Friday, July 31, 2009

Netherlands runs outa criminals?

by Ann Garrison

Meanwhile, back in the U.S.A., the State of California is about to dump 20,000 plus prisoners out on the streets in the middle of the hardest hard times since the Great Depression. I'd like to say it's because the State that I live in has finally realized that it makes no sense to spend more on its gulag than on kindergarten through high school education, but no, California's finally opening the state prison gates for so many just because the State's outa money---and, offering no help with rehabilitation and re-entry.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

VOC ship Prins Willem destroyed by fire

The Prins Willem was the largest ship at the time of the Dutch East India Company (the VOC). It was built in 1649 in Middelburg in the Netherlands and sank near Madagaskar in 1662.

The Replica was totally destroyed yesterday in the harbor of Den Helder, a small town in the north of the Netherlands.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The California Foreclosure Prevention Fraud of 2009

by Ann Garrison

The California State Legislature is now actively collaborating in the bankers' coup d'état led by Government Sachs. Here are the details:

On February 27, 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the
California Foreclosure Prevention Act, authored and introduced by California Assembly Member Ted Lieu, a Democrat representing California's 53 Assembly District. The California Democratic Party Caucus website still proudly proclaims that Lieu's legislation is "one of the most comprehensive and important pieces of legislation in the country to stem the tide of foreclosures and get our economy back on track," but it's likely to save as many homeowners as the State Lottery, if that.

Why? The law that Lieu's Assembly Bill 27 creates is supposed to give homeowners an additional 90 days to somehow cope, and/or, negotiate home loan modifications. However, at the very same time, the law requires the California Departments of Corporations, Financial Institutions, and, Real Estate to automatically grant "temporary exemptions" to any mortgage lender who submits a "substantially complete application" claiming they have a "comprehensive loan modification program" in place.

And, all the major banks, who are foreclosing on 90% of the distressed loans in California, lined up for exemptions, on June 15th, the day the act went into effect, and got exemptions within 24 hours.

Here are a few of the Department of Corporation's FAQs for banks:

"7. How do I obtain an exemption from the provisions of Civil Code Section 2923.52(a)?

The licensee or other entity must submit the Application for Exemption from the Provisions of Section 2923.52(a) in accordance with Section 2031.7 of Subchapter 14, Chapter 3, Title 10 of the California Code of Regulations to the Department of Corporations."

"10. How long does it take after an application is filed to obtain an exemption?

A temporary order exempting the applicant will be issued effective the same day the Department receives an application that is substantially complete. After review of the application, once it is determined that the company has a comprehensive loan modification program, a final order exempting the applicant will be issued."

And, what happens if one of California's regulatory bureaucracies issues a temporary exemption, then rules, 30 days later, that the bank did not actually have a "comprehensive loan modification plan" in place?

Offending banks will then have to stop foreclosing for 90 days, unless and until they get another exemption.

And, Assemblyman Ted Lieu, told the Sacramento Bee that banks hate foreclosure moratoriums:

"You have voluntary programs that they don't have to do," said state Assemblyman Ted Lieu, a Torrance Democrat who was the author of the bill. "This creates an enforcement mechanism to force them to do it. The hammer is the 90-day foreclosure moratorium, which they all hate."

Oh my God! Banks hate foreclosure moratoriums!!! They'll do anything to retain the power to keep foreclosing, even adopt a totally toothless, but "comprehensive" loan modification program!!!

And, the hammer? Bank execs might just as well be frightened of being hit by one of Arnold's hybrid hummers.

Unlike homeowners, whom the bill grants absolutely no breathing room, they'll get not only automatic exemptions, but also 30 more days to keep foreclosing, on anyone already in their cross-hairs, if the State later rules that they never deserved exemptions in the first place.

Then, they can apply for exemption again, and again, and again.

And, banks that don't want to modify a single loan, or even go through the motions of considering it, have simply hired other banks, like OneWest Bank, which have exemptions to "service" their loans.

This means that both Deutschebank and Goldman Sachs, which are now rumored to hold the majority of the securitized home loans from all over the country, have exemptions, simply because they pay other banks that have exemptions to send out their monthly bills and collect the checks!!!

