Wednesday, October 29

First Episode: RealPolitiks

Head to: http://www.zshare.net/audio/50586150af6b9376/ to check out our first episode. You'll love it.

Thursday, October 23

New Shit

If you check out the dates you may have noticed a lag in activity. Well your favorite college kid is back with a new radio show. RealPolitiks. Tuesdays 11:30-12:30. Tune in to learn stuff and hear people argue. It's like Fox News with tigers!

Thursday, April 10

Iraq Progress Report

The title is a link to TPM media where they offer an awesome summary of Gen. Petreaus and Ambassador Crocker's testimony.

Thursday, April 3

A.M. Radio

Good Show: Gucci Mane, Lupe, T.I., Jeezy, and more of your favorite rappers.

http://www.zshare.net/audio/1001965673724301/

Retreiver Weekly Article 4/1/2008

stupid April Fools theme so i threw in some sarcasm, enjoy.

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Thank you Senator Obama. Your eloquence once again has saved you from the recent pitfall that one Reverend Jeremiah Wright has gotten you into. We all know that you transcend race, gender, phylum, species, and whatever else there is to transcend. Unfortunately mere mortals like Rev. Wright have the unfortunate effect of unleashing their black-hole like gravitational pull on your post-human politics. You quite capably accomplished your goals of assuaging the fears of your wealthy imperialist backers although unfortunately the Toby Keith crowd is probably that much distant.

Thank you for defending Israel. Sometimes billions of dollars, weapons, intelligence, and effective immunity from international law aren’t enough. We must defend our poor, defenseless ally! For example, Palestinian anger may soon rise due to Israeli firms dumping chloride, arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead into the groundwater in the West Bank. I suggest that Israel keep illegally annexing Palestinian land to end their tragic garbage problem. Maybe if we’re lucky someone will throw a rock over the apartheid…I mean settlement wall and we can collectively punish Gaza (again) and the West Bank! One can only hope. The idea that Israeli and United States actions in the Middle East have some sort of geo-political consequence is laughable. I was never a big fan of that whole “cause and effect” thing and I’m glad to see you aren’t either. Everyone knows that the military bases we have in Middle Eastern holy lands, our training and arming of unsavory elements, and the occasional overthrow of governments are quite acceptable. I mean who could have predicted that interfering in other countries politics for our own selfish needs would backfire?

I am also proud of your continued membership to the Trinity United Church of Christ. As a fellow United Church of Christ member I support that decision completely. Remember when all of those Catholic priests were getting in trouble? Well prominent Catholic lawmakers didn’t leave the Church. Neither did most of the catholic pundits on TV that adamantly call on your to leave the church.

In terms of race, Mr. Obama, your work is not yet done. Why simply denounce Rev. Wright in order to transcend race? Some guy named Rev. Martin Luther King I hear about every February from my McDonald’s cups apparently said that America was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. This is unacceptable! I demand that you transcend time to wake Mr. King up from his dream and tell him if he doesn’t like America he can get out! Since I can only operate in the present day (for now) I’ll focus on Rev Wright.

Wrights assertion that racism is deeply embedded in America’s culture is insane. Ok except for the widespread genocide of Native Americans and our slave-owning founding fathers. Some may point to the fact that America's first president, George Washington, kept slaves in the Executive Mansion during his presidency and if you’re sharp you may know that the stable where Washington's slaves lived is literally at the entrance of the pavilion housing the Liberty Bell. But hey that’s all in the past right?

