Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cheryl Ede

As a member of PDA in the 50th District of California
PDA urgently asks your help.
Cheryl Ede 

is our Nationally Endorsed  Candidate in the 50th District's congressional race. 
Cheryl must win the June 3 primary to defeat Bilbray in November.
There are two ACTION ITEMS you can do:
To help Cheryl develop better name recognition, 
calls are being made for the next 2 weeks only
in the District to those who voted in the Feb. 5 Democratic Primary 
To call for Cheryl from your home, please email: 
PDA member, Don Parcher, at Don@checklists.com
 Don will  electronically forward you a precinct list, along with a 20 second script
 and instructions.  You will not have to answer questions, but simply 
refer voters to Cheryl's web site and email address for answers.
If you can do precinct walking May 17th and/or May 24th, please contact me, Carlos Richardson, your PDA CA 50 Congressional District Point Person, at Algaenet@aol.com
PDA CA 50 members will walk precincts, 
delivering Cheryl's campaign literature and 
Healthcare Not Warfare palm cards on those days, 
as we do the same in CA 52 and 53 for our other endorsed Candidates.
So PDA CA 50, please pick up and carry the torch for Cheryl!
If you haven't already, please check out Cheryl's web site –

and please forward this to everyone in your address book, 
regardless of where they live.  Cheryl's is a "grapevine campaign" - 
friends can help elect Cheryl Ede by phone!

Drills May Go Live?!!

The following is a heads up from Ron Firman, but the info is all over the Internet:
This is what happened on Sep 11th. NORAD was tasked with a drill while terrorists carried out the attacks in New York and Washington D.C.
many internet sites show the April 2008 headline MAYDAY ALERT! -- Terror Drills Could Go Live
In summary, a series of terror exercises are planned for the first week of May in Seattle, involving the destruction of the Alaska viaduct, 
the blowing up of a tanker containing deadly chemicals at the ferry terminal and much much more. All planned out of Fort Lewis.
The military has promised "surprises" and unexpected turns of events to tax the response system to its limits, says Major William Fox.
As we all know, there has been a tendency for such "drills" to go live. Please read the alert.

Oregon (Portland 2007)and Seattle  (including May 2003) have been the site of "terror drills" in the past,  which did not go live. We want to keep it that way.

Ron has suggested that calling government officials and  demanding  explanations, ( why are "surprises" allowed, for example)
as well as demanding release of all  continuity of government  plans, which Oregon Rep Peter de Fazio was denied last summer seems to be 
the only thing that stopped this situation from blowing up last summer in Portland.
I agree with ruxpert, who says such tales are often to distract us, but in this case we know that at the beginning of May Seattle is a specific target, followed again by Portland. After that, the danger zone will presumably move out of the Pacific Northwest.
It seems that as much noise as possible must be made

