarchy and the East Indian Tea Company.

Individual interests, whether it be keeping your property under your own control or bettering your conditions as a laborer are at odds with corporate entities who have once again gained control over governance -- corporations are not people, but have gradually regained all the rights of individuals (and none of the responsibilities) -- the very thing that our country was founded to fight against. Our founding fathers would have executed the supreme courts justices who upheld any law treating a corporation as a person by giving them rights. Corporations have no conscience and no morality.

What we are seeing played out at this time is not an issue of Republican versus Democrat although this argument is being used as a cover by corrupt individuals who are using corporate interests to accumuilate tremendous wealth at the expense of all other people.

People are going to have to realize that we cannot usurp other levels of organization and process in this living system called Earth. There will be corporate or higher level action above that of individuals. What we are going to have to realize is that corporate interests should not be skewed to exist only at one artificial level of society -- the economic.

Money and profit is no more real than status as member of the Bear Clan nor as member of the British Royal Family. These things are real only because we believe in them. Economics is only one aspect of life, and it too is a created construct. It doesn't have to be any more than what be allow it to be. It has become the controling interest in the world and this profit-based worldview is destroying us by defining people as labor and nature as resource. Profit and excess destroy the foundation of sustainability.

No, I am NOT about to launch into a Marxist rant. I think that Communism that was derived from Marxist philosophy is just as screwed up and imbalanced as Capitalism that values capital or property over balance in life. I am not promoting any sort of revolutionary change. Just a return to a sensible attempt to pursue life liberty and happiness, and 2) to form a more perfect union. My take is that this must be based on health, learning, individual freedom of expression in all aspects of life not economic aspects like all of the major governments in the last 150 years.

Perhaps this is what the many veterans, who are now running for Congress for the first time in the 2006 elections, will do by making significant inroads into reclaiming self-governance -- after all they fought and saw their buddies die to preserve our freedoms, not to preserve profit by raising one aspect of our society (economic) above all others.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Bring Their Buddies Home!

News from San Diego and a Camp Casey Alum about a veterans and others memorial on the beach that gave voice to the fallen who would want us to Bring Their Buddies Home.

My friend Ellouise sent this out from Barbara who was the greeter/parking organizer at the Peace House in Crawford, TX while Camp Casey was set up this summer. I have met Barbara a couple times... with a mutual friend over coffee and when she asked me to help set up tents at Camp Casey on the Mall in September. She typifies the energy and intelligence that is the essential uniting element of the new Women's Peace Movement. The emergent women's network is a wonderful thing. Without it I can't imagine how I would have found out about the

Bring Their Buddies Home Memorial

Here's Barbara's letter (that went out to Camp Casey Alumni):

San Diego Ca is a well known, conservative military town. People who live here enjoy sun, surf, and year around good times.

On Friday afternoon people dressed all in black started to gather along the coast in Carlsbad, Ca, just north of San Diego. They came in two and threes. They came in wheelchairs. They came with dogs and baby joggers. They rode bikes. They walked. The coaster was full of people dressed in balck. They were singles and couples and families. One family had four generations. Many came with teen and pre-teen children. There were baby boomers and their parents. There were Vietnam era vets. There were active duty Marines. There were young soldiers, Iraqi vets. There were families who had lost a son or daughter in Iraq. There was a young boy who had lost his grandfather in Iraq.

Friday was a beautiful sunny day with a bit of haze over the ocean. The malls opened early and people trampled each other to grab a "discounted" item. Hundreds stood in predawn lines to be first. Afterall, didn't the president tell us to shop? Don't worry about the terrorists, the war, the dead soldiers, just shop.

So what were these people doing lining up along the coast? Paying silent tribute to the fallen in Iraq. Brainchild of Jeeni Criscenzo, candidate for congress in San Diego county, BRING THEIR BUDDIES HOME, had brought this diverse group out. There were no signs, banners or shouting slogans. It was a respectful, thoughtful way to recognize the sacrifice of the soldiers who have been killed in Iraq and Afganistan.

They came and kept coming. Volunteers led groups of 15-20 to the end of the line. They stood quietly side by side, acknowledging passing cars and pedestriains strolling along the beach with a smile, nod or thumbs up. They stood for over two hours and still they came. The line would end up stretching for one mile and consist of 1000 people, give or take a few. The local papers and press were all there. It made the evening news on all three networks. The local Air America host was there, standing in the line. Not for show, but because he cared.