This is heartless, Orwellian, war-is-peace and freedom-is-slavery legislation, which makes life worse for distraught homeowners, many of whom have already been victimized by the predatory lending practices that triggered the mortgage meltdown, derivatives disaster, and global recession.

Why worse? Because it holds out false hope, then confuses, confounds, and torments, with illogic, bureaucracy, and ill-defined, non-binding, lender obligations.

Conceivably, a few determined homeowners may somehow prove that their lenders have acted in bad faith, perhaps even committed perjury to obtain exemptions. A very few may even have the whole foreclosure process thrown out due to banks bad faith and illegal procedure. But, how many homeowners, on the verge of losing everything, have that kind of energy, or, bureaucratic and legal agility, left?

And, weren't homeowners supposed to be using the relief created by a 90 day foreclosure moratorium to work, find work, or maybe sell their homes before losing them---to somehow cope as best they can---not to struggle with the deceptions of a byzantine bank enabling law?

Foreclosure sale notices typically advise homeowners to seek legal counsel or face the sale of their homes at auction within weeks, but how many homeowners can afford a lawyer by that time, especially a lawyer capable of going up against the big banks?

Southern California real estate and bankruptcy attorney David Gibbs predicted all this when Schwarzenegger signed the bill in February, writing on Knol, unit of knowledge and, in June, posted this update:

*"UPDATE** - As anticipated, this piece of legislation turned out to be nothing more than a piece of swiss cheese. On June 15, 2009, the date on which the legislation actually became effective, magically almost 47 mortgage lenders, servicers and others involved in foreclosure received a temporary exemption from the law. Amazing, considering the fact that the State had posted on its website that the applications would not even be accepted until June 15, 2009. In some instances, not only did the firms receive a temporary exemption, many, such as Bank of America, Citimortgage, EMC Mortgage, Kondur Capital and Select Portfolio Servicing all received their exemptions WITHIN 24 HOURS OF ENACTMENT OF THE LAW. I am appalled at our legislators who, under the guise of protecting homeowners from foreclosure, wasted our time and taxpayer money to enact a law that is absolutely meaningless. Of the largest loan servicing companies in California (the ones who are foreclosing on 90%+ of homes in California), all are now 100% exempt from this new law. Here is a link to the current list of exempt lenders as of July 2, 2009 - be sure to check the Department of Corporations, Department of Real Estate and Department of Financial Institutions - all of which can be linked from the above website.

Someone in the State Legislature PLEASE tell me how it makes sense to add 90 days to the foreclosure process to allow people to negotiate a modification or some other relief from foreclosure, AND THEN EXEMPT FROM HAVING TO WAIT THAT ADDITIONAL 90 DAYS THE VERY BANKS THESE HOMEOWNERS ARE TO NEGOTIATE WITH? Way to go California - financially, and now MORALLY bankrupt."

Hear, hear, Counselor Gibbs.

(And, have you ever considered running for political office?)

On July 21st, I reported the real nature of the California Foreclosure Prevention Act to Democratic Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, and, sent him the Department of Corporations' quick stop guide to same-day exemption for banks. And, the long list of banks exempted.

Torrico notified his staff, assigned a legislative aide to investigate further, and promised to hold a hearing in August, but said that, ultimately, only Californians, outraged and organized at the grassroots, can turn the tide of corporate triumph led, in California, by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The California budget did not have to be

by Ann Garrison

California Democrats always blame the State's punish-the-poor budgets on our supermajority, tyranny-of-the-minority rule, which requires the legislature to approve any new revenues by a two-vote. But, the Democrats had far more power to negotiate from strength this year, despite the two-thirds rule. And, for whatever reason, they threw it away.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

King Badu Bonsu II "heading" home

As reported by BBC and by enthusiastic twittering Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen, after more then one and a half century, this Ghana King's head is returned to Ghana.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blogging While Brown Conference

Blogging While Brown 2008 Atlanta, GA from Gina McCauley on Vimeo.

I just came across this conference, great content of this conference can be found through their website

Monday, July 20, 2009

Arnold Schwarzenegger's "shared sacrifice"

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to insist that California, the state with the 7th highest per capita income, and the third greatest crude oil production of any state in the U.S.A., untaxed, is broke and must face, essentially, what the IMF calls structural readjustment in the Global South, rather than raise new revenues.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Havasupi organize protest of Grand Canyon uranium mining

Denison Uranium mine, Grand Canyon, AZ, U.S.A.