Public Access Television Broadcast - Recording This Friday

See what we can do when we unify?
The Community Coalition is fortunate to be invited to participate once again in the television program Community Issues: A Tapestry of Concerns on Public Access Channel 23/24.
Alyce Smith-Cooper has agreed to highlight members of the Coalition monthly. The show airs on Sundays at 6 P.M.
Our next taping will be Friday 2 May 2008.
You will need to be at the studio by 6:30 P.M. Directions are below.
The program will be simulcasted on an Internet TV webcast at http://www.helloworld.com/caringcouncilnetwork.
On this show, as usual, some of the top people in their fields and strongest members of the Community Coalition http://progressiveconcerns.meetup.com/5/ will be featured! http://sdmegacoalition.blogspot.com/
I am honored to coordinate your television appearances!
My list of guests for this show includes:
Laura Thompson, President, Womens Art Caucus of San Diego. http://www.sdwca.org/ Laura is one of the top ART ACTIVISTS in San Diego. She has been intrinsic to promoting the Coalition in our efforts to secure peace and social justice - through art!
Jim Bell, one of the world's top experts on alternative energy.
http://jimbell.com/. Jim is an ecological designer and former candidate for mayor of San Diego. His cutting edge technology promises to make us energy efficient and protect the eco-system. He is the foremost eco-scientist in the Coalition.
Marissa Ugarte, Director of Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition - The area's leading organization combating slave trade and human trafficking. BSCC's purpose is to bilaterally prevent and intervene in the commercial and sexual exploitation of men, women and children while advocating for all exploited persons. She is the top expert on this topic in the Coalition. http://www.bsccoalition.org/
Abby Martin, Organizer of San Diegans for 9/11 Truth Meetup Group - This group is comprised of some of the top engineers and scientists that challenge the government's version of what happened on September 11th.
This group has been one of the most powerful voices in the Coalition's efforts to realize a responsible government.
Chris Chase, Board member of A New PATH - This group advocates treatment as opposed to incarceration of non-violent offenders under proposition 36. This group is the top prop 36 group in San Diego County. Their powerful affiliations with groups like Drug Policy Alliance Network and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition make them an intrinsic member of the Community Coalition in our efforts to combat social injustice. http://www.anewpathsite.org/
Directions to studio follow:
1277 Cuyamaca Street
El Cajon, CA 92020
See Google Map Link Below.
Please arrive by 6:30 PM. While others may attend to observe, only one representative from each organization can be allowed to be interviewed on camera.
A limited number of others may speak on streaming Internet TV, if desired.
From San Diego take Hwy 8 east to Main Street (El Cajon), make a RT turn getting immediately into your L lane.
The first intersection is Marshall Street.
Turn Left on Marshall going east for Approx 1 mile to Fletcher Parkway.
Turn Left on Fletcher Parkway one block to stoplight which is Cuyamaca Street.
Turn Right 1 and 1/2 blocks to 1277 Cuyamaca Street.
There is a parking lot on the Right side of the one story white building (you may see a sign saying carpet/tile until you get to the first door which is then marked Cox Cable.
Come in, Sign in and proceed down the hall to the studio.
If your plans have changed and you cannot make it, please let me know soonest.
I will be coordinating future tapings.
If you have an interest in future shows, please let me know.
With Deepest Respect,
Walter Davis

Monday, April 28, 2008

Load Up the Pantry-Wall Street Journal

April 21, 2008 6:47 p.m. EDT

THE JOURNAL ALSO SAYS THAT HIDING CASH IN YOUR MATTRESS (OR IN SOME OTHER SAFE PLACE) IS A GOOD IDEA. NOTICE THAT THEY ARE NOT SUGGESTING PUTTING IT IN A BANK. URL: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120373056158087493.html?mod=loomia&loomia_si=t0:a16:g2:r2:c0.106076

I don't want to alarm anybody, but maybe it's time for Americans to start stockpiling food.
No, this is not a drill.

You've seen the TV footage of food riots in parts of the developing world. Yes, they're a long way away from the U.S. But most foodstuffs operate in a global market. When the cost of wheat soars in Asia, it will do the same here.

Reality: Food prices are already rising here much faster than the returns you are likely to get from keeping your money in a bank or money-market fund. And there are very good reasons to believe prices on the shelves are about to start rising a lot faster.

"Load up the pantry," says Manu Daftary, one of Wall Street's top investors and the manager of the Quaker Strategic Growth mutual fund. "I think prices are going higher. People are too complacent. They think it isn't going to happen here. But I don't know how the food companies can absorb higher costs." (Full disclosure: I am an investor in Quaker Strategic)

Stocking up on food may not replace your long-term investments, but it may make a sensible home for some of your shorter-term cash. Do the math. If you keep your standby cash in a money-market fund you'll be lucky to get a 2.5% interest rate. Even the best one-year certificate of deposit you can find is only going to pay you about 4.1%, according to Bankrate.com. And those yields are before tax.

Meanwhile the most recent government data shows food inflation for the average American household is now running at 4.5% a year.

And some prices are rising even more quickly. The latest data show cereal prices rising by more than 8% a year. Both flour and rice are up more than 13%. Milk, cheese, bananas and even peanut butter: They're all up by more than 10%. Eggs have rocketed up 30% in a year. Ground beef prices are up 4.8% and chicken by 5.4%.

These are trends that have been in place for some time.

And if you are hoping they will pass, here's the bad news: They may actually accelerate.
The reason? The prices of many underlying raw materials have risen much more quickly still. Wheat prices, for example, have roughly tripled in the past three years.

Sooner or later, the food companies are going to have to pass those costs on. Kraft saw its raw material costs soar by about $1.25 billion last year, squeezing profit margins. The company recently warned that higher prices are here to stay. Last month the chief executive of General Mills, Kendall Powell, made a similar point.

