Monday, December 11, 2006

BAUAW NEWSLETTER -MONDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2006

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Note to Newsletter Readers:

Upon suggestion, I have reorganized the newsletter to put the
news articles and links first and detailed and general announcements
at the end. I hope you find this more helpfull....bw

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ARTICLES IN FULL:
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1) Israel demolishes entire Bedouin village in the Negev
Press Release, Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages,
6 December 2006

2) FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein
Introduction by Carole Seligman and Roland Sheppard
Cuba: Land of the Free, Home of the Brave (1991)
http://www.walterlippmann.com/sylvia-weinstein-cuba-land-of-the-free.html
The United States v. Cuba (1992)
http://www.walterlippmann.com/sylvia-weinstein-us-v.-cuba.html
Malcolm and Fidel in Harlem (1993)
http://www.walterlippmann.com/sylvia-weinstein-malcolm-and-fidel-in-harlem.html
Adrienne Rich, Poet of Honor (1997)
http://www.walterlippmann.com/sylvia-weinstein-adrienne-rich.html
Dorothy Day: A Saint? (1997)
http://www.walterlippmann.com/sylvia-weinstein-dorothy-day.html
If We Are United, We Cannot Lose (2001) (speech)
http://www.walterlippmann.com/sylvia-weinstein-if-we-are-united.html

3) Havana Journal
Hippocrates Meets Fidel, and Even U.S. Students Enroll
By MARC LACEY
NY Times, December 8, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/08/world/americas/08havana.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

4) It's still about oil in Iraq
A centerpiece of the Iraq Study Group's report is its advocacy
for securing foreign companies' long-term access to Iraqi oil fields.
By Antonia Juhasz
December 8, 2006
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-juhasz8dec08,0,4717508.story?track=tottext

5) 33,000 San Franciscans
Editorial by Willie Ratcliff
San Francisco Bay View

6) Protesters Jam Beirut to Urge Government’s Ouster
By MICHAEL SLACKMAN
December 10, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/10/world/middleeast/10cnd-beirut.html?hp&ex=1165813200&en=8464694b4adc25d3&ei=5094&partner=homepage

7) Signs of Lean Times for Home Equity, the American Piggy Bank
By FLOYD NORRIS
December 9, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/09/business/09charts.html

8) U.S. Imprisons More People Than Any Other Nation
By James Vicini, Reuters
"The United States has 5 percent of the world's population
and 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population.
We rank first in the world in locking up our fellow citizens,"
[The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people
is the highest in the world.
[But the article doesn't break down the disproporionate r
ates for Blacks and Latinos.
[U.S. incarceration rates by race, June 30, 2004:
[ http://www.prisonsucks.com/
[-Whites: 393 per 100,000
[-Latinos: 957 per 100,000
[-Blacks: 2,531 per 100,000
[-Females: 123 per 100,000
[-Males: 1,348 per 100,000...Rolandgarret@aol.com ]
December 9, 2006
http://articles.news.aol.com/news/_a/us-imprisons-more-people-than-any-other/20061209111509990004

9) CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
“three strike and you’re out” targets Blacks and Poor
"There are more Black youth in the prison system than there are
in college (even though it now costs twice as much to send
a person to prison as it does to send a person to college.) "
By Roland Sheppard
http://web.mac.com/rolandgarret/iWeb/Site/Crime%20and%20Punishment.html

10) Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC calls on Human Rights Watch
to Re-evaluate its Criticism of the Nonviolent Action
of Palestinian Civilians in Gaza Refugee Camp
Hayward, California, December 7, 2007
For Immediate Release:

11) Cornered Military Takes to Desperate Tactics
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily
December 9, 2006
http://dahrjamailiraq.com

12) Palestinian Officer’s Sons Killed in Gaza
"Gunmen sprayed a car in Gaza City with bullets this morning, killing
three young boys, aged 3 to 9, who were sons of a senior Palestinian
security officer."
By GREG MYRE
December 11, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/11/world/middleeast/11cnd-mide.html?hp&ex=1165899600&en=1c87fba23c7433e1&ei=5094&partner=homepage

13) The Time Is Now
By BOB HERBERT
Op-Ed Columnist
December 11, 2006
http://select.nytimes.com/2006/12/11/opinion/11herbert.html?hp
[Followed by: FOR THE RECORD: By Bonnie Weinstein: a commentary
to this story; along with the Murtha Ammendment that
follows...bw]

14) [Brad Will]
After an American Dies, the Case Against His Killers
Is Mired in Mexican Justice
By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr. and COLIN MOYNIHAN
December 11, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/11/world/americas/11oaxaca.html

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1) Israel demolishes entire Bedouin village in the Negev
Press Release, Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages,
6 December 2006

At 5:00am hundreds of police accompanied six bulldozers and
demolished 17 homes and three animal shacks in the village
of Twail Abu-Jarwal. The entire village is demolished. People
are sitting by the piles of tin that were their modest dwellings
and wondering what to do, where to go - even their family
cannot host them, as no one has a house standing.

This is the fourth time this year that the government demolished
in this village. This time they got it "right" - no house
is left standing.

But the villagers have nowhere to go to. They lived on the
outskirts of the Bedouin town of Laqia, the old folk paid for
plots of land to build homes in the 1970s, they still hold on the
receipt, hoping someday to receive the plots. For the last
30 years they have been living on land belonging to others,
in shacks, the housing becoming ever more crowded, until
there was no room left for another baby. They turned to the
government for a solution - the option for joining the rest
of the residents of Laqia, in a regular house, on a regular
plot of land. But the authorities had no options for them.
The owners of the land on which they were living requested
that they leave - 30 years is enough. So eventually they left
back to their own ancestral land - only a couple of miles
south of Laqia - by the old ruined school, by their old cemetery.
The adult sons built their old mother a modest brick home.
The rest built tin shacks.

A year ago the government came and destroyed several houses -
including the brick home. Some of the people of Twail Abu Jarwal
rebuilt, some moved into more crowded homes with their adult
siblings. The government came nine months later and demolished
seven more homes. Again, some rebuilt their shacks, some moved
in with family. The government came back last month and just
to harass, uprooted fences, holding the sheep. And now they
came in order to make sure the work is complete.

Israel's Minister of Interior, Roni Bar-On, two days ago was
invited to give answers to the Internal Affairs Committee in the
Knesset, as to what solutions the government is advancing
in order to solve the issue of the unrecognized Bedouin villages
in the Negev, and why the government is demolishing homes
while these people have no "legal" options for building homes.
Bar-On claimed that everything is just fine, he is doing all he
can to deal with this issue, but a criminal must be punished,
and therefore all the "illegal" Bedouin homes in the Negev must
be demolished. He claimed that as far as he is concerned, there
are not enough demolitions in the Negev. And now he has
proved that he is a man of his word - 17 homes demolished
in one foul swoop.

Of the 150,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the Negev,
over 50% live in villages that the government as policy has left
"unrecognized", meaning that there are no options for building
permits, as well as running water, electricity, roads, sewer
systems and trash removal, additionally there are very minimal
education and health facilities. This policy's aim is to force the
Bedouins off their ancestral lands and to concentrate the Bedouins
in urban townships, regardless of their wishes or their culture.
However, there are also no options for living in the concentration
towns the government has built, as there are no available plots
of land for homes, as in the case of the families of the Twail abu-
Jarwal village. Therefore the government can "legally" demolish
the homes of 80,000 members of this community, while they
cannot build one "legal" home.

We need help! Both financial and political.

Please donate to help the people of the village re-build their
homes (tin shacks that stand as homes...) Checks can be sent
to RCUV - al Awna Fund (the Regional Council for the
Unrecognized Villages), POBox 10002, Beer Sheva,
zipcode 84105, ISRAEL.

Please write to your representatives! And tell of the quiet
and brutal demolitions of homes and lives in the Israeli Negev,
demand that they do something about it.

The Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages is an NGO
and was created in 1997 as the representative body for the
residents of the 45 Bedouin unrecognized villages in the Israeli
Negev. Hssein al-Rafaia is the elected head of the RCUV.
For more information, please contact Yeela Raanan, 054 7487005,
or via email at yallylivnat@ gmail.com, Civil Society Activities
Coordinator, Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages.

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2) FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein
Introduction
by Carole Seligman and Roland Sheppard
First Edition. March 2005.
Cuba: Land of the Free, Home of the Brave (1991)
http://www.walterlippmann.com/sylvia-weinstein-cuba-land-of-the-free.html
The United States v. Cuba (1992)
http://www.walterlippmann.com/sylvia-weinstein-us-v.-cuba.html
Malcolm and Fidel in Harlem (1993)
http://www.walterlippmann.com/sylvia-weinstein-malcolm-and-fidel-in-harlem.html
Adrienne Rich, Poet of Honor (1997)
http://www.walterlippmann.com/sylvia-weinstein-adrienne-rich.html
Dorothy Day: A Saint? (1997)
http://www.walterlippmann.com/sylvia-weinstein-dorothy-day.html
If We Are United, We Cannot Lose (2001) (speech)
http://www.walterlippmann.com/sylvia-weinstein-if-we-are-united.html

Introduction
by Carole Seligman and Roland Sheppard
First Edition. March 2005.

You have in your hands a wonderful book. It is a complete collection
of the monthly columns written by Sylvia Weinstein for Socialist Action
newspaper from 1984 through February of 2001, and for the first
four issues of Socialist Viewpoint magazine, May through
September, 2001. She engaged in revolutionary socialist journalism
until she died at age 75 on August 14, 2001. This collection also
includes the transcript of a presentation Sylvia gave to a university
women’s rights celebration in Baltimore, Maryland in 1993, in which
she reviewed her personal history as a fighter for women’s rights.

She was born Sylvia Mae Profitt in 1926, on the outskirts of Lexington,
Kentucky. Fifty-six of those years, her entire adult life since she
was 19 years old, was spent as an active participant in the
revolutionary workers movement: 38 years in the Socialist Workers
Party, and 18 years in Socialist Action, of which she was a founding
member and full-time worker. During the last few months of her
life, she was a founder and leader of Socialist Workers Organization
and Business Manager of Socialist Viewpoint magazine.

During her 38 years in the Socialist Workers Party, she took
assignments as secretary of the New York City branch of the
party, as an activist in the Civil Rights Movement in the Brooklyn
branch of the NAACP, and as a full time worker in The Militant
newspaper office, among many others.

She was arrested for sitting in at Coney Island Hospital at an
NAACP action there to force the hiring of Black workers in the
construction of more hospital buildings. She picketed at Woolworths
in solidarity with the southern sit-ins. Like many socialists during
the McCarthy era witch-hunt she was visited at home and harassed
many times by the FBI. Of course that never stopped her. She
not only increased her activism, she even ran in socialist election
campaigns for public office in New York City and later in San Francisco.

Sylvia was a staunch defender of the Cuban Revolution and
an activist in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. When Fidel Castro
came to New York City to address the United Nations after the
victory of the Cuban revolution, Sylvia was a key organizer in the
committee that arranged a big reception for Fidel and the Cuban
delegation to meet with their U.S. supporters and Black community
leaders at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem. Sylvia remained very proud
of that experience.

But it was the feminist movement of the 1970s that inspired Sylvia
to take a leadership role, especially in the struggles for abortion
rights and childcare. These issues had a deep personal meaning
for Sylvia. In those struggles, Sylvia was an organizer and activist.
She did countless mailings and handed out hundreds of thousands
of flyers. But the feminist movement also brought out Sylvia’s
tremendous leadership talents.

Sylvia made her own experiences as a young mother who was
forced to obtain illegal, terrifying, and unsafe abortions the
property of the movement as a whole. She testified at speak-outs
to legalize abortion, and later, when it was legal, she organized
to defend the clinics from the attacks of the rightwing anti-abortion
terrorists. She became a spokeswoman and teacher. In the 1970s
she was the main leader of the movement for childcare in San
Francisco. She became known throughout San Francisco as the
“childcare lady,” and as an advocate for all human rights.

She set an example of unalterable opposition to the capitalist
government which stood in the path of women’s liberation. Her
campaign for Board of Education in San Francisco was run on
a financial shoe string, but Sylvia got about 10,000 votes. She
came up against powerful politicians—representatives of the rich—
in the course of her work for women’s rights. S.F. Mayor Willie
Brown, who was then speaker of the California State Assembly,
tried to elbow her off the stage in the middle of her speech at
a Day in the Park for Women’s Rights. That was an annual
demonstration that Sylvia had helped initiate during the struggle
for childcare in San Francisco. Sylvia also found herself face
to face in opposition to Senator Dianne Feinstein, who was then
president of the Board of Supervisors of the City of San Francisco.
Feinstein tried to use the childcare issue to gain political power
for herself but not to expand childcare services for families. Sylvia
fought her on this, and fought successfully against the S.F. chapter
of the National Organization for Women endorsing Feinstein for mayor.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Sylvia was both the main spokeswoman
for the militant wing of the feminist movement and also the most
respected feminist speaker among the masses of working women
who demonstrated for women’s rights. Behind the scenes, powerful
politicians moved in to try to isolate Weinstein and her collaborators
from the NOW members by initiating a public red-baiting campaign
in the San Francisco media. To Sylvia, this campaign only showed
how effective militant independence in the feminist movement was.

Her last important political work was in founding the Socialist Workers
Organization after the demise of democracy within Socialist Action.
She continued the regular monthly column, “Fightback!” that she
had written for Socialist Action newspaper for the first three issues
of Socialist Viewpoint magazine.

Sylvia Weinstein had the unique ability to make masses of people
feel justified in their anger at their oppression and in the justness
of their cause. She also imparted a strong sense that masses
of oppressed, working together, could exert their power and
change things for the better. She believed that the working class
was fully capable of taking control over society and ruling in the
interests of themselves and all humankind. She was sure that
eventually masses of people would join with her to change things,
to make a socialist revolution. Perhaps it was because she exuded
a deep belief in the goodness of her fellow workers, that people
gravitated to her and were so affected by her.

In the women’s movement, during its ascendancy, Sylvia was able
to impart that attitude of class consciousness to thousands
of women. In the socialist movement she was able to impart
that confidence to her comrades. Her legacy is as a partisan
fighter for human rights and advocate of a socialist future
for humanity.

Sylvia’s columns are infused with revolutionary spirit, optimism,
respect for the potential of the working class, love for the working
people of the world, and hatred for the oppressor class. The
columns exhibit the very essence of Marxist political analysis—
a deep understanding that society is divided into social classes
with diametrically opposed social, political, and economic interests.
But they are in no sense dry or academic. Sylvia spoke and wrote
with a colorful style full of invective for the brutality and arrogance
of the capitalist class and the stupidity of its stooges in government.

Many of the columns also reveal the strong personal motivation
for Sylvia’s tireless revolutionary work—her personal background
of extreme rural poverty, her childhood experience in labor
organizing, her two dangerous illegal abortions, her active
participation in the working class, Civil Rights, antiwar, and
especially the women’s liberation movements. Because Sylvia
played a leadership role in the campaigns for child care, the
Equal Rights Amendment, and abortion rights, her columns
on those topics are especially fierce.

This book will be useful for all who oppose the horrors the
capitalist system is perpetrating upon the peoples of the world
today. It provides a revolutionary socialist perspective on the
last two decades of the 20th century U.S. empire. It contains
useful history on some of the most important developments
of those two decades, such as the several wars waged by the
U.S. on developing countries, on the status of women—
particularly with respect to women’s reproductive rights—
on the growth of the prison-industrial complex and
America's political prisoners, on the first Palestinian
intifada, and the major events of the end of the 20th century.

Sylvia had the gift of finding and re-telling the stories of
ordinary people that reveal great truths about our society.
She found stories in the daily newspapers, such as the story
of the Russian mother who went to Chechnya to bring her
soldier son home, and let the readers see how this strong
act of love and personal sacrifice applied to all mothers and
all working people. Through this story she showed how reactionary
wars against national liberation were not only against the
interests of workers and soldiers of the oppressed nation,
but against those of the oppressor nation as well.

The book does much more than provide a useful history of this
period. The basic politics of these columns is very relevant today.
These writings advocate policies of complete working class
independence from ruling class politics. They advocate working
class methods, strategies, and tactics, such as mass street
demonstrations to oppose war or to support important reforms
such as reproductive rights for women and the Equal Rights
Amendment. The columns are particularly useful in understanding
capitalist electoral politics. Many are scathing attacks on the
reformist policy of supporting so-called lesser-evil, pro-capitalist
candidates in elections, and the de-railing of important social
justice movements in the process. These columns are particularly
useful in understanding the present predicament of the antiwar
movement in the aftermath of U.S. wars against Afghanistan and
Iraq, current continuing occupations of both of these countries,
and a presidential election approaching with no genuine working
class political party in place to contest capitalist political power.
In this context, Sylvia Weinstein’s writings are not only interesting
but prophetic.

The series of articles in this book are indicative of her compassion
for the oppressed and her unswerving confidence in the power
of the working class to construct a socialist world humanitarian
society in harmony with nature. Sylvia was a rebel woman who
knew how to fightback. “Fightback!” was the name of her monthly
column, and therefore, it is the title of this book.

—Carole Seligman and Roland Sheppard


FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein

Socialist Viewpoint Publishing Association
ISBN: 0-9763570-0-3
360 pp.

To order your copy of FIGHTBACK!
Send a check for $25.00 plus $5.95 for shipping and handling to:

Socialist Viewpoint
333 Valencia Street, Suite 407
San Francisco, CA 94110
415-920-9323

Please be sure to include your name, address, city, state and zip code.

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3) Havana Journal
Hippocrates Meets Fidel, and Even U.S. Students Enroll
By MARC LACEY
NY Times, December 8, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/08/world/americas/08havana.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

HAVANA, Dec. 7 ˜ Anatomy is a part of medical education everywhere.
Biochemistry, too. But a course in Cuban history?

The Latin American School of Medical Sciences, on a sprawling former naval
base on the outskirts of this capital, teaches its students medicine Cuban
style. That means poking at cadavers, peering into aging microscopes and
discussing the revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power 48 years ago.

Cuban-trained doctors must be able not only to diagnose an ulcer and treat
hypertension but also to expound on the principles put forward by „el
comandante.‰

It was President Castro himself who in the late 1990s came up with the idea
for this place, which gives potential doctors from throughout the Americas
and Africa not just the A B C‚s of medicine but also the basic philosophy
behind offering good health care to the struggling masses.