Others may point to a book called Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington which looks back on the Tuskegee Experiments (where blacks were purposely infected with Syphilis) in 1932 and examines more recent events of the same character. Quoting a review of the book published in the Washington Post “In 1945… an African American trucker being treated for injuries received in an accident… was surreptitiously placed without his consent into a radiation experiment sponsored by the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission. Black Floridians were deliberately exposed to swarms of mosquitoes carrying yellow fever and other diseases in experiments conducted by the Army and the CIA in the early 1950s. Throughout the 1950s and '60s, black inmates at Philadelphia's Holmesburg Prison were used as research subjects by a University of Pennsylvania dermatologist testing pharmaceuticals and personal hygiene products; some of these subjects report pain and disfiguration even now. During the 1960s and '70s, black boys were subjected to sometimes paralyzing neurosurgery by a University of Mississippi researcher who believed brain pathology to be the root of the children's supposed hyperactive behavior. In the 1990s, African American youths in New York were injected with Fenfluramine -- half of the deadly, discontinued weight loss drug Fen-Phen -- by Columbia researchers investigating a hypothesis about the genetic origins of violence." Some may see these experiments as unethical, I think we blacks should be proud to have contributed, although unknowingly, to science.

Ignoring the above account presently we African-Americans have it great. According to the Sentencing Project “…more than 60% of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. These trends have been intensified by the disproportionate impact of the "war on drugs," in which three-fourths of all persons in prison for drug offenses are people of color.” During the 1990’s, according to Linn Washington Jr., Wright’s home town of Philadelphia built eleven new prisons and one new public high school. I’m an optimist! A city can always use twelve new buildings!

In February the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination claimed the US failed to address racism against its racial minorities. But it’s been long established that we don’t care what the world thinks. We’re always right. Debbie Downers out there may point to inequality in the housing markets. So what if blacks were offered the most subprime mortgages, still face housing discrimination and gentrification? That’s probably a coincidence.

I do hope this story dies soon. By ignoring the “race issue” as you have this entire campaign i’m sure in a few more years things will even themselves out.

In all seriousness (and to avoid angry emails in my inbox) I do not agree with everything that Rev. Jeremiah Wright said, however it is undeniable that racism is still prevalent in the United States and U.S. foreign policy is at least partly responsible for our reputation in the Middle East. There’s no transcending that.

Wednesday, March 26

Looking at NAFTA and the illusion of free trade


“Free Trade” in its name sounds like a great idea. It’s an effective euphemism used to promote investors’ rights over those of the employees and the environment. Since the ratification of NAFTA it has had precisely that effect. There is a reason that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton alter their rhetoric whenever visiting states like Michigan and Ohio. It is estimated that since NAFTA was passed the net impact has been a loss of 900,000 American jobs primarily in manufacturing states such as these. Not only has it resulted in the loss of jobs but it has restricted the sovereignty of local economies and encouraged the growth of sweatshop labor along the USA/Mexico border. Trade isn’t inherently bad, and in fact when the concerns of workers and the environment are considered then trade is great. Unfortunately in agreements like NAFTA they are not. Prior to NAFTA, trade agreements primarily dealt with cutting tariffs and lifting quotas. NAFTA is not free trade. It contains 900 pages of one-size-fits-all rules to which each nation is required to conform all of its domestic laws. That doesn’t sound very free, does it?

NAFTA limited inspection and safety standards of food sold in grocery stores, raised medicine prices due to patent laws, increased sprawl and toxic industries, and eliminated preferences for spending tax dollars on United States-made products or locally-grown food. NAFTA is not a “free trade” agreement, it is an investment agreement. Its core provisions grant foreign investors new rights and privileges that promote relocation of factories and jobs and the privatization and deregulation of essential services, such as water, energy and health care. According to right-wingers not regulating business to, for instance, require the production of safe products is a great policy to follow.

The important thing to remember is that trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA affect the countries with which we sign, not simply our own. The damaging effects of NAFTA are most intense in Mexico. At the urging of agribusiness interests the United States urged changing the Mexican constitution to allow wealthy businesses to purchase the constitutionally guaranteed land plots of poor farmers. This has caused thousands of Mexican families to lose their livelihoods and migrate to Mexican cities. When unable to find work in these overcrowded cities, they risk their lives crossing our southern border. As was predicted by opponents of NAFTA, the agreement has caused a sharp increase in illegal immigration to the United States because of the loss of jobs in Mexico.

