Wyclef Jean Shot in Haiti-Aristide Returns

With the madness going on in Japan and now Libya many of us have forgotten that neighboring Haiti is still in shambles.  First there’s an election run off for President. The last election was marred with accusations of fraud which resulted in widespread violence. The emerging candidates is Wyclef Jean‘s former rival Michel Martelly, 50, is a singer and entertainer known to his fans as “Sweet Micky“. He’s running against a 70 year old former first lady Mirlande Manigat.

Second, the election has become even more complicated because former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide returned to Haiti over the weekend after a 7 year exile. Why is this important? Because it marks the return of man who headed Haiti’s largest political party the Lavalas. That party has not been allowed to partake in Haiti elections primarily because they were not deemed favorable by US corporations and then George W Bush when help orchestrate a coup in 2004 which resulted in Aristide being ousted.

Folks should know Aristide was seen as a President who supported the poor and wanted to raise minimum wage. Sadly this was a coup supported by Wyclef Jean and his ambassador uncle Raymond Joseph.

Aristide has already denounced the elections as a sham.

As for Wyclef, He’s been back in Haiti stomping for his former  rival Michael Martelly. He was shot in his guitar playing hand. He was released from the hospital and is doing well.. There’s been no word on the assailants.

For those who want more indepth understanding on Aristide’s turbulent relationship with the US particularly under Bush and Clinton.. read the following article from investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill

Bill Clinton

In September 1991, the US backed the violent overthrow of the government of Haiti’s democratically-elected leftist priest President Jean Bertrand Aristide after he was in power less than a year. Aristide had defeated a US-backed candidate in the 1990 Haitian presidential election. The military coup leaders and their paramilitary gangs of CIA-backed murderous thugs, including the notorious FRAPH paramilitary units, were known for hacking the limbs off of Aristide supporters (and others) along with an unending slew of other horrifying crimes.

When Clinton came to power, he played a vicious game with Haiti that allowed the coup regime to continue rampaging Haiti and further destabilized the country. What’s more, in the 1992 election campaign, Bill Clinton campaigned on a pledge to reverse what he called then-President George HW Bush’s “cruel policy” of holding Haitian refugees at Guantanamo with no legal rights in US courts. Upon his election, however, Clinton reversed his position and sided with the Bush administration in denying the Haitians legal rights. the Haitians were held in atrocious conditions and the new Democratic president was sued by the Center for Constitutional Rights (sound familiar?).

While Clinton and his advisers publicly expressed their dismay with the coup, they simultaneously refused to support the swift reinstatement of the country’s democratically elected leader and would, in fact, not allow Aristide’s return until Washington received guarantees that: 1. Aristide would not lay claim to the years of his presidency lost in forced exile and; 2. US neoliberal economic plans were solidified as the law of the land in Haiti.

“The Clinton administration was credited for working for the return to power of Jean Bertrand Aristide after he was overthrown in a military coup,” says author William Blum. “But, in fact, Clinton had stalled the return for as long as he could, and had instead tried his best to return anti-Aristide conservatives to a leading power role in a mixed government, because Aristide was too leftist for Washington’s tastes.” Blum’s book “Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II” includes a chapter on the history of the US role in Haiti.

The fact that the coup against the democratically-elected president of Haiti was allowed to continue unabated for three full years seemed to be less offensive to Clinton than Aristide’s progressive vision for Haiti. As Blum observed in his book, “[Clinton] was not actually repulsed by [coup leader Raoul] Cédras and company, for they posed no ideological barrier to the United States continuing the economic and strategic control of Haiti it’s maintained for most of the century.  Unlike Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a man who only a year earlier had declared: ‘I still think capitalism is a mortal sin.’”

