#Chapelhill is About Peace (and brotherhood movement)= CHAPS

Deah with, from left, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha

in a Facebook image.

Let’s all be chaps. I mean friends,not some division of the underpaying, overcharging Ralph Lauren Polo products. First, another prayer (we all pray to the same God ok?) for Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; her husband, Mr. Barakat, 23; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

The real enemies, if anyone at all, are those decimating the earth, getting a major profit from the hard work of underpaid labor in Asia, South America, and, um the USA, not to mention India and the Middle East in Specific.

People of all denominations and spiritual beliefs need to come together to save the earth, demand a living wage, replace the hogs at the top of the status quo, and use democracy (when available) to change the laws to create a system of social safety nets and RESOURCE PRESERVATIION everywhere from the Amazon rain forests to the entire oceans of the world.

Why not take the world’s massive underemployed and unemployed population and have them scoop plastic out of the ocean.

Why not ban plastic, not just plastic bags?  What’s wrong with glass?

The chance now, to not just honor the lives of the victims, but to use this to unite EVERYONE on the planet in a movement to save the planet and create *peace* for everyone not just the gated community people.

For international reader: There is no place better than Chapel Hill to start an NGO, to start an activist movement, to take back the planet for everyone.

Massive changes of laws must occur for this to work out. GATT 2, GATT 1,NAFTA and almost any other free trade agreement is set up to profit from cheap labor.

Labor unions which brought us the best pay and best working conditions and best lives possible, are now powerless as any strike can be met with “ok then we will just move the entire line of manufacturing abroad.”  No More strike ,and no more jobs at all in the USA.

Everyone except the shareho0lder class has been hurt by these pernicious WTO rules which supplant national sovereignty with “all-the-money-to-the-rich” schemes that resemble feudalism.

Fundamentalsim is scary in the Christian world and not exactly helpful anywhere else.  Fundamentalism means “my way or the hiway” or “my way or death to infidels” but that means perpetual war, and the USA has attacked 91 times since World War II, notably in Korea, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Serbia, Iraq (1,2,3) Afghanistan, Pakistan, (where next, Ukraine or Korea again?)

As an American I’m willing to give up my time to prove that as human beings we are as nice as anyone else, and that it is our GOVERNMENT that smells out loud.

This is true for everyone I’ve met either on the International Peace Walk in Russia in 1987 and again in the USA in 1989 or in my work in South Korea, or in the 31 other countries I’ve been in.

But this is about the movement, that should be larger than Occupy because the goals are even more radical in the face of this divided world.  DO NOT LET THE BIG WIGS AT THE TOP DIVIDE US ANY LONGER!

It’s our PLANET, God help us make CHAPS a reality.

Genocide, Slavery, Greed

We cry for the slavery that led to such wealth,

This is not just  the land of the free.

We witness genocide all over this earth.

What can we do to end greed?

We cry for the land, full of modified crops

We must work to save human life.

What will our grandchildren have to live through

Since our appetite causes such strife?

The oil wars that started a decade ago

Have moved toward the Caspian Sea.

We are the dissidents, loud, without fear,

Even if we are cut at the knees.

We cry for the news they keep off TV,

The grapevine could snap any day.

Disinformation is the age we live in,

So who’s going to show us the way?

The answer is simple, we grow as a team,

A new brotherhood in the light.

We must build the village, invite all your friends,

This is no time to give up the fight!

They have all the bombs, the juntas abound,

Monsanto is spraying the poor.

We must dig our hands into arable land

Or genetics will foul every spore.

Profit mongers have sucked the earth dry,

We must reclaim all that we can.

Industrial China, the last frontier,

Soon money will own every man.

The kids on the streets are locked-down together,

Push a bike, and you could get ten years!

All this is forced because we stopped caring,

Yet some offer blood, sweat and tears.

We couldn’t stop bosses from shipping our jobs,

The replacement is for-profit jails.

Our schools are rotting, so teach if you can,

Where it counts, not Harvard or Yale.

The time is upon us, united as friends

We can make anything grow.

Come join the party, sing and dance all the day,

Tomorrow we get out the vote.

We cry for the genocide, slavery, greed

That persists after thousands of years.

It’s late, but there’s time, if we really work hard

We can stop the torrent of tears.

Harold Lear’s Swan Song

Lear Dancer Lear passes Microphone to Norbert Lear Sings

Harold Lear’s Swan Song

Dr. Bob and the Disco Beaver played its last show ever at Speakeasy on March 6.  It was packed like sardines, which was appropriate, since many were initiated as “Honorary Newfoundlanders” by “kissing the fish” and slamming an insane Canadian whisky named “Screech,” at the end of the night.

Also onstage was the G-Jay band, with a recently revamped line up of Tim Crawford (saxophone), Norbert Morvan (vocals and MC “Royale”), Tony Boyd (bass), Gordon MacKay (guitar), Caleb MacIvor (keys, vocals, songwriter, originator, bandleader, task master and booking agent), Ed McEntee (drums), and Carlos Gentile (percussion).

The packed bar had barely enough room for dancers to improvise.  Couples were spotted doing the Mashed Potato, the Bus Stop, and the dance that has made Speakeasy famous, the “your-place-or-mine?”  And who could resist a swing around the dance floor with the blues-driven, hard-driving guitar riffs of Harold Lear and his accomplished band?

You could see the emotion of playing his last gig in Korea on Harold’s face, but he scored a tenured professorship in New Brunswick, Canada, and could not resist teaching sociology, though his PhD is in Eastern Philosophy. “My masters degree is in sociology, so it’s not a big stretch,” he said with his characteristic smile.  His music and merry-making will be much missed.  He named the night “Saturday Mayhem,” and it was not shocking that many who knew him from his latest stint in Suncheon made the trek to bid him adieu.

Not to be outdone (except notably on drums and guitar) the G-Jay band also got our feet moving, as Norbert toasted the crowd, and the band played funk, reggae and rock numbers from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, as well as Caleb’s soulful originals.  You couldn’t be faulted for thinking this band was formed at a catholic church, what with the Macs and Mcs, and it turns out bassist Tony Boyd hails from Scotland itself, thus not one of the millions that are part of the Irish and Scottish Diaspora.

As a music critic, I’d pick Tim Crawford as the undisputed star of the G-Jay band.  His sax riffs began halfway through the Disco Beaver’s first set (he was in the upstairs pool room, or precisely, in the kitchen/storage room next to it at the time).  His runs, more Charlie Parker than Eric Dolphy, kept going non-stop, except for a brief breathing period to walk downstairs and set his microphone height.  Did he “warm up” during the stage preparation? Yes.  Did his hyperkinetic, beautiful, lyrical alto sax solos continue through everything but other solos?  Indeed.  Was it a distraction to Norbert’s singing? I think not.  Why not?  Because Crawford is good.  Very good.

You can tell these guys love having a gig outside the realm of teaching English, as the pre-show banter was flowing like earth-rumbling splashes emanating from Viagra Falls.  “One night we had a small crown, maybe 12 people, but all 12 were dancing. One dude fell, broke our mike stand and knocked himself out.  We picked him up and he kept dancing,” McIvor said.  “We’ve made it into a Korean documentary, and play just about everywhere we can find.  On the originals I write the music, and Norbert writes the words…the songs grow organically.”

Many of the members are “lifers” in Korea, meaning, once they arrived here and discovered the gentle culture, sincere friendships and positive working conditions, they stayed for life.  Three are married, four are Canadian, two are from the US and one is Scottish.  They play out of Jeon Ju.  “Being right in the middle of the peninsula is an advantage when it comes to playing gigs all over the country,” MacIvor said.  He also said there were no “real leaders” in the band, and that they are “living the dream,” by being able to play so often.

“We changed a lot of songs this year, with new members.  Everyone brings in ideas for cover songs and then I shoot them down,” MacIvor said, laughing.  “We have an advantage because we can play sets of covers with just three members, so we’re flexible in case some people are too tied up to make a gig.”

Dr. Bob and the Disco Beaver played near-perfect renditions of classics like the James Gang’s “Funk 49,” Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious” and, to allow a little improvisational guitar freedom, Hendrix’ “Voodoo Chile.”  G-Jay then kept the “Groove Thing” going with originals like “Faces,” and a memorable cover of the Specials “(a message for you ) Rudy.”  The trombones were not missed, with Crawford’s sax work, and the appropriate multicultural Specials were great to hear, as it had been a while, since there is nothing like a classic rock or rock station anywhere near Gwangju.  You would think GFN would cater to the tastes of the foreigners in town, with it being the Gwangju Foreigners Network, instead they play KPOP songs that are just as often from the bands managed by the director’s son than from KPOP itself.  There would still be plenty of time for a genuine rock hour or two per day, but helping foreigners feel at home is apparently not the goal of the station. I like what Pete Ross does, but his show is not rock either, but 75% mamby-pamby British obscurities.

This too is why the Disco Beavers will be missed, and why we hope the G-Jay band will be back.  Speakeasy impresario Derek does a great job locating Korea’s talent, and there is little doubt that new bands shall arise from the pool of English teachers.  There is no way any will touch the guitar mastery of Harold Lear though, as his musical resume includes a stint with Ringo Starr, and by golly, if Harold’s good enough to be a tenured sociology professor at New Brunswick, and has the musical chops to be Ringo Starr’s guitarist, that’s one mighty hard act to follow.

First Published in the Gwangju News:  http://www.gwangjunewsgic.com/

Ann Mary Campbell U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees: Afghanistan and Korea

Janey 17 profile for real

The Face of the Generation that could be lost

UPDATE:  Campbell also told me the fate of 2million Pakistanis who became refugees within a six week period in June and July of 2010. American paid mercenaries were making it impossible to that many Pakistanis to remain in their homes, the comparison speaks volumes. It tookabout8 years to create 2 million refugees in a full blown war in Iraq 2003-2011. How did the UYSA clear out so many Pakistanis, thus making local governments impotent, and clearing the way for the last 200 kilometers of the Afgan/Pakistni oil pipeline?  They were calling out the local governments and holding massive town/city meetings and giving the governments a choice:  tell people to clear out,or face the “consequences.”  WOW  Just as in Iraq and elsewhere, all dubious to insane military moves are made by well-paid mercenaries who are NOT on the payroll,nor liable to act under a chain of command. Thus the dirtiest deeds are NOT done by  our military, thus with no responsibility or consequences..

Anne Mary Campbell, the globetrotting United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Seoul seems to always appear during or just before massive refugee crises.

Before working for the United Nations, Campbell pulled four years for a Non-Government Organization (NGO) in Thailand, just as 160,000 refugees were fleeing Pol Pot’s killing fields in Kampuchea (Cambodia). Her work there gave her the experience needed to be placed in Kenya, just as 260,000 refugees poured in from Somalia, and in Mazur, Afghanistan do deal with the uncountable thousands internally displaced Afghans from 2004 to 2007.

What then could be the challenge for such expertise here in the Republic of Korea, which, of its 2500 known applications for refugee status, has only granted 175 people the papers they need to work and live here as refugee asylees?