NAFTA promotes illegal immigration by destroying the Mexican agricultural economy. The vast majority of immigrants from Mexico originate from rural areas. These two concepts for some reason never seem to make it into news reports about illegal immigration or NAFTA. Common sense dictates that in order to risk one’s life to potentially become a fugitive in a foreign country all other avenues must be just as gloomy. Since the ratification of NAFTA, life in rural Mexico has gotten increasingly gloomier. Between 1994 and 2003 the Mexican minimum wages and contractual wages lost 20 percent and 19 percent of their purchasing power. Wages and benefits in the manufacturing sector dropped nine percent. Workers in United States affiliates operating in Mexico earn 75 percent less than their counterparts in U.S. affiliates in Canada while the ratio of Mexican to United States manufacturing wages (in U.S. dollars) remains unchanged at $ 2.10. Income distribution has worsened during the NAFTA years. Today, 70 percent of Mexico’s population lives below the poverty line and 40 million Mexicans are estimated to live in extreme poverty. 60 percent of indigenous children suffer severe malnutrition.

The price index of basic food staples increased by 257 percent between 1994 and 2002. According to La Jornada, between 1994 and 2001 real prices for corn (a major agricultural staple) for Mexican farmers, adjusted for inflation and peso devaluation, dropped by more than 43.4 percent. Agricultural employment in Mexico was at about 8.1 million prior to NAFTA. By 2006 this numbers was 6 million. The loss of agricultural jobs is consistent with a major population shift from Mexico’s rural countryside to both United States and Mexican cities. From 1980 to 1994, migration from rural Mexico to the U.S. increased by 95 percent. By 2002, migration to the U.S. from rural Mexico was 452 percent higher than in 1980. The cost of environmental degradation is calculated at 10 percent of GDP per year, which is higher than Mexican economic growth. Between 1990 and 1999 the land area covered by forest fell from 32 percent to 28 percent, while carbon dioxide emissions per capita grew from 3.7 to 3.9 metric tons. Because of NAFTA the Mexican government cut its overall investment in agriculture by 90 percent in the first seven years of NAFTA as well as its farm support payments by more than half. Remember these numbers when you hear a wealthy television talking head talking about “aliens” stealing “our jobs.”

It’s fairly obvious that U.S. agribusiness has no problem with this policy as they are the main beneficiaries of it. Because of NAFTA they are more easily able to buy Mexican agribusiness, move American farms to Mexico, pay lower wages, ignore environmental standards and grow richer all at the expense of the average working person. They are also among the largest employers of illegal immigrants. For example, Swift & Company had to shut down 100 percent of its beef production and 77 percent of its pork production following the high-profile immigration raids in 2007 that resulted in the arrest of 1,282 workers. In February 2007, Smithfield Packing Co., the largest U.S. hog processor, had to shut down its North Carolina plant after hundreds of workers left their jobs or refused to come to work to protest a crackdown on undocumented immigrants. This isn’t coincidence, it’s certain companies exploiting NAFTA at both ends.

No issue can be discussed in a vacuum. Illegal immigration, economic well being, health, and environmental issues are all intertwined. We as citizens should demand to have a president who is committed to helping the average citizen prior to wealthy agribusiness interests. Maybe we could elect someone who has the crazy idea of investing in AMERICAN goods and agriculture. No I think that makes too much sense.

Copyright: The Retriever Weekly

Tuesday, March 25

War

a visual tribute to the war from Fluff...i mean Huff Post

Monday, March 24

Please

Can every pundit and journalist please invest in a pocket thesaurus? Or at least open one so we can stop using the word "surge" to describe EVERYTHING. Thanks

Wednesday, March 5

Believing in Change for the Wrong Reasons
















As a resident of Pennsylvania in the front-loaded primary season I have, and still do have, a lot of time to decide who gets my vote. This is a very special occasion because, as an 18-year-old, this is the first time I can vote. I could not have predicted a few years ago that in the Democratic race there would be a half-black man as the presumptive Democratic nominee. For those who fill in the same ethnicity bubble on the SATs as I do it is an opportunity to elect a president who may change perceptions within our country.