The main reason for rising prices, of course, is the surge in demand from China and India. Hundreds of millions of people are joining the middle class each year, and that means they want to eat more and better food.

A secondary reason has been the growing demand for ethanol as a fuel additive. That's soaking up some of the corn supply.

You can't easily stock up on perishables like eggs or milk. But other products will keep. Among them: Dried pasta, rice, cereals, and cans of everything from tuna fish to fruit and vegetables. The kicker: You should also save money by buying them in bulk.

If this seems a stretch, ponder this: The emerging bull market in agricultural products is following in the footsteps of oil. A few years ago, many Americans hoped $2 gas was a temporary spike. Now it's the rosy memory of a bygone age.
The good news is that it's easier to store Cap'n Crunch or cans of Starkist in your home than it is to store lots of gasoline. Safer, too.
Write to Brett Arends at brett.arends@wsj.com1

URL for this article:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120881517227532621.html

Hyperlinks in this Article:(1) mailto:brett.arends@wsj.com

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Amber Alert Notification

AMBER ALERT !! Passed on for a friend..............

Staff Sergeant Rick Williams

Rolla Police Department 1007 N. Elm St . Rolla , Mo. 65401

(573) 364-1213 Fax (573) 364-6346

Please look at the picture, read what her mother says, then forward this message on.

My 13 year old girl, Ashley Flores, is missing. She has been missing for now two weeks. Maybe if everyone passes this on, someone will see this child. That is how the girl from Stevens Point was foundby circulation of her picture on tv. The internet circulates even overseas, South America , and Canada etc.

Please pass this to everyone in your address book.

With GOD on her side she will be found. 'I am asking you all, begging you to please forward this email on to anyone and everyone you know, PLEASE. It is still not too late.

I am including a picture of her. All prayers are appreciated! ! ' It only takes 2 seconds to forward this.

If it was your child, you would want all the help you could get!!

Tune Your Computers For Streaming Video

In order to take advantage of the video streaming that we well be using to help in our public information campaign, you will need to make sure your computer is up to speed.
You must ensure that temporary Internet Files are emptied and that cookies are emptied in the Internet Options section.

Microsoft Pop-up blockers will need to be temporarily disabled.
You must have the latest version of Internet Explorer.
Microsoft updates must be up to date.
You must have the latest version of Java, .net and Adobe Flash.
Your security must be set to medium.
See the links below to obtain the updates for free in a simple process!
Operating System Requirements:· Microsoft Windows 2000· Microsoft Windows XP Home/Pro SP2Hardware System Requirements:· PC with 700 P3 - AMD megahertz or higher processor clock speed· 256 megabytes (MB) of RAM or higher ·
1280 X 1024 or higher-resolution video adapter and monitorInternet Connection System
High-speed broadband connectionWeb browser requirements:·
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or later. Click Here for the latest upgrades ! Windows Media
Player requirements:·
Microsoft Windows Media Player 9.0 or later(This version of the player is installed by default on all supported OSes)Web browser security settings:·
You need to set your security settings to default (medium).· If custom security settings are used, you need to make sure the following areprompted or enabled:Signed ActiveX Controls and Script AcitveX Controls marked safe for scripting.Video capture devices:·
You need at least 1 recording video device (DirectX device) installed andavailable on the system for normal operation. ·

If you want to participate in two way teleconferencing:
We STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you check the webcam manufacturers web siteand download the latest available drivers for the device.Audio capture devices:· You need at least 1 recording audio device (Wave-In device) installed and available on the system for normal operation.·
Make sure you have a sound card installed in the computer and that you have the proper audio recording device selected.System updates:·
We require the installation of ALL service packs and critical updates for your computer from the Microsoft Windows Update Web site, as well as any non-critical updates related to the Microsoft .NET Framework, Windows Media Player and DirectX.Click here for Windows Updates!·
We also require the latest version of the Macromedia Flash browser plugin.Click here to download the latest version !
Java Runtime (Version 5.0 Update 6) Download Now
.Net Framework (Version 1.0 and 1.1 Update) Download 1.0 Download 1.1 Download 2.0

Voices Against the War

San Diegans,

I would like to invite you to attend a Town Hall Meeting at the Joyce Beers Center on Sunday May 11th, at 6:30pm.  The event is in honor of Mother's Day and is called "Voices Against the War."  A small panel will be assembled, and participation and questions are encouraged.