The Native American Havasupi tribe have invited the public to join them, on July 25th and 26th, to protest at Red Bluff, Arizona, a Havasupi sacred site threatened by Denison Mining's plan to reopen its open pit uranium mine, Arizona One, near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Most news sources were reporting, as of 07.19.2009, that Denison is only one Arizona air quality permit away from reopening the mine closed 20 years ago.

The Havasupi protest echoes indigenous, environmental, and anti-nuclear protest around the world, as global uranium demand increases, new nuclear power plants are constructed and proposed, and, the nuclear bomb mine---the supply of U-235, from nuclear weapons that the United States and the Soviet Union began deconstructing at the end of the Cold War----dwindles.

Uranium, including that in the dwlndling nuclear bomb mine, is a finite resource, in human time. It is renewable only in the earth's geological time, which cannot begin to keep pace with the rate at which it is being burned in reactors.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The worst nuclear accident in U.S. history: July 16, 1979, Navajo Reservation

by Ann Garrison

July 16th, 2009, marked the 30th anniversary of the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history, when, at 5:00 A.M., 1100 tons of uranium mining tailings, and 100 million gallons of radioactive water burst through United Nuclear's earthen dam, into the Rio Puerco, at a uranium mine in Church Rock, New Mexico, on the Navajo Reservation.

Three hours and 50 miles downriver, in Gallup, New Mexico, employees of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission tested the Rio Puerco and found it 7,000 times more radioactive than was then deemed allowable.

The best account of this accident and its aftermath may be that within Bruce Johansen's study, "The High Cost of Uranium Mining in Navajoland," first published in Akwesasne Notes,

The tragic, toxic legacy of uranium mining on the Navajo Reservation is also recounted in Abandoned Uranium Mines in the Navajo Nation, and, in a classic documentary, "The Four Corners: A National Sacrifice Area?," which asked the question, "Who is to be sacrificed?" (For America's fossil and nuclear fuels, for its polluting power plants, and, for its imperial nuclear power.) Since the film's release, other environmentally assaulted communities, many also victims of environmental racism, have been named "national sacrifice areas," and, have asked the same question. Navajo reservation

Since finally learning this story, in 2003, I've learned a great deal more from Southwest native environmental and indigenous rights activists from:

Environmental and indigenous rights activist Lori Goodman, of Diné CARE and the Black Mesa Water Coalition.

The Black Mesa Water Coalition,

Diné CARE, and

The Western Shoshone Defense Project.

The Navajo Nation remains under toxic siege, by coal mining, uranium mining, and coal-fired power, even though an EPA doc already suggests that the entire reservation is a Superfund site. The Navajo Tribal Council, in 2005, passed a uranium mining ban, the Diné Natural Resources Protection Act, and thus won a Nuclear Free Future Award, but the ban has been under pressure ever since, and uranium mining claims now surround the Navajo Reservation like an advancing army.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Big Oil too big for Arnold's "shared sacrifice"

Offshore oil drilling rigs are cities unto themselves.

The State of California is running on empty, and CA IOUs, as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to demand a shredded social safety net, repeal of labor and environmental legislation, and sweeping privatization of public assets, from prisons to public parks, before signing a state budget.

In other words, he continues to demand "structural readjustment," like that which the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank impose on Africa, Latin America, and the rest of the Global South, in exchange for operating funds that will allow the State and those it cares for to live, until the next budget crisis.

Who is the Governor willing to include in what he calls "shared sacrifice"? Children who will go without health care, young pregnant women who will not receive counseling, working moms, students depending on state sponsored college scholarships, and people with disabilities, Alzheimer's, mental illness, and HIV/AIDS.

And who is to too big to sacrifice? Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Shell, Conoco-Pillips, and BP. The Governor and California Republicans adamantly insist that the oil and natural gas companies will pay no severance tax for the privilege of extracting oil and natural gas that belongs to Californians, even as the State goes $25 million deeper into high interest debt every day..

