California
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Alliance for Democracy
"Fighting Corporate Dominance" San Fernando Valley Chapter July 2002

CAN CITIZENS REST EASY?  POLITICIANS
STILL SOFT ON CORPORATE CRIME

Recent headlines might have us think our elected representatives are getting tough on CEO criminals.  But House Speaker Dennis Hastert rejected the Senate's reform bill, giving accounting industry lobbyists more time to press for leniency.  And House GOP leaders are maneuvering to delay and dilute the Senate's reform bill.  Are the Democrats trying any harder to reign in corporations?  Both parties are funded by corporations.  According to nonpartisan Democracy 21, corporations and business executives have poured a staggering $1 billion in soft money into Washington in the last decade.  They gave $636 million to Republicans and $449 million to Democrats.  Coincidentally with tough talk on corporate crime, congressional elections are on the horizon. See www.democracynow.org for more.
OUR CORPORATE WORLD
Macro historian Riane Eisler has written, "The Power of Partnership: The Seven Relationships that Will Change Your Life," a book that shows how human relationships, beginning with oneself, continuing through the national and international community, can (and must) change from dominator societies to partnerships. "Legislation plays a huge role in changing the collective consciousness, and changes in legislation can't happen without campaign finance reform," she said.  "How can individuals change a system in the grip of corporate powers that maintain their position through liaisons and methodologies that are largely hidden? Mass marketing through television has made the electoral process extremely dysfunctional . . . we don't have free enterprise when we're living under the influence of five mega-corporations, all with the same agenda.  We haven't seen this kind of centralized control since the church in the Middle Ages, and the people running those corporations are . . . hermetically sealed."  
WAR – U.S. – IRAQ – 40 COUNTRIES?
In the past 11 years the US-led war on Iraq has killed over a million people (including an estimated 150 children a day), according to UN estimates.  As the US rationalizes escalation of the war against Iraq as part of a general war on terrorism (although no links to the Sept. 11 attack have been uncovered) outgoing Secretary of Defense William Cohen told G.W. Bush in January 2001, "Iraq no longer poses a military threat to its neighbors." In November 2001, the Iraqi ambassador said weapons inspectors could return if bombing and economic sanctions were lifted, promoting international security and the welfare of the Iraqi people.  But the Bush Administration is considering pursuing military action against as many as 40 countries suspected of harboring terrorists. Iraq remains a prime target. From MoveOn.Org

Meantime, Kellogg, Brown & Root (a subsidiary of VP Cheney's Halliburton) is set to profit by taking over support services on bases in Afghanistan for the 1,500 U.S troops stationed there since October, says Daniel McGinty, Defense Contract Mgmt Agency.  Up to 10% of  emergency U.S. army operations overseas are now contracted out to private companies, with no public oversight, run by former government and military officials. The companies are allowed to make up to nine percent in profit out of these war support efforts. So far, the companies have not been above skimming more profits if they can. corpwatch.org
How to commemorate September 11?  What are other progressives doing?

AfD monthly meetings are held the last Saturday of the month, 10:30 a.m., at 9743 Noble Avenue, North Hills.  No RSVP; guests and members welcome.  AfD welcomes speakers from all groups. For presentations or agenda items,  call Tobi Dragert at 213/680-1016. To join the AfD,  call Dolly Arond or Warren Felt at 818/893-9691. For info on the California Clean Money Committee, call Sam Roth at 818/346-9692

ATTENTION: NO MEETING (or newsletter) IN AUGUST; Instead, There Will Be a Pot Luck .  Please respond to this newsletter by e-mail if you wish to attend and need details.

ARE WE MAD ENOUGH YET?
ITEM: Even tho six U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled against killing a mentally retarded murderer, death penalty opponents should not expect a trend.  Justice Scalia angrily accused his colleagues of adopting the "arrogant assumption . . . of moral sentiments superior to those of the common herd."  This despite polls that most Americans oppose the executions. "Symptoms of retardation can be feigned . .. this will turn . .. capital trials into a game," Scalia said.  Justices Rehnquist and Thomas agreed.
ITEM:  Bush's gang is set to test a program that will recruit as domestic spies  a million truckers, letter carriers, train con-ductors, utility employees, and other workers in ten cities with access to private homes. The Terrorism Information and Prevention System, aka "Operation TIPS," will rely on participants to report suspicious activity to a toll-free hotline that records into a database available to the Justice Department and local and state officials. Justice Department officials have released few details of the program, and criticism from both conservative and civil libertarian groups say the use of well-meaning citizens to search homes without warrants is reminiscent of George Orwell's "1984." Jim Redden, author of "Snitch Culture."
ITEM: Pacifica Radio managed to remain in tact, but generally, commercialism, corporate concentration, and conglomeration best describe US media. Fox is owned by mogul, Rupert Murdoch.  NBC by General Electric, ABC by Disney, CBS by Viacom, which also owns MTV, Showtime, Nickelodeon, 39 broadcast television stations, 184 radio stations, Paramount Pictures and Blockbuster. The latest threatened independent is Goddard College's (small liberal arts college in VT) WGDR. Vermont Public Radio, running mostly NPR news, which critics say has become "controversy averse," is eyeing WGDR, as are local commercial stations.
NIGER DELTA: After communities around the Chevron facility in Escravos have for years been plagued by oil spills destroying their fishing economy, and flaring, which causes acid rain, skin diseases, asthma and other maladies, and after 150 Nigerian women staged a 10-day protest, halting the movement of oil and trapping hundreds of U.S., British, Canadian and Nigerian workers inside, company executives agreed to build schools, clinics, town halls, electricity and water systems in villages of rusty tin shacks. The company also agreed to give jobs to at least 25 residents and help build fish and chicken farms.  In the past, ChevronTexaco has responded to demonstrators with violent military and police response.  The Niger Delta is one of the poorest places in Nigeria despite being the world's sixth-largest exporter of oil and the fifth-largest supplier to the United States.  The protest inspired other women to seize four other oil facilities in the region. The women's success was helped by their threats to disrobe, an act which would have brought shame to their village.  See www.democracynow.org for more.

Windbag Ann Coulter claims expertise on terrorism in "Slander: Liberal Lies About The American Right" and hatemongers continue to skewer Hillary Clinton on the Internet.  See www.truthorfiction.com for counteraction.

ALLIANCE FOR DEMOCRACY MISSION STATEMENT:

"The mission of the Alliance for Democracy is to free all people from corporate domination of politics, economics, the environment, culture and information; to establish true democracy; and to create a just society with a sustainable, equitable economy."

NEWSLETTER:  Call Tobi Dragert  at 213/680-1016 with items for publishing, or news of relevant progressive activities (clean money in particular) or e-mail by mid-month to all4dem@cs.com.


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