Monday, May 10, 2010

Peter White: 'End the wars for oil . . . bring our troops home!'

On NPR's Morning Edition Joseph Shapiro has the best report on the BP disaster in terms of those who working on the rig. It's a powerful piece of reporting and he's also scheduled to take the topic to The NewsHour (PBS) tonight. An NPR friend phoned and said "I'm calling in a favor" -- meaning they wanted a link. I would include it at the bottom (that would repay the favor); however, this really is an incredible report so I'm putting it at the top. Now to Iraq . . .

Saturday the Pentagon issued the following: "The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Staff Sgt. Esau S.A. Gonzales, 30, of White Deer, Texas, died May 3 in Mosul, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 38th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, Fort Stewart, Ga. For more information related to this release, the media may contact the Fort Stewart public affairs office at 912-435-9879." As noted last Thursday, his family had already announced his death -- I have no idea why DoD took so long to make the announcement. Anthony Magee also died last week while serving in Iraq. Ben Piper (Hattiesburg American) reports on the 29-year-old sergeant's funeral, "Magee's funeral was marked by laughter at the lighter moments of his life and a somber embrace between his sister, Monica Duncan, and his two younger brothers, Laron and Dominique."

Meanwhile, many women now serve in the US military. A number are mothers and yesterday was Mother's Day. Ramon Renteria (El Paso Times) reports on Lovie Loyd who is serving in Iraq and is the mother of three, "Back in El Paso, Loyd's family are trying their best to cope without their mother, staying busy and always looking forward to those Internet chats that arrive at all hours of the day or night because of the difference in time. Iraq is 10 hours ahead of El Paso."

Staying with those serving in Iraq, this was e-mailed to the public account:


For more information, contact:

Kendall 'KPee' Peltier

MAY 09, 2010 (Baghdad, Iraq)

Everyone around the world knows that the United States Military is supporting the Iraqi Government as they rebuild their country. What everyone doesn't know is... What do the soldiers do in their free time (if they ever have any)? Some soldiers may do the occasional online class courses in order to get one step closer to their degree. Then, there's one soldier in particular that the only course he is on, is the course to 'Take Ova' the HipHop/Rap game. He is known in the United States Army as SPC Peltier (age 22), but when it comes to his music he likes to be called KPee. While in Iraq, KPee has put together his '6th Man' Mixtape (you can download it here ) and the newly released 'The Take Ova' album. (you can buy it here ) Although his tour in Iraq is almost coming to an end, we can only imagine what his plans are when he returns to the United States. "Aside from going on my trip to Las Vegas, I plan on really trying to get my music heard.. and not just in Iraq..." KPee states as he smiles. Take it from KPee, this just shows that anywhere in the world people can work towards making their dreams come true... even on the battlefield!

For further information contact Kendall Peltier (

In veterans news, Rob Baedeker (San Francisco Chronicle) speaks with Iraq War veteran Steven Pinto about returning to civilian life and to the Great Recession:

One of the first shocks of returning to civilian life, Pinto says, was learning to live without a steady income.
"Coming into the Marine Corps, my financial problems pretty much disappeared," says Pinto, who worked at construction and restaurant jobs before enlisting. "We made just over $15,000 a year, but our housing was paid for, our food was paid for, and when you're on training ops for a month at a time, you're not buying anything but beef jerky and tobacco. You always have money in the bank."
He says he saved some of that "to survive on when I got out," but that money's gone now.
In addition to working for his father, he's done odd jobs for his sister, offered handyman services in his neighborhood, scoured employment listings online and chased construction-work leads from friends.
He can't remember the last time he worked a full week. He says he'll occasionally work a couple of days a week now, usually for his father, but that jobs are "few and far between."

Turning to political races, Peter White is an independent candidate running for the US Congress out of Mass.' 10th Congressional District. Among other things, his platform includes:

End the wars for oil in the Middle East and bring our troops home! Use our National Guard to guard our Nation instead of invading others. Use the peace dividend to lower budget deficits and fund education and other community needs.

Brian Kehrl (Cape News) reports that White's sponsored a petition article "urging Mashpee's Congressional delegation to pursue the 'speedy withdrawal' of American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan rather than to cut funding for the two wars" after some objected to cutting funds: "The article carries no legal weight, but both Rep. Delahunt's and Sen. Kerry's offices answered a request for a response by saying that they agree with the petition article. Sen. Brown’s office did not respond to a query from the Enterprise by press time this week."