On KMEC 101.5M Radio-Mendocino, I spoke with Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico about proposals for an oil and gas severance tax in California, the only state in the union which charges none:

This oil is mine; God gave this oil to me. . .

by Ann Garrison

"God is not a real estate agent" was Palestinian scholar Edward Said's response to the Zionist claim to scriptural proof, from the Old Testament, that God had given Palestine to the Jewish people. Were Edward Said still among us, he might now respond, "God is not a commodities broker," because Zion Oil and Natural Gas now claims scriptural proof, Genesis 12:1-3, and 49:25, and, Deuteronomy 33:24, that God gave the oil and natural gas in the land of milk and honey to the Jewish people as well:

In morning trading hours, on July 6, 2009, Zion Oil and Gas was the top volume gainer on the American Stock Exchange, jumping 6.79% and trading at over twice its daily average volume. Hold on, because Palestine---or, more precisely and more likely, Israel alone---may be poised to become the next Dubai.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cynthia McKinney, the Israeli Navy, and $4 billion worth of natural gas off Gaza

Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney on the Israeli Navy's circuitous route to shore, with the Spirit of Humanity in tow:

On June 30th 2009, Israeli Naval gunships surrounded the Spirit of Humanity, a boat used by the Free Gaza Movement, in international waters 60 miles off the coast of Israel, and arrested twenty-one activists, from 11 countries, including former Gerogia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who had boarded the Spirit of Humanity in Lamaco, Cyprus, with medical aid, toys, and building supplies, hoping to carry them to Gaza's besieged Palestinian population.

They had hoped not only to deliver aid, but also to challenge the illegal blockade imposed by the Israeli government on Gaza.

Upon her release and return, Cynthia McKinney spoke to WBAIX, from New York's JFK Airport, where she reported that the Israeli Navy had towed the "Spirit of Humanity," not directly to Port Ashdod, but, on a circuitous route, bypassing the Gaza Coast. This, she said, suggested that the Israeli Navy is engaged in activity that they do not want observed off the Gaza Strip, known to be the site of billions of dollars worth of natural gas reserves.

Barack Obama, in his speech proposing U.S. reconciliation with the Moslem world, in Cairo, Egypt, on 06.03.2009, said nothing of the estimated $4 billion worth of natural gas off the Coast of Gaza, nor of the oil and natural gas in Iraq, Iran, or Sudan, or, the pipeline projects to move Central Asian oil and natural gas through through Afghanistan, and other parts of Central Asia.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Obama, Ghana, and African oil

The West African Gulf of Guinea is not only oil rich, but
also the corridor for transporting West African oil to the
rest of the world. Controlling the Gulf of Guinea is a
principal goal of AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command.

Barack Obama's visit to Ghana is, most fundamentally, about West African oil and natural gas, and control of the corridors for transporting it through the Gulf of Guinea, on the West African Coast. Full text at,

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

KMEC Radio 101.5: Alberto Torrico on Arnold Schwarzenegger's end game

Alberto Torrico on Arnold Schwarzenegger's end game.

Cross post from the Op-Ed News,

Marwa el-Sherbini murdered by European anti-Islam racist

It has now been five days since Marwa el-Sherbini has been murdered by a European racist, still German and Dutch press have not written about the incidents. A German citizen had called Marwa el-Sherbini a terrorist whore. Later, in the courtroom, he stabbed her to death.

This demonstrates again that migrants in Europe have nothing to expect from mainstream politics and media.

Arnold Schwarzenegger threatens California like the IMF threatens Africa

California, like Africa, is oil rich. Africa has surpassed the Middle
East as a source of U.S. oil imports,and California is third to
Texas and Alaska, as an oil producing state. Yet most Africans enjoy
none of the wealth consequent to oil extraction in their
homeland, much like Californians, who, charge no oil and
natural gas severance tax at the wellhead, unlike any
state in the U.S., and, unlike even any African state.
by Ann Garrison

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger now threatens California much as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank threaten debt strangled, resource ransacked, environmentally assaulted, and de facto colonized Africa, and the rest of the Global South. In negotiations over the budget deadlock that now has California operating on CA IOUs, he's demands that majority Democratic California Legislature repeal years of hard won labor and environmental protection in exchange for his signature on a budget that saves at least some of the most basic human services.

If enacted without amendment, his harsh budget cuts will end many California college students' educations, and, sentence the most vulnerable Californians to extreme privation, and, even death; some Californians will literally die without AIDS medication, in home health services, health care for children, and other very basic social services that Schwarzenegger insists California can no longer afford.