Rather than meeting the food, shelter, clothing, medical and educational needs of refugees in tent cities, Campbell’s herculean task will be to achieve legislation that formalizes how refugees are accepted in Korea, and, for now, to at least find a way for those seeking refugee status to be able to do so at a port of entry with or without proper paperwork.

Her May 22nd GIC Talk laid out the definition of refugee, the immediate plight of 32 million refugees around the world, and the need for private funding of the UNHCR’s $2 billion annual budget.

Before the talk the Gwangju News (GN) chatted with Campbell and her assistant, Park Yoo Kyoung, the UNHCR Face-To-Face Fundraising Coordinator in Seoul.

“The legislative process is slow in Seoul, but if a refugee act can be passed, we would then work to strengthen the law. In East Asia, only Japan and South Korea have refugee asylum systems,” Campbell said in her native Irish accent. “North Koreans are not considered refugees here because they are given citizenship and assistance with many details of their lives once they arrive. A sign of the importance of foreigners was last year’s Together Day in Seoul in which President Lee spoke about the important roles foreigners play in Korea.”

Since guest workers are such a large part of the economy, it is an anomaly that only 3.5% of those seeking asylum have been granted working papers. South Korea’s prosperity relies on foreigners, but an onslaught of refugees may well be more than the export-driven economy here could handle.

GN: How is the drive to find more private donors to help asylum seekers going in the ROK?

Campbell: It is a brand new initiative, so we’re breaking even with money invested, but the 20-30-year-old age group is responding well.

GN: How can English-speaking readers get involved?

Campbell: You can find us at http://www.unhcr.or.kr . Among the refugees here, most come from Asia. For African refugees, they are on their own in a culture that is very different. For Asians it is much easier.

GN: In March the first recognized refugee ever, a man from Ethiopia, was given citizenship in the ROK. Is this a trend, or an exception?

Campbell: Our goal is to try to assist refugees as much as we can. First we’re working on expedited asylum claims, and looking forward to a refugee reception center that is expected to open in 2012. The Ministry of Justice, UNHCR and National Commission for Human Rights have met with pro bono lawyers representing refugees back when I was in Kenya. This kind of on-the-spot discussion is good. More can happen here, but the Ministry of Justice is already meeting more often with lawyers assisting refugees here.

Campbell’s talk began with an informative 15-minute movie about refugees in Africa and Columbia, both often created by ongoing civil wars. In Africa 5 million have died from war recently, two out of three being women. At its worst, 1000 people per day were dying from wars, notoriously in Rwanda, Sudan and Somalia, but elsewhere as well. The Columbian situation closely mirrors that in Seoul, where refugees are harder to assist, since they are in cities, thus spread out, and melding into large populations.

“In Seoul asylum seekers do not get assistance unless the adjudication process takes over a year. During this time, they do not have the right to work. In 1992 the ROK signed the refugee convention, and received its first asylum seeker in 2001. Many Asian countries never signed the covenant,” Campbell informed. “There are as many as five million Columbian refugees living in Ecuador. Eighty percent go to cities to gain anonymity, as they fear reprisals. Most earn one dollar per day, but the UNHCR has issued three million refugee cards there which gives the children a chance to be schooled. In the barrios (impoverished neighborhoods) 60-70% of the children are displaced.”

The movie also noted that many Koreans were displaced and moved toward Busan in the Korean War. Pictures of wind-driven snowy treks in the winter showed hundreds of Koreans walking toward Busan in the South, and lined up to take trains to Busan from Seoul.

“The will to live is strong during war, but the refugee asylum procedures are harder now than in the post World War II era,” Campbell said. “The UNHCR assists a government when invited to do so. Since World War II, the U.S. and Russia have had a lot of proxy wars, so refugees from the cold war, in addition to Rwanda, Columbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and many other places are internally displaced. You can’t be a refugee in your own country.”

This makes it hard for the UNHCR to help everyone, as certain criteria must be met before the worst atrocities can be handled. Among the most heinous examples: “In Rwanda one million or more were killed and the international community knew the slaughter was coming, but no one did anything until an outsider Tutu came in with his own army,” Campbell said. “In 1995 in Srebrenica, Bosnia, a UN ‘Safe Haven’ was set up and protected by 400 Dutch UNPROFOR [United Nations Protection Force] soldiers, who could not prevent the mass murder of over 8000 Bosnian Muslims. In 1996, Albanians in Kosovo were also victims of genocidal Serbs, but the international community’s reaction, a military intervention by NATO, not the UN, made matters worse until the Balkan wars finally ended. In 2000 a poorly planned military intervention in Somalia was too heavy. The result was more bloodshed. So who has responsibility to protect? 1) the government of the county involved 2) the head of State of the country involved and then 3) the international community. But the level of atrocities must rise above human rights violations before international military interventions should be used,” Campbell suggested.

“At the 2007 World Summit, 150 heads-of-state agreed that a human rights problem is not enough to warrant intervention,” she continued. “It must be atrocities, and even then, it must be at a Rwandan level before the intervention could be a military one.

“I have been in the middle of many massive refugee situations. The UNHCR does not want to see anyone pushed back into harm’s way. Every asylum seeker during a war must be given due process and a proper interview,” Campbell said.

Many seeking asylum move due to drought, floods, and economic conditions, Campbell pointed out. “If we want to have control over the movement of people, developed countries must work to help economies grow so people do not need to flee. Those with questions after the meeting asked about what could happen with global climate change, and natural disasters, and how to help those who are forced to move for reasons other than war.

“The UNHCR has 200 offices and a staff of 6500. Our budget is $2 billion per year and our mandate says we must raise funds from private donations. The quickest way to help is to make donations, and the place you can start is by looking at http://www.unhcr.or.kr” Campbell said.

Dr. Binayak Sen, Indian Hero, Wins 2011 Gwangju Human RIghts Award, still relevant

http://www.gwangjunewsgic.com/online/about-us-2/

From a Story in the June 2011 Gwangju News

Photos and story by Doug Stuber

Copy of IMG_6119                                         Copy of IMG_6120

Copy of IMG_6121                                                 IMG_6120

IMG_6275                     IMG_6122

IMG_6123                                                     IMG_6124

IMG_6125                                                            IMG_6127

IMG_6128                                                              IMG_6129

Traditional Music at the Human Rights Award Ceremony Traditional Music at the Human Rights Award Ceremony

This year’s Gwangju Human Rights Award winner is Binayak Sen, the Indian Medical Doctor who has served local patience in Chhattisgarh while fighting for human rights to the extend that he was given a life sentence by his “the world’s largest democracy.”  Archaic laws and false charges were used against Sen because he worked hard ot protect the original homeland, forest and waters of the indigenous Adivasis.  POSCO, the huge Korean Steel maker has been the driving force behind development that would “steal Iron ore at 60 cents per ton, (the going rate is $120) and not pay the tribe anything, while also setting up a steel factory on the land.

His acceptance speech also covered the massive poverty, with 43% of the children under five are malnourished, the average Indian lives on 50 cents a day, and 863 million Indians living in abject poverty, while India sports the largest number of US dollar billionaires in Asia these days.  He also noted that UNICEF estimates two million children per year die in India due to malnutrition and related diseases.

His work for the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, and support of local unions and the land got him accused of helping Maoist rebels, and he was in Gwangju on Parole form the Supreme court, after being arrested and jailed in 2007.

He does not know whether he will be in jail again or not, but it appears the Supreme Court decision, which was influenced by support for Sen ranging from Amnesty International all the way up to Nobel Prize winners.  For a complete rundown of his speech, and the two special prize winners go to  www.gicjournal.wordpress.com

After his speech he went to a different subject and said “can you believe the world will still consider building more nuclear power plants after what happened in Japan?!?”

 IMG_6284

Daniela Kitain and Mazen Faraj, both members of the Parents Circle Families Forum, a group that promotes understanding and peace, along with justice in Palestine/Israel received the Special award this year.  Both have lost family members to each other’s army’s bullets, and their group is working with other families who have lost loved ones to the continued violence in an attempt to build human rights via peace.  Daniela lost a 21-year-old son, and Mazen, who was born in a refugee camp and lived through a hellish young life, had an additional pain applied when his father, at age 62, was gunned down.

As always, human rights activists from around the world attended the ceremonies, including the memorial ceremony at the 518 ceremony.  The night before, an evening overture to a series of seminars, performances, and flat-out crying occurred on Geumnam-no, as congregants of the May 18th Foundation’s 2011 Human Rights Award ceremony filed into the area that saw the worst of the 1980 massacre (along with “Sangmu”) and the last of the massacre (at Provincial Hall).

What began as a peaceful demonstration against the ruling dictatorship of Choi Kyu-hah who served from December 18, 1979 until August 16, 1980, and more to the point, his immediate predecessor, Park Chung Hee, who was in charge for two terms from December 27, 1972 until October 26, 1979, and later Chun Doo Hwan, who kept dictatorships alive against greatly suffering protests. It’s too tragic to list the number of work camps, imprisonments and destruction of lives that occurred to many who resisted the dictators, but once the movement for democracy took place, it was not to be denied.

But denial, until 1987 was handled by Chun Doo Hwan, one of the most vicious dictators, and the one who, though Lee Myung Bak could not manage to come to any but the first possible May 18th celebration in Gwangju, was able to have tea with Lee Myung Bak while he skipped May 18th celebrationsin Gwangjuin Lee’s second year in office..  A sitting president skips the 518 memorial, the first one to do so, yet is able to sit and take tea with Chun Doo Hwan?  The implications are massive.  The policy decision to use forced water cannons on USA Beef protestors in which were, according to Wikipedia were:  “the country’s largest anti-government protests in 20 years,” resulted in eight deaths, and the beef being allowed into South Korea in less than a months after those futile deaths.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_US_beef_protest_in_South_Korea

One hopes that the lessons learned on 518 and in 2008 will both be heeded in the upcoming elections.

However, Under Chun, as many know, at least 54 suicides were directly related to the movement for democracy between May 18, 1980 and the gaining of a direct vote in 1987.  The most noted were the students who first published pamphlets about the importance of democracy, and then flung themselves from the library tower at Seoul National University.

Among Gwangju’s deaths was the Chonnam National University Student Union President, Park Gwan Hyeon, who died of a hunger strike in prison in 1982.  A new Liberal Arts building at ChonnDae is named after him.

Such sacrifice was needed, and such sacrifice succeeded.  Sadly, Japan, East Timor and India remain the only democratic or semi-democratic states in Asia.  But the May 18th Foundation has a large group of human rights interns who are schooled in the technical realities of how to foster democracy back in their home countries.

Robert Kesten, an activist in town for the Human Rights Award ceremonies and seminars, and director of the “People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning,” had an perceptive perspective about May 18.  “Not enough people ever found out about May 18, 1980 in Gwangju in my hoe country of the United States.  By 1980 the U.S. media had changed from a watchdog to a mouthpiece for government.  This problem persists not just in the U.S. and Asia, but in Europe now as well,” he said.  “We have so much more news going on yet hear more about Lindsey Lohan than the wars in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Even form economists all we get is blah, blah blah.”