Blum added: “Faced ultimately with Aristide returning to power, Clinton demanded and received — and then made sure to publicly announce — the Haitian president’s guarantee that he would not try to remain in office to make up for the time lost in exile. Clinton of course called this ‘democracy,’ although it represented a partial legitimization of the coup.” Indeed, Haiti experts say that Clinton could have restored Aristide to power under an almost identical arrangement years earlier than he did.

continue reading http://rebelreports.com/post/109822009/bill-clinton-named-new-un-envoy-to-stabilize-haiti-a

What Next, Wisconsin? Some Ideas for the Movement by Josh Healy

My man Josh Healy drops another gem of an article for all those watching the drama as it unfolds in Madison, Wisconsin. His first article Class Warfare gave us some good background information and solid food for thought. This one lays out some great strategies..

-Davey D-

I’ve never been so proud to rep Wisconsin.

More than the Packers bringing the Lombardi trophy back to its birthplace, more than the moment I introduced my boys back in DC to the glories of a cheese curd, themassive uprising to defend workers’ rights that has erupted over these past two weeks in Madison has cemented my Badger pride forever.

I’m 2000 miles away from the action inside the Capitol Rotunda, but through text messages, Facebook reports, and (sweet Jesus!) decent coverage from the national media, I feel like I’m just down the block on State Street.

While my analysis is secondary to the activists and agitators in the trenches (snow trenches, to be exact), I want to offer some notes on what has made all this so amazing:

The Movement is Growing By the Day — And Shows No Signs of Stopping.
Since people first learned of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed death-to-unions legislation two weeks ago, the protests at the Capitol haven’t stopped. The numbers of labor demonstrators has  grown from 1,000 the first day, to 5,000 a couple days later, to over 100,000 people this past Saturday. Thousands of whom have been occupying the Capitol 24/7, sleeping over in the building despite Walker’s attempts to kick them out. People simply won’t go home — and that’s the most powerful part.

The indefinite, growing action is what has created the legislative crisis and national spectacle.  As opposed to most political actions (an anti-war rally or even a fair trade “week of action”), the people’s uprising in Madison has no definitive end date that the Governor and his friends can use to just wait them out. And that’s why they’re scared.

The Democrats Have Showed Some Backbone.
No, not the national Democratic Party, but “The Wisconsin 14“– the Democratic state senators who fled the state to block Gov. Walker’s attack on workers. The state senate needs a quorum of 20 legislators to act on the bill, but the Republicans only have 19 senators. So the Democrats used what power they had, and voted with their feet.

Far too often, Democratic politicians across the country give in (or worse, lead the attack) on workers’ rights and social justice. Let’s support them on the rare occasion they do the right thing — and remember that those 14 senators could only make their stand because 100,000 people in the streets gave them the political space to do so.

The Right-Wing Puppet Masters have been Exposed.
Scott Walker is a stooge, a puppet of national corporate interests. Thanks to a liberal blogger’s prank phone call, we all know who’s pulling Walker’s strings: the billionaire Koch Brothers. Charles and David Koch are viciously right-wing industrialists best known for being the primary funders (some would say creators) of the Tea Party. In the prank call where Walker thought he was talking to David Koch, Walker showed his true allegiance — and it wasn’t to the people of Wisconsin.

The Cops are with the Good Guys?
This is something you don’t usually see: rather than following the standard police playbook of “Taser first, ask questions later,” the police announced their solidarity with the people occupying the Capitol. Wow. The police understand that even though Walker exempted their union (and the firefighters) from the bill, they could be next. Now, many of them are joining with their union brothers and sisters. This is big — just look at Egypt and (hopefully) Libya. When the police join the movement, that’s when the revolution happens.

America has Hope Again.
Van Jones said it best earlier this week: “In the past 24 months, those of us who longed for positive change have gone from hope to heartbreak. But hope is returning to America — at last — thanks largely to the courageous stand of the heroes and heroines of Wisconsin.” Wisconsin is awakening a strong, grassroots Left-labor movement that has been asleep in America for far too long. This past Saturday saw solidarity protests in all 50 states, and there’s even talks that a general strike is on the table in Madison if the bill passes.