However, as I learned more and more about politics I began to wonder how progressive Barack Obama would be. He has been running on the promise to simultaneously transcend partisanship while also changing America. What is most striking about this rhetoric is its similarities to that of Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton was a very pronounced centrist and also promised to rise above the divisions of partisanship. This was not surprising due to his role as the spokesman for the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). The DLC’s most prominent goal is to move the Democratic Party into the realm of Reaganism. By his own admittance Clinton’s policy was focused on the needs of Wall Street and not the working man. This is obvious in his economic policies, which contributed to the dotcom boom and bust and the growing pay inequality between CEOs and employees.

The DLC has been churning out “centrist” politicians that were supported enthusiastically during the 2006 election simply because of the D in front of their names but now have earned the ire of democrats. The most local example is the primary defeat of Al Wynn in Maryland’s 4th district. Donna Edwards ousted him riding a wave of grassroots support run by voters who voted for Wynn but found that he was in effect a Republican.

Presumably this DLC style of governing is what Obama means by “transcending politics.” It appears that way if one looks at David Cutler, Jeffrey Liebman and Austan Goolsbee, his three financial advisors. Cutler and Liebman are from the Clinton administration and Goolsbee, Obama’s main advisor, comes from the University of Chicago. Cutler writes about incentivizing the healthcare industry as a way to improve care. Liebman has endorsed the partial privatization of Social Security. Their influence shows in his subprime plan. Obama hasn’t called for a moratorium on foreclosures or a freeze on interest rates, both policies that help people stay in their homes.

Recently one of the most important liberal publications, The Nation, came out in support of Obama. Throughout the election this same magazine has been bemoaning the lack of diversity in the policy of Clinton and Obama. Its writers have picked sides and have been hurling articles at their peers (the same battle has happened on the pages of this newspaper). The most striking thing about the endorsement is that it was not based on policy. “[We are]critical of the senator from Illinois for his closeness to Wall Street; his unwillingness to lay out an ambitious progressive agenda on healthcare, housing and other domestic policy issues...” prefaced the assertion that despite all of these flaws he is the candidate most likely to build a coalition and work with congress.

It baffles me how supporters of any of the Democratic candidates remaining can really expect meaningful change. Voting millionaires into our presidency is not a formula for change. Having right wing advisors is not the formula for change. The real agents of change are those that don’t have to announce it; if you really want change look at candidates that rely entirely on the people to run their campaigns. The corporate money Obama receives has strings attached. Wouldn’t you rather have the common man pulling strings than Wall Street?

Ron Paul is a candidate that is able to compete with his corporately funded opponents but is dismissed by the corporately funded media as “un-electable.” Dennis Kucinich was funded entirely by grassroots support but was similarly dismissed. The same people that denounce these candidates fail to explain how Paul and Kucinich continue to be elected to the House of Representatives year after year. The corporately run media never mention how they predicted Rudolph Giuliani to be a major force and how he was beaten handily by Ron Paul in several states.

When discussing politics I too often hear “I like Candidate X, but I’m voting for Candidate Y because I don’t want to waste my vote.” Prior to his withdrawal I was a supporter of Dennis Kucinich but hesitant about voting for him for the same reason. I had resigned myself to voting for the lesser of two evils. While listening to the Green Party debate I heard a statement that changed my outlook on politics. A candidate mentioned the lesser of two evils conundrum and stated “just don’t vote for evil.” I’ve made the choice to start my voting career by not voting for evil.