Many of the San Diegans who were in Crawford Tx in August were there. I am one of that group. I would have been in Crawford with Cindy, Ann Wright and Daniel Ellsberg, had I not been down with the flu. The turnout was beyond my wildest expectation. Imagine that, the day after Thanksgiving, spending the day standing in a line along the beach with 1000 of my closest friends! Who could ask for anything more?

Barbara Cummings
A Proud San Diegan

Friday, November 25, 2005

Bush on the Border November 28th

Just before Thanksgiving Day, Bush announced that he will be in Tucson on Monday just before appearing in Phoenix at a Kyl fundraiser. That man has been here way too often.... three times in AZ in the last year, not to mention his slimeball "brain" Rove. Of course Dubya the Dumb can only safely appear on military bases or at extremely loyal "haves and have mores" constituency fundraisers. In Tucson he won't even venture off base. Begack for super chicken. Just how vile Kyl really is should be evident by the fact that he believes association with Bush won't hurt him... or perhaps he will pull out like Kolbe just did... (and GHWB should have... sorry, couldn't resist.)

Anti-Bush, Pro-eace, Pro-human rights protestors will gather near the DM gates -- Davis Monthan Air Force Base Swan/Golf Links entrance.Map of E Golf Links Rd At S Swan Rd. There are thousands of reasons to protest... but he's speaking on Border issues so I'm thinking about making a sign saying, "No More War - No More Imaginary Borders"

I think everyone possible ought to paint a peace sign on their roof before Monday so when the chicken hawk flies over he will know how Tucson feels about his immoral and illegal war in which he has sent so many to their deaths. Pink peace signs are best but any color would do! Follow Lucy's example -- almost three years ago she painted this one on her roof that just happens to be on the DM flight path here in Tucson.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Kolbe retires.... from sinking Republican ship

Rats desert sinking ships and Rep. Jim Kolbe announcing his retirement today may be the first of a wave of Republican rats leaving the U.S. Legislature before the Culture of Corruption capsizes the entire Hill.

I don't think Republicans are the only corrupt individuals in Washington -- however, I do feel there is a significant difference between Republicans and Democrats that many folks have forgotten about. Republicans are the big money party of the corporations. They are the ones who think that a "Free Market" solves all problems.

Democrats used to be for the little guys, the regular Janes and Joes who work all their lives to have their pensions stolen by corporate maneuverings and have no safety net 'cause it was their kids who did the fighting in the wars to protect and expand the interests of government connected corporations. Republicans are big on the representaive part of our representive democracy. Democrats are big on the democratic part of our representative democracy. is wondering who should replace Jim Kolbe. I hope many readers will select Jeff Latas and submit his name to MoveOn for support before a big money Democrat (i.e. a Republican in Democrat's clothing.)

I know others have also announced for the race, but Francine Shacter, for instance, is a great person, but I just don't think she can compete because of her relatively recent move to Arizona. I've heard over the grapevine that Latas doesn't have enough money for the big boys in Washington to want to back him and bring him into their fold. That in and of itself makes him AOK in my book. I also hear that Ted Downing is a possible run as well. I would personally love to see every Republican in Washington ousted and all the Big Money Democrats take a hike too, and then we can replace them all with fresh representatives who still have connections to those of us they purport to represent.

Flood the Hill with Raul Grijalva clones! Well maybe not. But do check out Jeff Latas' site.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Cindy Sheehan for Person of the Year

There is a write in campaign to nominate Cindy Sheehan for Time's Person of the Year.

I certainly understand why she should be nominated. She engaged a nation in a discourse that desperately needed to be held. Whenever a nation creates an icon from a simple human being and does so almost overnight, you know that extremely powerful and significant issue has been tapped. Cindy represents the loss the US feels. The loss can be defined as any single one of the following or a combination of them: the death of thousands of our warrior children, the loss of respect in much of the world, the loss of our faith in essentially honest and well-intentioned government.

As mother, as female perspective on the senseless nature of war, as outraged citizen she awakened a nation to the hurt they felt. Without the emotional shake-up her camping out in Crawford provided, would the reaction to Katrina or the indictment of White House Staff have been felt in the same way? She primed us for outrage and grief over an America that has been stolen from us.