The purpose of the meeting not only to awaken and inform, but to bring together citizens from our diverse community to share creative and effective measures towards ending the ongoing US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

We must act towards sharply reducing the number of wounded and traumatized soldiers (which increases daily in Iraq and elsewhere) - and to provide for the treatment, healing, and reintegration of vets into civilian life. 

There is a national activist group "Code Pink" -- which is named after the emergency alert "Code" which is broadcast in the hospital when an infant or child is at risk of harm or kidnapping from the nursery. This hospital emergency code signals "all hands on deck" -- an immediate call to action to save the child. 

In honor of Mother's Day, please mark this Town Hall Meeting on your calendar. I believe that  this ongoing national emergency, this occupation-caused separation of sons and daughters from their family,  must rouse us to similar action.

Mike Copass

Mike's note on the Surge:

On Wednesday, I spoke with a US Navy Veteran at the Veterans Village San Diego, which provides assistance to vets in need of counseling and treatment.

 Seldom reported by the mainstream press, there have been several major surges for
vets, first a surge in the number of traumatic brain injuries to soldiers serving in the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq (now estimated at nearly 300,000), second, a surge in the number of homeless veterans, and a finally, a heartbreaking surge in suicides among US military veterans, estimated at 120+ per week.

How can we stop this, together?

 write Mike at California53@gmail.com

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Green Cities

April 25, 2008
Don't miss Murtaza Baxamusa's blog Monday on voiceofSanDiego.org.
The CPI Research and Policy Director will show how San Diego's plan to outsource city services echoes federal privatization fiascos like the one at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. 
Read it and send your comments!
Cities have the power
to slow global warming
San Francisco, Los Angeles, and even Chula Vista are leading the way in flexing municipal power to help save the planet.

By requiring energy-efficient construction, cities could far surpass the impact of all hybrid and biodiesel cars put together.  Buildings - from homes to high-rises - produce more greenhouse gas emissions than either transportation or industry.

Since city and county governments control what gets built, global warming is a local issue.

Buildings account for 38% of all carbon dioxide pollution in the U.S.  Energy-efficient construction -- using solar heat, nontoxic paints and flooring, low-emission air-conditioning and lighting, roof gardens -- could cut 1.7 billion tons of greenhouse gases a year in North America, more than eight times as much as requiring all cars to get 35 miles per gallon.

Many cities, including San Diego, have "green building" standards for public buildings, but that's a drop in the bucket. San Francisco and Los Angeles are leading a trend to enforce energy requirements on the far larger private development industry. 
  • On Earth Day, this Wednesday, Los Angeles passed a new law requiring large developments to be built to national standards for energy efficiency.
  • San Francisco is considering a proposal from Mayor Gavin Newsom to impose even stricter environmental building codes and apply them to more than just the largest construction projects.
  • This month the Chula Vista City Council became the first in San Diego County to adopt green standards for private construction projects, requiring new developments and major renovations to be energy- and water-efficient.
In 2005, CPI and our allies won green building standards for a major development downtown, as part of the Community Benefits Agreement negotiated with the developers of the Ballpark Village project next to Petco Park.  Developers will be held to the agreement -- which also requires living wage jobs, local job training, and affordable housing -- as they build the biggest Marriott Hotel on the West Coast.

Every one of the 18 cities in San Diego County - and the County Board of Supervisors, which approves development in unincorporated areas - should act now to require nonpolluting construction.  We can start by asking every elected official and candidate to pledge to adopt strict environmental building codes to turn our region green. 

Center on Policy Initiatives
3727 Camino del Rio South, Ste 100
San Diego, CA 92108
: (619) 584-5744

Friday, April 25, 2008

Blackwater keeps at it

Published on HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com (http://hamptonroads.com)

Blackwater wants to use N.C. airport for driver training

By Connie Sage


The town is negotiating with Blackwater to allow the private security company to lease space at Northeastern Regional Airport to use for its driver training program.

Blackwater would instruct defensive driving techniques on a paved, abandoned runway at the Edenton airport, said Town Manager Anne-Marie Knighton.

The company, headquartered in Moyock, would use the airport to supplement its own training site.

Blackwater is reviewing a proposed $14,000 a year land-lease arrangement and could begin using the property as early as next month, according to Knighton.

College of The Albemarle has used the runway for its Basic Law Enforcement Training classes for years at no charge, she said.