Kesten describes his Non-Government Organization (NGO) as a human rights corps: “a group of dedicated activists seeking to train people in villages, towns and cities about the importance of human rights.  We are based in New York, but achieved a grant form the Swiss government,” the activist said.  A typical worker in the PDHRE (I don’t know how they got the “D,” but the People, and Human Rights Education appear to be good guesses for the other letters) is not in it for monetary gain, but to instill the importance of human rights at a time when the globalized profit motive has turned billions into wage slaves.  This poverty exacerbates the opportunities for human rights abuses, and amounts to one in itself.

His inadvertent use of corps might make one think of the Peace Corps, but the US Government controlled group couldn’t be further form what Kesten’s and other NGOs are trying to achieve these days.  Other groups such as two form Japan: the Peace Boat (which uses microloans and education to create local economies in impoverished part of Asia) and Bicycle for Everyone’s Environment, the educated about global warming and bicycle use throughout Japan, travelling by bicycle of course, are part of a growing network that is slowly gaining momentum, and acts as a counter-balance to the profit-over-people approach that has failed to create a middle class in most of Asia.

ON the home-grown side, Kim Jung-Kil, the twice-elected Assemblymen from Busan, and former General Affairs minister in Kim Dae Jung’s cabinet, was on hand to usher in a new era that can gain the strength of the democratic movement in time for next year’s elections.  As a “democracy professor” he came to keep the Gwangju flame burning, and looked for all the world, like a presidential candidate as he enjoyed the triangular Kimbop offered by volunteer ajummas on Geumnam-no.

The hope is that more middle schools and high schools and even hagwans create field trips to the events during this week, and encourage participation in more events coming up May 21 and 22 downtown.  SO, Native English Speakers, stuck for a leson plan?  See if you supervisor will let your class visit an activity related to “518.”  Here’s to the spirit of Oh Ee Pal!

This year’s Gwangju Human Rights Award winner is Binayak Sen, the Indian Medical Doctor who has served local patience in Chhattisgarh while fighting for human rights to the extend that he was given a life sentence by his “the world’s largest democracy.”  Archaic laws and false charges were used agai nst Sen because he worked hard ot protect the original homeland, forest and waters of the indigenous Adivasis.  PSOSCO, the huge Korean Steel maker has been the driving force behind development that would “steal Iron ore at 60 cents per ton, (the going rate is $120) and not pay the tribe anything, while also setting up a steel factory on the land.

His acceptance speech also covered the massive poverty, with 43% of the children under five are malnourished, the average Indian lives on 50 cents a day, and 863 million Indians living in abject poverty, while India sports the largest number of US dollar billionaires in Asia these days.  He also noted that UNICEF estimates two million children per year die in India due to malnutrition and related diseases.

His work for the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, and support of local unions and the land got him accused of helping Maoist rebels, and he was in Gwangju on Parole form the Supreme court, after being arrested and jailed in 2007.

He does not know whether he will be in jail again or not, but it appears the Supreme Court decision, which was influenced by support for Sen ranging from Amnesty International all the way up to Nobel Prize winners.  For a complete rundown of his speech, and the two special prize winners go to  www.gicjournal.wordpress.com

After his speech he went to a different subject and said “can you believe the world will still consider building more nuclear power plants after what happened in Japan?!?”

Daniela Kitain and Mazen Faraj, both members of the Parents Circle Families Forum, a group that promotes understanding and peace, along with justice in Palestine/Israel received the Special award this year.  Both have lost family members to each other’s army’s bullets, and their group is working with other families who have lost loved ones to the continued violence in an attempt to build human rights via peace.  Daniela lost a 21-year-old son, and Mazen, who was born in a refugee camp and lived through a hellish young life, had an additional pain applied when his father, at age 62, was gunned down.

As always, human rights activists from around the world attended the ceremonies, including the memorial ceremony at the 518 ceremony.  The night before, an evening overture to a series of seminars, performances, and flat-out crying occurred on Geumnam-no, as congregants of the May 18th Foundation’s 2011 Human Rights Award ceremony filed into the area that saw the worst of the 1980 massacre (along with “Sangmu”) and the last of the massacre (at Provincial Hall).

What began as a peaceful demonstration against the ruling dictatorship of Choi Kyu-hah who served from December 18, 1979 until August 16, 1980, and more to the point, his immediate predecessor, Park Chung Hee, who was in charge for two terms from December 27, 1972 until October 26, 1979, and later Chun Doo Hwan, who kept dictatorships alive against greatly suffering protests. It’s too tragic to list the number of work camps, imprisonments and destruction of lives that occurred to many who resisted the dictators, but once the movement for democracy took place, it was not to be denied.

But denial, until 1987 was handled by Chun Doo Hwan, one of the most vicious dictators, and the one who, though Lee Myung Bak could not manage to come any but the first possible May 18th celebration in Gwangju, was able to have tea with Lee Myung Bak.  A sitting president skips the 518 memorial, the first one to do so, yet is able to sit and take tea with Chun Doo Hwan?  The implications are massive.  The policy decision to use forced water cannons on USA Beef protestors in which were, according to Wikipedia were:  “the country’s largest anti-government protests in 20 years,” resulted in eight deaths, and the beef being allowed into South Korea in less than a months after those futile deaths.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_US_beef_protest_in_South_Korea

One hopes that the lessons learned on 518 and in 2008 will both be heeded in the upcoming elections.

However, Under Chun, as many know, at least 54 suicides were directly related to the movement for democracy between May 18, 1980 and the gaining of a direct vote in 1987.  The most noted were the students who first published pamphlets about the importance of democracy, and then flung themselves from the library tower at Seoul National University.

Among Gwangju’s deaths was the Chonnam National University Student Union President, Park Gwan Hyeon, who died of a hunger strike in prison in 1982.  A new Liberal Arts building at ChonnDae is named after him.

Such sacrifice was needed, and such sacrifice succeeded.  Sadly, Japan, East Timor and India remain the only democratic or semi-democratic states in Asia.  But the May 18th Foundation has a large group of human rights interns who are schooled in the technical realities of how to foster democracy back in their home countries.

Robert Kesten, an activist in town for the Human Rights Award ceremonies and seminars, and director of the “People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning,” had an perceptive perspective about May 18.  “Not enough people ever found out about May 18, 1980 in Gwangju in my hoe country of the United States.  By 1980 the U.S. media had changed from a watchdog to a mouthpiece for government.  This problem persists not just in the U.S. and Asia, but in Europe now as well,” he said.  “We have so much more news going on yet hear more about Lindsey Lohan than the wars in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Even form economists all we get is blah, blah blah.”

Kesten describes his Non-Government Organization (NGO) as a human rights corps: “a group of dedicated activists seeking to train people in villages, towns and cities about the importance of human rights.  We are based in New York, but achieved a grant form the Swiss government,” the activist said.  A typical worker in the PDHRE (I don’t know how they got the “D,” but the People, and Human Rights Education appear to be good guesses for the other letters) is not in it for monetary gain, but to instill the importance of human rights at a time when the globalized profit motive has turned billions into wage slaves.  This poverty exacerbates the opportunities for human rights abuses, and amounts to one in itself.

His inadvertent use of corps might make one think of the Peace Corps, but the US Government controlled group couldn’t be further form what Kesten’s and other NGOs are trying to achieve these days.  Other groups such as two form Japan: the Peace Boat (which uses microloans and education to create local economies in impoverished part of Asia) and Bicycle for Everyone’s Environment, the educated about global warming and bicycle use throughout Japan, travelling by bicycle of course, are part of a growing network that is slowly gaining momentum, and acts as a counter-balance to the profit-over-people approach that has failed to create a middle class in most of Asia.

ON the home-grown side, Kim Jung-Kil, the twice-elected Assemblymen from Busan, and former General Affairs minister in Kim Dae Jung’s cabinet, was on hand to usher in a new era that can gain the strength of the democratic movement in time for next year’s elections.  As a “democracy professor” he came to keep the Gwangju flame burning, and looked for all the world, like a presidential candidate as he enjoyed the triangular Kimbop offered by volunteer ajummas on Geumnam-no.

The hope is that more middle schools and high schools and even hagwans create field trips to the events during this week, and encourage participation in more events coming up May 21 and 22 downtown.  SO, Native English Speakers, stuck for a leson plan?  See if you supervisor will let your class visit an activity related to “518.”  Here’s to the spirit of Oh Ee Pal!

Smile to laugh,

Copy of IMG_2642

New Cheer:  “Kick Ass Doug”

Smile to laugh,
gleam to sweat, in last
Gwangju summer, packing one
more time, one more move,
conclusion.

Family may
shrink again, grandmother
struggles, husband not
silent enough, must now make
a life of farming.

Dynamic
bounces from caustic
to tolerant, but stress mounts,
throws Dad for a loop.
Numbers suck

so doctors
check; stress ruins love, kills the
romance. The batting
order is a team of three,
not Kia Tigers.

Pressures ease
as sweat replaces rage for
hot gym rats
and their mascot, our
running, hiding, son.

One semester
to make everything look good,
quell rampant
rumors, teach better,
kiss Gwangju goodbye.

Copyright, Doug Stuber, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Gwangju Biennale Symposium: “Media and Future Politics”

Gwangju Biennale Symposium Series “Sweet Dew, Since 1980”

Media and Future Politics, 29 August 2014, Gwangju South Korea.

The “Burning Down the House” symposium titled “Media and Future Politics” was expansive and educational as expert media analysts and journalists from Thailand, Germany, and South Korea harmonized about the takeover of mass media by big capital, the uneven effectiveness of Social Messaging services as truth-telling devices, and the future of democracy under such conditions.

Moderator Kim Sae Jeong first noted that media laws and have changed the spirit of South Korea from Gwangju’s starting positive democratic changes to democracy moving backward in less than 20 years. Lee Young Woo then explained that the Gwangju Biennale, the oldest biennale in Asia is celebrating 20 years with a series of symposiums meant to broaden the discussion begun by Jessica Morgan’s “Burning Down the House,” a concept that implies that the past must be destroyed in order for a more positive future to be achieved.

Thai journalist Pravit Rojanaphruk, who has recently been detained for a week by the self-empowered Junta in Bangkok, spoke of the effectiveness and weaknesses of using SMS like twitter, Facebook, Line and YouTube when a society faces its second military overthrow in seven years.

“On May 22, 2014 General Prayuth took over, and as Army chief eventually appointed himself Prime Minister. The initial protests against the coup were massive with two weeks of chaos, but the streets quieted down, in part due to the protests moving into social media and away from the streets. In this way SMS helped the Coup retain power, which the Junta in 2006 did not. But this coup was the first in the world in the SMS era,” Pravit said.

He explained that the conflict was really between the Old Elite and the New Elite, and that the poor of Thailand, some 55-60 percent of the people were backing the new elite, while the middle class backed the old elite. Rojanaphruk’s 20 years of reporting for The Nation Newspaper (English) and as a volunteer for the online Thai language publication “prachatai.com made him so influential that the Coup leaders order number 6 was that he present himself to the “National Council for Peace and Order” t be detained. While behind bars he noted that left wing activists and business leaders were detained in the same camp, and became friends with his jailers.