I hear Cindy is spending Turkey Day with the consummate Turkey in Crawford, Tx. That's right, Cindy is heading back to Crawford for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2005

SOA Sister Protest at Fort Huachuca

Some call it Fort Sneezy but the innocuous nickname does little to mask the truly dark actions that take place at Fort Huachuca. Like most dirty little dark secrets, it is not so much a matter of no one knowing but of no one wanting to know. In Southern Arizona on Sunday November 20th about 80 protestors stood outside the gates of Fort Huachuca in solidarity with the 19,000 protestors across the country at Fort Benning, Georgia. The methods of torture and intimidation of the masses through war crimes to be used to foster regieme change are taught to members of the foreign militaries at Fort Benning's Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation formerly called the School of the Americas.

Susan, a friend of mine. was at the protest in Sierra Vista/ Fort Huachuca yesterday and sent this description of the protest.
80+ in attendance (Needs to be hundreds!!!)
Didn't get a chance to shoot many stills.....too busy filming the Grannies Raging cross the road, then get escorted back across by the cops, as a couple FBI or whoever it was cowered in the background....sorta! ha. Grannies were spectacular with their new songs, great lyrics, brilliant attire, and crowd participation. There were fabulous signs and flags and banners brought by everyone, even an art piece that was too radical for a gallery presentation. Food Not Bombs Blue Bus transported folks, others carpooled. John Fife spoke brilliantly and passionately, booming over a microphone for the world to hear. Was a beautiful and satisfying day of resistance with Susan Gallego and others planning and executing this wonderful protest. Next year hopefullly it will expand even more to become the huge sister protest it needs to be, gaining participation from everyone around who can't make it to Ft. Benning, Georgia (16,000 made it to that one!). Ft. Huachuca is notorious for it's torture training manuals...Channel 4 is going to feature Ft. Huachuca all next week I hear on their news program. Should be knee-deep I'm sure! Try not to slip if you watch it! Hope EVERYone comes next year....this needs to be an annual EVENT!!!

The stills she refers to follow:

More on SOA protests.

Photos by Susan Thorpe.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Unlikely Allies -- CODEPINK and Murtha

Strange times make for strange bedfellows. Well at least for strange sheet-fellows. CODEPINK Tucson and CODEPINK Phoenix dropped a banner during the State Democratic Committee meetings Saturday in Tucson to encourage Arizona Democrats to work for peace -- like Murtha.

While they come to the mutual position -- that the troops need to get out of Iraq now -- from completely different places, when such divergent perspectives can join together, you know something profound is happening.


Arizona Democrats Grow Ovaries, Balls, and a Spine

At the AZ Democratic Party Committee Meetings yesterday in Tucson a miraculous transformation occurred. Women grew ovaries, men grew balls, and several slumped figures straightened with regenerated spines.

The Democrats supported a resolution submitted by Sherry Bohlen, State Committee Member from District 8 - Maricopa County to: Resolution Demanding an Inquiry of Iraq War Abuses. That one speaks for itself and unanimously passed,

Because of the amazing loaves and fish performances of voting machines (precincts with hundreds of registered voters recording thousands of votes) in various locations during the last few elections, a lot of folks now know that there are some very serious flaws with the current electronics and mechanics of our voting system. Rev. Gerry Straatemeier introduced the Resolution For Public Oversity and Transparency of Arizona Elections to Block Purchase of DRE Voting Machines. Lively discussion and significant support were initially forthcoming from the floor. Then a single voice forwarded an ammendment that would have sent the resolution to committee. At that point things livened up quite a lot! Shouting, gesturing, and disgruntled murmuring erupted and after some rather less than adept handling of parlimentary procedure that amendment was soundly voted down and the discussion of the resolution as submitted was then soundly supported by an impressively aubible majority.

It is good to see progressive folks in significant numbers at such events -- without them it would probably be business as usual. Folks from No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes as well as CODEPINK Tucson and CODEPINK Phoenix were there working the crowds.