"This would be the first time we'd be getting revenue for the land," she said.

Blackwater gave demonstrations of its driver training program last month to town and airport officials at both its Moyock location and at the Edenton airport.

The runway, located at the northeast corner of the airport, hasn't been used for aircraft since the town took over the property from the Marines in 1959, said airport manager Harry Davis.

"We need as many revenue sources at the airport as possible," Davis said. "The more revenue we can generate and the more the airport is self-supporting, the fewer taxes are required."

Knighton said the runway would be used once or twice a month for two days at a time and would be limited to driver training for law enforcement agencies that contract with Blackwater.

The town also is looking at a program Blackwater developed in conjunction with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol to teach defensive driving to newly licensed teenage drivers, Knighton said.
Source URL (retrieved on 04/25/2008 - 01:21):


Main site/Press Interviews/Mortgage Financing
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Special Programs at Malcolm X Library

Malcolm X Library Programs in April 2008:
  • We're Indian and African (Saturday, April 26, 2:00 – 4:00 pm)
  • Malcolm X Library Book Club: An Unbroken Agony by Randall Robinson (Sunday, April 27, 2:30 - 4:30pm)
·        3-part community educational series on "Women in Social Movements and Advocacy" (Mondays April 28 and May 5 and 12, 6:00 – 8;00 pm)
Malcolm X Library proudly presents 2 films by independent filmmaker Beherose Shroff:
Saturday, April 26, 2:00 – 4;00 pm
These two films ("Voices of the Sidis" and "We're Indian and African") explore the concerns of the Afro-Indian Sidi community in India. Brought to India as slaves and soldiers by Arab and Muslim traders from about the 12th century, Sidis in independent India reinvented their identity as urban dwellers, spiritual healers and caretakers of the shrine of ancestral saint Bava Gor, an ancient Sufi Muslim sage who was himself of African descent. Sometimes known as the Black Sufis of India or India's Lost Africans, the Sidis have historically remained a poor and oppressed group in India.  Born in Bombay, filmmaker Beheroze Shroff explores issues of diaspora, dislocation and relocation in her films.  She teaches in the Asian American Studies Dept at UC Irvine.  Refreshments served.
Sunday, April 27, 2:30 – 4:30 pm
The Malcolm X Library Book Club meets on the 4th Sunday of every month. This month's selection is An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President by Randall Robinson. 
Description: In this book, social justice advocate Randall Robinson explores the heroic and tragic history of Haiti. He traces the history of a people forced across the Atlantic in chains, recounting their spectacularly successful slave revolt against France and the 200 years of reprisals that would follow.  Robinson is founder and past president of TransAfrica, the Black lobbyist organization established to promote enlightened, constructive U.S. policies toward Africa and the Caribbean.
UCSD Ethnic Studies Department and Malcolm X Library present a 3-part Community Educational Series on:
The UCSD Ethnic Studies Department and Malcolm X Library are pleased to offer the San Diego community a three-part, "Women in Social Movements and Advocacy" Educational Series at the Malcolm X Library.  Scholars, students, community activists and civic leaders come together to explore women's contributions to social justice advocacy in San Diego and beyond from multiple perspectives.  The sessions will be held from 6:00pm-8pm on the following Mondays.   Refreshments served. Space is limited, please rsvp:  PatWashingtonPhD@aol.com
Monday, April 28th
Topic: Hip Hop Feminism
Presentation will feature a short film, performance and discussion with "DJ Kuttin Kandi."
Monday, May 5 
Topic: "Mortgage Crisis or Economic Crisis? Everything the Pundits Aren't Telling You"       Quincy O'Neal,  Vice  Chairman of the  African  American  Caucus  will  present a brief analysis of the cause of the "mortgage crisis", the  unviablity of  proposals  put forward, such as the Hope for Homeowners Act  by Senator Dodd, and in contrast, the Homeowner and Bank Protection Act.  Attendees will be given updates on efforts to encourage city councils and elected leaders across California to endorse the HBPA.  
Monday, May 12
Topic: Fundi Speaks to Me: Women and Men Living Ella Baker's Message of Political Engagement. Educators, activists, students and political leaders explore how the principles and values advanced by Ella Baker resonant with their own social justice advocacy.
All programs are free and open to the public. For more information, please call (619) 527-3405. Malcolm X Library is located at 5148 Market Street, across from Euclid trolley station. Parking available.