The Cuban government offers full scholarships to poor students from abroad,
and many, including 90 or so Americans, have jumped at the chance of a free
medical education, even with a bit of Communist theory thrown in.

„They are completing the dreams of our comandante,‰ said the dean, Dr. Juan
D. Carrizo Estévez. „As he said, they are true missionaries, true apostles
of health.‰

It is a strong personal desire to practice medicine that drives the
students here more than any affinity for Mr. Castro. Those from the United
States in particular insist that they want to become doctors, not
politicians. They recoil at the notion that they are propaganda tools for
Cuba, as critics suggest.

„They ask no one to be political ˜ it‚s your choice,‰ said Jamar Williams,
27, of Brooklyn, a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany.
„Many students decide to be political. They go to rallies and read
political books. But you can lie low.‰

Still, the Cuban authorities are eager to show off this school as a sign of
the country‚s compassion and its standing in the world. And some students
cannot help responding to the sympathetic portrayal of Mr. Castro, whom the
United States government tars as a dictator who suppresses his people.

„In my country many see Fidel Castro as a bad leader,‰ said Rolando
Bonilla, 23, a Panamanian who is in his second year of the six-year
program. „My view has changed. I now know what he represents for this
country. I identify with him.‰

Fátima Flores, 20, of Mexico sympathized with Mr. Castro‚s government even
before she was accepted for the program. „When we become doctors we can
spread his influence,‰ she said. „Medicine is not just something
scientific. It‚s a way of serving the public. Look at Che.‰

Che Guevara was an Argentine medical doctor before he became a
revolutionary who fought alongside Mr. Castro in the rugged reaches of
eastern Cuba and then lost his life in Bolivia while further spreading the
cause.

Tahirah Benyard, 27, a first-year student from Newark, said it was Cuba‚s
offer to send doctors to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, which was
rejected by the Bush administration, that prompted her to take a look at
medical education in Cuba.

„I saw my people dying,‰ she said. „There was no one willing to help. The
government was saying everything is going to be fine.‰

She said she had been rejected by several American medical schools but
could not have afforded their high costs anyway. Like other students from
the United States, she was screened for the Cuba program by Pastors for
Peace, a New York organization opposed to Washington‚s trade embargo
against the island.

Ms. Benyard hopes that one day she will be able to practice in poor
neighborhoods back home. Whether her education, which is decidedly low
tech, is up to American standards remains to be seen, although Cedric
Edwards, the first American student to graduate, last year, passed his
medical boards in the United States.

If she makes it, Ms. Benyard will become one of a small pool of
African-American doctors. Only about 6 percent of practicing physicians are
members of minority groups, says the Association of American Medical
Colleges, which recently began its own program to increase the number of
minority medical students.

Even before they were accepted into Cuba‚s program, most of the Americans
here said they had misgivings about the health care system in their own
country. There is too much of a focus on the bottom line, they said, and
not enough compassion for the poor.

„Democracy is a great principle,‰ said Mr. Williams, who wears long
dreadlocks pulled back behind his head. „The idea that people can speak for
themselves and govern themselves is a great concept. But people must be
educated, and in order to be educated, people need health.‰

The education the students are receiving here extends outside the classroom.

„I‚ve learned to become a minimalist,‰ Mr. Williams said. „I don‚t
necessarily need my iPod, all my gadgets and gizmos, to survive.‰

There are also fewer food options. The menu can be described as rice and
beans and more rice and beans. Living conditions are more rugged in other
respects as well. The electricity goes out frequently. Internet access is
limited. Toilet paper and soap are rationed. Sometimes the water taps are dry.

Then there is the issue of personal space.

„Being in a room with 18 girls, it teaches you patience,‰ said Ms. Benyard,
who was used to her one-bedroom apartment back home and described her
current living conditions as like a military barracks.

Other students cited the American government‚s embargo as their biggest
frustration. The blockade, which is what the Cuban government and many of
the American students call it, means no care packages, no visits from Mom
and Dad, and the threat that their government might penalize them for
coming here.

Last year Washington ordered the students home, but the decision was
reversed after protests from the Congressional Black Caucus, which supports
the program.

One topic that does not come up in classes is the specific ailment that put
Mr. Castro in the hospital, forced him to cede power to his brother Raúl
and has kept him out of the public eye since late July. His diagnosis, like
so much else in Cuba, is a state secret.

www.marxmail.org

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4) It's still about oil in Iraq
A centerpiece of the Iraq Study Group's report is its advocacy
for securing foreign companies' long-term access to Iraqi oil fields.
By Antonia Juhasz
December 8, 2006
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-juhasz8dec08,0,4717508.story?track=tottext

ANTONIA JUHASZ is a visiting scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies
and author of "The Bush Agenda: Invading the World,
One Economy at a Time."

WHILE THE Bush administration, the media and nearly all the Democrats
still refuse to explain the war in Iraq in terms of oil, the ever-pragmatic
members of the Iraq Study Group share no such reticence.

Page 1, Chapter 1 of the Iraq Study Group report lays out Iraq's
importance to its region, the U.S. and the world with this reminder:
"It has the world's second-largest known oil reserves." The group
then proceeds to give very specific and radical recommendations
as to what the United States should do to secure those reserves.
If the proposals are followed, Iraq's national oil industry will
be commercialized and opened to foreign firms.

The report makes visible to everyone the elephant in the room:
that we are fighting, killing and dying in a war for oil. It states
in plain language that the U.S. government should use every
tool at its disposal to ensure that American oil interests and
those of its corporations are met.

It's spelled out in Recommendation No. 63, which calls on the
U.S. to "assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry
as a commercial enterprise" and to "encourage investment
in Iraq's oil sector by the international community and by
international energy companies." This recommendation would
turn Iraq's nationalized oil industry into a commercial entity
that could be partly or fully privatized by foreign firms.

This is an echo of calls made before and immediately after
the invasion of Iraq.

The U.S. State Department's Oil and Energy Working Group,
meeting between December 2002 and April 2003, also said
that Iraq "should be opened to international oil companies
as quickly as possible after the war." Its preferred method
of privatization was a form of oil contract called a production-
sharing agreement. These agreements are preferred by the
oil industry but rejected by all the top oil producers in the
Middle East because they grant greater control and more
profits to the companies than the governments. The Heritage
Foundation also released a report in March 2003 calling
for the full privatization of Iraq's oil sector. One representative
of the foundation, Edwin Meese III, is a member of the Iraq
Study Group. Another, James J. Carafano, assisted in the
study group's work.

For any degree of oil privatization to take place, and for it
to apply to all the country's oil fields, Iraq has to amend its
constitution and pass a new national oil law. The constitution
is ambiguous as to whether control over future revenues from
as-yet-undeveloped oil fields should be shared among its
provinces or held and distributed by the central government.

This is a crucial issue, with trillions of dollars at stake, because
only 17 of Iraq's 80 known oil fields have been developed.
Recommendation No. 26 of the Iraq Study Group calls for
a review of the constitution to be "pursued on an urgent basis."
Recommendation No. 28 calls for putting control of Iraq's oil revenues
in the hands of the central government. Recommendation No. 63 also
calls on the U.S. government to "provide technical assistance to the
Iraqi government to prepare a draft oil law."

This last step is already underway. The Bush administration hired the
consultancy firm BearingPoint more than a year ago to advise the Iraqi
Oil Ministry on drafting and passing a new national oil law.

Plans for this new law were first made public at a news conference
in late 2004 in Washington. Flanked by State Department officials,
Iraqi Finance Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi (who is now vice president)
explained how this law would open Iraq's oil industry to private
foreign investment. This, in turn, would be "very promising to the
American investors and to American enterprise, certainly to oil
companies." The law would implement production-sharing
agreements.

Much to the deep frustration of the U.S. government and American
oil companies, that law has still not been passed.

In July, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman announced in Baghdad
that oil executives told him that their companies would not enter
Iraq without passage of the new oil law. Petroleum Economist
magazine later reported that U.S. oil companies considered
passage of the new oil law more important than increased
security when deciding whether to go into business in Iraq.

The Iraq Study Group report states that continuing military, political
and economic support is contingent upon Iraq's government
meeting certain undefined "milestones." It's apparent that these
milestones are embedded in the report itself.

Further, the Iraq Study Group would commit U.S. troops to Iraq
for several more years to, among other duties, provide security
for Iraq's oil infrastructure. Finally, the report unequivocally
declares that the 79 total recommendations "are comprehensive
and need to be implemented in a coordinated fashion. They
should not be separated or carried out in isolation."

All told, the Iraq Study Group has simply made the case for
extending the war until foreign oil companies — presumably
American ones — have guaranteed legal access to all of Iraq's
oil fields and until they are assured the best legal and financial
terms possible.

We can thank the Iraq Study Group for making its case publicly.
It is now our turn to decide if we wish to spill more blood for oil.

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5) 33,000 San Franciscans
Editorial by Willie Ratcliff
San Francisco Bay View

It’s December, and 33,000 San Francisco voters are still waiting for
justice. All summer, in every neighborhood in the city, people eagerly
signed our referendum petition to stop the Bayview Hunters Point
Redevelopment Plan. We needed 21,000 signatures; we turned in
over 33,000 – and the Elections Department verified them. We were
jubilant. We – 33,000 San Franciscans – had stopped the biggest
land grab in the city’s history.

Then in September, at the request of Mayor Gavin Newsom and
Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Sophie Maxwell, City Attorney Dennis
Herrera threw out the signatures of over 33,000 San Franciscans with
the ridiculous excuse that each petition should have been as thick
as a phone book. No matter that our petitions had been thoroughly
examined and approved by all the appropriate officials before
we circulated them.

So much for democracy in San Francisco ! The Redevelopment
Agency and its developer friends, hungry for our neighborhood,
San Francisco ’s sunniest and most scenic, began to sink its teeth
into Bayview Hunters Point, to chew us up and spit us out.

We see three ways to justice: 1) We want to sue the City but
haven’t yet found attorneys we can afford who are willing to take
the case. 2) We want at least six members of the Board of Supervisors
to reconsider and rescind their approval of the Redevelopment Plan,
and we’re encouraging them to do so. 3) We want a law passed
at the local, state or federal level to prohibit the kind of eminent
domain that seizes property from one private owner and gives
it to a richer one. That would incapacitate the Redevelopment
Agency and stop the land grab.

This week, we have a slim chance to pull off the third option. The U.S.
Senate could pass federal eminent domain reform before Congress
adjourns if we push them hard enough. H.R. 4128 passed the House
over a year ago 376-38. The identical Senate bill, S. 3873, could pass
this week if 33,000 San Franciscans and our friends all over the country
call our Senators. In California , we need to call Sen. Barbara Boxer
at (202) 224-3553 and Sen. Dianne Feinstein at (202) 224-3841,
and we need to do it TODAY!

We still need to limit eminent domain in California too. Prop 90,
which would have done that, failed because of some additional
language about “takings.” I feel vindicated to learn that in Nevada ,
where a similar measure was on the ballot this year, the courts
struck down the “takings” language, leaving only the language limiting
eminent domain, and the voters passed it. I had proposed that route
for California . Too bad we missed the opportunity.

We should demand that the California legislature limit eminent domain,
as 34 other states have done in the past year. If our legislators
refuse – as they refused last year – we’ll know they’re still in the
clutches of the big developers and their big campaign donations.
And we’ll know that they don’t give a damn about us in Bayview
Hunters Point – or about 33,000 San Franciscans seeking justice.

And why not limit eminent domain in San Francisco ? According
to www.propertyfairness.org: “On June 6, 2006 , voters in Orange
County , California , approved a countywide eminent domain
measure. The measure was approved with 75 percent of the
vote. Orange County was the first local jurisdiction in the
nation to weigh in on eminent domain restrictions at the ballot
box. The measure prohibits eminent domain for economic
development.”

If the voters can do it in Orange County , the Board of Supervisors
can do it in San Francisco . How about it, Supervisors? Do at least
six of you have the courage to give 33,000 San Franciscans
the justice they seek?

P.S. The headline “33,000 San Franciscans” was inspired by a lady
I’d never met who came by recently with a box full of 1,000 plain
white postcards printed on one side in bold black letters:
“33,000 San Franciscans.” “I don’t know what you can do with
these,” she said, “but I signed the petition and I’m so angry our
signatures were thrown out that I had to do something.”

Supervisors, your constituents are furious. They call and email
me constantly wondering what we’re going to do, what they can
do and, most of all, what you’re going to do. Your constituents,
33,000 of them, demand justice. It’s yours to give.

Contact Bay View Publisher Willie Ratcliff at
publisher@sfbayview.com or (415) 671-0789.

To reach the Bay View, email editor@sfbayview.com.
To subscribe to this list, email sfbayview-subscribe@lists.riseup.net.

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6) Protesters Jam Beirut to Urge Government’s Ouster
By MICHAEL SLACKMAN
December 10, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/10/world/middleeast/10cnd-beirut.html?hp&ex=1165813200&en=8464694b4adc25d3&ei=5094&partner=homepage

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Dec. 10 — The center of Beirut was packed with
hundreds of thousands of pro-Hezbollah and allied demonstrators
today, pressing their call for the Lebanese government to resign
in a jubilant mass of protest and carnival.

The pounding of martial music, the roaring din of the excited crowd
floated up a nearby hill to pierce the thick walls of the stately
government building, the Grand Serail, as Prime Minister Fouad
Sinoria, entered a ceremonial room for a news conference. “I don’t
understand what is this great cause that is making them create
this tense political mess and stage open ended demonstrations,”
he said to a small group of reporters.

Over and over, the crowd, the speakers, the posters, offered clear
explanations. They did not want a government controlled by the
so-called March 14 coalition, an amalgam of Sunni, Christian and Druse
parties. They did not want a government aligned with Washington.
In short, a very large number of Lebanese citizens said they
did not want the present leadership.

A banner that hung down the side of a building, showing a picture
of the prime minister hugging Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“Thanks Condy,” it said just beneath another image of dead children,
referring to Lebanese civilian casualties during Israel’s war with
the militant Shiite group Hezbollah during the summer.

“There is no longer a place for America in Lebanon,” Hezbollah’s
deputy leader, Naim Qassem, said in remarks that boomed through
loudspeakers.

“Do you not recall that the weapons fired on Lebanon are American
weapons?” he added.

Prime Minister Sinoria’s somewhat surprising expression
of bewilderment seemed to capture the spirit dividing this country
of just four million people. There are government supporters
who appear afraid and threatened, and there are opponents of the
government, particularly those who support Hezbollah, who seem
empowered and confident that they stand at the threshold of victory.

In a subdued ceremony that seemed a reverse image of the boisterous
protests, several thousand people gathered to mark the anniversary
of the assassination of Gibran Tueni, the anti-Syrian newspaper
publisher killed in a car bombing last year. The front of the convention
center was filled with Range Rovers, Jaguars and Mercedes-Benzes.
Inside, the audience was dressed for a funeral, suits and ties,
and cuff links for the men.

“Everyone is afraid,” said Michel Khoury, a former governor of the
central bank as he left the memorial, a shiny new Motorola cell
phone pressed to his ear. “The Shiite community is very important.
It is the first time it is monolithic, the first time in the history
of this country you have one of the communities united.”

And in Tripoli today, tens of thousands of pro-government
demonstrators rallied.

This fight between Lebanese factions, defined primarily along
sectarian lines, is a fight for control of the government that will
help determine Lebanon’s future, whether it will eventually lean
toward Iran and Syria, as would like, or toward the United States
and Europe, as the governing alliance would like.

“We are today at the last phase of our struggle before we consolidate
our independence, freedom and sovereignty because the government
has proven to be a failure at all levels,” said the former Gen. Michel
Aoun in a live video broadcast to the demonstrators in Beirut. “They
have failed to isolate the Lebanese people from one another and
we are here today to represent unity and we are leading this struggle
together.” He has aligned his Christian party, the Free Patriotic
Movement, with Hezbollah.

He said that within a few days, the allied groups would press to
form an interim cabinet and then early parliamentary elections.
There have been rumors flying around Beirut that the next step
will be attempts to block roads, the airport, and the ports, to grind
the country to a halt. But there has so far been nothing official.

Hezbollah and its allies have managed for 10 days to control the
center of Beirut with a loud, peaceful, organized protest. In many
ways, Hezbollah has adopted a strategy that has been cheered
by the White House in the past, in places like Ukraine, and even
Lebanon itself, leaning on large, peaceful crowds to force unpopular
governments to resign and pave the way for elections. But this time
Washington and its allies have said the protest amounts to
a coup d’état, fueling charges that America supports democratic
practices only when its allies are winning.

“Does Bush want national expression in Lebanon?” Sheik Qassem
said to the crowd. “Does the West and Arabs want the voice of the
people in Lebanon? Tell them, ‘Death to America.’ Tell them,
‘Death to Israel.’ Tell them, ‘Glory to a free Lebanon.’ ”

The Hezbollah alliance took its protests to the streets after the
governing coalition refused its demands to give Hezbollah and
its allies more power, including the ability to veto all government
action. The current demonstration began on Friday, with hundreds
of thousands of people pouring into the center of the city, many
bused in from the poor, war-ravaged Shia communities of the
south. The government appeared to hope that the protesters would
grow weary and go back to the negotiating table.

But today, there was the huge crowd, a vista of humanity pressed
shoulder to shoulder, flying flags and calling for the government
to resign.

“We want a clean cabinet,” read one banner.

“Victory, change, is coming,’ read another.

The gravity of the situation was underlined by roads sealed by
soldiers and razor wire, and the many shops and restaurants
that remained closed.

But high spirits seemed dominant. “I am having fun overthrowing
the cabinet,” said Hassan Katteya, 10, as he walked with his mother,
Reema, through the crowd.

“We feel that we are the strong party,” Mrs. Katteya said. “The
government is the weak party. They are hiding up there in the
Grand Serail.”

Nada Bakri contributed reporting.

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7) Signs of Lean Times for Home Equity, the American Piggy Bank
By FLOYD NORRIS
December 9, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/09/business/09charts.html

MUCH of the growth of the United States in recent years has been
financed by homeowners’ rising wealth. But now the growth in that
wealth has almost vanished.

The government reported this month that it estimated the equity
of Americans in their homes — what the homes are worth less
the money owed on mortgages — rose a scant 0.1 percent
in the third quarter. At an annual rate, that was just 0.5 percent,
the smallest gain in more than a decade.

