Thursday, February 16, 2006



Please join the online campaign to
Send emails to President Bush, Vice President
Cheney, Secretary of State Rice, U.N. Secretary-
General Annan, Congressional leaders and
the media demanding NO WAR ON IRAN!


Help Us Tell CYA's Chief Warner:
Close Chad Now!!

Join Books Not Bars, Escuelas Si, Pintas No,
and Youth in Focus on February 22 for
a press conference and picket at the office
of CYA Chief Bernard Warner in Sacramento.
We will call on Chief Warner to close Chad
immediately -- our youth need action now!

Please come and show your support!

Press Conference and Picket to close Chad

Wednesday, February 22, 2006, 4:30 p.m.

Where: Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
1515 S. Street
Sacramento, CA
RSVP: Contact David at: 510.428.3939 x243 or


A film by Eugene Jarecki
[Check out the trailer about this new film.
This looks like a very powerful film.]


Hear: CC Campbell-Rock
'Venezuelans are getting their 40 acres
and a mule, and more'
Friday, February 24th, 7PM
Centro Del Pueblo
474 Valencia Street
(near 16th Street one block west of
16th & Mission Bart Station)
CC Campbell-Rock, the new editor of the San Francisco
Bay View newspaper, has just returned from Venezuela.
Read her article, 'Venezuelans are getting their 40 acres
and a mule, and more' at .
Hear her report back as an eyewitness
to the Bolivarian Revolution.
She attended last week's World Social Forum and
toured the Venezuelan countryside, with other
delegates from Global Women's Strike, to meet
the grassroots revolutionary leaders who are
making the kind of miracles in education, health,
housing, economic development, etc., that could
revive and transform the inner cities of the United
States. Prior to working for the SF Bay View, CC was
a prominent pre-KATRINA journalist and activist
in New Orleans.
This meeting is jointly sponsored by the San
Francisco Bay Area Hands Off Venezuela! committee
and the San Francisco Bay View .
San Francisco Bay View
San Francisco Bay Area Hands Off Venezuela! 415-786-1680
Donation $5.00 (Students, unemployed, and Seniors $3.00)


SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2006, 10:00 A.M.
Local, 34, the ILWU Shipclerk's Hall
4 Berry Street (behind the ballpark)


Please help spread the word:

Counter Recruitment
Presenters Mobilization!

The military recruits in most Bay Area high schools,
Let’s make sure students hear the other side!

This will be a training/organizing kick off for:
• youth to youth presentation teams,
• veterans and non-veteran classroom presenters, and
• anyone who wants to learn, share and help support this effort!

Saturday, February 25th, 2-5pm
War Veterans Memorial Building, Room 219
401 Van Ness, San Francisco
West of City Hall, near Civic Center BART
Snacks will be provided, donations will be accepted.

For more information, please contact
Paul Cox (510) 528-1975
or Susan Quinlan

This event is co-sponsored by Veterans for Peace and
Alternatives to War Through Education/
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors


Welcome to BANG4CHANGE 2006 !

Bang4Change 2006 !
We Poor People are called "Gang Bangers" & "Thugs"
Challenge the Hype ! Bang with Peace, Courage & Solidarity!

End US War on Poor, Black & Brown, NOW !

Saturday February 25th,
Noon to 6 P.M.
In front of SF City Hall
(415) 595-8251


Postering for March 18 Anti-war Protest - Volunteer Now!
2489 Mission St. Room 24 (at 21st St.) SF,
near 24th St. BART
Now more than ever, the anti-war movement needs
to reach out to the thousands of people who are turning
against the war and occupation of Iraq. Your help is needed.
Call the ANSWER office for the schedule to go out in teams to poster
for an hour or two. Pick up flyers, posters and stickers
at the ANSWER office at 2489 Mission St. Room 24.
Call 415-821-6545 for hours.


TUESDAY, MARCH 7, 4:00 p.m.
Below please find an editorial by Willie Ratcliff,
publisher of SF Bay View, about a March 7 hearing
before Redevelopment Authority, which will seal the
fate of Bayview Hunter's Point. Many of us have been
saying for years that the Bayview will be the new
Fillmore. March 7 is, as Ratcliff says, an eviction
notice for the residents of Bayview Hunters Point. Not
long after coming into office, Mayor Gavin Newsom did
photo ops with young black men on a basketball court
in Bayview (he was lavished with praise by our
mindless media for that), but he knew damn well then
that their displacement was imminent. It's all part of
San Francisco's hypocrisy about racism and classism.
"Oh, we're a liberal city, we oppose racism and
classism..." people and politicians say, even as they
stand idly by while more and more poor, working-class
and people of color are pushed out of the city by
Ellis Act evictions for TICs for the upper middle
class and Redevelopment Authority's "negro removal,"
as it was called by black activists in the 60s.

Why is it that removing "urban blight" from our cities
means giving poor, working-class and people of color a
one-way ticket to another city? Why can't
Redevelopment work on building communities from within
(with no-interest business loans and subsidies to
homeowners and landlords to fix up their properties,)
instead of declaring "eminent domain" and stealing the
land from folks who have nothing else? If
Redevelopment wants to do some real cleaning of urban
blight why not confiscate the mansions in Pacific
Heights and do a little redistributing of the wealth!
But that's not the game in America. Redevelopment is a
tool of the real-estate interests that want to
gentrify all of our neighborhoods. It's about removing
poor folks so that middle-class and upper-class folks
can have their homes. It's a time-honored American
tradition. Native Americans were pushed from their
land as wagon trains of settlers, driven by manifest
destiny, spread westward. Similarly, the new Bayview
is not for the folks who live there now. As former
Mayor Willie Brown himself said before he left office,
the new Bayview will be market-rate condos with the
best views in town.

Your help is desperately needed.

Come to the hearing on March 7 at City Hall room 416,
4pm. It is imperative that we stand with the residents
of Bayview. It is imperative that people from all
communities and struggles come together to oppose the
annexing of 1300 acres of land next to the shipyard.
No more Fillmores! No eviction notice for Bayview! No
more gentrification! Redistribute the wealth, don't
steal our homes! The land does not belong to the
realtors or the rich! Nuestra tierra, nuestro mundo!
Our land, our world!

Estamos juntos en la lucha...we are together in the
struggle--or we all go down separately!

tommi avicolli mecca


Eviction notice served on Bayview Hunters Point
Editorial by Willie Ratcliff


Week of March 13-17
Students Say NO to War in Iraq!
College Not Combat, Troops Out Now!

(*Spring break alternative: Schools on spring
break during March 13-17
will hold events the week of March 20)

Student week of action coordinated by the
Campus Antiwar Network

Charles Jenks
Chair of Advisory Board and Web Manager
Traprock Peace Center
103A Keets Road
Deerfield, MA 01342
fax 413-773-7507


Third Anniversary of "Shock and Awe"
Saturday, March 18, 2006, 11:00 a.m.
San Francisco

Monday, March 20, 2006
Youth and Student Day
of Resistance to Imperialism


Major Mobilization Set for April 29th

Dear Friends,

We are pleased to announce the kick-off for the organizing
of what promises to be a major national mobilization on
Saturday, April 29th. Today, each of the initiating groups
(see list below) is announcing this mobilization. Our
organizations have agreed to work together on this
project for several reasons:

The April 29th mobilization will highlight our call for an
immediate end to the war on Iraq. We are also raising
several other critical issues that are directly connected
to one another.

It is time for our constituencies to work more closely:
connecting the issues we work on by bringing diverse
communities into a common project.

It is important for our movements to help set the agenda
for the Congressional elections later in the year. Our
unified action in the streets is a vital part of that process.

Please share the April 29th call widely, and please use
the links at the end of the call to endorse this timely
mobilization and to sign up for email updates.

April 29th Initiating Organizations
United for Peace and Justice
Rainbow/PUSH Coalition
National Organization for Women
Friends of the Earth
U.S. Labor Against the War
Climate Crisis Coalition
Peoples' Hurricane Relief Fund
National Youth and Student Peace Coalition

A war based on lies
Spying, corruption and attacks on civil liberties
Katrina survivors abandoned by government


End the war in Iraq -
Bring all our troops home now!


Unite for change - let's turn our country around!

The times are urgent and we must act.

Too much is too wrong in this country. We have a foreign
policy that is foreign to our core values, and domestic
policies wreaking havoc at home. It's time for a change.

No more never-ending oil wars!
Protect our civil liberties & immigrant rights. End illegal
spying, government corruption and the subversion of
our democracy.

Rebuild our communities, starting with the Gulf Coast.
Stop corporate subsidies and tax cuts for the wealthy
while ignoring our basic needs.

Act quickly to address the climate crisis and the
accelerating destruction of our environment.

Our message to the White House and to Congress
is clear: either stand with us or stand aside!

We are coming together to march, to vote, to speak
out and to turn our country around!

Join us in New York City on Saturday, April 29th

Click here to endorse this mobilization:
Click here to sign up for email updates on plans for April 29th:

April 29th Initiating Organizations
United for Peace and Justice
Rainbow/PUSH Coalition
National Organization for Women
Friends of the Earth
U.S. Labor Against the War
Climate Crisis Coalition
Peoples' Hurricane Relief Fund
National Youth and Student Peace Coalition


ANSWER Coalition: All Out for April 29 in New York City!
End Occupation from Iraq to Palestine, to Haiti, and Everywhere!
Fight for workers rights, civil rights and civil liberties - unite
against racism!

300,000 Came to Washington on Sept. 24

In recent weeks the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition has been in the final
stages for planning a national demonstration in Washington DC on April
29, 2006. This action was to follow the local and regional
demonstrations for March 18-19 and youth and student actions scheduled
on March 20 on the 3rd anniversary of the criminal bombing, invasion
and occupation of Iraq.

On September 24, 2005 more than 300,000 people surrounded the White
House in the largest mobilization against the Iraq war and occupation
since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. This demonstration was
initiated by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition in May 2005 and we urged a
united front with other major anti-war coalitions and communities. We
marched demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal from Iraq. We
also stood in solidarity with the Palestinian and Haitian people and
others who are suffering under and resisting occupation. Coming as it
did following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we changed the demands of
the September 24 protest to include the slogan "From Iraq to New
Orleans, FundPeople's Needs not the War Machine."

During the past several years, and as demonstrated in a powerful
display on September 24, the anti-war movement has grown significantly
in its breadth and depth as the leadership has included the Arab and
Muslim community -- those who are among the primary targets of the
Bush Administration's current war at home and abroad.

The anti-war sentiment inside the United States is rapidly becoming a
significant obstacle to the Bush Administration's war in Iraq. The
anti-war movement has the potential to be a critical deterrent to the
U.S. government's aspirations for Empire. At this moment the White
House and Pentagon are issuing threats and making plans to move
against other sovereign countries. Iran and Syria are being targeted
as the U.S. seeks to consolidate power in the Middle East.

Simultaneously the Bush administration is working to undermine the
gains of the people of Latin America by working totopple the
democratically elected president of Venezuela and destroy the
revolutionary process for social change going on in that country.
Likewise it is intensifying the economic war and CIA subversions
against Cuba.

We believe that our movement must weld together the broadest, most
diverse coalition of various sectors and communities into an effective
force for change. This requires the inclusion of targeted communities
and political clarity. The war in Iraq is not simply an aberrational
policy of the Bush neo-conservatives. Iraq is emblematic of a larger
war for Empire. It is part of a multi-pronged attack against all those
countries that refuse to follow the economic, political and military
dictates of the Washington establishment and Wall Street.

This is the foundation of the political program upon which the
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition has organized mass demonstrations in the recent
years. The fact that many hundreds of thousands of people
havedemonstrated in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, New
York and other cities is a testament to the huge progress that has
been made in building a new movement on this principled basis.
The people of the United States have nothing to gain and everything to
lose from the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Haiti and
the threats of new wars and intervention in Syria, Iran, Venezuela,
Cuba, the Philippines, North Korea and elsewhere. It has been made
crystal clear in recent weeks that Washington is aggressively
prosecuting its strategy of total domination of the Middle East. U.S.
leaders are seeking to crush all resistance to their colonial agenda,
whether from states or popular movements in the region. The
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition andthe anti-war movement is raising the demand,
"U.S. Out of the Middle East."

