community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show... *Bolivian Anarcha-Feminist Julieta Paredes of Mujeres Creando * Pennsylvania enters the national marriage equality debate * Pittsburghers rally for single payer healthcare * Ireland's Shell to Sea campaign fights against a natural gas pipeline * And more in our local and global headlines
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Rustbelt Radio for June 1, 2009
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...
Rustbelt Radio is broadcast live from WRCT studios every other Monday at 6 PM on 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, and the program airs again on WRCT every Tuesday morning at 9AM.
We can also be heard weekly on the following stations:
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We turn now to local stories.
Pennsylvania could be the sixth state in the US where same sex marriages become legal and recognized, if Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach has his way. Leach, a Democrat from the 19th district, plans to introduce legislation to the Pennsylvania Senate that would grant full marriage equality to same sex couples.
Senator Leach explains why this is an opportune time to introduce this legislation, a first in Pennsylvania history:
The announcement of Leach’s intention comes soon after both Iowa and Maine passed marriage equality legislation. The day before Leach’s announcement, the California State Supreme Court ruled to uphold Proposition 8, last year's amendment to California’s constitution which prohibits same sex marriage.
Again, State Senator Daylin Leach:
Legislators and activists alike recognize that passing marriage equality in Pennsylvania could be a tough sell, but they remain optimistic.
Andy Hoover, legislative director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, says, [QUOTE] “Gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and responsibilities as all other married couples across Pennsylvania. We look forward to demonstrating the need to recognize every relationship across Pennsylvania.”
This May, State Senator John Eichelberger, a Republican from Blair County, announced that he would introduce a state constitutional amendment that would ban same sex marriage in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Senate is majority Republican.
Senator Leach is searching for co-sponsors to the proposed pro-same sex marriage legislation as the Democratically lead Pennsylvania House is debating HB300, which provides protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Pennsylvania from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
While opponents of marriage equality say they are defending families, proponents of gay marriage site numerous reasons why same sex couples should be able to legally marry. States receiving economic benefits is one reason, but many, including Leach, believe it is mostly an issue of civil rights.
Fed Up, the Pittsburgh chapter of the Human Rights Coalition, brings us this week's report on the prison industrial complex.
It was announced on May28th by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs that Pittsburgh will host the G20 Summit on September 24th and 25th.
The G20, comprised of finance ministers and central bank governors, meets to discuss the international financial system. Members of the G20, or Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, include the European Union, the US, France, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia, among others. The International Monetary Fund, and World Bank are also represented.
The location was offered by President Obama at the last G20 Summit this April in London, which focused on the global economic crisis.
The Obama administration has said that Pittsburgh was chosen for the world summit, where, according to the Associated Press, 85% of the world's gross national product will be represented, because it has been successful in picking itself up after the industrial depression of the 1970's and 80's.
According to Pittsburgh city officials, the summit will take place in Pittsburgh because of its emphasis on greening initiatives, creating more environmentally friendly and sustainable infrastructure. Pittsburgh is home to the world's first LEED certified Convention Center. The focus of this fall's summit will be on creating a more green economy worldwide.
City officials kept plans for the summit location a secret until details were announced by the White House.
3 to 4 thousand people will travel to Pittsburgh for the summit, including many high level officials. Last April thousands of activists from all over Europe traveled to London to protest economic injustices worldwide.
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.
Radio Rootz brings us this radical history lesson for June 3rd.
The controversial abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was shot dead out side Reformation Lutheran Church on May 31 in Wichita, Kansas. Tiller was sixty-three years old. The suspect, fifty-one year old Scott Roeder, fled the scene but was later found in a Kansas City suburb. Roeder has a history of involvement in anti-abortion activism with ties to a right-wing separatist group called the Freemen. He has even been previously jailed on explosive charges. Dr. Tiller was targeted because his clinic is only one of three in the nation that perform late-term abortions after the twenty-first week of pregnancy. Tiller experienced constant threats, and survived an assassination attempt with gunshots to both arms. His clinic was bombed in 1985 and in 1993, The National Abortion Federation says Dr. Tiller is the eighth abortion provider to be assassinated in the United States since 1977. Seventeen other abortion providers, they say, have been targeted for murder.