Hunger in Haiti

" ... hunger is on  the rise and more and more children come for the free meal.  Hungry adults used  to be allowed to eat the leftovers once all the children were fed, but now there  are few leftovers. "    

30 Years Ago Haiti Grew All the Rice It Needed. What Happened?

The U.S. Role in Haiti's Food Riots

Riots in Haiti over explosive rises in food costs have claimed the  lives of six people.  There have also been food riots world-wide in Burkina  Faso, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivorie, Egypt, Guinea, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco,  Senegal, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
The Economist, which calls the current crisis the silent tsunami, reports that  last year wheat prices rose 77% and rice 16%, but since January rice prices have  risen 141%. The reasons include rising fuel costs, weather problems, increased  demand in China and India, as well as the push to create biofuels from cereal  crops.
Hermite Joseph, a mother working in the markets of Port au Prince,  told journalist Nick Whalen that her two kids are "like toothpicks" they' re not getting enough nourishment. 
Before, if you had a dollar twenty-five  cents, you could buy vegetables, some rice, 10 cents of charcoal and a little  cooking oil. Right now, a little can of rice alone costs 65 cents, and is not good rice at all.  Oil is 25 cents.  Charcoal  is 25 cents.  With a dollar twenty-five, you can't even make a plate of rice  for one child."
The St. Claire's Church Food program, in the Tiplas Kazo  neighborhood of Port au Prince, serves 1000 free meals a day, almost all to  hungry children -- five times a week in partnership with the What If  Foundation.  Children from Cite Soleil have been known to walk the five miles to  the church for a meal. The cost of rice, beans, vegetables, a little meat,  spices, cooking oil, propane for the stoves, have gone up dramatically. Because  of the rise in the cost of food, the portions are now smaller. 
But hunger is on  the rise and more and more children come for the free meal.  Hungry adults used  to be allowed to eat the leftovers once all the children were fed, but now there  are few leftovers. 
The New York Times lectured Haiti on April 18 that "Haiti, its  agriculture industry in shambles, needs to better feed itself."  Unfortunately, the article did not talk at all about one of  the main causes of the shortages -- the fact that the U.S. and other  international financial bodies destroyed Haitian rice farmers to create a major  market for the heavily subsidized rice from U.S. farmers. 
This is not the only  cause of hunger in Haiti and other poor countries, but it is a major force.
Thirty years ago, Haiti raised nearly all the rice it needed.  What happened?
In 1986, after the expulsion of Haitian dictator Jean Claude "Baby Doc"  Duvalier the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loaned Haiti $24.6 million in  desperately needed funds (Baby Doc had raided the treasury on the way out).   But, in order to get the IMF loan, Haiti was required to reduce tariff  protections for their Haitian rice and other agricultural products and some  industries to open up the country's markets to competition from outside  countries.  The U.S. has by far the largest voice in decisions of the IMF.
Doctor Paul Farmer was in Haiti then and saw what happened.  "Within less than  two years, it became impossible for Haitian farmers to compete with what they  called 'Miami rice.'  The whole local rice market in Haiti fell apart as  cheap, U.S. subsidized rice, some of it in the form of 'food aid,' flooded  the market. There was violence, 'rice wars,' and lives were lost."
"American rice invaded the country," recalled Charles Suffrard,  a leading rice grower in Haiti in an interview with the Washington Post in 2000.   By 1987 and 1988, there was so much rice coming into the country that many  stopped working the land.
Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste, a Haitian priest who has been the pastor at  St. Claire and an outspoken human rights advocate, agrees.  "In the 1980s,  imported rice poured into Haiti, below the cost of what our farmers could  produce it.  Farmers lost their businesses.  People from the countryside started  losing their jobs and moving to the cities.  After a few years of cheap imported rice, local production went way down."
Still the international business community was not satisfied.  In  1994, as a condition for U.S. assistance in returning to Haiti to resume his  elected Presidency, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced by the U.S., the IMF, and  the World Bank to open up the markets in Haiti even more.
But, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, what reason could  the U.S. have in destroying the rice market of this tiny country?  
Haiti is definitely poor.  The U.S. Agency for International Development reports  the annual per capita income is less than $400.   The United Nations reports  life expectancy in Haiti is 59, while in the US it is 78.  Over 78% of Haitians  live on less than $2 a day, more than half live on less than $1 a day.
Yet Haiti has become one of the very top importers of rice from the  U.S.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture 2008 numbers show Haiti is the third  largest importer of US rice - at over 240,000 metric tons of rice.  (One metric ton is 2200 pounds).
Rice is a heavily subsidized business in the U.S.  Rice subsidies in  the U.S. totaled $11 billion from 1995 to 2006.  One producer alone, Riceland  Foods Inc of Stuttgart Arkansas, received over $500 million dollars in rice  subsidies between 1995 and 2006.
The Cato Institute recently reported that rice is one of the most  heavily supported commodities in the U.S. -- with three different subsidies  together averaging over $1 billion a year since 1998 and projected to average  over $700 million a year through 2015.
The result?  "Tens of millions of rice  farmers in poor countries find it hard to lift their families out of poverty  because of the lower, more volatile prices caused by the interventionist  policies of other countries."