From late 2003 through the first quarter of this year, the gain
in home equity was running at more than 10 percent a year, more
than enough to keep Americans feeling richer and to provide cash —
through refinancings or home equity loans — for other uses.

The amount of money being borrowed has also begun to slow,
although not nearly as rapidly as the increase in the value
of real estate might indicate. In the third quarter, the outstanding
balances of mortgage loans rose at an annual rate of 7.9 percent.
That is less than half the pace of just two years ago, and the lowest
figure for any quarter since early 2001, when the economy
was going into recession.

That American homes face more leverage than they once did
is clear from the chart showing mortgages as a percentage
of value over the last half century.

Over all, homes are still worth more than twice what is owed
on them, which hardly sounds alarming even if relative debt
levels doubled over the 50 years.

The real issue is the spread of that debt. There is no question
that more homes now have very high loan-to-value ratios,
or that more mortgages have features that could cause monthly
payments to soar. Either could cause severe distress for some
homeowners if home prices fall or a recession threatens
incomes. Owners could find they own homes worth less
than they owe or that they cannot afford the new monthly
payment. A wave of defaults could come even when most
homeowners have ample financial flexibility.

It used to be that in eras when home values rose rapidly,
the amount of outstanding mortgages rose more slowly. That
stood to reason, because most homes were not sold in any given
year and mortgages were primarily used to buy homes. Those
who owned homes might have felt wealthier, but they did
not take on additional debt.

That stayed true even in the late 1990’s, when home prices
were rising at a good clip and mortgage balances rose more
slowly. But the relationship has vanished. For the best two
and a half years of the real estate boom — ending this past
March — the value of home equity in America rose at a very
impressive annual rate of 11.8 percent. But the total amount
of mortgages outstanding rose at a rate of 13.5 percent.

Some of that borrowing came from home buyers who needed
to borrow to pay the high prices, and some from homeowners
refinancing their homes. But a lot also came from an increased
willingness of Americans to use home equity lines of credit —
and from the expansion of the asset-backed securities market
that funds many such loans. The amount outstanding under
them rose at a compounded annual rate of 22.9 percent
over that period.

It seems like a paradox: the more homes are worth, the more
many owners owe, even if they purchased the homes many years
before for far less than they are now worth.

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8) U.S. Imprisons More People Than Any Other Nation
By James Vicini, Reuters
"The United States has 5 percent of the world's population
and 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population.
We rank first in the world in locking up our fellow citizens,"
[The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people
is the highest in the world.
[But the article doesn't break down the disproporionate r
ates for Blacks and Latinos.
[U.S. incarceration rates by race, June 30, 2004:
[ http://www.prisonsucks.com/
[-Whites: 393 per 100,000
[-Latinos: 957 per 100,000
[-Blacks: 2,531 per 100,000
[-Females: 123 per 100,000
[-Males: 1,348 per 100,000...Rolandgarret@aol.com ]
December 9, 2006
http://articles.news.aol.com/news/_a/us-imprisons-more-people-than-any-other/20061209111509990004

WASHINGTON (Dec. 9) -- Tough sentencing laws, record numbers
of drug offenders and high crime rates have contributed to the
United States having the largest prison population and the
highest rate of incarceration in the world, according to criminal
justice experts.

A U.S. Justice Department report released on November 30 showed
that a record 7 million people -- or one in every 32 American adults
-- were behind bars, on probation or on parole at the end of last
year. Of the total, 2.2 million were in prison or jail.

According to the International Center for Prison Studies at King's
College in London, more people are behind bars in the United
States than in any other country. China ranks second with
1.5 million prisoners, followed by Russia with 870,000.

The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people is the
highest, followed by 611 in Russia and 547 for St. Kitts and
Nevis. In contrast, the incarceration rates in many Western
industrial nations range around 100 per 100,000 people.

Groups advocating reform of U.S. sentencing laws seized
on the latest U.S. prison population figures showing admissions
of inmates have been rising even faster than the numbers
of prisoners who have been released.

"The United States has 5 percent of the world's population
and 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population. We rank
first in the world in locking up our fellow citizens," said Ethan
Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports
alternatives in the war on drugs.

"We now imprison more people for drug law violations than
all of western Europe, with a much larger population,
incarcerates for all offenses."

Ryan King, a policy analyst at The Sentencing Project, a group
advocating sentencing reform, said the United States has
a more punitive criminal justice system than other countries.

"We send more people to prison, for more different offenses,
for longer periods of time than anybody else," he said.

Drug offenders account for about 2 million of the 7 million
in prison, on probation or parole, King said, adding that
other countries often stress treatment instead of incarceration.

Commenting on what the prison figures show about U.S.
society, King said various social programs, including those
dealing with education, poverty, urban development, health
care and child care, have failed.

"There are a number of social programs we have failed
to deliver. There are systemic failures going on," he said. "
A lot of these people then end up in the criminal justice
system."

Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal
Foundation in California, said the high prison numbers
represented a proper response to the crime problem in the
United States. Locking up more criminals has contributed
to lower crime rates, he said.

"The hand-wringing over the incarceration rate
is missing the mark," he said.

Scheidegger said the high prison population reflected
cultural differences, with the United States having far higher
crimes rates than European nations or Japan. "We have more
crime. More crime gets you more prisoners."

Julie Stewart, president of the group Families Against Mandatory
Minimums, cited the Justice Department report and said drug
offenders are clogging the U.S. justice system.

"Why are so many people in prison? Blame mandatory sentencing
laws and the record number of nonviolent drug offenders
subject to them," she said.

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9) CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
“three strike and you’re out” targets Blacks and Poor
"There are more Black youth in the prison system than there are
in college (even though it now costs twice as much to send
a person to prison as it does to send a person to college.) "
By Roland Sheppard
http://web.mac.com/rolandgarret/iWeb/Site/Crime%20and%20Punishment.html

1994 Fact: Due to institutionalized racism of American society,
Blacks are seven times more likely to be incarcerated than whites.
The rate for whites is 289 per 100,00; the rate for African
Americans is 1860 per 100,00

In the aftermath of the rebellion in South Central L.A. two years
ago, there has been a massive media blitz to make "violent crime"
the major issue of the day. After all the hype, polls have been
taken that show crime as the "major" issue—ahead
of unemployment, health, taxes, etc.

According to a recent survey by the Center for Media and Public
Affairs, the three major TV networks aired more than twice
as many crime stories last year than in 1992. Meanwhile the
crime rate has remained virtually the same.

President Clinton and most of the political representatives
of the rich have taken the proper cue and picked up the call
for a "three strikes and your out" solution to the problem
of crime. Both California and the state of Washington have
already passed "three strikes" legislation.

The California law stipulates that after a third conviction,
a defendant will receive 25 years to life imprisonment or
triple the usual sentence for the offense, which ever is greater.
Second-time offenders will get double the usual sentence.
Even first-time offenders will have time off for good behavior
reduced from 50 percent to 20 percent.

The California law will face challenges in court. Most controversial
are the provisions that extend the penalties to youth; many
youth have been convicted without even a jury trial.

Nevertheless, according to California Gov. Pete Wilson,
"There’s 30 other states who are watching closely to see
how this goes." "Three strikes" will be the main campaign
issue during the election year, as the Democrats and
Republicans try to outdo each other as being the hardest
on crime.

The causes of crime--ie., uneployment, lack of education,
poverty, homelessness and lack of hope--will not be addressed.
That’s because these are permanent features of capitalism
in the United States and, consequently, neither the Republicans
nor the Democrats have any solutions.

Since the middle 1970s, the established pattern at all levels
of government has been to cut public education, social services,
and welfare programs; to shift the tax burden from the capitalist
class to the working class and the poor; and to increase
the budget for police--with a consequent expansion
in prisons and length of prison terms.

With the largest prison system in the United States, California's
state funding for incarcerating people was $300 million
in 1980; by 1995 it will expand to $3 billion per year.
The prison population in California has risen 460 percent
since 1977. California’s "three strikes and you’re out" policy
is expected to add 81,000 new prisoners by the year 2000.
It will cost an estimated additional $21.8 billion for prison
construction during the next 30 years, with operating costs
increasing up to $5.7 billion per year.

These estimates are based upon the space needed for the
number of additional prisoners receiving longer sentences.
It doesn’t take into account the additional people who will
be sent to prison as a consequence of the rise in poverty
due to government cutbacks in education and social services.

The federal government has projected similar bills, which
also presume that imprisonment is the solution to crime.
Proposed legislation will increase federal prison expenditures
by $6 billion this year along.

The United States leads the world when it comes to the ratio
of imprisonment for its citizens--455 prisoners per 100,000 people.
Due to the institutionalized racism of American society, Blacks
are seven times more likely to be incarcerated than whites.
(The rate for whites is 289 per 100,000, and the rate for African
Americans is 1860 per 100,000.)

There are more Black youth in the prison system than there are
in college (even though it now costs twice as much to send
a person to prison as it does to send a person to college.)

This disparity greatly increased as the United States launched
its "war on drugs," which has accurately been called a war
on the poor in general and the Black and Hispanic communities
in particular.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, while
Blacks make up only 12 percent of those who regularly
use drugs, Black men compose 38 percent of those arrested
for drug convictions.

The victims of drug addiction have been targeted as "criminals."
As a result, 60 percent of all federal prisoners have been
convicted of drug charges. This "war" has not been waged
against those who bring drugs into the country or those
who profit the most from drug dealing.

In fact, one of the biggest drug pushers in this country
is the government. Neither the war on drugs nor the
current war on crime applies to the federal government’s
own operations.

Recent revelations about "Contragate" and the role of the
CIA in Panama and Haiti, have revealed the the CIA is one
of the largest importers of cocaine into the United States.
It has been estimated that the CIA has imported over one
ton of cocaine through Haiti in the recent period.
(One ton of cocaine would have the potential
to imprison 896,000 people, since possession of one
gram is worth a year in jail.)

The United States has carried out a "carrot and stick
(rewards followed by repression) policy toward the
Black ghettos and Hispanic barrios.

In the 1960s, government agencies used the "carrot"
of the "war on poverty" in response to the inner-city
rebellions. In the meantime, the "stick" of police repression
and brutality was kept ready. Today they do not have the
funds for the carrot; the new war on crime is the big stick
approach to set back the gains won by the civil rights movement
during the 1960s.

The "three strikes and you’re out" policy is in reality an escalation
of the repression of Blacks and the poor. In the process, a virtual
police state is being established in the ghettos and barrios
to prevent any organized resistance to the increased poverty
that is being imposed by the present economic crisis.

It is in this context that New York City Mayor Giuliani, the
newly elected "law and order" candidate, launched his war
on crime with a police attack upon the Nation of Islam's Harlem
Mosque. It was done to demonstrate that the police are trying
to establish their "right" to do as they please in violation
of the Bill of Rights.

Under the rubric of the "war on crime" America’s rulers are
out to establish a climate in which they can move against
any organization in the ghetto that opposes the real crimes
of racism, police brutality,l unemployment, homelessness,
and poverty imposed by the capitalist system.

April, 1994

Addenum:

Recently a new factor has been added to the equation --
"The Drug Trade". In his article, War on Drugs Dirty Money
Foundation of US Growth and Empire Size and Scope of Money
Laundering by US Banks
http://www.narconews.com/petras1.html
James Petras, Professor of Sociology, Binghamton
University, explains that 500 Billion to a Trillion dollars
gets added to world capitalist economy through “illegal
means.” he concludes the article with the following:

"The increasing polarization of the world is embedded
in this organized system of criminal and corrupt financial
transactions. While speculation and foreign debt payments
play a role in undermining living standards in the crisis regions,
the multi-trillion dollar money laundering and bank servicing
of corrupt officials is a much more significant factor, sustaining
Western prosperity, U.S. empire building and financial stability.
The scale, scope and time frame of transfers and money laundering,
the centrality of the biggest banking enterprises and the complicity
of the governments, strongly suggests that the dynamics of growth
and stagnation, empire and re-colonization are intimately related
to a new form of capitalism built around pillage, criminality,
corruption and complicity. 'This Goes Straight to the Top.'"

An article written in Counterpunch titled, Race and the Drug War
http://www.counterpunch.org/drugwar.html
during the last presidential election campaign, points out
another factor of the "Drug War:"

"..... Domestically, the 'drug war' has always been a pretext
for social control, going back to the racist application of drug
laws against Chinese laborers in the recession of the 1870s when
these workers we reviewed as competition for the dwindling
number of jobs available. The main users, middle-class white
men and women taking opium in liquid form as 'tonics', weren't
harassed. By 1887 the Chinese Exclusion Act allowed Chinese
opium addicts to be arrested and deported. In the 1930s the
racist head of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs,
Harry Anslinger, was renaming hemp as 'marijuana' to associate
it with Mexican laborers and claiming that marijuana 'can arouse
in blacks and Hispanics a state of menacing fury or homicidal attack.'
By the 1950s Anslinger had pushed through the first mandatory
drug sentences.

"As so often, Nixon was helpfully explicit in his private remarks.
H.R.Haldeman recorded in his diary a briefing by the president
in 1969,prior to launching of the war on drugs: '[Nixon]
emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole
problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system
that recognizes this while not appearing to.'

"So what was 'the system' duly devised? On June 19, 1986,
Maryland University basketball star Len Bias died from an overdose
of cocaine. As Dan Baum put it in his excellent Smoke and Mirrors,
The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure, 'In life, Len Bias was
a terrific basketball player. In death he became the Archduke
Ferdinand of the Total War on Drugs.' It was falsely reported that
Bias had smoked crack cocaine the night before his death.
In fact he had used powder cocaine and there was no link
between this use and the failure of his heart, according t
o the coroner. Bias had signed with the Boston Celtics and
amid Boston's rage and grief Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill,
a Boston rep, rushed into action. In early July he convened
a meeting of the Democratic Party leadership: 'Write me
some goddamn legislation,' he ordered. 'All anybody in Boston
is talking about is Len Bias. They want blood. If we move fast
enough we can get out in front of the White House.' In fact the
White House was moving pretty fast. Among other things the
DEA had been instructed to allow ABC News to accompany
it on raids against crackhouses. 'Crack is the hottest combat-
reporting story to come along since the end of the Vietnam
war," the head of the New York office of the DEA exulted.

"All this fed into congressional frenzy to write tougher
laws. House Majority Leader Jim Wright called drug abuse
'a menace draining away our economy of some $230 billion
this year, slowly rotting away the fabric of our society and
seducing and killing our young.' Not to be outdone, South
Carolina Republican Thomas Arnett proclaimed that 'drugs
are a threat worse than nuclear warfare or any chemical
warfare waged on any battlefield.' The 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse
Act was duly passed. It contained 29 new minimum mandatory
sentences. Up until that time in the history of the Republic there
had been only 56 mandatory minimum sentences. The new law
had a death penalty provision for drug 'king pins' and prohibited
parole for even minor possession offenses. But the chief focus
of the bill was crack cocaine (mainly used in the inter-cities).
Congress established a 100-to-1 sentencing ratio between
possession of crack and powder cocaine (mainly used in the
suburbs). Under this provision possession of five grams
of crack carries a minimum five-year federal prison sentence.
The same mandatory minimum is not reached for any amount
of powder cocaine under 500 grams. This sentencing disproportion
was based on faulty testimony that crack was 50 times
as addictive as powdered coke. Congress then doubled
this ratio as a so-called 'violence penalty'."

This email was sent you, as a service, by Roland Sheppard
http://web.mac.com/rolandgarret/iWeb/Site/RolandSheppardsBlog.html

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10) Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC calls on Human Rights Watch
to Re-evaluate its Criticism of the Nonviolent Action
of Palestinian Civilians in Gaza Refugee Camp
Hayward, California, December 7, 2007
For Immediate Release:

[The Ecumenical Peace Institute has approved this statement in reply
to HRW's criticism of recent nonviolent actions in Gaza. I have sent
the statement to Human Rights Watch, various media outlets and
religious groups and am in the process of sending it to more peace
and justice groups and media. Please feel free to use it to send to
Human Rights Watch, your media contacts, legislators, etc. I think
it is especially important for as many people and groups as possible
to send it to HRW. I sent it by email to 10 HRW offices and faxed
it to three. I got an automatic response to one of the emails stating
that they get thousands of emails a day and can't answer all of them,
so it would probably be more effective to send faxes if you can.
I'll write here the email and faxes of three offices:
San Francisco - hrwsf@hrw.org; fax:415-362-3255
NYC - hrnyc@hrw.org; fax:212-736-1300
DC - hrwdc@hrw.org; fax:202-612-4333

Yours for nonviolent resistance,
Esther Ho]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC calls on Human Rights Watch to
Re-evaluate its Criticism of the Nonviolent Action of Palestinian
Civilians in Gaza Refugee Camp

Hayward, California, December 7, 2007 -- Ecumenical Peace
Institute/CALC concurs with the statement of the International
Solidarity Movement in response to the Human Rights Watch
criticism of the November 19 action of Palestinian civilians
in Jabalya refugee camp who were seeking to protect the homes
of two families from Israeli military attack.

We are deeply disturbed by Human Rights Watch's suggestion
that the voluntary action of citizens to protect homes with their
own bodies is a violation of international humanitarian law.
In fact, these Palestinians were following an age-old revered
practice of nonviolently resisting attack. In addition to the
examples of such actions given in the International Solidarity
Movement statement, we would call attention to a few additional
examples out of the multitude of instances of such actions:

Voices in the Wilderness and Christians Peacemaker Teams
traveled to Iraq prior to the current war in the hope of staving
off U.S. attacks on essential civilian infrastructure. A generation
ago Witness for Peace members and others accompanied various
projects in Central America and the Philippines to protect labor
leaders and others under attack by repressive governments.
During the civil rights struggle in this country numerous
civilians risked their lives to travel to the South to try to protect
those struggling for their rights. Many of them were attacked
and several were killed. Indeed, the statement by Human Rights
Watch is essentially attacking the entire tradition of nonviolent
resistance which came into world prominence under the
leadership of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson
Mandela.

We respectfully request that Human Rights Watch re-evaluate
the question of the legality under international humanitarian
law of the nonviolent intervention of unarmed civilians in deterring
military attacks in populated areas. We are convinced that nonviolent
actions such as that of the Palestinians in Jabalya Camp are key
to bringing about a reduction in the high percentage of civilians
among the casualties of war in Palestinian lands and advance
the cause of human rights in areas of conflict around the world.