“I made over 6000 new twitter followers without being able to send out a single tweet,” he said with a chuckle. “Many activists fled to as far away as Europe rather than face detention by the Coup. But I asked a guard if I could at least see my twitter account and he showed it to me on his phone, and I warned them that they can’t stop social media. Later they contacted the Norwegian company that administers Facebook in Thailand, and shut down Facebook for 45 minutes. The outrage was huge and swift as nearly one third of Thai people have Facebook accounts, and there are more cell phones I Thailand than there are people.

The drawbacks are that all the anger can be funneled into cyberspace and not on the streets. No matter how much SMS was used to fuel the Arab Spring, it was people on the streets that caused the changes, he noted. The bigger problem is that social media can be used by governments to spy on people. But, if the TV and man newspapers are censoring themselves out of fear of a Junta, then social media is what we have left to spread the news in varying levels of truth and emotion.

“A Colonel in the Army asked if I would add him as a friend on Facebook while I was detained. I did.

“The public in Thailand is somewhat divided as about 15 percent supported the coup. The coup itself was tactful not to arrest too many people, as, after a while, both the protestors and the army were simply tired out, Rojanaphruk said. “The Monarchy is still in existence in Thailand, and there are laws against saying anything against the monarchy, but this year’s coup is an expression of the old elite being overthrown by the new elite, it’s similar to the Chosun Dynasty be challenged here. I can’t say much more than that or I will be in prison again.”

IN the Q and A, Professor Kim Nam See of Ehwa Women’s University mentioned that Korea has a national agency that sets up multiple SMS accounts to sway public opinion. They also have a large staff monitoring social media, and tens of thousands of sites and accounts have been blocked. Rojanaphruk’s response: “I’ve had tweets that demand that I be arrested on one hand, on the other, the Coup Leader Prayuth has written a song called “Returning Happiness to the Thai People,” and you hear it everywhere and all the time, he said with a wry smile.

Thoug Jurgen Muller’s examples were more historical, he hit home with the Media’s triumphs and failures from the French Revolution to the backlash against Der Speigel newspaper when it reported that Germany was in effect defenseless in 1962, and editors and journalists were jailed, and the police seized mounds of papers and microfilm. The Media in conflict with government often loses such conflict, and loses its ability to be a watchdog of government corruption.

As Plato, the founding thinker of democracy, said, “Democracy does not work in an uneducated society,” to which must be added, ESPECIALLY a society uneducated about its government.

Muller then used the photographs, taken on cell phones, at Abu Ghraib to show how important citizen journalism can be. Most famously reported by The New Yorker magazine’s Seymour Hersh, who also exposed the Mi Lai massacre in Vietnam. But the images went beyond the New Yorker, and were amplified on SMS. He pointed out that in wars there is a strong tendency of the mass media in countries to turn patriotic. “”Political and economic powers have an enormous interest in the exclusion of elements which might irritate our ideologically shaped views of the world and the world of wars.”
He failed to remind us though, that no matter how horrific the tortures were at Abu Ghraib and other “extraordinary rendition” sites around the world were, the media so squelched the wrongdoing that George Bush was re-elected 1.5 years AFTER the tortures took place partly because the mass media in the USA depicted him as the more “moral leader,” then John Kerry because Kerry favored legalized abortion. Thus, when big business and big government collude to create red herrings like gay marriage and abortion and “tough on crime” those same issues can be used over and over to assure conservative, bloodthirsty, in effect fascist leaders continue to be elected.

Muller rightly pointed out that when the media gets too cozy with government, corruption is inevitable. He also rightly stated that in order for social media truth-tellers to remain free, they are going to have to find ways to hide their identities and which computers or phones they send their tweets and posts out on.

He ended with a story about how the Bild newspaper went overboard in digging up unsubstantiated facts about ousted German President Christian Wulff. “This excessive procedure feeding the voyeuristic greed of the public came along with a media competition of journalists to be the first to publish the ‘latest’ sensational aspect of the crisis. Newspapers and print media did not make use of their reflective and abstaining potential in relation to the much faster digital and social media.” Maybe they went too far, but at least they tried to hold power responsible for its actions. The last time anything like investigative journalism worked in the USA was Watergate, which forced President Nixon to resign in 1974. (OK, other than for false investigative journalism used to defame progressives by liars like Fox News.)

His best point being that if newspapers want to survive at all, they should slow down and take the time to analyze and dig deeper into the issues than the often emotional SMS world does.

Later, panel discussion member Han Seon, a research professor of the May 18th Foundation at Chonnam National University pointed out that in Korea 70 percent of the print media is conservative, and only 10 percent is progressive. This, in effect, vetoes independent reporting in South Korea. But big capital and Big Government laws are and even larger interference to the media playing its role as a watchdog of government.

There was a general dislike of reporters moving on to become spokes-people for the Blue House, or, in the case of the USA, a White House Press Secretary (George Stefanopolos) becoming a news star for ABC Network news.

Choi Jinbong was more on point with a speech titled “The Conservative Government’s Control over the Media and the Crisis of Democracy.” Pointedly he said “The media tryn to construct reality for people who don’t have first-hand experience. Government uses the media and the media is used to control public opinion. The Communication professor at Sunhonghoe University (where else?) who has also been a professor at Texas State University, returned to Korea after 13 years I the USA, said that “the gatekeepers (of news) are gone, and anyone can make a post, so who has the power? Many issues are not covered that should be.”

“Lee Myung Bak started his administration by putting the Korean Broadcasting Telecommunications Commission under the direct control of the President. This led to three papers (Dong –A, Chosun and Choong Ang) dominating the media on the print side, and legalizing large conglomerates as owners of broadcast media.” The result being corporate news, and only corporate news, for 90 percent or more of the people who care to look at or read the news.

“There are two types of control in South Korean Media that lower the level of democracy: big money and government,” Choi said. The laws passed over opposition that went so far as court cases were ruled illegal, but never overturned by the court. Illegal, but allowed to stand. Later, the National Assembly never even looked at whether these laws were legal or not, and the proxy voting that created news channels that attack individuals and political parties alike.”

“It’s like watching North Korean TV, anyone who opposes the government is defamed. The ruling party controls 13 of the 15 members of the broadcasting commission. This should be slplit evenly if we are to gain any measure of fairness in the media,” he continued. “Exaggerated and even false information distributed on their airwaves all went against the basic rules and principles of Korean journalism, misguiding the entire society.”

This problem continues, of course.

“Lack of media fairness initiated by MBC correspondents’ refusal to produce any content, were followed by the company-wide strikes in 2012… Park (GH) could be elected though she stems from Lee’s political ideology which disregarded and failed to communicate with the public, because domestic broadcasters, conservative newspapers and general programming channels made explicitly biased reports during the campaign period,” Choi said.

“Broadcasters are organizations that play a role in our society including observing and checking the authorities and forming public opinions after collecting different views. Therefore, they should be supervised by an independent organization free from any influence of the authorities, including government,“ he scolded.

“KBS’s reporting of the Sewol Ferry tragedy plainly showed how the Park government was skillfully reigning in and controlling public broadcast. KBS continued to release biased and false reports and omitted reports about government faults,” he added.

In the age of globalization, corporate and big money control of the media gives the public a biased view of the world, and almost no valid reporting about the plight of the impoverished, the real damage being done to our environment or the importance of independent investigative journalists playing their role as watchdogs in a democracy. Later, in the panel discussion he added that changing society or journalism from the bottom up will not work, and it is those at the top that have to be changed. “Capital has a huge influence over the media, and regulations have been eased to improve profits,” he said. Improved profits yes, more truth in the media, no.

Another panelist, Hyuph Namgun, said that we have to change the way we consume the news, and consume in general. He warned that the older+ generation contradicts itself when seeing the young consumerism as vulgar, when in reality, people in their 40s and 50s also have to stop over consuming, and demand that the stories about the suffering in the world be passed down to younger generations otherwise the suffering will grow larger in the future.

Panelist Yoon SHuk-Nyun pointed out that cross ownership of media causes a very cozy relationship between government and media, leaving no voice for the poor and powerless. “Conservative outlets ignore the issues of the underprivileged.

Han Seon added that the media showed the smiling faces of Israelis after their government attacked civilians in Palestine, and this warps the realities of war. She pointed out that journalists should have more autonomy and be able to write stories whether their publishers like them or not, if they are true.

Panelist Joo Chngmin noted that checks and balances are gone in the media. This leads to the public not getting accurate information

Panelist Kanf Chul-Soo also noted inaccuracies, in his case, in exit polls and the way the media covers elections in general. ““Leading candidates are allowed to duck debates,” (while lesser-known candidates are not interviewed at all).

Lastly, a questioner from Joengju, Kim So Gi, noted that in “Burning Down the House” itself, the work of Hong Song Dan had been excluded due to worries that it was too controversial. Three other artists had pulled out due to the decision to exclude the art. Apparently Mayor Yoon was worried about continued funding of the Biennale if certain art was allowed to be hung. “Empty Spaces are now where art could be at the Gwangju Museum of Art,” she said. Her point was that even art could be controlled by the government, and Pravit Rojanaphruk ended the discussion with a point about SMS reaities:

“Where is the truth,” he said, “Is it Surreal, Impressionist, Expressionist, or realist? IN SMS we get them all.” Muller added: “It’s a type of romantic reality.”

Every one of the presenters showed a different side of how the media is controlled by big business and big government in the age of globalization. There were few definitive answers as to how to changes this, but some good suggestions as to how to try. The almost sold-out room mostly stayed until the end, about an hour over the prescribed time.

C.I.A. Dog

C.I.A. Dog

Walking out Waimuri way
Goes the lost retriever.
She trots a bit, a nervous sway,
Eyes anxious, nostrils flared
In search of the deceiver.

No way to know how she got here,
No maps outside, inside fear.
She couldn’t know this place is a dot
Or two no one thinks about.
Her placement reeks of a Pacific plot.

Next week she’ll board a boat
To blow a hole in her wooden keel.
Transformed into one hundred pounds
Of bomb that barks and sounds
Like any other golden: look she floats!

Or parts of her do, blown astray.
She had no idea life would shorten
Or be abused, or cause harm
In such an evil way.
The worst she knew, back on the farm

Were cats playing hackey-sack
With mice about to be a meal,
Or Bob Dylan singing “how does it feel?”
Now she’s flotsam in the bloody sea,
One more boat down for Greenpeace.

Copyright, Doug Stuber, 1994. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How Politics Makes us Stupid and reactions

From Gwen Fortune after reading http://www.vox.com/2014/4/6/5556462/brain-dead-how-politics-makes-us-stupid

My conclusion, summation and assessment is found in the deep meaning of the phrase, The arrogance of ignorance. Beneath the “A of I” is the acceptance of Fear as the foundation of human existence. Most humans accept fear of extinction as the ground of being–even as they espouse belief in a “loving creature.” Withdrawal from opening to the unknown, to ultimate truths that do not deny “The Shadow” of existence, the yin and yang, the ebb and flaw, in every aspect keeps us in the darkness of the unknown, and prevents the species from actual enlightenment.

We ARE cowards, spinning energies in sick withdrawal–truly the partially evolved.There are many ways these concepts can be and have been stated. I have no more “eloquence” except what I say above. I am saddened–and would like to be hopeful.-and wrong, Maybe another evolutionary epoch.or more will bring critical mass–and productive change. I am not aware of scientific findings to the contrary, to date.

