Sunday, December 17, 2006


FRIDAY, JANUARY 12, 2007, 4:00 - 7:00 P.M.


All human beings have basic, inalienable human rights to life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness. If your family is starving and you
can not find work, you have the right to find someplace where you can
feed, clothe and house your family.

If capital can go all over the world exploiting workers, then workers
have the right to move to find work for their family's basic survival.


From South America, Latin America, China, Africa, India--in countries
all over the world, not to speak of the war in Iraq--a war of blood
for oil--U.S. businesses are raking in huge profits off the backs of workers
who earn slave wages and work under the most dangerous working conditions
at best, and under a state of war at worse.

Meanwhile, here at home, they are laying off workers, closing factories, doing
away with benefits and working conditions won by worker's struggles
in the past--installing two, three, many-tiered pay scales--driving down
wages to below the scale parents are earning--leaving our children
with the heritage of a guaranteed life of poverty without union


And now they launch an all-out war against the most vulnerable workers
--who are driven to work in these meatpacking plants. Whether
documented or not, this is brutal, dangerous and difficult work.

And not so coincidentally, these same workers just happen
to be in the midst of a fight to win union recognition!


These mass arrests are terrorist tactics designed as a warning
to all workers that if they struggle for a better life and better
working conditions, they will be persecuted in every way

This is an all-out assault on every worker and it is being
executed by a terrorist government--the U.S. Government--
who uses pre-emptive war based upon outright lies to further
their oil profits; who will stop at nothing to increase their
rate of profit.

The ultimate goal of the U.S. Government is for American big
business to continue to accumulate unimaginable wealth
at the expense of the hardworking majority all over the
world--nothing is off-limits to them in this, their fundamental


An injury to one is an injury to all! We are only as strong as our
weakest link. If we allow these terrorists from ICE to continue
to carry out these assaults against the basic human rights
of any of us--no matter what our immigration status--they
will not hesitate one second to use these same tactics of mass
firings, arrest, etc. against all of us who dare to struggle
in our own defense and in our own, basic human interests and
for our own basic rights as workers and human beings!

It's up to us to organize and fight back! If we are united, we cannot loose!


For more information contact:

Barrio Unido por una Amnistia
General e Incondicional
Cristina Gutierrez,

Bonnie Weinstein,


NOW's Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa takes us inside the
world's largest pork processing plant, located in Tar Heel, North
Carolina. As the first TV journalist ever allowed to film inside the
plant, owned by The Smithfield Packing Company, Hinojosa gives
us an insider's view of what conditions are like in a plant that
slaughters over 33,000 hogs per day.


1) US Army might break Goodyear strike
By Bernard Simon in Toronto
Financial Times
Updated: 7:12 p.m. AKT Dec 15, 2006

2) Commission Seeks School System Overhaul
By NANCY ZUCKERBROD, AP Education Writer
"including ending high school at the 10th grade "
Thursday, December 14, 2006
(12-14) 12:32 PST WASHINGTON (AP)

3) Pentagon eyes $468.9 bln budget for fiscal 2008
By Andrea Shalal-Esa and Jim Wolf
Fri Dec 15, 2006 11:39 PM ET

Range of explanations offered by experts, officials
for S.F.'s disparity with other cities
- Susan Sward, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, December 17, 2006

5) About Face: Soldiers Call for Iraq Withdrawal
[posted online on December 16, 2006]

6) Powell Says U.S. Forces Are Overstretched in Iraq

7) Brainstorming on Iraq
The Capital Awaits a Masterstroke on Iraq
December 17, 2006

8) Mexico’s Federal Forces Pull Out of Oaxaca
December 17, 2006

9) Abuse Claims Are Settled in Washington
"The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has agreed to pay
$1.3 million to 16 men who said they were sexually abused by eight
priests from 1962 to 1982."
December 17, 2006

10) Protesters Denounce Police Killing
December 17, 2006

11) Goldman’s Season to Reward and Shock
December 17, 2006

12) Report on the Thursday, December 7, 2006 BAUAW meeting and
BAUAW Open Letter to the Board of Education
December 17, 2006


1) US Army might break Goodyear strike
By Bernard Simon in Toronto
Financial Times
Updated: 7:12 p.m. AKT Dec 15, 2006

The US Army is considering measures to force striking workers back
to their jobs at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber plant in Kansas in the face
of a looming shortage of tyres for Humvee trucks and other military
equipment used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A strike involving 17,000 members of the United Steelworkers
union has crippled 16 Goodyear plants in the US and Canada
since October 5.

The main issues in dispute are the company's plans to close
a unionised plant in Texas, and a proposal for workers to
shoulder future increases in healthcare costs.

An army spokeswoman said on Friday that "there's not a shortage
right now but there possibly will be one in the future".

According to Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House of Representatives
armed services committee, the strike has cut output of Humvee
tyres by about 35 per cent.

Mr Hunter said that the army had stopped supplying tyres to units
not related to the Central Command, which is responsible for
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tyres were also not being
provided to army repair depots.

While concern has centred on the Humvees, tyres are also
critical to aircraft and other military equipment.

Goodyear brushed off concerns of looming shortages, saying
that production at the Kansas plant, where the Humvee tyres
are made, "is near normal levels and will be back to 100 per
cent in the near future."

It added that "we're in daily contact with the military to ensure
delivery of the required Humvee tyres".

The company said it was using salaried and temporary workers
to keep the Kansas plant running. It has taken similar measures
at other plants, as well as stepping up imports from overseas
factories to maintain supplies to the car and truck industry.

The union claims that the strikebound plants are running at
about 20 per cent of capacity. Goodyear has said that North
American output is at about half normal levels, including
non-union plants.

According to Mr Hunter, the army is exploring a possible
injunction under the Taft-Hartley Act to force the 200 Kansas
workers back to their jobs.

He proposed that they return under their current terms
of employment, on the understanding that any settlement
would be extended to them.

© The Financial Times Ltd 2006. "FT" and "Financial Times"
are trademarks of the Financial Times.Copyright The Financial
Times Ltd. All rights reserved.


2) Commission Seeks School System Overhaul
By NANCY ZUCKERBROD, AP Education Writer
"including ending high school at the 10th grade "
Thursday, December 14, 2006
(12-14) 12:32 PST WASHINGTON (AP)

Education and business leaders urged an overhaul of the U.S. school
system, including ending high school at the 10th grade for many
students. Current teaching is failing to prepare young Americans
for the global economy, members of a bipartisan panel said Thursday.

Beginning teachers should earn more, according to the group,
and money for this idea could come from the scrapping
of conventional teacher pension plans in favor of other
benefits such as 401(k)s.

"People have got to understand what we've got is not working.
It's not working for kids, but it's not working for teachers either,"
said William Brock, a former congressman who was labor secretary
and trade representative in the Reagan administration.

The Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce was
organized by people who launched a group by the same name
about 16 years ago. That commission made a series
of recommendations, several of which were enacted.

Under the new group's proposal, students would finish 10th
grade and then take exams. Depending on how well the students
perform, they could go on to community college or stay in school
and study for more advanced tests that could earn them a place
at a four-year college. Somewhat similar systems are in place
in other countries.

The report says that by not spending today's resources on 11th-
and 12th-graders and through other changes, the government
could eventually save an estimated $60 billion.

The money could pay, for example, for new pre-kindergarten
programs and higher teacher salaries, which the report said would
help recruit top graduates into the profession.

The commission recommends paying beginning teachers about
$45,000 per year, currently the median amount paid to teachers —
meaning half earn more than that and half earn less.

To help cover the cost, the commission recommends moving away
from traditional, defined benefit pensions to less generous
retirement plans commonly found in the private sector.

Antonia Cortese, executive vice president of the American
Federation of Teachers, said teachers should not have to lose
benefits in order to make more.

One other major shift would put independent contractors
in charge of operating schools, though the schools would remain
public. States would oversee the funding.

Cortese also was critical of that idea. "Blowing up the governance
system is very drastic, and we don't know what will happen
in its place," she said.

Chuck Saylors, a school board member and parent in Taylors, S.C.,
said shifting control to the states from the local districts would
be controversial. "Mainly because we have done it the same way
for so long," Saylors said, adding that he was glad the group had
put forward thought-provoking ideas.

The report notes the U.S. had 30 percent of the world's population
of college students three decades ago, but that has fallen to 14 percent.
The commission also cites poor performance by U.S. students
in exams when compared with students in other advanced
industrial nations.

"We may want to wait to think about these changes, but quite
simply the world will not wait for us to catch up," said Thomas
Payzant, a commission member who recently stepped down
as Boston's school superintendent.

The commission's work was financed by several foundations,
including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Among the initiatives from the first commission that the government
enacted were a push for states to develop achievement standards
and stepped-up training for high school graduates going directly
into the work force.

The current commission includes are former education secretaries
Rod Paige and Richard Riley; former Labor Secretary Ray Marshall;
former Michigan Gov. John Engler; and Joel Klein, chancellor
of the New York City schools.

On the Net:

Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce:


3) Pentagon eyes $468.9 bln budget for fiscal 2008
By Andrea Shalal-Esa and Jim Wolf
Fri Dec 15, 2006 11:39 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House has approved
a $468.9 billion budget for the Pentagon in fiscal year 2008,
a six-percent increase over last year's request, according to
a Defense Department document obtained by Reuters.

It is also asking the Pentagon to cover some Army and Marine
Corps war costs in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the regular
budget, rather than through emergency budget requests.

The 2008 budget request is $4.7 billion more than the level
the Pentagon forecast in its 2007 budget documents.

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England welcomed the
increase in a letter to Rob Portman, director of the White House
Office of Management and Budget.

But he strongly objected to OMB's orders that "costs to accelerate
Army and Marine Corps combat and combat support units, Army Force
Readiness and replacement of additional aircraft losses" should
be funded as part of the 2008 budget.

England said that violated the Pentagon's earlier agreement with
the White House that the extra spending would be used to cover
Army budget shortfalls, and that war costs would continue to be
funded through supplemental budgets.

The Bush administration is continuing to discuss budgets with various
government agencies, including the Pentagon, and will submit a fiscal
2008 budget to Congress in February.

"The inconsistency ... is that adding war costs in the budget would
effectively negate the prior agreement for a topline increase," England
said in the December 14 memorandum.

