January 30, 2006: Rustbelt Radio
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media. The show airs live every Monday from 6-7pm on WRCT 88.3FM in Pittsburgh, PA, every Thursday from 11am to noon on WARC-Meadville from the campus of Allegheny College, and every Saturday from 5-6pm on WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area. And we're now on WPTS 92.1FM from the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, also Saturdays at 5pm.
We're also available on the internet, both on WRCT's live webstream at W-R-C-T dot ORG and for download, stream or podcast at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
On today's show...
- We'll speak to two activists who are fighting CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which is being pushed by the Bush administration
- We'll hear how privatization, globalization, and the "networking" of security agencies are complicating the fight against secrecy
- Bob O'Connor describes his plans to be like former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani
- and the EU passes a resolution against homophobia.... but first, these local headlines
[1:15] Bake Sale for Wealthy
This past Wednesday in Market Square, various Pittsburgh organizations, including Just Harvest, Roots of Promise, and the American Friends Service Committee held a Bake Sale for the Wealthy. The purpose of the event was to demonstrate to politicians how vital social service agencies and non-profits get their money, in other words, by working for it. Bake goods were provided by many members of the community including women from Bethlehem Haven, a women's shelter in downtown Pittsburgh. Items sold reflected what Pittsburgh might look like, if proposed federal budget cuts go into place. The proceeds from the sale of bake goods such as 'No Bus Banana Bread' and 'Have a Heart cookies', went to Just Harvest, an anti-hunger and poverty organization.
Organizers of the bake sale are opposed to the new federal budget cuts, which will drastically cut funding to various social service agencies, medicaid, and also federal student loans. At the same time the Senate is preparing to vote on the budget, Congress will also be voting to make the inheritance tax, capital gains and dividend taxes permanent. The possibility of voting these tax cuts for the wealthy, while simultaneously passing the new budget cuts, has infuriated activists in Pennsylvania. In this state alone, over 1 million people on welfare, and 900,000 children would be negatively affected by the cuts.
Activists are urging Pennsylvanians to contact Senators Specter and Santorum and ask them to reject Senate bill S 1932. You can reach them by calling the Congressional switchboard at 1-800 426 8073.
Stay tuned to Rustbelt Radio next week for comments from the Bake Sale for the Wealthy organizer Wanda Guthrie.
[2:45] City Council Public Hearing on Sweatfree Legislation
The Pittsburgh Anti Sweatshop Community Alliance has petitioned City Council to hold a public hearing on the Sweatshop Ordinance which was passed in 1997. Nine years later, not only is the city not in compliance with the ordinance, but the legislation may be dropped if the city and county governments merge. Celeste Taylor, a local activist and board member of The National Organization of Sweat Free Communities describes the ordinance and what will occur tomorrow at the City Council hearing.
That was Celeste Taylor of the Pittsburgh Anti Sweatshop Community Alliance. The City Council hearing will be held tomorrow, Tuesday the 31st at 1:30 pm in City Council chambers.
[1:30] Pittsburgh Schools Right Sizing Plan
The Black Political Empowerment Project held a meeting with Pittsburgh School District Superintendent Mark Roosevelt to clarify some issues of the proposed right-sizing plan. The New Pittsburgh Courier reports that this meeting has calmed some of the worries that were expressed about the plan.
In response to concerns that the reorganization would result in school children walking through dangerous neighborhoods, Roosevelt said state funds should be available to transport them to school in these cases.
Included in the right-sizing plan is a proposed closure of Schenley High School, where renovations would cost nearly $40 million dollars to remove asbestos, and improve mechanical systems. Reactions to the closure have died down, since the cost of the renovation project was announced.
The deadline to submit alternatives to the district’s right-sizing plan is tomorrow, January 31st. Roosevelt says to date there have been some suggestions, but no comprehensive plans. This did not surprise him, as it took 300 hours to create the proposed plan.
While modifications of the plan are being discussed, the Superintendent will present his final Rightsizing Plan February 9th. The board will take a vote on February 28th.
[0:45] Bob O'Connor and Broken Windows
Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor answered questions from the public last week on AM radio. He discussed his plans to revitalize Pittsburgh's neighborhoods using the controversial Broken Windows approach.
That was Mayor Bob O'Connor on "Ask the mayor" last week. The one hour show was followed immediately with an advertisement for the Metropolitan Window Company.
[3:45] Save Our Transit
Last Thursday the Pennsylvania Transportation Funding and Reform Commission held a meeting in Pittsburgh. The commission is currently evaluating efficiency, reform and funding for the state's highway, bridge and transit programs.
Prior to the meeting, the local grassroots group Save Our Transit, held a bus-riders rally to show support for a reliable source of funding for public transportation.