. All I/We know is the creation and destruction of matter in the forms of the physical universes, So far, known history and uncovering pre-history demonstrate a litany” of unending possibilities—until–and the existence of dark (unknown) matter and energy. Belief, and wishing M

PLEASE…do not interpret this response to Charlie’s note as “positive” OR “negative,” Everything we do is personal interpretation to our experience, diverted through an individual mind conditioned in unique communities. As such, our freedom is conditioned/manipulated by personal experience. We have socially conditioned and” apparently” spontaneous responses to our life. Free will?? in our dreams..”Beiliefs–our fantasy.

We are determined by “The Arrogance of Ignorance grounded in the limitation of fear.” Were that it differed.. A hope wish and desire. The wizard.

Channeled ( so I am being told) through /Oya C’Shiva –Gwendoline Alpha Young Fortune,
Gwen

On Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 10:14 AM, Charlie Lindahl
All:

Very interesting artlcle; worth the read. They mention a study where they demonstrate that MORE information and higher intelligence
may NOT always yield the “right” answer. This article requires careful deep reasoning and is by no means the be-all, end-all of the
discussion. But is a fascinating approach to the issues of politics in general.

There’s a simple theory underlying much of American politics. It sits hopefully at the base of almost every speech, every op-ed, every article, and every panel discussion. It courses through the Constitution and is a constant in President Obama’s most stirring addresses. It’s what we might call the More Information Hypothesis: the belief that many of our most bitter political battles are mere misunderstandings. The cause of these misunderstandings? Too little information — be it about climate change, or taxes, or Iraq, or the budget deficit. If only the citizenry were more informed, the thinking goes, then there wouldn’t be all this fighting.

It’s a seductive model. It suggests our fellow countrymen aren’t wrong so much as they’re misguided, or ignorant, or — most appealingly — misled by scoundrels from the other party. It holds that our debates are tractable and that the answers to our toughest problems aren’t very controversial at all. The theory is particularly prevalent in Washington, where partisans devote enormous amounts of energy to persuading each other that there’s really a right answer to the difficult questions in American politics — and that they have it.

But the More Information Hypothesis isn’t just wrong. It’s backwards. Cutting-edge research shows that the more information partisans get, the deeper their disagreements become.

Charlie

Dear Gwen and Charlie and David:

The one issue I have with the original article is simple: it states the political parties have grouped themselves by ideology.

Since 1980, the two Democrat Presidents, Clinton and Obama have proven that though verbally, there is an ideological split between the two parties, when it comes to legislation, the environment, foreign affairs, and labor (to name but four) the actions of the two parties at the top are IDENTICAL.

The ideological divide is a veneer, better put, a whitewash to get people to vote for what appears to be better common sense, a more fair distribution of wealth, some stand on the environment and an end to foreign wars. But none of those have come true.

Look at the Keystone Pipeline, the number of fracking earthquakes i Oklahoma, the continued wars in the middle east, the NOT reviving of the 186 environmental laws scrapped under Bush 2, the NOT rescinding of the unconstitutional Patriot Acts, the NOT restoring of Habeas Corpus, the Hundreds of new formerly unconstitutional surveillance activities, the scrapping of “innocent until proven guilty” by the media, the continued widening of both the income gap and US Debt, both of which could be handled by going back to pre-Bush tax codes, the continued bail outs of banks and AIG that happened under Obama, after derivatives and foreclosures had already gotten the banks their dang money back, the us of drones, the pestering of ANYONE opposed to the government, the deamonization of ANYONE blowing the whistle about unlawful activity by our government, and the pursuit of even MORE FREE TRADE, meaning more USA jobs lost to wage slavery countries, and you see a pattern BY OBAMA that is EXACTLY THE SAME as some of the worst parts of the Bush 2 administration.

Oh there may be an IDEOLOGICAL DIVIDE, but there is no divide whatsoever when it comes to DEEDS, dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.

Hillary Clinton had shown every sign that she would be WORSE. God Bless her, I now look back and see her 1,300 page overhaul of the US health system (Obama failed to lower COSTS, hence he failed in his “reforms” also) as built to fail. She knew it would fail, that’s why she made it so complicated. Bill was on the trilateral commission. ENOUGH SAID, as a governor of Arkansas. Maybe he opposed the Vietnam War at Oxford and she represented an almost-for-sure guilty black panther member who was arrested for murder, IN ORDER TO BUILD a FALSE left wing resume, and had a long term plan to run Bill for President hatched by the same dingbats that sit in the Skull and Crossbones at Yale (sons of the Freemasons, Daughters of the Eastern Star).

Reminder, fellow voters, that Hillary NEVER ONCE voted against ANYTHING AT ALL that Bush 2 wanted. Look it up.

Research about how people are hoodwinked is dandy, academics need their jobs too, but it doesn’t do a DANG THING to change the reality that the media puts the hammer down on Greens and Libertarians alike. Especially, ahem, Greens. We still can’t get the young, the underworked and the impoverished to vote.

Too bad.

Doug:

I hear and understand what you’re saying, but, given that I’ve attended the Texas Democratic Party State convention recently I disagree that
the difference in the parties is simply a veneer.

I *do* agree with your assessment of policy issues in the main, but Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and Alan Grayson ARE different from their Republican
counterparts. And they walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Where the two parties ARE the same (minus the examples I just cited) is that BOTH parties are heavily dependent on
corporate cash.

See the recent interview with Jim Hightower (one of my personal progressive heros) on Bill Moyer on July 4th on this topic.

My evidence for “more than a veneer” from Texas:

1) Look at the huge collection of pictures during the respective conventions (R and D).
R: Almost all old white men (oh, and the Log Cabin Republicans were denied a booth as being “philosophically inconsistent with the party platform”)
D: A huge amount of diversity: age, race, size, gender including (proudly) a LOT of GLBTQ.

2) The respective platforms which will EVENTUALLY be reflected in state policy.
An example that is very real for me and for which I lobbied and protested: Houston
passed a citywide anti-discrimination law on behalf of LBGTQ. Houston is thus the last major
city to pass such an ordinance.

This is a concrete example of LOCAL laws that have been passed by Democratically controlled areas,
even in a red state such as Texas.

> We still can’t get the young, the underworked and the impoverished to vote.

NOT true, at least in *my* area of Texas (Houston and environs extending up to College Station).

I met last night *at my house in College Station* the head of the Battleground Texas person (a young Latina) and
a new employee of the Texas Democratic Party (YES they HIRE and PAY staff in the Texas Democratic Party now!)
whose SOLE job is to get LOCAL candidates elected: sheriff, dog catcher, judges, etc.

They were BOTH motivated, BOTH very knowledgeable, and BOTH actively “on the grond” (block walking). And this is
happening throughout Texas in MASSIVE numbers.

In Montgomery County (where Gwen used to live, and I still do), we TRIPLED the Hispanic vote in the last election. Since we
are such a heavy Republican area, it did not make a difference in our state elections (much) but it DID make
major differences in LOCAL elections.

So please please don’t generalize to EVERYWHERE. I am out in the streets in Texas (literally) and we ARE
doing the necessary hard work on the ground (GOTV, blockwalking, etc). WE WILL get Texas blue by 2016, but
maybe by 2014 (Gov/Lt Gov race at least).

Oh, and back on the Keystone Pipeline: note that the pipeline is NOT flowing yet, and the Texas folk working against
it include a coalition from across the spectrum including Greens and Libertarians (and R’s and D’s). And in TEXAS
the protests have been nationally televised and ARE having an effect IMHO.

[ And yes, I’m an unapologetic optimist and activist. ]

Yes Charlie, it appears to be some great work in your part of the world. And, of all the states, Texas appears to be an interesting battleground again, which hasn’t been true since 1948 when LBJ’s Republican opponent was murdered six weeks before the congressional election.

LBJ could have lost as a democrat in Texas in 1948. Wow, pretty bad guy.

But southern democrats, at least the one that controlled North Carolina for decades before 2012, are easy proof of just how long the pro-rich religiously conservative, anti-labor (right-to-work states are inherently wage slavery states), profit over environment “DEMOCRATS” have looked an awful lot like bigotted Republicans.

When I was young we had progressive Jacob Javitz as a New York lefty Republican. Ha, you’re right, we aren’t likely to see that again, or even a Jack Kemp.

You are also correct about Saunders and his small band. But many Democratic strategists are already Open about EW or BS running for president NOT to beat out Hillary, but simply to move progressives back into the fold. it’s the Jerry brown Syndrome where real lefties are used to fold people under to vote for Hillary.

It would take a universal country-wide movement that is working like your local one to change the democratic party into truly representing the poor. To do do effectively, they would have to END all free trade, END the WTO END the IMF, bring back tariffs, and cause a worldwide economic collapse.

This wouldn’t bother me at all, but I am working harder every day to become a farmer. How else can we save the environment, than to end consummerism?

It’s the radical in me. 70% of what is made in factories we just f\don’t need, and those items are messing up the environment. I’m not a LUDDITE, but certain things, we don’t need now and never did need.

Good luck in Texas!

Doug:

Thanks for understanding my position, as I do yours.

For me LOCAL is the action and real change.

I agree, too that, becmoing a farmer is very important for EVERYONE (even “city folk”).

Check out Urban Harvest ( http://www.urbanharvest.org/ ) and Last Organic Outpost ( http://www.lastorganicoutpost.com/index.php/en/ ) for really
great and successful efforts at Urban and Community farming.

And yes, the GREEN party is active in Houston. A good friend of mine ran as a Green and won as a councilman a few years back. He did Good Things
but has since moved on to other things.

Charlie

Dear Charlie:

Lastly-

of course the Greens are all about local, and only run nationwide candidates, if REAL GREENS anyway, to encourage more local meetings. In NC we went from 2 to 20 in 2000, but it’s back to 5 now, form what I am told. Many want me back.

I may leave Korea and come home for good in December. I wrote speeches and coordinated the East Coast for Jerry brown in 1991/2. If there’s a good Dem then I can be on board.

Peace,
Doug

Doug,

You take the Democratic Party to task for failing to do the several things listed here.

Have you LOOKED at the US House of Representatives? The GOP has been in control there since 2010. You do realize who controls the purse strings? Who has to initiate spending bills? Obama’s first initiative was health care. While I think it could have been better, it was a real scrape to get anything passed. The Democrats had both houses for ONE congressional term, and a filibuster proof majority in the Senate FOR less than 2 MONTHS.

Because the Democrats have not succeeded in these things, you equate the parties. I strongly believe you are in error. You allow the perfect to drive out the good.

I too wish for single payer, better benefits for the unemployed, assistance for the poor and education funding. These were not to be, for the GOP obstructing prevents. What we have in ObamaCare is clearly 2nd best, but it beats HELL out of what the GOP would like, which is to cut every spending for anyone except the very very very rich. Tax law changes you want will NOT HAPPEN until we get a Democratic US House.

If you think the two parties are the same, take a look at the Supreme Koch [sic] appointments. The 5 in the majority are ALL GOP appointments and the 4 in the minority are ALL Democratic appointments. To paraphrase a campaign slogan, “It’s the COURTS, Stupid.” No offense intended, and I hope none will be taken.

