Thursday, November 12, 2009

CA Democrats Consider Afghanistan Exit Resolution...

The following Resolution calling for has been submitted to California Democratic Party, to be voted on Saturday and Sunday.

CA Democratic Party Chairman John Burton has already issued a similar call.

Will California Democrats lead the way?

- Mike

End the US Occupation & Air War in Afghanistan

WHEREAS, the California Democratic Party, concerned citizens and lawmakers are calling for a U.S. exit strategy from Afghanistan that will end the occupation and air war while ensuring the safety and security of our troops, our nation, and the region ...

WHEREAS, the plight of women in Afghanistan is such that they continue to bear an especially heavy price under an eight-year occupation, and that far from eradicating the Taliban and other insurgencies, our presence has instead strengthened them, creating greater insecurity, death and impoverishment of the Afghan people; and

WHEREAS, polls show a majority of Americans are increasingly disturbed about the toll the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan is taking on our killed and wounded troops, as our involvement there continues to cost hundreds of billions of dollars per month while the United States and particularly the State of California are in an economic crisis without money to fund domestic needs;

THEREFORE, Be It Resolved, that the California Democratic Party, in addition to reiterating its support for a time-table for withdrawal of our military personnel, calls for an end to the use of mercenary contractors, as well as an end to the air war on civilian populations, and urges our President to oversee a redirection of our funding and resources to include an increase in humanitarian and developmental aid, multi-party talks, aimed at ensuring a democratic and legitimate representation ofthe people of Afghanistan, as well as multi-party regional diplomacy for the safety and stability of neighboring countries; and

Be It Further Resolved, a copy of this resolution shall be sent to the California Democratic Party Congressional delegation, as well as the White House.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Walt Meyer, Author of "Rounding Third" - a Novel about Baseball, High School, and much more...

San Diego author Walt Meyer stopped by the Liberty One Radio studios today to talk about his new work, "Rounding Third." The novel, published by MaxM Ltd, is Meyer's third work, and is already receiving critical acclaim.

The novel draws you in to its story, with echoes of familiar themes of high school identity issues, sports, and coming of age. As the book's jacket describes

"Rob Wardell is a seventeen-year old who feels like he doesn't quite fit in anywhere--not at home, not at school and not on the baseball field. The small, shy boy stays on the high school baseball team only to please his father since he knows he will never get to play. He’s living his life alone until he finds himself drawn into a friendship with the team’s new star pitcher, Josh Schlagel..."

The book's main character, Bobby Wardell, faces a number of challenges familiar to many young men: he's on the baseball team, (but only as a bench-warmer) while his father looks with a disappointment sigh at his sensitive son who won't shoot the deer. Bobby faces harassment and physical abuse from jock bullies as part of his daily existence. Not to mention the sweaty confusion of adolescent romantic feelings.

What's unusual about Meyer's work is the fact the attraction that Bobby begins to feel is for the newest member of the baseball team. Josh Schlagel is that friend -- the good-looking star pitcher who is the first one on the team to acknowledge Bobby's contributions. As their friendship develops, Bobby gains confidence, scores an important run, and even receives accolades from his father on the pick-up basketball court. Through Josh, Bobby gains a sense of self -- and is coming of age.

Yet all is not well in Harrisonburg -- a fictitious town in Northern Ohio, where the Chevrolet signs hang proudly, and Civil War history is still relevant. Bobby's new friend Josh has his own issues to deal with -- a conservative religious family that will not accept a son for who he is. "Rounding Third" unflinchingly strides into difficult, even dark territory.

As the author puts it "the book sort of sneaks up on you." Through the metaphor of sports and youth, Meyer (above, right) is able to access deeper questions about justice and freedom. The questions he raises could not come at a more appropriate moment. American soldiers (including LGBT warriors) have been sent overseas to ostensibly bring American ideals of freedom, when back home in America many people do not enjoy freedom or equality.

As Meyer puts it "America talks a good game about freedom sometimes," but has yet to live up to its promise, or as Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. said "all we ask America, is that you be true to what you said on paper."

In the age of Proposition 8, Maine's Question 1 and brutal violence against kids like Matthew Shepard, an important conversation has to take place: are we able to make good on the promise of America?

The issues raised by "Rounding Third" are part of that critical conversation. I'm already looking forward to the sequel.

