Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Thank You Ray!!!

Hi everyone,

I want to thank Ray for the last 18 months that he has been in the leadership of Democracy for Washington. We come a long way, baby! Don't go too far away, my friend, we're going to need your contacts and experience. But I fully appreciate the need to rebuild a personal foundation of family, work and life before reaching out to make a difference.

My hat is in the ring. I'm running for the position of Executive Director of Democracy for Washington. I've been contacting the DFA Linkup Hosts, and gotten some feedback on what they would like to see from DFW, and I'm looking forward to sharing that with everyone who can come on Saturday.

The biggest issue that people have pointed out is the lack of communication and cross-pollination of ideas between the Link-Ups around the state. Even groups as close as North Seattle DFA and Emerald City DFA have no way of knowing what we are doing less than 10 miles apart. We need to fix this, and we will.

We have a lot of other groups popping up around the state, trying to get people's attention while being focused on their own issues and goals. The Progressive Movement needs to find common ground and come together wherever possible. Right now we are as splintered as the Conservative talking heads accuse us of being. We need to fix this, and we will.

I'm going to see how we can coordinate with the Grassroots Democrats' Volunteer project and I want to revive the Democratic Volunteer Corps, a statewide group like DFA Corps and one of the original ideas that we came up with for DFW. We don't have a lot of visibility beyond the Linkups, so people who are not already clued in to what we are doing don't even know we are there. We need to fix that, and we will.

I'm going to introduce a new term. We have Mimes running our party, and running our government. They don't speak clearly about our values, and they put their hands against invisible walls that prevent them from reaching out to us in the grassroots. We need candidates and elected officials that are not afraid to be heard, and we need to show them that those walls don't exist and that we are the ones reaching out.

You all know me, but you don't know me that well. I need to fix that, and I will. I look forward to seeing you on Saturday if you plan to attend, otherwise I'm looking forward to working with you whether I win or lose. I didn't go away when Howard dropped out of the Presidential Primary; and neither did you. I didn't go away when John Kerry lost last November, and neither did you. I'm not going away now, and I hope neither will you. We have a lot of work to do between now and the '06 and '08 elections. Let's get it done, and let's get it done right so we don't have to do this again in another hundred years.

The Progressive Movement is the face at the base of the Democratic Party. For the last hundred years, we've been watching and waiting. We campaigned for Teddy Roosevelt in 1912. We fought for Suffrage. We voted for Franklin Roosevelt 4 times. We voted for JFK and LBJ, and we fought in the War on Poverty in pursuit of the Great Society. We stopped the Vietnam War. We stood by our African American brothers and sisters to grant them equality and civil rights. Some of us voted for Ross Perot in 1992 looking for someone who could balance the budget. Bill Clinton gave that to us in the 90's. Some of us voted for Nader in 2000 because we didn't like what we saw in the top two campaigns. This is the Progressive Movement that was engaged by Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich in 2003. In 2004, we couldn't gain the clout within the Democratic Party in time to get the nomination.

We are the Progressive Wing of the Democratic Party. We've gotten a taste of making a difference in our Party and our Country. We're not going to quit, and we're not going to give up or get scared off. We're here to stay.

The Conservatives have been consciously fighting a war for the last 30 years. Against us. It's time we fought back. And we are.

Questions and comments welcome, as always. Here are some links to follow to learn more about me:

Chad Lupkes
Seattle, Washington

Progressives put the concerns of People and the Planet before Corporate Profits

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Note to city: Give the people what they want

I am very frustrated about the future of the monorail in Seattle. It is cheaper per mile, more fun to ride, capable of going more places and just plain better than any of the other options that are being built with our tax dollars. The only problem with the monorail has been the lack of support from city, county and state elected officials, and the lack of competence within the leadership of the project, who all seem to have been appointed by the people who never supported the project to begin with.

I want the Green Line built. Mayor Greg Nickels is wrong to demand a fifth vote on the monorail; I do not support his re-election because of that and a number of other decisions he has made regarding construction and development in Seattle. He is putting the needs of the people behind the desires of developers and richer residents.

We don't need a new election for the monorail. There have been four elections, with each opposition campaign better and better funded throughout the years, and it has always passed. Seattleites want the monorail built. What the project needs is good leadership with the experience and drive to get the job done. With the new director, John Haley, we might have who we need to finish the project. Give us what we've wanted for 40+ years -- a monorail that actually goes places.

Chad Lupkes

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Talk about Backbone...

Text of Speech by President Hugo Chavez
at UN General Assembly
Thursday, September 15, 2005

Unofficial English translation by Néstor Sánchez
Edited by NY Transfer News

Your Excellencies, friends, good afternoon:

The original purpose of this meeting has been completely distorted. The
imposed center of debate has been a so-called reform process that
overshadows the most urgent issues, what the peoples of the world claim with
urgency: the adoption of measures that deal with the real problems that
block and sabotage the efforts made by our countries for real development
and life.