Rustbelt Radio spoke with Amanda Zeiders, an organizer with the group. She first explained how the Transportation Funding and Reform Commission operates:
For more on local news, you can visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot org.
[ HMB BREAK RUSTBELT - 0:20 (fades down 0:10 in to start global intro) ]
You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to news from other independent media sources around the world.
[0:30] Halliburton Contracts
Kellogg, Brown and Root, the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton (abbreviated KBR), was awarded a contract by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch of the Department of Homeland Security. This 385 million dollar contract is for KBR to set up temporary detention, processing and deportation facilities in case of a sudden influx of immigrants. Under this contract, KBR will also provide migrant detention facilities for other government agencies.
[1:30] Detroit Homeless at Superbowl
Pittsburghers are gearing up for super bowl celebrations this weekend, and sports fans around the country will be watching the game taking place in Detroit. While the mainstream media has been focusing attention on the football players and fans, Michigan's Black Box Radio took a look at how the big game will affect Detroit's homeless population.
[0:30] Public Eye Awards
Swissinfo.org reports that Walt Disney, Chevron, and Citigroup have placed first in the Public Eye Awards. The awards, which run parallel to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, named twenty companies for "outstanding social and ecological irresponsibility." Walt Disney placed first in social rights irresponsibility for its sweatshops in southern China. Chevron, with its thirty-year history of polluting streams, rivers, and wetlands in Ecuadorian rainforests, won for environmentalism. And Citigroup took first place in financial irresponsibility for its outstanding record of tax evasion and money laundering.
[1:30] Information Operations Roadmap declassified
The National Security Archive released a 2003 Pentagon document entitled the [quote] Information Operations Roadmap [unquote]. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld signed this document, which calls for enhancing how the U.S. military handles information operations and electronic warfare.
The document describes various military information operations, such as having public affairs officers brief journalists, using psychological operations to manipulate enemies' thoughts, and attacking enemy computer networks.
The document recommends that the military use various technologies, including the internet, wireless devices, and unmanned aerial vehicles, to support U.S. strategic objectives in other countries, and present such information so it does not appear to come from the U.S. government.
U.S. law prevents the Pentagon from creating propaganda targeted at U.S. audiences, but not at foreign ones. The document's authors state that information put out by military psychological operations is not intended for U.S. audiences, and that U.S. media should not broadcast such information. However, they acknowledge that such information is reaching the U.S. public, and provide no recommendations as to how to prevent this information from coming back to U.S. audiences as credible news.
The document also states that the Department of Defense should take an offensive stance against the internet. It recommends that the U.S. military be prepared to disrupt global communications systems.
[3:00] Protests in Australia support West Papuan Asylum Seekers
As Rustbelt Radio covered in December 2004, the Indonesian military has been violently repressing the independence movement in West Papua, the western half of New Guinea or Irian Jaya north of Australia.
Two weeks ago a boat of 43 Papuan independence advocates landed on Australia's Cape York seeking political asylum. Australian authorities immediately detained the refugees and have held them incommunicado, shipping them to a detention center on Christmas Island which has been compared to Guantanamo by many Australian newspapers.
Last week in Melbourne, about 100 people gathered in Solidarity to express their outrage at the Australian Government and voice support for West Papua and the 43 West Papuan Asylum seekers held in detention on Christmas Island.
Protests were also held in Sydney, Darwin and Canberra to support the West Papuan Asylum Seekers and protest their movement to Christmas Island for processing, as well as the Howard Government's impending signing of a security treaty with Indonesia. Under that treaty Australia would recognize the territorial integrity of Indonesia over West Papua which protects the Indonesian military's ability to continue their long-standing history of human rights abuses.
Belinda Lopez of 2SER radio has more from the rally in Sydney.
Thanks to Belinda Lopez of 2SER radio and Sydney Indymedia for that report.
[1:40] Europe passes resolution denouncing homophobia
The European Union (EU) Parliament has passed a joint resolution condemning homophobia. The measure passed on a 469-149 vote with 41 abstentions. It calls on the European Commission to take a more proactive roll in fighting anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) developments in several EU states. The resolution says the commission should begin proceedings against those countries that fail to implement the directive on equal treatment in employment and occupation, and it says the commission should consider the use of criminal penalties in cases of violation.
The commission is also asked to put forward proposals that would guarantee the rights of same-sex couples and their children.During debate on the resolution, supporters of the measure accused several former communist countries, now EU members, of rampant homophobia. Poland and Latvia came under the harshest criticism.
Latvia recently revised its constitution to become the first European country to ban same-sex marriage. In July the capital city of Riga banned gay pride observances following criticism of the event by Latvian Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis. Event organizers went to court and won a restraining order against the city, allowing the parade to go ahead. Hundreds of demonstrators lined the parade route and hurled rotten eggs and insults at the marchers. Several of the demonstrators got into scuffles with police and were dragged away.