The many women that worked along side of Dr. Tiller wish that he be remembered for the exceptional care, trust, and faith he had for the women he worked with. Dr. Shelley Sella, an obstetrician/gynecologist who worked with Dr. Tiller in his clinic for the last seven years, was so impressed with Dr. Tiller, that she began to fly back and forth from Oakland California to his clinic in Wichita.
Sella says they met at a conference where he was speaking about his philosophy towards women, (quote) "He said things like the woman's body is smarter than the doctor. Time, patience, and the baby will come. Respect the woman's rhythm. When I heard him say that I just piped up, Oh thats midwifery, meaning a women-centered approach to care, and we started talking an within five minutes he had offered me a job.(end quote)
Another woman who worked along side Dr. Tiller was Dr. Susan Robinson, a Gynecologist specializing in abortion care who has worked in Dr. Tiller’s clinic since 2005. Robinson says (quote) [Tiller] started off as a surgeon in the navy, but after the death of his mother and father in a plane crash he was doing family medicine. And eventually, a patient needed an abortion, and he said, “Well, I don’t do abortions.” And the patient said, “You have to do abortions. Women need abortions, and you have to do them. Your dad did them, and you have to do them.” And then he did. And he started doing abortions, because the patients said they desperately needed them. And eventually that became pretty much all of his practice, although he did still have a couple family medicine patients.(end quote)
A vigil to remember Dr. Tiller will be held tonight, June first, at 7.30 pm at the Allegheny Reproductive Health Center in East Liberty. The Center is located at 200 North Highland Avenue
Early summertime resistance is heating up in County Mayo, Ireland, where a rural community is struggling to prevent Shell from building a high-pressure raw gas pipeline and refinery in an environmentally and culturally protected region. Sunday, May 31st at 5pm, over 200 people from the local community and the Rossport Solidarity Camp Summer Gathering attempted to dismantle Shell's illegal construction compound at Glengad beach.
After a day of direct action training, locals and their supporters walked to the south side of the on-shore construction compound. They attempted to breach the fence in two places and were met by strong opposition from over sixty police. Five people who scaled the fence into the compound were held by security guards and were later arrested.
A further arrest was made as the crowd began to leave, when police targeted a prominent campaigner and forcibly detained him for speaking out against the actions of the police.
This weekend's action comes the day after Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington was released after 13 days in prison for non-payment of fines. The fines the court ordered her to pay included a one thousand Euro contribution to the Garda Benevolent Fund, a charity benefiting the Irish police.
Also this weekend in Ireland, the NGO 'Action from Ireland', or Afri, hosted their annual Famine Walk. The walk commemorates a march in search of food during the Great Famine of 1849, in which hundreds of poor Irish farmers starved to death. The walk seeks to commemorate this historical event in a way that addresses the injustices and inequalities that continue to create similar conditions for millions of people throughout the world today.
Leaders of the walk included Willie and Mary Corduff, of the local region, Erris; Philip Ikurusi from the Niger Delta; Choctaw tribe member Gary Whitedeer, and Irish playwrights performing a short extract from the writings of Frederick Douglass.
The connection between the indigenous people of the United States and Ireland was strengthened by the presence of Gary Whitedeer at the walk. In 1847 the Choctaw people raised 170 dollars – the equivalent of more than five thousand dollars today – to aid the Irish as they suffered from the Great Famine.
The connections between Ireland, the US and the Niger Delta were also strengthened by the presence of Philip Ikurusi at the walk, and by the presence of people from Erris at a Shell Guilty rally in New York last week. The rally was held on the day the Wiwa versus Shell trial was scheduled to begin. The trial seeks to hold Shell accountable for human rights abuses that occurred in Nigeria in the early 1990s. The trial has been postponed, with a hearing date set for June 3rd.
