On this week's show...
* resistance to the upcoming G-8 summit in Germany
* we'll hear about Fossil Free Fuels, and how they are improving the city's air quality one car at a time.
* at a Town Hall meeting, Pittsburgh speaks up about the impact of the Iraq war here at home, and elected officals listen
* Stop the Bus cuts keeps attention up and the pressure on as Port Authority cuts draw near
* and more in our local and global headlines
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.
On today's show...
resistance to the upcoming G-8 summit in Germany
we'll hear about Fossil Free Fuels, and how they are improving the city's air quality one car at a time.
at a Town Hall meeting, Pittsburgh speaks up about the impact of the Iraq war here at home, and elected officals listen
Stop the Bus cuts keeps attention up and the pressure on as Port Authority cuts draw near
and more in our local and global headlines
Rustbelt Radio airs live every Monday from 6-7 PM on WRCT 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, PA, and again on Tuesday mornings 9-10 AM. We're also on Pacifica affiliate WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area, on Thursdays from 6-7 PM. And we're on WPTS, 10 to 11AM on Wednesday mornings on 92.1 FM from the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.
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.
We turn now to local headlines.
[7:00] Town Hall meeting
A Town Hall meeting on the cost of the Iraq war at home was held at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside on Wednesday, May 30. Moderated by Rick Adams of the Western PA Black Political Assembly, speakers addressed a crowded room at the beginning of the meeting.
Molly Rush of the Thomas Merton Center spoke about cutting the funding for the Iraq war and the need for citizens to keep the pressure on elected officials. Malik Bankston [pronounce: Ma LEEK] of the Kingsley Association outlined a few alternate uses for the $450 billion dollars that have been spent on the war. And Valerie Cortazzo [pronounce: court A zo] difficulties faced by veterans:
Following the speakers, elected officials had an opportunity to respond and address the audience. Congressman Mike Doyle, the only representative from Western PA to vote against the May 24th supplemental funding for the war, was the only official to attend the Town Hall meeting in person. Senator Specter was represented by Adam Pope, Senator Casey was represented by Jackie Erickson, and Congressman Murphy was represented by Kate Cavanaugh. Congressman Jason Altmire did not attend or send a representative.
Congressman Doyle urged the crowd to share the responsibility for the war and keep pressuring Congress to bring the troops home:
The floor was opened to questions and comments from the audience. Several people from the crowd expressed frustration at the lack of attendance by elected officials, and thanked Congressman Doyle for his presence and votes. Other comments addressed a variety of issues related to the war:
Concluding remarks were made by Paul Abernathy of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Craig Stevens. Stevens encouraged the audience to join the Western PA 'Bring the Troops Home Now' Legislative network:
The goal of the legislative network is to increase communication and coordination between anti-war, peace and social justice groups and individuals in Wetern PA to bring an end to the US military presence in Iraq, and fund human services in the US and reconstruction in Iraq. The Town Hall meeting was sponsored by the American Friends Service Committe, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, SEIU, the Thomas Merton Center Anti-War Committee, the Network of Spiritual Progressives, Global Solutions, and Just Harvest.
Later this month, the Port Authority of Allegheny County plans to make drastic cuts to bus service in Allegheny County. On May 31, 'Stop the Bus Cuts' held a rally to stop the impending transit cuts. More on that event, following the global newswire.
For more on local news, you can visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot org.
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.
Zoellick nomination to World Bank
The Bush administration has announced plans to name former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick (pronounce: ZELL (rhymes with sell, like sell-out) ick) to replace Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank. Zoellick is currently employed by the financial firm Goldman Sachs. He previously served as a paid advisor to the energy company Enron before its collapse. He was an early backer of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and a co-signatory of the neo-conservative Project for a New American Century letter calling for Iraq regime change. The letter, written in 1998 reads, in part (quote) In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy. (end quote)
Following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the subsequent re-structuring of the Iraqi economy, Zoellick constructed the Middle East Free Trade Agreement – a “region-wide commitment to open trade with the United States” - and was a strong advocate within the Bush administration of the use of corporate globalization as a tool of national security strategy.
Rustbelt Radio spoke to Tom Ricker of the Quixote Center, on Zoellick’s nomination:
The head of the World Bank is traditionally an American, appointed by the US President, in spite of protests from leaders in the 'global south' who would prefer a leader from a nation directly affected by World Bank policies.
[3:30] G8 preview
This week, Heiligendamm, Germany will host the annual G8 summit—a gathering of the world’s 8 most powerful countries including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Together, these countries represent about 65% of the world economy, but contain only 14 percent of the world’s population.
Although the summit does not start until the 6th, thousands have been gathering in Rostock, Germany for the past week in anticipation of the start of the summit.
Last month, Radio Sherwood from Italy spoke with Andre from Net Dissent, who is part of the organizing efforts in Europe against the G8.
Andre speaks about the importance of opposing this annual summit:
andre G8 final (2:20)
On Saturday June 3rd, between 30,000 and 50,000 demonstrators gathered in Rostock, Germany for a march. Clashes broke out between riot police and demonstrators, and the police used batons, water cannons and tear gas against the crowds. Over 100 people were arrested and many were injured on both sides.
Today's actions focused on the issue of immigration, with participants calling for freedom of movement and equality for all of the world's peoples. More anti-G8 demonstrators were arrested today, bringing the total since Saturday, to 315 people arrested.