This is about more than unions. This is about whose state, whose country this is. To paraphrase George W. Bush, “You’re either with us, or you’re with the billionaire oil tycoon Koch-heads.”

With that said, here’s some things for my Badgers in the streets to keep in mind:

1) Keep the Crisis Going as Long as Possible.
The longer we occupy the Capitol, the longer the Democrats stay in Rockford or wherever the hell they are, the better for our side. It gives us time to frame the debate, show the real issues, build our power and organization, and make the Republicans come to us on our terms.

Gov. Walker might not budge, but 3 Republican Senators very well could. That’s all we need for the vote to fail. Many of those Republicans districts have a lot of union members, and are vulnerable come election time. Many folks are already calling for recall elections. That said, don’t get caught up in electoral politics. Our power is at the grassroots. And remember that Walker did NOT run on a campaign to bust unions. His election was not a mandate for this bill.

2) Make this Bigger Than Just the Unions — Because It Is.
This bill (and soon Walker’s full budget) doesn’t just attack organized labor: he is privatizing UW-Madison, decimating state health care, and attacking unemployed people and all sorts of workers not in unions. If the broad-based movement of the past two weeks doesn’t continue after whatever happens with this one bill, then we’ve lost either way.

Build new relationships — and organization! Wisconsin (and the whole country) needs a real, ongoing coalition of workers, students, civil rights groups, faith leaders, women’s and LGBT groups: the full rainbow spectrum. Some of this is already happening with Wisconsin WaveDefend Wisconsin, and others. The fights will keep coming — let’s keep fighting united.

3) This Can’t Just Be a White Fight.
This is going off the last point. Let’s be honest — most the teachers, social workers, and other public workers who have been the majority of faces in the protests are white. Wisconsin is about as white a state as they come. But when it comes to serious oppression in the Badger State – massively disproportionate incarceration, unemployment, and immigration raids – the people most impacted are usually black and brown. Several Republican legislators have already called for an anti-immigrant law as harsh as Arizona’s. If this movement’s call is to “defend Wisconsin,” who are we defending it for?

The conservative game plan is always to divide and conquer, in this case to pit ‘lazy’ public-sector workers against ‘hard-working’ private-sector workers. Sound familiar? In our appeal to class solidarity, let’s recognize that there are deep racial divisions in Wisconsin — in our schools, our housing, and yes, our unions. Let’s be up front about it, and make this the time to start doing it different. Racial justice groups like my old friends at Freedom Inc. have already joined the fight.

4. Target the People and Structures Behind Walker.
I’m not just talking about the Koch brothers, I’m talking about Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, who protesters smartly picketed last week for being the main sponsor of the current bill. I’m talking about the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, giving corporations free rein to buy politicians through campaign donations. I’m talking about unregulated capitalism, and the idea that human beings are mere commodities to be bought and sold to the highest bidding billionaire. The people in the Capitol are starting to think BIG. Let’s keep it up.

5) Expect to WIN!
This is the most important one. The momentum is on our side: the people, the Packers, even the police are on our side. The nation is with you. Don’t give in on pensions and health care before negotiating. Don’t give in on cuts to Badger Care or turning UW-Madison into “a country club with a nice library.”

I remember walking to a protest on Library Mall once and thinking, “This isn’t going to change anything.” And you know what it? It didn’t. Too often, we think we’re going to lose, and so we don’t even play hard in the game. This time, Madison, you’ve taken your gloves off. I can see it in your eyes. You know you can win. So go do it.

I’ll be there with you, proud as hell.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5TmSNPpzkWc

original article: http://joshhealey.org/2011/02/28/what-next-wisconsin/

Supreme Court Decision is the Result of Conservative Court Stacking which will Haunt us for Years to Come

Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling coupled with their recent decisions to pretty much put political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal on a fast track to death and to disallow cameras in the historic same-sex marriage hearings in San Francisco, underscore what I have long noted about electoral politics.