In addition to three different subsidies for rice farmers in the  U.S., there are also direct tariff barriers of 3 to 24 percent, reports Daniel  Griswold of the Cato Institute -- the exact same type of protections, though much higher, that the U.S. and the IMF  required Haiti to eliminate in the 1980s and 1990s.
U.S. protection for rice farmers goes even further. A 2006 story in  the Washington Post found that the federal government has paid at least $1.3  billion in subsidies for rice and other crops since 2000 to individuals who do  no farming at all; including $490,000 to a Houston surgeon who owned land near  Houston that once grew rice. 
And it is not only the Haitian rice farmers who have been hurt.
Paul Farmer saw it happen to the sugar growers as well.  "Haiti, once the  world's largest exporter of sugar and other tropical produce to Europe, began  importing even sugar-- from U.S. controlled sugar production in the Dominican  Republic and Florida.  It was terrible to see Haitian farmers put out of work.   All this sped up the downward spiral that led to this month's food riots."
After the riots and protests, President Rene Preval of Haiti agreed  to reduce the price of rice, which was selling for $51 for a 110 pound bag, to $43  dollars for the next month.   No one thinks a one month fix will do anything but  delay the severe hunger pains a few weeks.
Haiti is far from alone in this crisis.  The Economist reports a  billion people worldwide live on $1 a day.  The US-backed Voice of America  reports about 850 million people were suffering from hunger worldwide before the  latest round of price increases.
Thirty three countries are at risk of social upheaval because of  rising food prices, World Bank President Robert Zoellick told the Wall Street  Journal.  When countries have many people who spend half to three-quarters of  their daily income on food, "there is no margin of survival."
In the U.S., people are feeling the world-wide problems at the gas  pump and in the grocery.  Middle class people may cut back on extra trips or on  high price cuts of meat.  The number of people on food stamps in the US is at an  all-time high. But in poor countries, where malnutrition and hunger were widespread before  the rise in prices, there is nothing to cut back on except eating.  That leads  to hunger riots.
In the short term, the world community is sending bags of rice to  HaitiVenezuela sent 350 tons of food.  The US just pledged $200 million extra  for worldwide hunger relief.  The UN is committed to distributing more food.
What can be done in the medium term?  The US provides much of the  world's food aid, but does it in such a way that only half of the dollars  spent actually reach hungry people.   US law requires that food aid be purchased  from US farmers, processed and bagged in the US and shipped on US vessels --  which cost 50% of the money allocated.  A simple change in US law to allow some  local purchase of commodities would feed many more people and support local farm  markets.
In the long run, what is to be done? The President of Brazil, Luiz  Inacio Lula da Silva, who visited Haiti last week, said "Rich countries need to reduce farms subsidies and trade barriers  to allow poor countries to generate income with food exports.  Either the world  solves the unfair trade system, or every time there's unrest like in Haiti, we  adopt emergency measures and send a little bit of food to temporarily ease  hunger."
Citizens of the USA know very little about the role of their  government in helping create the hunger problems in Haiti or other countries.   But there is much that individuals can do.  People can donate to help feed  individual hungry people and participate with advocacy organizations like Bread  for the World or Oxfam to help change the U.S. and global rules which favor the  rich countries.  This advocacy can help countries have a better chance to feed  themselves. 
Meanwhile, Merisma Jean-Claudel, a young high school graduate in  Port-au-Prince told journalist Wadner Pierre "...people can't buy food.  Gasoline prices are going up. It is very hard for us over here. The cost of living is the biggest worry for us, no peace in stomach  means no peace in the mind.¦I wonder if others will be able to survive the days  ahead because things are very, very hard."
"On the ground, people are very hungry," reported Fr.  Jean-Juste.  "Our country must immediately open emergency canteens to feed the  hungry until we can get them jobs.  For the long run, we need to invest in  irrigation, transportation, and other assistance for our farmers and workers."
In Port au Prince, some rice arrived in the last few days.  A school  in Fr. Jean-Juste's parish received several bags of rice.  They had raw rice  for 1000 children, but the principal still had to come to Father Jean-Juste  asking for help.  There was no money for charcoal, or oil.
Jervais Rodman, an unemployed carpenter with three children, stood  in a long line Saturday in Port au Prince to get UN donated rice and beans.   When Rodman got the small bags, he told Ben Fox of the Associated Press, "The beans might last four days.  The rice will be gone as soon  as I get home."
Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola  University New Orleans. His essay on the Echo 9 nuclear launch site protests is featured in Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance from the Heartland, 
He can be reached at quigley77@gmail.com 
 People  interested in donating to feed children in Haiti should go to  http://www.whatiffoundation.org/ 
People who want to help change U.S. policy on  agriculture to help combat world-wide hunger should go to:
http://www.oxfamamerica.org/ or http://www.bread.org/
Bill Quigley interview on www.DemocracyNow.org  4/24/08
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Networking for Social Justice
Insanity is contageous, you get it by reading the newspapers.
                                          Mark Twain