At its core, the war for Empire is supported by the Republican Party
and Democratic Party alike, which constitute the twin parties of
militarism and war, and this quest for global domination will continue
regardless of the outcome of the 2006 election. In fact, leading
Democrats are attacking Bush for being "soft" on Iran and North Korea.
Real hope for turning the tide rests with building a powerful global
movement of resistance in which the people of the United States stand
with their sisters and brothers struggling against imperialism and the
new colonialism.

On the home front the Bush administration is involved in a
far-reaching assault against working class communities as most
glaringly evidenced by its criminal and racist negligence towards the
people of New Orleans and throughout the hurricane ravaged Gulf
States. While turning their backs on these communities in the moments
ofgreatest need, the U.S. government is now working with the banks and
developers who, like vultures, are exploiting mass suffering and
dislocation to carry out racist gentrification that only benefits the
wealthy. The administration is also working to eviscerate hard-fought
civil rights and civil liberties, engaging in a widespread campaign of
domestic spying and wiretapping against the people of the U.S. and
other assaults against the First and Fourth Amendments.

In early December 2005, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition filed for permits
for a national march in Washington DC on April 29, 2006. We were
preparing to announce the April 29 action but in recent days we have
heard from A.N.S.W.E.R. organizers in a number of unions that U.S.
Labor Against the War was seeking union endorsements for a call for an
anti-war demonstration on the same day in New York City. Having two
demonstrations on April 29 in both Washington D.C. and New York City
seems to us to be lessadvantageous than having the movement unite
behind one single mobilization. As such, we decided to hold back our
announcement. Subsequently, the New York City demonstration has been
announced by a number of organizations. Underscoring the need to have
the largest possible demonstration on April 29, the A.N.S.W.E.R.
Coalition has decided to fully mobilize, in all of its chapters and
organizing centers, to bring people to the New York City demonstration
on April 29. The banners and slogans of different coalitions may not
be the same, but it is in the interest of everyone to march
shoulder-to-shoulder against the criminal war in Iraq and the Bush
administration's War for Empire, including its racist, sexist and
anti-worker domestic program.

All out for a united, mass mobilization on April 29 in New York City!
Click here to become a transportation center in your city or town for
the April 29 demonstration.

Click here to receive updates on A.N.S.W.E.R.'s mobilization for the
April 29 NYC demonstration.
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 323-464-1636
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Click here to unsubscribe from the ANSWER e-mail list.


Welcome to the Official Push for Peace Site!
The Push for Peace logo shows a Navy veteran in a wheelchair with
a peace sign on the wheel, with people marching behind him.
It can be seen at:
Push For Peace is a collective of veterans, progressive activists, and
everyday citizens working together through education, motivation,
and truth to bring America’s troops home from the war in Iraq and
to help bring healing and peace to our nation. The Push For Peace
movement is geared to combine the efforts of able-bodied activists
to those with special needs or challenges, so that all people can
participate and be counted. The Push For Peace effort will include
organized rallies and marches, as well as appearances and
performances by high-profile speakers and entertainers,
to rally the American people and show them we stand united
with our fellow citizen and soldier. It is our goal to grow the
base of participants each day resulting in a cross-country Push
culminating at the gates of the White House on July 4, 2006.
Events will be scheduled across the country leading up to the
big Push in July. So keep checking the Push calendar for events
near you.
Mapping it all out...[Website shows map of stops in US en route
to DC on July 4,]
This is a tentative and unfinished P4P route and is only a work
in progress. The Push is set to leave Golden Gate Park on
Memorial Day 2006 (currently working on permits) and then
we will Push our way across the country to arrive in DC across
from the White House gathering at Lafayette Park (currently
working on permits) on July 4th, 2006.
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California
Las Vegas Nevada
Phoenix, Arizona
Denver, Colorado
Crawford, Texas
New Orleans, Louisiana
more states pending...
Pushing real Democracy!


From: David Johnson
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2006 1:48 PM

2) Letter from: Joe Buckley - President, UAW Local 69

3) The Trust Gap
NYT Editorial
February 12, 2006

4) The Count
Iraq War’s Virtues May Be Debatable. The Profits Aren’t.
February 12, 2006

5) Everybody's Business
New Front: Protecting America's Investors
February 12, 2006

6) The trouble with tough love
Humiliating teen addicts can't cure them
Maia Szalavitz
Sunday, February 12, 2006

7) Cheney Shoots Fellow Hunter in Mishap on a Texas Ranch
[If you thought that if our leaders are not in the headlines
they are quietly working, think]
February 13, 2006

8) Debt and Denial
February 13, 2006

9) Hawaii Agrees to Change Policies for Incarcerated Gay Youths
February 13, 2006

SIGNED MAY 29, 1934
[Here's the text of the 1934 treaty with Cuba which the United States
is violating by using the base as a prison/torture facility today.]

11) Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
February 12, 2006
Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website

[Col. Writ. 2/1/06] Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

13) Cuba Amateurs Face Millionaires in World Baseball Classic
By Circles Robinson

14) Group Starts Anti-Union Campaign
February 14, 2006

15) G.M. to Invest $500 Million in Michigan
February 14, 2006

16) Hotel Aid Ends; Katrina Evacuees Seek Housing Again

17) UCSC Military Recruitment Debate Reportback
by bob fitch (photos) & josh sonnenfeld (words)
Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006 at 4:32 P

18) Outrage Spreads over New Images
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Arkan Hamed
The recently aired photos depicting
torturing of Iraqis by U.S. military
personnel at Abu Ghraib prison are
now posted for viewing at
Go here to view the photos:


From: David Johnson
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2006 1:48 PM

I would like to make an URGENT appeal to all of you,
on behalf of a group of 150 brave men and women, who
are in a desperate fight for their families and

These brave men and women are being attacked by a
transnational corporation, that has descended like a
vulture upon their small community in western

The struggle I am referring to is the battle between
Boilermakers local 484 in Merdosia Illinois, and the
German based CELANESE corporation.

I am well aware of the NUMEROUS attacks and
struggles we all are facing world-wide by the New
World Order Corporate class and their bought and
paid for politicians,

HOWEVER, I would like to state that the journey of a
thousand miles begins with ONE relatively simple
first step.

The step I am referring to is WINNING !

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am getting
sick and tired of seeing one losing battle after
another being fought by working people around the
world, and the ever expanding corporate blitzkrieg
getting bolder and more destructive with each

That is why we NEED to begin not just fighting back,

In my opinion, the CELANESE Corp. / Boilermakers
Local 484 is a winable fight.

I have evidence to prove this, but instead of
continuing with a lengthy explanation, I have one
simple request.

Contact me ( wherever you live worldwide ) and give
me some contacts of people involved in ;

Individual Unions, Labor Federations / Councils, and
other citizen organizations, so that we can fight

I would ESPECIALLY like to hear from European
brothers and sisters, who could find out more
information about CELANESE Corp. ( based in Germany
) as to world-wide operations, subsideraries, etc,
ANYTHING that could be useful to figtht these
corporate bastards.

In addition to the above, if each of you who read
this, could afford to send at least U.S. $ 10.00, to
help feed and house these brave men and women, so
that they can continue to fight and WIN, you will
ultimately be helping yourselves and others in your
community, by begining to turn the tide against the
corporate monolith that is systematically destroying
our standard of living and our planet.


In Solidarity

David Johnson
Champaign, IL. USA

Send donations to ;

Boilermakers 484
P.O. Box 258
Merdosia, IL. 62665
To e-mail Community Labor Discussion:
To unsubscribe, e-mail:
To subscribe, e-mail:
For additional commands, e-mail: - "educate, agitate, and organize,"


2) Letter from: Joe Buckley - President, UAW Local 69

Delphi has a total of 160,000 workers worldwide. Out of that
160,000, 24,000 are UAW workers and 8000 are made up of IUE,
Steelworkers and CWA members. The remaining 128,000 workers
are in foreign countries and are not a part of the chapter 11 filing.
Delphi has $1.5 billion dollars in cash, yet finds it necessary to file
bankruptcy only on its American operations. This is while they
demand that their American workers take pay cuts in excess of
63% and that each worker pay in excess of $5000 dollars per year
for out of pocket medical expenses, not to mention general
take-aways of everything our unions and members have fought
for over the past 25 years.

To add to the insult, these demands come after Delphi's hiring
of Steve Miller as CEO, giving him a $3.5 million dollar signing
bonus, a yearly salary of $1.5 million, and another bonus upon
completion of Delphi's reorganization. Delphi also set aside
$90 million dollars in retention bonuses for executives along
with lucrative severance packages. Apparently, these are the
rewards for the bad business decisions of Delphi and its

I'm sure you have all read that Miller yielded to the pressure
from the media concerning his bonus and salary and that
he stated his intentions to forego his $1.5 million dollar
salary for the next year. I have tried to put into perspective
the equality of his sacrifice. Just with his $3.5 million dollar
signing bonus alone, he will make $87,000 per week, or
$239.00 an hour every hour of every day, asleep or awake,
24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Compare that to his
proposal that we work for $10.00 an hour or $400.00 per
week while we pay in excess of $5000.00 per year in health
care. I just can't see the equality of sacrifice in those numbers.

In closing, I would say this to Steven Miller and to Delphi;
The working men and women of our unions are NOT going
to mow your grass for $10.00 an hour. Maybe you should
mow your own grass and let us run the business...
Thanks again for your participation. SOLIDARITY FOREVER!
Joe Buckley - President, UAW Local 69


3) The Trust Gap
NYT Editorial
February 12, 2006

We can't think of a president who has gone to the American people
more often than George W. Bush has to ask them to forget about
things like democracy, judicial process and the balance of powers
— and just trust him. We also can't think of a president who has
deserved that trust less.

This has been a central flaw of Mr. Bush's presidency for a long time.
But last week produced a flood of evidence that vividly drove home the point.

DOMESTIC SPYING After 9/11, Mr. Bush authorized the National
Security Agency to eavesdrop on the conversations and e-mail
of Americans and others in the United States without obtaining
a warrant or allowing Congress or the courts to review the operation.
Lawmakers from both parties have raised considerable doubt
about the legality of this program, but Attorney General Alberto
Gonzales made it clear last Monday at a Senate hearing that
Mr. Bush hasn't the slightest intention of changing it.

According to Mr. Gonzales, the administration can be relied
upon to police itself and hold the line between national security
and civil liberties on its own. Set aside the rather huge problem
that our democracy doesn't work that way. It's not clear that this
administration knows where the line is, much less that it is capable
of defending it. Mr. Gonzales's own dedication to the truth is
in considerable doubt. In sworn testimony at his confirmation
hearing last year, he dismissed as "hypothetical" a question about
whether he believed the president had the authority to conduct
warrantless surveillance. In fact, Mr. Gonzales knew Mr. Bush
was doing just that, and had signed off on it as White House

THE PRISON CAMPS It has been nearly two years since the Abu
Ghraib scandal illuminated the violence, illegal detentions and
other abuses at United States military prison camps. There have
been Congressional hearings, court rulings imposing normal
judicial procedures on the camps, and a law requiring prisoners
to be treated humanely. Yet nothing has changed. Mr. Bush also
made it clear that he intends to follow the new law on the treatment
of prisoners when his internal moral compass tells him
it is the right thing to do.

On Thursday, Tim Golden of The Times reported that United
States military authorities had taken to tying up and force-feeding
the prisoners who had gone on hunger strikes by the dozens
at Guantánamo Bay to protest being held without any semblance
of justice. The article said administration officials were concerned
that if a prisoner died, it could renew international criticism of Gitmo.
They should be concerned. This is not some minor embarrassment.
It is a lingering outrage that has undermined American credibility
around the world.