Offsets proposed by White House budget officials would "significantly
weaken the department's strategic position" and jeopardize the
Pentagon's joint warfighting concept, he said.

England did not give details on the proposed offsets.

However, he said the Pentagon's initial budget proposal -- before
the suggested offsets -- was based on thousands of hours of work,
and the best judgment by senior military and civilian leaders.

"It is balanced and provides for our nation's defense at a time
of diverse and dramatic threats," England said.


U.S. lawmakers have grown increasingly frustrated about the Pentagon's
use of supplemental budgets to fund war costs, given that the costs
are no longer "unanticipated," said Steven Kosiak of the Center for
Strategy and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington-based research group.

But he said lawmakers wanted more oversight of that spending than
permitted in the supplemental budgets, and there was no suggestion
that they would curb funding for the war.

"They would like the administration to ask for most of the funding
up front," he said.

Kosiak also rejected England's statement in the memo that the 2008
increase "reverses a trend of declining real growth", calling England's
description "flat-out wrong".

"There has been a upward trend in real terms, above the rate of
inflation," he said, citing a 23 percent real increase, above inflation,
in the Pentagon's budget from 2000 to 2007.

Loren Thompson of the Virginia-based Lexington Institute, said England's
letter revealed the Pentagon's growing concern about being able
to modernize its forces and fund new weapons programs while
paying escalating war bills.

"This has real significance for the Pentagon in terms of being able
to fund other items besides the war," he said.

The Pentagon is likely to ask for an additional $100 billion to fund
the Iraq and Afghanistan wars early next year.

The Pentagon's 2008 overall budget request of $468.9 for fiscal 2008
is 6.3 percent higher than its fiscal 2007 budget request of $441.2 billion.


Range of explanations offered by experts, officials
for S.F.'s disparity with other cities
- Susan Sward, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, December 17, 2006

San Francisco police arrest African Americans for serious crime at a
much higher rate than officers in California's other biggest cities.

Black people in San Francisco are arrested for felonies at nearly twice
the rate they are in Sacramento. They are arrested at twice the rate
of black people in Fresno, three times the rate in San Jose, Los
Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego, and four times the rate
in Oakland.

The disparity between San Francisco's black felony arrest rates
and the seven other largest cities' -- measured by the number
of African Americans arrested per 1,000 black residents -- is so
large that many experts and civic leaders who reviewed the
numbers said they are "disturbing" and require an investigation.

The numbers prompt several questions, all of which basically boil
down to this: Is the high arrest rate of African Americans because
of the way the San Francisco Police Department does its policing,
or because of criminal activity within the community?

Mayor Gavin Newsom and Police Chief Heather Fong said they
do not think the department is going after African Americans
in an unfair manner. They also said they were consulting experts
to try to learn why the arrest numbers look the way they do.

Newsom said he found the numbers "outrageous'' but was not
shocked by them because of the time he has spent attempting
to tackle the root causes of poverty.

"There is no question in my mind that this deserves immediate
attention and investigation, and I will be doing that,'' Newsom
said. He said the investigation would be conducted by a University
of South Florida criminologist, Lorie Fridell, who will "do
aggressive data analysis'' of the arrest numbers and report
back to him and Fong in about two months.

While Fong said the arrest numbers merit review, she suggested
that the disparity exists in part because the perception that
sometimes San Francisco is "soft on crime'' may draw criminals
from out of the city who feel they can come here and "not be
held accountable.''

Fong's staff said they hand-counted arrests made by the
Tenderloin Task Force last year and found that more than
60 percent of the African Americans arrested were listed on
booking cards as "no local" -- a term often applied to transients
-- or gave addresses outside San Francisco. The department
does not have similar data for other districts besides the
Tenderloin, which police looked at because they believe
many nonresidents are involved in drug dealing and other
crimes there.

San Francisco officers arrest criminal suspects as they find
them, not based on the color of their skin, Fong said.

"I don't think just by looking at the numbers, you can prove
or disprove that there is any targeting,'' she said, adding that
factors such as repeat offenders and out-of-town criminals
influence the numbers.

Others who reviewed the numbers for The Chronicle found
them startling.

"What is significant about these numbers is that they beg serious
attention,'' said San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris.
"These numbers are clearly based on a legitimate collection
of data and are not based on emotional cries.''

Merrick Bobb, a nationally recognized expert in police practices,
said the city must look harder to explain the numbers.

"The strongly disparate impact of San Francisco policing on
African Americans begs for a convincing set of reasons based
solidly on empirical fact,'' said Bobb, who heads a nonprofit
organization in Los Angeles that advises departments nationwide.

"The SFPD, to date, has not persuasively explained what legitimate
factors cause San Francisco to have felony arrest patterns so
different'' from the state's other biggest cities, Bobb said.

Sheriff Michael Hennessey, who runs the city's jails and has
tracked their racial composition for years, said his lockup
population reflects the black arrest rate. "The disparity is just
incredibly dramatic,'' he said. "If you are an adult white male,
your chances of being in my jail are 1 in 365, and if you are
an adult black male, your chances are 1 in 23.''

The Chronicle began examining the city's black felony arrest
rate after its investigation of the department's use of force,
published in February, found officers were arresting African
Americans and reporting use of force on them at rates about
five times greater than their presence in the city's population.

San Francisco police cited several factors they say contribute
to African Americans accounting for about half of all felony
arrests in the city, where they are less than 8 percent of the
population. In 2005, 1 out of 3 arrests of black people
involved narcotics.

Officers interviewed by The Chronicle said most of the dealers
coming from out of town by BART or car to sell drugs --
primarily crack cocaine and sometimes methamphetamine --
are African Americans. Moreover, said Capt. Timothy Hettrich,
head of the narcotics division, black drug dealers often sell
out in the open on street corners, thus increasing their
chances for arrest.

Fong also has said that some of the offenders are arrested
time and again, thereby increasing the black arrest numbers.

Also, she said, the department has had to devote a lot of
resources to combatting gangs of youths responsible for many
of the city's black-on-black homicides. William Whitfield,
an African American officer who has worked in the department
for more than a decade, said factors such as out-of-town
criminals do affect arrests.

"I've seen that with my own eyes -- I got a guy once with an
automatic weapon around his neck on a shoestring coming off
of BART,'' Whitfield said. "He had the weapon under his jacket,
and I was buying dope undercover. I saw him walk up from BART,
and when they moved in and arrested him and the crew he was
working with, they found the weapon. He was an Oakland guy.''

Whitfield said many black criminals today quickly resort to violence
and this occurs at a younger and younger age. People are "selling
dope in the Sunset, don't get me wrong, but they aren't shooting
each other over it, and they are out in the Bayview and the Fillmore.
It's not all about dope and gangs, either, because you've got that
everywhere. Sometimes a shooting is a personal beef, sometimes
it's jealousy, sometimes it's as simple as, 'You were looking
at my girlfriend.' ''

'Disturbing' numbers

Many experts acknowledge that the factors Fong and her officers
cite may contribute to the city's black arrest rate. They also note
that in cities throughout America, African Americans are arrested
in numbers that exceed their presence in the population.

But they say the black arrest rate in San Francisco is so much
higher than other California cities that the disparity cannot be
explained completely by the factors cited by police.

"America's criminal justice system disproportionately affects
African Americans, and San Francisco is no exception,'' said
Bobb, the police practices expert. "What stands out in this
city is the degree of disproportion, which is higher than what I've
seen elsewhere on the West Coast.''

Joseph Marshall, a member of the San Francisco Police Commission
and co-founder of the Omega Boys Club who has worked with
at-risk youth for decades, said he knows the Police Department
has made a concerted effort to combat black gang violence
"to reduce the homicides, and those numbers are down.''

But he added: "These numbers on arrest rates are disturbing
and scream for an explanation. Is there something going
on within the SFPD that makes the numbers so different?''

James Bell, executive director of the San Francisco-based
W. Haywood Burns Institute for Juvenile Justice Fairness and
Equity, has been wrestling for years with Marshall's question.
About 60 percent of juveniles detained in the city are black.

"If you are an intelligent, caring person in San Francisco, you
should be disquieted that in a supposedly liberal city, black
youths are so much in the overwhelming majority among the
detainees,'' Bell said. "The numbers are just too disparate
for anyone to credibly advance the 'you-do-the-crime,
you-do-the-time' syndrome as an explanation. To believe
these numbers, you'd have to believe that white kids in places
like the Haight and the Sunset are basically doing no crime.''

Hettrich, who heads the narcotics division, says numbers
don't convey what police confront.

"The real story is we go after the drugs, and we go where we
have had complaints,'' Hettrich said in a ride-along interview
where he pointed out drug dealing hot spots around the city
and the high numbers of African Americans and Latinos making
sales. "Those arrest numbers may indicate we are doing a good
job in areas where we have had complaints.

"Color means nothing to us,'' Hettrich said. "We are prejudiced
against dealers."

David Dockery, an African American officer who walks a beat
in the predominantly black Hunters Point housing projects, said
most citizens "want more of us out there. If I could stand
in front of their houses all day long, that's what they'd like.''

Dockery and his African American partner, Officer Mike Robinson,
said the department's crime chasing is "color blind.'' They also said
what many officers believe -- that criminals are drawn to San
Francisco because they feel that if caught, their punishment
in the courts will be lighter than it would be in surrounding
counties. "We know a guy with four cases pending,'' Robinson said.
"Where does this stop?''

Answers, not speculation

San Francisco's high black arrest rate is not of recent origin:
20 years ago, San Francisco was making black felony arrests
at a rate much higher than California's seven other largest cities,
state Justice Department reports show. In 1986, for example,
San Francisco's black felony arrest rate was almost 45 percent
greater than Los Angeles' and almost 51 percent higher than

In the decades since then, San Francisco's black felony arrest
rate has climbed by more than 35 percent while the other seven
major California cities' rates have dropped -- often by a considerable
amount. During those 20 years, Los Angeles' black felony arrest
rate dropped by more than 36 percent and Oakland's declined
by more than 52 percent.

When evaluating why San Francisco's black arrest numbers are
so different from the other cities', Bobb said speculation
is not productive.