Cynthia McKinney is the first African American female congresswoman elected to Georgia and an ex-Democrat running for the Green Party. As a six-term member of congress she amassed a consistent voting record. She voted against the Iraq War, but more importantly voted against the Gulf War in 1991. It’s not enough to just be against the Iraq War; meaningful change is a candidate against all wars of imperialism. She has also voted against funding the war despite the false assertions by other Democrats that somehow that would translate to troops with no armor or weapons in battle. McKinney introduced articles for impeachment against George Bush and passed legislation preventing the sale of weapons to human rights abusers. Isn’t that change you can believe in?

Monday, March 3

Dirty South Episode




















Click the picture for 2/27/2008 episode.

Sunday, March 2

Question





Why is the Middle East in so much turmoil right now? Good thing we have Israel! [/sarcasm]

Tuesday, February 26

Water Torture

I am now a Staff Writer for UMBC's student newspaper The Retriever Weekly

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Counterpoint: Waterboarding is cruel and unusual

On February 11, the U.S. Military announced charges against six individuals currently held at Guantanamo Bay. The men will be charged under the Military Commissions Act (MCA), passed in 2006 (after the prior system of military tribunals was ruled unconstitutional). The sole purpose of this act was to revise the standards previously outlined in the War Crimes Act in order to protect U.S. government officials that ordered waterboarding. The act allows trials to continue in the absence of a defendant, allows the Secretary of Defense to appoint judges, allows hearsay and evidence obtained without a warrant, and denies the defendant the right to see all of the evidence against him. Defense attorneys are not allowed to meet their clients without governmental monitoring and all of their notes and mail must be handed over to the military. The MCA also permits evidence obtained by cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment if it was secured before December 30, 2005. Recently CIA director Michael Hayden became the first administration official to admit the use of waterboarding. The men that he named are three of the men that were charged on the 11th: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubayda and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. This announcement came after the CIA admitted to destroying several hundred hours of videotapes depicting interrogations and waterboarding of Zubaydah and al-Nashiri. Another man being charged, Mohammed al-Qahtani, was forcibly administered drugs and enemas and subjected to prolonged restraint, sleep deprivation, sensory overload, and exposure to extreme temperatures.

Waterboarding is a euphemism for water torture. Whatever you call it, the practice is illegal under United Nations’ Convention against torture. This convention prohibits treatment resulting in long-term physical or mental damage. The Third Geneva Conventions also states that torture is a war crime. According to these precedents, water torture should be illegal under the MCA as well. Proponents of the method however believe that water torture is not cruel, and does not cause long term mental or physical damage. Water torture involves forced suffocation and inhalation of water. This sensation is commonly referred to as drowning. Physical injuries that may result from water torture include brain damage, lung damage, heart attack, and death. Dr. Allen Keller, who has treated water torture victims, describes the potential mental effects as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and fear of water.

Water torture was used during the Spanish Inquisition, by agents of the Dutch East India Company during the Amboyna massacre, by the Japanese Kempeitai and the Gestapo during World War II, and by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. After the Spanish-American War, President Theodore Roosevelt ordered the court-martial of an American General for allowing his troops to water torture. Our current president contends that under threat of imminent attack water torture is an acceptable method. This must be a recent revelation because after World War II our country executed eight Japanese officers for water torturing allied soldiers under threat of a nuclear attack. Apparently dropping two nuclear bombs does not constitute imminent attack.

Unfortunately, in this article I have fallen into the same circle of discussion that is replayed in the pundit realm of network television. We should not be discussing whether water boarding is torture when it plainly is. This is merely the obfuscation of the issue at hand. We should be arguing over what direction our country is heading in and what company these presently employed tactics keep us in. It is shameful when we use a practice employed by the Gestapo and Khmer Rouge. In discussing the retirement of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, George Bush mentioned the release of political prisoners. Ironically, our military base in Cuba has a population of questionable, to say the least, prisoners. According to the governments’ own documents, 55 percent of the detainees are not determined to have committed any hostile acts against the United States or its allies. Only eight percent of the detainees were characterized as al Qaeda fighters. 40 percent have no definitive connection with al Qaeda at all and 18 percent are have no definitive affiliation with either al Qaeda or the Taliban. Only five percent of the detainees were captured by United States forces. 86 percent of the detainees were arrested by either the military dictatorship of Pakistan or the Northern Alliance. Detainees captured by Pakistan and the Northern Alliance were captured at a time when the United States offered large bounties. The Northern Alliance warlords in Afghanistan are reported to have captured neighbors with whom they had disputes, and random villagers.