According to numerous news reports, the majority of the Gitmo
detainees are neither members of Al Qaeda nor fighters captured
on the battlefield in Afghanistan. The National Journal reported last
week that many were handed over to the American forces for bounties
by Pakistani and Afghan warlords. Others were just swept up.
The military has charged only 10 prisoners with terrorism. Hearings
for the rest were not held for three years and then were mostly
sham proceedings.

And yet the administration continues to claim that it can be trusted
to run these prisons fairly, to decide in secret and on the president's
whim who is to be jailed without charges, and to insist that Gitmo
is filled with dangerous terrorists.

THE WAR IN IRAQ One of Mr. Bush's biggest "trust me" moments
was when he told Americans that the United States had to invade
Iraq because it possessed dangerous weapons and posed an immediate
threat to America. The White House has blocked a Congressional
investigation into whether it exaggerated the intelligence on Iraq,
and continues to insist that the decision to invade was based
on the consensus of American intelligence agencies.

But the next edition of the journal Foreign Affairs includes an article
by the man in charge of intelligence on Iraq until last year, Paul Pillar,
who said the administration cherry-picked intelligence to support
a decision to invade that had already been made. He said Mr. Bush
and Vice President Dick Cheney made it clear what results they
wanted and heeded only the analysts who produced them.
Incredibly, Mr. Pillar said, the president never asked for an
assessment on the consequences of invading Iraq until a year
after the invasion. He said the intelligence community did that
analysis on its own and forecast a deeply divided society ripe
for civil war.

When the administration did finally ask for an intelligence
assessment, Mr. Pillar led the effort, which concluded in
August 2004 that Iraq was on the brink of disaster. Officials
then leaked his authorship to the columnist Robert Novak and
to The Washington Times. The idea was that Mr. Pillar was
not to be trusted because he dissented from the party line.
Somehow, this sounds like a story we have heard before.

Like many other administrations before it, this one sometimes
dissembles clumsily to avoid embarrassment. (We now know,
for example, that the White House did not tell the truth about
when it learned the levees in New Orleans had failed.)
Spin-as-usual is one thing. Striking at the civil liberties,
due process and balance of powers that are the heart
of American democracy is another.


4) The Count
Iraq War’s Virtues May Be Debatable. The Profits Aren’t.
February 12, 2006

In his recent State of the Union address, President Bush called
for the nation to back the war in Iraq and to "stand behind the
American military in this vital mission."

No matter how one feels about this particular conflict, war always
has winners and losers — on both sides. There's the human toll,
of course, which Mr. Bush acknowledged. Whether democracy
and freedom will, over all, be winners, only history will divulge.

But some indisputable winners are clear now: military contractors.
Suppose an investor were endowed with that golden instinct for
spotting bargains and bought 100 shares of each of the top six
military contractors at their lows of the last six years — lows
reached by four of them in March 2000, before the election,
before Sept. 11 and before any hint of war. That basket
of shares would have cost $12,731.50. On Friday, it would
have been worth three and a half times that: $44,417.

Little wonder. Just look at the money machines these
contractors have become as the war drags on.



5) Everybody's Business
New Front: Protecting America's Investors
February 12, 2006

IN the tiny room where I am writing this missive, there are four little
display cases and a framed diploma, among many other mementos.
The diploma is for my father-in-law, Dale Denman Jr. of Arkansas,
and it is from the United States Military Academy, dated June 6, 1944
— a day when quite a lot was happening of military significance in France.

Next to that is a display case with two little stars. One is a Silver Star
that my father-in-law won in Europe several months after he graduated.
It is for running along a road under heavy German machine-gun fire to
call in artillery to save the company for which he was a forward artillery
observer. Next to it is a Bronze Star that my father-in-law, then a colonel,
won in Vietnam in 1966 for holding his unit together when it was
ambushed by a Vietcong force and would have been cut to pieces
without him.

I have been thinking a lot lately about these heirlooms that Colonel
Denman left to my wife and me. That's because of some mail I have
been getting about my recent articles in this space about the way high
executives have been treating their employees and stockholders. What
I said two weeks ago about UAL, the parent company of United Airlines,
prompted hundreds of e-mail messages. (I have still not even remotely
caught up with all of them because I read them myself — no secretary here.)

Several people sent clippings describing how UAL provided Glenn F. Tilton,
who was living in San Francisco when it hired him as chairman and chief
executive, with a suite in a luxury hotel when he spent time at its
headquarters in Chicago. UAL was paying for the suite — which cost
$18,000 a month, according to The San Francisco Chronicle — while
it was reorganizing its finances under bankruptcy court protection
and telling tens of thousands of workers that their jobs had been
eliminated, their pay cut, their pensions terminated or all of the
above because the company was broke.

Some of the letter writers recalled how UAL spent an average of
$10 million a month on lawyers, accountants and investment bankers
for 37 months while UAL was in bankruptcy, and yet was unable
to pay its employees their pensions.

Now UAL has emerged from bankruptcy with a mighty flourish, and
an allowance of hundreds of millions of dollars for its top executives.
Some letters pointed out that one of UAL's board members is none
other than our old friend Robert S. Miller, chief executive of Delphi,
the auto parts maker.

Delphi also recently entered bankruptcy — but proposed to the
bankruptcy court a payment of well over $100 million to its top
executives to keep them happy while it was in bankruptcy. Mr. Miller,
who goes by Steve, a version of his middle name (not the one who
sings "Fly Like an Eagle," but an artist of sorts nonetheless), has
told Delphi's workers that they will have to take pay cuts of roughly
two-thirds in order to save the business.

But my favorite communication, the one that made me stay up nights,
was from a United States Army sergeant who has done two combat
tours in Iraq and two more in Afghanistan, and is now home in Georgia
training others to serve in those wars. I have been pals with this man
for a couple of years now, and we talk on the phone. He has been
following my articles online, and he simply asked, "Was this what
I was fighting for in Iraq?"

The question haunts me, not only because of UAL and Delphi, but
also because there is something deeply broken about the corporate
system in America. Long ago, my pop was pals with Harlow H. Curtice,
the president of General Motors in its glory days in the 1950's.
Mr. Curtice presided over a spectacularly powerful and profitable G.M.

For that, in his peak year as I recall from my youth, he was paid
about $400,000 plus a special superbonus of $400,000, which made
him one of the highest-paid executives in America. At that time,
a line worker with overtime might have made $10,000 a year.
In those days, that differential was considered very large — very
roughly 40 times the assembly line worker's pay, without bonus;
very roughly 80 times with bonus. A differential of more like
10 to 20 times was more the norm.

Now C.E.O.'s routinely take home hundreds of times what the
average worker is paid, whether or not the company is doing well.
The graph for the pay of C.E.O.'s is a vertical line in the last five years.
The graph for workers' pay is a flat line — in every sense.

Now, my fellow free-market fans may well say: "Hey, stop your
whining. This is the free market at work." Only it isn't the free market
at work. It's a kleptocracy at work. (I am indebted to another of my
correspondents for the word.) What's happening here is that the
governance system for many — by no means all — corporations
has simply stopped working.

For centuries, the idea has held that the stockholders own the
company. They are the trustors. The trustors select directors who
in turn hire a chief executive and other top officers and then keep
an eye on them for the stockholders. They — the chief executive,
other top officers and the directors — are all agents for the
stockholders, many of whom are often the employees,
as is the case at UAL.

But what has happened is that — as in a corrupt, failed third-world
state — the trustees in too many cases are captives of the C.E.O.
and his colleagues; they owe both their places on the board and
their emoluments to the chief executive, and they exercise no
meaningful restraint at all on managers. The directors are instead
a sort of praetorian guard, protecting management from its real
bosses, the stockholders, as management sucks the blood out
of the company.

I am by no means saying this is the standard or the usual way
business is done in this country. Most managements are still honest
and hard-working, I believe. But far too many are simply in the
catbird seat to take what is not decently theirs from people who
cannot afford to be taken.

Government, meanwhile, does nothing, or next to nothing. Courts,
especially bankruptcy courts, do nothing. And the employees and
stockholders and the whole society are looted. Maybe it's not
looting in the legal sense, but something basic is removed from
the society. In the capitalist society, the most basic foundation
is trust. But in today's world, trust is abused, mocked, drained
of meaning.

Again, I am not talking everywhere, by any means. I work with many,
many businessmen and businesswomen, and a huge majority are
honest and amazingly hard-working. I am sure that this is true
nationally. But enough are not so honest and hard-working that
it takes a toll on the rest of us.

Don't get me wrong. I am not a newborn. I know that looting is
not new. Man is highly flawed when money is on the table and not
guarded well. I saw it and wrote about it in great detail when
Michael R. Milken and Drexel Burnham Lambert were ascendant,
and in many other cases. It was terrible and dreadful, at least in
my view, back then in the 1980's. It has always been terrible.

But there is something new and unlovely that my pal in the Army
brought up. Now, we are engaged in a war. More than 100,000
Americans are fighting far from home. Many don't come back.
Many come home crippled. They are fighting for a vision of a just
and decent society back home in glorious, shining, blessed America.
And back home, meanwhile, the looters are running wild, taking
the meaning out of that vision of America, taking some — by no
means all — of the beauty out of America as a land of justice and

ONE of my correspondents wrote that she, a flight attendant at
United Airlines, had played by the rules, believed what her bosses
told her, trusted that the laws would protect her, believed that
fairness would triumph in the end because it's America. "I guess
that makes me a fool in today's world," she said, because now
she is broke, with no job, barely any pension and no faith. While
the soldiers are fighting to protect us from the terrorists with
bombs, too few are at home protecting us from the terrorists
with briefcases. There aren't a lot of such terrorists, but they
do a lot of damage.

Surely this is not what Colonel Denman won his medals for. Surely
this is not the America that our best are fighting and dying for
in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is something desperately wrong
here, and if President Bush is searching for an issue, I might
suggest this: common decency for the workers and the savers
and investors of this country, and an end to the hideous
breaches of trust that build great mansions in the Hamptons
and wreck a free soci- ety.

Ben Stein is a lawyer, writer, actor and economist. E-mail:


6) The trouble with tough love
Humiliating teen addicts can't cure them
Maia Szalavitz
Sunday, February 12, 2006

It is the ultimate parental nightmare: Your affectionate child is
transformed, seemingly overnight, into an out-of-control, drug-
addicted, hostile teenager. Many parents blame themselves. "Where
did we go wrong?" they ask. The kids, meanwhile, hurtle through
their own bewildering adolescent nightmare.

I know. My descent into drug addiction started in high school
and now, as an adult, I have a much better understanding of my
parents' anguish and of what I was going through. And, after
devoting several years to researching treatment programs, I'm
also aware of the traps that many parents fall into when they
finally seek help for their kids.

Many anguished parents put their faith in strict residential
rehab programs. At first glance, these programs, which are
commonly based on a philosophy of "tough love," seem to
offer a safe respite from the streets -- promising reform
through confrontational therapy in an isolated environment
where kids cannot escape the need to change their behavior.
During the '90s it became increasingly common for courts
to sentence young delinquents to military-style boot camps
as an alternative to incarceration.

But lack of government oversight and regulation makes
it impossible for parents to thoroughly investigate services
provided by such behavior-modification centers, wilderness
programs and "emotional-growth boarding schools."
Moreover, the very notion of making kids who are already
suffering go through more suffering is psychologically
backward. And there is little data to support these
institutions' claims of success.