The stated concern with the amendment was that too many issues were addressed in the resolution that (paraphrased -- very long document...) stated that because:
  • AZ Democrats support the fundamental right to vote
  • the pivotal juncture this time presents
  • the HAVA Act requires a permanent paper record, and that the voter is provided with opportunity to change or correct any error before the permanent record is produced and the paper record will be available as an official record for any recount
  • AZ has laws that prevent required hand counts
  • the Secretary of State has consolidated partisan privatized control of elections in AZ and violated HAVA
  • the GAO has reported that concerns about electronic voting have been realized in recent elections with the loss and miscount of votes
  • electronic voting equipment is inherently subject to programming error, equipment malfunction and malicious tampering
  • Secretary of State has opposed amendments requiring paper ballots
  • and that she deceptively brought forth representatives of the blind community who stated that paper ballot would disnfranchise the blind
  • suppressed another vendor option with paper ballot production better met have and the needs of the entire disabled community
  • she has failed to post required lists for decertification of machines
  • she has refused to release such a list
  • she has developed no procedure to decertify machines in Maricopa County demonstrated to have an 18.3% error rate
  • she is using a media campaign to attempt to squelch legal action rather than addressing the problems brought to light by the lawsuit
  • she has failed to provid the transparent election evaluation procedure required by law
  • she promotes private vendor meetings with state and county election officials without public representation
  • she has canceled public meetings called to find out who serves on the state certification committee and postponed meetings with vendors other than Diebold
  • Florida and other states report unexpected financial consequenced integrating Diebold systems with other systems
that the AZ Democratic Party (and officials) will pursue every option to:
  • work to be sure 2006 elections are transparent, auditable, and will restore voter confidence
  • advocate for public oversight and ownership of elections that will protect voting from fraud (security breaches) and machine error
  • will support legislation to require voter verified paper ballots, require hand counted audits of randomly selected precincts
  • improve reports, auditing and certification of equipment
  • act to hold the Secretary of State accountable for actions that demonstrate a lack of transparency and to challenge state contracts to Diebold for DRE machines
  • demand state contracts awards require vendors to upgrade to Hava Standards
  • compel SoS to produce written decertification standards and immediately decertify faulty voting equipment
  • sponsor public forums to expose flaws of electronic voting, examine adverse consequence of "blended voting systems," discover hidden costs associated with training poll workers to implement a dual voting system, evaluate certification/decertification standards set by the SoS, educate the public to participate in public oversight of county board of elections
  • work with representatives of disability advocacy groups to ensure voting systems are HAVA compliant for the widest variety of diabilities
Usually I find such lengthy documents to be nap inducing, but when we are talking about the "Katherine Harris" of Arizona who was one of the several SoS's with glaring conflicts of interest in that they helped to run State Republican Campaigns while also supposedly overseeing the impartiality of elections in that same state.

This issue deserves a lot more coverage in corporate media than it has received -- so I guess it is up to citizen and indy media to get the issue out there -- so Democrats can't react to chill temperatures by shrivelling up.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Propaganda American Style

A major creator of propaganda, also known as "perceptual management" had worked for a long, long time to create an American mindset that would support a war against Hussein.
Check out Rolling Stone for the article about it.

Friday, November 11, 2005

A day dedicated to the cause of world peace.

November 11th became a federal holiday in 1938. An act of Congress declared it to be "...a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace." The Act was amended in 1954 the holiday became renamed 'Veterans Day' by amendment to the 1938 act so that all veterans could be honored.

My first memory of there even being such a thing as a Veteran was as a small child who wanted one of the paper poppies the old men were selling by a storefront in the little farming town outside of which I lived as a child. Then there were the stories of my uncle Carl who was an aviation mechanic in England during WWII. Then war became very real for me when my cousin Rick had to have a metal plate replace part of his skull after being injured in Vietnam and my brother came back from there a changed person having been shot once when in Hue and then catching some shrapnel under his vest in Khe Sahn. It was difficult for me to take my Girl Scouts to march in the Veterans Day Parade when I was a GS Leader. It is still very emotional for me.

Wars do not end when the bombs stop falling and the fighting ceases. Both American and Vietnamese victims of agent orange are. traveling through the US for the next month talking about the ongoing consequences of the Vietnam War.

The consequences of this War on Iraq will not end in our lifetimes. Young women like Kelly Dougherty will never forget their tour of duty in Iraq. She came to realize that the war was being waged for Corporations good not for the benefit of the Iraqi people and that she was being lied to. As a person snagged by the economic draft she was outraged enough to become a peace activist upon her return to the U.S.

Those who are willing to lay down their lives to protect us are heros. I may disagree with waging war, but soldiers don't start wars, politicians do. So last year I marched with Veterans for Peace. This year, tomorrow, I may do so again. I need to support a day of remembrance and peace. As Steven Laffoley poignantly states in his article Almost Like A Day for Peace, " "Almost like a day for peace." And I think: He's right. We could use a day like that."