While the G8 will be meeting behind closed doors starting on Wednesday, an alternative summit open to the public will be held beginning Tuesday June 5th. Over 130 workshops will be presented on topics such as world poverty, climate change, food sovereignty, and EU policies.
For up to the minute information on the protests to the G8 Summit, go to indymedia.org or listen to daily radio reports at http://flashradio.wordpress.com/
[4:45] Media Minutes
Rustbelt Radio now brings you this week's media minutes:
media minutes (4:35)
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
On May 31, a coalition of unions and community groups held a rally to stop the impending transit cuts in Allegheny County and across the state. A spirited crowd of several hundred filled Mellon Square, cheering and yelling throughout an hour of speakers calling for transportation justice. On June 17th, Port authority plans to cut bus service in Allegheny County by fifteen percent, and will likely decide to follow these cuts in September with an additional ten percent. The Port Authority faces a 2007 operating budget deficit of 80 million dollars. The first round of cuts will reduce the deficit by about 35 million dollars. The Port Authority has had a budget crisis every year for the past 6 years, ever since state taxes were restructured in a way that reduced transit’s dedicated funding and removed the portion of the fund that grew annually to keep pace with inflation. The agency has been forced to plan fare hikes and service reductions every year, only to have the state step in at the last minute with flexible highway funding from the federal government to fill the budget gap. This year, Governor Rendell has said that if he flexes the highway money, the transit agencies will have to pay it back.
At the rally last Thursday, speakers emphasized the vitality of public transit to the city and its economy:
Patrick McMahon (PRONOUNCE: McMann), president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85:
Many speakers asserted that the impact of Port Authority’s plan falls too heavily on transit workers. They called for the Port Authority to take a more balanced and more sophisticated approach to reducing costs:
Jack Shea, president of the Allegheny Labor Council:
Furthermore, speakers all called for elected officials to fix the recurrent funding crises for transit agencies across the state by providing a dedicated source of funds.
Part of the difficulty is that any plan to use state taxes or other state funds for transit must be approved by the state legislature, and members outside of urban areas generally care little about transit. Chelsa Wagner is a newly elected Pennsylvania House Representative for the 22nd district in Allegheny County, who serves on the transportation committee:
Allegheny County contributes less money to transit funding than the state average. County Executive Dan Onorato says the county does not have the money, and has attempted to portray the Port Authority as a bloated institution that needs (quote) “right sizing”. Onoroto appears to view Pittsburgh’s relatively high level of service as a liability - with commuter ridership levels more comparable to the nation’s largest cities than to other cities of its size. He has said (quote) the nation’s 28th largest county can no longer afford the nation’s 15th largest transit system. We have to live within our means. (endquote)
Barney Ousler of the Mon Valley Unemployed Committee on the future of the fight for transit:
[22:00] Fossil Free Fuels
During a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 30th, Braddock became home to Fossil Free Fuels, a shop that works to convert individuals’ vehicles to run on vegetable oil. To get a more in depth look at this new earth friendly operation, Rustbelt Radio spoke with co-founder Colin Huwyler and Gina Favano who runs conversion workshops for women.
First, Colin spoke about the mechanics of the service they offer:
The increase in gas prices and the desire for more sustainable solutions is leading to the rise in popularity of several different alternative fuels. Colin explains the difference between these fuels and the performance of vegetable oil in comparison to petroleum:
Fossil Free Fuels is not the only business who is leading the way in alternative fuels. There are several current and possible collaboration projects between Fossil Free Fuels and other groups in the area:
Now we hear from Gina Favano, who is running classes for women on the different aspects of running a vehicle on alternative fuel. She begins by discussing how she got started in cars and vegetable oil conversion:
With Pittsburghs air quality recently ranked as second to worst in the nation based on the particle pollution levels emitted from power plants, cars, and refineries, now seems like an important time to have Fossil Free Fuels make it their business to improve the air for everyone.
Fossil Free Fuel information is available at fossilfreefuel.com or visit them at 223 Braddock Ave. in Braddock.
To contact Gina, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 412-377-7378.
Calendar of Events
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
Tomorrow, Tuesday June 5th, we here at Rustbelt Radio are offering our monthly Media Literacy Trainings. It will be held at 8:00 pm on the 3rd floor of the Thomas Merton Center, 5215 Penn Avenue in Garfield.
On Wednesday June 6th, POG will be holding an counter-recruitment demonstration in solidarity with the G8 protests. It will be held from 5:30-8pm at the recruiting station, on Forbes Avenue in Oakland. For more information, go to www.organizepittsburgh.org
Thusday June 7th from noon to 1pm, there will be a rally in front of Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The rally is being called as part of actions taking place in over 90 cities to help build support for H.R. 676, “Medicare for All” and to put the “single payer solution” on the political agenda. Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, is located Downtown at 120 Fifth Avenue. For more information go to www. healthcare-now. org or call 412-370-9460
Also on June 7th, beginning at 6pm, the Middle East Peace Forum and Art from Chaos Present:A MULTI-FACETED EXPERIENCE IN MIDDLE EASTERN PEACEMAKING. This event will feature an art show at 6pm, and a film screening at 7pm both at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty. Later in the evening, there will be Middle Eastern Music and other activities at the Shadow Lounge on Baum Blvd in E. Liberty. For more information go to www.mid east pfp. org.
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.
Our hosts and contributors this week are Jessica McPherson and Thiago Hersan with additional contributions from Diane Amdor, Matt Toups, Lizzie Anderson, Carlin Christy, Jessica McPherson, and Thiago Hersan. This week's show was produced byDonald Deeley. 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.