Politics and DIY Health

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Happy 5th Anniversary!

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New Death Sentence Precedent in Washington State Stands
Back in 2003, Gary Ridgway, Washington state’s “Green River Murderer,” confessed to 48 murders of women, under a plea bargain with the state (http://resist.ca/~kirstena/pageridgwayconfessions.html). He is deemed “the nation’s worst serial killer.” The “bargain” was Ridgway plead guilty and confess, after months of 14 hour a day interrogations, and the abuse which is routine to beat these “free will confessions” out of people, and in return for his “free will confessions,” he would escape the death penalty and instead spend his life in jail with no chance of parole. Then in 2004, Charles Champion, a black male in the same jurisdiction, was accused of killing one white male police officer (http://resist.ca/~kirstena/pageridgwayprecedent.html). And was threatened with death if convicted. The attorneys for Champion argued that the death sentence is reserved for only the most heinous of crimes. And since the threshold of a white male murdering 48 women, many of whom were minority women, was not enough to trigger a death sentence, then certainly a black male murdering one white male could not meet that threshold. This week (Nov. 23, 2004) Charles Champion entered a plea bargain of guilty, in return for the removal of the threat of the death sentence, which was a real threat earlier in his case. It appears the Ridgway precedent argument was not all in vain. (Read More…)

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Oregon Country Fair Memorabilia Sale!

Mother Zosima (aka Kirsten Anderberg) is selling 20 years worth of Oregon Country Fair and NW Vaudeville Performer History/Memorabilia to try to pay off rent and utilities bills. Click here for a list of items for sale.

THE LOOSE CANNON, a feminist political zine, is currently seeking submissions. Click here…

One Hundred New Pirate Radio Stations…

After broadcasting over the radio airwaves in the Santa Cruz, Ca. area for almost 10 years without a license, in defiance of federal regulations, one day this fall, the U.S. government decided to take some action. On Sept. 29, 2004, Federal Marshals, aiding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), raided Free Radio Santa Cruz (FRSC), seizing radio equipment to disable their broadcasts. I wondered what FRSC volunteers, and other microradio, or “pirate,” radio station volunteers, were feeling about this raid. It seems so often the government does things like this to “set an example” for others, to be a warning to others engaging in similar activity, to deter them from continuing on with defiant behavior…and sometimes that type of governmental intimidation works, and sometimes it does not. Questions linger, such as what the federal government intends to do with FRSC’s seized radio equipment. I interviewed several West Coast microradio station volunteers about their reactions to the FRSC raid for this article. (Read More…)

Did you know that only 1 in 10 political articles published in the alternative press are written by women? Why *is* that? PLEASE SUPPORT WOMEN WRITERS. If not you, who? If not now, when?
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“Your name is Big Brother,
You say that you’re tired of me protesting
Children dying every day…”
– Stevie Wonder

How To Include The Poor in Community Events

It is not enough to say you would like more class diversity in whatever political group you affiliate with. The growth of the class chasm has gotten so precarious, that a reactive stance to classism is not enough. A proactive stance of class inclusion is required. Below are a few things that I think should always be done to try to include the widest range of economic classes, when it comes to organizing and participating in community events. “Community events” that constructively and effectively lock out the poor from participation are not really “community events,” they are “exclusive” events. I think 5 things should always be in focus when organizing any event, if class diversity is truly desired. 1) The organizing meetings and events must take place on bus lines. 2) The organizing meetings must not take place at restaurants. 3) The organizing meetings and events must be kid-friendly or offer free childcare on premises. 4) There must be no membership fee to participate. 5) Charity may not be used as a way to skirt the first four rules. (Read More…)

“Am I severe? It is not my intention. I know that I have been honest, and I fear that I am correct. Should I offend, however I may regret, I shall not repent it; satisfied to incur displeasure, so that I may render service.” – Frances Wright, 1830

Mothers and Children, Run and Hide! America is Coming to Town!

Imagine walking down the street in your town, and finding yourself in a hailstorm of pamphlets, from another country, being dropped on you from an airplane above, telling the women and children to leave town, now, as war is impending and they will be in harm’s way. I can only imagine such a scene, as I have never lived in a war zone. I am from the country doing a lot of the killing abroad, but my own personal safety, as well as that of my fellow Americans, has never been directly threatened by an occupying country within my country’s borders, in my lifetime. So when I hear news reports that Americans have dropped pamphlets telling women and children to flee Fallujah, I can only imagine that scene. As a mother. (Read More…)

Santa Is Satan To Welfare Mothers

Nothing is worse than the collective dread all welfare mothers start feeling around now, with Christmas looming. Their young children are told at school, on TV, in stores, etc., that Santa Claus rewards good children with lavish gifts. And the better you are, the bigger the gifts you will receive. Kids are encouraged to write long lists of expensive things they want for Christmas to give to Santa, who is not confined by money concerns. (It is a marketing dream come true). The way young kids see it, it is the children’s behavior that determines how expensive a gift Santa gives him, not limitations on Santa’s budget. Welfare moms cannot explain that Santa cannot “afford” the gifts their kids are asking for on their Christmas lists. (Read More…)

Making Gifts and Memories With Kids

With a little creativity, we can find all kinds of gifts that can be made by children with just a little adult guidance. I still have fond memories of making gifts for others, as a child, with my mom. In the making, you not only create a lovely handmade gift, but you also create precious memories you child will keep forever as well. (Read More…)

New Reality TV: Homeless People Trade Places With Home Owners!

In areas around Seattle, Wa., there are clusters of homeless people living in “tent cities.” Groups work with cities to find available land, and move tents onto sites. Every time a tent city is proposed in the suburbs around Seattle, there are protests and nasty articles in the local papers. Wild and untrue stereotypes of the homeless fly rampantly without restraint in the media. Before Tent City 4 recently moved to Woodinville, Wa., the local paper ran an article by owners of a Woodinville bed and breakfast. These people claimed a tent city in Woodinville would threaten “agriculture” and “tourism,” would endanger children and schools, and would cost the city money it did not have (the median income of Woodinville residents is over $68,000 a year). These people even said that the tent city’s proximately to the local bike trail would increase crime in neighboring communities along the bike trail route! But Tent City 4 did finally move into Woodinville, with no danger to children, agriculture, tourism or people living along the bike path! The protests and prejudiced stories that ran in Woodinville papers before Tent City 4 went there, were echoed in Bothell, Wa. papers when Tent City 4 was in Bothell, prior to Woodinville. And now that Tent City 4 is moving to Kirkland, Wa. in mid-November 2004, the protests and pickets have begun there as well. I decided to go to Tent City 4 to talk to the people living there about homelessness and the stereotypes the public hold about homeless people. (Read More…)

Feeding Vegetarians and Vegans In Your Family For The Holidays

I cannot count the times I hated holiday family dinners as a vegetarian. Each time my family acted like they had just found out I was a vegetarian! Even after years and years, no effort was made to accommodate my dietary preferences. It was instead sort of vengeful, as if having nothing to eat at those gatherings was my punishment for eating vegan or vegetarian foods. If I was going to eat like that, family members would scold, then I needed to just accept I could not eat food at family gatherings. This article was written for both the vegetarians and vegans who have been going through what I have just described for years with their family, but also for those family members who would like to show some extra care, as a gift, to their vegan and vegetarian relatives and guests. Feel free to forward this article to relatives.) (Read More…)

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. ~ Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, jr.

Is There A Legal Age for Political Dissent?

Teens and Protests. It is a touchy subject. Responsible sex education for teens is often painted by Republicans as “irresponsible promotion of premarital sex.” And I could see basic nonviolent protest training for teens having a “terrorist training” spin put on them, by America’s crazed Homeland Security Department. Just as it is cutting-edge work to get safer sex information out to teens, it is also controversial to train teens in nonviolent protest tactics, in direct action protocol, in street medicine, etc. What responsibility do adults in the activist community have to our activist teens, whose views may differ from their parents’? (Read More…)

“We are amazed, but not amused
By all the things you say that you do…” – Stevie Wonder
Plea Bargains:TORTURE FOR CONFESSIONS
Can torture produce a legitimate confession? The debate is ancient, worldwide and ongoing. Most respected authorities agree that confessions made under duress have serious problems. Basic American contractual law acknowledges the problems therein, and thus contracts must be made with an “arm’s length” bargaining, meaning parties must have a somewhat uncohersed negotiating positionality. Due to this standard, contracts made under duress are often found to be void. Ironically, most of us can see the apparent problems in tortured confessions, and also in contracting at less than an “arm’s length” bargaining, yet that logic stops suddenly when it comes to plea bargains and the criminal justice system. We’ve all heard it on the news. Someone admits guilt to a crime, and then a day later, takes back their guilty plea. This is how that happens. When someone is charged with a crime in King County, the prosecutors trump up the biggest charge they can squeak through, for instance, First Degree Assault or “attempted” robbery, etc. The prosecutors puff the charges up to be the toughest, most severe criminal category possible to scare the defendant and give them bargaining power later. The overwhelming amount of charges that are reduced via plea bargain PROVES beyond a doubt that these prosecutors could charge defendants with lesser and more realistic charges from the get go, but opt to bluff bigger crime charges to use in the bullying later.