Why is California no longer able to afford basic decency and dignity?

Because Schwarzenegger and his Republican minority:

1) Refuse to ask the wealthiest Californians, and corporations, to join in what he himself calls "shared sacrifice."

2) Refuse to ask Big Oil, despite record profits, to join in the "shared sacrifice," by refusing to impose an oil and natural gas tax at the wellhead, in this state which so uniquely charges none.

3) Don't even propose trimming all the State's outright contributions to corporations, in "public private partnerships" for infrastructural development, and/or, subsidies, to California's enormously wealthy utility monopolies, like Pacific Gas'n Electric and Southern California Edison.

California is the world's eighth largest economy, and, the largest state in the U.S.A. If Arnold Schwarzenegger's harsh end game succeeds here, it will no doubt send shock waves of corporatist triumph around the world.

On June 30, 2009, I recorded this KMEC Radio interview with California Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, on Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget and agenda, crossposted here from the Op-Ed News,

Monday, July 6, 2009

Evangelische Utopisten

In maart sprak Arie Slob, fractievoorzitter van de ChristenUnie, met Henk van Rhee, de voormalige direkteur van het partijbureau van de ChristenUnie. Arie Slob zegt over dit gesprek "Met Henk van Rhee voel ik me ook geestelijk verbonden".

De verbondenheid waar Arie Slob aan refereert lijkt verdacht veel op de droom van Henk van Rhee:
"Ik filosofeer wel eens over een toekomstige fusie tussen de nieuwe generatie SGP'ers en het orthodoxe deel van de ChristenUnie. Misschien verdwijnt de rest van de CU dan naar het CDA. Ook kerkelijk zou er wel eens een herverkaveling kunnen plaatsvinden, waarin orthodoxe mensen elkaar over kerkmuren heen vinden."

Om te begrijpen waarover Henk van Rhee hier filosofeert is het nuttig om het volgende citaat uit een artikel dat verscheen op de opinie-pagina van het Reformatorisch Dagblad er bij te pakken:
"Om het orthodoxe deel van de CU-achterban tevreden te houden, zal er "op de een of andere manier'' een beperking gesteld moeten worden aan homoseksuele relaties bij vertegenwoordigers van de partij.

Voor het 'verlichte' deel van de achterban zal dat aanleiding zijn om hun politieke onderdak elders te zoeken, verwacht Van Rhee."

Het is duidelijk uit bovenstaande interview, dat Henk van Rhee alleen "geestelijke verbondenheid" voelt met een deel van de achterban van de ChristenUnie. Hij streeft er naar een in zijn ogen 'verlichte' deel de partij uit te jagen.

En daarin staat hij duidelijk niet alleen, want de beperking die hij wilde is er inderdaad gekomen:

"Het ChristenUniepartijcongres nam op 14 juni de aanbevelingen uit het rapport over de gedragscode voor CU-vertegenwoordigers over. Wel werd de code gewijzigd. Kiesvereniging Nunspeet scherpte hem aan met een verwijzing naar de Uniefundering en het kernprogramma. Dat laatste werd op verzoek van Barneveld uitgebreid met de passage dat „seksuele omgang onlosmakelijk is verbonden met het huwelijk.”

De "homodiscussie" legt hier een diepere breuklijn in Christelijke politiek bloot. Een belangrijk deel van de ChristenUnie leden streeft een conservatief-evangelisch ideaal na, gebaseerd op het succes van de EO. Daarbij wordt ten onrechte de suggestie gewekt dat diegenen die daarin niet meegaan "progressief", "liberaal", "vrijzinnig" of "links" zijn. Dat blijkt ook uit de suggestie van Henk van Rhee die deze groep graag zou zien vertrekken richting het CDA.

Dat deel van de leden streeft juist niet naar de "evangelische utopie" van Henk van Rhee, maar geeft invulling aan haar burgerschap in lijn met het denkwerk van mensen als Groen van Prinsterer, Abraham Kuyper, Klaas Schilder en anderen die hun bijdrage geleverd hebben aan de fundering van Christelijke politiek in hun tijd.