That said, please, show me where this administration could have done ANY of the things for which you take them to task.

Off to a Saturday AM dress rehearsal for a concert tomorrow night.

With Warmest Regard
David Teague

Dear David-

But let’s read the fine print. Barack Obama is, in most minds, the most influential Democrat. On many issues
his own part was not voting with him.

That’s OK, that’s politics…But, your argument misses a key point: Neither the environment nor labor have the majority of the Democrat’s ears. I live in the south, and assure you very few Yellow Dog Democrats ever get elected in North Carolina, except form Chapel Hill or Asheville. And Asheville’s local politics is often extremely conservative.

Bible-thumping conservative switched to the Democrat party in the south as soon as Lincoln freed the slaves. Republicans have stormed back recently due to Jesse Helms’ success and the hatred of all things Obama.

If you honestly believe that, with the exceptions of Warren and Sanders and a very few others, maybe Harkin and Franken, that the democrats are not ALSO beholden ot big money, then it is hard for me to make my point. The reality is that it’s not just THIS supreme court, but MANY OTHERS that were picked on ideological grounds. I presume this is why we should vote for Hillary Clinton then? Because maybe some senior court members will pass away or retire.!?!?

Obama never once mentioned bringing back any of the 186 environmental laws Bush 2 scrapped. he also supports the Keystone pipeline and fracking (note the earthquake totals multiplied by 20 in Oklahoma due to fracking).

He never brought up the concept of rescinding Patriot Act One or Two, both of which are extremely unconstitutional, and at Harvard President Obama was…a CONSTITUTIONAL Scholar. At least he should have brought up these issues, but I suspect, as many would, that he is in the pocket of the military economic complex (note the continued support of the Fascist junta in Kiev!, the illegal 2009 Coup in Honduras!! Good God Ronald Reagan had NOTHING on Obama when it comes to continuing the antiquated and imperialist BS known as the Monroe Doctrine.

“Bringing the troops home” became “moving the troops to Pakistan.” Ooooopsy Daisy.

Think Obama can bring back the 35,000,000 + millino jobs shipped ot cheaper labor? No? Neither do I, but then again
most of those job moves were caused by three things: 1) NAFTA, 2) GATT@ and the WTO and 3) TAX BREAKS to corporatoins who move jobs overseas. ALL of those were created by another of your democrats: BILL CLINTON.

He had to make a lot of promises and twist a lot of arms to push NAFTA through. HA, the Republicans never could have done it without him. Add to this the Banking reform Act and Welfare reform act (both of 1995) and you find a “democrat” acting more Republican than a Republican would DARE TO DO.

THE END,
Wait
PS
Hillary Clinton, as Senator from New York, NEVER ONCE voted against a SINGLE THING George Bush 2 wanted.

Maybe the Republicans would be worse than all this but does that excuse the “I’m here for the rich” policies the last two Democrat Presidents imposed. AND, AND< AND! when Obama was elected in 2008, the Democrats controlled the white house, the senate AND THE House. and what came of it? NOTHING, not jack, because the southern Dems blocked Obama at every turn. HA
Doug

Fins me a Dem Candidate running on a policy of regaining the environmental laws, rescinding and banning Patriot Acts 1 and 2, ending the spying on Americans by Americans, removing ALL troops form overseas, and putting them to work cleaning up the oceans, for one, and converting, like Germany is trying to do, to Wind and Solar Power and CLOSING nuclear power plants, and THEN I will vote Democrat. Until then, why would I vote for ANYONE who does not support my point of view?
CREATE JOBS: clean up the earth. Just the last one would probably get my vote.

Dear Doug.

IF ANY REPUBLICAN IS ELECTED PRESIDENT, WE ARE GUARANTEED TO GET SCOTUS JUSTICES LIKE SCALIA, THOMAS, ALITO, and ROBERTS. IF THAT HAPPENS, YOU CAN KISS ALL REGULATION OF CORPORATIONS GOOD BYE, YOU CAN THE ENVIRONMENT GOOD BYE, KISS ROE v WADE GOOD BYE, AND YOU CAN KISS ANYTHING THE WEALTHY AND CORPORATE INTERESTS WANT WELCOME.

Any Democrat will appoint better judges and SCOTUS Justices than ANY Republcian.

That said, I acknowledge every one of your points. I know the history of the Democratic Party in the South. That the Southerners moved to the Democratic Party when Lincoln freed the slaves is truly ancient history and it actually has little meaning for today. Those Democrats moved to the Republican Party and took it over when Johnson signed the voting rights act. They drove the GOP to the positions that the Democrats of the late 19th Century held. The Republicans of today would assassinate Lincoln again for that action, and they would delegitimize and depose Obama merely because he is black.

I have lived in North Carolina 77 years, and have watched while the GOP took the NC legislature, gerrymandered voting districts, passed voting laws that destroyed voting rights here, cut education to the bone, then ground up the bones, and raised taxes on the poor and middle class while cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations. They made it a felony to reveal the “trade secrets” of the fracking fluid that the companies inject into the ground with the potential to poison water in the water table.

Believe me, I know.

But your discussion ignores my one major point: ANY Democrat, even the relatively conservative Hillary Clinton, will appoint BETTER judges and what is more important, better Supreme Court Justices than ANY Republican. That the Democrats are beholden to rich corporations is not immaterial, but they have not sold their very souls to the moneyed interests.

I am not pleased with Obama, and I am annoyed with the Democratic Party. But I will NOT vote for a Republican. I will fight tooth and nail for every liberal who runs. I will canvas voters in this, the most Republican County in Western North Carolina, Transylvania, I will drive potential voters to obtain voter IDs, to register to vote, and then to the polls for early or election day voting.

I am a “yellow dog” Democrat. I will vote for a yellow dog on the Democratic Party ballot before I would vote for ANY Republican. I will contribute to them too. And I encourage you to do the same.

Do not support 3rd party candidates. That way lies a GOP victory and a disaster from from which the United States will take two or three generations to recover.

Dear David:

Here’s one for you:

https://dougstuber.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/the-successes-and-failures-of-barack-obama-the-gwangju-international-speech/

As the chair of the Greens from 1998 to 2002 in North Carolina, you can imagine how hard it was to receive
the 202,000 signatures we needed to just get on the ballot in NC in 2000. We had over 100 volunteers and failed.

Democrats were MOST LIKELY not to sign. gee, how democratic of them.

we got 48,000 signatures and joined Oklahoma as the only two states to fail the party.

I worked for Jerry Brown in 1992, and when Sandy Fox, the CHAIR of the Democrats in Pennsylvania was locked out of campaign headquarters in Harrisburg, due to her backing of Brown, and when the Democrats would not give us the forms we needed to even register potential Convention representatives, should Brown win a voting district, or the whole state, I knew personally that the party was rigged.

Is it better than the republicans? Yes sure, agreed.

But the damage done by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama is WAY WORSE than even Citizen’s United, which only codifies what has already been going on in terms of bribery and corruption for centuries.

After NAFTA and GATT 2 sent the jobs to Mexico and further abroad, Clinton SCREWED the economically challenged via the Welfare Reform act of 1995. It was HIS IDEA.

Likewise the Banking reform act of 1995 allowed banks to lend $30.00 for every $1.00 they had on deposit, not the previously allowed limit of $12.00 to $1.00. That lead DIRECTLY to the 2008 meltdown. AGAIN this major BOOOO BOOOO wws Clinton’s joy to sign, no veto.

Obama’s list of egregious errors is massive, but if you think Hillary Clinton is a “middle of the road” type, look at her record as Secretary of State! She’s not relatively conservative. She’s a mess waiting to happen.

My problem is, no candidate that even remotely is interested in saving the environment, bringing back the environmental protection laws, improving the wages and working conditions of what is left of the manual labor force, bringing ALL THE TROOPS HOME, or at least closing half the foreign army bases, EVEN STAND A CHANCE of being nominated.

Partly this is due to the fact that the MEDIA determines who is leading a race based on ONE THING ONLY: Who has raised the most money. Why? Because those folks can then spend the most money advertising IN THE SAME MEDIA.

Hence, the real representation of the REAL needs of the average American are NOT found in 85% of those elected to the house or Senate in EITHER PARTY.

Until the United States citizens, and not just hippies without work, get on the streets and figure out a way to eliminate money form politics, this is not going to end. We have an Oligarchy, straight up, with many laws WRITTEN by corporations in the first place.

Maybe Kucinich and Sanders and Franken and Warren and Hagan and precious few others stand in the way of all this, but mamby pamby I give in Diane Feinstein types don’t interest me anymore. Not Pelosi either. I quit working for and gave up a long-standing friendship with Jerry Brown when he refused to develop a third party. Good for him, He did a great job gentrifying once proud but poor neighborhoods in Oakland, and is actually doing better than that as Governor of California again.

HISTORY: Even Jimmy Carter stunk out loud. I live in Gwangju, where Carter and his liege Ambassador William H. Gleysteen sent in paratroopers not riot police, and hundreds died in what had started as peaceful protests. His record in Indonesia also stunk. He propped up dictators all over the globe. ooopsy Daisy.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwangju_Uprising)

If by remaining democrat you believe the USA is better off with Democrats than Republicans, well I can say slightly better off, except when it comes to Foreign Policy, and then the two parties remain very pro military, pro war, pro big business.

We already have enemies throughout the world thanks to Bush 2 and Daddy Bush and Reagan. Now Obama has added Pakistan, and notably is backing the REBEL ILLEGAL JUNTA fascists in Kiev. Eventually that will cause a reaction from Putin.Obama knows exactly what he’s doing. Dumb he is not. If the US economy continues to tank, if the US dollar continues its decline, if the Chinese RMB, now backed by Gold, becomes the unit used to buy oil and later takes over as the world’s reserve currency, the USA is in for VERY HARD TIMES, and only a WHOPPER war could “pull us out” of that. Hence, we might as well tweak the nose of Putin NOW rather than later, right?

And additionally, if the natural gas that flows to Europe via Ukraine is cut off, then the price of natural gas WILL FLY in Europe and around the world, even IF THE USA HAS a 150 year supply. OH Goodie, another fossil fuel President.

The People’s Bank of China is the final mortgage holder on over 22% of American homes. Forget who services the loans, look at the real owner of the debt. We’re already working for China 9 weeks a year to earn enough taxes for our government PAY THE INTEREST on the money we OWE China ALONE.

Why hasn’t Obama been able to show a surplus at least a few years like Clinton did? Because our economy stinks. 0% for how long now? And, like Japan, no noticeable pick up in NET job production.

OBAMA stinks when one examines both domestic and foreign policy realities.

How has he done for education? Uh, MORE religion based charter schools that make fortunes for the already rich.

And for African Americans? Even more in jail now than under Clinton!

And for gun control? HA Sorry, he had the house, senate and his own White House when he first got elected and did not even BRING UP gun control, or the needs of the impoverished, sometimes starving children in THE USA..

Good luck. I’m still worried about the USA, and will be, until campaign contributions are illegal. YUP, Public funding, now!

