October 30, 2009
Their goal is not a "safe, reliable" internet. Their goal is to limit articles like this (reprinted from Zero Anthropology):
Peru: Blood Flows in the Amazon
by James Petras
June 12, 2009 - In early June, Peruvian President Alan García, an ally of US President Barack Obama, ordered armored personnel carriers, helicopter gun-ships and hundreds of heavily armed troops to assault and disperse a peaceful, legal protest organized by members of Peru’s Amazonian indigenous communities protesting the entry of foreign multinational mining companies on their traditional homelands. Dozens of Indians were killed or are missing, scores have been injured and arrested and a number of Peruvian police, held hostage by the indigenous protestors were killed in the assault. President García declared martial law in the region in order to enforce his unilateral and unconstitutional fiat granting of mining exploitation rights to foreign companies, which infringed on the integrity of traditional Amazonian indigenous communal lands.
Alan García is no stranger to government-sponsored massacres. In June 1986, he ordered the military to bomb and shell prisons in the capital holding many hundreds of political prisoners protesting prison conditions – resulting in over 400 known victims. Later obscure mass graves revealed dozens more. This notorious massacre took place while García was hosting a gathering of the so-called ‘Socialist’ International in Lima. His political party, APRA (American Popular Revolutionary Alliance) a member of the ‘International’, was embarrassed by the public display of its ‘national-socialist’ proclivities, before hundreds of European Social Democrat functionaries. Charged with misappropriation of government funds and leaving office with an inflation rate of almost 8,000% in 1990, he agreed to support Presidential candidate Alberto Fujimori in exchange for amnesty. When Fujimori imposed a dictatorship in 1992, García went into self-imposed exile in Colombia and later, France. He returned in 2001 when the statute of limitations on his corruption charges had expired and Fujimori was forced to resign amidst charges of running death squads and spying on his critics. García won the 2006 Presidential elections in a run-off against the pro-Indian nationalist candidate and former Army officer, Ollanta Humala, thanks to financial and media backing by Lima’s rightwing, ethnic European oligarchs and US overseas ‘AID’ agencies.
Back in power, García left no doubt about his political and economic agenda. In October 2007 he announced his strategy of placing foreign multi-national mining companies at the center of his economic ‘development’ program, while justifying the brutal displacement of small producers from communal lands and indigenous villages in the name of ‘modernization’.
García pushed through congressional legislation in line with the US-promoted ‘Free Trade Agreement of the Americas’ or ALCA. Peru was one of only three Latin American nations to support the US proposal. He opened Peru to the unprecedented plunder of its resources, labor, land and markets by the multinationals. In late 2007, García began to award huge tracts of traditional indigenous lands in the Amazon region for exploitation by foreign mining and energy multinationals. This was in violation of a 1969 International Labor Organization-brokered agreement obligating the Peruvian government to consult and negotiate with the indigenous inhabitants over exploitation of their lands and rivers. Under his ‘open door’ policy, the mining sector of the economy expanded rapidly and made huge profits from the record-high world commodity prices and the growing Asian (Chinese) demand for raw materials. The multinational corporations were attracted by Peru’s low corporate taxes and royalty payments and virtually free access to water and cheap government-subsidized electricity rates. The enforcement of environmental regulations was suspended in these ecologically fragile regions, leading to wide-spread contamination of the rivers, ground water, air and soil in the surrounding indigenous communities. Poisons from mining operations led to massive fish kills and rendered the water unfit for drinking. The operations decimated the tropical forests, undermining the livelihood of tens of thousands of villagers engaged in traditional artisan work and subsistence forest gathering and agricultural activities.
The profits of the mining bonanza go primarily to the overseas companies. The García regime distributes state revenues to his supporters among the financial and real estate speculators, luxury goods importers and political cronies in Lima’s enclosed upscale, heavily guarded neighborhoods and exclusive country-clubs. As the profit margins of the multinationals reached an incredible 50% and government revenues exceeded $1 billion US dollars, the indigenous communities lacked paved roads, safe water, basic health services and schools. Worse still, they experienced a rapid deterioration of their everyday lives as the influx of mining capital led to increased prices for basic food and medicine. Even the World Bank in its Annual Report for 2008 and the editors of the Financial Times of London urged the García regime to address the growing discontent and crisis among the indigenous communities. Delegations from the indigenous communities had traveled to Lima to try to establish a dialogue with the President in order to address the degradation of their lands and communities. The delegates were met with closed doors. García maintained that ‘progress and modernity come from the big investments by the multinationals…,(rather than) the poor peasants who haven’t a centavo to invest.’ He interpreted the appeals for peaceful dialogue as a sign of weakness among the indigenous inhabitants of the Amazon and increased his grants of exploitation concessions to foreign MNCs even deeper into the Amazon. He cut off virtually all possibility for dialogue and compromise with the Indian communities.