Yes we could.

Tomorrow will be that day for me. Then I start to research more about the gloss over treatment that W's military service (and lack of it) received. With Mapes new book out and the topic back in the news at a time when many are questioning the integrity of our administration it might be a good time to reexamine his records.

The blog Norwegionanity covered this development quite well.

Dan Gillmor is upset about Mary Mapes reemergence into the spotlight, and I can see where he’s coming from.

And I see where she’s coming from. The documents that ended her job at CBS have never been proven inauthentic. I personally came to believe that they are probably CYA documents created by Kilgore after the fact, but I don’t know that. I do know, however, that 90% of the Powerline/LGF crap I read was specious beyond belief.

I used to work with exactly the kind of documents the ‘60s and ‘70s era Guard produced, and there is no uniformity in how those documents were produced. Citizen-soldier officers often took paperwork to their civilian office for their secretary to do (one of the things that helped create the feminist movement, IMHO).

Mapes got railroaded for some shoddy work in an otherwise timely news story about Bush’s decades of lies regarding his military service.

I’d love to see 60 Minutes reedit that segment and show it again. I think more people would be interested in Bush’s AWOL period now that he’s lost the trust of the people.

I have to agree.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Military Recruiting Under Increasingly Widespread Scrutiny

Appearance of a topic in Vanity Fair isn't respected by all folks so The Recruiters' War probably has not changed too many pro-war folks minds... But... I have a conservative friend (hard to believe I know, but... true) who, while he hasn't actually chided me for reading articles in the magazine, nor for forwarding such articles to him, says in his deep, booming and courtroom trained voice that conveys far more his words, "Well it is not my usual type of reading..." But after I finish writing this entry I will send it to him, and get his take on this trend. I suspect even a Republican attorney will be softening his stand on the clear black and white nature of military recruiting. People are getting information about the issues that concern them, even if they have to get it through non-traditional channels.

No matter what you feel about high end women's magazines, this article about 10 apparently representative recruiters who admit to recruiting young men and women (boys and girls really) who do not meet standards because of problems with health, parental status, drug use and the like are the norm is worth a read. When examined with other co-occuring events, the increasing public scrutiny of unethical military recruiting practices as part of a governmental culture of corruption is almost to be expected.

A Tucson friend who has participated in anti-war activities after having served in the military and having a husband who retired from the military told me her story of how her just in remission son enlisted only to have recruiters call because of crossed wires after he was on his way to Iraq. After talking to him for a while she realized that the recruiter was going through files of kids with cancer in an attempt to recruit those now in remission. Ghoulish. You can read the incredible and inspiring story of this family in an article by her husband, Jeff Latas, who is the AZ LD 26/CD8 candidate who will ruin against Kolbe.

And should you need to see more data before you can agree there is a trend, just look at the fact that voters in San Francisco approved ballot measures to ban handguns in San Francisco and urge the city's public high schools and college campuses to keep out military recruiters. Yes, this isn't just about vague notions of war and honor. This is a local issue. War is a local issue.

I'm also feeling a personal sense of vindication that I am really and truly in the right when it comes to my dealings with certain recruiters who have attempted to intimidate me on two occasions when I was doing nothing wrong. One time I was inside the recruiting station about a recruiting concern -- I was really upset that my 15 year old daughter had received phishing materials in the mail. The recruiters took advantage of that to try to intimidate me and while they never asked me to leave and wouldn't give me the information for which I asked, they did surround me while yelling and called the police. Later when I was documenting an event for a Raging Granny action--the same nasty lying recruiter was the one who singled me out as one of the Grannies to be arrested even though I clearly was not participating in the attempt to enlist. After I protested that the recruiter was singling me out for reasons other than actions that day, he had another confab with the police and they then decided to arrest several other "minor" journalists, but not the ones from the local network stations. The lying and scheming that these folks are capable of carrying out is frightening. The even more frightening thing is that the police are far more concerned with buddying up to the military than insuring the citizens who they serve have their right to protest protected.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Women's Cooperatives and Social Change in Afghanistan

Remember all the coverage of Afghanistan and the terror inflicted upon women during 2001 and 2002?  Even though our news corps do not find it worthwhile (or have not been told) to report on the state of women there, the women of this tormented part of the world are still waiting for any significant change to occur.