###

for additional information contact: Esther Ho, 510-785-9509,
http://www.epicalc.org/

Statement of International Solidarity Movement:

From: ISM Media Group
media@palsolidarity.org wrote:
To: "International Solidarity Movement"
palsolidarity@googlegroups.com
Subject: [ISM Updates] Nonviolent Resistance is not Illegal: HRW Should
Retract Statement
Date: Fri, 01 Dec 2006 22:32:28 -0000

On Sunday, Nov. 19, hundreds of Palestinian civilians crowded into the
building where the family of Mohammed Baroud and a number of other
families live in Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Israeli
military forces had warned that the building would be attacked. The
planned Israeli attack was deterred by this action. Two hours later,
the scene was replicated at the family home of Mohammed Nawajeh, with
the same results.

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) applauds the people of
Jabalya for their courageous and effective use of nonviolent
resistance, and we express our full solidarity with their actions,
which are positive initiatives in the struggle to defend Palestinian
rights. We encourage international volunteers to participate in these
actions, as did Father Peter Dougherty and Sister Mary Ellen Gundeck of
the Michigan Peace Team.

We note with disappointment that Human Rights Watch (HRW) chose to
condemn these actions, suggesting that they could constitute a "war
crime." In a November 22, 2006 press release entitled, "OPT:
Civilians Must Not Be Used to Shield Homes Against Military Attacks"
HRW Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson said, "There is no excuse
for calling civilians to the scene of a planned attack. Whether or not
the home is a legitimate military target, knowingly asking civilians to
stand in harm's way is unlawful."

HRW's press release is factually, legally, and morally flawed.

HRW based its statement on contested factual information. HRW claimed
that "Palestinian armed groups" and Mohammed Baroud encouraged
civilians to gather around the homes. However, while some press
accounts mention Baroud's role, numerous other press and participant
accounts from Gaza suggest that the mobilizations resulted from calls
by civilian leaders and a groundswell of popular anger against Israeli
home demolitions.

As just one example, Eyad Bayary, a head nurse at Jabalya Hospital who
went to Baroud's home with another twenty of his neighbors, told ISM
that he did not hear a call from Baroud asking people to protect his
home. He and his neighbors went to support Baroud and his family and to
protest the shelling out of their own volition. "I live next to Mr.
Baroud's family home. If his home is shelled at best my home would be
damaged. My wife is in the six month of her pregnancy. God forbid, a
shelling of the house next door could endanger her and the child she is
carrying. All our children would be affected. We went to the Baroud
family house because we were scared and angry. No one asked us to
come."

In addition to this factual weakness, we believe that HRW's position
reflects serious errors in the interpretation and application of
international humanitarian law (IHL), in two fundamental respects: (1)
HRW's position explicitly rejects considering the legitimacy of the
target as relevant to the legal analysis; and (2) HRW's position
erroneously places the burden of protecting civilian lives on the
population being attacked instead of on the belligerents carrying out
the attack.

According to HRW, "In the case where the object of attack is not a
legitimate military target, calling civilians to the scene would still
contravene the international humanitarian law imperative for parties to
the conflict to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from
the effects of attack." IHL clearly makes target legitimacy central to
the determination of lawful vs. unlawful conduct. Protocol I of the
Geneva Convention, Article 51(7) provides that "Parties to the conflict
shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual
civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from
attacks or to shield military operations." Article 52 of the same
Protocol makes clear that a civilian home is a civilian object and not
a military objective. Even if Mohammed Baroud and Mohammed Nawajeh are
military commanders, their families, their family homes and the homes
of other families in the same buildings are not military objectives.


Therefore, the Geneva Convention's prohibition on the use of civilians
to shield military objectives does not apply to the voluntary gathering
of Palestinian civilians to protect civilian objects like the homes of
Baroud and Nawajeh from a pending Israeli attack. Rather, Israel's
targeting of these homes constitutes a violation of numerous provisions
of IHL that proscribe attacks on civilian property, and of Article 33
of the Fourth Geneva Convention, strictly prohibiting the destruction
of property for the purpose of collective punishment.

While IHL places obligations on all parties to a conflict to take "all
feasible precautions" to protect civilians from the effects of attack,
HRW does not cite support for its claim that encouraging civilians to
defend their homes from military strikes constitutes a violation of
this imperative. In fact, Protocol I, Article 57 relating to
precautions in attack, specifically places the obligation to protect
civilians on "those who plan or decide upon an attack." (Protocol I,
Art. 57(2)(a)). Furthermore, providing warning does not absolve Israel
of its responsibility not to attack civilian objects, nor does it make
the civilian objects legitimate military targets.

The error of HRW's interpretation of IHL is even more obvious when we
consider that HRW statements like "Civilians Must Not Be Used to
Shield Homes Against Military Attacks" and "knowingly asking
civilians to stand in harm's way is unlawful" would proscribe many
completely legitimate forms of nonviolent resistance in occupied
peoples' struggles. The Fourth Geneva Convention and its Additional
Protocols were never intended to permit an aggressor to choose his
targets at will, while putting the onus on the civilian victims to get
out of the way. Nor were these laws created to prevent civilians from
exercising their right to defend their property.

The condemnation of nonviolent efforts by civilians to prevent the
destruction of civilian homes also represents a failure of moral
judgment on the part of HRW. To condemn nonviolent actions in this way
is to confuse civil resistance with the forcible use of "human shields"
by military combatants, such as those documented by the Israeli human
rights organization B'Tselem in its November, 2002 report "Human
Shield". The report describes Israeli military seizures of Palestinian
civilians, forcing them to walk in front of soldiers and sometimes
placing them on the hoods of their vehicles to deter attacks against
their military personnel. These Israeli military actions are clearly
war crimes (though HRW failed to label them as such in its April, 2002
report, "In a Dark Hour: The Use of Civilians during IDF Arrest
Operations"). It is a mistake to extend this principle to the
courageous voluntary participation of unarmed individuals in mass
nonviolent actions in defense of their human rights.

By condemning nonviolent civilian resistance in this way, HRW endangers
those practicing it, and undermines the work of other human rights
groups and the credibility of HRW itself. ISM calls upon HRW to
retract its November 22 press release and to recognize the courage and
the legitimacy of the actions of the Palestinian community in Jabalya.

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11) Cornered Military Takes to Desperate Tactics
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily
December 9, 2006
http://dahrjamailiraq.com

*FALLUJAH, Dec 9 (IPS) - People living in areas where resistance to
U.S.-led occupation is mounting are facing increased levels of
collective punishment from the occupation forces, residents say.*

Siniyah town 200 km north of Baghdad with a population of 25,000 has
been under siege by the U.S. military for two weeks.

IPS had earlier reported unrest in Siniyah Jan. 20 when the U.S.
military constructed a six-mile sand wall in a failed attempt to check
resistance attacks.

Located near Beji in the volatile but oil-rich Salahedin province,
Siniyah has become a vivid example of harsh tactics used by occupation
forces, who have lost control over most of the country.

"Thirteen children died during the two-week siege due to U.S. troops'
disallowance for doctors to open their private clinics as well as
closure of the general medical centre there," a doctor from the city
reported to IPS via satellite phone.

The doctor spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals from the
U.S. military. IPS had to reach him by phone since the military blockade
has cut the city off from the outside world.

"This is not the first time U.S. troops have conducted such a siege
here, but this time it represents murder," the doctor said.

A U.S. military public relations officer in Baghdad told IPS on phone
that the military was doing "what it had to do to fight the terrorists
in and around Siniyah" and that "no medical aid is being interfered with."

When IPS told him it had received contradictory information from a
doctor in that city, he replied, "that is just not true."

The siege has generated resentment against the Shia-dominated Iraqi
government led by Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki, who has failed to
comment on the deaths. Sunnis have not missed the sharp contrast to his
order to U.S. troops to lift their checkpoints around the Shia area of
Sadr City in Baghdad.

Sectarian conflict has been rising between Shias and Sunnis, two
differing followings within Islam. Sunnis are the majority worldwide,
but Shias are said to be the majority within Iraq.

Abdul Kareem al-Samarrai'i, a leading member of the Islamic Party that
participates in the Maliki government, stated on Baghdad Space Channel
that the 13 children died in Siniyah "because of the siege and the U.S.
army orders to deprive the town of any medical care."

Duluiyah, another small town roughly 60 km north of Baghdad has been
under siege by the U.S. military for the last three weeks.

"They (U.S. military) applied the siege upon Duluiyah (close to Samarra)
many times, the last of which partially ended last week," Samir Muhammad
of the Samarra municipality council told IPS.

The Geneva Conventions forbid use of collective punishment.
International law says the occupying power in a country is responsible
for safeguarding the civilian population.

Fallujah in al-Anbar province to the west of Baghdad continues to face
attacks and harassment by the U.S. military, according to local residents.

"Why don't those people admit their failure and leave," 55-year-old
Khalaf Dawood from Fallujah told IPS. "They are being hit and their
soldiers are getting killed all over the city. All they are doing is
killing civilians and suffocating the city economically as revenge."

Electricity supply in Fallujah was recently cut off for three days after
resistance snipers launched attacks on U.S. soldiers. U.S. military
vehicles are attacked regularly around the city.

Several local people told IPS that on average one civilian a day is
killed by U.S. gunfire in Fallujah, while raids on houses have been
stepped up heavily.

The U.S. military commander in Fallujah admitted to local media last
month that at least five attacks on average were being conducted
everyday against his troops and Iraqi army units. The vast majority of
the population of Fallujah continues to demand unconditional withdrawal
of U.S. troops from their city.

Meanwhile, the situation in Ramadi, the capital city of al-Anbar
province where Fallujah is also located, has deteriorated further.
Residents told IPS that bombardment from U.S. warplanes and helicopters
has killed many civilians.

IPS reported Nov. 17 that U.S. military had shelled several houses in
Ramadi, killing 35 civilians.

A partial siege of the city continues, and residents are complaining
that a new militia formed by Maliki's government in the name of
"fighting terror" has been rounding up young men from the city.

The militia recently took control of the University of Anbar in Ramadi
and started harassing students. U.S. soldiers blocked the main road to
the university before the militia entered the campus.

"They even harassed the president (principal) of the university and
accused him of being an al-Qaeda leader," a university professor
speaking on condition of anonymity told IPS. "The principal is a
professor in chemistry and a very peaceful man who has dedicated his
life to science and supervising PHD and MSC graduates."

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.

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12) Palestinian Officer’s Sons Killed in Gaza
"Gunmen sprayed a car in Gaza City with bullets this morning, killing
three young boys, aged 3 to 9, who were sons of a senior Palestinian
security officer."
By GREG MYRE
December 11, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/11/world/middleeast/11cnd-mide.html?hp&ex=1165899600&en=1c87fba23c7433e1&ei=5094&partner=homepage

JERUSALEM, Dec. 11 —Gunmen sprayed a car in Gaza City with bullets
this morning, killing three young boys, aged 3 to 9, who were sons
of a senior Palestinian security officer.

The incident further inflamed tensions among Palestinians at a time
when the confrontation between Fatah, the secular faction that has
long dominated Palestinian politics, and Hamas, the radical Islamic
group that currently heads the government, has been escalating.

Though Palestinian factions have frequently battled in recent years,
the internecine fighting has not spiraled entirely out of control.
However, the deaths of the three boys today outraged many
Palestinians, and raised fears of revenge attacks.

In a large, unruly funeral for the three boys this afternoon, Fatah
members fired their guns into the air as the procession wound
its way through the dusty streets of Gaza City. Fatah supporters
set tires ablaze to block main streets, and many stores and
schools were closed.

The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas,
spoke in the West Bank city of Ramallah about the incident, called
it “an ugly and inhuman crime perpetrated by a bunch of lowlifes.”

The shooting was done by three masked gunmen who emerged
from two cars and opened fire with automatic rifles, pumping
bullets into the car where the boys were riding. Osama Balousha, 9,
and his brothers Ahmed, 6, and Salam, 3, were on their way from
their home to a private school in the Rimal neighborhood of the city.

The car, a white sedan with windows darkened to make it difficult
to tell who was inside, was pocked with dozens of bullets, and its
seats and the boys’ schoolbags were drenched with blood.

The boys’ father, Baha Balousha, who was at home at the time
of the shooting, may have been the intended target. Mr. Balousha
is a colonel in the Palestinian intelligence service and belongs
to Fatah, which is headed by Mr. Abbas. Mr. Balousha escaped
an attack by gunmen in September, Palestinians said.

Mr. Balousha’s driver and bodyguard used the car daily to take
the children to school, before returning to pick up Mr. Balousha,
family members said. The bodyguard was killed in the shooting
as well, and the driver was seriously wounded, according to Shifa
Hospital.

Mr. Balousha said that the killings were the work of parties he did
not name “that want the Palestinian presidency and its intelligence
services to fail.”

No one claimed responsibility for the attack today.

Mr. Balousha is regarded as one of the figures involved in
a Palestinian Authority crackdown against Hamas members
a decade ago, and he has been at odds with Hamas for some
time, Palestinians said.

In recent months, Palestinian gunmen have carried out several
shootings against Fatah members in the intelligence service.

On Sunday, unidentified gunmen fired on a convoy of cars carrying
the Palestinian interior minister, Siad Siam; no one was injured.
The interior minister is responsible for many of the Palestinian
security agencies, but in practice, Mr. Siam’s authority over them
is limited, because he is from Hamas while most security agencies
are led by Fatah loyalists.

Fatah members of parliament issued a statement today calling
on the president to dismiss the Hamas government, saying that
the group was “pushing us, with its policies and programs,
to civil war.”

Hamas, meanwhile, denounced the killings.

“This is a gruesome crime,” said Dr. Mahmoud Zahar, the Palestinian
foreign minister and a Hamas leader. “Those who committed this
crime have no conscience and are using it for political goals.”

Mr. Abbas says that talks between Fatah and Hamas on forming
a national-unity government are at a dead end. He is expected
to make an announcement soon on how he intends to break the
deadlock, and associates say he is leaning toward holding new
elections for both the presidency and the legislature.

Hamas argues that he has no authority to call an early parliamentary
ballot, and that doing so would amount to attempting a coup d’etat.

According to today’s issue of the Israeli newspaper Haartez,
Mr. Abbas is offering the job of national security adviser to
Muhammad Dahlan, who is a former Gaza security chief and
a prominent Fatah member with a long-running rivalry with
Hamas. Palestinian officials have not commented on the report.

When the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, the
leader of the Palestinians at the time, Yasir Arafat, created multiple
security agencies and packed them with Fatah members. Hamas
refused to take part in the Palestinian Authority then, and few
of its loyalists took government positions or joined the
security forces.

But ever since Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections
in January, the group has been feuding with Fatah over control
of the security forces.

Under the Palestinian system, the president, the prime minister
and the interior minister are supposed to share authority over
the security agencies; all three officials belong to the National
Security Council.

However, the prime minister, Ismail Haniya of Hamas, and the
interior minister, Mr. Siam, have established little control. Fatah
members still dominate the security agencies, and with Israel
and Western countries cutting off money to the Hamas-led
government, security-force members and other government
workers have been paid only sporadically this year.

Further complicating the scene, the Hamas government has
effectively created its own security agency, the Executive
Force, with several thousand members. Most either belong
to Hamas or are closely aligned with the group.

Taghreed El-Khodary contributed reporting from Gaza.

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13) The Time Is Now
By BOB HERBERT
Op-Ed Columnist
December 11, 2006
http://select.nytimes.com/2006/12/11/opinion/11herbert.html?hp
FOR THE RECORD: By Bonnie Weinstein: a commentary
to this story; along with the Murtha Ammendment that
follows...bw
On Wednesday, as if the release of the Iraq Study Group report needed
some form of dramatic punctuation, 11 more American G.I.’s were
killed in this misbegotten war that just about everyone, except
perhaps the president, now sees as a complete and utter debacle.

Senator Gordon Smith, a Republican from Oregon who supported
the war, delivered an emotional speech on the Senate floor Thursday
evening in which he said:

“I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes to supporting
a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the
same way, being blown up by the same bombs day after day.
That is absurd. It may even be criminal. I cannot support that
anymore.”

If the U.S. is ultimately going to retreat in Iraq, he said, “I would
rather do it sooner than later. I am looking for answers,
but the current course is unacceptable to this senator.”

The primary value of the Baker-Hamilton report is that
it embodies, in clear and explicit language, the consensus
that has emerged in the U.S. about the current state of the
war. It’s not so much a blueprint for action as a recognition
of reality.

“The level of violence is high and growing,” the report says.
“There is great suffering, and the daily lives of many Iraqis
show little or no improvement. Pessimism is pervasive.”

With the situation in Iraq deteriorating, and support for
the war in the U.S. having all but collapsed, the only real
question on the table is how long the U.S. is going to drag
out its inevitable pullout of combat forces. And the inevitable
moral question that is inextricably linked to that slowly
evolving set of circumstances is how to justify the lives
that will be lost between now and the final day of our
departure.

There is something agonizingly tragic about soldiers
dying in a war that has already been lost.

The scale of the debacle is breathtaking. According to the
study group: “In some parts of Iraq — notably in Baghdad
— sectarian cleansing is taking place. The United Nations
estimates that 1.6 million are displaced within Iraq,
and up to 1.8 million Iraqis have fled the country.”

Americans, including the members of the study group,
continue to insist that the key to an American withdrawal
over the next couple of years is the improvement of Iraqi
security forces to the point where they can successfully
step into the breach. That is a complete fantasy, as a reading
of the study group’s own assessment of the Iraqi forces
will attest.

The study group found that, among other things, the Iraqi
Army units “lack leadership ... lack equipment ... lack personnel
... [and] lack logistics and support.”

“Soldiers are given leave liberally and face no penalties
for absence without leave,” the report said. “Unit readiness
rates are low, often at 50 percent or less.”

The report went on: “They lack the ability to sustain their
operations, the capability to transport supplies and troops,
and the capacity to provide their own indirect fire support,
close-air support, technical intelligence and medical
evacuation.”

Other than that, they’re fine.