Nonetheless, a billion-dollar industry now promotes such
tough-love treatment. There are several hundred public
and private facilities -- both in the United States and outside
the country -- but serving United States citizens almost

Although no one officially keeps track, my research suggests
that about 10,000 to 20,000 teenagers are enrolled each year.
A patchwork of lax and ineffective state regulations -- no
federal rules apply -- is all that protects these young people
from institutions that are regulated like ordinary boarding
schools but that sometimes use more-severe methods of
restraint and isolation than psychiatric centers. There are
no special qualifications required of the people who oversee
such facilities. Nor is any diagnosis required before enrollment.
If a parent thinks a child needs help and can pay the $3,000-
to $5,000-a-month fees, any teenager can be held in a private
program, with infrequent contact with the outside world, until
he or she turns 18.

During the past three years, I have interviewed more than
100 adolescents and parents with personal experience in both
public and private programs and have read hundreds of media
accounts, thousands of Internet postings and stacks of legal
documents. I have also spoken with numerous psychiatrists,
psychologists, sociologists and juvenile justice experts.

Of course, there is a range of approaches at different institutions,
but most of the people I spoke with agree that the industry
is dominated by the idea that harsh rules and even brutal
confrontation are necessary to help troubled teenagers.
UC Berkeley sociologist Elliott Currie, who did a study of teen
residential addiction treatment for the National Institute on
Drug Abuse, told me that he could not think of a program
that wasn't influenced by this philosophy.

Unfortunately, tough treatments usually draw public scrutiny
only when practitioners go too far. Dozens of deaths -- such
as January's case of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson, who
died hours after entering a juvenile boot camp that was under
contract with Florida's juvenile justice system -- and cases of
abuse have been documented since tough-love treatment was
popularized in the '70s and '80s by programs such as Synanon
and Straight Inc.

Parents and teenagers have told me of beatings, sleep deprivation,
use of stress positions, emotional abuse and public humiliation,
such as making them dress as prostitutes or in drag.

An important question -- whether tough love is the right
approach -- is almost never broached. Advocates of these
programs call the excesses tragic but isolated cases; they offer
anecdotes of miraculous transformations to balance the horror
stories; and they argue that tough love only seems brutal --
saying that surgery seems violent, too, without an understanding
of its vital purpose.

What advocates don't take from their medical analogy, however,
is the principle of "first, do no harm" and the associated requirement
of scientific proof of safety and efficacy. Research conducted by the
National Institutes of Health and the Department of Justice tells
a very different story from the testimonials -- one that has been
obscured by myths about why addicts take drugs and why troubled
teenagers act out.

As a former addict who began using cocaine and heroin in late
adolescence, I have never understood the logic of tough love.
I took drugs compulsively because I hated myself, because I felt
as if no one -- not even my family -- would love me if they really
knew me. Drugs allowed me to blot out that depressive self-focus
and socialize as though I thought I was OK.

How could being "confronted" about my bad behavior help me
with that? Why would being humiliated, once I'd given up the only
thing that allowed me to feel safe emotionally, make me better?
My problem wasn't that I needed to be cut down to size; it was that
I felt I didn't measure up.

In fact, fear of cruel treatment kept me from seeking help long after
I began to suspect I needed it. My addiction probably could have
been shortened if I'd thought I could have found care that didn't
conform to what I knew was (and sadly, still is) the dominant
confrontational approach.

Fortunately, the short-term residential treatment I underwent
was relatively light on confrontation, but I still had to deal with
a counselor who tried to humiliate me by disparaging my looks
when I expressed insecurity about myself.

The trouble with tough love is twofold. First, the underlying
philosophy -- that pain produces growth -- lends itself to abuse
of power. Second, and more important, toughness doesn't begin
to address the real problem. Troubled teenagers aren't usually
spoiled brats who "just need to be taught respect." Like me, they
most often go wrong because they hurt, not because they don't
want to do the right thing. That became all the more evident to
me when I took a look at who goes to these schools.

A surprisingly large number are sent away in the midst of
a parental divorce; others are enrolled for depression or other
serious mental illnesses. Many have lengthy histories of trauma
and abuse. The last thing such kids need is another experience
of powerlessness, humiliation and pain.

Sadly, tough love often looks as if it works: For one thing,
longitudinal studies find that most kids, even the most troubled,
eventually grow out of bad behavior, so the magic of time can
be mistaken for the magic of treatment. Second, the experience
of being emotionally terrorized can produce compliance that looks
like real change, at least initially.

The bigger picture suggests that tough love tends to backfire.
The Justice Department has released reports comparing boot
camps with traditional correctional facilities for juvenile offenders,
concluding in 2001 that neither facility "is more effective
in reducing recidivism."

In late 2004, the National Institutes of Health released a "state
of the science" consensus statement, concluding that get-tough
treatments "do not work and there is some evidence that they
may make the problem worse." Indeed, some young people leave
these programs with post-traumatic stress disorder and
exacerbations of their original problems.

These strict institutional settings work at cross-purposes
with the developmental stages adolescents go through.
According to psychiatrists, teenagers need to gain
responsibility, begin to test romantic relationships and
learn to think critically. But in tough programs, teenagers'
choices of activities are overwhelmingly made for them:
They are not allowed to date (in many, even eye contact
with the opposite sex is punished), and they are punished
if they dissent from a program's therapeutic prescriptions.
All this despite evidence that a totally controlled
environment delays maturation.

Why is tough love still so prevalent? The acceptance
of anecdote as evidence is one reason, as are the hurried
decisions of desperate parents.

But most significant is the lack of the equivalent of a Food
and Drug Administration for behavioral health care, with
the result that most people are unaware that these
programs have never been proved safe or effective.

Maia Szalavitz is the author of "Help at Any Cost: How the
Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids"
(Riverhead Books). This piece appeared in the Washington
Post. Contact us at

Page E - 4


7) Cheney Shoots Fellow Hunter in Mishap on a Texas Ranch
[If you thought that if our leaders are not in the headlines
they are quietly working, think]
February 13, 2006

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 — Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally
shot and wounded a prominent Austin, Tex., lawyer on Saturday
while the two men were quail hunting in South Texas, firing a shotgun
at the man while trying to aim for a bird, a member of the hunting
party said.

Mr. Cheney, a practiced hunter, shot the lawyer, Harry Whittington,
on an outing at the Armstrong Ranch in South Texas. Mr. Whittington,
78, was taken by helicopter to Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital,
where he was listed in stable condition in the intensive care unit
on Sunday, according to Michele Trevino, a hospital spokeswoman.

White House officials did not release details of the accident. But
Katharine Armstrong, who was with the hunting party at the time
of the shooting, said that Mr. Cheney, 65, fired his shotgun without
realizing that Mr. Whittington had approached the group, hitting him
on his right side, on his cheek, neck and chest. The incident, which
occurred at about 5:30 p.m., was first reported on the Web site
of The Corpus Christi Caller-Times on Sunday.

"It was accidental, a hunting accident," Sheriff Ramon Salinas III of
Kenedy County said from his office in Sarita, Tex., adding that the
Secret Service notified him Saturday of the episode. "They did what
they had to according to law."

The Armstrong Ranch is a familiar hunting venue for Republican
politicians, including Mr. Cheney, who sometimes hunts there
several times a year. Mr. Whittington is a friend of the Armstrong
family and is a frequent visitor to the ranch, one of the largest
private properties in Texas.

Mr. Whittington is a former member of the Texas Board of
Corrections, which runs the state's prisons, and he once led
the Texas Public Finance Authority Board.

In 1999, George W. Bush, then governor of Texas, named
Mr. Whittington to head the Texas Funeral Service Commission,
which licenses and regulates funeral directors and embalmers
in the state. When he was named, a former executive director
of the commission, Eliza May, was suing the state, saying that
she had been fired because she investigated a funeral home
chain that was owned by a friend of Mr. Bush.

The suit was settled in 2001, but the details were not disclosed.
Mr. Whittington still serves in the position.

White House officials, who did not make public the shooting
incident for nearly 24 hours, did not say how Mr. Whittington
and Mr. Cheney were acquainted, although both have
longstanding ties to the Armstrong family.

Mr. Cheney often goes hunting with other political figures.
Two years ago he went duck hunting with Justice Antonin Scalia
in Louisiana, a trip that drew criticism because the Supreme
Court had just agreed to hear a case involving Mr. Cheney's
energy task force.

Anne Armstrong, the matriarch of the family that owns the ranch,
is a Republican Party stalwart who served in the Nixon and Ford
administrations and also as ambassador to Great Britain. When
her husband, Tobin Armstrong, died in October, Mr. Cheney and
James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state, spoke at the funeral.

The 50,000-acre ranch, which features Spanish-style cottages
and usually has a full working staff, was settled in 1882 by
a Texas Ranger named John Armstrong III, who passed the land
on to the family. It sits near the King Ranch, the legendary
property settled by the Kleberg family, also in South Texas.

According to Katharine Armstrong, the daughter of Anne Armstrong,
Mr. Whittington broke away from a line of three hunters, including
Mr. Cheney, and failed to announce that he was returning to the
group. When he approached, Mr. Cheney had already begun
to shoot into a covey of quail that was taking off from the ground.

"This all happened pretty quickly," Ms. Armstrong said in
a telephone interview from her ranch. Mr. Whittington, she said,
"did not announce — which would be protocol — 'Hey, it's me,
I'm coming up,' " she said.

"He didn't do what he was supposed to do," she added, referring
to Mr. Whittington. "So when a bird flushed and the vice president
swung in to shoot it, Harry was where the bird was."

Mr. Whittington was "sprayed — peppered, is what we call it —
on his right side, on part of his face, neck, shoulder and rib cage,"
she said, noting that she, too, had been sprayed on her leg
in a hunting accident.

"A shotgun sprays a bunch of little bitty pellets; it's not a bullet
involved," Ms. Armstrong said. She said she believed that Mr. Cheney
was shooting a 28-gauge shotgun and added that guests typically
bring their own firearms.

Mr. Whittington was about 30 yards from the vice president when
the shooting occurred, Ms. Armstrong said. Altogether, there were
five people in the group. Ms. Armstrong declined to identify
the other hunters.

After the accident, Mr. Cheney's medical attendants helped
Mr. Whittington, treating his wounds and covering him in blankets
so he would not go into shock, Ms. Armstrong said. He did not lose
consciousness. She described Mr. Cheney's immediate response
to the shooting as "very appropriate."

"He immediately went to Harry's side and was right there and
made sure his detail was totally focused on him," she said.
"Of course he's very concerned. He's been checking in almost
on a minute-by-minute basis."

Afterward, she said, her brother-in-law and another guest
went to the hospital to check on Mr. Whittington. The rest of
the party had dinner, and Mr. Cheney, who had flown to Texas
on Friday night, departed on Sunday.

"Mr. Whittington is fine," Ms. Armstrong said. "He's sitting up
in bed, yakking and cracking jokes."

Campaign finance records show that Mr. Whittington contributed
$2,000 — the maximum personal amount allowed —
to the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.

Mr. Whittington has been involved in a long-running dispute
with the City of Austin, which is trying to condemn a block his
family owns to build a parking garage. He has won several legal
victories in the case, most recently last month in the Texas
Supreme Court.

Lea Anne McBride, Mr. Cheney's spokeswoman, said, "The vice
president visited with Harry Whittington at the hospital today and
was pleased to see that he's doing fine and in good spirits." Asked
why the vice president's office had made no announcement about
the accident, Ms. McBride said, "We deferred to the Armstrongs
regarding what had taken place at their ranch."

Ralph Blumenthal contributed reporting from Houston for this article.


8) Debt and Denial
February 13, 2006

Last year America spent 57 percent more than it earned on world
markets. That is, our imports were 57 percent larger than our exports.

How did we manage to live so far beyond our means? By running
up debts to Japan, China and Middle Eastern oil producers. We're
as addicted to imported money as we are to imported oil.

Sometimes large-scale foreign borrowing makes sense. In the
19th century the United States borrowed vast sums from Europe,
using the funds to build railroads and other industrial infrastructure.
That debt-financed wave of investment left America stronger,
not weaker.