Suraya Pakzad, executive director of the Voice of Women Organisation (VWO), one of the leading NGOs in Afghanistan says, as reported in today in The Penninsula, "The regime change in Afghanistan is yet to deliver the expected results as far the position of women in the country is concerned."  She notes that improvements have occurred but that local customs are often confused with religious teachings and that practices routed in custom will be difficult to begin to change.  Child marriage is one such widespread practice that must be stopped (it is already illegal) if the status of women is to be generally improved.  Enforcement of existing rules and more legal protection for women and education can improve the situation, but economics enters into it too;  huge dowries in poverty stricken areas can be a huge incentive for poverty-stricken families. 

One-quarter of the seats in the Afghani Parliament and the provincial councils were set aside for women so in some ways these women have a better potential for real representation than American women who must conquer the corporate money battle to become a representative. 

In an article on a very useful albeit  informal women's councils or shuras is described by Suraya.

During the elections, she (Suraya) concentrated on women's voting rights, but the group's main focus is on bolstering the network of women's shuras--or quasi-government councils--in the villages that surround Herat.

Politics is part of what gets discussed at the shuras, Pakzad said, but the main point is to simply gather women together so they can talk and discuss issues without the oversight of men.

The shuras also enable women to create cottage industries from their homes, such as textile manufacturing. The shuras also provide start-up funds and consolidated space for manufacturing by bringing looms under one roof.

Again, we in the west could learn from these women.  Perhaps we need to establish shuras in impoverished areas of our own country.  Small business loans and other programs that help women in business are fine, but they do not provide the supportive structure of the shura nor foster the collective creativity  that women's cooperatives do.  A BPW luncheon isn't the same.  The women's groups are structured like men's organizations that sprung up in the days of male controlled business and industry.  Perhaps to foster change we should look at alternative structures for new types of women's work/life organizations. 

Monday, November 07, 2005

Patriotic Protest Continues in Tucson

Wednesday November 2nd was jam-packed with protest all across America and Tucson was no exception. The World Can't Wait March is well covered at the Tucson Indymedia site.

But there were actions throughout the day at many locations in Tucson. I received some photos from my friend Susan of "Die In" that was held in front of the Military Recruiting Office on Speedway that morning. Protests have been ongoing on Wednesday mornings at this location for three years.

Thought you might like to see a few of them.

Protest and street media are essential to conveying information that isn't conveyed in corporate media. We who engage in alternative media are patriots and serve the same function as the town criers of old. "It is November 2005 and all is not well."

Thank heavens people are beginning to realize that the flag belongs to all Americans and that you do not have to believe in the things our leaders say and do to be a patriot!

The majority of Americans now feel that an unjust war in our name diminishes us all and brings us closer to a barbaric world where life is not valued. And we are now beginning to understand that people are being tortured to death in our name, and that our children are being used as cannon fodder for a lie.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Kathleen Dunbar Sucks....

Final version: 7 November 2005

Kathleen Dunbar Sucks Resources Straight Out of the Mouths of Ward III's Hungry Children

I live in Ward III in Tucson, Arizona. There are two women running for City Council who both purport to want to represent me. I hope Karin Uhlich wins the election tomorrow as she would represent me. Kathleen Dunbar has not represented me well (at all) during her tenure on the City Council.

Karin Uhlich is the Democratic Candidate. Karin is experienced in management and economics. While I don't know Karin personally, I have met and talked with her several times. I find her to be sincere in her desire to represent the people of this working class district.

Of course there is also the little (ha!) matter that in Tucson Wards do not choose the people who represent them. The upper middle to upper upper SEC folks in the foothills (and eastside) have just as much say in determining the representative to a working class neighborhood as the folks who actually live in the Ward. In Tucson City Council Members are nominated in each ward, but are elected in citywide elections. This allows for situations such as the one when then Tucson Mayor George Miller noted in a 2001 article "Ward 2 has not been represented by the person it has actually chosen in 22 years." This has also been the case in Ward III for the last few years.
Karin holds press conferences outside the gates of the Tucson Country Club while Kathleen Dunbar and Jim Click, sugar daddy to local and regional Republicans, hob-knob with Karl Rove inside the gates at a totally closed "fundraiser" for local corporate sponsored Republicans.