Recently Colonel Morris Davis, the general counsel of the Department of Defense, is reported to have said that the Guantanamo trials cannot have acquittals because it would be impossible to explain the prisoners’ six-year-long captivity. This is significant because as general counsel the prosecutors report to him, the defense counsel reports to him, the judges report to him, and the convening authority reports to him. If the system wasn’t rigged already there is no doubt that it is now.

The attacks on September 11, 2001 were heinous and deplorable by any standard. They will go down in history as perhaps one of the most brutal non-wartime attacks. Unfortunately, our reaction to it will also go down in history. Our country has violated international law and violated generally accepted standards of war and detention. Any conviction that is reached will forever be tainted by the six years of solitary confinement and torture these men suffered. Not to mention any torture they underwent while at secret CIA black sites in foreign countries that openly torture prisoners.

The true measure of a nation is how it reacts under the toughest circumstances and most tenuous conditions. Above all this act is shameful to everyone who was personally affected on that day. Convictions will come quickly but has justice been served? It does not appear that justice is the aim of these trials. Instead the smack of attempt at polishing a legacy of administration marred by failure and lawlessness.

Copyright: The Retriever Weekly

Yup




hope & change aren't new campaign promises.

Last time we got a DINO.

Friday, February 22

Black History Month




For all you UMBC kids check out the Black Panther exhibit in the AOK Library. Head to The Largest Minority to check out a Malcom X tribute. He was assassinated today in 1965
video

Thursday, February 21

Don't Test Serbia's Gangsta

I don't link to HuffPo too much (read:ever) but this spectacle of civil disobedience was too baller to pass up. Turns out in other countries when their government defies international precedent and law they do something.

To Serve and Protect
















This one's for you guys! Click the picture to hear the podcast. Rostam and Famous joined me in the studio. Featuring Project Pat, Nas, The Pharcyde, Lil Wayne, and so much more.

Wednesday, February 20

Spying on Bolivia















When Bolivian President Evo Morales appeared on The Daily Show last year, John Stewart conducted an interview with the friendly and personable leader. Morales ended the interview jokingly asking not to be considered a member of the axis of evil. It seems that in some sense he now is. It is becoming an all too familiar story and the reasons for America’s change of heart towards the Andean nation may surprise you.

Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada Sánchez Bustamante, or Goni (known to the indigenous population as El Gringo), was president for two terms prior to Morales. He was educated in the United States and speaks English better than he speaks Spanish. In 2000 Bolivian water was sold to the American company Bechtel. Prices skyrocketed and cash strapped Bolivians took to the streets demanding affordable drinking water. In 2003, he put Bolivia’s gas reserves on sale. The people of Bolivia (led by Morales and other union leaders) blockaded attempts by the government to use Bolivia’s wealth to enrich foreigners. Goni sent in the army and around 50 unarmed civilians were killed, 200 wounded and more were arrested. Tens of thousands of protesters flooded the area eventually forcing Goni to resign. He fled to a ritzy suburb in Washington, D.C. where he resides today. In 2004, the Bolivian congress ordered his arrest under the charge of massacre. George Bush refuses to force Goni to return to Bolivia and face trial. Ironically, this is the same man that insists governments that harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves.