So what’s next? The Bush administration has lost all of its
credibility on the war. What is needed now are leaders with
the courage to insist, perhaps at the risk of their reputations
and careers, that it is wrong to continue sending fresh bodies
after those already lost, to continue asking young, healthy
American troops to head into the combat zone, perhaps
for their third or fourth tour, to fight in a war the public
no longer supports.

In a foreword to “The Best and the Brightest,” David
Halberstam’s chronicle of the Vietnam fiasco, Senator
John McCain wrote:

“It was a shameful thing to ask men to suffer and die, to
persevere through god-awful afflictions and heartache, to endure
the dehumanizing experiences that are unavoidable in combat,
for a cause that the country wouldn’t support over time and that
our leaders so wrongly believed could be achieved at a smaller
cost than our enemy was prepared to make us pay.

“No other national endeavor requires as much unshakable resolve
as war. If the nation and the government lack that resolve,
it is criminal to expect men in the field to carry it alone.”

The United States lacks that resolve when it comes to Iraq.
It is time to pull the troops out of harm’s way.

[FOR THE RECORD: By Bonnie Weinstein: a commentary
to this story; along with the Murtha Ammendment that
follows...bw

[The Murtha Amendment is below the following:

Notice section 1 calls for troops to be redeployed,
not brought home; and sections 2 and 3 both insure
continued U.S. presence in Iraq--both militarily and politically.
The reference to pulling U.S. troops out of harms
way to "over-the-horizon" locations means to pull them back
to surround the borders of Iraq trouble spots somehow and back
them up with more air power. And now, the latest
thing, is to "imbed U.S. troops among the Iraqi
troops" to "help them take control of the country
from the inside"--again, while pulling back American
troops to locations "outside of the danger zone"
but readily deployable and with stronger air support,
i.e., more bombing campaigns--especially with the
use of un-manned drones--to cut down on U.S. mortality
rates without the slightest regard for the Iraqi people.

And, what is meant by section 3?
"SEC. 3. The United States of America shall pursue
security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy."

What right do we have to be involved in the
internal affairs of another country? By the amendments
own admission, the Iraqi people are united
behind a single demand: U.S. out Now!

And notice the rationale given for the purpose
of the amendment in the first place--that in
order to really establish democracy in Iraq
we would need to send many more troops and,
to do that, we would need to reinstitute
the draft!

This amendment was not an antiwar amendment!
It was an amendment meant to, hopefully, reduce
U.S. casualties if we insist on maintaining the
current course of occupation of Iraq even if
it insures many more innocent Iraqi civilian
casualties through increased and relentless
U.S. bombing raids in "trouble spots."

And it is a open plea for the reinstitution of the
draft in order to achieve a strong U.S. military
victory in the region or anywhere in the world--
let alone in multiple regions of the world.

Capitalism is beating a path back to its barbarian
roots.

The U.S. war policy ignores centuries of human
history that says invaders and occupiers can't
win against an entire population without destroying
all of them and the land they occupy and that
is not victory, it's senseless and intentional
massacre!

U.S. War on Terror a war against the world

The U.S. War on Terror, against Iraq,
against Afghanistan, against the Palestinian people
by way of the U.S. puppet government of Israel,
are designed to be a threat and warning
to the rest of the world--that the bloodthirsty
U.S. government will stop at nothing to maintain
their military power and financial hegemony
over the whole world--death to those who
dare to challenge their throne!

That means we, here in the belly
of the beast, are obligated to organize massive
resistance to the war here in our own communities
and across our nation.

We must do all we can to make sure our
young people will not be used as cannon fodder
for this mass murder-threat-and-carry-out program.
We must get into our communities and organize them into
an independent force united in opposition to
the war and the U.S. war machine.

Here I must interject another fact. The Senate
recently voted on the new Pentagon budget--a budget of
trillions of dollars. Both Democrats and Republicans
cast their votes in favor of it. In fact it was 100 to 0 in favor of
the new, record, Pentagon U.S. War Machine budget.

There is only one way we can fight
back and win a peaceful world. We must unite
across the globe on March 17, 2007 on the
fourth anniversary of the War and on January 27!
We must unite at every instance and at each and every
opportunity and in every community and city
across the world in well organized and coordinated
massive peaceful protests to demand: U.S. OUT OF IRAQ AND
AFGHANISTAN! STOP THE U.S. "WAR OF TERROR" UPON
THE WORLD! BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME
NOW! END ALL U.S. SUPPORT TO ISRAEL! STOP
THE MADNESS OF DESPOTIC WAR! NO BLOOD FOR OIL!
PUT THE USE OF THE WORLD'S RESOURCES TOWARDS
RATIONAL, DEMOCRATIC PLANNING FOR AND FINDING SOLUTIONS
TO THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS. AND TO PROVIDE FOR ALL BASIC HUMAN
NEEDS AND WANTS INSTEAD OF WAR!

Massive community organizing needed

First and foremost we must unite our forces to maximize our
organizing efforts.

In order to make these demands real we must involve the
community in a democratic process where they can develop
their own list of needs and come up with their own suggestions
for rational solutions to the real, daily problems they face.

The massive human and financial (ours,not theirs) and material resources
being used to maintain world U.S. hegemony is wreaking havoc
on the living standards of all working people around the
world. Humanity's only hope is to unite forces under our
common interests--for the basic human rights for all--to life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness at the expense of the
private interests of the war mongers. They must be disarmed
and their coffers dispersed in the best interests of the
majority of humanity and the planet, and end its use for war, death,
incarceration, torture and world destruction for greed and profit
of the tiny few and at the expense of the lives and well-
being of the masses of humanity! ...bw]

Here's the great Murtha "Peace Ammendment":

HJ 73 IH

109th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. J. RES. 73

To redeploy U.S. forces from Iraq.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

November 17, 2005

Mr. MURTHA introduced the following joint resolution; which
was referred to the Committee on International Relations,
and in addition to the Committee on Armed Services, for
a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker,
in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall
within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

JOINT RESOLUTION

To redeploy U.S. forces from Iraq.

Whereas Congress and the American people have not
been shown clear, measurable progress toward establishment
of stable and improving security in Iraq or of a stable
and improving economy in Iraq, both of which are essential
to `promote the emergence of a democratic government';

Whereas additional stabilization in Iraq by U.S. military
forces cannot be achieved without the deployment
of hundreds of thousands of additional U.S. troops,
which in turn cannot be achieved without a military draft;

Whereas more than $277 billion has been appropriated
by the United States Congress to prosecute U.S. military
action in Iraq and Afghanistan;

Whereas, as of the drafting of this resolution, 2,079 U.S.
troops have been killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom;

Whereas U.S. forces have become the target
of the insurgency;

Whereas, according to recent polls, over 80 percent
of the Iraqi people want the U.S. forces out of Iraq;

Whereas polls also indicate that 45 percent of the Iraqi
people feel that the attacks on U.S. forces are justified; and

Whereas, due to the foregoing, Congress finds it evident
that continuing U.S. military action in Iraq is not in the best
interests of the United States of America, the people of Iraq,
or the Persian Gulf Region, which were cited in Public
Law 107-243 as justification for undertaking such action:
Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, That:

SECTION 1. The deployment of United States forces in Iraq,
by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces
involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date.

SEC. 2. A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon
presence of U.S. Marines shall be deployed in the region.

SEC. 3. The United States of America shall pursue security
and stability in Iraq through diplomacy.
END
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.J.RES.73:

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14) [Brad Will]
After an American Dies, the Case Against His Killers
Is Mired in Mexican Justice
By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr. and COLIN MOYNIHAN
December 11, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/11/world/americas/11oaxaca.html

MEXICO CITY, Dec. 10 — A month ago, the death of Bradley Roland Will
seemed cut and dried. Mr. Will, an independent New York City
journalist was shot in the chest while videotaping a lopsided
confrontation between gunmen who supported the beleaguered
governor of Oaxaca and protesters demanding his ouster.

Pictures of some of the gunmen, with their names, had appeared
on the front pages of all the major papers. The two fatal bullets
had come from a 9-millimeter pistol like those issued to the police.
The case seemed a prosecutor’s dream.

That is, until Dec. 1, when a judge freed two of the men photographed
shooting at the protesters, citing a lack of evidence. The ruling
provoked accusations from leftists of a cover-up. Indeed, the state’s
investigation into the killing of Mr. Will, as well as the deaths of
a dozen protesters in the conflict, has drawn so much criticism
that federal police raided the state police headquarters on Friday
and seized weapons to determine if any had been used
in shootings during demonstrations.

Besides underscoring how infrequently killings of journalists
and antigovernment protesters are solved in Mexico, the case
has drawn widespread attention because it reveals the sad
clash of left-wing idealism, personified in Mr. Will, a bearded
36-year-old originally from Illinois, with the murky realities
of Mexican politics.

Politics often warps investigations here, and Mr. Will’s death
in late October has quickly become a contentious issue
in the very struggle he had come to document.

The protesters with whom Mr. Will was sympathetic said he
was killed by government-backed paramilitary thugs who
had already killed a dozen others since the conflict here
began in May. They charge that his death is still more
proof that the state government remains repressive,
its prosecutors willing to cover up crimes by government
officials.

They also assert that Mr. Will’s death was part of an
orchestrated attack on protesters intended to shed
enough blood to provoke the federal police to intervene.
Mr. Will and three others died in the violence that day.
The killings prompted Vicente Fox, who was president
at the time and had resisted getting involved in the
conflict, to send in federal police officers and clear
the streets.

State prosecutors, meanwhile, have built a case that
suggests it was the protesters, not the police, who
murdered Mr. Will to call attention to their cause.

The state attorney, who was appointed by the governor
and owes him political allegiance, said the videotape
Mr. Will recorded just before two bullets hit him
on Oct. 27 suggested that someone at his side shot
him, not the gunmen down the street. “The person who
shot him was at a distance of no more than two and
a half meters,” said the prosecutor, Lizbeth Caña Cadez.
“He was close.”

The lack of progress in the case has angered Mr. Will’s
parents and friends. They complain that Ms. Caña
is trying to steer blame away from police officers and
public officials loyal to the governor. Mr. Will’s family,
as well as several human rights organizations, has
urged the federal government to take over the investigation.

“It’s very frightening what is going on down there,”
Mr. Will’s mother, Kathy Will, said in an interview. “They are
totally manipulating the case. They are trying to shift the
blame off of their people, the paramilitaries.”

Whoever is right, the authorities here have resolved only
one of the 13 killings related to the protests in Oaxaca,
and it involved off-duty soldiers rather than the local
police or officials.

Nationwide, when it comes to journalists, the picture
is bleaker. At least 38 have been killed in Mexico since
April 2005, most of them assassinated after reporting
on drug dealers. None of those cases have been solved,
despite the appointment of a special federal prosecutor
to pursue the killers.

“The justice system in Mexico is highly dysfunctional,”
said Daniel Wilkinson of Human Rights Watch. “Criminal
investigations into cases like this are rarely successful.”

It was into this world that Mr. Will arrived with a digital
video camera in early October to document an inside
story of what he saw as powerless people rebelling
against a repressive government. He was working
for the New York chapter of the Independent Media
Center, a left-leaning media collective.

Friends said Mr. Will contended that the news media
had ignored the conflict in Oaxaca, which began with
a teachers’ strike in May and snowballed into a larger
movement, involving dozens of left-wing and Indian
groups united in a desire to see governor Ulises Ruiz
resign.

For Mr. Will, friends said, the conflict was a pure uprising,
poor people taking direct actions to force out a despotic,
corrupt government and install a true democracy.
His reports made it plain that his sympathies lay with
the protesters. Still, several journalists said he never
participated in the protests himself.

“He wasn’t one of these revolutionary tourists, making
Molotov cocktails,” said Diego Osorno, a reporter for the
Mexican newspaper Milenio, who was nearby when
Mr. Will was shot.

The motivations of the protesters themselves, many
Mexican analysts say, were less clear-cut, and, in some
cases, perhaps less noble. The myriad groups who made
up the Oaxaca People’s Popular Assembly had differing
agendas.

They included teachers seeking a large salary increase,
out-of-favor politicians hoping to forge a new party and
Marxists who wanted to incite a violent, leftist revolution.
What’s more, many of the groups involved were angry
because Mr. Ruiz had cut off the flow of state patronage
to their organizations.

In late November, after yet another clash in which protesters
burned several public buildings, the federal police arrested
more than 130 people and imposed a ban on marches.
On Tuesday, the new administration of President Felipe
Calderón arrested a top leader of the movement, Flavio
Sosa Villavicencio, and threw him in a maximum security
prison on criminal charges. An uneasy calm exists in Oaxaca,
where the federal police have banned demonstrations.

The day Mr. Will died was a critical turning point in the five-
month-old conflict. That week, the teachers’ union, the largest
group in the movement, had finally reached an agreement
with federal negotiators to return to work.

On Friday, Oct. 27, the rest of the organizations in the protest
decided to show they were still powerful by shutting down
the city for a day. They erected dozens of barricades, and
by afternoon the city was paralyzed.

Groups loyal to the governor struck back, attacking protesters
at barricades in four Oaxaca suburbs. Local residents,
fed up with months of unrest, took part in the attacks,
but officials from Mr. Ruiz’s party and police officers
in civilian clothes led them, witnesses said. Some of the
plainclothes officers fired at the protesters.

Mr. Will was among the reporters who responded when
residents and local officials confronted protesters in Santa
Lucía, a suburb west of Oaxaca, where at least 200 protesters,
some of them armed, took part in street battles.

A witness, who asked not to be identified because he feared
for his safety, said he saw five city officials, including two police
captains, huddled nearby during the gunfight, firing large-caliber
weapons at the protesters. Mr. Osorno, of Milenio, said he saw
at least one gunman behind a truck, about 30 yards from where
Mr. Will was in a half-crouch. Mr. Will was hit and fell to the
ground, groaning “Help me” in Spanish, his last videotape
reveals, though it does not show who fired the shot. Several
protesters were in front of him, most of them young men
in masks, with stones, bottle rockets and clubs.

Prosecutors say that just before Mr. Will fell, a voice can be
heard on the tape yelling, “Didn’t I tell you, man,
not to take photos!”

Víctor Alonzo Altamirano, the chief of the homicide division
in the state attorney’s office, said the sound of a gun being
cocked could be heard at the same time. Then comes the loud
report of a pistol close by. “I cannot close my eyes to what we
are seeing on the tape,” he said.

One protester, who was less than a yard from Mr. Will when
he was shot, maintained that no one around Mr. Will had a gun
at that moment, though he acknowledged, as did two news
photographers at the scene, that some protesters were telling
photographers not to take photos for fear of being identified.

The protester, who requested anonymity, said Mr. Will was
crouched down just behind him facing up the street, eye
to the camera on his shoulder, when the bullet crashed
into his chest.

“I felt a bullet whizzing over my shoulder,” the protester
said. “I turned and saw him twist and fall backward to his
right. Then Brad raised up his shirt and said, ‘They hit me.’
He lost color rapidly.”

Dr. Luis Mendoza Canseco, Oaxaca’s medical examiner,
who performed an autopsy, said Mr. Will had two wounds.
Investigators said they were from the same 9-millimeter gun.

The two released suspects — Avel Santiago Zárate and
Orlando Manuel Aguilar Cuello, both municipal officials
— were found with .38-caliber pistols, prosecutors said.

Three other gunmen, who were also photographed firing
at the protesters, have not been arrested or questioned,
prosecutors say. Neither have investigators detained five
men, including two police captains, who a witness reported
had been shooting at the protesters.

Advocates for press freedom say investigations into the
killings of journalists in Mexico have been generally shoddy.
“Under the current climate in Oaxaca it’s difficult for state
officials to conduct an impartial investigation,” said Carlos
Lauria of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

James C. McKinley Jr. reported from Mexico, and Colin
Moynihan from New York City.