"It is not helpful, in the absence of thorough research and hard
evidence, for the SFPD merely to speculate as to possible
reasons, just as it is unproductive for others to speculate that
there must be police antipathy to African Americans," Bobb said.

A second review was conducted at The Chronicle's request by
Samuel Walker, a criminal justice professor emeritus from the
University of Nebraska, Omaha, who has consulted with the
U.S. Justice Department on matters ranging from police use
of force to questions of race-based civil rights violations
by police agencies.

Walker concluded that San Francisco police are targeting black
people in their law enforcement efforts. To him, the numbers
indicate that "many law-abiding citizens" are confronted by
officers "solely because of their skin color."

"No other factor than race could possibly explain the San Francisco
arrest data given the fact that they are so far out of line compared
with other departments,'' Walker said.

Two figures in San Francisco's criminal justice system expressed
similar conclusions.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi said that he does not believe the
department has a go-after-black-suspects plan, but he added
that by focusing on heavily black neighborhoods plagued by
crime and violence, police inevitably drive black arrest numbers
up and often use those high numbers as proof they are in the
right spots to catch the criminals.

"I believe that the San Francisco Police Department has focused
its efforts, in terms of 'crime crackdowns,' in those neighborhoods
where there is a high concentration of blacks -- the Western
Addition, Tenderloin, Visitacion Valley, Potrero Hill, Ingleside
Terrace and Bayview-Hunters Point,'' he said. "This has long been
the trend since the crack cocaine epidemic, when task forces
were formed to focus buy-bust operations in those neighborhoods.''

Sheriff Hennessey said the problem does not just lie with the police.

"I think this is a reflection of institutionalized racism: You are
more likely to get arrested for the same act if you're black, you
are more likely to be retained in jail for the same crime if you
are black, and society is more likely to care less about your
incarceration if you are black," Hennessey said.

Officers in the department said they go where the crime and
violence is happening.

Mikail Ali and Toney Chaplin, African American inspectors in the
gang task force, said police concentrate their efforts on areas
where violence is occurring.

"African American youth are shooting each other at a rate far
greater than other groups, so we try to get those kids on some
charge if we can't get them on a homicide,'' Chaplin said. Ali added:
"Social neglect by the community, government and business have
caused environments populated predominantly by black people
to be conducive to crime and violence, and law enforcement ends
up having to deal with the bottom line -- young black kids killing
one another at a disproportionate rate.''

The community perception

Chief Fong says officers are taught to treat all citizens equally.
Police Academy recruits are given 52 hours of training -- more
than twice the state requirement -- on discrimination and cultural
diversity as it relates to African Americans, and other races and
segments of society, including gays and lesbians, seniors and
the homeless.

But in San Francisco's black neighborhoods, many believe
police give them special attention.

At the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center -- a hub of activity for
African American youths living in the Western Addition --
Executive Director George Smith says he is blunt with young
people about what he believes they face.

"I tell young kids that you shouldn't break the law because this
is a system so poised to arrest young African American males,''
Smith said.

Guy Hudson, who works two jobs as a city athletics coach and
as a security guard, knows many of the kids in black
neighborhoods all over town, and he said that many black
people believe they often can "talk things over'' with police
in San Francisco when that wouldn't work in Oakland, Santa
Clara or Daly City.

Even so, Hudson says, it's a reality that police focus on black
people in San Francisco. He recalls the time three officers stopped
him in Hunters Point after he "drove down a hill a little fast''
and they emerged from their car "pointing guns at my head.''

Hudson, 42, said he asked them, "Out in the avenues, would
you be jumping out of your car with an automatic machinegun?''

The police eventually let him go. Before they drove off, Hudson
said, one of them told him that someone recently had fired
shots at an officer on Harbor Road. Hudson said he responded:
"That gives you the right to pull pistols on everyone in the

Police Commissioner Marshall, who is African American, wrote
a book, "Street Soldier," in which he described the deep-seated
antipathy black people hold for police. "There's not a black
person I know who doesn't see the police as an occupying force
in the community. At the same time, though, I'm convinced that
if black folks stopped blowing each other's brains out, they'd
be in a much better position to deal with police issues.''

However, there are African Americans who approve of the way
officers conduct themselves in their neighborhoods.

Al Harris, who lives in the Ingleside and works as an organizer
for the Safety Network group, which is funded by the Mayor's
Office of Criminal Justice, says police often have to confront a
"pretty rough world -- you go into neighborhoods and you're
hated. In some neighborhoods, it's instilled from when kids
are little that the police are the enemy.''

"I think the police are doing a pretty good job,'' Harris added.
"I know officers who do all kinds of good stuff for the kids,
participating in community events, giving toys at Christmas,
hundreds of turkeys at Thanksgiving.''

Asked about whether it appears that police are targeting black
people for arrest, Harris said: "Definitely not. There's no need
to target the African American kids. They're the ones out
on the streets selling the drugs.''

Earlier study

The numbers revealing the high arrest rate of black people
in the city are not the first statistical indication that African
Americans get special police attention.

In 2002 the American Civil Liberties Union issued a report,
"A Department in Denial: The San Francisco Police Department's
Failure To Address Racial Profiling,'' which found black motorists
were more than three times as likely to be searched as whites
after a traffic stop.

That year San Francisco police arrested black people for felonies
at the department's highest rate in the years reviewed by The
Chronicle -- 171 for every 1,000 African Americans in the city's

The next year, the department adopted a new general order
establishing its commitment to "unbiased policing'' and stating
officers "must be able to articulate specific facts and circumstances
that support reasonable suspicion or probable cause'' for detaining,
stopping, arresting and searching citizens or seizing their property.

The black arrest rate began to drop. In 2003 it was 150 per 1,000,
in 2004 it was 146, and in 2005 it was 145. Even in that last year,
though, the rate was three times higher than Los Angeles, San Jose,
Long Beach and San Diego and four times higher than Oakland.

Search for explanation

Looking at the 2000 U.S. census to try to find possible reasons
for the arrest rate, The Chronicle found some similarities and
some differences between San Francisco and the seven other cities.

Like black residents of those other cities, San Francisco African
Americans' median household income lags considerably behind
that of the city's total population, and their level of education
is also typically years behind that of the total population.

Police Commissioner Marshall says answers that might seem at
least part of the explanation -- such as poverty, lack of education
and the flight of large numbers of middle-class black residents
from the city in recent decades -- end up providing no real
guidance, because those patterns are found in other cities
where the arrest rates are far lower.

In two ways, though, San Francisco does stand out: During the
1990s, the city's African American population declined faster
than in any other major U.S. city, dropping by 23 percent,
according to 2000 census figures.

The black percentage of population also dropped in Oakland,
San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego. In Fresno, Long Beach
and Sacramento, it rose somewhat. Today San Francisco, which
is 7.8 percent African American, has the second smallest
proportion of black people among the state's eight biggest
cities. San Jose, with 3.5 percent, has the smallest, and Oakland,
with almost 36 percent, has the largest.

A second difference involved unemployment numbers. While
African Americans in all the cities had high unemployment
numbers, only in San Francisco was their unemployment rate --
6.2 percent -- more than double that of the rest of the population.

Need for investigation

Walker, the Nebraska criminal justice professor, said San Francisco's
high black arrest rate should be investigated by the U.S. Justice
Department and the state attorney general's office.

Fong said she did not feel the need for a state or U.S. Justice
Department investigation of San Francisco's black felony arrest
rate. Instead, she said she was consulting with outside experts
and plans a review of department policies to see if changes
are warranted.

She added that the department's efforts to analyze its arrest
record are made difficult by the fact its record keeping system
is being overhauled and she can't "go to a computer right now
and pull up arrest data with all this information you have spoken

Newsom said while he is convinced there is no "significant racial
profiling in our department,'' he cannot "in good conscience
defend the disparity'' between San Francisco and other cities'
black arrest rates. Referring to the arrest numbers, he said,
"On face value, they are outrageous.''

The mayor added that as he has worked to push programs tackling
concentrated poverty in the city, such as a tax credit for working
families, he has concluded "the issues of crime for me are
overwhelmingly correlated with issues of poverty.''

Newsom added that Fridell, the University of South Florida associate
professor of criminology selected by the city to review its arrest
data, was picked in part because she has special expertise
in the area of racial profiling.

One way or another, San Francisco has to discover why it is
arresting black citizens at a higher rate than the other California
cities, said Bobb, the Los Angeles police practices expert.

What is at stake is the concept of equal treatment under
the law, he said.

"The Supreme Court has held that the Constitution prohibits
selective enforcement of the law based on considerations such
as race,'' Bobb said. "Courts across the country have ruled
that using impermissible racial classifications in determining
whom to stop, detain and search violates the equal protection

Walker, the law enforcement expert who has consulted for the
Justice Department, says the San Francisco Police Department
"should be looking at its own operation to see if there's anything
it could be doing differently.''

The equal protection under law guarantee of the 14th Amendment
is "the bedrock of all civil rights laws in the United States and
a fundamental principle upon which our country is based,'' he said.

Jack Jacqua, who founded the Omega Boys Club with Marshall,
said the policing of black people in San Francisco is a problem
for the city and its leaders.

While he acknowledged that police have "the most dangerous,
difficult job in America,'' he said they "most times treat poor kids
from the hood differently than they do more affluent kids.''

Jacqua, who has devoted his life to working with at-risk youths,
added that many black youths come from "a population where
there is virtually no middle class because the middle class people
can't afford to live here, and many of these youngsters end
up in the criminal justice system.''

It works this way, Jacqua said: If a kid shoplifts in the Sunset
District, police are probably going to call Mom and Dad and
have them take their child home. "But if you shoplift downtown
and your address is in the Bayview, then they will take you to jail.''

As for the black community, he said much of it "is a mess -- it's
destroying itself. Not enough people are involved in standing
up and challenging these youngsters to take responsibility
for their lives. Where is the leadership?''

And what of the city's liberal political establishment that has
reigned for many years?

"The bottom line," said Jacqua, "is that poor blacks are in the
way of what this city wants to be, though the city won't admit
it because 'we're liberal and believe in diversity.' But the city
really doesn't want poor folks and especially poor black folks.''