Say what you will about the Presidency and whether he’s living up to all his promises, whoever sits in that chair gets to appoint justices to the Supreme Court and a bunch of judges in the lower Federal Courts. Throughout our history, many of our victories in the areas of Civil Rights have come via court decisions or through the President signing into a law after being pressured by the people.  Unless you have an army or some sort of paramilitary outfit thats equipped to go the long haul and stage some sort of coup, many of the things we say we want and need in today’s society is going to come via political decision. This means we have to bone up on our political awareness. Know the key players, vulnerable touch points and play to win.

Having long-winded conversations about conspiracies, and the so-called elite and how small victories were won once upon a time before many of us were born is just plain foolish, at least in 2010. The decision made by the Supreme Court to allow corporations unlimited free speech is part of the Bush Sr legacy of court appointments he did over 20 years ago. I recall many of my activist colleagues back then talking the same stuff as now. ‘Voting doesn’t matter’, ‘don’t support evil‘, ‘the lesser of two evils is still evil’..blah blah blah.. We’ve heard this talk forever..and now its come back to haunt us..

20+ years ago many sat out the election when George Bush Sr took on Michael Dukakis and one of the end results was Bush Sr winning and then appointing Clarence Thomas to fill the seat vacated by Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Courts first and then only African-American Supreme Court justice. Since then Thomas has been that crucial ultra conservative vote on an ideologically divided court where a variety of important Civil Rights and social justice issues have been defeated or overturned in 5-4 decisions. Thomas’s decisions for the most part have been direct smacks in the face of the Civil Rights legacy of Marshall.

Sadly Thomas is just one of several super conservatives sitting on the Supreme Court. Back in 1986, many talked a good game about how voting didn’t matter when Ronald Regan won a second term and promptly appointed Anthony Scalia who is considered the leader of the court’s conservative wing.

20 years later we are still haunted by the appointment of Clarence Thomas

Fast forward  10-15 years to the start of George W Bush-era. First, we saw first hand how those appointments from 20 years ago came back to haunt us when the Supreme Court handed “W’ the White House seat over Al Gore in that historic hotly contested 2000 election, where Florida, hanging chads and accusations of suppressed votes took center stage. That alone should’ve been an eye opener.  But it then again maybe it wasn’t, because Bush won a second term and appointed Justice John G Roberts who led the charge and wrote the majority opinion that took away any sort of constraints or corporations to speak and advocate during an election. We have yet to see what sort of unthinkable damage that can potentially do…

We already have enough challenges than to have to worry about multinational corporations jumping in the fray with no restraints. As we still have these long drawn out discussions about whether or not we should or should not vote or Obama and anyone else, I suggest folks take along hard look at who is sitting on those courts and start stepping up our game to make sure new appointees are not as conservative as their predecessors. The lesser of two evils may be all the difference in the world on who sits on the bench. We’ve seen judges decide on everything from Sean Bell’s police killers being get to go free to yesterday’s landmark Supreme Court decision. We know that the judge presiding over the Oscar Grant trial in California Robert Perry was appointed by conservative Governor Pete Wilson and of course we now know how Roberts showed lots of love and leniency to the corrupt officers involved in the Rampart scandal. You really can’t go take it to the streets and get meaningful change when it comes to judges.

It was a decision by San Antonio District Judge David Berchelmann that allowed fellow Judge Sharon ‘Killer’ Keller to get off for her horrific actions of closing her doors before a 5 o’clock deadline thus deny a death row appeal. This resulted in a man being put to death. But of course we have some who will say politics matters not.