De "evangelische utopie" van Henk van Rhee doet dan ook geen recht aan de complexe ontstaansgeschiedenis van RPF en GPV. Van Rhee gaat daarmee bovendien volledig voorbij aan de discussie over "kracht en doel" van Christelijke politiek die leidde tot het ontstaan van het GPV in 1948.

Hoe harder "evangelische utopisten" (zoals Henk van Rhee) blijven proberen de complexe realiteit van Christelijke politiek in hun "Evangelisch-conservatieve" keurslijf te dwingen, hoe meer tegenwerking zij tegen zullen komen binnen de ChristenUnie. It's the "burgerschapsvisie" stupid.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Torrico says "No more sequels, Arnold," as the Terminator holds a gun to California's head

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's
budget is a gun held to California's head.

Jimi Hendrix Star Spangled Banner, Woodstock, 1969

by Ann Garrison

Posted five minutes after midnight, July 4th, American Independence Day, 2009, 40 years after Hendrix made history at Woodstock, as the U.S. continues its overt wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and its covert wars in Africa, most of all, in D.R. Congo, under the umbrella of Africom, the U.S. Africa Command. I didn't watch the fireworks, but I listened to this, which Hendrix performed at the height of America's War in Vietnam, and the height of global opposition:

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Alberto Torrico urges California Democrats to lead

"If we are not going to take care of the most vulnerable among us, then I see no reason for us to be here in Sacramento."
--Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico

Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico urged California Democrats, a majority in both houses of the state legislature, to discard Arnold Schwarzenegger’s immoral, inhumane budget and present him with their own—so as to negotiate from strength, rather than simply defending this or that program from cuts. Thus far, the State Democrats have failed to follow his lead.

The Schwarzenegger budget is a hugely aggressive attempt to further advance the neoconservative agenda:

1) Shred the social safety net.
2) Privatize anything and everything.
3) Slash personal and corporate income tax.
4) Use state revenues to fund privatization, via “public private” partnerships.
5) Deconstruct environmental and business regulation by defunding enforcement.

That’s a very clear vision, as it has been for a long time. Will State Democrats ever articulate and argue for an equally clear vision, so as to mount more than a feeble defense against such vicious, aggressive neoconservativism? And, against neoliberalism, i.e., neoconservatism with a smiley, civil libertarian, sex tolerant face?

With Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party, on the national level, became the Neoliberal party, virtually indistinguishable from the Republicans, and, at times, on the national level, became even more vicious, as evidenced by the recent overwhelming Democratic vote to fund another $106 billion to fight the global War on Terror, an ideological excuse for unbridled military expansion and corporate plunder of the people and the planet for profit. And, $100 billion to fund the International Monetary Fund, which strangles the Global South in debt for projects more often harmful, and exploitative, of the people who live there, than not.

However, on the state level, the Democratic Party continues to stand, albeit timidly, or, perhaps, halfheartedly, against the Republicans, for community, and commitment to taking care of one another, in opposition to the privatization of everything existing. An oil and gas severance tax, at the wellhead, for oil that belongs to the people of the State of California, is part of the California Democratic Party platform, but Republicans adamantly oppose even a 9.9% tax, despite higher taxes in both Texas and California, the two oil-producing states ahead of California in barrels of crude pumped out of the ground.

Schwarzenegger's cuts will cost billions more in federal funds

Schwarzenegger’s cuts at the state level will cost California more billions in federal funds,
largely funds for human services, than the state cuts themselves. What could make the governor's real agenda more apparent?

If it advances yet further in California, it’s likely to spread, though California is not the first state to have a supermajority rule, Proposition 13, which requires that the entire California State budget be approved by a 2/3 majority, meaning, effectively, by the minority. California Democrats are now four votes shy of a 2/3 majority in the State Assembly; two votes shy in the State Senate.

supermajority (minority) rule is a national movement, which the Heritage Foundation, a think tank to enrich the rich, has been promoting it since at least 1996,

To protest the California budget, call Arnold Schwarzenegger's office, 916-445-2841.
Protest locally, protest in Sacramento.
Create media; call media; protest any media failing to accurately characterize Arnold Schwarzenegger's agenda.

-Steve Rhodes
17 Arrests at San Francisco protest of Arnold Schwarzenegger's California State Budget; June 24, 2009.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Why should Ahmed Aboutaleb not meet the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Morocco?