5) About Face: Soldiers Call for Iraq Withdrawal
[posted online on December 16, 2006]

For the first time since Vietnam, an organized, robust movement
of active-duty US military personnel has publicly surfaced to oppose
a war in which they are serving. Those involved plan to petition
Congress to withdraw American troops from Iraq. (Note: A complete
version of this report will appear next week in the print and online
editions of The Nation.)

After appearing only seven weeks ago on the Internet, the Appeal
for Redress, brainchild of 29-year-old Navy seaman Jonathan Hutto,
has already been signed by nearly 1,000 US soldiers, sailors, Marines
and airmen, including dozens of officers--most of whom are
on active duty. Not since 1969, when some 1,300 active-duty
military personnel signed an open letter in the New York Times
opposing the war in Vietnam, has there been such a dramatic
barometer of rising military dissent.

Interviews with two dozen signers of the Appeal reveal a mix
of motives for opposing the war: ideological, practical, strategic
and moral. But all those interviewed agree that it is time to start
withdrawing the troops. Coming from an all-volunteer military,
the Appeal was called "unprecedented" by Eugene Fidell,
president of the National Institute of Military Justice.

The Nation spoke with rank-and-file personnel as well as high-
ranking officers--some on the Iraqi front lines, others at domestic
and offshore US military bases--who have signed the Appeal.
All of their names will be made available to Congress when the
Appeal is presented in mid-January. Signers have been assured
they are sending a communication to Congress protected under
the Military Whistleblower Protection Act. The Pentagon
is powerless to take official reprisals and has said that as long
as active-duty personnel are not in uniform or on duty, they
are free to express their views to Congress.

There are of course other, subtler risks involved. The military
command exercises enormous power through individual reviews,
promotions and assignments. But that hasn't kept a number
of signers from going public with their dissent.

Navy Lieut. Cmdr. Mark Dearden of San Diego, for example,
enlisted in 1997 and is still pondering the possibility of a lifetime
career. "So this was a very difficult decision for me to come to.
I don't take this decision lightly," he says. But after two "tough"
deployments in Iraq, Dearden says signing the Appeal was
not only the right thing to do but also gave him personal

"I'm expressing a right of people in the military to contact
their elected representatives, and I have done nothing illegal
or disrespectful," Dearden adds.

Other interviews with active-duty soldiers, sailors, Marines
and airmen who have signed the Appeal for Redress reveal
an array of motivations. Here are excerpts:

"Lisa"--20 years old, E-4, USAF, Stationed at Hickam Air
Force Base, Hawaii:

I joined up two weeks after I turned 17 because I wanted
to save American lives. I wanted to be a hero like any
American child.

I supported the war when I joined because I thought it was
justified. Only after my own research and the truth coming
out did I learn how wrong I was, how--for lack of a better
word--how brainwashed I was.

Now I know the war is illegal, unjustified and that our troops
have no reason for being there.

When I saw an article about the Appeal in the Air Force Times
I went online right away and signed it and have encouraged
others to do the same.

"Sgt. Gary"--21 years old. US Army. Deployed with 20th
Infantry Regiment, near Mosul, Iraq:

I joined up in 2001, still a junior in high school. I felt very
patriotic at the end of my US History class. My idea of the
Army was that you signed up, they gave you a rifle and you
ran off into battle like in some 1950s war movie. The whole
idea of boot camp never really entered my head.

I supported the war in the beginning. I bought everything Bush
said about how Saddam had WMDs, how he was working with
Al Qaeda, how he was a threat to America. Of course, this all
turned out to be false.

This is my second tour, and as of a few days ago it's half-over.
Before I deployed with my unit for the second time I already had
feelings of not wanting to go. When in late September a buddy
in my platoon died from a bullet in the head, I really took a long
hard look at this war, this Administration, and the reasons why.

After months of research on the Internet, I came to the conclusion
that this war was based on lies and deception. I started to break
free of all the propaganda that the Bush Administration and the
Army puts out on a daily basis.

So far in three years we have succeeded in toppling a dictator
and replacing him with puppets. Outlawing the old government
and its standing army and replacing them with an unreliable and
poorly trained crew of paycheck collectors. The well is so poisoned
by what we have done here that nothing can fix it.

"Lt. Smith"--24 years old, 1st Lieutenant, US Army. Deployed
near Baghdad:

I cannot, from Iraq, attend an antiwar protest. Nor could I attend
one in the States and represent myself as a soldier. What I can do
is send a protest communication to my Congressional delegate
outlining grievances I feel I have suffered. Appeal for Redress
gives me that outlet.

I am encouraged by the November elections, but still wary. We
rushed into the war on false assumptions, and now we might
rush out just as falsely. What troops need now is a light at the
end of the tunnel, not just for this deployment but for all
deployments. Bringing everyone out this summer is too fast
to be supported by our Army's infrastructure. We would
hemorrhage lives if we do so. But so would we if we stay
the course.

I am encouraged by politicians who call for a withdrawal
by the conclusion of President Bush's term in office. That seems
a realistic timetable for me.

Mark Mackoviak--24 years old. US Army. Recently returned
from Iraq. Stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina:

I joined the Army on September 23, 2001. I had been out
of school for a year when September 11 came around, and
I was supportive of our action in Afghanistan. I wound up
there a year later, and it was pretty eye-opening to see
how people live.

I was also in Iraq for about a year, deployed near the
International Airport, west of Baghdad. I was never that
supportive of the invasion. I thought the media coverage
of it was horrendous, really disgusting.

Just about everything I saw in Iraq reinforced my views that
it was wrong. The point that really hit me was when the Asmara
Mosque got blown up. I said, Wow, this is really a civil war.

I really enjoy being in the Army, enjoy the experience. I just
happen to not support this war. I'm very open about that.
My buddies either disagree with me or just pay no attention.
But I get absolutely no hostility. None.

"Rebecca"--26 years old. 101st Airborne, US Army. Just
returned from Iraq. Stationed at Fort Hood, Texas:

I joined in 2004. I was trying to go into the human rights field,
but it was very competitive. I was in need of health insurance,
and the Army seemed feasible. Now it looks like I will be
stop-lossed until 2010.

I had strong feelings about the war, against it, but I'm the type
of person that wants to fully understand both sides of the

My experience in Iraq confirmed my views, but it also gave
me a more multifaceted view of things. I did see some of the
good things being done, but it seemed like a Band-Aid on
a gushing wound. Mostly I saw the frivolity of the missions,
the lack of direction, the absurdity of the mission. You go out
in your Humvee, you drive around, and you wait to be blown
up and get killed by an IED.

About 40 percent of my unit were stop-lossed. Their first
mission was to take down Saddam and his regime, and they
seemed to understand that and agree with the mission to take
down a ruthless dictator. Now they can't seem to understand
why they are there, caught in the cross hairs of a civil war.

I think it is safe to say that the majority of soldiers are
wondering what this grand scheme is that we keep hearing
about from those above us but that is never translating
down to the ground level.

Some politicians are starting to see that not only a majority
of Americans oppose to this war. Now they see this very
powerful statement of soldiers who have already been
on the front line and who are still in uniform and are also
opposed. None of them have been where we have been,
none of them have seen what we have seen. It's time they do


6) Powell Says U.S. Forces Are Overstretched in Iraq

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 — Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said
today that badly overstretched American forces in Iraq were losing the
war there, and that a temporary increase in troop levels probably
would not help.

But, he quickly added, “we haven’t lost.”

The situation could be reversed, General Powell said in one of his most
extensive commentaries on the Iraq war since leaving office. He urged
an intense effort to train and support Iraqi security forces and
strengthen the government in Baghdad.

General Powell was deeply skeptical about proposals to increase troop
levels in Iraq, an idea that appears to have gained ground as President
Bush reconsiders the United States’ strategy there.

“There really are no additional troops” to send, General Powell said,
adding that he agreed with those who say that the United States
Army is “about broken.”

General Powell said he was unsure that new troops could successfully
suppress sectarian violence or secure Baghdad.

He urged the United States to do everything possible to prepare
Iraqis to take over lead responsibility; the “baton pass,” he said,
should begin by mid-2007.

“We are losing — we haven’t lost — and this is the time, now, to start
to put in place the kinds of strategies that will turn this situation
around,” General Powell said on the CBS News program
“Face the Nation.”

Military planners and White House budget analysts have been
asked to provide Mr. Bush with options for increasing American
forces in Baghdad by 20,000 or more, and there are signs that
the president is leaning in that direction.

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the incoming Democratic majority
leader, said today that he would “go along with” an increase
in troops in Iraq if it were clearly intended to lead to an ultimate
troop withdrawal by early 2008.

Mr. Reid supported the proposal of the bipartisan Iraq Study
Group to undertake a broad regional effort to gain diplomatic
support for a peaceful Iraq.

General Powell endorsed a related study group idea: opening
talks with Syria and Iran.

The general has kept a low public profile since leaving office
in January 2005, but he has emerged at crucial points in the
growing debate over Iraq to weigh in, as when he said that
Iraq was now embroiled in civil war.

An increase in troop strength, he said today, “cannot be
sustained.” The thousands of additional American troops sent
into Baghdad since summer had been unable to stabilize the
city and more probably could not tip the balance, General
Powell said. The deployment of further troops would, moreover,
impose long-term costs on a badly stretched military.

While Mr. Reid suggested that he would support a troop
increase for only two or three months, Gen. Jack Keane, one
of five Iraq experts who met with Bush last Monday, called
that schedule “impossible.”

General Keane, a retired Army vice chief of staff, asserted
that Iraq could not be secured before mid-2008. “It will take
a couple of months just to get forces in,” he said on the
ABC News program “This Week.”

The president’s request to military planners and White House
budget officials to provide details of what a troop increase would
mean indicates that the option is gaining ground, senior
administration officials said.

Political, training and recruiting obstacles mean that an increase
larger than 20,000 to 30,000 troops would be prohibitive, the officials
said. The increase would probably be accomplished largely by
accelerating scheduled deployments while keeping some units
in Iraq longer than had been planned.

General Powell said this meant it would be “a surge that you’d
have to pay for later,” as replacement troops became even harder
to find.

The current strategy stresses stepping up the training of Iraqi
forces and handing off to them as soon as possible.