But this time our overseas borrowing isn't financing an investment
boom: adjusted for the size of the economy, business investment
is actually low by historical standards. Instead, we're using borrowed
money to build houses, buy consumer goods and, of course, finance
the federal budget deficit.

In 2005 spending on home construction as a percentage of G.D.P.
reached its highest level in more than 50 years. People who already
own houses are treating them like A.T.M.'s, converting home equity
into spending money: last year the personal savings rate fell below
zero for the first time since 1933. And it's a sign of our degraded
fiscal state that the Bush administration actually boasted about
a 2005 budget deficit of more than $300 billion, because it was
a bit lower than the 2004 deficit.

It all sounds unsustainable. And it is.

Some people insist that the U.S. economy has hidden savings that
official statistics fail to capture. I won't go into the technical debate
about these claims, some of which resemble arguments used not
long ago to justify dot-com stock prices, except to say that the
more closely one looks at the facts, the less plausible the "don't
worry, be happy" hypothesis looks.

Denial takes a more systematic form within the federal government,
where Dick Cheney is doing to budget analysis what he did
to intelligence on Iraq. Last week Mr. Cheney announced that
a newly created division within the Treasury Department would
show that tax cuts increase, not reduce, federal revenue. That's
the Bush-Cheney way: decide on your conclusions first, then
demand that analysts produce evidence supporting those

But serious analysts know that America's borrowing binge
is unsustainable. Sooner or later the trade deficit will have
to come down, the housing boom will have to end, and both
American consumers and the U.S. government will have
to start living within their means.

So how bad will it be? It depends on how the binge ends.
If it tapers off gradually, the U.S. economy will be able to
shift workers out of sectors that have benefited from the
housing boom and the consumption spree into sectors that
produce exports or replace imports. Given time, we could
bring the trade deficit down and bring housing back to earth
without a net loss in jobs.

In practice, however, a "soft landing" looks unlikely, because
too many economic players have unrealistic expectations.
This is true of international investors, who are still snapping
up U.S. bonds at low interest rates, seemingly oblivious both
to the budget deficit and to the consensus view among trade
experts that the dollar will eventually have to fall 30 percent
or more to eliminate the trade deficit.

It's equally true of American home buyers. Most Americans
live in regions where housing remains affordable. But a detailed
new study by HSBC, a multinational bank, confirms what I and
others have been saying: most of the rise in housing values
has taken place in a "bubble zone" along the coasts, where
housing prices have risen far more than the economic
fundamentals warrant. According to HSBC's estimates,
houses in the bubble zone are overvalued by between
35 and 40 percent, creating trillions of dollars of illusory

So it seems all too likely that America's borrowing binge will
end with a bang, not a whimper, that spending will suddenly
drop off as both the bond market and the housing market
experience rude awakenings. If that happens, the economic
consequences will be ugly.

All in all, Alan Greenspan, who helped create this situation,
can consider himself lucky that he's safely out of office, giving
briefings to hedge fund managers at $250,000 a pop. And
his successor may be in for a rough ride. Best wishes and good
luck, Ben; you may need it.


9) Hawaii Agrees to Change Policies for Incarcerated Gay Youths
February 13, 2006

HONOLULU, Feb. 12 — Under a settlement with the federal
government, the state has agreed to make sweeping improvements
at Hawaii's troubled youth prison in the next three years, but
a civil liberties group that sued over the problems says the
agreement does not go far enough to protect gay wards from
harassment, abuse and discrimination.

The settlement with the Justice Department came last week
as a federal district judge, J. Michael Seabright, issued a preliminary
injunction in a lawsuit that was filed in September by the American
Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii. The judge described conditions
at the prison, the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility, as "chaotic"
and called for the state to stop the abuse and harassment
of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender wards.

The lawsuit, coming after a Justice Department report last
summer that described the 71-bed youth facility in Kailua
as "existing in a state of chaos," was filed on behalf of an
18-year-old lesbian, an 18-year-old boy perceived by guards
and other teenage wards to be gay and a 17-year-old male-
to-female transgender girl. It says the teenagers were physically
and verbally abused by staff members at the facility as well
as by other wards because of their sexual and gender orientation.

"Everyone knew that the climate was pretty pervasive and
nobody did anything about it," said Lois Perrin, legal director
for the A.C.L.U. of Hawaii. Judge Seabright has scheduled
a status conference on the case for Monday.

Hawaii's attorney general, Mark J. Bennett, said on Friday that
the state planned to develop specific policies to deal with lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender wards, and that state officials
would consult with the A.C.L.U. in doing so.

Ms. Perrin, who delivered a list of proposed injunctions to the
court on Friday, said the A.C.L.U. wanted the changes done
under a court order and more quickly than the three years
the state had to comply with the federal agreement.

"We're asking that they are not allowed to discriminate, harass
or abuse wards, based on actual or perceived sexual orientation,
gender identity or sex," Ms. Perrin said. She said the A.C.L.U.
also wanted the state to thoroughly investigate accusations
of harassment and abuse, to stop using isolation to protect
wards from abuse by other teens, and to provide a physically
and psychologically safe environment.

The state's settlement agreement with the Justice Department
imposes dozens of conditions on the youth prison, including
the development of suicide prevention and intervention procedures,
the protection of young wards from physical and sexual abuse,
and the employment of enough staff members to adequately
supervise and care for the wards. An independent monitor
will oversee the state's changes.

The state also agreed to conduct criminal record checks within
the next four months on all employees who worked directly
with the youths.

"It certainly indicates that we need to make sure that the
individuals who are employed at the facility who come in
contact with youth are the right people to be working there,"
Mr. Bennett said.

He said the agreement, the result of four months of negotiations,
did not include an admission of constitutional violations or other
wrongdoing by the state. The state has three years to comply,
or the Justice Department may refile its lawsuit.

"Obviously if we didn't think there were serious problems at the
facility we wouldn't have entered into as comprehensive an
agreement as this one was," Mr. Bennett said. "This agreement
imposes substantial burdens on the state. It's going to be
expensive and it's going to take time."

A number of Hawaii institutions have had trouble with the
federal government. Thirteen years of federal oversight at
Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe, the state's mental health
facility, ended a little over a year ago. The Oahu Community
Correctional Center operated under federal supervision from
1985 to 1999 under a consent decree that limited the number
of inmates.


SIGNED MAY 29, 1934
[Here's the text of the 1934 treaty with Cuba which the United States
is violating by using the base as a prison/torture facility today.]

Treaty Series No. 866

Treaty of Relations between the United States of America and the
Republic of Cuba, Signed at Washington, May 29, 1934

The United States of America and the Republic of Cuba, being animated
by the desire to fortify the relations of friendship between the two
countries and to modify, with this purpose, the relations established
between them by the Treaty of Relations signed at Habana, May 22,
1903, have appointed, with this intention, as their

The President of the United States of America; Mr. Cordell Hull,
Secretary of State of the United States of America, and Mr. Sumner
Welles, Assistant Secretary of state of the United States of America;

The Provisional President of the Republic of Cuba, Señor Dr. Manuel
Márquez Sterling, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the
Republic of Cuba to the United States of America;

Who, after having communicated to each other their full powers which
were found to be in good and due form, have agreed upon the following

Article I

The Treaty of Relations which was concluded between the two
contracting parties on May 22, 1903, shall cease to be in force, and
is abrogated, from the date on which the present Treaty goes into

Article II

All the acts effected in Cuba by the United States of America during
its military occupation of the island, up to May 20, 1902, the date
on which the Republic of Cuba was established, have been ratified and
held as valid; and all the rights legally acquired by virtue of those
acts shall be maintained and protected.

Article III

Until the two contracting patties agree to the modification or
abrogation of the stipulations of the agreement in regard to the
lease to the United States of America of lands in Cuba for coaling
and naval stations signed by the President of the Republic of Cuba on
February 16, 1903, and by the President of the United States of
America on the 23d day of the same month and year, the stipulation of
that agreement with regard to the naval station of Guantánamo shall
continue in effect. The supplementary agreement in regard to naval or
coaling stations signed between the two Governments on July 2, 1903,
also shall continue in effect in the same form and on the same
conditions with respect to the naval station at Guantánamo. So long
as the United States of America shall not abandon the said naval
station of Guantánamo or the two Governments shall not agree to a
modification of its present limits, the station shall continue to
have the territorial area that it now has, with the limits that it
has on the date of the signature of the present Treaty.

Article IV

If at any time in the future a situation should arise that appears to
point to an outbreak of contagious disease in the territory of either
of the contracting parties, either of the two Governments shall, for
its own protection, and without its act being considered unfriendly,
exercise freely and at its discretion the right to suspend
communications between those of its ports that it may designate and
all or par of the territory of the other part, and for the period
that it may consider to be advisable.

Article V

The present Treaty shall be ratified by the contracting parties in
accordance with their respective constitutional methods; and shall go
into effect on the date of the exchange of their ratifications, which
shall take place in the city of Washington as soon as possible.

IN FAITH WHEREOF, the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the
present Treaty and have affixed their seals hereto.

DONE in duplicate, in the English and Spanish languages, at
Washington on the twenty-ninth day of May, one thousand nine hundred
and thirty-four.




[The records in the files of the Department of State regarding the
negotiation of this treaty are fragmentary. In reply to an inquiry,
Mr. Sumner Welles, who was Assistant Secretary of State in 1934,
wrote on March 1, 1948, to Mr. Robert A. Lovett, Under Secretary of
State, a letter containing the following statement:

"It is, however hardly a matter of surprise to me that the
Departmental files should contain little documentation with regard to
the Treaty of 1934. When the President sent me to Cuba as Ambassador
in the spring of 1933, it was agreed between us that one of the major
objectives of my mission should be to prepare the way for the
negotiation of a new treaty between Cuba and the United States by
which the Platt Amendment might be abrogated. During the months I was
in Cuba I discussed this objective with certain Cuban leaders, among
them Dr. Cosme de la Torriente, who later became Secretary of State
in the Mendieta Government and under whose direction the negotiations
on the part of the Cuban Government for the Treaty of 1934 were
carried on. There was no difference of opinion between the Cuban
Government and ourselves at that time as to what the Treaty should
contain, and there was actually very little disagreement as to the
provisions to be included therein. I have a very clear recollection
that Dr. Manuel Márquez Sterling, then Cuban Ambassador in
Washington, and I sat down together in my office in the Department of
State and agreed upon a text which later, with slight amendment,
became the definitive test. I recollect further that the President
approved without change the text agreed upon by the Cuban Ambassador
and myself."(711.37/3-148)]


11) Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
February 12, 2006
Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website

If one watches corporate media or listens to Cheney Administration
propaganda, one is either not getting information about Iraq at all, or
hearing that things are looking up as the U.S. approaches another
“phase” in the occupation.

Just taking a brief look at the “security incidents” reported by Reuters
for today, 12 February, gives a little clue as to how the occupation of
Iraq, aside from being immoral and unjust, is a dismal failure.