A political row started today between the Mayor of Rotterdam, who visited Cassablanca this week, and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maxime Verhagen.

Last year, when world media was all on Geert Wilders and the coming out of his film Fitna, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen sent Social Affairs State Secretary Ahmed Aboutaleb to represent the Dutch government at an EU meeting with the Arab League in the Maltese capital Valetta.

Verhagen had asked Aboutaleb to deputise for him, according to Aboutaleb. He gave as a reason that they "sometimes exchange ideas about the Middle East" but acknowledged that the fact that he is an Arab and a Muslim played a role. "It sometimes goes a bit easier if you get it in a word," said the state secretary. He holds Moroccan as well as Dutch citizenship.

Today Verhagen is "very angry" because Ahmed Aboutaleb, who is now the Mayor of Rotterdam, had a meeting with the minister for foreign affairs of Morocco while he was visiting his country of origin.

Apparently Maxime Verhagen, the Foreign Affairs Minister, has become very nervous because of the rise of Geert Wilders in the polls. He apparently needs to start a war of words with this important Dutch politician of Moroccan origin to gain back some of his standing with the xenophobic voters in the gutters of for instance Rotterdam and the Hague.

Or is it frustration because of the fact that Dutch-American relations were better under Bush? Apparently Maxime Verhagen, an important CDA politician, thinks he and his party can gain from attacking this politician of Moroccan origin, who the Guardian labeled "Obama of the Maas", on this unimportant issue. It tells us a lot of how the ruling parties are dealing with Geert Wilders.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Deputy Mayor of The Hague: immigrants from Eastern Europe are not welcome!

Update: some pictures of the beauty of The Hague to forget about politicians.

Deputy Mayor Marnix Norder writes today in a national newspaper "Trouw" that he fears a new "migrant drama", referring to the book "multicultureel drama" written by social democrat Paul Scheffer. The reason he has fears is that he has listened to "citizens" and has heard a lot of complaints about Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants in the poorer neighbourhoods. He thinks the feelings in the poor neighbourhoods is that the floodgates are opened to foreigners and that explains the rise of Geert Wilders in the European parliamentary elections.

He says "though he is no Eurofoob, this is Brussels fault" and that "an integration course for these immigrants should be mandator. He would prefer "that the borders would be closed for these immigrants".

Apparently politicians of the Dutch Labour Party are in panic because of the European elections results. This guy, Marnix Norder, a career politician, is wildly hitting around thinking he might get back some PVV voters. What strikes me is the lack of legal or statistical backing for his claims.

A report from the CBS (Central Bureau of Statistics) shows that due to international organisations in The Hague the number of western immigrants in The Hague will go up.
The share of western immigrants will go from 10% in 2005 to 20% in 2025. The share of non-western immigrants will stay around 30%. So his claims of a new wave of poor immigrants are only based on what he heard in the neighbourhoods and contradicted by this report.

Secondly the rights of Eastern European immigrants to stay in the Netherlands is guaranteed by European laws, and will not be changed. That is a fact and he should explain the fundamental rights of these citizens to these socalled "citizens" that complain about Eastern Europeans moving. Marnix Norder should go into the neighbourhoods and say: I got news for you, these people are European citizens and have the fundamental right to move in and to speak their own language. They can't be forced to follow some "integration course".

The Dutch Labour Party is riding the wave of xenophobic politics. This will only lead to more division and more unrest. If Marnix Norder really had any concern for his constituency and for the citizens of The Hague he would start by explaining reality, not spreading rumors and inuendo. I hope his constituency in the "City of Peace and Justice" gives him what he deserves at the next election: Defeat!

Kagame: "If Karake Karenzi leaves, Rwanda leaves Darfur"

(Darfur airlift operations from Kigali by US Airforce)

Rwanda now leading the ONU-AU Force in Darfour

Colette Braeckman asked Paul Kagame in an interview september 2008:
"Rwanda has 2000 soldiers in Darfur, they participate in the mixed ONU-African Union Force. The Rwandan General Karake Karenzi, who is at the head of this Force, is a controversial figure, his name is quoted in the accusations of a Spanish Judge. if he leaves Darfour, how would you react?"
To which Paul Kagame answered:
"I know that the Rwandan soldiers are necessair and appreciated, but we can't win on two tables: Or the commander of the Force is attacked, then also Rwanda itself will feel attacked and will react accordingly. For me, it is clear: If Karenzi has to leave, all the Rwandan soldiers will leave Darfour"

Beginning of June we learned that Karake Karenzi has been replaced by Major General Patrick Nyamvumba who does not figure on the list of arrest warents by the Spanish judge Fernando Merelles against Rwandan high military.

