Democrats and Republicans conspire
to monopolize debates
As the debate over debates heats up, the Bush
campaign is balking at participation in the events proposed
by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Bush’s concerns revolve
around format and venues. But few journalists covering this
story have looked into the legitimate questions about the Commission,
especially whether the CPD is independent enough to decide which
candidates get to participate.
The following timeline reveals a history of politicking,
insider-dealing and exclusion camouflaged behind “nonpartisan”
A brief history of the Commission on Presidential
1985: debates or “joint appearances”
The origins of the CPD can be traced to 1985 discussions between
the national chairs of the Democratic and Republican parties,
Paul Kirk and Frank Fahrenkopf, which led to an agreement to
cooperate in the production of “nationally televised joint appearances
conducted between the presidential and vice-presidential nominees
of the two major political parties. ... It is our conclusion
that future joint appearances should be principally and jointly
sponsored and conducted by the Republican and Democratic Committees”
(Joint Memorandum of Agreement on Presidential Candidate Joint
Appearances, November 26, 1985).
1987: “strengthen the two-party system”
At a February 18, 1987, news conference in Washington, GOP chair
Fahrenkopf and Democratic chair Kirk announce the CPD’s formation,
with themselves as co-chairs (positions they still hold). “Mr.
Fahrenkopf indicated that the new Commission on Presidential
Debates ... was not likely to look with favor on including third-party
candidates in the debates,” reports the New York Times (“Democrats
and Republicans Form Panel to Hold Presidential Debates,” February
19, 1987). “Mr. Kirk was less equivocal, saying he personally
believed the panel should exclude third-party candidates from
the debates.” “As a party chairman,’’ says Kirk, “it’s my responsibility
to strengthen the two-party system” (“The Debate Debate,” New
York Times, February 22, 1987).
1988: out of their league
The CPD takes complete control of the debates, after the
League of Women Voters refuses to let the Republican and Democratic
campaigns dictate terms of the 1988 events and ceases cooperating
with the Commission: “The League of Women Voters is withdrawing
its sponsorship of the presidential debates ... because the
demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a
fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that
the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list
of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity
and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention
of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American
public” (League news release, October 3, 1988).
1992: record-breaking audiences
After the Clinton and Bush campaigns negotiate a behind-the-scenes
deal that includes the participation of Ross Perot (each side
calculating that his presence would benefit them), the CPD invites
Perot to the debates. At the time of the invitation, his standing
in the four major polls averages between 7 and 9 percent support
(“Tentative Deal Set On Debates,” Washington Post, October 2,
1992; polls from CBS/New York Times, NBC, ABC, Gallup/CNN/USA
Today). The three presidential debates are watched by record-breaking
TV audiences, averaging 90 million viewers, with the audience
growing for each successive debate.
Perot is excluded in a two-party deal sanctioned by the CPD,
according to George Stephanopolous. The Clinton aide revealed
his campaign’s negotiations with the Dole campaign in a February
1997 panel discussion on the 1996 election: “[The Dole campaign]
didn’t have leverage going into negotiations. They were behind.
They needed to make sure Perot wasn’t in it. As long as we would
agree to Perot not being in it, we could get everything else
we wanted going in. We got our time frame, we got our length,
we got our moderator… We didn’t want (people) to pay attention.
And the debates were a metaphor for the campaign. We wanted
the debates to be a non-event.” The 1996 debates have shrinking
audiences that average 41 million viewers, less than half that
of the 1992 debates.
2000: 15 percent barrier announced
The CPD announces that it will exclude candidates from presidential
debates unless they have 15 percent support in national polls
on the eve of the debates (CPD news release, January 6, 2000).
Such a threshold would have barred Perot from the 1992 debates
(he finished with 19 percent of the vote), and would have excluded
Reform candidate Jesse Ventura from the 1998 gubernatorial debates
in Minnesota (at 10 percent in polls before the debates, he
won the election with 37 percent).
Source: Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR):
Drug busts leave Texas town
By Katherine Stapp
New York, New York, Aug. 31 (IPS)— The
trial of Kareem White next week caps a year in which the blue
collar Texas town of Tulia has seen 10 percent of its black
population rounded up and jailed in a drug sting that many residents
call a blatant example of racial profiling.
Like anyplace else, people say, Tulia had its
share of drug users. But were there really 46 cocaine dealers
--32 of them black- in a town of just 5,000? And if so, asked
one woman with five close relatives in jail, “(where are all
the) cars, houses, money? We don’t have that.’’