*RAMADI - Six insurgents were killed and another wounded on Saturday
when U.S forces conducted an air strike in the city of Ramadi, 110 km
(68 miles) west of Baghdad, the U.S military said on Sunday.
*MUQDADIYA - Clashes between insurgents and Iraqi army soldiers
conducting a raid killed one rebel in Muqdadiya, 90 km (50 miles) north
east of Baghdad. The army arrested 40 suspected insurgents in the same
*BAGHDAD - A 53-year-old male detainee at Abu Ghraib prison died on
Saturday as a result of complications from an assault by an unknown
number of detainees, the U.S military said in a statement.
*MAHAWEEL - The bodies of three people, bound and shot in the head and
chest, were found in Mahaweel, 75 km (50 miles) south of Baghdad, police
said. The bodies showed signs of torture.
*ISKANDARIYA - The bodies of two people, bound and shot in the head and
chest, were found in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad,
police said. The bodies showed signs of torture.
*BAGHDAD - Three police commandos and a civilian were killed and four
commandos wounded when a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt blew
himself up near a check point in southern Baghdad, police said.
*KIRKUK - Gunmen killed four policemen while they were driving in a
civilian car in the main road between Kirkuk and Tikrit, 175 km (110
miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
*KIFL - Gunmen wearing police uniforms killed a civilian on Saturday in
Kifl, a town about 150 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
*NEAR LATIFIYA - Police retrieved the body of a dead person from the
river on Saturday near Latifiya, south of Baghdad.
*BAQUBA - A director of sport education of Diyala province was killed by
gunmen in the city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police
*YATHRIB - Gunmen kidnapped three truck drivers who were carrying
equipment to a U.S military base on Saturday in Yathrib, a region near
Balad, 90 km (55 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
*BAIJI - Gunmen blew up a gas station on Saturday near the oil refinery
city of Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad.
BAGHDAD - Twelve civilians were wounded when two roadside bombs exploded
in quick succession near an Iraqi police patrol in central Baghdad,
police said.
SAMARRA - The Iraqi army found three Iranian Shi'ite pilgrims who were
among a group of 12, including an Iraqi driver, kidnapped by gunmen in
Samarra on Friday, Iraqi army officials said.
HAWIJA - Gunmen shot dead a doctor and wounded an employee working in
the main hospital in Hawija, 70 km south west of the northern city of
Kirkuk, on Saturday, police said.
KIRKUK - Four policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near
their patrol in the northern city of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of
Baghdad, police said.
KIRKUK - The corpse of a Kurdish contractor working with the U.S army
was found on Saturday in Kirkuk, police said.
KIRKUK - Two civilians were wounded by a roadside bomb near their patrol
in Kirkuk, police said.
BAGHDAD - Two civilians were killed, including a child, and three were
wounded, when a roadside bomb targeting police commandos exploded in a
northern district of the capital, police said.

A brief glance at recent events in Iraq shows that violence only
continues to escalate and the infrastructure which U.S. taxpayers
supposedly paid billions of dollars to repair is in shambles.

While the Cheney Administration blame Iraqi resistance attacks and
sabotage for the lack of reconstruction, I would like to remind people
that at least $8.8 Billion of the money meant for reconstruction efforts
remains unaccounted for. Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for
Iraq reconstruction, said this is because “oversight” on the part of the
Coalition Provisional Authority “was relatively nonexistent.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. military is over a quarter of the way towards having
the 3,000th soldier killed in Iraq, as 2,267 have now been killed. 25 of
those deaths have occurred this month.

But as usual, it is the Iraqis who are paying the highest price.

Looking at Arab media outlets, evidence of this abounds.

According to Al-Sharqiyah television:

“The head of the Al-Fallujah Municipal Council was killed by gunshots on
February 7, Iraqi Al Sharqiyah TV reported that day. In its 1100 gmt
newscast, the TV said: "Unidentified armed men this morning assassinated
Shaykh Kamal Shakir Nizal, head of the Municipal Council of Al-Fallujah,
western Iraq.”

The U.S. backed puppet Iraqi government continues its state-sponsored
civil war. Aside from the numerous bodies found in the aforementioned
Reuters report, this past week Sharqiyah also reported:

“Iraqi and US security forces raided the Iraqi Islamic Party’s
headquarters in the Al-Amiriyah area in western Baghdad. The Islamic
Party, which is one of the Iraqi entities operating under the banner of
the Iraqi Al-Tawafuq Front, issued a press statement today saying that
last night, Iraqi forces, backed by US troops, assaulted the
headquarters’ guards and the party members who were there at the time,
destroyed the headquarters’ furniture and contents, seized the licensed
weapons carried by the guards, and confiscated sums of money belonging
to the party.”

Of course atrocities continue at the hands of occupation forces. Video
has been released which shows a group of British soldiers brutally
beating and kicking defenseless Iraqi teenagers inside a military
compound, and Iraqis recently released from prisons like Abu Ghraib are
reporting ongoing torture at the hands of U.S. forces. This, however,
should come as no surprise since Secretary of “Defense” Donald Rumsfeld
issued a memo over two years ago specifying which types of “harsh
interrogation techniques” he wanted used in Iraq.

This is just a brief overview of recent events in Iraq.

When Israeli/U.S. warplanes begin dropping bombs on Iran, will Iraq fade
to the back pages of the news as has Afghanistan? With the corporate
media coverage of Iraq at this sorry state already, it’s difficult to
imagine that not occurring.

(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.


[Col. Writ. 2/1/06] Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Every four years, U.S. presidents stroll into the halls of Congress,
and announce, almost as if by rote, "The State of our Union is strong."

This is statecraft (or should I say, stagecraft?); the use of
illusions to keep the rabble in line.

In biblical lore, the Pharaoh did the same thing when he ordered his
priests to hurl down their staffs, to transform them into vipers.

Princes, since antiquity, used stagecraft to calm the People, to
reassure them of the power of the State.

But, as ever, the view from the bottom is woefully different from
that of those in the towers.

There are tens of thousands of autoworkers reeling from news of job
cuts in the industry. This, after GM (General Motors) announced in 2005
that worldwide sales (of 9.17 million units) were the second highest in
history! I wonder how *workers* feel about the 'state of the union?'

Of the roiling Middle East, and America's lust for 'black gold',
President George W. Bush launched into a subject that seemed absurd,
saying, "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from
unstable parts of the world."

"Unstable?" Like the Iraq war brought 'stability' to the region!
His comments were like a crack addict, complaining about the drug wars
raging in the neighborhoods.

The Iraq War was a mad project doomed for failure from inception --
the neocon dream of 'bringing democracy to the Middle East!'

Hey -- if there was some *real* democracy in the U.S., the Iraq War
would never have begun -- for the voices of the People -- those splendid
millions who marched in February and March, 2003 -- would've been heeded
by those in office.

In time, we will look back to this age with incredulity and
amazement -- and victories like Hamas in Israel will be the *best* of
our memories.

The present economic model, despite it's false boosting by the
president, is fast failing in this tsunami of greed. Workers are being
downsized, laid off, cut back, and told to produce more -- as executives
are given bigger and better pieces of the corporate pie.

What State? -- When the lives of so many slides deeper into debt and

What Union? -- When the government acts as a collection agency for
the ruling corporate class?

The Congress is for rent to the highest bidder. The Jack Abramoff
scandal shows more corporate purchases of Congress than during the era
of the Robber Barons of the last century.

What is democracy when the executive can tap phones of Americans, in
the thousands, without even the pretense of a court order?

Nor is this new, for presidents have been wiretapping Americans
since at least May 1940, when President Theodore Roosevelt ordered his
Attorney General to wiretap people 'involving the defense of the
nation.' Such taps continued from that time until it was sharply
curtailed by President Johnson's Attorney General Ramsey Clark, in the
latter years of the administration.

The COINTELPRO era marked the high point of this illegal and
unconstitutional practice, when anyone who dissented from government
policy could find themselves spied on, phones tapped, homes broken into
illegally, people hounded, by the state, into divorce, dissolution, and
death. In its heyday, millions of people were targeted by the State,
for daring to support social change!

We live in the twilight of democracy, when votes are as chancy as
lottery tickets; when the U.S. serves as the repressive era of globalist
greed; when war is a machine, running on oil, blood and lies.

State of the Union?

What State? What Union?

Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal


13) Cuba Amateurs Face Millionaires in World Baseball Classic
By Circles Robinson

The best baseball players that money can buy and a small group that
play for the sport of it will face off starting March 3rd in the
World Baseball Classic.

US Major League Baseball has always called its national championship
the World Series, believing its ability to purchase the finest from
each country has made it the unquestioned king. However, since many
MLB players will be playing with the teams of their native countries
in the Classic, the US team 's superiority is not totally guaranteed.

The biggest question mark of the event is the underdog Cuban team,
fresh off victories in the 2005 Baseball World Cup and the 2004
Athens Olympics, but against weaker competition. Over the years some
of Cuba's best have been lured by fat contracts to play in MLB but
none of those players will be playing for the island, which prefers
to continue its tradition of amateur-only sports.

"Cuba will play well, even though they have stolen many of our good
players," President Fidel Castro said recently.

Organized by MLB and its Players Association, the Classic has
pitching rules tailored to the liking of US baseball team owners and
venues geared to help the US team redeem its country's poor showings
in other international baseball events.

For its US corporate sponsors, the World Baseball Classic is like any
other commercial endeavor. Tickets, the majority already sold for the
opening rounds, run from $12.50 to over $100 per game and advertising
revenues will add to the profits. Hotel rooms run from $175 to $475
per night. All teams except Cuba will take home a percentage of the
revenues. The island offered to donate any funds to victims of
hurricane Katrina.

Sixteen teams play the first round in four pools between March 3-10
with the top two teams in each group moving on to the quarter finals.
The only team that could play all its qualifying rounds, semi-finals
and finals to a home crowd is the USA, a significant advantage.

A team must win at least six of eight games to be crowned the winner,
two of three games in each of the first two rounds to qualify for the
semifinals, a must win in the single-elimination semis, followed by a
win in the one game finals.

While baseball analysts alert that anything can happen in such a
short series, the first round where the top two teams qualify is
unlikely to produce any surprises.

Group A, probably the most competitive of the pools, pits favored
Japan, playing at home against rivals Taipei and Korea, all
considered among the top 10 teams in the tournament. Their other
rival China is ranked among the weakest.

Pool B, the least competitive, pits the heavily favored United States
team at home, with Canada and Mexico battling for the second
qualifying position, and South Africa along for the ride.

Pool C, is expected to be a match between favored Puerto Rico playing
at home, with a slate of well-paid MLB players and Cuba, which will
field an all amateur squad similar to its Olympic and World Cup
Champion teams. The other rivals, The Netherlands and Panama are
given little chance to qualify for the second round.

Pool D, to be played in Orlando, Florida, is considered a foregone
conclusion with the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, both loaded
with top paid MLB players qualifying and Italy and Australia doing
the best they can.

Therefore, the second round will most likely include Japan and either
Korea or Taipei from Pool A, the United States, and Canada or Mexico
from Pool B, in one group, with Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican
Republic and Venezuela in the other.

Those in London and Las Vegas who take legal wagers on such sporting
events predict that the semifinals will be between the United States
and Japan in one match and Venezuela and the Dominican Republic in
the other. They also consider it most likely that the finals will be
played between the United States and the Dominican Republic because
they have the most major leaguers on their squads.

To accommodate the worries of Major League Baseball team owners that
their star pitchers could get hurt before the MLB season opens in
April, the WBC rules limit pitchers to 65 throws in the first round,
80 in the quarterfinals and 95 in the semifinals and finals. Pitchers
throwing more than 50 pitches are obliged to take 4 days rest before
pitching again.

Relief pitchers cannot work consecutive games if they exceed 30
pitches and cannot appear in a third straight game independent of how
few pitches they threw in the other two.

These rules are considered to the detriment of the teams with less
depth in their pitching and who would have otherwise used their best
whenever ready and needed.

In the amended tournament rules, the 16 teams' provisional 60-man
rosters must be reduced down to 30 at least five days before their
first game. The list must include at least 13 pitchers and 3

Cuba has suspended its national league play from February 13 to March
23 to allow the provisional roster players to train for the Classic.

The last time Cuba played against a Major League team was back in
1999 when it split a two game series with the Baltimore Orioles,
losing 3-2 in an 11-inning thriller in Havana and winning easily 12-6
in Baltimore.


14) Group Starts Anti-Union Campaign
February 14, 2006

A new business-backed group is mounting a highly visible attack
against organized labor, just as unions are trying to pick themselves
up after suffering a schism and years of decline.

The group, the Center for Union Facts, ran full-page advertisements
in national newspapers yesterday and started a Web site,, asserting that many unions are corrupt and
have hurt airlines, steel makers and automakers.