Apparently Rwanda has agreed to replacing Karake Karenzi and get's in return the highest ranking position in the joint ONU-African Union Force. General Patrick Nyamvumba is the new commander of this operation in Darfur.

The South African General Mbutyana Duma Dumisani get's Karake Karenzi's position as deputy commander.

Isn't it ironci that Rwanda is now leading the military force in Darfour while, as George Katito points out
"Kagame's administration has been leading the African Union's opposition to the arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and genocide."

The ethnic composition of the Rwandan army

It's instructive to read about the ethnic composition among high ranking military inside Rwanda on the website of the Belgium French Christian Democrats. Patrick Nyamvumba was a soldier in the Ugandan army in the past. He also was at the head of Rwandan's operation inside the DRC in 1999, as you can read here.
The website however writes about Patrick Nyuamvumba (no 29.) as one of the 17 top criminals inside the RPF:
"He has been named Major General for unsavoury services, alone or in complicty with others he is presumed guilty of crimes of war and crimes against humanity: Lieutenant Colonel at the head of the Unit Simba Mobile, he is responsable during April 1994 of acts of genocides committed by ethnic cleansing of Hutu's in the communities of MURAMBI, RUKARA, MUHURA, MUHAZI and GITI with the goal of creating a Tutsiland and aiming to repatriate Tutsi refugees from Uganda. Estimates attribute him as responsable of the killing of 82.000 innocent civilians."
A report "RPF criminals" has been put together by musabyimana on the basis of different sources.

Patrick Nyamvumba was also president of the military court in 2006 that condemend Major General Laurent Munyakazi to life imprisonment for his presumed role in the 1994 Genocide. Major General Laurent Munyakazi, one of the few Hutu commanders inside the Rwandan army, had been slowly rising within the ranks of the Rwandan army until 2005. This shows that Patrick Nyamvumba has been active in executing Rwandan's strategy to make sure the army does not mix as has been the case in Burundi.

Olivier Nyirubugara, journalist and PhD Student at the University of Amsterdam, quotes Lieutenant Abdul Joshua Ruzibiza in an extensive report on crimes committed by RPF. Abdul Joshua Ruzibiza claims that Patrick Nyamvumba was appointed by Paul Kagame to systematically exterminate Hutu's in several districts of Rwanda. Calling unarmed civlians to a certain place to subsequently exterminate them. Question is off course wheter Abdul Joshua Ruzibiza now also denies this part of his book "The Secret History".

Why do Muslims feel unwelcome in the Netherlands?

Sadik Harchaoui, director of the multicultural institute Forum says in the article "suddenly Wilders isn't so funny anymore" in NRC:
"It is an overstatement to say that Wilders is responsible for Muslims feeling unwelcome in the Netherlands."
He thinks the mood was set on September 11, 2001:
"Muslims have been living under a magnifying glass ever since. It doesn't matter how well integrated they are, it will be never be enough. The Netherlands has become a lot less attractive for Muslims."

"If you look at the future, at the ageing population, at the increasing urbanisation, it is clear that we are going to need the people who are now in school. If you chase them away, we will be left with only the less-educated immigrants."
Harchaoui believes the discomfort doesn't come from Wilders alone, but increasingly from the other, mainstream parties:
"If the other parties stood up for Muslims, we would have whole a different atmosphere in the Netherlands now."
Umar Mirza, currently studying 'System Engineering, Policy Analysis and Management' at Technical University Delft, & 'People and Society' at Erasmus University of Rotterdam,He's the founder and head of editing board of (we stay here, a Dutch Muslim blog):
"I don't feel represented in Dutch politics. The other politicians are too shy. If it's okay for Wilders to talk like he does, well then the others should do the same." Gounou: "Occasionally someone will stick his neck out, but it is not convincing enough. Wilders can get a lot more radical still; it's time to take up the challenge."