Senator Reid made clear that his support for a troop increase
depended on its being linked to an overall withdrawal plan.
“We have to change course in Iraq,” he said on the ABC News
program “This Week.” But in the meantime, Mr. Reid said,
Democrats would “give the military anything they want.”

General Powell, who as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff
helped lead an earlier American-led coalition that forced Iraqi
troops out of Kuwait in 1991, said that he was unsure this time
whether victory could be achieved.

“If victory means you have got rid of every insurgent, that you
have peace throughout the country, I don’t see that in the cards
right now,” he said. But it was possible to install a certain level
of order and security.

General Powell said the Iraq war had left Americans “a little
less safe” by curtailing the forces available should another major
crisis arise. But, he added, “I think that’s all recoverable.”

He supported the call for talks with Syria and Iran, although the
latter, he said, would be more difficult.

“I have no illusion that either Syria or Iran want to help us in Iraq,”
General Powell said. But there were times, he said, when difficult
contacts can be productive.

Before he visited Damascus as secretary of state, General Powell
said, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel asked him not to go.
But Mr. Sharon then added that it would be helpful if General
Powell should ask Syrian leaders to stop Hezbollah militants
in Lebanon from firing rockets into Israel.

“The rockets stopped,” General Powell said.


7) Brainstorming on Iraq
The Capital Awaits a Masterstroke on Iraq
December 17, 2006

SOMEONE in Vice President Dick Cheney’s office has gotten everybody
on this city’s holiday party circuit talking, simply by floating an unlikely
Iraq proposal that is worthy of a certain mid-19th century British
naturalist with a fascination for natural selection.

We shall call it the Darwin Principle.

The Darwin Principle, Beltway version, basically says that Washington
should stop trying to get Sunnis and Shiites to get along and instead
just back the Shiites, since there are more of them anyway and
they’re likely to win in a fight to the death. After all, the proposal
goes, Iraq is 65 percent Shiite and only 20 percent Sunni.

Sorry, Sunnis.

The Darwin Principle is radical, decisive and most likely not going
anywhere. But the fact that it has even been under discussion,
no matter how briefly, says a lot about the dearth of good options
facing the Bush administration and the yearning in this city for
some masterstroke to restore optimism about the war.

As President Bush and his deputies chew over whether there’s
a Hail Mary pass to salvage Iraq, it has become increasingly clear
that the president will probably throw the ball toward his
secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.

Make no mistake, the Rice way is a long shot as well. It’s a catchall
of a plan that has something for everyone. Its goal — if peace
and victory can’t be had — is at least to give a moderate Shiite
government the backbone necessary to stand up to radicals
like Moktada al-Sadr through new alliances with moderate
Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.

In this plan, America’s Sunni Arab allies would press centrist
Iraqi Sunnis to support a moderate Shiite government. Outside
Baghdad, Sunni leaders would be left alone to run Sunni towns.
Radical Shiites, no longer needed for the coalition that keeps
the national government afloat, would be marginalized. So would
Iran and Syria. To buy off the Sunni Arab countries, the United
States would push forward on a comprehensive peace plan
in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The Rice plan seems diplomatic and reasoned. But it breaks no
molds. Which is why examining the Darwin Principle better
helps explain the mood of the capital right now.

“Deciding to side with the Shia is probably the most inflammatory
thing we could do right now,” says Wayne White, a member
of the Iraq Study Group who is now at the Middle East Institute,
a research center here. “It would be a multi-headed catastrophe.”

At first glance, the idea of siding with the Shiites doesn’t seem
that crazy. America has, after all, had more spectacular trouble
of late from Sunni extremists like Al Qaeda and the Taliban
than from Shiites, whose best-remembered attacks
on Americans were two decades ago, by hostage-takers
in Iran and truck bombers in Lebanon.

But Middle East experts can provide a long list of reasons why
a survival-of-the-fittest theory might not necessarily be the
best way to conduct American foreign policy in Iraq. First,
they say, it’s always dangerous to take sides in a civil war.
Second, siding with the Shiites in a Shiite-Sunni war is
particularly dangerous since most of the Arab world is Sunni
and America’s major Arab allies are Sunni. Besides Iraq, Shiites
form a large majority only in Iran, and, well, enough said there.

If America has problems now with Muslim extremists around
the world, those would likely worsen if the United States was
believed to have aided the uprooting or extermination
of Iraq’s Sunni population.

On Monday, a group of prominent Saudi clerics called on
Sunni Muslims everywhere to mobilize against Shiites in Iraq,
complaining that Sunnis were being murdered and
marginalized by Shiites.

So, where is the Darwin Principle coming from?

Well, there’s no proof Mr. Cheney really even backs it. Unnamed
government officials with knowledge in the matter say the
proposal comes from his office, but they stop short of saying
it comes from Mr. Cheney himself.

Other top officials say it is highly unlikely that the administration
would pursue such a radical course. (Of course, the radical nature
of the Darwin Principle is all the more reason to assume it comes
from Mr. Cheney himself.) But it is difficult to imagine the
administration actually publicly announcing such a course
even if it decided on it.

Can you just hear President Bush’s speech to the nation? “My Fellow
Americans, the United States has decided that there are more Shiites
than Sunnis in Iraq, so we are therefore going to side with the people
most likely to win a fight to the death. We’ll figure out how to deal
with the rest of the Arab world, where there are more Sunnis than
Shiites, later.”

Still, somewhere deep inside the Beltway, someone has laid out
the intellectual basis for the Shiite option. So some people with
knowledge of the thinking behind the proposal were asked to
explain it. None agreed to be identified, citing an administration
edict against talking about President Bush’s change-of-strategy
in Iraq before the president articulates exactly what that change
will be. But here’s what they said:

America abandoned the Shiites in 1991 and look where that
got us. Mr. Cheney has argued that America can’t repeat what
it did after the Persian Gulf war, when it called on the Shiites
to rise up against Saddam Hussein, then left them to be
slaughtered when they did. The result was 12 more years
of the Iraqi dictator’s iron-fisted rule, which ended up leading
to war anyway.

Reconciliation hasn’t worked. The logic of the past couple
of years has been that Iraq’s Constitution and election process
would bring together the Sunnis and the Shiites. Prime Minister
Nuri Kamal al-Maliki was eventually able to formulate
a so-called National Unity Government in which Sunnis,
Shiites and Kurds all hold key positions.

That government has proved itself to be “disappointing,” one
senior administration official acknowledged delicately.
And violence has continued to surge.

Maybe America can scare the Sunnis into behaving. That’s the
“stare into the abyss” strategy, another senior administration
official said. He said that for the past three years, Sunni
insurgent groups, and many Sunni politicians, have refused
to recognize that the demographics of Iraq are not in their
favor. Sunni insurgents can share the responsibility with Shiite
death squads for the violence in Iraq, but the Sunnis have the
most to lose in an all-out civil war, since they are outnumbered
three to one. So perhaps Darwin Principle proponents — whoever
they are — just want to scare Sunnis, including those in Saudi
Arabia, Jordan and other American allies, into trying harder
for reconciliation.

Ms. Rice “does not believe we should plainly take one side
over another,” said a State Department official, who said
he doesn’t support the Shiite option but sees the convoluted
logic of it. “But the demography of Iraq is a fact.”

The longer America tries to woo the Sunnis, the more it risks
alienating the Shiites and Kurds, and they’re the ones with
the oil. A handful of administration officials have argued
that Iraq is not going to hold to together and will splinter
along sectarian lines. If so, they say, American interests
dictate backing the groups who control the oil-rich areas.

Darwin? Try Machiavelli. An even more far-fetched offshoot
of the Darwin Principle is floating around, which some hawks
have tossed out in meetings, although not seriously, one
administration official said. It holds that America could
actually hurt Iran by backing Iraq’s Shiites; that could deepen
the Shiite-Sunni split and eventually lead to a regional Shiite-
Sunni war. And in that, the Shiites — and Iran — lose because,
while there are more Shiites than Sunnis in Iraq and Iran, there
are more Sunnis than Shiites almost everywhere else.



8) Mexico’s Federal Forces Pull Out of Oaxaca
December 17, 2006

OAXACA, Mexico, Dec. 16 (Reuters) — The federal riot police ended
their weeks-long occupation of the Mexican tourist city Oaxaca’s
center on Saturday, having weakened a protest movement trying
to oust a state governor.

Violent clashes between the masked activists and the riot police,
and a string of shootings of protesters, made Oaxaca one of
President Felipe Calderón’s top problems as he began his
term in office.

But the arrest of several protest leaders has weakened the
movement, and the frequency and size of demonstrations
has fallen.

The federal police boarded trucks and rolled out of the city
before dawn, handing security to the state police. The federal
agents were headed for a nearby air base where they would
remain until further notice, a state spokeswoman said.

The federal force stormed Oaxaca in October, fighting
leftist activists who had built barricades and closed
government buildings in a bid to topple Gov. Ulises Ruiz.

The police have snatched hundreds of protesters from the streets
in recent weeks, leading to accusations by rights groups
of illegal arrests and torture.


9) Abuse Claims Are Settled in Washington
"The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has agreed to pay
$1.3 million to 16 men who said they were sexually abused by eight
priests from 1962 to 1982."
December 17, 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington
has agreed to pay $1.3 million to 16 men who said they were sexually
abused by eight priests from 1962 to 1982.

Although the men began pursuing the claims three years ago, in many
instances the statutes of limitation had expired in the jurisdictions
where they said the abuse had occurred, said Peter M. Gillon, a lawyer
for the group. In addition, two of the men had already lost legal claims
against the archdiocese.

“Our clients were in severe distress, emotionally, psychologically,
financially and spiritually, and felt that a settlement was appropriate
at this time,” Mr. Gillon said as the agreement was announced Friday.

All eight priests accused by the men have been removed from ministry;
seven were prosecuted and one was acquitted.

The settlement, first reported in Saturday’s editions of The Washington
Post, provides cash payments of $10,000 to $190,000 to each of the men.

The archdiocese includes more than 560,000 Roman Catholics
in 140 parishes in the District of Columbia and five Southern
Maryland counties.

The settlements will be covered by insurance reserves and not by other
church assets, operating funds or collections, said Susan Gibbs,
a spokeswoman for the archdiocese.