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LINKS AND VERY SHORT STORIES
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Small Nuclear War Would Cause Global Environmental Catastrophe
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1211-05.htm

Iraq Protester Sheehan Cleared of Most NY Charges
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1211-07.htm

Iraq Is Failing to Spend Billions in Oil Revenues
By JAMES GLANZ
BAGHDAD, Dec. 10 — Iraq is failing to spend billions of dollars
of oil revenues that have been set aside to rebuild its damaged
roads, schools and power stations and to repair refineries
and pipelines.
December 11, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/11/world/middleeast/11spend.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin

Drug War Facts
Race, Prison and the Drug Laws
http://www.drugwarfacts.org/racepris.htm

Liberal Consensus Hardens for More Troops to Iraq;
Meet Senator Slither; Farewell, Jeane Kirkpatrick
December 9, 2006
http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn12092006.html

Federal tactics under assault
Prosecutors' tool to investigate fraud draws corporate fire
Corporate
Jessica Guynn, Chronicle Staff Writer
jguynn@sfchronicle.com
Saturday, December 9, 2006
http://sfgate.com/cgibin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/12/09/BUGB8MSBNN1.DTL

Pink elections in Nicaragua
By: Celia Hart
Special for ARGENPRESS.info
Date: 16/11/2006
A CubaNews translation by Ana Portela.
Edited by Walter Lippmann
Original:
http://www.argenpress.info/nota.asp?num=036877
http://www.walterlippmann.com/ch-11-16-2006.html

Religion for a Captive Audience, Paid For by Taxes
By DIANA B. HENRIQUES and ANDREW LEHREN
Life was different in Unit E at the state prison outside Newton, Iowa.
The toilets and sinks — white porcelain ones, like at home — were
in a separate bathroom with partitions for privacy. In many Iowa
prisons, metal toilet-and-sink combinations squat beside the bunks,
to be used without privacy, a few feet from cellmates.
The cells in Unit E had real wooden doors and doorknobs, with locks.
More books and computers were available, and inmates were kept
busy with classes, chores, music practice and discussions. There
were occasional movies and events with live bands and real-world
food, like pizza or sandwiches from Subway. Best of all, there were
opportunities to see loved ones in an environment quieter
and more intimate than the typical visiting rooms.
But the only way an inmate could qualify for this kinder mutation
of prison life was to enter an intensely religious rehabilitation
program and satisfy the evangelical Christians running it that he
was making acceptable spiritual progress. The program — which
grew from a project started in 1997 at a Texas prison with the
support of George W. Bush, who was governor at the time —
says on its Web site that it seeks “to ‘cure’ prisoners by identifying
sin as the root of their problems” and showing inmates “how God
can heal them permanently, if they turn from their sinful past.”
December 10, 2006
story continues:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/10/business/10faith.html?ei=5094&en=9d0e1451cc709fc2&hp=&ex=1165813200&adxnnl=1&partner=homepage&adxnnlx=1165785086-BFd7WeTukU1gUvARFYG/5g

Study Detects Recent Instance of Human Evolution
By NICHOLAS WADE
December 10, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/10/science/10cnd-evolve.html?hp&ex=1165813200&en=459da82e1510cecf&ei=5094&partner=homepage

Oppose FY07 EPA Library Budget Cuts
The proposed EPA budget slashes library system funding, hindering
agency scientists from doing their jobs effectively.
Tell your Senators to restore funds for continued access to the
collections and services of EPA Libraries.
I am writing to protest plans by the Bush administration to close
libraries at the Environmental Protection Agency. I ask that you
intervene now to ensure that EPA’s network of 27 technical libraries
remains intact and open to both the public and agency staff.
The Bush administration is already moving ahead with library
closures, without waiting for Congress to act on the plan
contained in its proposed FY 2007 EPA operations and
administration budget.
The proposed cuts, while small in the context of an $8 billion
EPA budget, will be devastating:
-An estimated 50,000 documents on environmental issues that are
available nowhere else will be boxed up and inaccessible;
-Public access to invaluable EPA collections will end; and
-EPA’s own staff will find it harder to do their jobs without access
to their libraries.
More than 10,000 EPA scientists have protested the impending
closure of technical research libraries because it would hinder their
work. EPA’s enforcement arm has concluded that library closures
will hamper investigation and prosecution of corporate polluters.
The administration’s own studies show that the cuts will actually
lose money due to the added professional staff time that will be
diverted to tracking down research materials now assembled
by the libraries.
I urge you to stop these proposed cuts and instead restore the
EPA libraries. Please demonstrate your commitment to the power
of information and public education as indispensable tools
for safeguarding our environment.
Sign the petition at:
http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/PEER/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=5127&t=sig%20n-a-petition.dwt

A Young Marine Speaks Out
by Philip Martin
http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/martin-p1.html

Army Provides Context After Radio Story on Soldiers' Mental Health
Dec 08, 2006
http://www.army. mil/-newsrelease s/2006/12/ 08/912-army- provides- context-after- radio-story- on-soldiers- mental-health/

From Diallo to Sean Bell
NYPD's Death Squads
By JARED RODRIGUEZ
and BRIAN JONE
http://www.counterpunch.org/rodriguez12072006.html

Prosecutor Admits Mumia Had No "True Defense"
Mumia Abu-Jamal Case Goes to Third Circuit
By DAVE LINDORFF
December 7, 2006
http://www.counterpunch.org/lindorff12072006.html

Dwindling Docket Mystifies Supreme Court
By LINDA GREENHOUSE
December 7, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/07/washington/07scotus.html?hp&ex=1165554000&en=63c9951e3052ec75&ei=5094&partner=homepage

Strongest Proof Yet of Water Flow on Mars
By WARREN E. LEARY
December 7, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/07/science/space/07mars.html?ref=us

Bakiyev Wants to Revoke Troops' Immunity
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 11:25 a.m. ET
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) -- President Kurmanbek Bakiyev
on Thursday called for U.S. troops deployed in the former
Soviet nation to be stripped of diplomatic immunity after
a U.S. serviceman fatally shot a Kyrgyz civilian.
December 7, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Kyrgyzstan-US-Man-Shot.html

Panel Calls for New Approach to Iraq
By DAVID E. SANGER
WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 — A bipartisan commission warned
on Wednesday that “the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating,”
and handed President Bush both a rebuke of his current strategy
and a detailed blueprint for a fundamentally different approach,
including the pullback of all American combat brigades over the
next 15 months.
December 6, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/06/world/middleeast/06cnd-iraq.html?hp&ex=1165467600&en=4781220ebb343863&ei=5094&partner=homepage

Recommendations of the Iraq Study Group
A bipartisan commission today urged stepped-up diplomatic and
political efforts to stabilize that country, coupled with a shift
in the mission of U.S. forces to allow the United States to
“begin to move its combat forces out of Iraq responsibly.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/06/world/middleeast/06report_summary.html

Soldiers Say Army Ignores, Punishes Mental Anguish
by Daniel Zwerdling
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6576505

Army bulldozes farmlands and stops school
students from going home near Bethlehem
Israeli army bulldozers started on Monday
morning to bulldoze farmlands, and barred
school students from leaving their school in
Al Khader village south of the West Bank city
of Bethlehem. Troops and army bulldozers
stormed the village on Monday morning, around
10:00, and started to bulldoze and uproot farmlands
in the village to build a road and underground tunnel
to separate the Palestinian used roads from the
Jewish only roads, villagers reported.
http://www.imemc. org/content/ view/23054/ 1/

Settlers uproot Olive trees in Hebron
The sources stated that armed extremist settlers
of the Hagai illegal settlement, uprooted and cut
more than 70 olive trees that belong to Mohammad
Abdul-Hamid Al Tubassi, and Rateb Al Tubassi,
while (JEWISH) soldiers did not attempt to stop them.
http://www.imemc. org/content/ view/23060/ 1/

Manhattan: Raises for Elected Officials Approved
By SEWELL CHAN
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
signed a bill yesterday raising elected
city officials’ salaries for the first
time since 1999. The measure
increases salaries to $225,000 from
$195,000 for the mayor;
to $190,000 from $150,000 for the
district attorneys; to $185,000
from $160,000 for the comptroller;
to $165,000 from $150,000
for the public advocate; to $160,000
from $135,000 for the borough
presidents; and to $112,500 from
$90,000 for City Council members.
The mayor noted that the pay raises
were recommended by an advisory
commission he appointed and were
in line with inflation and raises
for other city workers.
December 6, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/06/nyregion/06mbrfs-RAISE.html

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SCROLL DOWN TO READ:
EVENT ANNOUNCEMENTS (IN FULL DETAIL)
GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

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In today's SF Chronicle, the 'anti-war' Pelosi stated that she
and the Democrates will keep funding the war upon Iraq!

THE MOBILIZATION TO FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL
298 VALENCIA STREET, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103
415-255-1085     12/7/06
MEDIA RELEASE/FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES VOTES TO CONDEMN
INNOCENT DEATH ROW INMATE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL

HOUSE VOTE OF 368-31, WITH EIGHT MEMBERS VOTING "NOT
PRESENT," ASKS FRENCH GOVERNMENT TO INTERVENE AGAINST
CITY OF ST. DENIS (A SUBURB NORTH OF PARIS), TO RETRACT
DECISION TO NAME STREET IN HONOR OF INNOCENT DEATH
ROW INMATE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL

HOUSE DECISION CONSTITUTES AN UNPRECEDENTED INTERVENTION
INTO THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE U.S. CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
SAN FRANCISCO CONGRESSWOMAN NANCY PELOSI JOINS IN VOTE
TO CONDEMN ABU-JAMAL CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA LEE VOTES
AGAINST CONDEMNATION.

MUMIA SUPPORTERS TO PICKET PELOSI OFFICES IN SAN FRANCISCO
PRESS CONFERENCE AND PICKET, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 12 NOON
FEDERAL BUILDING, 450 GOLDEN GATE
SAN FRANCISCO
CONTACT PERSON: JEFF MACKLER, CO-COORDINATOR,
MOBILIZATION TO FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL
O: 415-255-1080; CELL: 510-387-7714; H: 510-268-9429

On December 6, in a non-binding vote, the U.S. House of
Representatives intervened in pending federal litigation
in the case of innocent Pennsylvania death row inmate,
Mumia Abu-Jamal.

By a non-binding vote of 368-31 a motion introduced by
two Philadelphia-area congresspeople was approved demanding
that the French government intervene to pressure the Parisian
suburb of St. Denis to reverse an earlier decision to name
a major street, Rue Mumia Abu-Jamal, honoring a man who
they believe did not receive a fair trial in the United Street.
The City of St. Denis last week refused to change its decision.

An earlier decision of the City of Paris itself granted Abu-Jamal
honorary citizenship, the first such honor bestowed since
it was granted to Pablo Picasso in 1967.

French President Jacques Chirac has also added his name
to the long list of international and U.S. leaders who have
condemned the 1982 frame-up trial of Abu-Jamal.

The decision by the House of Representatives constitutes
a direct intervention into the legal proceedings presently
underway in the U.S.

Abu-Jamal's case is slated for oral arguments before the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. This court,
reversing previous rulings of the Federal District Court,
granted Abu-Jamal two additional certificates of appealability
to challenge racial bias in his trial and improper instructions
to the jury. Abu-Jamal's appeal also includes a challenge
to the exclusion of 11 of 14 Black jurors in his 1982 trial.

The State of Pennsylvania is appealing before the same court,
seeking a reinstitution of the death penalty.

Abu-Jamals's lead attorney, Robert R. Bryan has repeatedly
stated that the gross violations of his client's constitutional
rights will result in a new trial and freedom for a man whose
fight for life and justice is today supported by groups ranging
from the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, the city
councils of San Francisco and Detroit, the 1.8 million member
California Labor Federation, the European Parliament, the
National Conference of Black Elected Officials and other
organizations representing hundreds of millions of people
worldwide.

"The House action" said Pam Africa, chair of the International
Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and just returned
from Paris, "is designed to weigh in on and promote an
atmosphere in the U.S. judiciary that is prejudicial to Mumia's
receiving any form of justice."

Several leaders in the defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal will be
present at the Tuesday, December 12 Federal Building protest
against the vote of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.
Issued by: The Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
Jeff Mackler and Laura Herrera, Co-coordinators 12-7-06

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12/16 Solidarity Sleigh To Support UAW364 Conn Selmer Elkhart,
Indiana Strikers
Solidarity Sleigh On Beethoven's Birthday
Good Union brothers, sisters and concerned activists,
UAW Local 364 has been on strike for eight months.
LET'S JOIN TOGETHER TO BRING SOLIDARITY SUPPORT TO ELKHART!!

Join Solidarity Caravan!!!

WHEN

SATURDAY DECEMBER 16TH 2006 1:00 P.M. TO 4:00 P.M.

WHERE

North Side Church of the Nazarene
Fellowship Hall
53569 County Rd. 7
ELKHART, IN. 46514


Members have worked together in unprecidented ways
to galvanize support for our brothers and sisters. Join
together for an old fashioned Solidarity revival that made
the Union strong. Sponsors have contributed to purchase
gifts for the children. Bring support for food bank,
contributions, etc. or just bring a heart filled with
Solidarity and Holiday cheer!!!!

UAW Local 364 struggle information
http://www.soldiersofsolidarity.com/files/relatednewsandreports/MakeMusicWithSolidarityCaravanOn1216.html

Make Music With
Solidarity Caravan On 12/16 to Elkhart, Indiana To Support
UAW364 Conn-Selmer Strikers
"They'll Never Break Us Down"

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The 230 members and their families of UAW 364 of Conn-Selmer's
Vincent Bach musical instrument factory in Elkhart, Indiana
have been on strike for over 7 months. It is time to rally to their
support and help them with food, funds and solidarity.

On Saturday December 16, 2006 there will be caravans
from throughout the mid-west going to Elkhart, Indiana
to join the picket line and rally for their struggle.

Picketing will take place before 3:00 PM when a rally
will be held.

Collections are being taken to purchase toys for the kids
so they can have a happy holiday and efforts are also being
made to expand the struggle to all musicians in the US
and internationally. Please contact the AFM musicians
union in your area and ask that they boycott all Steinway Inc.
products until the striking workers return to their jobs and
the 120 scabs are removed from the plant. You can also call
these phone numbers and ask why this union busting
company continues to seek to break the union with scabs.
It has also been reported that the Sheriff is now using
prisoners to do the work of some of the strikers.
Contact: GOT QUESTIONS CALL DENEEN SEIGLER 574-389-8391
OR ROB WILSON 309-224-7840
E-MAIL ME AT soldier4him2003@yahoo.com
BRING FRIENDS

Steinway Inc has total sales of $375 million a year and is the
largest seller of professional trumpets and horns in the world.
Steinway PI Long IL, NY 718-721-2600
Steinway Piano 305-774-9878
Steinway, DM News 212-344-8759
Steinway and Sons 617-426-1900
Owner Messina Irish Stock

Send Contributions of food or money to the Food Bank at

Food 4 Strikers
58558 Ardmore Dr.
Elkhart, IN 46517

Endorsed by UAW364 Strike Support Committee, Labor Action
Coalition and other unionists.

Bach says it'll keep substitutes--South Bend Tribune

Bach Strike: Real Marketplace Facts

Bach workers picket outside courthouse after judge's
ruling--South Bend Tribune

Bach plant gets order restraining strikers--South
Bend Tribune

Striking union members in Elkhart reject 'last, best
offer'--Bach workers will stay on strike into 7th month
--SouthBend Tribune

Steinway LABOR CONTRACTS TO EXPIRE

Phone- a- con for Solidarity

6 months later, still on strike at UAW Local 364
--South Bend Tribune

Labor activists to picket Bach--Chance encounter
bringing LAWS founder to Elkhart. UAW Local 364

Thanks from UAW Local 364

On Strike at Local 364--Steinway is trying to take our
horns to China--Deneen Seigler

Phone- a- con for Solidarity

Workers of UAW Local 364 in Elkhart Indiana have been
on strike for seven months. There is no information about
this strike on the UAW web site but the company's product
is advertised on the International Web Site. Conn-Selmer
is the parent company of Steinway where these workers
make musical instruments. There has been no gate
collections to assist these workers no food banking,
the most basic of survival skills for striking workers.
There are 230 workers on strike they ask us to call
these numbers at let them know we support them.


UAW Local Officers UAW 364
313-962-5000 Jerry Stayton
574-536-1364
AFLCIO
317-632-9147 Bill Buzzard
574-266-5945
UAW Officers Region #3
Connie Thurman- CAP Bob Allen
317-547-0614 574-295-4266

Mo Davison - Director
317-547-0614

Brenda Upchurch
317-547-0614

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Drums Across America for Peace
December 16, 2006 simultaneously across
the country at 11:00 to 11:30 A.M. PST
For More Information contact:
Marilyn Sjaastad
541-344-8088
Jade Screen Clinic

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Dear Defenders of Women's Rights,

While California voters rejected Proposition 85, the
parental notification act in last month‚s elections,
the fight for reproductive rights continues and your
help is needed.

The rightwing remains on the offensive and for the
third year running will be coming to San Francisco on
Saturday, January 20 for their annual „Walk for
Life˜West Coast‰. But, as in previous years, Bay Area
Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights (BACORR)
activists will be organizing a multi-issue response to
the anti-abortionists. We are initiating a January
20th Coalition to bring together local and national
community groups and activists to organize a counter
demonstration with one united voice. We need you to
join this important effort and to send the message
that the San Francisco Bay Area stands for
reproductive rights and that Roe v. Wade must be
defended and expanded.

In past years our efforts were endorsed by the San
Francisco Board of Supervisors, San Francisco Labor
Council, ACCESS, East Bay NOW, Watsonville Brown
Berets, California Coalition for Women Prisoners,
Radical Women, Code Pink, Women of Color Resource
Center, GABNet, the Women‚s International League for
Peace and Freedom, and many more. This year‚s theme is
„Forward, Not Back˜Reproductive Justice for All!‰

Here‚s what we need you to do:

1. If in the Bay Area: Attend the upcoming January
20th Coalition meetings: Wednesday, December 13 from
6:30-8:30 p.m. at 1908 Mission Street, San Francisco
(at 15th Street), Wednesday, December 20, 6:30-8:30
p.m. at 369 15th Street, Oakland (near 12th
St./Downtown Oakland BART) and at these addresses on
January 3 (San Francisco), January 10 (Oakland) and
January 17 (San Francisco)

Contact BACORR for subcommittee meetings or to arrange
meetings in other locations.

2. Endorse the counterprotest of the „Walk for
Life˜West Coast‰. We ask for a $25 donation, but any
amount is appreciated. Please make checks out to:
Women‚s Choice Clinic and mail to 570 14th Street,
Suite 3, Oakland, CA 94612-1080 with Jan. 20th
endorsement in the memo line.

3. Commit to bringing folks to the counterprotest on
Saturday, January 20, 2007. Meet at 10:30 a.m., Pier
#5 on the Embarcadero (to the left of the Ferry
Building at Embarcadero and Market Streets) in San
Francisco. Wear green, bring signs, and defend women‚s
right to choose!

Please call 415-864-1278, email bacorrinfo@riseup.net,
or visit www.BACORR.org for more information.

BACORR stands for: free, accessible abortion on
demand; no forced sterilizations; universal
healthcare; pre- and post-natal care and childcare for
all; safe and accessible contraceptives; an end to
discrimination against people of color, queer,
immigrant, and youth communities; embracing (not
controlling or denying) sexuality; providing
reality-based sex education in our public schools, and
more. Fight back with BACORR!

In solidarity,

Anita O‚Shea
Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights
(BACORR)

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ACT NOW TO END THE WAR!
SATURDAY JANUARY 27, 2007
Washington, D.C.
VOLUNTEER Live in NYC or DC? We need your help
before and during the protest. Call 212-868-5545
STAYINFORMED Visit www.unitedforpeace.org for
updated information and to sign up for our action alerts
DONATE Whether you can contribute $10, $100, or
$1000, we need your support to help end the war!
Call 212-866-5545 or visit www.unitedforpeace.org/donate
Join us for a massive
march on Washington
to tell the new Congress:
unitedforpeace&justice
www.unitedforpeace.org (212)868-5545
On Election Day the voters delivered a dramatic,
unmistakable mandate for peace. Now it's time for action.
On Jan. 27, 2007, help send a strong, clear message to
Congress and the Bush Administration:
Bring the troops home now!