No drugs, guns or cash were found in last July’s
pre-dawn raids. The only evidence was the word of one white
undercover officer named Tom Coleman, who was later voted “Lawman
of the Year.’’
Then the sentences started coming down, and real
fear set in. Freddie Brookins’ son, Freddie, Jr., a 22-year-old
with a job and no prior record, was given 20 years for delivering
3.5 grams of cocaine, an amount known on the street as an ‘’eightball’’
that sells for roughly 200 dollars.
“I believe they focused in on certain people
they wanted to get rid of,’’ the elder Mr. Brookins said. “Personally,
I think it was racially motivated. Most of the people were in
mixed (race) relationships, and in a small town, they just can’t
deal with that.’’
Added one resident: “Even the ones who are white
(that were arrested) have black family members.’’
The 99-year sentence given to Joe Moore, 67,
signaled to many that justice had taken a wrong turn. Moore
was convicted of two counts of delivering an eightball to Coleman,
who single-handedly ran the operation. His sentence was compounded
by two prior felonies.
Kizzie Henry, 23, who had two young children
and a clean record, got 25 years. And on it went.
Freddie Brookins, Sr. and others say the harsh
sentences meted out in the initial trials were a pressure tactic
to get other defendants to plead guilty-- a tactic that appears
to have worked until critical stories in the Texas press started
to appear and the Swisher County district attorney, Terry McEachern,
decided to back off a bit.
McEachern did not return telephone calls for comment,
but has repeatedly denied that race played a role in the sweep.
Now, Kareem White, Kizzie’s brother and the last
of the 46 defendants, is preparing for trial next Tuesday amid
an atmosphere of intense distrust among Tulia’s African-American
“It’s prejudice,’’ said White’s mother, Mattie,
who is now raising Kizzie’s two children, ages three and six.
“They don’t want the blacks in this town ... You’re black, you
don’t have a chance. We know what it is.’’
Kareem, who everyone calls “Kreamy,’’ has been
charged with one count of delivery of a controlled substance.
He is facing 2-20 years in prison, and says he is innocent.
“There’s not even a semblance of justice in these
cases,’’ said White’s court-appointed attorney, Dwight McDonald.
“I’m as much against crime as the next person, but let’s do
it right. I think they didn’t do it right here.’’
As in the majority of the other 42 cases, McDonald
said the evidence against White boiled down to the word of Tom
Coleman against that of his client. Coleman apparently never
wore a wire or other electronic surveillance device, and conducted
all the buys alone.
While these may not be particularly unusual tactics
for an 18-month deep-cover operation in a small rural community,
defense lawyers and others say that aspects of Coleman’s past
make his testimony less than credible.
Coleman himself had been charged with theft by
his previous employer, the Cochran County Sheriff’s Office,
over misuse of his county credit card. Although the Tulia sheriff
was notified of the outstanding warrant months into the sting,
he allowed Coleman to continue.
The issue was apparently resolved when Coleman
agreed to pay nearly 7,000 dollars in restitution. But when
asked in court later if he had any criminal record, Coleman
said he did not.
Defense attorneys complain that they have not
been permitted to use this information to impugn Coleman’s testimony.
“He lied to the court or he lied on the stand
-- either way, he lied,’’ said Kizzie Henry’s lawyer Ronald
Meanwhile, families are struggling to care for
the children left behind, as they await the outcome of state
“Virtually the entire black community has been
impacted,’’ said Charles Kiker, a retired white preacher who
got involved after Joe Moore was given 99 years in prison. Kiker
holds weekly prayer meetings with the relatives of those arrested,
and hopes to attract the interest of legal aid groups like the
American Civil Liberties Union.
“Our strategy has been to try to call attention
to it, and it has been a long, slow process,’’ Kiker said. “The
black community is pretty discouraged. We’re hoping that sooner
or later, we can get a civil rights lawsuit.’’ Gary Gardner,
another of Tulia’s handful of white residents who seem bothered
by the busts, compared them to the communist witch hunts of
“Law enforcement in Tulia has talked up a major
crime wave, but there’s no drug problem of the scale that they’ve
shown it, and that’s based on facts,’’ said Gardner, who has
attended several of the trials and performed a good deal of
research. “The whole system is screwed up in the town ... If
you put these 46 people in a line-up and gave this undercover
cop nametags and said pin ‘em on, he couldn’t do it.’’