Morales was elected in 2005 in the election with the highest voter turnout since the country’s independence from Spain. This election was important because it signifies Bolivia’s break with imperialist powers and a groundswell of grassroots support. For once, wealthy elites weren’t running the country. Instead, a fully indigenous coca farmer from the mountains represented the population. Anecdotal accounts illustrate the monumental changes that the election made on Bolivian politics, starting with the faces of elected officials. The country, formerly under the colonial rule of Spain, where the majority of the population is poor indigenous campesinos (farmers), was run by people of Spanish descent. Policies by Evo’s predecessors, such as privatization of national resources, have contributed both to the pockets of the wealthy elite and the poverty of the indigenous people.

Since he has been in power, Evo has aligned himself with leftist, anti-imperialist South American politicians such as Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa. These leaders reject western financial influence due to the highly unequal colonial social structure created in their countries. Although he is less confrontational and egotistical than his Venezuelan counterpart, the United States government has been on a campaign to undermine Morales’ government using our taxpayer dollars. Five of the richer, more affluent provinces of Bolivia fiercely reject the wealth redistribution and agrarian reform methods proposed by Morales to the point of threatening secession. According to declassified memos through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), our government has given 116 grants for $4,451,249 to help departmental (read: right wing) governments operate “more strategically”. This funding is in violation of Bolivian law passed last year requiring all international funding to be sent through the Bolivian government.

Foundations that have also been given money by the U.S. hold lectures promoting the same neo-liberal policies that almost led Bolivia to a civil war in 2003. The National Endowment for Democracy is one such foundation which was involved in the failed coup of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Recently, news broke that at least one U.S. government employee has asked at least one Fulbright Scholar and Peace Corps volunteers to spy on Venezuelans and Cubans operating in Bolivia. Both Venezuela and Cuba provide funding, doctors, and expertise to support their socialist ally Morales. A journalist traveled to Bolivia in order to give the U.S. government the benefit of the doubt. He asked to see some of the apolitical, developmental work that is supposed to be the purpose of USAID. After two weeks he was referred to a garment factory. The employees revealed that they receive hardly any work and meager pay. They refused to give their names because, they claim, if they criticize the program they are beaten.

South America is perhaps the largest punching bag for American imperialism in the world. Yet again, taxpayer dollars are going towards the undermining of a democratically elected government. Bolivia is a perfect example of the trend that seems to be growing across the continent. A country full of profitable national resources breaks free of colonial rule, elects leaders that more accurately reflect the majority of the population, and refuses to sell national resources to foreign companies. These countries have seen swells in grassroots efforts and political participation unimaginable in a society like ours. We frequently fall on the wrong side of these pro-democracy movements and our international reputation has suffered from it over the years. Our CIA has been responsible, either explicitly or through funding/support, in the overthrow of more than 50 governments, most of them democratically elected. A large number of them have been in South America. If we care so much about democracy, then why do we frequently find ourselves infringing on the democratic rights of sovereign nations?

Actions such as this do not alleviate the trend towards socialism to the south of us. As time goes on it becomes more and more obvious that we are not fighting a noble fight. Our taxpayer dollars are in use to allow the largest corporations in the world get richer at the expense of indigenous populations. Bolivia is the perfect example of what happens when the rich get too rich, and the poor get too poor.

Copyright: The Retriever Weekly

Tuesday, February 19

Is Peru Next?

























(picture's a link)


Peruvian farmers have taken to the streets in protest of a Free Trade Agreement with the United States. As seen in our not so distant past (NAFTA), these trade agreements are not meant to protect "free trade" instead they protect subsidized agri-business interests and disenfranchise poor farmers both in the U.S. and in Peru. Let's hope that Alan Garcia, the Peruvian president, doesn't resort to strongman tactics to squelch civil disobedience. If he does he may find a new left rising in his country.

Monday, February 18

Bovine Dilema















The picture is a link to a New York Times article about the largest beef recall ever. Apparently most of the beef has already been eaten by some school children and although it is at higher risk for mad cow disease they haven't found any cases yet. Enjoying that burger?