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UFPJ calls for march on DC Sat, Jan. 27, local
actions on March 17
www.unitedforpeace. org
212-868-5545
Please forward widely!
Tell the New Congress:
Act NOW to Bring the Troops Home!
Join United for Peace and Justice in a massive march on Washington ,
D.C. , on Sat., January 27, to call on Congress to take immediate
action to end the war.
On Election Day the voters delivered a dramatic, unmistakable mandate
for peace. Now it's time for action. On January 27, 2007, we will
converge from all around the country in Washington , D.C. to send a
strong, clear message to Congress and the Bush Administration: The
people of this country want the war and occupation in Iraq to end and
we want the troops brought home now!
Congress has the power to end this war through legislation. We call on
people from every congressional district in the country to gather in
Washington, DC -- to express support for those members of Congress who
are prepared to take immediate action against the war; to pressure
those who are hesitant to act; and to speak out against those who
remain tied to a failed policy.
The peace and justice movement helped make ending the war in Iraq the
primary issue in this last election. The actions we take do make a
difference, and now there is a new opportunity for us to move our work
forward. On Election Day people took individual action by voting. On
January 27 we will take collective action, as we march in Washington ,
DC , to make sure Congress understands the urgency of this moment.
Join United for Peace and Justice in this crucial push for peace!
1) Make a donation right now to support the January 27 mobilization and
help give us the funds we need to make this a truly massive outpouring
for peace.
2) Pass this email along to everyone you know, post it on blogs and
websites -- do everything you can to help us get the word out about
January 27th.
3) Make sure your organization endorses the January 27th mobilization.
Click here to add your endorsement.
4) Start making plans to bring people from your congressional district
to Washington on January 27. We will soon have a form on our website,
where you or your group can sign up to be the coordinator for people
coming to DC from your area, so you can meet up, coordinate
transportation, housing, etc.
5) Keep checking the UFPJ website for more details in the coming weeks!
You might have also heard that United for Peace and Justice was calling
for a demonstration in Washington to commemorate the 4th anniversary of
the war in Iraq on March 17. Because of the new developments and our
decision to organize the January 27th mobilization, we are now calling
for local and regional antiwar actions that weekend instead. We will
soon be issuing more information about the plans for the 4th
anniversary.
Help us continue to do this critical work: Make a donation to UFPJ
today.
ACTION ALERT * UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE
www.unitedforpeace. org | 212-868-5545
To subscribe, visit www.unitedforpeace. org/email

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LYNNE STEWART AND MICHAEL RATNER IN BAY AREA
FEBRUARY 23-25 (Lynne and her husband Ralph will
stay on several more days. Stay tuned for complete
schedule of events.)
Dear Friends of Lynne Stewart,
I am pleased to announce that Lynne Stewart and Michael Ratner have
just accepted our invitation to tour the Bay Area. The confirmed
dates are February 23-25, 2007. Lynne, accompanied by her husband
Ralph Poynter, will stay on several more days for additional meetings.
In solidarity,
Jeff Mackler,
West Coast Coordinator, Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
Co-Coordinator, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
O: 415-255-1080
Cell: 510-387-7714
H: 510-268-9429

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MARCH 17, 2007 GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION ON THE 4TH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE WAR!
DEMONSTRATIONS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.; LOS ANGELES;
SAN FRANCISCO; SEATTLE; CHICAGO AND OTHER CITIES AND
TOWNS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY AND THE WORLD. THE
A.N.S.W.E.R. COALITION URGES EVERYONE IN THE ANTIWAR
MOVEMENT TO COME TOGETHER IN UNITY AGAINST THE
CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT
http://www.pephost. org/site/ PageServer? pagename= ANS_homepage

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May Day 2007
National Mobilization to Support Immigrant Workers!
Web: http://www.MayDay2007.net
National Immigrant Solidarity Network
No Immigrant Bashing! Support Immigrant Rights!
webpage: http://www.ImmigrantSolidarity.org
e-mail: info@ImmigrantSolidarity.org
New York: (212)330-8172
Los Angeles: (213)403-0131
Washington D.C.: (202)595-8990

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GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
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A NEW LOOK AT U.S. RADIOACTIVE WEAPONS
Join us in a campaign to expose and stop the use of these illegal weapons
http://poisondust.org/

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You may enjoy watching these.
In struggle
Che:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqcezl9dD2c
Leon:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukkFVV5X0p4

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URGENT APPEAL TO SAVE IRAQ'S ACADEMICS.
Call for action to save Iraq's Academics
A little known aspect of the tragedy engulfing Iraq is the systematic
liquidation of the country's academics. Even according to conservative
estimates, over 250 educators have been assassinated, and many
hundreds more have disappeared. With thousands fleeing the country
in fear for their lives, not only is Iraq undergoing a major brain drain,
the secular middle class - which has refused to be co-opted by the
US occupation - is being decimated, with far-reaching consequences
for the future of Iraq.
http://www.brussellstribunal.org/

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END ALL U.S. AID TO ISRAEL!
Stop funding Israel's war against Palestine
Complete the form at the website listed below with your information.
https://secure2.convio.net/pep/site/Advocacy?
JServSessionIdr003=cga2p2o6x1.app2a&cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=177

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ENDORSE THE A.N.S.W.E.R. CALL TO ACTION
March 17-18, 2007
GLOBAL DAYS OF ACTION ON THE
4TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE WAR!
http://answer.pephost.org/site/Survey?
SURVEY_ID=3400&ACTION_REQUIRED=URI_ACTION_USER_REQUESTS&JServSessionIdr011=
k7a3443r73.app8a

http://answer.pephost.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ANS_homepage

Please circulate widely
www.answercoalition.org

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Sand Creek Massacre
On November 29, 1864, 700 Colorado troops savagely slaughtered
over 450 Cheyenne children, disabled, elders, and women in the
southeastern Colorado Territory under its protection. This act
became known as the Sand Creek Massacre. This film project
("The Sand Creek Massacre" documentary film project) is an
examination of an open wound in the souls of the Cheyenne
people as told from their perspective. This project chronicles
that horrific 19th century event and its affect on the 21st century
struggle for respectful coexistence between white and native
plains cultures in the United States of America. Purchase the
DVD of the film and watch the trailer at:
http://www.donvasicek.com/
There is also curriculum, lesson plans and an educational video
available for school classrooms.
In case you're interested, you can view the award-winning Sand Creek
Massacre documentary short film at:
http://twymancreative.com/twymanc.html
(TV Movie of the Week). The web site is under
construction, just about finished, but the film is featured as Movie
of the Week.

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Rights activist held in Oaxaca prison
Three students arrested and held incommunicado in Oaxaca
http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2006/11/80142.html

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TAX THE RICH! FEED THE POOR! MONEY FOR HUMAN NEEDS, NOT WAR!
www.bauaw.org
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The following quote is from the 1918 anti-war speech delivered
in Canton, Ohio, by Eugene Debs. The address, protesting World War I,
resulted in Debs being arrested and imprisoned on charges of espionage.
The speech remains one of the great expressions of the militancy and
internationalism of the US working class.

His appeal, before sentencing, included one of his best-known quotes:
"...while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal
element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

Read the complete speech at:
http://douglassarchives.org/debs_a78.htm

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!VIVA FIDEL! LONG LIVE FIDEL! LONG LIVE THE CUBAN REVOLUTION!
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My Name is Roland Sheppard
This Is My `Blog'
I am is a retired Business Representative of Painters District
Council #8 in San Francisco. I have been a life long social activist
and socialist. Roland Sheppard is a retired Business Representative
of Painters District Council #8 in San Francisco. I have been
a life long social activist and socialist.
Prior to my being elected as a union official, I had worked
for 31 years as a house painter and have been a lifelong socialist.
I have led a unique life. In my retire age, I am interested in writing
about my experiences as a socialist, as a participant in the Black
Liberation Movement, the Union Movement, and almost all social
movements.
I became especially interested in the environment when I was
diagnosed with cancer due to my work environment. I learned
how to write essays, when I first got a computer in order to put
together all the medical legal arguments on my breakthrough
workers' compensation case in California, proving that my work
environment as a painter had caused my cancer. After a five-year
struggle, I won a $300,000 settlement on his case.
The following essays are based upon my involvement in the
struggle for freedom for all humanity. I hope the history
of my life's experiences will help future generations
of Freedom Fighters.
For this purpose, this website is dedicated.
web.mac.com/rolandgarret/iWeb/Site/RolandSheppardsBlog.html

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The Corporate Looting of the Gulf Coast
Robin Hood in Reverse
http://www.counterpunch.org/quigley11132006.html
More Info:
www.justiceforneworleans.org
For a detailed report:
Big, Easy Money: Disaster Profiteering on the American Gulf Coast
by Rita J. King, Special to CorpWatch
August 15th, 2006
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14004

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TAX FACT SHEET
http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/901006_taxpolicy.pdf

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Communist Manifesto illustrated by Disney [and other cartoons) with
words by K. Marx and F. Engels--absolutely wonderful!...bw]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1oGIffyVVk&NR

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Asylum Street Spankers-Magnetic Yellow Ribbon
http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=bfMgRHRJ- tc

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Homer Simpson Joins the Army
Another morale-booster from Groening and company. [If you get
a chance to see the whole thing, it's worth it...bw]
http://hotair.com/archives/2006/11/12/video-the-simpsons-salute-the-lazy-and
-uneducated/

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A Look at the Numbers: How the Rich Get Richer
Clara Jeffery (May/June 2006 Issue
IN 1985, THE FORBES 400 were worth $221 billion combined.
Today, they re worth $1.13 trillion more than the GDP of Canada.
THERE'VE BEEN FEW new additions to the Forbes 400.
The median household income
has also stagnated at around $44,000.
AMONG THE FORBES 400 who gave to a 2004 presidential
campaign, 72% gave to Bush.
IN 2005, there were 9 million American millionaires,
a 62% increase since 2002.
IN 2005, 25.7 million Americans received food stamps,
a 49% increase since 2000.
ONLY ESTATES worth more than $1.5 million are taxed.
That's less than 1% of all estates
http://www.motherjones.com/cgi-bin/print_article.pl?url=http://www.motherjon
es.com/news/exhibit/2006/05/perks_of_privilege.html

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Do You Want to Stop PREVENT War with Iran?

Dear Friend,

Every day, pundits and military experts debate on TV when, how and where
war with Iran will occur. Can the nuclear program be destroyed? Will the
Iranian government retaliate in Iraq or use the oil weapon? Will it take
three or five days of bombing? Will the US bomb Iran with "tactical"
nuclear weapons?

Few discuss the human suffering that yet another war in the Middle East
will bring about. Few discuss the thousands and thousands of innocent
Iranian and American lives that will be lost. Few think ahead and ask
themselves what war will do to the cause of democracy in Iran or to
America's global standing.

Some dismiss the entire discussion and choose to believe that war simply
cannot happen. The US is overstretched, the task is too difficult, and
the world is against it, they say.

They are probably right, but these factors don't make war unlikely. They
just make a successful war unlikely.

At the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), we are not going to
wait and see what happens.

We are actively working to stop the war and we need your help!

Working with a coalition of peace and security organizations in
Washington DC, NIAC is adding a crucial dimension to this debate - the
voice of the Iranian-American community.

Through our US-Iran Media Resource Program
http://niacouncil.c.topica.com/maafjioabumkFbIfQs8eafpLV5/
http://niacouncil.c.topica.com/maafjioabumkFbIfQs8eafpLV5/ , we help
the media ask the right questions and bring attention to the human side
of this issue.

Through the LegWatch program

http://niacouncil.c.topica.com/maafjioabummRbIfQs8eafpLV5/
http://niacouncil.c.topica.com/maafjioabummRbIfQs8eafpLV5/ ,

we are building opposition to the war on Capitol Hill. We spell out the
likely
consequences of war and the concerns of the Iranian-American community
on Hill panels

http://niacouncil.c.topica.com/maafjioabumkGbIfQs8eafpLV5/
http://niacouncil.c.topica.com/maafjioabumkGbIfQs8eafpLV5/

and in direct meetings with lawmakers. We recently helped more than a dozen
Members of Congress - both Republican and Democrats - send a strong
message against war to the White House

http://niacouncil.c.topica.com/maafjioabumkHbIfQs8eafpLV5/
http://niacouncil.c.topica.com/maafjioabumkHbIfQs8eafpLV5/

But more is needed, and we need your help!

If you don't wish to see Iran turn into yet another Iraq, please make a
contribution online or send in a check to:

NIAC
2801 M St NW
Washington DC 20007

Make the check out to NIAC and mark it "NO WAR."

ALL donations are welcome, both big and small. And just so you know,
your donations make a huge difference. Before you leave the office
today, please make a contribution to stop the war.

Sincerely,
Trita Parsi
President of NIAC

U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW)

www.uslaboragainstwar.org
http://www.uslaboragainstwar.org/
Email: info@uslaboragainstwar.org

PMB 153
1718 "M" Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Voicemail: 202/521-5265

Co-convenors: Gene Bruskin, Maria Guillen, Fred Mason,
Bob Muehlenkamp, and Nancy Wohlforth
Michael Eisenscher, National Organizer & Website Coordinator
Virginia Rodino, Organizer
Adrienne Nicosia, Administrative Staff

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Enforce the Roadless Rule for National Forests
Target: Michael Johanns, Secretary, USDA
Sponsor: Earthjustice
We, the Undersigned, endorse the following petition:
This past September, Earthjustice scored a huge victory for our roadless
national forests when a federal district court ordered the reinstatement
of the Roadless Rule.
The Roadless Rule protects roadless forest areas from road-building
and most logging. This is bad news for the timber, mining, and oil
& gas industries ... And so they're putting pressure on their friends
in the Bush Administration to challenge the victory.
Roadless area logging tends to target irreplaceable old growth forests.
Many of these majestic trees have stood for hundreds of years.
By targeting old-growth, the timber companies are destroying
natural treasures that cannot be replaced in our lifetime.
The future of nearly 50 million acres of wild, national forests
and grasslands hangs in the balance. Tell the secretary of the
USDA, Michael Johanns, to protect our roadless areas by enforcing
the Roadless Rule. The minute a road is cut through a forest, that
forest is precluded from being considered a "wilderness area," and
thus will not be covered by any of the Wilderness Area protections
afforded by Congress.
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/112283692?z00m=6687205&z00m=668720
5<l=1162406255

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Mumia Abu-Jamal - Reply brief, U.S. Court of Appeals (Please Circulate)

Dear Friends:

On October 23, 2006, the Fourth-Step Reply Brief of Appellee and
Cross-Appellant, Mumia Abu-Jamal was submitted to the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia. (Abu-Jamal v. Horn,
U.S. Ct. of Appeals Nos. 01-9014, 02-9001.)

Oral argument will likely be scheduled during the coming months.
I will advise when a hearing date is set.

The attached brief is of enormous consequence since it goes
to the essence of our client's right to a fair trial, due process
of law, and equal protection of the law, guaranteed by the Fifth,
Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The issues include:

Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied the right to due process
of law and a fair trial because of the prosecutor's "appeal-after
-appeal" argument which encouraged the jury to disregard the
presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt, and err
on the side of guilt.

Whether the prosecution's exclusion of African Americans
from sitting on the jury violated Mr. Abu-Jamal's right
to due process and equal protection of the law,
in contravention of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).

Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied due process and equal
protection of the law during a post-conviction hearing
because of the bias and racism of Judge Albert F. Sabo,
who was overheard during the trial commenting that
he was "going to help'em fry the nigger."

That the federal court is hearing issues which concern
Mr. Abu-Jamal's right to a fair trial is a great milestone
in this struggle for human rights. This is the first time
that any court has made a ruling in nearly a quarter
of a century that could lead to a new trial and freedom.
Nevertheless, our client remains on Pennsylvania's death
row and in great danger.

Mr. Abu-Jamal, the "voice of the voiceless," is a powerful
symbol in the international campaign against the death
penalty and for political prisoners everywhere. The goal
of Professor Judith L. Ritter, associate counsel, and
I is to see that the many wrongs which have occurred
in this case are righted, and that at the conclusion
of a new trial our client is freed.

Your concern is appreciated

With best wishes,

Robert R. Bryan

Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123

Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *---------*---------*

Antiwar Web Site Created by Troops
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
A small group of active-duty military members opposed to the war
have created a Web site intended to collect thousands of signatures
of other service members. People can submit their name, rank and
duty station if they support statements denouncing the American
invasion. "Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price,"
the Web site, appealforredress.org, says. "It is time for U.S. troops
to come home." The electronic grievances will be passed along
to members of Congress, according to the Web site. Jonathan
Hutto, a Navy seaman based in Norfolk, Va., who set up the Web
site a month ago, said the group had collected 118 names and
was trying to verify that they were legitimate service members.
October 25, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/25/washington/25brfs-005.html

---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Judge Orders Release of Abu Ghraib Child Rape Photos
Submitted by davidswanson on Mon, 2006-10-23 20:54. Evidence
By Greg Mitchell, http://www.editorandpublisher.com
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/14864

---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Profound new assault on freedom of speech and assembly:
Manhattan: New Rules for Parade Permits
By AL BAKER
After recent court rulings found the Police Department's
parade regulations too vague, the department is moving
to require parade permits for groups of 10 or more
bicyclists or pedestrians who plan to travel more than
two city blocks without complying with traffic laws.
It is also pushing to require permits for groups of 30
or more bicyclists or pedestrians who obey traffic laws.
The new rules are expected to be unveiled in a public
notice today. The department will discuss them at
a hearing on Nov. 27. Norman Siegel, a lawyer whose
clients include bicyclists, said the new rules
"raise serious civil liberties issues."
October 18, 2006
http://www.nytimes. com/2006/ 10/18/nyregion/ 18mbrfs-002. html