We have to give voters in Houston/Harris county who obviously understood the importance of this and in 2008 swept out all but 4 judgeships. More of that needs to happen as a crucial step toward change

During the hey day of the Civil Rights struggle, the Federal courts were our friends..Today they are the institutions that are haunting us 10, 15 and 20 years down the line…What’s even more problematic is that nowadays those who have an ultra conservative agenda are  moving in a direction where they are pushing to take their fight out of the legislative arenas and into the court system stacked with conservative judges…

I suggest people to take a look at Supreme Court rulings and than multiply them by 10 as you look at rulings made in lower courts and then you decide if you can afford to ignore politics..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_United_States_Supreme_Court_case

-Davey D-

Supreme Court’s ‘Radical and Destructive’ Decision Hands Over Democracy to the Corporations

By Liliana SeguraAlterNet. Posted January 21, 2010.

“The Supreme Court has just predicted the winners of the next November election,” Sen. Chuck Schumer announced this morning. “It won’t be Republicans. It won’t be Democrats. It will be Corporate America.”

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/145322/supreme_court%27s_%22radical_and_destructive%22_decision_hands_over_democracy_to_the_corporations/

Indeed, in a momentous 5 to 4 decision the New York Times calleda “doctrinal earthquake,” the U.S. Supreme Court handed down an unprecedented ruling today that gives new significance to the phrase “corporate personhood.” In it, the Roberts court overturned the federal ban on corporate contributions to political campaigns, ruling that forbidding corporations from spending money to support or undermine political candidates amounts to censorship. Corporations, the court ruled, should enjoy the same First Amendment rights as individuals.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the Supreme Court rejects “the argument that political speech of corporations or other associations should be treated differently under the First Amendment simply because such associations are not ‘natural persons.'”

In other words, as Stephen Colbert put it last year, “Corporations are people too.”

On a conference call with reporters following the decision, critics could not overemphasize the enormity of the ruling, whose implications will be visible as early as the upcoming midterm elections. Bob Edgar, head of the watchdog group Common Cause, called it “the Superbowl of really bad decisions.” Nick Nyhart of Public Campaign called it an “immoral decision” that will make an already untenable mix of money and politics even worse.

“This is the most radical and destructive campaign finance decision in the history of the Supreme Court,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21. “With a stroke of the pen, five justices wiped out a century of American history devoted to preventing corporate corruption of our democracy.”

Writing about the ruling, Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy described it as “a revolution in the law,” one that has been in the works for years thanks to conservative activism.

“Today’s decision is a huge gift to corporations from a Supreme Court that has been radicalized by right-wing ideology, whose political agenda was made obvious in the Bush v. Gore case and whose very political decision today only makes things worse.”

Of course, corporate cash has long had a corrupting influence on our politics, but never before has it been seen as some sort of fundamental freedom.

“This court has said it’s the constitutional right of a corporation to spend as much money as it wants to influence an election,” said Wertheimer.

The potential “fear factor” for politicians when it comes to the way they vote is huge. Members of Congress, who already spend a disproportionate amount of time fundraising to stay in office, now have reason to worry that their re-election chances will be derailed by corporations whose limitless funds can be aggressively used to protect their interests.

Writing for AlterNet last month, Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, argued that President Obama might never have been electedwith these new rules on the books:

Candidate Barack Obama was one sharp speaker, but he would not have been heard, and certainly would not have won, without the astonishing outpouring of donations from two million Americans. It was an unprecedented uprising-by-PayPal, overwhelming the old fat-cat sources of funding.

Well, kiss that small-donor revolution goodbye. If the Supreme Court votes as expected, progressive list serves won’t stand a chance against the resources of new ‘citizens’ such as CNOOC, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Maybe UBS (United Bank of Switzerland), which faces U.S. criminal prosecution and a billion-dollar fine for fraud, might be tempted to invest in a few Senate seats.”

The case before the court, Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, centered around a rabidly anti-Hillary Clinton documentary produced by the right-wing group Citizens United. In a statement, Citizens United called the ruling “a tremendous victory, not only for Citizens United but for every American who desires to participate in the political process.”

Meanwhile, President Obama, whose critics on the left have accused him of being beholden to Wall Street, has called upon Congress to “develop a forceful response to this decision.”

“With its ruling today,” he said, “the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for Big Oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

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