David Bacon is an independent journalist who covers the labor and immigration beat -- one of a tiny number of actual labor reporters remaining in the US -- and his work is always impressive whether it's his writing or his photography. His photography is, in fact, art and he has an exhibit coming up.

Farm Workers
Photographs by David Bacon

Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography
University of La Verne
La Verne, California
through May 21, 2010
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday

Gallery Statement:

While American Agriculture's dependence on migrant farm labor is evident, when placed in contrast with the dire circumstances these essential workers experience while helping make food available for the world market, it is hard to imagine a larger disparity between necessity and compensation.

For nearly two decades, David Bacon has documented the struggles experienced by immigrant workers and their families, detailing the challenges and conditions faced by these often overlooked members of society in a number of highly acclaimed books, articles and photo series, all providing the public a glimpse of a community that otherwise often goes unseen.

"Farm Workers" shows the hard working conditions faced by these communities. The images highlight the issue of immigration and show the consequences of economic dislocation in Mexico. The exhibit - a partnership between Bacon and California Rural Legal Assistance and its Indigenous Farm Worker Project - is supported by the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB), a network of Mexican indigenous communities in the U.S. and Mexico. The communities documented include Mixtecos, Triquis, Zapotecos, Chatinos, and Purepechas living in San Diego, Coachella, Arvin, Oxnard and Santa Paula, Santa Maria, Fresno and Selma, Salinas and Greenfield, Santa Rosa, Fairfield and Corning.

Bacon is sharing his work with an ongoing photo exhibition at the University of La Verne. The exhibit, "Farm Workers," is on display through May 21, 2010, at the University of La Verne's Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography. This event is also intended to bring attention to the university's photography major.

Admission to the gallery, located on the ground floor of Miller Hall on the university's main campus, is free.

Bacon is the author of several books, including "Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants," "Communities Without Borders: Images and Voices from the World of Migration," and "The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border." His work has been exhibited in the U.S., Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The Carlson Gallery is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by special appointment. For information on the exhibit, the artist reception or the Carlson Gallery, contact Gary Colby at (909) 593-3511, ext. 4281.

from: "Photo exhibit focuses on laborers"
La Verne University Campus Times, April 30, 2010
Rachel Smith, Staff Writer

David Bacon's photography exhibit "Farm Workers" at the Irene Carlson Gallery exposed the difficult conditions faced by most immigrant farm workers. "The photos are a reality check," Bacon said. "Food doesn't automatically appear on the Safeway shelves."

The ULV students that filled the exhibit were affected by the extraordinary images. The ULV staff and students provided great behind the scenes support to help make sure the event was a success. Gary Colby, professor of photography, and Kevin Bowman, photography department manager, were the key staff members that brought the exhibit to life. Colby selected the artist, while Bowman focused on printing the images that Colby and Bacon picked for the exhibit.

They capture men and women working side-by-side doing the same very physically demanding jobs. "Some of these images break the stereotype of a farm worker," Bowman said. The images not only focus on male Mexican farm workers, but also touch on immigrants from India and women farm workers.

Bacon emotionally reached the students at ULV. He stirred inside them a desire to learn and become aware of the difficult life situations. "It makes me feel like there is a lot going on that I'm not aware of," said Grady Thomas, junior communications major. "I need to be more aware of what's happening." Thomas and fellow communications major Pui Lok Choi helped promote Bacon's exhibit as a school project.

As an adult, Bacon was a union leader and began to see the injustices that immigrants were facing in the labor world. His passion and desire to document the hardships eventually became full-time work for the union organizer turned artist. "We are all here to work," Bacon said. "That's what we have in common no matter the race or work you do."

For more articles and images, see

See also Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press, 2008)
Recipient: C.L.R. James Award, best book of 2007-2008

See also the photodocumentary on indigenous migration to the US
Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006)

See also The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004)

David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. Bacon can be heard on KPFA's The Morning Show (over the airwaves in the Bay Area, streaming online) each Wednesday morning (begins airing at 7:00 am PST).

Bonnie notes Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "To Clarify Any Confusion" went up last night.

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