“There’s 46 human stories down here,’’ Gardner
added. “It’s one of those things where you see what’s happened,
know what’s happened, but it’s damn hard to prove.’’
US radiation subjects denied
By Marc Perelman
New York, New York, Sept. 3 (IPS)— They
were given money, promised shorter jail terms, and told they
could redeem themselves by serving their country. All they had
to do was submit to vasectomies and “groundbreaking’’ radiation
But what the 131 inmates at state penitentiaries
in Oregon and Washington didn’t know was that in addition to
becoming sterile, they would face lifelong pain and an increased
risk of cancer.
A motion by the federal government to dismiss
compensation claims filed by 19 former Oregon inmates was just
postponed to Nov. 21, partly in hopes that the parties will
reach a settlement. The inmates have also moved to certify the
suits as a class action.
But lawyers say it is unlikely the government
will voluntarily compensate the victims of this controversial
research, which some have compared to the Nazis’ chilling human
experiments during World War II.
Between 1961 and 1973, the inmates’ testicles
were biopsied and heavily X-rayed to determine the impact on
the male reproductive system of repeated doses of radiation.
During the Cold War, the Atomic Energy Commission
(AEC) --the forerunner to the Department of Energy-- funded,
sponsored and supervised numerous radiation studies on terminally
ill patients, aborted fetuses, mentally retarded children, poor
people, and prisoners.
The research became public in November 1993, and
an advisory committee appointed by President Bill Clinton recommended
that compensation be paid to the subjects or their surviving
relatives. While the government complied in some cases, it has
refused to settle with the former inmates, arguing that it was
not directly responsible for the experiments.
Or perhaps, as the plaintiffs’ lawyer suggests,
the real reason for the government’s refusal is that it sees
the Oregon and Washington victims as unworthy of compensation
because they were in jail.
“It may be that the US is not offering to do the
right thing on this because it involves prisoners,’’ said Eric
Cramer, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “But it may also be because
they simply don’t care.’’
The lead plaintiff, Harold Bibeau, says that
for the past three decades, he has suffered from severe and
recurrent testicular pain. He also had a temporary groin rash,
a wart on the inside of his upper leg and lumps on his arm and
Bibeau never saw a doctor, assuming the symptoms
were just a result of getting older. Then he read about the
Department of Energy revelations in the newspaper.
Bibeau says he still remembers the day of Sep.
29, 1965, when he was rushed from his cell to a laboratory.
He was told to lie face down, with his scrotum suspended in
a small plastic box filled with warm water to help the testes
descend. Tubes on each side emitted radiation 20 times stronger
than a chest X-ray.
He and a few other “volunteers’’ then had to provide
regular semen, blood and urine samples. They were eventually
paid to undergo vasectomies for fear they would produce abnormal
In 1995, Bibeau filed a federal lawsuit seeking
250 million dollars for the long-term effects of the experiments
and for the suppression of critical information which prevented
the 67 Oregon inmates from seeking follow-up medical care.
Defendants in the suit included the Pacific Northwest
Research Foundation (PNRF) and its employees, the late Carl
Heller and his assistant Mavis Rowley, as well as Oregon state
officials and two prison doctors who performed testicular biopsies
and vasectomies on the prisoners.
But Bibeau also wanted compensation from the
federal government, which he accused of “negligently and wrongfully
initiating, approving and supervising the experiments.’’
On Aug. 15, a tentative settlement was reached
for about 2.2 million dollars with the state of Oregon, the
two doctors and the PNRF-- but not the federal government.
In its latest motion to dismiss, the government
claims immunity under the concept of “discretionary function’’--
in other words, that the AEC division overseeing the experiments
had broad autonomy in selecting and funding them.
But the plaintiffs say the division’s authority
was actually very limited and that the AEC, as early as the
1950s, had a clear policy prohibiting funding and/or support
for non-therapeutic experiments involving human beings.
Although this policy was relaxed in the 1960s,
it was still applicable to the prison experiments, they say,
which involved impermissibly high doses of X-rays.
While the lawsuit could take years to be resolved,
Bibeau says he intends to fulfill the pledge he made before
the advisory committee in 1994: “Almost half of us are now dead
and they’re hoping if they simply ignore us long enough, we’ll
die and the problem will simply vanish. But I won’t go away.’’