Polish gays and lesbians demonstrated in several cities in November demanding that the government abide by European civil rights laws. The marchers denounced the mass arrest of gays in the city of Poznan, where riot police detained 65 gays and lesbians who refused to disband when they attempted to hold a gay pride march.
In October the European Commission warned Poland that if it continues to oppose gay rights the country risks losing its voting rights in the EU.
You can read more independent global news stories by visting indymedia: I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot O-R-G.
Bad Cop No Donut
On this week's police misconduct news, Ron Anicich brings us stories from Allegheny County and eastern Ohio.
Welcome back to Rust Belt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
[8:00] CAFTA update
January 1st, 2006 marked the date that the Bush Administration set to implement the Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA. CAFTA passed the US House of Representatives in the early hours of July 28th, 2005, by a vote of 217 to 215. Before CAFTA can take effect, five other Central American nations must also ratify the agreement. El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras have already done so, while Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic have yet to vote on the agreement. Farmers and students in Guatemala are among the groups protesting CAFTA.
The January 1st date for CAFTA implementation has passed, however, the agreement is held up. The Bush administration is now pushing additional demands on these countries for stricter intellectual property laws, which has delayed the process.
Rustbelt Radio spoke to two activists in the US who have been organizing opposition to CAFTA for the past three years. Burke Stansbury and Tom Ricker argue that the business interests of transnational corporations have overshadowed popular opposition to the trade deal on both sides of the border. They recently spoke to Rustbelt Radio producer Matt Toups.
That was just Burke Stansbury of CISPES (SIS-pez), Committee in Support of the People of El Salvador, in New York, and before him was Tom Ricker of the Quixote (key-HO-tay) Center near Washington, DC. They will be publishing an update on CAFTA in an upcoming issue of Multinational Monitor.
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You're listening to Rust Belt Radio.
[20:00] Government Secrecy in an Information Age
Next on Rustbelt Radio, Syracuse University Professor Alasdair Roberts discusses how privatization, globalization, and the "networking" of security agencies are complicating the fight against secrecy. Professor Roberts is the author of Blacked Out: Government Secrecy in the Information Age. He spoke at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Information Sciences' Ethics & Accountability Lecture Series on Thursday, January 19th.
Roberts argues that despite the Freedom of Information Act, the proliferation of government watch dog groups, and the existence of the Internet, transparency is becoming more and more elusive as the structure of government is changing. It's not just Bush, Roberts' cautions, it's the system.
After the lecture we asked Roberts to share some more of his thoughts about the IMF, the WTO and the global justice movement.
You have been listening to Alasdair Roberts, author of "Blacked Out: Government Secrecy in an Information Age."
[1:00] Calendar of events
And now we present the Indymedia calendar of events:
- This week there will be several actions taking place against President Bush's State of the Union Address, which is scheduled for Tuesday the 31st of January. First The Pittsburgh Organizing Group will be holding a Counter Recruitment Picket from 5pm to 7pm, at the Army Recruitment Station in Oakland. The station is located on Forbes Avenue, between Atwood and Bouquet streets.
- Later that evening, Join Codepink Women for Peace and World Can't Wait for the State of the Union telecast. These groups will gather at 8:15PM to show their version of the state of the union under the Bush administration. At 9PM, they will telecast Bush's State of the Union address. Code Pink and World Can't Wait welcome you to bring music, drums, pots, pans, and your voice to drown out Bush's lies. This event will take place at Pitt's Student Union Porch, located at Bigelow Blvd across from the Cathedral of Learning, in Oakland.
- And finally, you can also watch the State of the Union address at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. The groups Sojourners/Call to Renewal and Roots of Promise invite you to watch the address, and then discuss how Bush's policies will reflect visions of peace and social justice. This event starts at 8:15 pm, and is located at 5700 Forbes Ave, next to St. Edmund's Academy, in Squrrel Hill. For more information on all of these events, contact www. thomasmerton center. org
[ Outro music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rust Belt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WARC Meadville, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.
Our hosts this week are Carlin Joy and Abie Flaxman with additional contributions from Matt Toups, David Meieran, Lora Gordon, Andalusia Knoll, Jessi Berkelhammer. This week's show was produced by Matt Toups. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! To contact us, or to send us your comments, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. All of our shows are available for download or podcast on our website at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG and this show can be heard again Tuesday morning on WRCT at 9 AM after Democracy Now!
Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
Rustbelt Radio for January 30, 2006
by Indymedia Rustbelt Radio collective
Monday, Jan. 30, 2006 at 9:45 PM
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