Thanks for being so engaging,
Doug

The Success and Failures of Barack Obama

The Successes and Failures of Barack Obama
Posted on April 2, 2014 and May 8, 2014 by dougstuber
This will be the talk on Saturday May 10th at the Gwangju International Center, please attend, if you can.
Success #1, he beat Hillary Clinton in the Primaries before the 2008 US Presidential elections to become the Democrat Party Nominee. He did this with 62% of his campaign funding in the primary stage coming from registered Republicans. He succeeded again in defeating John McCain and his ill-thought-out running mate Sarah Palin. This pick was as if McCain did not want to win.
But the pick was not nearly as disturbing as Barack Obama’s pick of Joseph Biden. Why? Because Biden had been the MOST pro-War democrat in the house Foreign Affairs Committee ever. And he led that committee to steer votes in favor of huge military overspending and unwise and unnecessary wars throughout his career. *****
Failure 1) (F-1)Obama ran on a platform of “We’re Going To Change Washington” and he not only failed to change Washington, in most cases he did not even try, or caved in to Republican demands even when the House, Senate and White House were ALL in Democratic control. How is this possible? Because so many Democrats are owned by the same corporations that own Republicans, for one, and, all but two being millionaires themselves, are inclined to vote for bail-outs for the rich (most of which happened before Obama took office, right at the end of Bush Junior’s reign with Goldman Sachs President / Secretary of the Treasury Henry “Hank” Paulson jamming a bill through congress that handed the richest bankers in the world trillions of dollars [BERNANKE HANDS OUT $16+ TRILLION in ZERO% GIFTS TO BANKS…]http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/08/foreclosure-settlement-fails-mortgage_n_1754018.html) to clean up their own sickeningly bad investment choices that had, in turn, caused a meltdown in the US housing markets to the tune of 10,000 home foreclosures a day…The USA is now experiencing less foreclosures, at “only” 1,400 PER DAY. Mind you the daily foreclosure figures in the USA Depression of the 1930s were nowhere near as high as this six year low for the USA. This amounts to failure number 2. *****
1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Recession
2) http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/08/15/home-foreclosures-fall-end-year-6-year-low/
http://varbuzz.com/2012-02/foreclosures-2008-2012/
These are entire families financially ruined in numbers far worse, even on a per capita basis, than in the 1930s. Yet, no one seems to care in the USA, except maybe the families living in their cars under an overpass in, say Tampa, Florida.
Thus, Obama and his team have done precious little to stop home foreclosures, because to do so, for one, would include bringing jobs back form overseas. He promised to “put Americans back to work” and has failed on this issue too (Failure #3). *****Why can’t he bring back jobs that paid $15.00 to $30.00 an hour, from countries that received all these US labor jobs and pay .14 cents to .52 cents an hour in wages? The question answers itself. BUT Obama never even tried to halt the tax exemptions that give corporations a TAX BREAK for moving jobs overseas (F-4). *****Honestly, what kind of government would give companies a tax break for sinking their OWN PEOPLE’S jobs? A government controlled by the owners of the means of production. More proof of Obama’s failures (but only the workers and regular folks would call these failures. After all Obama was mostly elected by Republican money, hence for himself and his cronies, these are seen as successes!) Is that as far as one can ascertain ZERO jobs have moved back from
overseas.(F-5) *****Or, better put, if any have, the number exiting compared to the number coming back to the US must be a ratio exceeding 100,000 to one. A quick peak at Google finds headings like ”Can’t find a job? Move overseas” and “US Firms move abroad to cut taxes” *****
When Barack Obama was in the Illinois State Senate he said “In order to achieve single-payer health insurance all we have to do is have Democrats control the US House, Senate and White House at the same time. When he was elected President, that dream came true. All three areas of the US Government were controlled by “Democrats.” And when it came time to negotiate a better health care package for Americans Obama said “Single Payer Health Care is a non starter,” meaning he wouldn’t even fight for it. This means that he not only ran for office KNOWING he wasn’t going to change anything, but he also openly lied about where his positions were on dozens, nay hundreds of areas. (Failure # 6 through 600, but just #6 for our talk). *****
Failure number (are we up to seven now?) Obama was the ONLY African American to edit the Harvard Law Review. He was a top constitutional scholar. Yet, with all the constitution-busting aspects of Patriot Act One and Patriot Act Two, Obama never once brought up the idea of rescinding those laws, nor did he even offer any amendments to those laws based on, well, the constitution itself. The most egregious boo-boo? Abolishment of Habeas Corpus…this concept, in which anyone who is being arrested must, at the time of arrest, be TOLD WHY they are being arrested, disappeared when the Patriot Act passed under Bush 2. This precedent has been in western law since The Magna Carta was Presented to King John in England in 1215. Obama never tried to regain this vital concept, even though it is protected four different times in the constitution. Now a President and his minions can arrest anyone they want, and not tell them why. Furthermore, the person being arrested can be categorized an enemy combatant without judicial review. That means the detainee can then be moved offshore (a navy ship one mile out to sea is far enough) tried without access to defense, found guilty of any crime they care to dream up, and be executed and dumped in the ocean. Obama never changed this.
Failure is too kind a word for Obama’s dismal record in many cases:
The Obama cabinet was stacked with Hawks right from the beginning: Robert Gates continuing as Defense Secretary even after Bush/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz were gone, Joseph Biden the most hawkish pro military-spending member of the Senate, when he was Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State who never once voted against a President Bush, Jr. request for more funding for the illegal and unwise wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. (His initial Cabinet equals F-8) *****
Not only did he fail to rescind Patriot Act One and Two, Obama never once brought up the concept of trying to re-enact ANY of the 186 environmental laws that were scrapped under Bush Two. (F-9). *****He also pushed hard for the Keystone Pipeline, an environmental disaster (F-10) *****just in the building part, no less the carbons emitted once finished! He also favors fracking to discover more natural gas deposits (F-11) *****regardless of the horrid effects this has on the water supply, etcetera.
His approval rating is below 50%, but not surprisingly has dipped from 85% to under 50% among African Americans as well. Why? Perhaps this is because his wholesale pardon of illegal immigrants already in the USA, and inability to have a consistent immigration policy has lowered the value of labor so much, that it has put even menial jobs often done by African Americans in peril due to the fact the illegal immigrants are willing to work for half the minimum wage, or, many times, less than $2.00 an hour, or, 75% less than the minimum wage. This has also caused outright hatred and violence between Latinos and African Americans in many urban settings, notably Los Angeles and in three cities in North Carolina, which is now over 22% Hispanic. The irony is that Hispanics make great neighbors, are fun-loving, generally go to church every Sunday, and are happy, even when sending more than half their meager wages back to their home countries. This follows the pattern of the globalization efforts that have lowered the value of labor world wide.
Minutes after his 2014 State of the Union Address Obama continued to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership. IN his speech he said how much he was going to do for out of work manual laborers in the United States. So let’s look at what the “TPP” does: (F-12)
http://www.ustr.gov/tpp *****
We, the Ministers and Heads of Delegation for Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, have just completed a four-day Ministerial meeting in Singapore where we have made substantial progress toward completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
For all TPP countries, an ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard agreement that achieves the goals established in Honolulu in 2011 is critical for creating jobs and promoting growth, providing opportunity for our citizens and contributing to regional integration and the strengthening of the multilateral trading system.
This is the official opening statement after the Singapore meeting. What it means is yet another “Free Trade” agreement in which developed countries ship off their labor jobs, even service jobs, to lower-wage countries, thus hurting the workers in the United States the most.
Obama is nowhere near a pro-labor President and has done the bidding of the big money on Wall Street, the money, you will recall, that got him past Hillary Clinton way back in 2007/8.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is among countries, half of which already have a free trade agreement with the USA. In countries with very small GDP per Capita, the USA will find cheaper labor than its own. The government’s own analysis (see web site below) shows
$49,922 per capita GDP in the united states, with TPP partners Chile at only $18,419; Malaysia $16,922; Mexico $15,312: Peru, $10,719 and Vietnam at $3,548 the USA has fashioned an extremely stringent agreement that will open up the USA to goods without Tariffs from countries whose per-hour factory wage are as low as 14 CENTS! (F-13) *****This will surely cause yet another flood of American labor jobs exiting to countries, that will in fact give those countries more wage-slave jobs, (F-14) lose hard-working American jobs, and once again lower the value of labor everywhere. No one or very few climb into the middle-class at 14 or even 52 Cents an hour wages. *****
This also fills the coffers of the top 2% of the world, the “already filthy rich.” (F-15)
*****Note the civil unrest in Greece and Spain, to name just two where people under 25 are facing 50% jobless rates due to work being sent to lower-wage countries from Europe, and Germany’s strict “austerity” demands, in order to keep lending them money. The USA is about to find out how strict our lenders can be, as we owe $17 Trillion + dollars now, and Obama has done NOTHING to bring down the US annual deficit or debt. (F-16) *****Even Clinton did better than that. https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R42344.pdf
Thus, Obama’s biggest failures: to spread unrest and war in the Middle East, and continuing the use of Drone Warfare, his continued backing of incipient free trade that only benefits the very upper class while decimating his own labor force, his inability to regain vital environmental protection laws, his unyielding support of illegal super-cheap labor within the USA, his failure to overturn the Patriot Acts, *****and tacit approval of the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling (F-17) that allows corporations to donate unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns ANNONYMOUSLY ranks Obama more God-Awful than Clinton was. Clinton, you will recall managed to start this free trade fiasco rolling with NAFTA, continued it in a massive way with the pushing and signing of GATT 2, which created the World Trade Organization, his 1995 Banking Reform Act, which allowed banks to lend out $30 for every $1 they had in the bank, thus causing the eventual sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2008, and worst of all, his 1995 Welfare Reform Act which began the decimation of support for America’s poor, which have been steadily growing since January 1993, when Bill took office. Prisoners rose from 1.2 million to 2 million under Clinton, and continue to move upward, mostly due to racist “Drug Wars” (F-18) that are little more than massive anti minority wars. *****Hence, Obama has done little or nothing to help African Americans. (F-19). *****
Has Obama done worse things than these? Overall, yes. Clinton killed 35,000 innocent people in Belgrade, while failing to hit the target, Slobodan Milosovic who later died in jail. Obama has killed and unknown number of people in Pakistan (a country Bush’s army never invaded other than by drone), also increasing drone attacks dramatically, and initiating them in at least three other countries (F-20). *****
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drone_attacks_in_Pakistan
He’s enraged Russia by backing the rebels against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, and added to the death count in Tunisia, Libya and possibly Egypt as well. Egypt receives
$1.3 billion in aid every year, which Obama has continued. His policy in Israel has been mixed and confusing, but has run counter to the US love affair with the blood-thirsty Israelis who generally kill 10 to 20 Palestinians for every one Israeli lost in conflicts. To his credit Obama, through emissaries has played an even hand in this ongoing struggle, which is stunning considering the messes he has created elsewhere in the Middle East.
*****Obama continues the annual Spring folly of war games with the South Korean Army. (F-21) I’m all in favor of being at-the-ready, but these practices could be done ANYWHERE, and need not be done right on the North Korean border. Especially the Naval borderline. Each year these war games are committed right on North Korea’s doorstep, when, in reality, they could be done ANYWHERE in the Pacific, a large ocean. It shouldn’t be a surprise then, that North Korea also practices firing its canon rounds at the same time. The Sinking of the Cheonan, and the bombing of Yeung Pyeung-do should have been ample evidence that continuing the war games on the border of North Korea was simply TOO MUCH of a PROVOCATION. *****
Obama never tried to REDUCE COSTS of health care, by forcing pharmaceutical companies, doctors, hospitals, medical schools, nursing home facilities, surgeons and other healthcare professionals and hospital corporations to lower their prices via the leverage that would have been created with a single-payer system like the ones South Korea, France, England, Germany and Canada have (and many more) (F-22). ***** All he tried to do was to get people who could not afford health insurance to somehow put together the money to buy it. about five million of the over 40 million Americans without health care insurance have bought in. (F-23) They shouldn’t have had to.
That’s 23 failures and two successes. (both electoral). How do such flops get re-elected, when such natural and human disasters, I mean Obama, Bush two, Clinton and Reagan, who have all stunk out loud? Via pure-blooded, old fashioned, very successful propaganda. The failure to investigate and report the facts by 99% of the media in the USA, and its complicity in reporting bold-faced lies has been pointed out by Senator Al Franken in “Lies, and the Lying Liars who tell them” a book now over 10 years old. The research for this book was done by 14 HARVARD graduate students, and it shows that Fox News and many others openly lied and KNEW they were lying at the time. Yet Americans soak the news up as gospel and have become so hoodwinked they are likely to vote for anyone. Wait, they already have! *****
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies_and_the_Lying_Liars_Who_Tell_Them
Obama’s largest failure has been to continue and exacerbate Clinton’s immense move of the Democratic Party to the right. The US democracy, with no working watchdog press except on the internet, and no real choices, is a sham. FAILURE 24, the worst one of them all, to date.