"Obviously I'm putting out information that's not very flattering,"
said Richard Berman, a longtime lobbyist for the restaurant and
beverage industry who is executive director of the Center for
Union Facts. "The average person today, including the average
union member, doesn't have any idea how unions operate and
what the realities are. Everybody knows what unions are good
at, but not what they're bad at."

The Center for Union Facts shot onto the public stage yesterday
by running full-page ads in The New York Times, The Washington
Post and The Wall Street Journal. The ads, which cost a total
of $240,000, say "The New Union Label," and then show a sign
with the word "Closed" in capital letters hanging from a plant
gate. Then it adds, "Brought to you by the union 'leaders' who
helped bankrupt steel, auto and airline companies."

Mr. Berman said various companies and a foundation had
contributed to his nonprofit group, but he refused to identify
them. He said he hoped to spend more than $5 million a year
on the campaign.

A spokeswoman for the A.F.L.-C.I.O., Lane Windham, said:
"It's clear that corporations are fighting back against workers'
efforts to roll back corporate power. It's no accident that
corporations are doing this against us when unions are trying
to make sure that employers pay their fair share on heath care
and when we're taking on giant corporations like Wal-Mart."

Mr. Berman runs a public affairs firm in Washington and helped
to create the American Beverage Institute and the Employment
Policies Institute, which has helped the restaurant industry
fight increases in the minimum wage.

He has faced criticism in recent years for arguing on behalf
of his clients that drinking a lot of soda does not contribute
to diabetes and that Americans have been "force-fed a steady
diet of obesity myths by the 'food police,' trial lawyers, and
even our own government." Mr. Berman was also criticized
for fighting a push by Mothers Against Drunk Driving to
tighten rules on alcohol limits for drivers.

"We do take edgy positions and they're all very legitimate,"
Mr. Berman said yesterday.

Ms. Windham of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. said Mr. Berman's attack
on unions was another of his campaigns against those
who clash with his corporate clients.

The attack comes as organized labor is facing divisions
that have caused five unions to quit the A.F.L.-C.I.O.
over the past year.

Unions have also struggled with declining membership,
as the percentage of American workers in unions has sunk
to 12.5 percent of the work force, down from 35 percent
in the 1950's.

A.F.L.-C.I.O. officials said the president of a state chamber
of commerce told them that at a conference in Florida on
Jan. 26, the state chambers had pledged several million
dollars to back Mr. Berman's effort. But Mr. Berman said that
when he spoke at the conference, he neither asked for nor
received contributions. Rather, he said, he asked chamber
officials to recommend that businesses in their states
donate to his efforts.

Randel Johnson, vice president for labor, immigration and
employee benefits at the United States Chamber of Commerce,
said that as far as he knew neither the United States Chamber
nor any state chambers had contributed to the Center for
Union Facts.

Mr. Johnson said he had served as an adviser to the center.
The center was founded as several unions had grown more
aggressive about unionizing workers, often pressuring employers
not to fight organizing drives. In addition, many unions are
pressing companies to agree to recognize them, not through
representation elections, but through a process known as
card check, in which companies grant recognition as soon
as a majority of workers sign cards saying they want a union.

"In card check campaigns, unions tend to control the information
that the workers hear," Mr. Johnson said. "We think the Center
on Union Facts is useful for workers to have access to more
information on unions."

Mr. Berman said his center hoped to help enact a Republican-
backed bill that would prohibit unions from organizing workers
through card checks.

For a dozen different unions, the center's Web site details the
compensation of leaders, the amount of each union's political
contributions and how often members have sued the union
for not representing them properly.

"Union leaders have abused the trust of their members," the
center says on its Web site. "They've misspent member dues
and harmed the very same people they promise to protect."

Anna Burger, president of the Change to Win Federation,
a group of unions that quit the A.F.L.-C.I.O., said, "These
anti-union activists can name themselves whatever they like,
but the fact is that unions help working families secure the
American Dream and that's good for our country."


15) G.M. to Invest $500 Million in Michigan
February 14, 2006

DETROIT, Feb. 13 — General Motors is set to announce Tuesday
that it has made, or plans to make, investments totaling $500 million
to help modernize five of its Michigan factories.

The automaker said it had scheduled a news conference for Tuesday
afternoon at its manufacturing headquarters in Pontiac, north of
Detroit. On Monday night, a company spokesman declined to
discuss the nature of the announcement.

But people with direct knowledge of G.M.'s announcement, who
requested anonymity, said that the investments began last summer
at the plants, which include assembly and parts operations around
the state.

The modernizing programs will not create large numbers of new
jobs, these people said. Any jobs that are created are likely to be
filled by workers who are laid off from other G.M. factories, one
of the people said.

Nonetheless, Elizabeth Boyd, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jennifer
M. Granholm, said the investments would be good news for the
state, which has been hit hard by the auto industry slowdown.

Any time jobs can be created, Ms. Boyd said, "That's something
to celebrate."

G.M. lost $8.6 billion in 2005 and is pushing to reduce its costs.
It announced in November that it planned to close all or part of
12 plants, including a small assembly plant in Lansing, Mich.
The moves are expected to eliminate 30,000 jobs through 2008.

Earlier this month, G.M. said it would invest $118 million at
a factory outside Baltimore to build parts for hybrid-electric
sport utility vehicles. That investment is expected to create
about 87 jobs.


16) Hotel Aid Ends; Katrina Evacuees Seek Housing Again

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 13 — Thousands of evacuees from Hurricane
Katrina became transients again on Monday, wheeling their entire
lives onto the street on luggage carts or dragging bulging garbage
bags through hotel lobbies, when the federal government stopped
paying their hotel bills.

In the largest single step in its phaseout of emergency housing
assistance for victims of the hurricane, the Federal Emergency
Management Agency ended the hotel payments for 12,000 families
across the country, including 4,400 now living in New Orleans.

Most will get apartment rental assistance or trailers. Federal officials
acknowledged Monday that hundreds of millions of dollars worth of
mobile homes might never be used to house hurricane victims.

Many evacuees who have returned to New Orleans have begun
to rebuild, enroll their children in school or, like Dominique
Handy, get a job.

Ms. Handy, a waitress, stood on the street outside the Royal St.
Charles Hotel on Monday, her belongings in the trunk of a friend's
car, her baby daughter, Amyrie, balanced on her hip. She had
$1,800 from FEMA, which was supposed to pay for three months'
rent — an impossibility in a city so strapped for housing that
officials could not even find a place to serve as an emergency shelter.

"Rent out here, it's like $1,800 a month itself," said Ms. Handy, 22.

The phaseout of hotel rooms is the end of an aid program that cost
more than a half-billion dollars and at its peak housed 85,000
families on a single night. FEMA, which is ending the program over
the strenuous protests of Louisiana officials, says it is time for families
to find a more permanent situation. Of the 12,000 families whose
benefit ended Monday, 10,500 have received rental assistance or
a trailer, said Libby Turner, head of the Hurricane Katrina/Rita
Transitional Housing Unit at FEMA.

But none of the two dozen or so evacuees losing their hotel benefits
who were interviewed in New Orleans in the past two days had
a permanent place to go.

Even on FEMA's housing Web site, the pickings were slim — only
five two-bedroom apartments in the New Orleans area met the
agency's budget of less than $800 a month. Several that were
listed had been rented long ago, according to the landlords,
or would not be ready for weeks.

Mark Smith, the spokesman for the Louisiana Office of Homeland
Security and Emergency Preparedness, said 15 families had already
checked into an emergency shelter in Shreveport, a five-hour drive
from New Orleans, and more than 100 people were on their way there.

Houston, Atlanta and other cities with large populations of evacuees
passed the deadline with little incident, but in New Orleans several
hotels called private security squads armed with rifles after employees
were threatened.

Still, most people left peaceably, though many people lingered until
noon, when a federal judge, asked by housing advocates to continue
the hotel program, declined to do so. The judge, Stanwood R. Duval Jr.
of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana,
had extended the hotel program once before when FEMA announced
it would end on Jan. 7.

FEMA then gave people an extra month and asked those who wanted
to stay even longer to call to receive an authorization code. Last week,
some 5,000 people who did not call for the code lost their hotel rooms.
Agency officials said that most of those people had made more
permanent arrangements but that an undetermined number might
have been unwilling to call in because they were misusing the program.

FEMA had said repeatedly that no evacuees would be thrown out on
the street, and several hotels reported that many guests had received
a last-minute reprieve. At the Cotton Exchange Hotel in New Orleans,
only 39 of 148 families scheduled to leave Monday actually did,
a spokeswoman said.

After Monday, 8,000 rooms were expected to remain in the program,
said Nicol Andrews, a spokeswoman for FEMA. The agency will stop
paying for almost all of those March 1.

The agency's critics say it is unfair to ask destitute families to make
long-term housing decisions when little progress has been made
on restoring homes in New Orleans.

"Evacuees shouldn't have to come up with a permanent housing plan,"
said Bryan Mauldin, president of From the Lake to the River, a FEMA
watchdog group that aids victims of Hurricane Katrina. "They already
have homes. They need the right to return to their homes. It is FEMA
that needs a permanent housing plan."

Many evacuees Ping-Ponged from place to place after Hurricane Katrina.
Some boarded buses without knowing where they were going. Lee Curry,
30, said he was denied an extension of his hotel stay in New Orleans
because he had been given a housing voucher in Houston. Those
vouchers were good for a year.

"It's not like that I chose to get that housing over there," Mr. Curry said.
"I had no place else to go. If someone could give me a place to get my
kids situated, I had to take that."

Donna Lee, 44, said she had also taken an apartment in Houston, but
on Christmas Eve someone knocked on the door. Her 28-year-old son,
the one who had kicked a hole through the roof to pull her out of rising
water in New Orleans East, answered it, and the caller fatally shot him.
She returned to New Orleans to bury her son, bringing his children with her.

"I just don't want to go back there," Ms. Lee said. But, she said, FEMA had
denied her hotel extension.

Gary Martin, who worked as a waiter for 27 years at the Fairmont Hotel,
said his benefits had been denied because, he was told, someone else
had used the same phone number as he did. He said he and another man
had rented rooms in the same house before the storm. Mr. Martin said
he could not seem to get the problem fixed. "I should go to Iraq or
Afghanistan, so I could get some government money," he said.

Mr. Martin said that in a few weeks he would have earned enough doing
asbestos removal to get an apartment without help from FEMA — he
just needed some more time at the hotel. "I'm not asking for
a handout," he said.

Brenda Goodman contributed reporting from Atlanta for this article.


17) UCSC Military Recruitment Debate Reportback
by bob fitch (photos) & josh sonnenfeld (words)
Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006 at 4:32 P

On Wednesday, Feb. 8, UCSC's Colleges 9 and 10 hosted a tightly-
controlled debate on the issue of military recruitment. The two
speakers were William Griffin, in charge of Army recruitment for
the Monterey Bay area, and Mario Ramirez Hardy, a long-time
counter-recruitment organizer and GI Rights Hotline counselor.

The issue of military recruitment at UC Santa Cruz and in the
community as a whole has been prominent for years. Due to
creative student protests, all branch of the military have been
prevented from any form of recruiting on campus for more than
a year. After multiple successful local campaigns, the majority
of Santa Cruz County high school parents haveopted their
children out of contact lists sent to recruiters. Santa Cruz
County now has the lowest recruitment rate in the state
of California.

On Wednesday night, Colleges 9 and 10 organized a debate
on the issue of military recruitment. William Griffin, the top
dog for Army recruitment in the area, faced off against Mario
Ramirez Hardy, who has been helping GIs get out of the
military for over a decade, in addition to a wide array
of counter-recruitment activities.

The night was very tightly controlled by Colleges 9 and
10 (c9/10) staff, headed by Wendy Baxter, and moderated
by Professor Paul Roth. There were fears of protests from
students, possibly by Students Against War (SAW), as military
recruiters are known not to be welcome. Due to these fears,
c9/10 staff taped a 'do not cross' line on the ground outside
the Multi-Purpose Room, where the debate was held. Protesters
and leafletters were not to cross the line. Nonetheless,
important flyers found their way in the hands of almost
all the student attendees. No protests were planned,
as no military recruitment was to take place.

