Thursday, January 24, 2008

What would you call it?

Some people say Franklin Delano Roosevelt saved the U.S. from disintegration during a time of great economic crisis. Others say he tampered with free market capitalism, the perfect wealth machine, and messed it up. FDR and New Deal haters got their foot in the door with the administration of our movie star president, Ronald Reagan. But the administration of George W. Bush has shredded the New Deal (along with the Bill of Rights and the rest of our Constitution). The result is what we have now, untrammeled greed which is running you, me, the rest of the world, maybe even itself into the black hole of free market capitalism. When money is God, everything must be sacrificed and it has been. Unfettered global capitalism has been destroying the lives of people in third world countries for years. Now this destruction is on our doorstep. We will not get the truth from media owned and controlled by corporations. Joseph Palermo tells it like it is. He writes for the Huffington Post. Check out his blog on "class warfare:"

and go to to view his interview with Elizabeth Kucinich.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Song sung blue

I am so very blue
just don't know what to do

in a room with boxes piled
full of notebooks, books and other things

of past lives and dreams, forgotten
now it seems or frozen in my heart.

It might be the transition time,
my daughter was here and now she's gone.
Back at school and so much more
grown and wise, finding her way.

Now we are alone again:

My shy husband, her stepfather, once a middle child,
pouts at first when she comes, our delicate balance
upset, the terms of our peace undone, but then he succumbs to the magic of her
presence. She is beautiful and young and strong.
She loves us and laughs at us. He tells her stories and she laughs
or shakes her head. They make fun of me and she helps him pretend the
beautiful hemp rug he ruined in the wash is not missing.

We must find our center again in the fresh emptiness she left behind.
We must weave a new peace, await the subtle bonds, renew the balance of of our separate
and together ways.

He always waits for me. I am the older child. He waits for me to find my rhythm so he can play the drums.

And I am lost, shaken by the losses of so many years, the pain of loss rekindled by
my daughter's going. He knows; my little brother husband knows.
He is waiting.

(He said he would buy me another rug.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Oil and oppression in Burma

Our economic system-- the global economic system -- is founded upon the assumption that cheap, easily accessible oil and natural gas (the creme de la creme of fossil fuels) will always be available. But the fact is that these resources, like all natural resources, are finite. They can be used up. Experts say that the world has passed the peak of available petroleum stored on our planet. At the same time, new U.S. style economies are coming online; India and China are two examples. These and other expanding economies are demanding their share of available supplies.

Third world countries like Burma have always been victims when bigger economies, until recently these were Western economies, go after the natural resources they need. Oil (energy) companies have always cooperated with despotic leaders to gain access to the oil riches of "undeveloped" countries. The situation is Burma is no different.

Despite the pro-democracy rhetoric of leaders in Western nations, virtually nothing has been done by these nations to require Western-style multi-national corporations to observe this priority in their dealings with the governments of resource rich but income poor nations.

In fact, these corporations turn their eyes away from human rights violations in these countries. In some cases, they actually benefit from the practices of oppressive governments. Oil is why the U.S. is in Iraq. As the scramble progresses to secure energy security in a situation where global supplies are dwindling, one wonders how this will effect the human rights of people in Burma and throughout the world.

The following video is the first of many posted on YouTube under the title Burma's Secret War. It was posted to YouTube on November 21, 2006, almost a year before the monks' non-violent protest and the its violent suppression by Burma's military government.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Homeland security to seize Apache Lands

In violation of United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People the U.S. government plans to forcibly take land from the Lipan Apache people to construct a fence and levee to keep illegal immigrants from crossing the U.S. border. The following is a letter from Margo Tamez, the daughter of a family being threatened by agents of the U.S. government.

Dear Relatives,

I wish I was writing under better circumstances, but I must be fast and direct. My mother and elders of El Calaboz, since July have been the targets of numerous threats and harassments by the Border Patrol, Army Corps of Engineers, National Security Agency (NSA), and other U.S. government
agents who want to put a fence on their levee on Apache land.

Since July, they have been the targets of numerous telephone calls, unexpected and uninvited visits. The agents informed the Apache that they will have to relinquish parts of their land grant holdings to the border fence buildup. The NSA demands that elders give up their lands to build the levee, and further, that they travel a distance of 3 miles, to go through checkpoints, to walk, farm, and herd goats and cattle, on their own lands!

This threat against indigenous people, life ways and lands has been very very serious and stress inducing to local leaders, such as Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez, who has been in isolation from the larger indigenous rights community due to the invisibility of indigenous people of South Texas and Northern Tamaulipas to the larger social justice conversation regarding the border issues.

However recent events, of the last 5 days cause us to feel that we are in urgent need of immediate human rights observers in the area, deployed by all who can help as soon as possible--immediate relief.

My mother informed me, as I got back into cell range out of Redford, TX, on Monday, November 13, that Army Corps of Engineers, Border Patrol and National Security Agency teams have been going house to house, and calling on her personal office phone, her cell phone and in other venues, tracking down and enclosing upon the people and telling them that they have no other choice in this matter. They are telling elders and other vulnerable people that "the wall is going on these lands
whether you like it or not, and you have to sell your land to the U.S."

My mother, Eloisa Garcia Tamez, Lipan Apache is resisting the forced occupation with firm resistance. She has already had two major confrontations with NSA since July--one in her office at the University of Texas at Brownsville, where she is the Director of a Nursing Program and where she conducts research on diabetes among indigenous people of the MX-US binational region of South Texas and Tamaulipas.

She reports that some land owners in the Rancheria area of El Calaboz, La Paloma and El Ranchito, under pressure to sell to the U.S. without prior and informed consent, have already signed over their lands, due to their ongoing state of impoverishment and exploitation in the area under colonization, corporatism, NAFTA and militarization.

This is an outrage, but more, this is a significant violation of United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People, recently ratified and accepted by all UN nations, except the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

Furthermore, it is a violation of the United Nations CERD, Committee on Elimination of Racism and Racial Discrimination.

My mother is under great stress and crisis, unknowing if the Army soldiers and the NSA agents will be forcibly demanding that she sign documents. She reports that they are calling her at all hours, seven days a week. She has firmly told them not to call her anymore, nor to call her at all hours of the night and day, nor to call on the weekends any further. She asked them to meet with her in a public space and to tell their supervisors to come. They refuse to do so. Instead, they continue to harass and intimidate.

At this time, due to the great stress the elders are currently under, communicated to me, because they are being demanded under covert tactics, to relinquish indigenous lands, I feel that I MUST call upon my relatives, friends, colleagues, especially associates in Texas within driving distance to the Rio Grande valley region, and involved in indigenous rights issues, to come forth and aid us.

Please! Please help indigenous women land title holders resisting forced occupation in their own lands! Please do not hesitate to forward this to people in your own networks in media, journalism, social and environmental justice, human rights, indigenous rights advocacy and public health watch groups!

Margo Tamez