PS If Hillary Clinton is the next US President, you can count on the Democratic party turning even further right. As a senator she never once voted against a single thing George Bush II wanted.

12 Koreans Murdered in Philippines

“Philippines Unsafe For Koreans” was a recent headline in the Korean
Times. The story went on to point out that 12 Koreans have been
murdered in the Philippines this year. It said the Koreans love to go
to the Philipppines to retire, to go to “school,” although one wonders
which subject is favored most among Korean high schol and university
students ostensibly learning English and other academic areas, to pay for “romance,” and to meet, for the first time, a new wife purchased on the internet.

Isn’t it reasonable to guess that Koreans in the Philippines also 1)
find “romance” of the non-paid variety in Manila, or Cebu or Bohol, and having found such
romance, also father children? Isn’t it possbile that some visitors
actually pay for romance? Isn’t it possbile that the local reaction
to this wave of love is not so positive?

It’s also an unproven rumor that rival Korean gangs hire Filipinos to create crimes and that the implication that some of these deaths may be deaths-by-hired-hands is another one of those hidden rumors that rarely come out, but there they were in the Korean Times.  If this is true then the true story behind the murders may have nothing to do with one culture not liking another. It may simply be another case of one culture hiring another.  In general the place that has the more money hires people form the countries that have less for the simple reason of saving money.  (See Globalization and Free Trade Blogs, right here, and elsewhere).

But before we suggest anything without digging to find the facts,
let’s look at how Pinoy workers and wives fare in Korea. Here I know
a lot of facts, as the cultural similarities between the Philippines
and the USA are closer than Korea and the USA after working hours, and I’ve made a lot of friends here that are fun-loving Pinoy.

No names of course, but each and every one of these stories, except
the imported wife that is dead, came from the people themselves.
These stories are ALL about Filipinos’ experiences in Korea. First, why won’t Korean women marry men of lessser means, even if they come from lesser means? How many Korean women must, thusly, end up unmarried due to pickiness?
Story 1) a woman is stabbed to death 60+ times. Her baby receives 30
stab wounds and also dies. This was in Daecheon. The police never
suspected the Korean husband but blamed the murders on a “passing
drug addict.” The problem with this story, for me, is that there are
not many transcient drug addicts in Korea, no less Daecheon, and that
drug addicts need what? MONEY. So, there is a chance that if they
can’t rob or steal money from a potential victim, they will move on
and steal money from someone else. There is also a chance a drug
addict could kill someone for money. But 90 stab wounds? Even an
amateur detective might make a case that only someone ENRAGED at the
victims could stab them that many times.

Sheer speculation: but what if the Pinay wife had a hard time
learning Korean? What if she was talking to the child in Takalog all
the time? Or if she had a hard time with her husband’s mother?

The myth is that wives from China, Vietnam or the Philipines, who are
in Korea mostly to make a better life for their children, marry
farmers. I personally know a lady from China married to an artist, a PInay
lady married to a banker (ok he’s older) and a factory working mom who
married a 40+ year-old who had never worked a day in his life.

Story 2) A labor leader among Pinay factory working men in
Joellanamdo made everyone aware of a new rule effecting factory
workers form overseas. Previously the governments of the Philippines
and Korea had an agreement that a worker’s contribution into the pension system could be taken as a lump sum once the workers time (often limited to five years) was up in Korea. This can be an awful lot of money in Philippine terms, and helped workers start profitable businesses once they returned home. But this was taken away, and the money earned by workers now gets sent to the famously coirruipt Philippine government and they “promise” to pay to the workers when they turn 65. This small change hurt those who work theDDD jobs that Koreans don’t want to do. Many were counting on that
money. Many have been injured or killed working such jobs…but that
doesn’t always make the news in Korea.

So we have two stories about how Filipinos are treated in Korea. But
we should have more to get a better picture. I mean maybe the stories
from Korea have skewed Filipino’s opinions about Koreans. Koreans, in
my six year experience have been welcoming, non-judgmental, fun-loving
and hard working. But I am a professor, so maybe this has some
advantage the wives and workers from outside Korea who are not
educators don’t have.

Story 3) A Pinay wife has two children with a man who lives at home,
and due to a disease, does not work. He has found work since, perhaps
inspired by his wife. But before she was allowed to work outside the
house (it took years for the husband’s family to relaize her
university degree meant she could work at a Hagwan) she was not
allowed to leave the house even one step into fresh air except to go
grocery shopping with her mother in law. She was geographically
enslaved, worked hard at the family’s business, and raised two
children fully in Korean, as expected. She was also yelled at, had
furniture broken over her head and back, had a husband addicted to PC Games, and inattentive to his own children, and, and, and… she finally ended up in 60-70 hour factory work, on top of 100% of the work at home, while the
husband, who has had jobs on and off, remains aloof.

Story 4) A Pinay woman has three children with her Korean husband and
is beaten nearly to death. She never explained why, but the
photographs from the hospital were so freightening that her husband
never showed up in court for the divorce proceedings. But he was
never imprisoned either.

Story 5)  A very young Pinay lady marries a man twice her age, but close to three times her age.  They have two children.  He is rich, and living in Seoul.  Well, kind of living in Seoul.  After a few years he disappears, and visits his own house about one or two days a month.  Otherwise the mom has an allowance, and has her children, and, well, that’s one of the BEST stories of multi-cultural arranged, or purchased marriages I can find, when the wives are purchased from overseas.

We have to look closely at just how similar these cases are to
slavery. Let’s face it, then men PAID for these baby-producing wives,
and as such, might easily see them as property. And when property is
not living up to expectatoins, property could be mistrteated (note the
movie of the year “12 Years a Slave” for more examples).

Of course, I am repulsed by the agencies that display women on the
internet that can be bought as wives. But this is a result of a world
economy so out-of-kilter that extreme wealth and poverty rarely live
side-by-side anymore. A world in which, in Europe the rich are
downtown and the poor in the suburbs, and in the USA, the poor are
downtown and the rich are in the suburbs, and in Asia, the
mega-rich build towering condo buildings heading out Airport Road in
Beijing, while the poor huddle in Hwa Wei and sell antiques, but still
have midnight dances on the streets. I mean waltzes and all ages.

The financially disadvantaged DO KNOW HOW TO HAVE FUN, because they’ve
earned it, but when the rich take advantage of the poor, not just in
factories, but as wives…not just with farm subsidies that make it
impossible for South America or Africa to compete with agricultural
products, not just by having the IMF sink their economies to make the
world safe for American industrialists (by creating 50 to 70%
unemployment, and then moving factories in, and then passing free
trade agreements so the products are not taxed as they flow to
countries that can afford them, even with their 5000% mark-ups from
cost — see Nike sneakers built in Indonesia, please go see that in
process Michael Jordan as you promised you would for years). Yes go
Michael “$40 million a year in advertising endorsements” Jordan, or
not, just play golf and smile.

So I’m not blaming ANYONE for trying to make a better life for their
children, but when Koreans get murdered in the Pihlippines, we should
know what might be motivating such attacks, not just report about the
attacks to warn Koreans. Heck, many will retire, vacation and “find
romance” in the Philipines, due to how far the Won goes there, or Thailand and anywhere else in the world where impoverished victims of globalization turn to selling themselves. Oh it happens everywhere. Not to pick on Asia, the USA and Europe are replete with drug addicts, many of whom started in on drugs when no one would hire them.

My hometown, Gwangju, is literally chock full of romance come spring
time. Most is the normal boy-meets girl, they fall in love, they start
a relationship, and after graduating and starting careers, they get
married.

The city is preparing for the Univisiade in which many university
students will come to Gwangju to participate in sports. It’s going to
be great. These visitors are not at all having to submit to harsh
jobs or harsh treatment to experience a great time in Gwangju.

But before we welcome them (are there enough rooms in town for all of
them to stay?) we should stop and welcome the many foreigners who are
already here. More opportunities for Koreans to befriend
Internaotinal residents should be set up. Once a year, in October,
there is an “International Day” but not enough Koreans build
friendships off of that day.

Since, reportedly, about 20% of all marriages in Korea in 2013 were
multi-cultural, it is high time more Koreans actually spend their free
time having fun and socializing with international residents. Since
Korea is becoming more and more muilti-cultural, it makes sense that
if Koreans are friends with their foreign neighbors, the society will
function better, and with less crime. If a Pinay or Vietnamese or
Chinese wife and her husband have a lot of Korean friends, then the
chances for abuse go down. Proof is in The Netherlands, which has a significant Morrocan populaiotn that has nevcer been assimilated. ANd has been causing problems, like the murder of Van Gogh’s Grand nephew, for decades now.

The Gwangju International Center offers all types of events, including
a Saturday talk at 3pm, a book Club, a Vietnamese class, Korean
language classes, and art gallery, a library and many chances for
Koreans to get to know how nice their ex-patriot neighbors are. Hope
to see you there soon. Saturday at 3pm is the best time for sure.

Many multicultural marriages happen when foreign educators marry Korean wives or husbands.  These are wholly different, far less often end in divorce, and rarely have any abuse involved.  This might be a foreign lady and Korean man (15%-20%) or a foreign man and a Korean lady.  At least two of these around Gwangju found the couple moving to the westerners home country.  In other cases, the westerner is able to enjoy the good life i Gwangju due to excellent pay and low rent.  These couples may live in Gwangju the rest of their lives, and have famously formed an “F-1 Visa Club” that helps folks find extra work, has picnics and enjoys free time as “extended family time.”