The Amazonian Indian communities responded by forming the Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP). They held public protests for over 7 weeks culminating in the blocking of two transnational highways. This enraged García, who referred to the protestors as ‘savages and barbarians’ and sent police and military units to suppress the mass action. What García failed to consider was the fact that a significant proportion of indigenous men in these villages had served as rmy conscripts, who fought in the 1995 war against Ecuador while others had been trained in local self-defense community organizations. These combat veterans were not intimidated by state terror and their resistance to the initial police attacks resulted in both police and Indian casualties. García then declared ‘war on the savages’ sending a heavy military force with helicopters and armored troops with orders to ‘shoot to kill’. AIDESEP activists report over one hundred deaths among the indigenous protestors and their families: Indians were murdered in the streets, in their homes and workplaces. The remains of many victims are believed to have been dumped in the ravines and rivers.
The Obama regime has predictably not issued a single word of concern or protest in the face of one of the worst massacres of Peruvian civilians in this decade – perpetrated by one of America’s closest remaining allies in Latin America. García, taking his talking points from the US Ambassador, accused Venezuela and Bolivia of having instigated the Indian ‘uprising’, quoting a letter of support from Bolivia’s President Evo Morales sent to an intercontinental conference of Indian communities held in Lima in May as ‘proof’. Martial law was declared and the entire Amazon region of Peru is being militarized. Meetings are banned and family members are forbidden from searching for their missing relatives.
Throughout Latin America, all the major Indian organizations have expressed their solidarity with the Peruvian indigenous movements. Within Peru, mass social movements, trade unions and human rights groups have organized a general strike on June 11. Fearing the spread of mass protests, El Commercio, the conservative Lima daily, cautioned García to adopt some conciliatory measures to avoid a generalized urban uprising. A one-day truce was declared on June 10, but the Indian organizations refused to end their blockade of the highways unless the García Government rescinds its illegal land grant decrees.
In the meantime, a strange silence hangs over the White House. Our usually garrulous President Obama, so adept at reciting platitudes about diversity and tolerance and praising peace and justice, cannot find a single phrase in his prepared script condemning the massacre of scores of indigenous inhabitants of the Peruvian Amazon. When egregious violations of human rights are committed in Latin America by a US backed client-President following Washington’s formula of ‘free trade’, deregulation of environmental protections and hostility toward anti-imperialist countries (Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador), Obama favors complicity over condemnation.
October 25, 2009
No-Knock Warrants Turning Into Paramilitary Raids
This is something that has been bothering since mid-winter when the story of Phil Dominguez broke and then a few weeks later when the LAPD raided his house. As you can see by the link I opened with, this trend is growing worse every single day. Since when did the local city police become justified in shooting down innocent people just because they felt threatened? Since when did the "probable cause" in the Fourth Amendment become defined as whatever rumor catches the ear of an over-zealous police captain or county sheriff?
We are under siege in our own homes, our Congress and President have become the puppets of Mao-lovers who hate our country, and we have become a laughingstock among nations. Our country is bankrupt, destitute, and rapidly turning into a caricature of itself.
Is this the "change" we elected Barack Obama to bring about? It is not the kind of change I personally was looking for. For my part, I am writing this blog, writing letters to the editors of various newspapers, and working to get Jim Renacci elected to Congress in Ohio's 16th District. If this is not the kind of change you were looking for, then you need to be doing something about it and you need to start now.
The United States of America is being transformed into a Chinese province. Are you just going to sit there and let it happen?
October 23, 2009
Your real enemy is not the church, but it might be a church or a church leader. Your real enemy is not the government, but it might be a government agency or the head of one. Your real enemy is not the older generation, but it might be someone older than you. Your real enemy is not the younger generation, but it might be someone younger than you. Your real enemy is anyone who tries to convince that you are not smart enough, talented enough, skilled enough, or educated enough to think for yourself. Your real enemy is anyone who insists they are more qualified to judge what you should and should not do, what you should and should not think, and what you should or should not believe than you yourself are.
And that includes me.
October 19, 2009
June 25, 2012: I learned today to my great disappointment that the New Orleans Showboat Restaurant has closed and will not reopen.---------------------------------------------------
I've been flying back and forth between Ohio and Japan for a full year. We bought property in Wooster, Ohio and are in the process of building a house. For reasons known only to the FAA, getting out of Cleveland's airport when bound for Tokyo is always a challenge. There are no direct flights. As a result, I always have to catch an early morning flight to somewhere else. For example, this time I am flying to Chicago's O'Hare airport and catching a flight from there. Tomorrow morning's flight from Cleveland departs at 7:39 a.m.
In order to avoid driving up to Cleveland during the morning rush hour, I normally spend at night at the Hampton Inn. Dinner is usually the next door TGIF. Today, however, I discovered a closed and abandoned restaurant has been renamed and reopened, so I decided to check it out.