NCCPJ Updates

The peace & justice movement continues on...
The Cindy Sheehan events this past weekend were a great success. We could use some help from members who attend these events who would like to write about them and/or provide photos. Please contact Jeeni at jeeni1@criscenzo.com if you'd like to help with this.

THIS JUST IN  -- URGENT!!  TONIGHT Thursday at 6:00PM
AM540 will host a dialogue between John Ziegler (well-known, right-wing, rabid radio talker) and Bree Walker (popular progressive media figure, and owner of Camp Casey site) Bree will have a one time live trial on a new program. Tune in and listen to Bree, who knows her stuff about US politics, and take the other speaker to the mat.
See details for these events on our website at www.NCCPJ.org

Friday, April 25th
10:00 AM
Filner Protests Blackwater in South County

At the Proposed Blackwater Site
7685 Siempre Viva Road , Otay Mesa

Congressman Bob Filner will host a rally and press conference announcing his opposition to Blackwater Worldwide's proposed training facility in Otay Mesa. Joining the Congressman will be: Councilmember Ben Hueso, District 8; Council President Scott Peters, District 1; Carol Jahnkow, Peace Resource Center; Raymond Lutz, Citizens' Oversight Projects; and Jeanette Hartman, Sierra Club.
Saturday, April 26
2:00 - 4:00 PM
Fundraiser for Robert Hamilton
Home of Jim & Sharlene Hamilton
502 Portico Dr. , Oceanside 92058

Candidate for Congress 49th CD. RSVP: Sharlene at 760-500-1927
Sunday, April 27
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Annual Native Plant Garden Tour
Starts at St. Mary's Church
515 Wisconsin Ave. , Oceanside 92054

Sponsored by the Oceanside Coastal Neighborhood Association.
Monday, April 28
7:00 pm
"Dissent: Voices of Conscience "
Price Center Ballroom, UCSD
San Diego, CA

Colonel, Mary Ann Wright, Marjorie Cohn, Peace Activist and retired U. S. State Department Official and Timothy Kahlor.
Thursday, May 1st,
6:45 PM - 9:15 PM
NCCPJ Meeting & Movie
Pilgrim Church of Christ, Meeting Rooms 1 & 2
2020 Chestnut St. Carlsbad 92008
Tuesday, May 6
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
David Ray Griffin: 9/11 Contradictions
San Diego State University - Hardy Tower , Room 140
5500 Campanile Dr. , San Diego , CA 92182

See http://www.sd911truth.org for details
Wednesday, May 7
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Public Hearing at Oceanside City Council
Oceanside City Council
300 North Cast Hwy. , Oceanside , CA 92054

TENTATIVE Public Hearing to Ask City Council to Oppose Cricket Communications Project at Amazon Bikes. See http://www.ocafn.org/neighborhood_action for details

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