The radiation experiments were seen as having
a noble purpose at the time: protecting US citizens engaged
in building the nation’s high-priority nuclear and space programs.
Still, plaintiffs say they clearly violated the Nuremberg Code,
a set of rules governing human experiments agreed upon after
World War II as a way to prevent further unethical research.
Under the code, the voluntary and informed consent
of research subjects is absolutely mandatory. But long-term
prisoners are, by definition, vulnerable to incentives like
extended visitation rights, shorter sentences and cash payments.
Inmates in the AEC research were paid 25 dollars
per biopsy-- they all had at least five-- and an additional
100 dollars for undergoing a vasectomy. Given that they were
earning 25 cents a day for prison work, it was a windfall that
would have been hard to turn down.
In addition, the risks of the experiments were
minimized. The prisoners signed a consent form that only mentioned
the sterility resulting from the vasectomy and the possibility
of “some skin burn from the radiation.” The risks of cancer,
lifelong pain, orchitis (testicular inflammation) and bleeding
into the scrotum were left out.
In a 1976 deposition, Dr. Heller said he had sometimes
mentioned the possibility of a tumor, but avoided using the
word cancer because he did not want to “frighten’’ the prisoners.
The experiments were eventually halted in January
1973 because of concerns over the voluntary consent of the subjects.
Those who could be located complained of groin, upper thigh
and back pains, as well as lumps. Lawyers say they only found
one reported case of cancer and one case of sterility for an
But many of the subjects could not be tracked
down, and cancer from radiation can take decades to develop.
When the experiments ended, Dr. Heller and AEC
officials agreed that medical follow-up was necessary, but no
effort was made to even locate the subjects.
Despite initial denials, it turned out that the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was also
closely monitoring the experiments because they involved the
same levels of radiation astronauts were exposed to during space
“I listened to a brilliant doctor explain to
me how I could help NASA learn how to protect astronauts in
space,’’ Bibeau told the presidential Advisory Committee in
“I was a dumb convict. Rather than serving my
time as a local jailbird, I could actually do something that
would help my country and I could hold my head up and be proud,’’
he recalled with irony.
Racist attack on activists
Selma, Alabama, Aug. 28— Black activists
from the Campaign for a New Beginning in Selma suffered another
major attack during an electoral fight against racist Selma
mayor Joe Smitherman when two activists’ cars were set on fire
last night in front of the activists’ office.
Joe Smitherman has held the mayor’s office in
Selma for over nine terms. Mr. Smitherman was first elected
mayor 36 years ago. In fact, he was a professed segregationist
in the early terms of his career and was mayor during Bloody
Sunday, the infamous police attack against the 1965 Selma Voting
Rights march. While there have been campaigns against Joe Smitherman
before, racial tensions are particularly high this year as the
Sept. 12, 2000 runoff election approaches. This is due in part
to the recent discovery by committed activists that black citizens
were turned away from the polls by the use of bomb threats,
the moving of poll locations, and fraudulent absentee ballots.
Because the FBI, District Attorney, and Attorney General will
not investigate complaints of massive voter fraud and voter
intimidation, activists are concerned that these tactics will
be used again in the runoff election.
Malika Sanders, executive director of the 21st
Century Youth organization, states, “It is incredible how this
man has been able to undermine the democratic process for black
voters during the last 37 years: confusing voters by changing
their polling places, casting absentee ballots for people on
the inactive voters list, and spreading rumors about those people
who are willing to stand up against him.”
Activists are claiming that a car fire was only
the latest in a string of attacks made by the entrenched political
establishment against activists in Selma. From character assassination,
crank calls, and break-ins, many of the activists working on
the Joe Gotta Go Campaign have had to endure such harassment
before. The activists come from a coalition of community based
organizations that focus on issues like black farmer reparations,
youth education, and tracking in the schools.
Earth First! locks down in
Jeb Bush’s office
Tallahassee Florida, Aug. 31— Five activists
with Ichetucknee Earth First! locked down for five hours in
the entrance to Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s office Tuesday at
8:45 am to demand that he revoke the permits that the state
granted to Anderson Columbia Co. to build a cement kiln 3.5
miles from the pristine Ichetucknee River.