Also on Friday, lawyers representing 45 people who sued the
Archdiocese of Los Angeles, accusing clergy members of sexual
abuse, announced that a $60 million settlement had been finalized
and paid, a lawyer for the plaintiffs said.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, leader of the archdiocese, had announced
the settlement Dec. 1 and said that $40 million of the payment would
come from the archdiocese’s operations fund and that the rest would
come from religious orders and insurance coverage.


10) Protesters Denounce Police Killing
December 17, 2006

A protest march cut a solemn swath through crowds of Christmas
shoppers and the joyous mood of the holiday season in Midtown
Manhattan yesterday in a rebuke to the police for the fatal shooting
of an unarmed black man in Queens on his wedding day last month.

Three weeks after Sean Bell was killed and two friends were wounded
in a hail of 50 police bullets, a coalition of civil rights groups, elected
officials, community leaders, clergymen and others marched down
Fifth Avenue and across 34th Street in a “silent” protest that sputtered
scattered chants, but was largely devoid of shrieks, speeches
and most of the usual sound-and-fury tactics of demonstrations.

Billed as a “Shopping for Justice” march and led by the Rev. Al Sharpton,
the army of protesters, many carrying placards, moved grim-faced
between hordes of holiday shoppers and tourists clogging
the sidewalks of two of the city’s busiest commercial arteries.

The police had set up metal barricades to confine the marchers
to a single traffic lane, but the throng quickly swelled beyond
expectations and the barricades were shifted to widen the line
of march to four of the five lanes on Fifth Avenue and five
of the six on 34th Street. Traffic on side streets leading
to the march was halted as the protesters swept on.

Here and there, marchers shouted “No shopping, no justice,”
or “Shot” and numbers from 1 to 50. Others carried signs
proclaiming: “Stop NYPD Racist Terror,” and “Justice for Sean
Bell.” But most stared straight ahead, ignoring those on the
other side of the barricades.

The size of the protest, strung out for 10 blocks, was anybody’s
guess. The organizers said thousands marched. The police,
as is customary, gave no estimate. In any case, there were no
confrontations, arrests or untoward incidents during the
march, the police said.

“We’re not coming to buy toys, we’re not coming to buy
trinkets — we’re coming to shop for justice,” Mr. Sharpton,
a man never at a loss for words, said at a morning rally in
Harlem, explaining what could not be said in a nonverbal
march. “Our presence is a bigger statement than anything
we could ever say with our mouths.”

In Midtown, shoppers gawked. Tourists snapped pictures
and wondered what it was all about. Salvation Army carolers
sang on, and the protesters, who had been admonished
repeatedly by organizers to remain silent, kept discipline
only in the front ranks, where members of Congress, the
Legislature, the City Council and other V.I.P.s marched
alongside a stone-faced Mr. Sharpton.

“It’s New York, you always see crazy things,” Margaret
Rajnik, a nurse from Atlantic City, said at Rockefeller Center,
where mobs of shoppers jammed the plaza in front of the
skating rink, the giant Christmas tree and the golden

A sampling of shoppers found many against the protest.
“We just came here to go shopping at the American Girl
store and go see the Rockettes,” said Cherrie Ostigui, 38,
of Odenton, Md. “Now we can’t even cross the street to
get our lunch.”

Steve Diomopoulos, 22, a student from Livonia, Mich., called
it “a weird time to be doing this,” and added: “It’s an
inconvenience to people like myself who came from out
of town and want to get some Christmas shopping done.
It’s almost like a hostile atmosphere. I don’t think that’s
what people came here to see.”

But Seleah Bussey, 22, a Brooklyn College student, said,
“I think it’s good because it’s a tourist area and tourists
need to know what’s really happening.”

Mr. Sharpton, who called the Queens shooting a case of
excessive force, said the march was a moral appeal to the
city to change police policies.

Hours before he was to be married on Nov. 25, Mr. Bell
was killed and his friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent
Benefield, were wounded in a barrage of police bullets
as they left a bachelor party at a strip club. The police,
conducting an undercover operation at the club, said they
believed the victims were going to get a gun, and opened
fire when the men’s car hit an officer and an unmarked
police minivan.

Mr. Bell and his friends were black; the officers were white,
Hispanic and black. No guns were found among the victims,
and while the police say they are examining reports that
a fourth man who ran away may have had a gun, the case
has generated vigils and protests that culminated
in yesterday’s march.

Besides the complaints of annoyed shoppers, the march
generated two negative responses that were aimed
at Mr. Sharpton.

Before the march, Steven A. Pagones, a former assistant
prosecutor in Dutchess County who won a defamation suit
against Mr. Sharpton and two others in 1998, showed up near
the marchers’ rendezvous point to remind reporters that he
had been falsely accused of being one of a group of white men
who abducted and raped a black teenager, Tawana Brawley,
in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., in 1987. The case stirred racial
tensions nationally, but was investigated by a grand jury
and found to be a hoax.

“I want people to understand that for years he’s made reckless
allegations in furtherance of his own agenda,” Mr. Pagones
said of Mr. Sharpton.

Michael J. Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment
Association, also cited Mr. Sharpton’s role in that matter.
“I think it’s all about credibility, something the Rev. Al had
forsaken a long time ago in the Tawana Brawley case,”
Mr. Palladino said. “He’s trying to deny our police officers their
civil rights and due process. But in the end, a grand jury will
hear the evidence and they’ll come to a decision.”

The protesters, many of whom arrived in buses from Queens,
Brooklyn and elsewhere, were joined by Representative Charles
B. Rangel, City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., and other
politicians; by the singer Harry Belafonte; by leaders and
members of the N.A.A.C.P.; the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s
Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; Mr. Sharpton’s National Action
Network; and relatives and friends of Mr. Bell, Mr. Guzman
and Mr. Benefield.

The group included Mr. Bell’s fiancée, Nicole Paultre, who has
taken the surname Bell, and one of their two children, Jada, 4,
and Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant sodomized with
a broomstick by a police officer in a station house nine years
ago. Mr. Benefield rode in a wheelchair, but Mr. Guzman,
shot numerous times, remained at a rehabilitation center.

There were chants and speeches from Mr. Sharpton and
others as the crowd assembled at 59th Street and Fifth
Avenue, but the exhortations ended as the protesters
stepped off in early afternoon, heading down a Fifth
Avenue decked out for the season.

The line of march led down a parade of elegant stores,
past St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockefeller Center, where
a Salvation Army vocalist sang sweet carols. Giant illuminated
snowflakes graced the facade of Saks.

Lower down the avenue, the marchers encountered sparser
crowds shopping for sneakers and sweatshirts.

The march ended at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue,
outside Macy’s. There, Sonia Fatimah, 50, one of the
marchers, yelled at a black officer. “I hope they’re not
profiling your son right now, Sergeant,” she said.

Mr. Sharpton and members of the Bell family ducked into
the lobby of the Hotel Pennsylvania nearby and waited for
the crowd to disperse. Many other protesters, perhaps
unaware the proceedings were over, tried to join them inside.
There was some pushing and a brief scuffle broke out between
some followers and news photographers, but it quickly subsided.

Later, about 150 followers of the radical New Black Panther
Party burned an American flag at 34th Street and Seventh
Avenue and heaped verbal abuse on a contingent of police
officers. But there were no clashes or arrests.

Reporting was contributed by Nicholas Confessore,
Cassi Feldman, Daryl Khan, Rachel Metz and Anthony Ramirez.


11) Goldman’s Season to Reward and Shock
December 17, 2006

IF you happened to see Page Six of The New York Post on Thursday,
you would have noticed a provocative cartoon: eight shady-looking
executives, wearing black eye masks and smoking cigarettes, were
holding a board meeting.

Their company? Goldman Sachs. The caption read: “What’s next on
our agenda? Oh yes, our end-of-the-year bonuses.”

You probably know by now that Goldman Sachs, Wall Street’s golden
child, is paying its employees what seems like a king’s ransom:
a total of $16.5 billion in compensation. That equates to $623,418
for every employee. Several top traders are said to have made
as much as $100 million.

To some, it seems almost criminal.

ABC News tallied up all the things that $100 million could buy.
“You could feed about 800,000 children for a year ($60 million),
recreate the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes and Brad Pitt-Jennifer
Aniston weddings four times over ($16 million), buy one
of Mel Gibson’s private islands ($15 million), and still remain
a millionaire nine times over,” ABC News reported.

In London, Goldman’s office cleaners threatened to strike.
“Whilst bankers at Goldman Sachs will be splashing out on
second homes, cars and polo ponies with their multimillion-
pound bonuses, cleaners at Goldman Sachs are being squeezed
by staff cutbacks,” Tony Woodley, general secretary of the
Transport & General Workers’ Union, which represents the
cleaners, told BBC News.

Driss Ben-Brahim, a top Goldman trader who according to
press reports collected $98 million, was stalked by paparazzi
outside his home in London. One of Goldman’s holiday parties
was mocked for its lavishness when it was reported that some
of its managing directors anted up $10,000 each to pay for it.

As the cleaners and others have vented their outrage, one
group has stayed largely silent on Goldman’s largess:
its shareholders.

And they ought to be up in arms.

What’s that, you say? What does a shareholder of Goldman
Sachs have to complain about? After all, its stock is
up 61 percent so far this year with dividends reinvested.
Goldman made a profit of $9.4 billion in its 2006 fiscal
year ended Nov. 24, nearly as much as it did in the last
two years combined.

And Goldman Sachs has taken great pains to tell investors
that as a percentage of revenue, the compensation costs for
its 26,467 full-time employees are actually lower than those
of many of its counterparts. This year, the firm spent 43.7
percent of its revenue on compensation and benefits,
compared with 46.6 percent last year. That’s lower than
Lehman Brothers, for example, which spent 50.1 percent
of its revenue this year on compensation. Last year, Merrill
Lynch spent about 49 percent of its revenue on compensation;
Morgan Stanley, on the other hand, devoted 41.8 percent
of its revenue to paying employees.

Using a different yardstick, however, Goldman’s pay seems
completely out of whack with its peers’.

Goldman’s compensation per employee, as mentioned earlier,
is about $623,418. That’s nearly double what the average
employee at rival firms earns. Lehman spent the equivalent
of about $314,000 for every employee, and Bear Stearns
spent about $320,000.