During the debate, Mario Ramirez Hardy and William Griffin
calmly answered a few questions that they had received before
hand. Students with questions were asked to write them on
cards, which Roth and Baxter screened. No questions relating
to foreign policy were allowed. Due to all these restrictions,
the debate wasn't overly exciting, although there was
a good deal of information presented.

Mario Ramirez Hardy systematically dispelled the myths
about military recruitment - using facts provided from
military or governmental sources. He spoke about how
military recruiters, under the enlistment agreement
can change anything at any time, with or without notice
to the enlistee (i.e. recruiters can't make any promises).
He noted that 57% of enlistees don't get a dime for college,
that 90% of women in the military reported harassment
(1/3 of which were raped), the high rates of discrimination
against people of color, and the violent heterosexism and
homophobia of the military, seen by their 'Don't Ask, Don't
Tell' policy and the consistent harassment of enlistees found
to be queer. These statistics were backed up by more than
a decade of personal experiences counseling GIs.

William Griffin, the Army recruiter, attempted to claim that
'statistics can be made to say anything,' although did not
address the fact that these statistics were from the military
and government themselves. He attempted to appeal to people's
assumed nationalism - suggesting that the military is there
to defend freedom. Many students rolled their eyes with these
remarks, as the Pentagon was recently found to be spying
on UCSC students, directly threatening these freedoms that
they claim to protect. Griffin further claimed that the military
'treats everyone the same' and protects enlistees from physical
harm. However, he did not have any statistics to back his claims,
except for the one time that he claimed over 100% of enlistees
receive something.. making many students scratching their
heads at how anyone could arrive at more than 100%. Overall
though, Griffin was very calm and composed, with slick answers
for all the questions - just like a recruitment commercial.

On the hot topic of a possible military recruitment ban from
campus, Griffin relied on the Solomon Amendment, a federal
bill which threatens to take away university funding if they
don't allow recruiters. He consistently claimed that the military
just does what they're told - including discriminating against
queers and women (as Hardy added). In contrast, Hardy
suggested that students and communities should have the
right to determine who visits their schools and that if they
wanted to ban military recruiters, no one should stand
in their way.

Once the debate was over, students clapped (the first time
they were allowed to all night - except for one impromptu
clapping for Hardy) and a few milled around to talk to the
speakers, but most walked home with some questions
answered, but many more remaining.

While the debate was not riddled with excitement, its
existence signified the growth of UCSC's counter-recruitment
movement and the prominance of the issue on campus,
as the event was completely organized by college officials,
not activists. It offered an opportunity for a wider audience
to inform themselves on some of the issues related to military
recruitment, which will hopefully transfer into more solidarity
with counter-recruitment actions and campaigns in the future.
It should also lead to a greater ability for student attendees
(many of which were from SAW) to break down the fallacious
arguments widely circulated by military recruiters -
or 'salesmen' as Hardy called them.


18) Outrage Spreads over New Images
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Arkan Hamed
The recently aired photos depicting
torturing of Iraqis by U.S. military
personnel at Abu Ghraib prison are
now posted for viewing at
Go here to view the photos:

*BASRA, Feb 16 (IPS) - New footage of British soldiers beating up young
Iraqi men in Amarah city in 2003, and the release of more photographs of
atrocities by U.S. soldiers against Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib prison
has spread outrage across Iraq.*

The timing of the new images is potent, in the wake of violence
spreading through Iraq and much of the Muslim world over cartoons of
Prophet Mohammed carried by a Danish newspaper and then other European

"We in Basra have decided not to cooperate in any way with the British
troops," 43 year-old food merchant Ali Shehab Najim told IPS. "These
occupiers of Basra are invaders and we will not sell them any of their

Najim added, "None of us will work with them any longer either. My
cousin used to work with them inside their base, but not any more. He
refuses to go to work, and we have decided to show our contempt for them
in every way possible."

Najim said people are particularly angry over the Danish military
presence in Iraq.

He said he had first accepted the presence of occupation forces, but now
"I think it's about time to tell them we do not respect them since they
are behaving in a very bad way."

After footage of British troops beating young Iraqis with fists and
batons was aired earlier, the Governorate of Basra announced it has
severed ties to the British military. This included cancellation of
joint security patrols.

"We condemn any of those actions by British and American troops in
torturing our young people," former head city councillor of Basra
governorate Qasim Atta Al-Joubori told IPS.

"Iraqis suffered a lot during the past 35 years, but now they are
tortured by foreigners who invaded our country," said Al-Joubori, who
was a city councillor in Basra for 40 years. "We can't accept having
them any more."

Far from cooperating, people in Basra are now prepared to fight the
occupation forces, he said. "What these beatings and torture show is
that the occupiers are both assaulting and insulting all of the Iraqi

Similar views are being echoed around Basra, a relatively quieter area
in the south under charge of British troops.

"We are looking to the day we see those bastards out of our country," 55
year-old factory owner Abdullah Ibraheem told IPS. "Now they are
torturing the citizens of Basra, Baghdad and Amarah, so they have not
only lost the support of the Iraqi Sunnis but the Shias in this country
as well."

He said most Iraqis know someone who has been in a military detention
centre, but said the new video footage and photographic evidence of
torture have "demolished whatever credibility may have remained for the

The Australian television network Special Broadcasting Service (SBS)
aired previously unpublished video footage and photographs Wednesday of
abuse of Iraqis by U.S. soldiers inside the infamous Abu Ghraib prison
in 2003.

The images are similar to those published in 2004 that led to furore
across the Middle East. But many of the new images show a brutality and
extent of sexual humiliation that many news outlets found too shocking
to carry.

The American Civil Liberties Union had obtained the photographs from the
U.S. government under a Freedom of Information request, but its members
said they were not aware how the SBS came to air its new footage and the

There could be yet more photographs to come. "I believe major newspapers
in the U.S. like the Washington Post have scores more photos which are
evidence of torture at Abu Ghraib, but they won't publish them due to
pressure from the U.S. government," an attorney at the Centre for
Constitutional Rights in New York City told IPS.

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters, "The
abuses at Abu Ghraib have been fully investigated." He added, "When
there have been abuses, this department has acted upon them promptly,
investigated them thoroughly and where appropriate prosecuted individuals."

He said the Pentagon believes that releasing of the new images would
trigger greater violence, and endanger U.S. forces in Iraq.

(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.


The Torture Photos Congress Didn't Want You to See
Pictures That Missed the Exhibition
February 16, 2006

Iraq: the forgotten victims
Military under fire for 'abandoning' more than
1,000 veterans with mental problems
By Kim Sengupta and Terri Judd
Published: 16 February 2006

A Deal Is Reached to Name a Victor in Haiti's Election
February 16, 2006

British Clinic Is Allowed to Deny Medicine
[The best life-saving drugs money can buy. Don't have money?
Start saving for your]
February 16, 2006

U.N. Report Calls for End to Guantánamo Detentions
February 16, 2006

Whistleblower Alleges Second Wiretap Program
A former NSA employee said Tuesday there is another ongoing top-secret
surveillance program that might have violated millions of Americans'
Constitutional rights. Russell D. Tice told the House Government Reform
Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International
Relations he has concerns about a "special access" electronic
surveillance program that he characterized as far more wide-ranging than the
warrantless wiretapping.

We Have Created the World’s First Truly Global Empire
John Perkins, author of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man," joins
us in our firehouse studio to talk about his former work going into
various countries to try to strongarm leaders into creating policy
favorable to the U.S government and corporations. Perkins describes
himself as an economic hit man.
Democracy Now!!, February 15th, 2006

2 Major Construction Unions Plan to Leave A.F.L.-C.I.O. Unit.
February 15, 2006

A Cancer Drug Shows Promise, at a Price That Many Can't Pay
February 15, 2006
Doctors are excited about the prospect of Avastin, a drug already
widely used for colon cancer, as a crucial new treatment for breast
and lung cancer, too. But doctors are cringing at the price the
maker, Genentech, plans to charge for it: about $100,000 a year.
That price, about double the current level as a colon cancer
treatment, would raise Avastin to an annual cost typically found
only for medicines used to treat rare diseases that affect small
numbers of patients. But Avastin, already a billion-dollar drug,
has a potential patient pool of hundreds of thousands of people
— which is why analysts predict its United States sales could grow
nearly sevenfold to $7 billion by 2009.
Doctors, though, warn that some cancer patients are already
being priced out of the Avastin market. Even some patients
with insurance are thinking hard before agreeing to treatment,
doctors say, because out-of-pocket co-payments for the drug
could easily run $10,000 to $20,000 a year.
Until now, drug makers have typically defended high prices by
noting the cost of developing new medicines. But executives
at Genentech and its majority owner, Roche, are now using
a separate argument — citing the inherent value of life-
sustaining therapies.
If society wants the benefits, they say, it must be ready to
spend more for treatments like Avastin and another of the
company's cancer drugs, Herceptin, which sells for
$40,000 a year.
"As we look at Avastin and Herceptin pricing, right now
the health economics hold up, and therefore I don't see
any reason to be touching them," said William M. Burns,
the chief executive of Roche's pharmaceutical division
and a member of Genentech's board. "The pressure on
society to use strong and good products is there.

New Images of Abu Ghraib Abuse Are Broadcast in Australia
February 15, 2006

Rice to Ask for $75 Million to Promote Democracy in Iran
February 15, 2006

U.S. Royalty Plan to Give Windfall to Oil Companies
February 14, 2006

VA Nurse Investigated for "Sedition" for Criticizing Bush
By Matthew Rothschild
February 8, 2006
Published on The Progressive

Retirement plan trends don't favor workers
Barbara Whelehan

The next retirement time bomb
By Milt Freudenheim and Mary Williams Walsh
The New York Times
December 11, 2005

US Prepares Military Blitz Against Iran's Nuclear Sites

Rebranded: 'War on Terror' Now 'The Long War'

Revealed: the terror prison US is helping build in Morocco
Tom Walker Rabat and Sarah Baxter
The Sunday Times
February 12, 2006,,2089-2036185,00.html

Union Takes New Tack in Organizing Effort at Pork-Processing Plant
February 13, 2006

FOCUS | UN Report: US Is Torturing Prisoners
A draft United Nations report on the detainees at Guantanamo Bay
concludes that the US treatment of them violates their rights to physical and
mental health and, in some cases, constitutes torture.

Abramoff's Charity Began at Home
Disgraced super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff engaged in many charitable
endeavors over the course of his decade-long career as a Washington insider,
and used the nonprofits to evade taxes, pad his pockets and bribe

FOCUS | Charlie Anderson: Can We Come Home Now?
Charlie Anderson, a Navy Hospital Corpsman with the Marine Corps,
details his feelings of betrayal by his government for sending him to a war
without purpose, his destroyed marriage and Post Traumatic Stress

John Pilger | The Next War - Crossing the Rubicon
Has Tony Blair, the minuscule Caesar, finally crossed his Rubicon?
Having subverted the laws of the civilized world and brought carnage
to a defenseless people and bloodshed to his own, having lied and
lied and used the death of a hundredth British soldier in Iraq to
indulge his profane self-pity, is he about to collude in one more
crime before he goes, wonders John Pilger.

Bolivia's Knot: No to Cocaine, but Yes to Coca
February 12, 2006

Tutor Program Offered by Law Is Going Unused
February 12, 2006

The Wounded
Replacing Limbs, Rebuilding Shattered Lives
February 12, 2006

A New Black Power

[from the February 27, 2006 issue]
More Injuries as Race Riots Disrupt Jails in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 9 — Five days of racial rioting have left one
inmate dead and dozens injured at Los Angeles County jails
as blacks and Latinos have taken their conflicts from the streets
behind bars, the authorities said.
February 10, 2006

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