The group gave a list of demands to Bush’s staff
and answered questions from the media. The media, which had
shown up for a press conference for Bush’s plan to eliminate
affirmative action, had to walk around the lockdown to get to
the press conference. After a few hours of interviews with members
of the lock down, the press went in and asked Bush about rumors
of scandal and other citizen complaints and environmental concerns
involved in the cement plant and land use deal. Outside the
capitol building members of Sierra Club, Florida Green Party,
Ichetucknee Mobilization, Environmental Action Group and many
high school students protested on the streets with huge puppets
and signs. One protester scaled a telephone pole and dropped
Anderson Columbia Co. is notorious for noncompliance
with environmental laws and has racked up 17 violations for
dumping in waterways, soil contamination, air pollution, and
operating without permits, among other violations. The Ichetucknee
River is a spring fed, crystal clear water way that is 72 degrees
year round. It is also Florida’s cleanest river and is listed
as an outstanding river system. There are two endangered species
--a rare snail and freshwater crayfish, which live in a 4-mile
radius of the kiln site, which was designated in original county
land use plans for agriculture, not industry.
The cement kiln, which had its ground-breaking
ceremony on Monday, will emit dangerous levels of mercury, phosphates,
particulates and dioxins by burning tires to make Portland cement.
Also, an onsite limestone mining operation could threaten the
aquifer, and dynamite blasts could damage the spring system.
No environmental impact statement was ever done to determine
whether this kiln would affect the air, water and human/animal
Bush never appeared to engage the group, so after
five hours of being locked together, they agreed to unlock and
attend an open meeting with the Fla. Department of Environmental
Protection to discuss a possible court action or statewide referendum
to block the construction. Police made no arrests.
Automakers exploit loophole favoring gas guzzlers
Washington, DC, Sept. 1, (ENS)— A new study
from Friends of the Earth (FoE) finds that automakers are exploiting
a loophole in the federal tax law that encourages production
of more polluting and gas-guzzling vehicles. The loophole translates
into billions of dollars each year for the most polluting vehicles
-- light trucks and sport utility vehicles. The study comes
as controversy swirls around steep increases in gasoline prices.
While many areas of the country are faced with dramatic prices
increases, automakers continue marketing gas guzzling sport-utility
vehicles (SUVs) to consumers.
While other cars are subject to the federal gas
guzzler tax, SUVs and light trucks are exempt.
“Automakers are avoiding paying taxes, and cranking
out polluting and gas-guzzling vehicles,” said Brian Dunkiel,
director of tax policy at FoE. “It’s not fair, it’s bad for
the environment, and it’s making America more dependent on foreign
Enacted in 1978, the gas guzzler tax is a little-noticed
environmental measure that applies to less fuel efficient cars.
Automakers must pay the tax on cars that get less than 22.5
miles per gallon. The worse the fuel efficiency, the higher
the tax. However, SUVs and other light trucks that get less
than 22.5 miles to the gallon are exempt. If they were not exempt,
automakers would pay more than $10 billion a year in taxes,
shows the FoE study.
“This is the single largest subsidy for pollution
in the world,” said Sean Moulton, author of the report. “Why
should a gas-guzzling SUV be exempt when a gas-guzzling sports
car is not?”
The report is available at www.foe.org/gasguzzler
Man doused with pepper spray
Winston-Salem, NC, Sept. 3— A man with
a history of heart trouble died Saturday after being doused
with pepper spray by a hospital security officer, authorities
Willie E. Simmons, 57, was barred by a court order
from the grounds of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical
Center, where his estranged wife works. When he showed up at
the hospital early Saturday, four security staffers followed
him to a nearby Comfort Inn, where he scuffled with the officers
and was pepper sprayed, said Winston-Salem police Lt. Fred Jones.
Attempts to resuscitate Simmons failed and he
died later at the hospital. An autopsy is being performed.
Simmons recently had a heart attack and underwent
heart surgery, said his brother, Benjamin Simmons.
“If he got away, they should have let him go
on about his business,” Benjamin Simmons said. “That makes me
Hospital spokeswoman Karen Richardson said security
officers followed Simmons because other medical center offices
are near the hotel. Officers also wanted to warn hotel employees
about Simmons, and alert police to his whereabouts.
“The officers followed proper procedure ... but
they had to defend themselves at some point and use pepper spray,”
The State Bureau of Investigation is currently
investigating the incident.
Source: Associated Press
Nader calls for single-payer
healthcare system, loses battle over debates
Buffalo, New York, Sept.1— On Aug. 29,
Ralph Nader called for a universal health care system in the
US --with public funding, private delivery, and controls against
waste, profiteering and malpractice, which would be similar
to the single-payer system in Canada.