You could argue that Goldman Sachs makes its money more
efficiently, and it does. You could argue that Goldman Sachs
is in a different business than its rivals, and in some sense,
it is: its biggest profits come from trading, not from
investment banking.

But are its employees so much more talented than the rest
of Wall Street that they deserve a “Goldman premium”
of such huge proportions? That’s a tough case to make.

Yes, there is a competitive marketplace for talent, and the
proliferation of hedge funds has only intensified the fight
for top people. Some of Goldman’s superstars could quit,
either for a hedge fund or to start their own fund, and make
far more money.

But a vast majority — especially those who are being paid
at the mid- to top end — could not.

And for those Goldman employees who appear to be stars
within the firm, their stellar performances do not always travel
with them when they leave 85 Broad Street. Consider the example
of Eric Mindich, a star Goldman trader, who left in 2004 to found
Eton Park Capital Management. The firm raised an enormous
amount of money based on his track record, and now has
$5.5 billion, but its returns have proved to be a fraction
of the regular double-digit returns he made at Goldman.

If Goldman shaved its compensation costs just 6 percent, profits
would have been nearly $1 billion higher. The firm could then
have issued a special dividend, which would have benefited
all shareholders. Many of those shareholders are, of course,
Goldman employees.


12) Report on the Thursday, December 7, 2006 BAUAW meeting and
BAUAW Open Letter to the Board of Education
December 17, 2006

Hi folks,

We held a BAUAW meeting Thursday, Dec. 7th where we discussed
possible alternatives to JROTC and celebrated our victory. We got
a report from Pat Gerber about other proposals that are being
discussed by Mark Sanchez and others that can take the place

We felt that what was missing was the involvement of parents,
students, teachers, administrators and the whole school community
in making these decisions about alternatives.

We decided to send an open letter to the board asking them
to form committees in each school consisting of parents, students,
teachers, administrators and community representatives who will
come together over a period of six months (time frame is just
a suggestion) to discuss, research, decide on and make
recommendations to the Board regarding alternatives to JROTC
and the needs of the schools and our children.

We also decided to meet again to follow up on our letter
and prepare for the next School Board meeting, Tuesday,
January 23, 2007.

The Next BAUAW Meeting is:

Monday, January 15, 2007, 7:00 P.M.
Centro del Pueblo
474 Valencia Street (near 16th Street, SF)
(In the conference room--first floor, left and then
to the right at the end of the hall.)

All are welcome!




Dear Board Members:

We congratulate you for your historic decision to phase-out
the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program
by 2008 as per the wishes of the majority of voters in San
Francisco. But now we must fill the void of not enough
Physical Education classes and teachers for our students
and deteriorating conditions in our schools—an intolerable

At our BAUAW meeting on December 7, 2006 we discussed
many possible alternatives to JROTC. We discussed creating
a partnership with San Francisco State University and other
Universities and Colleges to allow college students working
toward a teaching credential, say, to get internship credit
to lead various classes that could fulfill the P.E. requirement
and even provide a variety of after-school programs that
could be available to all the children. (Art majors could
teach art classes; science majors could lead after- school
science programs; etc. we could set up tutoring centers
as well. High school students could provide similar services
for school credit to elementary schools in their community.
Students could volunteer at hospitals and senior centers
under the mentorship of a professional, etc.)

Community involvement essential

While this was just a few of many interesting and possible
alternatives that we discussed, it occurred to us that we were
neglecting the most important thing—getting the parents,
students and community involved in coming up with the
alternatives to JROTC that they feel they need.

We would like to suggest that a committee be set up consisting
of a delegation of parents, teachers, students, administrators
and community members from each school to come together
to research, discuss, and vote on recommendations
for alternative programs to JROTC.

We feel that proceeding in this manner will insure that whatever
alternative we finally choose will best fit the needs of the
community that the school district is trying to serve.
It could turn out that different schools have different needs.

What we do know, is that parent and community involvement
is desperately needed if we are to help are ailing schools and
our children. A strong school-community alliance will be
beneficial to all concerned. Any improvement to our schools
is an improvement in teaching conditions and a boost to morale.

Creative alternatives needed

Our children are faced with overwhelming challenges and
obstacles in today’s world. Almost half come from single-
parent households. Many of these parents must work more
than one job to make ends meet. This leaves little time left
for child and parent relationships—let alone getting homework
completed or household chores done. And, in this economy,
pressures will be even greater to keep up with the demands
of everyday life.

In order to meet these challenges we must get the community
and parents involved in the school-lives of the children. This is
a golden opportunity to begin the process. We believe there are
many low-cost alternatives to JROTC and low-cost, creative after-
school programs—programs that can really serve and benefit the
whole school community not just the students who might have
been in JROTC. The more who are involved in support of the
school community, the stronger our position will be to fulfill
the needs of our schools.

We have lobbied and begged and pleaded for money for our
schools—so that there are enough classes and teachers to go
around. These P.E. classes are required classes. Of course they
should be funded and provided to students, but so far, none
of the politicians have been able to do anything about it.

We now must take the next step and organize parents, teachers,
students, administrators and community members to fight for
these things that our children need to be successful in this world
and, hopefully, make our world a better place.

In short, we request that you set up a District-wide School-Needs
Committee with representative from each school community
(parents, students, teachers, administrators and community
members) and schedule meetings over the next six months
(this time frame is just a suggestion and should be decided
upon by the committees) to come up with recommendations
to the Board. That body could set up sub-committees to do
research on various proposals, etc., and report back to the
group as a whole.

Such a process will strengthen connections between the School
District and the community and can only be a positive step toward
solving the overwhelming and complex problems we will face
in the future as the budget cuts mount. We have no other choice
but to organize and fight back for the needs of our children—
our future depends on it.



Ain't Going Back Again - Peace Machine
has been holding tight, now at #33....thank you all who have
helped to keep it at the front....
and click on #33 and support the resistance.....currently
thousands of US troops are refusing to LIVE WITH WAR,
and will not deploy. This is also known as a mutiny.
Please forward this link on, and let's see if we can
get the resistance into the top ten...
please visit

Diplomat's suppressed document lays bare the lies behind Iraq war
By Colin Brown and Andy McSmith
Published: 15 December 2006

Eli Lilly Said to Play Down Risk of Top Pill
December 17, 2006

The unknown disheartens family, friends
Published December 14, 2006

Mission to locate nursing mother fails
A priest and nun looking for the woman at Camp Dodge say
an immigration official ‘wouldn’t tell us anything about anybody.’
December 14, 2006
Photo gallery of the raids:

OPEC Sets Reduction in Output
December 15, 2006

Criminal Inquiries Look at U.S. Oil-Gas Unit
December 15, 2006

Texas: Report Criticizes Care Given to Children in State Custody
The medical care for children in state custody is “a bleak picture, and
rooted in profound human suffering,” the state comptroller, Carole
Keeton Strayhorn, said in a report. The report said that the Texas
Department of Family and Protective Services lacked a full-time medical
director, and that effective clinical treatment was further hampered by
inadequate record keeping and an undue reliance on in-patient
psychiatric care and psychotropic drugs. Ms. Strayhorn said she had
referred to the inspector general of the state health commission
several cases of potential fraud and abuse in delivering services
to foster children.
December 15, 2006

Military Considers Sending as Many as 35,000
More U.S. Troops to Iraq, McCain Says
December 15, 2006

Legislators Vote for Gay Unions in N.J.
December 15, 2006

Jason Leopold | Truthout's Sarah Olson Subpoenaed in Watada Case
"A US Army prosecutor subpoenaed Truthout contributing reporter Sarah
Olson Thursday morning, seeking her sworn testimony at the court-martial
of First Lieutenant Ehren Watada. The 28-year-old Army officer refused
deployment to Iraq earlier this year. His trial is expected to begin in
February," writes Jason Leopold.

Racism in the US Farm Program
The Plight of Black Farmers
December 14, 2006

Bankers Report More Mortgages Being Paid Late or Not at All
December 14, 2006

For a Convicted Murderer Who Claims Innocence, Offer of Freedom
Presents a Dilemma
December 14, 2006

Illinois: Court Rejects Slave Reparation Claims
A federal appeals court rejected most claims by slave descendants
that they deserve reparations from some of the nation’s biggest
insurers, banks and transportation companies. The panel affirmed
a lower-court ruling that the plaintiffs had no standing to sue for
reparations based on injustices suffered by their ancestors and
that the statute of limitations ran out more than a century ago.
But the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit,
in Chicago, kept alive a part of the suit that claims corporations
may be guilty of consumer fraud if they hid past ties to slavery.
December 14, 2006

Black History Trove, a Life’s Work, Seeks Museum
December 14, 2006

Assembly Adopts Treaty on Rights of Disabled
The 192-member General Assembly unanimously adopted an
international treaty protecting the rights of the estimated 650 million
disabled people in the world. The convention, which must be ratified
by 20 nations to come into effect, covers civil and political rights,
accessibility and the unrestricted right to education, health and
employment. Ratifying nations must adopt laws prohibiting
discrimination. “We have now reached a global consensus:
The disabled are entitled to the full range of civil rights that
those without disabilities enjoy,” said Haya Rashed al-Khalifa
of Bahrain, the president of the Assembly.
December 14, 2006

Tears of Rage; Tears of Grief
By Chris Floyd
t r u t h o u t | UK Correspondent
Mass death returns to Ishaqi.
I. Rashomon in Iraq
Mass death came again to the Iraqi town of Ishaqi last Friday. Nine
months after an American raid that killed 11 civilians, including five
children under the age of five, another ground and air assault on
suspected insurgents in the area left behind a pile of corpses,
including at least two children. As with the earlier incident, Friday's
attack has produced conflicting stories of what really happened,
but the end result is clear: a multitude of grieving, angry Iraqis
further embittered against the American occupation.
Thursday 14 December 2006

FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein

Gunmen kill Hamas judge
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:33 AM ET