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
On Friday, May 29th, the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Single Payer Healthcare held a rally outside the offices of Highmark and UPMC in downtown Pittsburgh.
The group was advocating for universal healthcare through a single payer system. Sandra Fox explains the single payer system:
Many people who attended the rally testified to the problems of the current healthcare system.
Cyndi Greene, a registered nurse:
Another rally participant:
Virginia Eskridge told a very personal story:
Ed Grystar, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses, looked at the big picture:
President Obama has promised to reform healthcare, and has asked congress to take the lead in drafting reform options. Senator Max Baucus of Montana has played a key role. Sandra Fox speaks about where the single payer option is fitting into the debates:
The two recent healthcare roundtables that Senator Baucus convened did include representatives from insurance companies, hospital management companies, and pharmaceutical companies. Single payer advocates, including physicians and nurses, attempted to speak at the hearings, but were arrested and removed.
Obama has spoken of a healthcare plan that would include a (quote) “public option” (endquote) alongside existing insurance company options. Sandra Fox speaks about why her group believes that the insurance companies need to be removed from the picture entirely:
Another often discussed reform model is to expand coverage by requiring employers to provide healthcare. However, single payer advocates argue that this puts U.S. companies at a disadvantage compared to those in other countries around the world who do not have to bear the extra costs of healthcare.
Mike Plascott from the Allegheny Labor Council and the National Association of letter carriers branch 84.
Sandra Fox explains why the rally targeted local insurance companies Highmark and UPMC:
Single payer advocates have introduced bills in both the house and the senate. The house bill is HR 676. Locally, Congressmen Mike Doyle has endorsed the bill. However, no other local congress people or Pennsylvania senators currently support the bills.
Single payer bills have also been introduced into the Pennsylvania house and senate, sponsored by local state senator Jim Ferlo. One participant at the rally recounts his confrontation of another state senator regarding the bill.
Ed Grystar spoke about why politicians are reluctant to support single-payer healthcare:
The Pittsburgh rally, with about 50 people attending, was just one of over 50 events planned across the nation between now and June 1st. On Saturday a rally in Louisville attracted 150 supporters, while a Seattle event drew 3000. Local efforts for single payer healthcare continue with a rally in Harrisburg on June 11th to build support for the Pennsylvania bills, organized by Healthcare for All Pennsylvania. And on June 14th, the Western Pennyslvania Coalition for Single Payer Healthcare will also hold a conference titled "healthcare: human right and moral imperative."
Mujeres Creando, or women creating, is a Bolivian anarcha-feminist collective that participates in a range of revolutionary work, including propaganda, street theater and direct action. The group was founded by Julieta Paredes, María Galindo and Mónica Mendoza in 1992. Two of the three women are openly lesbian activists, who speak out against the patriarchal culture in Bolivia.
Although they have been working since the 1990s, they began to be recognized in the early 2000's. Now they are part of a larger feminist movement that is working to make fundamental changes in Bolivia.
Julieta Paredes recently spoke in Pittsburgh, and explained how Mujeres Creando are expanding their feminist and revolutionary ideals to other sectors of Bolivian society:
You've been listening to Julieta Paredes of Mujeres Creando speaking in Pittsburgh.
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WPTS Pittsburgh, WNJR Washington, and WIUP Indiana.
Our hosts this week are Diane Amdor and Jessica McPherson with contributions from Carlin Christy, Jessica McPherson, Lizzie Anderson, Jason Oddo, Seth Bearden, Kara Holsopple and Mary Colleen Halley. This week's show was produced by Shawn Watson and Jon Heiman. 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.
On today's show...
*Bolivian Anarcha-Feminist Julieta Paredes of Mujeres Creando
* Pennsylvania enters the national marriage equality debate
* Pittsburghers rally for single payer healthcare
* Ireland's Shell to Sea campaign fights against a natural gas pipeline
* And more in our local and global headlines