Because Internet Censorship isn't cool

http://binaryfreedom.info/node/312

www.wikileaks.org was shut down today by court order. I encourage you to visit the above link! It has mirror sites so you can peep some classified government documents.

Sunday, February 17

2-13-2008
















That hype shit. DJ. Triple Stack, myself, and guest host Famous throw a hip-hop dance party.
We did a 2 hour show, but managed to only record the 2nd hour of it. Enjoy it.

p.s. click the picture

Podcast from 2-6-08 Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins














http://www.zshare.net/audio/77294631d43e7e/
Our first show this semester, and an ode to modern day minstrel shows like the above
. Featuring Mos Def, Talib, Public Enemy and more...

Friday, February 15

The New Cold War

Many people are highly critical of America’s current foreign policy. Our imperialist practices as a whole focus mainly on the Middle East, where these policies face, perhaps, their most violent opposition. It is, however, important to realize that the world is a very large place. While the international spotlight is shining brightly on current wars, it is imperative to look all around the world where the American government is pursing heavy-handed, instigative measures in our name.

Around spring of last year, George Bush announced his desire to place a missile interceptor system in Poland and radar systems in the Czech Republic, much to the chagrin of Russia. As they so often do for matters of imperial moxie, that darn “liberal media” parroted administration phrases as fact and denied their readership proper context. The administration touted the system as defense from “rouge states” (an obvious swipe at Iran/North Korea) and long range ballistic missiles sent to the United States. The LA Times framed Russia’s opposition to it, by referring to their “huge” missile force.

Most troubling about these pieces, besides the pre-supposition that it is our duty to define rouge statehood, is what isn’t being reported on. They didn’t report on the widespread opposition to these systems in the host countries. A poll conducted last year by STEM reported that 70 percent of Czechs are opposed to the base. Other polls average between 60-80 percent of “strong opposition.” Most newspapers make vague references to some opposition to the plan. It is also noteworthy that this vague rhetoric is frequently juxtaposed with several direct quotes from George Bush. They claim that this opposition is over the cost-effectiveness of the system, or at which date Iran will be able to acquire nuclear weapons. Since both Iran and North Korea are years away from developing technology to make long range ballistic missiles, it is quite clear that the real aim of this system to is intimidate Russia and China, both countries that frequently find themselves pitted against the West in their battle for supremacy. These battles often play out in areas such as Iran where China and Russia do business while the United States and Europe sanction them. Russia has been the most vocal in its opposition to the weapons systems.

This battle is not an old one. Since the Clinton Administration attempted to change the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, Russia has stated that they will not stand for this, and will respond however they deem necessary. The issue was dropped in order to avert conflict. However, George Bush’s hubris has resurrected the idea with renewed vigor. It has become blatantly obvious that he skipped a few history classes while getting his ivy-league degrees. Although the Cold War was mostly an ideological battle over economic systems, the idea of mutual destruction has been widely credited for averting nuclear disaster. The idea is that if Russia launches nukes at us, we’ll decide to fire some back, other nations will join in and the world will end. Since this idea has come to prominence there have been many treaties signed to stop both the manufacture of nuclear weapons (we oppose/disobey most of them), and nuclear weapons defense systems.

The media, whether you decide to call it liberal or conservative, is above all a failure. They hype the danger of potential nuclear weapons in small nations with a fraction of the military power we have and hypocritically mention other nation’s huge nuclear arsenals while ignoring the United State’s support for “acceptable” illegal military powers such as Israel, Pakistan, and India. Meanwhile, our cowboy president makes more and more enemies around the world, and brings our nation one step closer to danger by breaking treaties and provoking sovereign nations.

The theme for this 2008 presidential election is change. We should be asking our candidates how they feel about our foreign policy in general and not just about Iraq, which is one small piece of the puzzle and realistically not much of a danger to us. While we bomb “insurgents” armed with $5 bombs and hand-me-down rifles over non-existence weapons of mass destruction, a much bigger threat looms in the horizon.