Five years after the Millennium Summit, the harsh reality is that the great
majority of estimated goals- which were very modest indeed- will not be met.

We pretended reducing by half the 842 million hungry people by the year
2015. At the current rate that goal will be achieved by the year 2215. Who
in this audience will be there to celebrate it? That is only if the human
race is able to survive the destruction that threats our natural

We had claimed the aspiration of achieving universal primary education by
the year 2015. At the current rate that goal will be reached after the year
2100. Let us prepare, then, to celebrate it.

Friends of the world, this takes us to a sad conclusion: The United Nations
has exhausted its model, and it is not all about reform. The 21st century
demands deep changes that will only be possible if a new organization is
founded. This UN does not work. We have to say it. It is the truth.

These transformations -- the ones Venezuela is referring to -- have,
according to us, two phases: The immediate phase and the aspiration phase, a
utopia. The first is framed by the agreements that were signed in the old
system. We do not run away from them. We even bring concrete proposals in
that model for the short term. But the dream of an ever-lasting world peace,
the dream of a world not [abased] by hunger, disease, illiteracy, extreme
necessity, needs -- apart from roots -- to spread its wings to fly. We need
to spread our wings and fly.

We are aware of a frightening neoliberal globalization, but there is also
the reality of an interconnected world that we have to face, not as a
problem but as a challenge. We could, on the basis of national realities,
exchange knowledge, integrate markets, interconnect, but at the same time we
must understand that there are problems that do not have a national
solution: radioactive clouds, world oil prices, diseases, warming of the
planet or the hole in the ozone layer. These are not domestic problems.

As we stride toward a new United Nations model that includes all of us when
they talk about the people, we are bringing four indispensable and urgent
reform proposals to this Assembly: The first: the expansion of the Security
Council in its permanent categories as well as the non permanent categories,
thus allowing new developed and developing countries as new permanent and
non permanent categories. The second: we need to assure the necessary
improvement of the work methodology in order to increase transparency, not
to diminish it. The third: we need to immediately suppress- we have said
this repeatedly in Venezuela for the past six years- the veto in the
decisions taken by the Security Council, that elitist trace is incompatible
with democracy, incompatible with the principles of equality and democracy.
And the fourth; we need to strengthen the role of the Secretary General;
his/her political functions regarding preventive diplomacy, that role must
be consolidated.

The seriousness of all problems calls for deep transformations. Mere reforms
are not enough to achieve all that we the peoples of the world are waiting
for. More than just reforms, we in Venezuela call for the foundation of a
new United Nations, or as the teacher of Simón Bolívar, Simón Rodríguez
said: "Either we invent or we err."

At the Porto Alegre World Social Forum last January different personalities
proposed that the United Nations move outside the United States if the [US]
repeated violations of international rule of law continue. Today we know
that there were never any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The people of
the United States have always been very rigorous in demanding the truth from
their leaders; the people of the world demand the same thing. There were
never any weapons of mass destruction; however, Iraq was bombed, occupied
and it is still occupied. All this happened over the United Nations

That is why we propose to this Assembly that the United Nations should leave
a country that does not respect the resolutions taken by this same Assembly.
Some proposals have pointed to Jerusalem as an international city, as an
alternative. The proposal can provide an answer to the current conflict
affecting Palestine. Nonetheless, it poses problems that could make it very
difficult to become a reality. That is why we are bringing a proposal made
by Simón Bolívar, the great Liberator of the South, in 1815. Bolívar
proposed then the creation of an international city that would host the idea
of unity.

We believe it is time to think about the creation of an international city
with its own sovereignty, with its own strength and morality to represent
all nations of the world. Such an international city has to balance five
centuries of unbalance. The headquarters of the United Nations must be in
the South.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are facing an unprecedented energy crisis in which
an unstoppable increase of energy is perilously reaching record highs, as
well as the incapacity of increase oil supply and the perspective of a
decline in the proven reserves of fuel worldwide. Oil is starting to become

For the year 2020 the daily demand for oil will be 120 million barrels. Such
demand, even without counting future increments- would consume in 20 years
what humanity has used up to now. This means that more carbon dioxide will
inevitably be increased, thus warming our planet even more.

Hurricane Katrina has been a painful example of the cost of ignoring such
realities. The warming of the oceans is the fundamental factor behind the
devastating increase in the strength of the hurricanes we have witnessed in
the last years. Let us use this occasion to send our deepest condolences to
the people of the United States. Those people are brothers and sisters of
all of us in the Americas and the rest of the world.

It is impractical and unethical to sacrifice the human race by appealing in
an insane manner to the validity of a socioeconomic model that has a
galloping destructive capacity. It would be suicidal to spread it and impose
it as an infallible remedy for the evils which are caused precisely by them.

Not too long ago, the President of the United States went to an Organization
of American States meeting to propose Latin America and the Caribbean to
increase market-oriented policies, open market policies -- that is
neoliberalism -- when it is precisely the fundamental cause of the great
evils and the great tragedies currently suffered by our people. The
neoliberal capitalism, the Washington Consensus. All this has generated is a
high degree of misery, inequality and infinite tragedy for all the peoples
on his continent.