Nader noted that in the US 24 cents of every
dollar spent on health care goes to administrative costs compared
to 11 cents in Canada. He said the difference could go a long
way in covering the 47 million Americans who now have no health
insurance. Nader, the Green Party candidate for President, said
the US was ranked by the World Health Organization as 37th among
nations in the world regarding the quality of health care.
“This is not only embarrassing, but also unacceptable,”
Nader said. “Western European countries provided for their people
40 to 50 years ago…why can’t we do it now in a period of economic
growth and budget surpluses?”
Nader said the nation is in a “transitory period”
which gives us a “real opportunity” to recast our health care
system in a nonprofit mode and implement accessible universal
health care, with attention to prevention of diseases and trauma.
Nader also urged that price restraints be placed
on all drugs developed with taxpayer dollars, including most
AIDS drugs. He said pharmaceutical companies are getting huge
windfall profits from the government-developed drugs and then
gouging patients mercilessly.
“Instead of giving away a monopoly on these taxpayer-funded
drugs to just one company, multiple licenses should be issued
to any company that wants to sell them,” Nader said. “That would
create competition and bring down prices.”
Nader said if any company objects to the idea,
the government should say to them, “if you’re going to engage
in profiteering, we’ll make them ourselves --and more cheaply
than you. The public health of the American people comes before
Nader was also critical of HMOs, charging that
they are “destabilizing themselves by their own greed, tying
the hands of professionals in the medical and nursing areas
from using their independent judgment in caring for their patients,
and abusing consumers.”
Two days later, on Sept. 1, a federal judge turned
down a request by Ralph Nader and the Green Party to stop the
Federal Election Commission from letting companies help pay
for the upcoming presidential debates.
The Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonprofit
corporation, has solicited millions in corporate donations to
help finance the debates, the first of which will take place
Oct. 3 at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.
While federal law bars corporations from donating
directly to candidates, wrote US District Court Judge Patti
Saris, it doesn’t prevent companies from funding the Commission
on Presidential Debates.
“Permitting a nonpartisan corporation funded by
corporations and labor unions to sponsor debates which will
educate voters and spark enough interest to motivate them to
vote or register to vote is fully consistent with the express
legislative intent to permit nonpartisan organizations to get-out-the-vote
and encourage voter registration,” she wrote.
Nader has argued that letting corporations underwrite
debates gives them undue influence over the candidates.
Source: Associated Press
Colorado town bans GMOs on
Boulder, Colorado, Aug. 30— A municipal
panel in Boulder, Colorado has adopted a new policy to ban biotech
crops from city land. The City of Boulder owns about 33,000
acres of open space, of which over 15,000 are leased for agriculture.
The primary reason for the new policy are fears that herbicide-resistant
crops might be planted on leased land. City officials say too
little is known about the long-term impacts of these crops.
Boulder’s public land trustees unanimously approved
the new policy last Wednesday, Aug. 23. One city official told
the Rocky Mountain News that “One of our charges is to protect
environmental resources, and there are enough concerns about
genetically modified crops to justify taking this action.”
According to the paper, Boulder County is studying
the possibility of following suit with a similar policy.
Starting next year, city officials will alter
leases to require farmers to plant conventional crops.
A small but significant number of local governments
are leading a mini-revolt against federal policy on biotech.
Most actions, like the city council resolutions recently passed
in Minneapolis, MN and Austin, TX, are non-binding resolutions
related to GMO labels on food. Boulder’s policy is different
in that it has teeth for the small piece of farmland owned by
the city. A number of other local initiatives are underway from
New England to San Francisco.
Source: Rocky Mountain News
Clinton Colombia visit protested
New York, New York, Aug. 31— Two hundred
people took to the streets of New York on Aug. 30 to protest
US President Bill Clinton’s trip to Colombia. Thousands of people
heard a united message of “USA, CIA, out of Colombia!”
The demonstration was one of a dozen protests
in cities across the US and part of an international day of
protest against Clinton’s delivery of $1.3 billion in military
aid to what critics are calling a death-squad government in
Colombia —part of Andres Pastrana’s Plan Colombia.
Other US demonstrations took place in Atlanta,
Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Helena, Los Angeles, Providence,
San Diego, San Francisco, and West Palm Beach.