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Soul-Sick Nation: An Astrologer's View of America
Jessica Murray
Format: Paperback (6x9)
ISBN 1425971253
Price: $ 13.95
About the Book
Astrology and geopolitics may seem strange bedfellows, but
Soul-Sick Nation puts the two together to provide a perspective
as extraordinary as the times we are living in. Using the principles
of ancient wisdom to make sense of the current global situation,
this book invites us to look at the USA from the biggest possible
picture: that of cosmic meaning. With a rare blend of compassion,
humor and fearless taboo-busting, Soul-Sick Nation reveals
America's noble potential without sentiment and diagnoses
its neuroses without delusion, shedding new light on troubling
issues that the pundits and culture wars inflame but leave
painfully unresolved: the WTC bombings, the war in Iraq,
Islamic jihad, media propaganda, consumerism and the
American Dream.
In her interpretation of the birth chart of the entity born
July 4, 1776, Murray offers an in-depth analysis of America's
essential destiny--uncovering , chapter by chapter, the greater
purpose motivating this group soul. She shows how this
purpose has been distorted, and how it can be re-embraced
in the decades to come. She decodes current astrological
transits that express the key themes the USA must learn
in this period of millennial crisis—including that of the
responsibility of power—spelling out the profound lessons
the nation will face in the next few years.
Combining the rigor of a political theorist with the vision
of a master astrologer, this keenly intelligent book elucidates
the meaning of an epoch in distress, and proposes a path
towards healing—of the country and of its individual citizens.
Murray explains how each of us can come to terms with this
moment in history and arrive at a response that is unique
and creative. This book will leave you revitalized, shorn
of illusions and full of hope.
About the Author
"Jessica Murray's Soul-Sick Nation raises the symbol-system
of astrology to the level of a finely-honed tool for the critical
work of social insight and commentary. Her unflinching,
in-depth analysis answers a crying need of our time. Murray's
application of laser beam-lucid common sense analysis
to the mire of illusions we've sunken into as a nation is
a courageous step in the right direction... Just breathtaking! "
--Raye Robertson, author of Culture, Media and the Collective Mind
" Jessica Murray,..a choice-centered, psychospiritually- oriented
astrologer.. . has quietly made a real difference in the lives of her
clients, one at a time. In "Soul Sick Nation," she applies exactly those
same skills to understanding America as a whole. Starting from
the premise that the United States is currently a troubled adolescent,
she applies an unflinching gaze to reach an ultimately compassionate
conclusion about how we can heal ourselves and grow up."
- Steven Forrest, author of The Inner Sky and The Changing Sky
http://www.authorho use.com/BookStor e/ItemDetail~ bookid~41780. aspx

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Shop for a Donation at Al-Awda!
Interested in furthering your knowledge about Palestine
and its people?
Want to help make the Palestinian Right to Return a reality?
Looking for ways to show your support for Palestine and
Palestinian refugees?
Why not shop for a donation at Al-Awda
http://al-awda. org/shop. html
and help support a great organization and cause!!
Al-Awda offers a variety of educational materials including interesting
and unique books on everything from oral histories, photo books
on Palestinian refugees, to autobiographies, narratives, political
analysis, and culture. We also have historical maps of Palestine
(in Arabic and English), educational films, flags of various sizes,
and colorful greeting cards created by Palestinian children.
You can also show your support for a Free Palestine, and wear with
pride, great looking T-shirts, pendants, and a variety of Palestine pins.
Shop for a Donation at Al-Awda!
Visit http://al-awda. org/shop. html for these great items, and more!
The Educational Supplies Division
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
PO Box 131352
Carlsbad, CA 92013, USA
Tel: 760-685-3243
Fax: 360-933-3568
E-mail: info@al-awda. org
WWW: http://al-awda. org
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC), is a broad-
based, non-partisan, democratic, and charitable organization of
grassroots activists and students committed to comprehensive public
education about the rights of all Palestinian refugees to return to their
homes and lands of origin, and to full restitution for all their confiscated
and destroyed property in accordance with the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, International law and the numerous United Nations
Resolutions upholding such rights (see FactSheet). Al-Awda, PRRC
is a not for profit tax-exempt educational and charitable 501(c)(3)
organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the
United States of America. Under IRS guidelines, your donations
to Al-Awda, PRRC are tax-deductible.

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Before You Enlist
Excellent flash film that should be shown to all students.
http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=ZFsaGv6cefw

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

In an interview in March 1995 entitled, "Jesse Helms: Setting the
Record Straight" that appeared in the Middle East Quarterly, Helms
said, "I have long believed that if the United States is going to give
money to Israel, it should be paid out of the Department of Defense
budget. My question is this: If Israel did not exist, what would
U.S. defense costs in the Middle East be? Israel is at least the
equivalent of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Middle East. Without
Israel promoting its and America's common interests, we would
be badly off indeed."
(Jesse Helms was the senior senator from North Carolina and the
chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time.)
http://www.meforum. org/article/ 244

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TWO AMICUS BRIEFS FILED FOR MUMIA ABU-JAMAL WITH
THE 3RD CIRCUIT FEDERAL APPEALS COURT IN JULY 2006

These pdf files can be found on Michael Schiffmann's web site at:

http://againstthecr imeofsilence. de/english/ copy_of_mumia/ legalarchive/

The first brief is from the National Lawyers Guild.
The second brief is from the NAACP Legal Defense
and Educational Fund, Inc.

Howard Keylor
For the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
www.laboractionmumi a.org.

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Asylum Street Spankers-Magnetic Yellow Ribbon
http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=bfMgRHRJ- tc

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

SIR! NO SIR!
I urge everyone to get a copy of "Sir! No Sir!" at:
http://www.sirnosir .com/
It is an extremely informative and powerful film
of utmost importance today. I was a participant
in the anti-Vietnam war movement. What a
powerful thing it was to see troops in uniform
leading the march against the war! If you would
like to read more here are two very good
publications:

Out Now!: A Participant' s Account of the Movement
in the United States Against the Vietnam War
by Fred Halstead (Hardcover - Jun 1978)

and:

GIs speak out against the war;: The case of the
Ft. Jackson 8; by Fred Halstead (Unknown Binding - 1970).

Both available at:
http://www.amazon. com/gp/search/ 103-1123166- 0136605?search- alias=books&
rank=
+availability, -proj-total- margin&field- author=Fred% 20Halstead

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Endorse the following petition:
Don't Let Idaho Kill Endangered Wolves
Target: Fish and Wildlife Service
Sponsor: Defenders of Wildlife
http://www.thepetit ionsite.com/ takeaction/ 664280276?
z00m=99090&z00m= 99090<l= 1155834550

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

END ALL U.S. AID TO ISRAEL!
Stop funding Israel's war against Palestine
Complete the form at the website listed below with your information.
Personalize the message text on the right with
your own words, if you wish.
Click the Next Step button to send your letter
to these decision makers:
President George W. Bush
Vice President Richard 'Dick' B. Cheney
Your Senators
Your Representative
Go here to register your outrage:
https://secure2. convio.net/ pep/site/ Advocacy?
JServSessionIdr003= cga2p2o6x1. app2a&cmd= display&page= UserAction& id=177

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Idriss Stelley Foundation is in critical financial crisis, please help !
ISF is in critical financial crisis, and might be forced to close
its doors in a couple of months due to lack of funds to cover
DSL, SBC and utilities, which is a disaster for our numerous
clients, since the are the only CBO providing direct services
to Victims (as well as extended failies) of police misconduct
for the whole city of SF. Any donation, big or small will help
us stay alive until we obtain our 501-c3 nonprofit Federal
Status! Checks can me made out to
ISF, ( 4921 3rd St , SF CA 94124 ). Please consider to volunteer
or apply for internship to help covering our 24HR Crisis line,
provide one on one couseling and co facilitate our support
groups, M.C a show on SF Village Voice, insure a 2hr block
of time at ISF, moderate one of our 26 websites for ISF clients !
http://mysite. verizon.net/ vzeo9ewi/ idrissstelleyfou ndation/
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/isf23/
Report Police Brutality
24HR Bilingual hotline
(415) 595-8251
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/Justice4As a/

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Appeal for funds:
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website http://dahrjamailir aq.com
Request for Support
Dahr Jamail will soon return to the Middle East to continue his
independent reporting. As usual, reporting independently is a costly
enterprise; for example, an average hotel room is $50, a fixer runs $50
per day, and phone/food average $25 per day. Dahr will report from the
Middle East for one month, and thus needs to raise $5,750 in order to
cover his plane ticket and daily operating expenses.
A rare opportunity has arisen for Dahr to cover several stories
regarding the occupation of Iraq, as well as U.S. policy in the region,
which have been entirely absent from mainstream media.
With the need for independent, unfiltered information greater than ever,
your financial support is deeply appreciated. Without donations from
readers, ongoing independent reports from Dahr are simply not possible.
All donations go directly towards covering Dahr's on the ground
operating expenses.
(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Legal update on Mumia Abu-Jamal's case
Excerpts from a letter written by Robert R. Bryan, the lead attorney
for death row political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal.
...On July 20, 2006, we filed the Brief of Appellee and Cross
Appellant, Mumia Abu-Jamal, in the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia.
http://www.workers. org/2006/ us/mumia- 0810/

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Nick Mottern, Consumers for Peace
nickmottern@earthlink.net

Howard Zinn joins Kathy Kelly, Dahr Jamail, Ann Wright and Neil MacKay in
endorsing "War Crimes Committed by the United States in Iraq and
Mechanisms for Accountability."

The report was published internationally by 10 organizations in October.

"This report on the war crimes of the current administration is an
invaluable resource, with a meticulous presentation of the
evidence and an astute examination of international law.
- Howard Zinn.

The 37 page report, written by Consumers for Peace with the
consultation of international humanitarian law expert Karen
Parker, JD, is available for free download at
http://www.consumersforpeace.org/pdf/war_crimes_iraq_101006.pdf

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Today in Palestine!
For up to date information on Israeli's brutal attack on
human rights and freedom in Palestine and Lebanon go to:
http://www.theheadl ines.org

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Oklahoma U's First African-American Speaker

Dear Representative Johnson:

Congratulations on your bill for creating an
African-American Centennial Plaza near the
Capitol.

I have a suggestion for including an important
moment in Oklahoma African-American
history in the displays.

The first African-American speaker at the
University of Oklahoma was Paul Boutelle,
in 1967.

He is still alive but has changed his name
to Kwame Somburu. I believe it would be
very appropriate also to invite Mr. Somburu
to attend the dedication ceremony for
this plaza. I correspond with him by email.

Here is a 1967 Sooner magazine article about his appearance:

http://digital.libraries.ou.edu/sooner/articles/p25-27_1967v40n2_OCR.pdf

Sincerely,

Mike Wright
Norman
329-6688

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Interesting web site with many flash films. The site is managed
by veteran James Starowicz, USN '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In-Country
'70-'71 Member: Veterans For Peace as well as other Veterans
and Pro-Peace Groups. Also Activist in other Area's, Questioning
Policies that only Benefit the Few, supporting Policies that Benefit
the Many and Move Us Forward as a Better Nation and World!
Politics: Registered Independent
http://imagineaworldof.blogspot.com/

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Taking Aim with Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone has a new Internet
address: http://www.takingaimradio.com

THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF ZIONISM
BY RALPH SCHOENMAN
Essential reading for understanding the development of Zionism
and Israel in the service of British and USA imperialism.
The full text of the book can be found for free at the
new Taking Aim web address:
http://www.takingaimradio.com

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

JOIN THE LYNNE STEWAR DEFENSE - THE CASE IS NOT OVER!
For those of you who don't know who Lynne Stewart is, go to
www.lynnestewart. org and get acquainted with Lynne and her
cause. Lynne is a criminal defense attorney who is being persecuted
for representing people charged with heinous crimes. It is a bedrock
of our legal system that every criminal defendant has a right to a
lawyer. Persecuting Lynne is an attempt to terrorize and intimidate
all criminal defense attorneys in this country so they will stop
representing unpopular people. If this happens, the fascist takeover
of this nation will be complete. We urge you all to go the website,
familiarize yourselves with Lynne and her battle for justice
www.lynnestewart. org

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Visit the Traprock Peace Center Video Archive at:
http://www.youtube.com/TraprockPeaceTV
Visit the Traprock Peace Center
Deerfield, MA
http://www.traprockpeace.org/

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

NATIONAL COMMITTEE TO FREE THE CUBAN FIVE
Comité Nacional por la Libertad de los Cinco Cubanos
Who are the Cuban Five?
The Cuban Five are five Cuban men who are in U.S. prison, serving
four life sentences and 75 years collectively, after being wrongly
convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001.
They are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero,
Fernando González and René González.
The Five were falsely accused by the U.S. government of committing
espionage conspiracy against the United States, and other related
charges.
But the Five pointed out vigorously in their defense that they were
involved in monitoring the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups,
in order to prevent terrorist attacks on their country of Cuba.
The Five's actions were never directed at the U.S. government.
They never harmed anyone nor ever possessed nor used any
weapons while in the United States.
The Cuban Five's mission was to stop terrorism
For more than 40 years, anti-Cuba terrorist organizations based
in Miami have engaged in countless terrorist activities against
Cuba, and against anyone who advocates a normalization
of relations between the U.S. and Cuba. More than 3,000 Cubans
have died as a result of these terrorists' attacks.

Gerardo Hernández, 2 Life Sentences
Antonio Guerrero, Life Sentence
Ramon Labañino, Life Sentence
Fernando González, 19 Years
René González, 15 Years

Free The Cuban Five Held Unjustly In The U.S.!
http://www.freethef ive.org/

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Eyewitness Account from Oaxaca
A website is now being circulated that has up-to-date info
and video that can be downloaded of the police action and
developments in Oaxaca. For those who have not seen it
elsewhere, the website is:
www.mexico.indymedi a.org/oaxaca
http://www.mexico. indymedia. org/oaxaca

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

REMINDER TO ALL GROUPS: BE SURE AND POST ALL ACTIONS AND
EVENTS TO WWW.INDYBAY. ORG TO REACH THE MOST PEOPLE
AGAINST THE WAR IN THE BAY AREA!
http://www.indybay. org

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Iraq Body Count
For current totals, see our database page.
http://www.iraqbody count.net/ press/pr13. php

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

The Cost of War
[Over three-hundred- billion so far...bw]
http://nationalprio rities.org/ index.php? optionfiltered=com_
wrapper&Itemid= 182

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

"The Democrats always promise to help workers, and the don't!
The Republicans always promise to help business, and the do!"
- Mort Sahl

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -
"It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."
- Emilano Zapata
---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Join the Campaign to
Shut Down the Guantanamo Torture Center
Go to:
http://www.shutitdo wn.org/
to send a letter to Congress and the White House:
Shut Down Guantanamo and all torture centers and prisons.
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
http://www.ANSWERco alition.org http://www.actionsf .org
sf@internationalans wer.org
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

“It is reasonable and honorable to abhor violence and preach
against it while there is a visible and rational means of obtaining,
without violence, the indispensable justice for the welfare of man.
But, if convinced by the inevitable differences of character, by the
irreconcilable and different interests, because of the deep diversity
in the sea of the political mind and aspirations, there is not a peaceful
way to obtain the minimum rights of a people (…) or it is the blind
who against the boiling truth sustain peaceful means, or it is those
who doesn’t see and insist on proclaiming it that are untrue
to their people.”[2]
[2] José Martí “ Ciegos y desleales Obras Escogidas in III volumes;
Editorial Política 1981 Volume III p182

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Great Counter-Recruitment Website
http://notyoursoldi er.org/article. php?list= type&type= 14

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

DEFEND IMMIGRANT RIGHTS AND
CIVIL RIGHTS!

Last summer the U.S. Border Patrol arrested Shanti Sellz and
Daniel Strauss, both 23-year-old volunteers assisting immigrants
on the border, for medically evacuating 3 people in critical
condition from the Arizona desert.

Criminalization for aiding undocumented immigrants already
exists on the books in the state of Arizona. Daniel and Shanti
are targeted to be its first victims. Their arrest and subsequent
prosecution for providing humanitarian aid could result in
a 15-year prison sentence. Any Congressional compromise
with the Sensenbrenner bill (HR 4437) may include these
harmful criminalization provisions. Fight back NOW!

Help stop the criminalization of undocumented immigrants
and those who support them!

For more information call 415-821- 9683.
For information on the Daniel and Shanti Defense Campaign,
visit www.nomoredeaths. org.

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

FYI
According to "Minimum Wage History" at
http://oregonstate. edu/instruct/ anth484/minwage. html "

"Calculated in real 2005 dollars, the 1968 minimum wage was the
highest at $9.12. "The 8 dollar per hour Whole Foods employees
are being paid $1.12 less than the 1968 minimum wage.

"A federal minimum wage was first set in 1938. The graph shows
both nominal (red) and real (blue) minimum wage values. Nominal
values range from 25 cents per hour in 1938 to the current $5.15/hr.
The greatest percentage jump in the minimum wage was in 1950,
when it nearly doubled. The graph adjusts these wages to 2005
dollars (blue line) to show the real value of the minimum wage.
Calculated in real 2005 dollars, the 1968 minimum wage was the
highest at $9.12. Note how the real dollar minimum wage rises and
falls. This is because it gets periodically adjusted by Congress.
The period 1997-2006, is the longest period during which the
minimum wage has not been adjusted. States have departed from
the federal minimum wage. Washington has the highest minimum
wage in the country at $7.63 as of January 1, 2006. Oregon is next
at $7.50. Cities, too, have set minimum wages. Santa Fe, New
Mexico has a minimum wage of $9.50, which is more than double
the state minimum wage at $4.35."

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

NO BORDERS! NO WALLS! NO FENCES! GENERAL AMNESTY FOR ALL!
OUR HOMELAND IS WHERE WE LIVE!

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

REPEAL THE NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT IN 2007!
Check out: 10 EXCELLENT REASONS NOT TO JOIN THE MILITARY
http://www.10reason sbook.com/
Public Law print of PL 107-110, the No Child Left Behind
Act of 2001 [1.8 MB]
http://www.ed. gov/policy/ elsec/leg/ esea02/index. html
Also, the law is up before Congress again in 2007.
See this article from USA Today:
Bipartisan panel to study No Child Left Behind
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
February 13, 2006
http://www.usatoday .com/news/ education/ 2006-02-13- education- panel_x.htm

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
http://www.law. indiana.edu/ uslawdocs/ declaration. html
http://www.law. ou.edu/hist/ decind.html
http://www.usconsti tution.net/ declar.html
http://www.indybay. org/news/ 2006/02/1805195. php

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Bill of Rights
http://www.law. cornell.edu/ constitution/ constitution. billofrights. html
http://www.indybay. org/news/ 2006/02/1805182. php

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

"The International"
Lots of good information over at Wikipedia, as often the case:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Internationale

What I've always found fascinating is the wide variety of translations (or
perhaps it would be better to call them "interpretations" or "variations")
that exist, even in English. It's also fascinating to read all the different
verses of the song.

One thing I learned at Wikipedia is that the original intention was that the
song would be sung to the tune of the Marseillaise, but that shortly
thereafter different music was written. Good thing, in my opinion, I'd hate
to see the identities of two stirring songs be confused. Each deserves their
own place in history.

Lyrics to the Marseillaise are here - pretty stirring in their own right. As
with the Internationale, all sorts of unknown verses:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Marseillaise

Eli Stephens
Left I on the News
http://lefti.blogspot.com

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