What we need now more than ever, Mr. President, is a new international
order. Let us recall the United Nations General Assembly in its sixth
extraordinary session period in 1974, 31 years ago, where a new
International Economic Order action plan was adopted, as well as the States
Economic Rights and Duties Charter by an overwhelming majority, 120 votes
for the motion, 6 against and 10 abstentions.

This was the period when voting was possible at the United Nations. Now it
is impossible to vote. Now they approve documents such as this one which I
denounce on behalf of Venezuela as null, void and illegitimate. This
document was approved violating the current laws of the United Nations. This
document is invalid! This document should be discussed; the Venezuelan
government will make it public. We cannot accept an open and shameless
dictatorship in the United Nations. These matters should be discussed and
that is why I petition my colleagues, heads of states and heads of
governments, to discuss it.

I just came from a meeting with President Néstor Kirchner and well, I was
pulling this document out; this document was handed out five minutes before-
and only in English- to our delegation. This document was approved by a
dictatorial hammer which I am here denouncing as illegal, null, void and

Hear this, Mr. President: if we accept this, we are indeed lost. Let us turn
off the lights, close all doors and windows! That would be unbelievable: us
accepting a dictatorship here in this hall.

Now more than ever- we were saying- we need to retake ideas that were left
on the road such as the proposal approved at this Assembly in 1974 regarding
a New International Economic Order. Article 2 of that text confirms the
right of states to nationalizing the property and natural resources that
belonged to foreign investors. It also proposed to create cartels of raw
material producers. In Resolution 3021, May, 1974, the Assembly expressed
its will to work with utmost urgency in the creation of a New International
Econimci Order based on- listen carefully, please- the equity, sovereign
equality, interdependence, common interest and cooperation among all states
regardless of their economic and social systems, correcting the inequalities
and repairing the injustices among developed and developing countries, thus
assuring present and future generations, peace, justice and a social and
economic development that grows at a sustainable rate.

The main goal of the New Economic International Order was to modify the old
economic order conceived at Bretton Woods.

We the people now claim- this is the case of Venezuela- a new international
economic order. But it is also urgent a new international political order.
Let us not permit that a few countries try to reinterpret the principles of
International Law in order to impose new doctrines such as pre-emptive
warfare. Oh do they threaten us with that pre-emptive war! And what about
the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, we need to ask ourselves. Who is
going to protect us? How are they going to protect us?

I believe one of the countries that require protection is precisely the
United States. That was shown painfully with the tragedy caused by Hurricane
Katrina; they do not have a government that protects them from the announced
nature disasters. If we are going to talk about protecting each other, these
are very dangerous concepts that shape imperialism, interventionism as they
try to legalize the violation of the national sovereignty. The full respect
towards the principles of International Law and the United Nations Charter
must be, Mr. President, the keystone for international relations in today's
world and the basis for the new order we are currently proposing.

It is urgent to fight, in an efficient manner, international terrorism.
Nonetheless, we must not use it as an excuse to launch unjustified military
aggressions which violate international law. Such has been the doctrine
following September 11. Only a true and close cooperation and the end of the
double standards that some countries of the North apply regarding terrorism,
could end this terrible calamity.

In just seven years of Bolivarian Revolution, the people of Venezuela can
claim important social and economic advances. One million four hundred and
six thousand Venezuelans learned to read and write. We are 25 million total.
And the country will -- in a few weeks -- be declared illiteracy-free
territory. And three million Venezuelans, who had always been excluded
because of poverty, are now [benefiting from] primary, secondary and higher

Seventeen million Venezuelans -- almost 70% of the population -- are
receiving, and for the first time, universal health care, including the
medicine, and in a few years, all Venezuelans will have free access to an
excellent health-care service. More than a million seven hundred tons of
food are channeled to over 12 million people at subsidized prices, almost
half the population. One million gets them completely free, as they are in a
transition period. More than 700 thousand new jobs have been created, thus
reducing unemployment by 9 points.

All of this amid internal and external aggressions, including a coup d'etat
and an oil industry shutdown organized by Washington. Regardless of the
conspiracies, the lies, spread by powerful media outlets, and the permanent
threat of the empire and its allies -- they even call for the assassination
of a president. The only country where a person is able to call for the
assassination of a head of state is the United States. Such was the case of
a Reverend called Pat Robertson, very close to the White House: He called
for my assassination and he is a free person. That is international

We will fight for Venezuela, for Latin American integration and the world.
We reaffirm our infinite faith in humankind. We are thirsty for peace and
justice in order to survive as species. Simón Bolívar, founding father of
our country and guide of our revolution, swore to never allow his hands to
be idle or his soul to rest until he had broken the shackles which bound us
to the empire. Now is the time to not allow our hands to be idle or our
souls to rest until we save humanity.