- Filed by Mike Copass for Liberty One Radio
(see audio interview to be posted 11/12/09)

Rounding Third is available at the Obelisk Bookstore in Hillcrest (see yelp) in San Diego, or you can order a signed copy on Walt Meyer's website. Copies are also available from any online bookseller including Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Arrested: San Diegans Confront Blue Shield on Corporate Practices, non-violent disobedience action

November 2nd (San Diego) -- Blue Shield corporate offices in San Diego were the scene of a civil disobedience protest today, as three single-payer health care activists occupied the health insurance company's Rio Bonito Way offices.

Wearing hand-made shirts inscribed "Patients, Not Profits," San Diegans Mary, Carl, and Jerry(pictured at right) entered the office building of health insurance giant Blue Shield of California at approximately 10:30 AM on Monday.

The health care activists are part of a group called "Single Payer Action Coalition" (SPAC), and Monday's action was the promised follow-up to a letter presented last week to Blue Shield of California. Activists had requested that the insurance concern stop using the money from monthly premiums paid by policy-holders for the purposes of corporate advertising, TV campaigns and lobbying -- and instead use that money for patient care.

Blue Shield executives and representatives refused to meet with or talk to the activists, and instead called the San Diego police department (see photo, left.) More than 12 San Diego peace officers responded to the scene to deal with the 3 health care reform advocates who held their ground at Blue Shield's front door, and reiterated their requests. regarding. Police eventually took the activists into custody.

Through their non-violent action, the health care action group SPAC and its supporters hope to highlight what they perceive is one of the fundamental problems with the US health care system – self-dealing and abusive business practices of for-profit insurance corporations.

The actions are part of a national groundswell of civil disobedience at health insurance company offices to end insurance abuse and win health care for all. So far 115 people across the US have been arrested in 18 cities, while demanding real health care reform that treats health care like a human right, not a commodity.

The San Diego protesters were matter of fact about their demands, and refused to leave until their concerns were addressed, or they were physically removed from the site. (Mary Bell left, talking with San Diego police)

“The enormous amounts of money you’ve seen health insurance corporations lavishing on members of Congress, on non-stop TV ads, and advertising is killing us. Where do they get the money they spend to rig the debate about the health care system? By denying care to those who need it most – in California one out of every five treatments is denied an insurance company, resulting in denial of treatments and deaths,” said Jerry Malamud, pictured being taken into police custody below, right.

Added the silver-haired and energetic Malamud “They get their lobbying dollars by jacking up our premiums at quadruple the rate of inflation, and denying essential care to policyholders. Americans are being made to pay the bill for their own enslavement to this corrupt for-profit system. We say ‘Enough!’”

Noting that the civil disobedience efforts follow months of 'by the books' grass-roots efforts to bring attention to the need for fundamental reform to the health care system."We've written hundreds of letters, lobbied our representatives Congress, made phone calls, and held signs on street corners pointing out the abuses of insurance corporations. We hope through our efforts, including the non-violent confrontation today at Blue Shield, that we contribute to meaningful improvement of the health care system, and end the abuses that are linked to so much needless suffering and death. Patients, not profits."

During a 45 hour vigil at the site preceding the confrontation, activists gathered pointed out that failures of a for-profit health insurance system are linked to up to 45,000 deaths each year in America, adding that lack of national will to create universal coverage becomes literally a death sentence for thousands.

After having literally "placed their bodies against the grinding gears and levers of the health insurance machine," the activists arrested in a civil disobedience action today hope that their refusal to "passively collaborate with an unjust and immoral system" will help lead to a better system with "everybody in, nobody out."

(Below: Demonstrators including Progressive Democrats of America gathered in support of health care reform display signs at near Blue Shield offices just off Friar's Road in Mission Valley, San Diego)

- Filed by Mike Copass, for Liberty One Radio

Mike Copass Interviews Sen George McGovern

Liberty One Radio Interview with Former Senator George S. McGovern

“I think we have to be very careful about where we commit American troops to battle.” – Sen. McGovern

November 2, 2009 -- Senator McGovern, the 1972 Presidential opponent to Richard Nixon, joined Mike Copass for a brief interview with Liberty One, San Diego’s future progressive AM Radio outlet. McGovern discussed his concerns about the lives of soldiers committed to the current wars, and echoes Eisenhower’s warning about the power of the military-industrial complex.

Senator McGovern will speak this Wednesday, November 4th in the city of La Mesa. Hosted by the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club, the former Democratic Presidential nominee will discuss his recently-published biography of President Abraham Lincoln, as well as current events.

The McGovern event takes place at the La Mesa Recreation Center, on 4975 Memorial Drive in La Mesa. (Map) Meet to socialize at 6:30pm, event begins 7:00pm. $5 admission, open to general public.