Wow. I have eaten at restaurants on four continents and in a dozen countries. I've had meals that cost well over a hundred dollars a plate, and meals that cost pennies. The New Orleans Showboat Restaurant is easily one of the finest restaurants I have ever encountered. The decor is fashionable and upscale, the food is delicious, and the staff is so friendly they could teach human relations to McDonalds. A special shoutout goes to my new best friend, Jenn, who works as greeter. If the cold, formal, detached greeters (er, "hosts", as they like to be known) at any of the top flight restaurants in Ginza were half this friendly I'd eat there daily and smile at their extortionary prices.
Yeah, yeah, I know. All you gourmand wannabes out there are desperate to find out about the food. I ordered the Jamabalaya (which is customizable with a choice of five different items cooked into a delightful, moist, slightly spicy cajun rice that forms the base). At first glance the $5.99 for crayfish seems extreme, but the crayfish they serve are cocktail-shrimp size, juicy, and bursting with sweetness, a far cry from the dry, muddy-water tasting, three-ounce, pan-fried crayfish that passes for "gourmet" at most top-flight restaurants. And there are so many of them! The Jambalaya was overflowing with succulent bites of sweet crayfish. I also had shrimp, carrots, and broccoli. Maybe I'm no gourmand, but this was the best Jambalaya I have ever had.
Along with the dinner came rich, warm, fresh from the oven, garlic-butter dinner rolls. I don't know how they make these, but if you like garlic they are as heavenly as one could ever hope for, immensely better than the "proper" sliced and toasted garlic bread most places serve that crunches so well it cuts the roof of the your mouth. I could have filled up on buttery garlic dinner rolls and coffee and been content to pay anything they asked. I have paid hundreds of dollars for food half as good, ambience as phony as a Hollywood platinum blonde, and staff so cold they might as well be walking dead.
My total bill including tip, two double Captain Morgans, Jambalaya with my choice of toppings, sweet potato pie, and coffee was $50, so the place is not cheap, but it is well worth the money. I'd much rather spend $50 at The New Orleans Showboat Restaurant than $10 at a fast food joint or $20 at a family restaurant. When it comes to value, there is no substitute for friendly staff, fresh from the oven garlic dinner rolls, and spicy Jambalaya with sweet minature crayfish.
October 14, 2009
Waco: Rules of Engagement (Google Video)
Waco: A New Revelation (Google Video)
The Branch Davidians of Waco: The History and Beliefs of an Apocalyptic Sect (at Amazon.com)
Armageddon in Waco: Critical Perspectives in the Branch Davidian Conflict (at Amazon.com)
The important question to my mind is not whether David Koresh was insane. To my mind the real question we need to ask is how deeply we want the federal government involved in our daily life. Later, after the fires died down, there were allegations of pedophilia and polygamy. It strikes me as odd, and deeply disturbing, that if these allegations were known beforehand, why did they fall back on unfounded weapon's charges to justify a raid and seige?
Was he insane? Perhaps. Was he dangerous? Thanks to an overeager Janet Reno, we will never know.
One of the most frightening aspects of this film is how many of the principal players are now running the country. They are committee chairs, cabinet members, "special advisors" (a.k.a., "czars"), and one of them is now the Vice President.
Why do these people keep getting re-elected? Do the people in their districts not watch the news? Is our national memory so short that in sixteen years we have forgotten the sadistic nature of the Waco seige?
This will happen again. The only question is when and where.
And finally, one more tidbit to keep you up at night: the lead investigator in the first, botched "investigation" into events at Waco is now being given the responsibility of creating a global police force.
(Added on October 27, 2009):
Time Online, March 15, 1993, "David Koresh: Cult of Death"
Time Online, May 3, 1993, "The Branch Davidians: Oh, My God They're Killing Themselves!"
October 12, 2009
October 09, 2009
Just watch the video. Before long, those will be food lines, medical care lines, and perhaps even water lines.
This is what happens when a civilization self-destructs. Welcome to the implosion of the United States of America. The end has not only begun, it is well underway.
This video appeared on Hannity on Fox News last August. Today I finally found a YouTube channel that posted it.
This is our country. The United States of America does not belong to the world. It belongs to us!
Today the international humanists gave Barack Obama a Nobel Peace Prize when he has neither resolved a single international issue nor succeeded in getting a single international initiative off the ground. The only thing he has accomplished is to bow to the King of Saudi Arabia and give a speech before a gathering of Muslim leaders in Cairo. How is this deserving of the same prize won by Ghandi and Mother Teresa?
Here's Thomas Paine on Hannity last August. It still applies, and it has become even more important.
(later in the day)
Even the Europeans are shocked and dumbfounded:
What in heaven's name did the Nobel committee think they were accomplishing?
Oh, and least we forget, the Afgans and Iraqis have some thoughts they'd like to share: