Story Archives 2002

Alucard's 'Bro's Of Light

09/24/2021 - 11:22 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

Pagan Holyday.
On this day of Darkness

Whom, are both
Son's of Light
and Brother's to Evil.

by Joe B.

It Holloween, time for children to dress as their favorite alter ego's.

These day's its soldier's, American Flag, Uncle Sam, Mr. and Ms. America, nurses, doctor's, or other patriotic themes.

Traditional evil are seen like Wolfman, Frankenstien's Monster, the mummy, or ghouls and ghosts. The Darkest, traditional yet always new is Drakule, or real life prince of Transilvania of Romanian legend. Are descendants still living their or abroad?

While waiting to tape POOR Magazine's near last day of the month show there was a show about old 'Drak being sexy, sensual with female and male aspect mirroring each other sex roles. - The effeminate, gentle, emotional, trusting, Hypnotic, sensuous blood-sex driven male. A strong, dangerous, powerful, take-charge, hypnotic emotional, protective, blood-sex driven female.

Dark, sensuous, prematurely fatal male/female beauties cursed/blessed buy God or mortal to walk eternal night sleep in coffins with soil from their birthlands.

Something was said about Vampyre's [using ancient spelling] on an interview about they being the dark side of God.

I was thinking they may have forgotten God's other children of good, not angels but more earthly but as transcending of natural law as the vampyre. Now what or whom can transcend natural laws of time, life, have weaknesses, and yet be just as hypnotic to mortals and be anything but evil?

To me the natural sister's and brother's of dark powers and also related to God's are Alchemists. They too seek powers beyond their mortal kin, live lonely, cloistered lives, forsaking riches for an oath of poverty. Yet in their wanderings these little know precursors to modern chemists were seen as fakes, holy fools, or kings, merchant princes tortured them trying wrest secrets from them though most are deemed not worth knowing.

Except what if a few thousand or less did rediscover ancient secrets of Alchemy from Arabia, Africa, China, Greece, or other lands buried or destroyed by natural and manmade cataclysms?
Those who supposedly found the secret have arcane rules, formulas, check astrological signs, latter someone shorten the process.

The fabulous "Philosopher's Stone legend like the vampyre refuses to die.

Turning lead into gold was only a test not make one rich. The real test was medicinal in nature of the Stone to make men young, woman prolific-that is young and fertile. It is suppose to give to its maker not only rejuvenated youth, 1,000 years of life but also forever illuminate her/his brain, spiritualize the body and place one in touch with the mind of God and the Cosmos along with powers undreamed of and we are only just realizing now.

But Alchemists once achieving "the great work" must vanish to work in secret for the betterment of Mankind. Imagine a forever young male/fem meeting others of their kind or on a lonely trek.

They are forbidden to reveal their true natures just as Actor's David Heddison, of the original "The Fly" movie send a cat in a primitive teleport devise and hearing the eary sound of his cats meowing as its molucules disipates or Brian Donlevy, with quick aging fly genes
[never understood that since the son in the first was born long before his scientist father began the experiment?]

Jeff Goldblum and as his son Eric Stoltz who in the then new "The Fly-2" is able to seperate and recombine his fly dna with the human father figure scientist willing to let him die as he(Stoltz) works on his dead father's invention.

All this to say that when all the preperations are done nothing should be in the room when the experiments takes place or more than the experimenter will be affected.

Alchemists seem to be spiritual sons of God, brother's of the Holy Spirit and supernaturally a light or polar opposite to the Vampyr's
supernatural dark powers.

Both can be very sexy, sensuous and for the alchemist though he/she can walk in day or dark must heed moral laws vampyr's skirt easily.

In one thousand years how much can an illuminated mind, spiritualized body learn, what is the limits of such an awakened being, would they traverse multi-universes, meet other beings, and what do we still sleeping mean to them?

When and if one partakes of this red swirlling world reflected in an elixir does it make the user more human now that mortality, fear, and death are removed.

To bad I cannot interview, travel, learn, lessons from two of such beings either father and daughter, mother and son, siblings or a woman tired of voyaging spaceways of time and parallel universes to teach a hapless mortal some bit of knowledge before she travels beyond or shores forever - For any out there here is a student.

Like that will happen in my brief lifetime, at least I gave it a shot.

Have a safe, spooky pagan holiday night, and stay out of graveyards at night. Bye.

Please donate what can to
Poor Magazine or

C/0 Ask

Joe at 255 9th St. Street, San Francisco, CA. 94103 USA

For Joe only my snail

mail:PO Box 1230 #645

Market St.San Francisco,

CA 94102

Email:askjoe@poormagazine. org.


In The Mess Cont...

09/24/2021 - 11:22 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

Not much to say these days but
here's a what's happened in

The Mess... So Far.

by Joe B.

I'm walking, watching tourists slowly jog and walk down Market Street.

Its a typical day in the Market-hood.

At a new bus stop on 7th and Market Street is a rider alert it says "Starting Thursday, Nov. 1st. 2001, The 19 Polk to Fisherman's Wharf Board Here."

Another sunny day in San Francisco begins.

Though it Friday, Nov. 2, 2001 here's what happened last night, its so clear I couldn't forget it today.

Last night, where I live on the 4th Floor just around the corner there was a disturbance and I had to go the bathroom anyway but I usually don't get into dusputes bypassing disputes trying to avoid all type of confrontation.

But when the bladder calls one must go and relieve it.

Being curious I passed the bathroom just a little bit because there was someone's leg on the floor with stains of red on them and more on the floor.

Then a large, healthy, blue uniformed, blond gray or blue eyed fem-cop looking at me, I see her.

Our eyes didn't lock because mine slid away from her's as I backed up going into the bathroom - her eyes seemed to be saying to me "None of your business, get back" in a firm, stern look of a professional police officer.

An empty bladder later the cop is gone and I asked a fellow tenant what happened.

"There was a fight and one of them was really got pounded bloody so somebody else called the cops, no big deal. Said a prayer for the blood pulped up guy, had a Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia icecream, then went to bed.

9:13 am. morning most of the fog has burned off in the early morning is now mist floating in patches near the tops of buildings.

A patrol car flits by, Market Street sidewalk's red brick are wet from either rain, due, or Department of Sanitation's bug like green machines wetting and sweeping the sidewalk clean of dust, pigeon droppings, human urine, and other human waste.

Please donate what can to
Poor Magazine or

C/0 Ask

Joe at 255 9th St.

Street, San Francisco, CA. 94103 USA

For Joe only my snail

mail:PO Box 1230 #645

Market St.San Francisco,

CA 94102

Email:askjoe@poormagazine. org.


Take These Empty Streets

09/24/2021 - 11:22 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

The Fantasy Behind the Mid-Market PAC- (Lost Between the Lines Pt 2)

by Gretchen Hildebran/PoorNewsNetwork

The clean-cut men sitting at the table in the corner seemed friendly enough, introducing themselves and peering at my nametag to determine my affiliation. Upon seeing that I was with POOR Magazine they started throwing out sound bites. The man sitting next to me stated awkwardly that he was here to be part of the “consensus building process.” They were representing AIG management, a property development firm who owns lots in the Mid-market Project Area. The area, which extends from Market and Mission streets between 5th and 9th, is being targeted by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency for “revitalization.” This past Saturday, for the second time, I was spending my morning in a community feedback session with the Mid-Market Project Area Committee (PAC) about their plans to redevelop.

Not in Our Vacant Lots

My conversation with the developers at my table was a stark reminder of the difference between this meeting and the last one, where I sat with Tenderloin residents and POOR magazine staff, joking and stressing about the scariest elements of the PAC’s plan. This time around my table mates were pointing at the lots designated as “vacant or parking” and insisting that their projects wouldn’t cause displacement because “no one is living there.” I looked around the room and recognized the people from the SFRA and PAC but few of the residents and advocates from the last meeting were in the room. The smaller room and preponderance of white men in polo shirts made my stomach cramp and my replies became tense in my throat. It worried me to be the representative from Poor at this final meeting for community input on the plan. I needed to bring up issues that developers and neighborhood “improvement” councils wouldn’t be interested in talking about.

The official event started with a recap of the PAC plan and agenda. José once again ran us through the goals of the plan. At this point it occurred to me that the plan had not changed at all since the last meeting. I thumbed through to the Housing and Neighborhood section of the plan and noted that the goals we had rewritten in the last meeting were also unchanged. All of our feedback and suggestions were instead written up in packets labeled “raw notes” and summarized as a list of questions: “What is affordable? To whom? Must redefine who residents are – people who live there? People who sleep there?” Some of the items, such as the enthusiastic “Movies!” (topping the list of goals and objectives) were a complete surprise. The notes were confusing and diluted the strength of community statements made in the previous meeting into a bunch of question marks.

How Low Can You Go?

The “question” of affordability and “to whom?” were indeed the crucial issues at hand in this meeting. Fewer neighborhood folks were present to raise specific issues from a resident’s perspective, and we listened to a for-profit developer, Eric Tao, one of the guys at my table, and a non-profit developer, Craig Adelman of the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, talk about possible projects for the area.

Mr. Tao spoke about the need to build a great many market rate units in order to make low-income units profitable and developers simply wouldn’t build if they couldn’t get the figures to “pencil out.” Mr. Adelman deepened the economic view by explaining the limitations of the official label of “low-income.” According to a governmental chart listing “2001 Income Limits and Affordable Rents For Housing Programs” for the SF Bay area, a yearly salary of $47,600 (for one person) qualifies as low-income. In addition, anyone surviving on less than 20% of the chart’s average median income (AMI), $11,214, isn’t considered “reachable” by low-income housing availability. For-profit developers wouldn’t even consider building housing for people at this income level.

There was no chart available to define the AMI of the Mid-Market area but it seemed clear that the great numbers of low and no-income residents of the area are not even being discussed when developers use the word “low-income.” The TNDC serves people at about 17% AMI, but Craig added that traditional types of financing are not possible for these projects. His suggestion that rent subsidies were a good alternative for ensuring financing for such development provoked grumbling from the crowd. Rent subsidies aren’t popular, but this was the only suggestion offered to building below low-income housing. The PAC has no apparent strategy to overcome financing problems for these very low-income developments.

Who Lives There Anyway?

With these grim facts in mind I made my way to the “Housing Mix” breakout group. We were given a sheet of questions to frame our debate, which were culled from the previous meeting, but didn’t seem to address what was on people’s minds. A solid looking blond man from the Civic Center Improvement Group spoke up immediately about the “potential” in this area, and how he wasn’t worried about displacement because “there aren’t a lot of people in the area.” This sentiment was also shared by an architect in the group who noted that Mid-Market was general an “empty” area. This was an odd echo of the developers telling me earlier that they wouldn’t be displacing anyone because their lots were already empty. Or maybe it reminded me again of all the low and no-income folks who below the sights of official definition.

While they assured me that they were only interested in increasing resident density, it was important to immediately answer the first question on the list: “How do we define ‘residents’ of Mid-Market?” While the question seemed redundant to some in the group, this topic occupied us for most of the next hour. If you pay rent, receive mail or if you list a certain address on your voter registration – even a street corner - everyone agreed this qualifies you as a resident. It was even agreed that homeless people should be considered residents, although what rights that guaranteed them was more nebulous.

Should homeless people be protected from displacement as well as businesses, homeowners and tenants? Should they have the right to the sidewalk where they sleep and live? Police sweeps and “renewal” in other parts of the city displaced most of the homeless people into the Mid-Market area to begin with. These folks need to be protected getting moved out again. This idea was confusing to some members of our group, who reacted with phrases about “entitlements” and “imbalance of rights.” The developers dropped into the background at this topic, the dollar signs in their eyes fading as boredom set in. It took some work to get the idea of homeless rights written down on the official note pad. In the final summary it will surely get written up as yet another question: “Should homeless people be entitled to the right of protection against displacement?” Sadly there was not one homeless person to explain this basic human right to the developers and bureaucrats at the meeting.

A Nightmare to Some

It is easy to get swept up in the idea of urban planning, to go over figures and statistics and become romantic about concepts like beautification and revitalization. These plans are simply a fantasy for people struggling from day to day. These plans become a nightmare that may finally brush them into the void where folks go when they lose their housing, services and neighborhood. Sometimes when you don’t have roots or connection with a place and you can only dream of what might be there instead of appreciating and supporting what already exists.

The PAC has gone out its way to list “preserve economic and social diversity” as its “primary goal.” Is a governmental agency able to come in from above and set an agenda that will work for the folks in SROs and on the street? That should the first question on the PAC’s list. The questions they have on their list should be developed into directives that counter our city’s treatment of low-income and homeless people and demands their rights before those of investors and developers.

There are other questions the PAC needs to ask, such as: How can SFRA funds be used to create more housing for folks for who don’t even register on the income scale? How can equity be ensured for very poor renters and homeless folks? How can for-profit developers be prohibited from jamming the neighborhood with market rate and luxury housing? Many ideas have been proposed during the two community meetings to deal with these questions. They include using rental subsidies to guarantee financing for supportive housing, allowing SRO residents and homeless folks to buy their rooms or piece of sidewalk, and mandating a minimum of 20% affordable housing in all new development (housing as well as parking structures). In addition to adding these components to their plan, the PAC needs to define affordable and low-income according to the actual incomes that are currently earned by Mid-Market residents. Until they do this, any inclusive desire they have to protect the current diversity of the neighborhood is a deceptive daydream.

Like it or not, the PAC is making a plan for the Mid-Market area (just as the South of Market PAC is doing the same for 6th Street). This meeting was the last time for official community input into the Mid-Market plan but all PAC meeting are open to the public. The Mid-Market PAC meets every Monday at the Flood Building on the 4th or the 8th floor. To form a plan that recognizes, respects and supports very low and no-income folks we need to show up to these meetings and remind them that they can’t build their fantasies on top of someone else’s home and neighborhood.


The Answer is?

09/24/2021 - 11:22 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

City Government and Mainstream Media continues to blame houseless, Disabled San Franciscans for being houseless and disabled

by Leroy Moore

Last month San Francisco was hit hard by disabled troops that came from all over the country. The troops, members of a national-wide organization, ADAPT demanded answers from the Mayor and other local political leaders. They wanted to know why San Francisco has the largest institution, Lugunda Hunda, in the country that is receiving millions of dollars for renovations when there is a lack of low-income accessible housing in the community. The answer is? According to a member that attended the meeting with Mayor, Willie Brown the answer was nothing but anger and disgust at the demonstrations that brought downtown traffic to a stand still for two days. When the demonstrators laid out their demands they were met by responds that ìmany of you are not even from the Bay Area.î The meeting got so heated that the Mayor rudely shouted ìshut upî to one of the speaker from ADAPT. The end result was that the Mayor disagreed on every demand ADAPT had even a task force to study the amount of low-income accessible housing compare to the cost of living in Lugunda Handa. ADAPT even received the cold shoulder from Gov. Gray Davis. Who said the voters had already voted on this issue!

Sunday November 4th the San Francisco Chronicle had a Special Report on people who are homeless in San Francisco. Like a Jerry Lewis Telethon, the Chronicle provided their own answers by using people with mental illness and other people with disabilities to pull on the readers moral heart strings and to paint a face of hopelessness and worthless. The story of Mark Shotley, a physically disabled man who according to the Chronicle is a burden to the city because of his medical cost was the theme that repeated itself throughout the four page long special report. The cost, the dirty streets and decrease of tourists all points to the non-responsive, difficult and the criminal behaviors of homeless addicts many who are mentally ill. T he titles of each section of the special report was degrading i.e. ëComatose bodies, debris, human wasteí.

The San Francisco Chronicleís answer to the homeless situation in San Francisco is to follow what New York is doing i.e. more cops, more shelters and more penalties against people who live in poverty i.e. lodging outside. However the article contradicts itself when it said that most shelters donít accompanied people who are mentally ill which make up over 80% of the homeless population. Do we, San Franciscans, have to take a page from Giulianiís book on locking up the homeless for crimes of poverty? We, all known that people with mental illness and cops donít mix check out the article entitled, Gun Crazy: BART cop shoots naked man- why? in the October 17th San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Throughout the special report I notice that many voices were missing, i.e. advocates, grassroots organizations and even the homeless people that the Chronicle interviewed had only a few quotes. You might understand why the political arena in this city has no formula to help eliminate the elements that lead to homelessness i.e. lack of low income housing, decent job creation, helping to keep families together and access to culturally sensitive social services, mental health care etc., after you find out what the head of the Mayorís Office on Homelessness thinks. He thinks that the 'new homeless people' are flocking to San Francisco from other counties that are less generous or tolerant than San Francisco. Basically he and the political arena is pointing the finger to other counties for the reason why San Francisco homeless population has increase. This kind of tactic will not solve anything.

It seems to me the answer that the City and the San Francisco Chronicle is proposing in the above two cases is more money to lock people with disabilities up, more cops, more shelters, finger pointing, and if they get around to it and have money left over then theyíll try supportive housing.


The Great Conspiracy?

09/24/2021 - 11:22 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

by Husayn Sayfuddiyn

The attack on the WTC has created a national bloodlust unsurpassed in modern American history. What is remarkable about this bloodlust is that there is no defined enemy. Moreover, the identities of the alleged hijackers are in serious question. The Saudi Arabian ambassador to the UK has stated on BBC that seven of the alleged hijackers are alive and well in Saudi Arabia. In its haste to make war with a vague, undefined, and shadowy enemy, the Bush administration has raised fears in the Islamic World that this is a war upon Islam.

Minutes after the attack, CNN began broadcasting video alleging that the Palestinians were dancing in the streets, celebrating the US tragedy. It was a week later before it was noticed that the video was file footage from their reaction to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Was this a deliberate attempt to inflame public opinion against Arabs and Islam? If not, then how could it have been an honest mistake? Even the time zones were wrong in the video and as Muslims point out, so was the event they were celebrating.

That some Palestinians celebrated shouldn't have been surprising given the circumstances and terms of their humiliating existence, and the role they see the USA playing in its perpetuation. The USA has not only acted like the backer of Israeli aggression, but has sided with Israel and intervened on its behalf in its aggression. When the Israeli's invaded Lebanon, they bombed and shelled Lebanese civilians indiscriminately. The toll upon the civilian population and infrastructure was horrendous. Then Israeli Commander in Chief Ariel Sharon ordered the massacre of the Palestinian women and children by its Christian Falangist allies in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps where they had fled after being driven from their homeland. Few should believe that Palestinians decided to flee to refugee camps after selling their land and property to Israeli settlers.

How many people have forgotten the ravaging of Beirut and the United States and French Brigades who intervened to assist in Israeli pacification? Many forget the mass arrests of innocent Lebanese Arabs and Muslims, their tortures and the Lebanese resistance ignited by these events.

The Lebanese of South Lebanon initially welcomed the Israelis who drove out the PLO factions that had virtually become a state within a state. Yet Israel's anti-Islamic and racist policies created the forces that spelled its imminent defeat on the battlefield in a guerrilla war, Amal and Hizbullah. The defeat resulted from the seizure and occupation of South Lebanon as a buffer zone.

This was the same rationale used by the Israelis for their continued occupation of the Golan Heights where they have placed illegal settlements, in violation of UN declarations. When forced to withdraw by the Hizbullah insurgents, Israel has perpetuated the hostilities by retaining Shaba Farms, a portion of seized Lebanese territory that the Lebanese government demands returned to it. Only in a grim, merciless struggle, Israel was forced to withdraw.

Who remembers the shooting of worshipper's in the Al Aqsa Masjid in Jerusalem? Was this terrorism? Many Muslims, and not just Arab Muslims, see Ariel Sharon as a War Criminal guilty of war crimes, torture, and genocide. A man, who even the Israeli government relieved from duty to disassociate itself from his crimes, is now PM of Israel and again US ally. To say that US policies in the Mid East were biased is a gross understatement.

So how could the USA in all reality, set up itself as a broker for peace in the Middle East that is based upon any principles of justice for the Palestinian people? Many Muslims, and not a few Americans, are arriving at the conclusion that perhaps there is more to this than meets the eye, since Taliban is the creation of the CIA. Usama Ibn Laden was privy to the massive funding and flood of equipment the CIA poured into the fray of Afghanistan. This flood of equipment added to the considerable stockpile already inherited from the Soviet conflict and even included Stinger and TOW missiles from CIA stores that gave the Mujahideen enough punch to inflict heavy damage upon the heavily armored Soviet forces and Hinds gun ships.

After the defeat of the Soviet Forces, the USA switched sides again and began to give its surreptitious support to Ibn Ladin and Taliban when the Soviet Union dissolved and the oil rich, newly independent states of the former Soviet Union in Muslim Central Asia signed contracts with Western oil companies. The Western oil cartels that were seeking a pipeline to ship oil to the West, wanted to avoid running pipelines through either Russia or Iran. They decided on a route through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean.

However, political conditions were not feasible in Afghanistan because the Afghan Mujahideen were not able to form a stable government and inter-tribal warfare became the norm and was the direct result of Pakistani agitation, at the CIA's instigation, of the Pashtu warlords and mullah's against other ethnic and religious minorities. The Western oil cartels reasoned that their huge capital investment needed a stable and submissive Afghani government and many elements of the Rabbani coalition government were fiercely independent and not inclined to toe the Oil Cartels line.

So with the connivance of Pakistan whose government and elites stood to gain billions in revenues and baksheesh, millions of US tax dollars went into helping Taliban fight its way to power. Even then, Shaykh Omar headed Taliban and Usamah Ibn Ladin's Al Qaiydah group assisted in recruitment of volunteers in the Muslim world. Pakistan's role was even more inflammatory because with US encouragement and funding it fanned the flames of extreme Sunni Wahabbi-like fundamentalism in Pakistan to achieve the destabilization of the Rabbani government, that the USA itself had recognized, bringing utter destruction of the Afghani infrastructure and a halt to any economy. Saudi Arabia also contributed funding to Taliban until it discovered Usamah Ibn Ladin's presence.

Pakistan and the Gulf Sheikdoms fostered and funded the training camps of Taliban that were expanded to train not only the covert CIA-oil cartel operation in Afghanistan to overthrow the Rabbani government with the ultimate aim of reinstalling the ousted King Zahir Shah to the throne, but Taliban also began training cadres of other Muslim and Third world organizations still fighting post-colonial oppression. This included the Kashmiris who were fighting against India in that predominantly Muslims state (which explains India's interest) and the Palestinian struggle for a homeland.

Naturally this was not according to the CIA - Oil Cartel script. That script also reflected the anti-Shia posture of the West who were still licking the wounds from their Shia encounters in Lebanon, as well as the Arab and Muslim elitists anti-Shia aggression in both the Arab world and Pakistan because the Shia sect is based upon Islamic Statism, something the secular Muslim States and elitists want to limit proliferation of in the face of Shia Islam's revolutionary forces that condemned their very existence and legality under Islamic law. So Pakistan encouraged and allowed anti-Shia pogroms by Sunni extremists and massacres of Shias occurred in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It was Pakistan, with US encouragement that fanned the flames of radical Islam in its predominately Sunni, Pashtu regions. Ten members of the Iranian diplomatic staff were killed by Taliban soldiers and in Pakistan, an Iranian Shia scholar and diplomat was assassinated as he walked along the streets of Peshewar. Even Sunni scholars who denied Taliban's radical, un-Islamic fatwas or rulings were assassinated in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A subsequent trial of the perpetrators in the Iranian Scholar's murder in Pakistan saw the murderers freed with a not guilty verdict. Iran, in its own defense, then began to arm and ally itself for the growing storm it saw on its horizon. Just as the USA had encouraged, helped finance, and equip Saddam Hussein to invade Iran during the Iran-Iraq War, Iran saw the USA again mobilizing forces against it. Iran saw the storm clouds long before US citizens were rudely awakened to the terror of its own government's making.

The announcement and subsequent plans to attack the nation of Afghanistan in a self-proclaimed war against terrorism by the Bush administration is facetious for the aforesaid and many other reasons. The USA has maintained for decades that many resistance groups and nations are terrorist, or State sponsors of terrorism. This includes Iran, Syria, Libya, and Iraq. All Muslims nations and all embroiled in the struggle against Israeli occupation of the Palestinian homeland. But this list also includes Hizbullah and Hamas.

Thus, because of the ill-defined enemy and the vague declaration of war, the Bush administration is seeking a blank check to wage war upon anyone it views as a terrorist organization and sponsors of terrorism both domestically and internationally. Many fears are raised by this possibility because it means that Iran, Syrian, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Cuba, Lebanon, the Palestinian Organizations and people, Hizbullah, the Albanians, Macedonian Muslims, the Moros of the Philippines, Chechnya's, all Balkan Islamic Groups and the nation of Afghanistan could be classified as terrorist by the grand crusading declaration.

Did the USA consider its previous support of Taliban with weaponry, funding and intelligence an act of State Sponsored Terrorism against a government it itself recognized as legitimate? And who will add the USA to the list of states who sponsor terrorism? Or Israel? But the chronology of USA sponsored terrorism is far greater and far exceeds the lifetimes of both the Burhanuddeen Rabbani government (which is now the Northern Alliance) or Ibn Ladin and Al Qaiydah. Who will forget Greneda, El Salvador, Chile, Guatemala, Chiapas, or Nicaragua and the Contras? Who forgets the training camps for death squads at Ft. Benning, Georgia? Or the Mary Knoll nuns and priests killed by the very same trained and equipped in USA terrorists unleashed upon Latin Americans?

And who can forget the death squads that killed JFK and MLK Jr.? Surely they weren't trained in Afghanistan, nor are graduates of the madrassas that spawned Taliban. Because the domestic Death Squads were able to not only assassinate three of the USA's most prominent leaders, and one a President, and then accomplish pithy and grossly defective cover-ups of their crimes, who can deny that the USA is indeed governed by a shadow government? Americans like to maintain their self-deluding pantomime of freedom, and as long as they're able to vote in sham elections they maintain those delusions.

That the Nato countries are declaring a War without seeking the participation of the UN Security Council is strong evidence to support the conclusion arrived at by many Muslims, that this war is against Islam. Everywhere, Islam is under attack, the Balkans, Chechnya, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Middle East, etc. And now Islam is being attacked within the USA. Moreover, its declaration or war has no legal basis or evidence that it has provided to that international body. "Where is the missing link?" That is the question most Muslim nations have called for in their tentative positions to join this war against the accused Taliban and Ibn Ladin. Indeed, Taliban has already offered to surrender Ibn Ladin to a Muslim country for trial if provided with such evidence.

Few forget the manufactured attack in the Gulf of Tonkin by the US military that sparked US aggression against Viet Nam and the subsequent false White Paper used by the Johnson administration to justify its aggressions. They forget the sinking of the Maine, and allowing the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbor to accomplish the corporate objectives. US history gives good evidence that its government will sacrifice the lives of any of its citizens to accomplish the corporate goals and gain the baksheesh resultant for achieving its objectives. Chaney's $20 million severance bonus from the oil companies could have been a prime example of a down payment upon suppressing the liberties and lives of both Americans and the world's people to maintain the Western Corporate stranglehold on the world's resources.

A year into the 21st Century sees the human race confronted with global warming, polar ice caps melting, rain forests denuded, atmospheric pollution and damage, massive ecological pollution, and the culprit, hydrocarbon emissions and waste products. It would seem that the human life threatening conditions would force world governments not to escalate fossil fuel usage. But on the contrary, the Bush Administration, the same administration which ripped off Californians in the so-called energy crisis for Texas based utilities, the same administration that oversaw the disappearance of the surplus Clinton urged be used to repay the social security benefits fund for the monies Congress has traditionally utilized to shore up its balance of payments deficits, has reversed the environmental protective processes and have indeed, scrapped them in favor of continued, indeed increased fossil fuel dependency. This administration has even considered opening up environmentally protected areas for oil exploration and development. For the Arab and Muslim elitists like the Saudis, Kuwaitis and Emirates and oil company and industrial corporate shareholders, this policy is the outcome of their own creation. Resistant even to human survival.

Most Islamic nations, uneasy at the ill-defined declaration of war by the NATO countries, await the terms and objectives of this vague, almost vigilantesque declaration. It is obvious that the USA desires to kill one of its Prometheuses again, just as it is busy pretending that it wants to remove Saddam Hussein who, during Desert Storm, US President Bush Senior allowed to remain in power by announcing the destruction of the elite Iraqi Republican Guard Divisions, and then called for the uprising of the Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam, and when they did, called an end to hostilities. This allowed the unscathed Elite Republican Guard divisions to massacre the opposition in Iraq, and Saddam to maintain his destructive influence over the Iraqi people who the West and Arab elites wanted to remain in power to counter balance Iran's growing power in the region.

The USA played the same treacherous card Stalin played against the Polish Jews of Warsaw. And guess who was the General who ordered the truce and caused US troops to celebrate its victory and become un-innocent bystanders while Saddam massacred his Kurdish and Muslim opponents? Colin Powell. The bitter irony to the entire human tragedy which saw tens of thousands of Muslim and Arab people killed and still being slaughtered was the fact that the US Ambassador to Iraq created the war by encouraging Saddam to invade Kuwait and informing him the USA would turn its back.

The USA thereby was able to destroy the Iraqi war machine, and also indebt Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to the tune of trillions of dollars, as well as making them client states, dependent on maintaining US protective forces in the region, It must be remembered that US jets bombed the Kuwaiti oil fields, although the US Military alleged initially, that the Iraqis sabotaged them. There were too many Kuwaiti witnesses to maintain that lie.

One man's terrorist is the other man's freedom fighter. The USA has sponsored both international and domestic terrorism. Who forgets Ruby Ridge, Move, the Panthers, or Waco? This was an assault on domestic dissent and the invasions of nations because they sought in their self-determination, their own economic systems and forms of government. As many Muslim nations are now rejoining, "Sure let's have a war on terrorism, but let us first define terrorism."

Is Hizbullah a terrorist organization? And if so, why?" It has fought mainly against Israeli defense forces and its Arab mercenaries, and attacked military targets in a well-defined war zone in a war they themselves have not declared, but had imposed upon them. What is the difference between dropping bombs upon civilians, cities and villages and rocketing urban neighborhoods and a car bomb placed near a haunt of military personnel or a suicide bomber? The only difference is the delivery system. It is the same war and strategy fought by the Revolutionary American forces against superior British forces and firepower. War by stealth and ambush.

State terrorism is much more insidious because its weapons of mass destruction give it greater killing power and the result is a war of genocide and the decimation of the alleged enemy population and infrastructure. For State Terrorists, the lop sided ratio of killed and wounded to its credit is dismissed as legitimate while the small numbers of killed and wounded that they suffer is used as the basis of justification for their aggressions against largely civilian, disenfranchised, poor and refugee populations and their identification as being terrorist. .

A good example was the Apartheid regime of the Union of South Africa and the racist terrorism and social enslavement inflicted upon the South African people with the full support and connivance of the US government, and its designation of the freedom fighting ANC as a terrorist group. Moreover, the discovery in USA intelligence and Criminal Justice archives of Cointelpro (Counter Intelligence Program) of the FBI under the cloak of "national security" evidences the US government's own domestic genocidal operations as is extant in Israel and much of the Muslim, African and Latin American world.

Americans do not see the dissolution of their Bill of Rights seeking security in world oppression and the repression of its own citizens. The constitutional guarantees Americans have denied minorities in the USA have now come home to roost in the curtailment of their own civil liberties. The legislative and criminal justice systems of the US have already set the precedents for the complete take over by the shadow government.

The protective shield of the separation of powers is shattered when the Legislative Branch can abridge the Bill of Rights without a Constitutional challenge. Not even for one minute. The Supreme Court's concession and acceptance of this right by its failure to challenge this unconstitutional procedure that requires in all actuality, a constitutional amendment, is a de facto concession by default of America's Civil Liberties. Now they are seeking unlimited expansion of wiretaps, legalized racial profiling, and the ability to arrest people and hold them without the right of habeas corpus, all at the stroke of the legislative pen. Utilizing fear to expand its enthrallment over America, and bring Big Brother out of the closet.

Most Americans think, its against the terrorists and not God fearing Americans, forgetting the mockery its elected officials have already made of civil rights, and anti-trust laws allowing the concentration of both capital and power. Americans do not see the dangers of destabilizing the South Asia Region. And few care, believing the catalysts and sources of that destabilization to be found in the regional leadership or flaws in their cultures. Yet the hand of Western colonialism is found in every area of regional conflict. So we are confronted with the fait accompli presented to the Afghan people, "dismantle your government and install the doddering, 84 year old puppet King Zahir Shah…" to complete the US Oil Cartel's great conspiracy to acquire the oil from the Central Asian States. And yep, you guessed it; the pipeline will run through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean.

Oh yes, an after thought! It must be remembered that Afghanistan was the source of 80 percent of the world's opium. That is, until Taliban banned the future cultivation of opium poppies. The ban and the subsequent diminishment of supply and production has caused the price of heroin and its derivatives to skyrocket in Western Markets. Despite the Taliban ban, opium stockpiles enriched the Afghani smugglers and cultivators, as it did Taliban who, nevertheless, through its taxes, received 30 percent of the profits. Whoever replaces Taliban will also inherit control over the drug trade of the Golden Crescent.

1955 San Pablo Avenue 301
Oakland, CA. 94612 510-268-1441


When Words Fight Back!

09/24/2021 - 11:22 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

PNN's Youth in the Media Intern reviews The Po' Poets CD Release Party

by Isabel Estrada/ PoorNewsNetwork

I walk into the wide, white space that is The Lab Art Gallery at 2948 16th st. I feel the HipHop and Reggae beats coming from DJ SAke1 who is positioned at one side of the stage proliferate within me. Po' Poet Keith Savage carries in the heavy rows of chairs that begin to fill slowly as people step in out of the rain.

People are still busy getting bread and butter when Latifah Simon, the MC for the night tells everybody to take a seat. She has cafe-con-leche skin and a pile of braids on her head. "Welcome to the Po' Poets CD Release Party," she yells. Apparently the audience is still occupied with the food because we don't really respond. However by the third time Latifah repeats herself we get the message and lend our support in the form of claps and shouts.

As Tiny, co-editor of POOR Magazine and co-director of the Media Studies
Program which encompasses the Po' Poets Project, steps up to the stage she looks somewhat shy despite her high black boots, fishnet tights, and sleek black skirt. The light reflects off her bleached-blond streaks of
hair as her eyes fall to the ground. "We're all family here, it's all good,"
she assures herself and Leroy Moore, co-facilitator of the Po' Poets Project standing next to her.

An important part of POOR Magazine is attempting to eradicate the shame that comes with homelessness and poverty. The way we achieve this in what is
called Community Newsroom at POOR, a nonhierarchical approach to newsmaking,
is that when we introduce ourselves we also tell the group about whether or
not we have experienced poverty or any other form of systemic oppression.
Leroy, in matching brown jacket and boots goes directly to the mic and erases
any possible confusion by saying, "the Po' Poets are Poor Poets!! Our blood is
our community!" Tiny jumps in, "The people who are dealing with oppressive
systems are the scholars at POOR. The Po' Poets is another form of journalism, organic journalism, street journalism."

Tiny is speaking about the Scholarship of Poverty. A fundamental belief at
POOR, the Scholarship of Poverty suggests that those people living through
and resisting poverty are the experts where their own lives our concerned.
And, because they are the experts, they should be the one writing their own
news, not the biased, inexperienced, mainstream media. And through their
words they become human to the world instead of just statistics.

All the Poets gather onto the stage as they begin their slam bios
(biographies turned into poetry). Leroy begins by coming down off the stage
and getting face to face with the audience, "hahaha," he laughs ironically,
"what do you see, what do you see?, nigger with disability, revolutionary
Poet." Leroy can't stand still as he is bursting with energy. Jewnbug is
next, when she begins to speak her sweet face contorts with anger. "Mixed
heritage, workin' for change, sellin' my food stamps, frustrated with the
upper class, who wanna save my ass, sleep in an SRO," she yells phrase after
phrase with squinted, sad eyes.

Dharma, the woman with a serene and playful look in her eyes stands with her back to the audience. "I am a woman of the real world... my goals are to rise
up out of poverty.. as life changes constantly, taking back my space and
time," she says in a soft voice. Joe Bolden steps off the stage with his
usual humble yet sophisticaed air. He spreads his arms wide and begins, "I'm
Joe, in an SRO, it ain't good though, survivin', thrivin', I flow." A Faye
Hicks speaks next, "I'm a lady of the shelter, I have met a thousand people
and yet am all alone."

Mari Villaluna, one of the youth Po Poets, comes to the center of the room with energy, you can see some sparkles on her face reflecting in the light. "18-23 that's what you call me...I am a poet... I am a leader of today." As she speaks her arms are
outstretched. Viviana MArtinez comes up next, she is a small woman with wild, dark hair. She says, "I am the terror, the terror of the capitalist system, I am the terror that comes from across the sea. Keith Savage states with an all-encompassing,
deep voice, "I am the surprise, so open the surprise in the cardboard box."

Aldo Della Maggiora, who was on the congas throughout the night adds his words to the mix. "I'm a sandgrain in the desert of
economic struggle and internal despair, resisting and determining my inner
revolution," he says into the mic while still beating out rhythms on the
drums. Next is Tiny, her voice is hard as she speaks her words, "Doing
timefor crimes of poverty. That's being homeless, being on welfare and being
poor in this capitalist reality..On this earth to save the world and in the
process maybe me and mines."

A whole range of topics continued to be covered by the Po' Poets. Mari
speaks of how "I sleep, eat, and breath" in transitional housing, even if she
doesn't own it. She also speaks to how many middle and upperclass people are
also currently living in homes that aren't truly theirs. Homes that they
took from lower class families of color who were evicted simply because the
landlords wanted even more money.

Leroy sends a powerful message. When he first says, "Look into my eyes,"
many of the people in the audience laugh but when he repeats it they realize
that there is nothing funny about his words. "Look into my eyes, they will
make you cry, wind blows like a tornado through these desert eyes." He
continues, "seen everything, been everywhere." As he speaks he stretches his
arms out to the side makin g an eppeal to the whole audience.

Tiny announces that they are going to do a poverty hero project to "honor
ourselves and each other" for surviving throught the constant struggle of
poverty. The exercize is two poverty heroes stand face to face and do slam
bios of each other. Tiny adds, "This might sound touchy feely, but its not,
its survival." A Faye and Jewnbug look at each other knowingly and start to
speak. Faye says, "Young bug, lemon-flavored skin, pain ravaged eyes, golden
goddess, she is spring water held in a corse fist." Jewnbug begins, "Making
fashionable attire out of alleway clothes, African Queen, sunkissed

Next A. Faye Hicks recites her poem A Faye On The Judicial System. "I found out the
truth when I became entangled with the court systems. You had to have money
and the ability to twist the truth, lie that is, Being poverty-stricken I
realized I had no rights as a Human Being. No one to defend me, whether I
was right or wrong, guilty or innocent, Before the Civil Rights movement.
They didn't even pretend to have a court then. The Lynch mob poured out
justice in the dead of the night leaving me hanging on the limb of a tree,
swinging gently in the midnight breezes, All the way to 2001, three strikes
and your out!" Her rough voice spits out her words with the calloused
awareness that comes from living this harsh reality.

Next up is Coya, the full-time student, artist and organizer. She asks
whether we would like to hear a song or a poem. I scream out "song" and I
guess it worked because soon I could feel her rich voice inside my chest. It
maked my eyes water slightly. The words were: "Until our dreams are real,
still we rise." She asked us all to sing along with her and recall that
ideal world of our dreams, but I preffered just listening to her voice.

Tiny begins her next poem, Crazy, with a song. Her voice almost breaks as
she sings, "crazy, crazy for being so lonely." She speaks of her 23
evictions "the clanking of the locksmith." How her all her things that
involved memories and feelings so quickly became "shit" when it was thrown
out of windows onto the street. This was her father wanted his young
daughter to learn her lesson. He was "sexually attracted to my poverty."
And it ends, "crazy, crazy for loving you."

Rico Pabon from Prophets of Rage gives us a little musical relief. Though
his lyrics are harsh at least we can bump to the music. "Violence and
incarceration is at the very foundation of what this country is based on.
Our children walking around with battle scars." Dani Montgomery, another Po'
Poet speaks to a totally aspect of poverty in "What I Remember Most About the
Hard Time." She looks happy and grateful, if somewhat sad while at the mic.
"The neighbor who gave me five bucks when she had it and a hug when she
didn't,The folks who helped us because they knew what it was like to stand
there sifting through your pockets trying to think of explanations.

One poem that touched me was by George Tirado and was dedicated to his friend Lori
who O.D.'d. "My room is filled to overflowing with junk dreams of you, all
your angels now fall form heaven face first, no Lori, not tonight, and that
junk high, it ain't like jazz no more and it ain't gonna free your mind." he
was crying as he said these words.

The rap group Renaissance was next. The always bring intelligent and new
lyrics to whatever they do. "Technology provided, divided we die." "I see
the purity of life shining through my baby cousins eyes." The two men from
Renaissance refused to use any background music because they wanted to assure
that their words would be heard not just their beats and rhymes. One of the
young men stops for a moment and gives us a little lesson, "Don't get so
caught up in it, your path is already laid out, we're here to learn." "You
must use more than 10% of your brain to comprehend this shit!"

As the night came to a close I was reminded of Leroy and Tiny's words, "The Po Poets are POOR poets - and we are all family here..."

The Po Poets Project CD features over 30 local and national poets and is available by mail order from POOR Magazine-To buy one via mail order; Send a check or money order made out to POOR Magazine for $10.00 + 3.20 and mail to: 255 9th street, San Francisco, Ca 94103
allow two weeks for shipping- ( a great holiday gift- all profits go directly to the Po' Poets )


Homelessness Marathon Raises More Than Hopes!

09/24/2021 - 11:22 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

Fifth Homelessness Marathon to be held in Portland, Oregon on February 5-6, 2002

by Morgan W. Brown

Cambridge, Massachusetts—As darkness fell, one day late in January of this year, young and old gathered at "the pit" in Harvard
Square to call attention to homelessness and the dire need to create more affordable housing.

Huddling together, attendees attempted to light candles in the growing chill, a chill which was only made worse by the brisk winter winds, in preparation
for a candle light vigil and the street-march to come. Whether they were busy organizing or were engaged in conversation, each
person tried to stay warm, as it grew colder by the minute.

The frigid weather could helped bring to mind why each person was there
and how urgent the cause was. Many of those participating were indeed either
homeless or formerly homeless.

The evening's initial program commenced and people stood listening to
short speeches and announcements, holding signs or sharing the task of
holding banners urging the need for housing, jobs, livable wages and for other basic human needs to be met.

After a moment of silent reflection, the drums and tambourines gave out
their beat and rhythm as various chants were called out, including:
"What do we want?" "Housing!" "When do we want it?" "Now!".

From the pit, the group—numbering over fifty people—marched down the
city blocks and streets to the steps of the Old Cambridge
Baptist Church, on Massachusetts Avenue, chanting all the way.

Once the participants arrived at the steps of the church, another program
was observed, which included inspirational speeches and songs, along with
prayers and another long moment of silence.

While the air was raw and cold, it was nonetheless highly charged with
energy and excitement—not only by the moment or the cause being addressed,
but by what everyone anticipated would take place within the coming
14 hours.

This were among the community's preliminary events held in
conjunction with the fourth annual Homelessness Marathon sponsored by the
Homeless Empowerment Project, hosted at the Old Cambridge Baptist

Based at the Old Cambridge Baptist Church, the mission of the Homeless
Empowerment Project is to play a role in ending homelessness in the
community by providing income, skill development and self-advocacy
opportunities to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Along with the production, distribution and sale of their independent,
street newspaper, Spare Change, the Homeless Empowerment Project operates a
writers' workshop and a speakers' bureau.

Several of those participating in the community events that evening would
stay for either most or all of the night-long, nationwide,
radio broadcast.

In fact, some were there to take an intensely active part in the
Homelessness Marathon. This would mean they would either be among those
speaking during the open mic periods, being a panelist or being a person
at the on-site street microphone posing questions during one of the many
discussion panels. The discussion panels focused on a given topic or contributed in many
other ways to this truly democratic event.

Jeremy Weir Alderson (aqua "Nobody") founded the Homelessness Marathon in
1998, as an offshoot of his regular radio program "The Nobody Show", which was
broadcast weekly on WEOS, a National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate in
Geneva, New York.

The Homelessness Marathon—already the largest media event in America
that focused on poverty—has been widely recognized as a historic broadcast.
Tapes of the marathons have been archived by libraries at Harvard, Stanford,
Cornell, UCLA, Berkeley, the University of Chicago and many other
institutions around the country.

The mission of this acclaimed radio broadcast is to let homeless people
speak to the nation. But that is not all that happens during the annual,
overnight program that originates from a different city each year. Host
"Nobody" broadcasts from outdoors to dramatize the plight of people with
nowhere to go when it's cold. For 14 hours, he interviews experts on various
aspects of poverty in America (e.g. health care, hunger, public housing,
etc.) and takes calls from around the country in addition to talking with
homeless people.

The Homelessness Marathon is a consciousness raising, not a fundraising
event. "As a matter of policy, the marathon doesn't solicit money, because
we really want people to understand that ending homelessness isn't a matter
of charity but a matter of changing the way our society is structured,"
Alderson stated. "It's a matter of changing our national priorities. And to
do that, we've got to listen to what homeless people, themselves, have to

"That first year, I was just thinking of it as a matter of conscience,"
Alderson says. "Basically, I just wanted to get on the air and say, 'This
isn't right, and I want no part of it,' and, of course, I wanted to bolster
this argument with the opinions of experts and the voices of homeless
people." He got the idea of broadcasting from outdoors in the dead of
winter, he says, because he wanted to dramatize the plight of people with
nowhere to go in the cold. And the marathon has been broadcast from outdoors
ever since, even though other things about it have changed.

Over the years, the marathon has become something more than just a
broadcast. Dozens of people, affiliated with organizations or acting on
their own, contribute their time (no one on the marathon staff gets paid) to
help get the show on the air. And each year the broadcast has been
associated with small marches and candlelight vigils around the country.

"I'm not kidding myself that just the marathon is going to change the
world," Alderson says, "But that's the goal, to create a world where the
marathon will be obsolete, because there won't be any more homeless people...I used to think I had to scold people and tell them why they ought to care,
but now I know that people really do care, and that homeless people aren't
on the streets because that's where Americans want them to be. So I've
backed off a lot, and I now mostly look at the marathon as giving people the
reasons for what they already know in their hearts."

"I've really come to believe that the American people want this problem
solved," says Nobody. "That's the good news. But there's bad news too. The
ongoing terrorist attacks and economic downturn are sure to make the numbers
on the streets spike up dramatically. I think there's going to be an urgency
to the next marathon unlike anything we've encountered before."

The fourth marathon was on at least 35 stations coast to coast, including
stations broadcasting to such major metropolitan areas as Los Angeles,
Seattle, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. The fifth marathon will be hosted
in Portland, Oregon by community radio station KBOO and Street Roots,
Portland's homeless paper.

To learn more about the Homelessness Marathon, such as how to acquire tapes
from previous broadcasts, where to listen in your region, how a
local radio station in your area can carry the broadcast or how to
call in during the event, information is available online at:

For more information about the Homeless Empowerment Project in Cambridge,
Massachusetts or Street Roots in Portland, Oregon, go to:

Homeless Empowerment Project:

Street Roots:

Morgan W. Brown is a serious & persistent homeless activist, writer and poet
living in Montpelier, Vermont USA.


So what is this all about?

09/24/2021 - 11:22 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

PNN journalist and TANF recipient, Laurie McElroy, report from Tommy Tompsen's "listening session"

by Laurie McElroy/PNN

The three hundred block of Stockton Street, between Post and Sutter, is as alienatingly citylike as San Francisco ever gets; chrome and fiberglass rental cars shuttle blindly back and forth, and beneath the voracious wheels broken bits of glass glimmer, like tiny screaming nerves, trapped in the matte asphalt of road.

White-collared strangers float to and fro over the sidewalk where cracks, between the pastel-black slabs of pavement, do not go all the way down; concrete makes an uncompromising scab over the wounded earth and nothing natural can lift a blade through it. The Grand Hyatt Hotel at 345 Sutter rises like a cold monument to this illusion of urban order, a fitting place for Wade Horne and his minions to have conducted their gruesome business.

Horne is the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services. He has been directed by HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson to facilitate a series of national “listening and discussion sessions” to help prepare policymakers for Congress’ reauthorization of welfare reform legislation next year. These so-called “listening sessions” are ostensibly being held to gauge the real effects of the much-touted welfare reform on providers and consumers around the country, but out of the 40 or so, asked to attend the October 24th session at the Grand Hyatt, there were no caseworkers at all and only one invitee was a current welfare client. Now how’s that for balanced input?

It was my pleasure as a mother and TANF recipient to attend a rally organized by local welfare rights advocacy groups such as Low Income Families’ Empowerment Through Education ( LIFETIME ), People Organised to Win Employment Rights (POWER ), Center for Third World Organizing, POOR Magazine, the Coalition for Ethical Welfare Reform, Homeless Prenatal Program and Every Mother is a Working Mother, to name a few, to protest Horne’s exclusionary tactics. Over 200 mothers, fathers, children and activists came together in an elemental show of unity and power, directly in front of Horne’s borrowed citadel, the Hyatt, to explicitly voice our disapproval of punitive “reforms” that prioritize reducing caseloads over providing struggling individuals and families a permanent exit from poverty.

The first person I spoke to at length was Leilani Luia, Board Chair of LIFETIME and mother-on-aid of three. She was competently short, dark-haired, face aglow with sweat, nearly lost in a fleecy, pajama-like teddy bear costume. “We’re out here fighting so Wade Horne hears our concerns regarding welfare reform. We don’t need low wage, dead end jobs—we need more opportunities and education for welfare families instead! Federal guidelines allow only 12 months to complete any educational-type job training, and the state allows only 18 months, but studies have shown that for a family to get out of poverty for good, they need MORE than a 2 year education. The messages they send poor women are so different from those they send women with money; we’re lazy when we want to stay home and take care of our kids. Middle and upper middle-class people get big tax breaks for their children, but most working poor families’ incomes are too low to qualify for the rebate. It’s like telling us, ‘You don’t matter’." Before she could continue, the loudspeakers came out. A rather festive picket line was forming just in front of the hotel’s gaudily emblazoned awning. “Whoops, gotta go!” She smiled fiercely, donned the costume’s bear head, and whirled away into the bristle of homemade signs.

I finished scribbling notes on Leilani, then turned to a slender young woman dressed in dark, office-casual clothes. “So what is all this about to you?” I asked. “Are you mad?”

“TANF is coming up for reauthorization,” she replied. Her name was Marisa; she was an intern at Service for Immigrants’ Rights and Education Network ( SIREN ). “They’re shutting out the community because they don’t want to hear our input or experiences. This demonstration is our attempt to force them to.” And after a short pause, “Yes, I’m mad. I can’t speak for my organization, but I agree with the basic message behind their critique, which is, ‘reduce poverty, not caseloads’!”

Singly and in groups, representatives of the organizations in attendance gave their cheerily belligerent pep talks. The picket line moved like a wedding samba. Hours flew by on militant wings. Finally, two o’clock arrived and the protesters began to disperse. Not surprisingly it was then, when everyone had apparently almost gone, that Horne and a few of the politicos from the closed session came down from their $195-a-night tower.

Horne approached me first. He was a tall, bland man, with the balding pallor and well-cut clothes of beaurocratic aristocracy. He had a smile that didn’t reach his eyes, just like all politicians.

“Did you want to speak to me?”

Playing the nervous intern to the hilt, I grimaced, shook his soft, outstretched hand, pointed him toward one of my editor’s, Tiny, and dashed off to catch the last of the comrades before they crossed Post Street, shouting, “Come back! The evil men in suits are here! Come back!”

The straggling crowd resurged. As she emerged from the building, I asked Kristin Deichert, a consultant who works for Berkeley Assemblywoman Dion Aroner, about the lack of testimony from the clients and frontline workers of local Human Services agencies. “I have no idea,” she shrugged. “All the counties were asked to bring consumers...”

“We notified the American Association of Public Service Workers,” said Sheri Stiesel of the National Conference of State Legislators, who stood beside Deichert. “We asked them to tell the agencies to bring caseworkers and consumers, but nobody showed. We don’t know what happened.”

Deichert, who had wandered away, returned and touched my arm. “There’s the one person in the meeting who is on aid. I think she’s from Nevada. She’s over there...”

When I spoke to Michelle Kramer she seemed somewhat reluctant to talk to me, although she agreed readily enough. She told me that her hearing about and being invited to the listening session was really a coincidence, that her worker had gotten an office memo, while Kramer was visiting on an unrelated matter, two days before the session. Her flight and accommodations were hastily arranged, and no offer was made to provide payment for childcare expenses or any compensation for her time. “I wish more people had been able to come,” she sighed.

So do I, I thought wryly, smiling without a hint of bitterness and thanking her for her time. So do I.


The Other Listening Session

09/24/2021 - 11:22 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

PNN journalists take part in Pete Stark's Town Hall meeting on Welfare Reform

by PNN Staff

I remember standing in line at Safeway. An ashamed ten-year-old, wearing jelly shoes and mom's old Levis. We had just picked up our "check" and it was like Christmas, a cherished holiday that comes along only so often. But it was just grocery shopping day, generic and tainted with shame cause we didn't pay with "real" money. The cashier ALWAYS belittled us when presenting food stamps, we ALWAYS went over by five dollars and had to return an item, and a classmate ALWAYS seemed to be in the next line; watching, waiting to laugh at me, waiting to point and remind me that I somehow did not measure up because we paid for our food differently. I hated Safe-Way.

Here I am, years later, re-visiting this humiliation with anonymous peers. Anonymous, for people on welfare usually do not come with a name; they are lazy AFDC moms, crazy, disabled Vets, or the happily unemployed. That welfare recipients still struggle for their own name brought tears to my eyes as I sat in the Glad Tidings Church Sanctuary in Hayward last Saturday, October 27. On this emotional day parents on welfare testified to a "listening panel" of state and local officials, or more accurately, assistants to our state and local officials. Speakers discussed their experiences on welfare during the past five years, and opened the debate on welfare reform.

The morning started with a bus ride across the Bay Bridge. GROWL arranged this free transport for all the low-income folks who wanted to go. They also provided headphones and interpreters for non-English speakers so they could fully participate in the discussion, they set up lunch and snacks for all attendees, and provided childcare at no cost to the mothers. As a result, the panel of elected officials could not hide their responses behind language barriers or noisy children. One of the first ladies to hit the stage kicked it off saying: "I WILL NOT BE VOICELESS!" Applause vibrated through the church and the community pulse thumped through beating hearts.

I continued to listen as stories flowed in three different languages. I felt the pain of old bruises, for I am the adult version of the children these women are fighting to raise. Welfare reform is intended for the child I once was, right? I could almost see the ladies in my family on this Hayward stage, demanding respect, recounting the traumatic and dehumanizing experience of going to the welfare office, demanding the right to raise their own children. I saw the golden power of motherhood in the eyes of each speaker, and I glowed as I envisioned the mothers in my own family.

Speakers talked about marriage fanatics and their quest to "save" poor families. "They want to turn single parent families into criminals," said Rebecca Gordon, panel speaker and author of Cruel and Usual Punishment. This "Fathership Clause", promoted by Secretary Tommy Thompson, reminds me of Charles Murray's famous Bell Curve. Cut off aid, and single moms will cease to be; Cut off single moms, and aid will cease to be? Does Secretary Thompson think no one is paying attention? If aid had been cut off to my family, the only thing to cease would have been body mass. My father, as he existed in my family, would not have changed this grim reality.

On the Health and Human Services website they quote an article by Wade Horn that says: "Studies show that children who grow up without responsible fathers are significantly more likely to experience poverty, perform poorly in school, engage in criminal activity, and abuse drugs and alcohol." I find this personally offensive, for my father's absence in no way hindered my mother's ability to be my mom. My broken home did not break me, and the deep structure of my family carried me (US!) through the hard times. My grandmother spoiled me, my mother bathed and clothed me, my aunties looked after me, and my sister looked up to me. My father's occasional presence neither hindered nor enhanced this system. It worked, as my grandma always said, "with butter and love." I imagine that something similar to Grandma's wisdom brought Saturday's event together. A smooth, sweet rhythm carried each speaker through tears and their own versions of "butter and love."

I sat there with fellow POOR intern, Laurie. We talked about how complicated poverty is. How it has many different languages, wears so many different faces, and comes from many different backgrounds. Laurie is a single mom; she is also disabled and beautiful. I wondered what she could say to the panel, what voice she could give other single moms. When it came time for the audience to ask questions, she bravely stood up and glided to the front of the church. Laughter echoed back to me, as Laurie became an instant friend with the ladies on stage. But, alas, their good nature and smiles didn't make it to the microphone, for several panel members had slowly filtered out. Our hour was up.

GROWL members suddenly jumped out of their seats with petitions for the disappearing panel members to sign. It touched on three main issues: end racial profiling, value family regardless of marital status and recognize education as work. Only two people were willing to sign, Gustavo Vargas, a CalWorks liaison from Santa Clara and Betty Fong, a CalWorks child coordinator from Alameda. The panel member POOR Magazine most wanted to hear from, Congressman Pete Stark, did not sign. His assistant, Jo Casanave, appeared in his place on the "listening panel" and quickly led the charge off the stage and out a secret back door.

One week after the event, after the petition had been faxed to his Fremont office, Stark had no comment. After calling three times, I was asked to call his Washington office. If I had had enough quarters at press time, I would have. Consequently, I have no comment from Mr. Stark.

After searching the premises for the elusive Casanave, Laurie and I gathered our belongings and headed for the free food. Over Safeway-brand cola and generic cookies, we discussed the fatherhood initiative and what it means to us and our children and our children's children. We wondered if Tommy Thompson had ever asked himself these questions. Has Tommy Thompson ever paid differently than other people? Does Tommy Thompson know ANYTHING about the people he wants to "reform"? What will happen to the "Deep Structure" of our family if the government continues to meddle?

We then recalled one speaker's accusation that the government "is trying to get into our bedroom." Laurie sarcastically responded with her poetic voice, "Well, they're not going to like what they see."


The War And Disability

09/24/2021 - 11:22 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

by Mitch Jeserich

Here is a small compilation of information concerning the effects of war on the global disabled population. The information is still incomplete, but I think it is evident that war and violent conflict violate Articles 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 16, 21, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Furthermore, war and violent conflict also create conditions to violate Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 13 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons.

The following information is grim, but it is worth noting that Dr. Nawaf Kabbara, from the Arab Organization of Disabled People, said that disabled people galvanized the peace movement in Lebanon's civil war from 1975-90. Furthermore, Lucy Wong-Hernandez, E.D. Disabled People International, said, "We are committed to make sure that children are protected and that children who become disabled from these situations are not left ignored, un-served, and marginalized from society. DPI will be actively present advocating for and raising awareness about war affected children with disabilities and all children during the Children's Summit at the United Nations in New York 2001." I hope as an international policy institute, WID will also take notice of war and disability.

The effects of war on people who previously had a disability:

-"Disabled children have greater difficulty escaping during attacks, especially those with a moving, learning, or visual difficulty. Parents may have to make difficult decisions about who to leave behind when fleeing. In 1993 a Lebanese man admitted that he fled his home taking a cow rather than his disabled daughter, because the cow was of more use." (CBR News)

-"Most conflicts today are civil wars—the victims are civilians rather than soldiers. Targeting civilians means that women and children are increasingly vulnerable, and yet rehabilitation services (for the disabled) often focus on men." (CBR News)

-"Other disabilities in conflict situations are linked to the breakdown in infrastructure and the economy. Disabling diseases such as polio and measles become more common because drugs and vaccines are not available. The nutritional status of children will probably worsen as food supplies decline, leading to an increase in nutritional disabilities. Warfare can be hidden, for example the trade sanctions against Iraq. The lack of food, medical equipment, drugs and fuel leads to more disability." (CBR News)

-"Most medical clinics in East Timor were burned down during the violence after the referendum. Many disabled persons were provided with health care from these clinics." (Disabled People International)

-"In a conflict situation, attitudes towards disabled persons may be worse because poverty is more widespread and disabled people are seen as more of a burden." (CBR News)

-"In refugee settlements, disabled people may not have access to relief services because of difficulties moving around, carrying, and queuing." (CBR News)

"The government pays more attention to the veterans than to the civilian even if the civilian was injured by a military weapon." (Son Song Hak, Cambodia)

The increase of disability during times of war and violent conflict:

-Since the last Intifada began in Palestine this past year, there are 2,500 new disabled persons. (Dr. Nawaf Kabbara, The Arab Organization of Disabled People)

-"Afghanistan has experienced 20 years of war that has left 15 to 20 percent of the population disabled. There are about 10 million land mines laying around the country." (CBR News)

-In the past ten years six million children have been injured in armed conflict and many more have witnessed or taken in part in acts of violence, leading to emotional disturbances." (CBR)

-"Many wars today are low intensity conflicts—they aim to wound and disable people rather than to kill them, for example, land mines. Leaving people disabled puts a greater economic burden on families and nations rather than killing them." (CBR News)

-"There are about 110 million landmines planted in the world. Over one million people have been killed or injured by mines since 1975. About 70 people are injured or killed by land mines daily. Mines are being laid 25 times faster than they are being cleared. In Angola, one person in 470 has had a limb amputated." (Mines Advisory Group)

-Children in many regions all over the world are caught in the cross-fire, and are left parentless, homeless, with serious health problems, disabled and traumatized, permanently by war." (Disabled People International)

-"Many children's bodies have been mutilated and made permanently disabled from the conflict in Sierra Leone." (Disabled People International)

"It is estimated that about 37 percent of people involved in war lose their hearing. It is estimated that 35 percent of land mine survivors in Cambodia are women." (Disabled People International).

-"Disruption of health services increases the prevalence of disabling diseases like polio and can lead to more disabilities resulting from birth difficulties." (CBR News)

-"The 1994 massacre in Rwanda left more than half a million people dead in a space of three months. Of those who survived, many had seen family members murdered and others became disabled du to machete wounds. Emotional trauma were therefore widespread among children. Some were in a state of shock while others lost the power of speech." (CBR News)