Maybe that is where she learned last week's stunt in which she she sued everybody and their sister over a campaign mailer that she purports contained defamatory statements that have caused her "severe mental and physical anguish." The case was filed against her Democratic opponent and three retired teachers their husbands, the Pima County Democratic Party and a lawyer for the Amphitheater Public Schools district and his wife. The lawyer's comments that were quoted on the flier were from a May 2004 council meeting.

Dunbar pimped over the Amphi School District. This is very personal for me. I live within the Amphi School District. I believe in public education and have refused to move from this area within which it makes perfect sense for my family to live. But after sticking with my beliefs through my daughter's time at Holaway Elementary and Amphi Jr. High we decided we had to put our daughter in private school for High School so that she could have a real college prep curriculum in an academic atmosphere-- something that just wasn't offered in our local schools. At least the High School is in our neighborhood. Her sinking of a done deal that would have given Amphi hundreds of thousands of dollars hurts me personally.
So while Dunbar is whining about mental and physical anguish, the fact remains that I am suffering similar mental and physical anguish that my most basic right to participation in the selection of who represents me is being stolen by the large "independent" expenditures that financed her (and Fred Ronstadt's) campaign in 2001 to the tune of $125,000. Read about this and more in a PDF that discusses campaign finance reform. I'm damaged when my neighbor's children are damaged.

So there is the matter of corporate and state level party funds being pumped into Ward level races and corporate interest put before basic human needs in neighborhoods.

I get very pissed off when I, a simple resident of a working class neighborhood in Tucson Arizona, can see corruption at the highest levels of government directly tied into the essential theft of my neighbors and my votes. This is not a minor issue. This is about the preservation of the very heart of democracy in the face of an essentially treasonous corporate coupe.

How Kathleen Dunbar the Republican Candidate was ever elected is beyond my understanding. But not beyond my suspicions.

We know that there were profound irregularities in the November 2004 elections. Thanks to the tireless and tenacious work by John Brakey of Tucson we can see how selective local elections had their precinct level records falsified in order to provide a paper trail should the electronic ballot irregularities being called into question. These select precincts could then be "randomly" chosen for inspection/recount should an audit be required. Hog wash, you say? Nope. Glaringly irregular puzzle pieces that hint at widespread election problems were also found in
Scottsdale. And Arizona's Secretary of State Jan Brewer has not fulfilled her duty to address how such glaring holes will be remedied and electronic voting machines decertified when such problems arise. Indeed she has been brought to court over her failure to address this issue.

More on Dunbar's record, statements and outrageous behavior:

From an article on October 26, 2000 in the Arizona Daily Star.
"(Dunbar) has not been consistently moderate, pointing to her support of a bill requiring schools to teach alternatives to evolution. Dunbar said she signed on as a favor to a colleague, then when it bogged down in fighting over creationism, she realized how divisive it had become and worked in caucus to kill it."

The Star publishes excerpts from Weblogs and the one quoted below shows that campaign finance reform is relevant to every level of government.

"I got a mail piece from City Council candidates Kathleen Dunbar and Fred Ronstadt recently. These candidates have both opted out of Tucson's publicly financed campaign system. They both feel public financing is a waste of public money and think private interests should be relied on to fund the election of our public officials. I haven't got any problem with a person following their conscience in such matters, but they should be consistent, right?

On the flip side of the Dunbar/Ronstadt mailer is the mug and the endorsement of none other than Arizona's Sen. John McCain. McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law shepherd John McCain. Supporter and defender of Arizona's clean elections law John McCain. I suppose the moral of this story is that party loyalty is stronger for GOP pols than is principled adherence to basic political convictions about the nature of the public's interest."

Outside and special interests are the ones supporting the disturbing and steady undermining of programs of benefit to her constituents in favor of the big money corporations with ties to the Greater Tucson area and not to Ward III.

She didn't take the clean elections money. How could she? She doesn't believe in clean and fair elections. She's got all that corporate money behind her and there is no way she'd give that up for a clean and fair election.

Claims responsibility for neighborhood improvement that was put in place by democratic predecessors. Dunbar helped kill the very programs that allowed for these neighborhood improvements.

We must stop the rise of Dunbar and people like her (Ronstadt) through the graft-controlled political ranks. These are the people who end up in Washington, supposedly representing us, who all the while have become indebted to corporate benefactors and perpetuate and strengthen the culture of corruption now being exposed in Libby's indictment and the treasonous obstruction of justice he engaged in to protect the Halliburton controlled Vice Presidency.

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