Union Reaches Deal at Philadelphia Papers
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 13 (AP) — The Philadelphia Inquirer and
Philadelphia Daily News reached a tentative contract agreement
Tuesday night with their largest union, the newspaper and union said.
The Inquirer and Daily News, the city’s largest newspapers, and
the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia reached an agreement
at about 10:15 p.m., a union spokesman, Stu Bykofsky, said
in a statement.
“It’s a very difficult agreement,” the union president, Henry J. Holcomb,
was quoted as saying.
After a 14-hour session on Monday, the sides met for three hours
Tuesday before a tentative deal was announced.
Mr. Holcomb said the union would have to make some tough choices
about medical coverage. He did not elaborate on the agreement, which
will be presented to members on Wednesday. He said a ratification
vote would not come before the weekend. The Guild represents
more than 900 news, circulation, advertising and clerical workers
at the newspapers.
A major issue had been control of the pension fund’s investments.
Executives of Philadelphia Media Holdings, which owns the two
newspapers, wanted management to have sole control over pension
fund investments, saying the company was legally responsible
for funding it.
The union wanted to continue the longstanding practice of having
a committee of labor and management decide on investments,
saying it had worked well for 40 years.
Mr. Holcomb said the pension plan would probably be merged
with another union plan with union input.
December 13, 2006

Wall Street Edges Up After Oil Report
Filed at 12:17 p.m. ET
December 13, 2006

Jason Leopold | Army Targets Truthout for Subpoenas in Watada Case

Iraq War Troops Rally Support for GI Rights and Resistance in SF
Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist
Muses Don’t Bother Me,
My Country’s Politicians Do,
Says Gore Vidal

The cover-up
At the height of the six-day war in 1967, Israel attacked a US spy
ship, killing 34 men and injuring many more. The Israelis claimed
it was an accident, the Americans backed them up. But, as James
Bamford reveals in his new book, both governments concealed
the horrific truth
Special report: Israel and the Middle East
The Guardian
Wednesday August 8, 2001,,533578,00.html

Olmert's stray comment fuels the nuclear debate
Martin Hodgson
The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, stumbled into controversy
last night after apparently admitting that his country possesses
a nuclear arsenal. Although widely believed to be the only nuclear
power in the Middle East, Israel has for decades refused to confirm
or deny the existence of a nuclear weapons programme.
But arriving in Berlin for talks with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel,
Mr Olmert seemed yesterday to undercut the longstanding policy
of "strategic ambiguity". He is on a three-day trip to Germany and
Italy, to lobby for stronger action to stop Iran developing
nuclear weapons.
Asked by a television interviewer if Israel's alleged nuclear activities
weakened his argument against Iran's atomic plans, Mr Olmert said:
"Iran, openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the
map. Can you say that this is the same level - when they are aspiring
to have nuclear weapons - as America, France, Israel, Russia?".
Israeli officials were quick to deny that the comments marked any
policy change. Mr Olmert's spokeswoman, Miri Eisin, said he did
not mean to say that Israel had or aspired to acquire
nuclear weapons.
The CIA first concluded that Israel had begun to produce nuclear
weapons in 1968, but few details emerged until 1986 when
Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at Israel's nuclear weapons
facility, gave the Sunday Times detailed descriptions that led defence
analysts to rank the country as the sixth largest nuclear power.
Although Tehran says its nuclear programme is designed solely
to generate electricity, Israel has warned that Iran is intent on
developing atomic weapons. Mr Olmert told Germany's Spiegel
magazine at the weekend that he ruled "nothing out", when
asked about the possibility of an Israeli military strike
against Tehran.,,329660312-103552,00.html

Sheehan Among Four Convicted of Trespassing

Small Nuclear War Would Cause Global Environmental Catastrophe

Iraq Protester Sheehan Cleared of Most NY Charges

Iraq Is Failing to Spend Billions in Oil Revenues
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

Drug War Facts
Race, Prison and the Drug Laws

Liberal Consensus Hardens for More Troops to Iraq;
Meet Senator Slither; Farewell, Jeane Kirkpatrick
December 9, 2006

Federal tactics under assault
Prosecutors' tool to investigate fraud draws corporate fire
Jessica Guynn, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, December 9, 2006

Pink elections in Nicaragua
By: Celia Hart
Special for
Date: 16/11/2006
A CubaNews translation by Ana Portela.
Edited by Walter Lippmann

Religion for a Captive Audience, Paid For by Taxes
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:

Study Detects Recent Instance of Human Evolution
December 10, 2006

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:

A Young Marine Speaks Out
by Philip Martin

Army Provides Context After Radio Story on Soldiers' Mental Health
Dec 08, 2006 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

Prosecutor Admits Mumia Had No "True Defense"
Mumia Abu-Jamal Case Goes to Third Circuit
December 7, 2006

Dwindling Docket Mystifies Supreme Court
December 7, 2006

Strongest Proof Yet of Water Flow on Mars
December 7, 2006

Bakiyev Wants to Revoke Troops' Immunity
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

Panel Calls for New Approach to Iraq
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

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.”

Soldiers Say Army Ignores, Punishes Mental Anguish
by Daniel Zwerdling

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
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




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.

Join Solidarity Caravan!!!


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


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

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.
OR ROB WILSON 309-224-7840

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


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
317-632-9147 Bill Buzzard
UAW Officers Region #3
Connie Thurman- CAP Bob Allen
317-547-0614 574-295-4266

Mo Davison - Director

Brenda Upchurch


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
Jade Screen Clinic


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,
or visit 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


Washington, D.C.
VOLUNTEER Live in NYC or DC? We need your help
before and during the protest. Call 212-868-5545
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
Join us for a massive
march on Washington
to tell the new Congress:
unitedforpeace&justice (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!


From Iraq to New Orleans, Fund the People's Needs NOT THE
WAR MACHINE! End Colonial Occupation: Iraq, Palestine, Haiti and
everywhere! Shut Down Guantanamo


UFPJ calls for march on DC Sat, Jan. 27, local
actions on March 17
www.unitedforpeace. org
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
Help us continue to do this critical work: Make a donation to UFPJ
www.unitedforpeace. org | 212-868-5545
To subscribe, visit www.unitedforpeace. org/email


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


May Day 2007
National Mobilization to Support Immigrant Workers!
National Immigrant Solidarity Network
No Immigrant Bashing! Support Immigrant Rights!
New York: (212)330-8172
Los Angeles: (213)403-0131
Washington D.C.: (202)595-8990



Join us in a campaign to expose and stop the use of these illegal weapons


You may enjoy watching these.
In struggle


FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein


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.


Stop funding Israel's war against Palestine
Complete the form at the website listed below with your information.


March 17-18, 2007

Please circulate widely


Sand Creek Massacre
Hello, Everyone,
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.

Listed below are links on which you can click to get the latest news,
products, and view, free, "THE SAND CREEK MASSACRE" award-
winning documentary short. In order to create more native
awareness, particularly to save the roots of America's history,
please read the following:

Some people in America are trying to save the world. Bless
them. In the meantime, the roots of America are dying.
What happens to a plant when the roots die? The plant dies
according to my biology teacher in high school. American's
roots are its native people. Many of America's native people
are dying from drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, hunger,
and disease, which was introduced to them by the Caucasian
male. Tribal elders are dying. When they die, their oral
histories go with them. Our native's oral histories are the
essence of the roots of America, what took place before
our ancestors came over to America, what is taking place,
and what will be taking place. It is time we replenish
America's roots with native awareness, else America
continues its decaying, and ultimately, its death.

READY FOR PURCHASE! (pass the word about this powerful
educational tool to friends, family, schools, parents, teachers,
and other related people and organizations to contact
me (, 303-903-2103) for information
about how they can purchase the DVD and have me come
to their children's school to show the film and to interact
in a questions and answers discussion about the Sand
Creek Massacre.

Happy Holidays!

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC,+Don

(scroll down when you get there])



Rights activist held in Oaxaca prison
Three students arrested and held incommunicado in Oaxaca



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:


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
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.


The Corporate Looting of the Gulf Coast
Robin Hood in Reverse
More Info:
For a detailed report:
Big, Easy Money: Disaster Profiteering on the American Gulf Coast
by Rita J. King, Special to CorpWatch
August 15th, 2006




Communist Manifesto illustrated by Disney [and other cartoons) with
words by K. Marx and F. Engels--absolutely wonderful!]


Asylum Street Spankers-Magnetic Yellow Ribbon com/watch? v=bfMgRHRJ- tc


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]


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


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 , we help
the media ask the right questions and bring attention to the human side
of this issue.

Through the LegWatch program ,

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

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

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:

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.

Trita Parsi
President of NIAC

U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW)

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


Immigration video:


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.


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
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,, 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


Judge Orders Release of Abu Ghraib Child Rape Photos
Submitted by davidswanson on Mon, 2006-10-23 20:54. Evidence
By Greg Mitchell,


Profound new assault on freedom of speech and assembly:
Manhattan: New Rules for Parade Permits
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 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.

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

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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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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

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Asylum Street Spankers-Magnetic Yellow Ribbon com/watch? v=bfMgRHRJ- tc


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

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


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

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

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein

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

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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. pep/site/ Advocacy?
JServSessionIdr003= cga2p2o6x1. app2a&cmd= display&page= UserAction& id=177

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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. vzeo9ewi/ idrissstelleyfou ndation/
http://groups. group/isf23/
Report Police Brutality
24HR Bilingual hotline
(415) 595-8251
http://groups. group/Justice4As a/

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Appeal for funds:
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website http://dahrjamailir
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.

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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/

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Contact: Nick Mottern, Consumers for Peace

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

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Today in Palestine!
For up to date information on Israeli's brutal attack on
human rights and freedom in Palestine and Lebanon go to:

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Oklahoma U's First African-American Speaker

Dear Representative Johnson:

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

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:


Mike Wright

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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

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Taking Aim with Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone has a new Internet

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:

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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

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Visit the Traprock Peace Center Video Archive at:
Visit the Traprock Peace Center
Deerfield, MA

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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
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.!

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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:
http://www.mexico. indymedia. org/oaxaca

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http://www.indybay. org

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

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

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

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"It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."
- Emilano Zapata
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Join the Campaign to
Shut Down the Guantanamo Torture Center
Go to:
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 http://www.actionsf .org
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545

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“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

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

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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.

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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."

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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

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The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies uslawdocs/ declaration. html decind.html
http://www.usconsti declar.html
http://www.indybay. org/news/ 2006/02/1805195. php

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Bill of Rights 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:

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:

Eli Stephens
Left I on the News


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