Friday, April 07, 2006


By Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War
Immigration Advocates Rally Around U.S.
Filed at 11:36 a.m. ET
April 10, 2006

People United for General Amnesty
We are here and we are not leaving!
Let's March Together
Tonight, Monday, April 10, 2006
5:00 p.m. assemble at 16th and Mission Streets
March to the Rally at 24th and Mission Streets at 6:00 p.m.

We are working people who have left the best of our lives in the
soil of this country.

Don't let the politicians lie to us with the so-called Immigration
Reform Laws.

We want and demand a General Amnesty for All!

For More Information:

Companeros Del Barrio


Somos trabajadores, estamos dejando lo mejor de nosostros en este

No nos dejemos enganar por los politicos y sus llamadas
Reformas Migratorias.

Queremos y demandamos una AMNISTIA GENERAL, para todos.


HORA: 5:00 P.M.

Mayor Informacion llamar a COMPANEROS DEL BARRIO,


[Col. Writ. 1/19/06] Copyright '06 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Throughout the tides and turns of history, some people have erected
barriers against the feared foreigners, to protect their lands from
those who would threaten their peace.

History has shown the mighty efforts of nations and empires to erect
barriers against the everpresent other, yet it has rarely shown success.

In human history, few societies have erected as formidable a barrier as
the Great Wall of China, constructed during the Chi'n dynasty (around
the 3rd century, B.C.) and both rebuilt and expanded for a thousand
years thereafter. The wall was built to defend against the nomadic
hordes to the North, but the land was repeatedly invaded by the nomads,
as the wall provided little real military use.

In the latter years of the Roman Empire, the Emperor Hadrian ordered the
construction of a massive wall in Britain.

The wall marked the northern boundaries of the Roman Empire.

Fragments remain of it today.

After the division of Germany into East and West, the Berlin Wall was
erected, to protect the East from Western contamination; and to keep
Easterners from fleeing to the wealthier West.

Less than 30 years later, it was reduced to rubble, its bricks and slabs
now used as museum pieces to reflect a bygone era.

In the Middle East, we see the erection of concrete and steel walls, to
mark the separation of Israel from Palestine. The Israelis call it a
protective barrier; the Palestinians call it an apartheid wall.

Now, legislators in Washington are fast-tracking a plan to build a wall
across the expanse of the Mexican border -- all 1,933 miles of it!

Walls are funny things. Although the builders see them as evidence of
state power, they often come to be seen, not as emblems of power, but as
harbingers of weakness.

They are markers of national fear, not symbols of confidence.

The Ch'in dynasty, which sought to unite various peoples into one, began
a work that would continue for generations. But the hated foreigners,
the fierce nomadic Mongols of the North, would clash against the wall,
go over and around it, and for a century under the Khan, sit on the
imperial throne in the heart of China.

The Roman empire began as a city that welcomed outsiders, and indeed,
used the ideas of those many visitors to build their city-state.
Hadrian's Wall, over 73 miles long, marked the end of expansion, and a
wish to preserve the accumulated wealth and privilege on the inside from
the hungry hordes looking in.

Rome, once the mightiest of empires, went into decline, and, as the
sacking of Rome in 410 A.D. by Alaric, the Gothic king shows, walls
offered little protection.

The Great Wall of China was 1,500 miles long.

Hadrian's Wall was over 73 miles long.

The Berlin Wall was 29 miles long.

The Israeli barrier/wall will surround the whole country.

The Mexican border, being 1,933 miles long, logic suggests, will require
a wall longer than the Great Wall of China, Hadrian's Wall, and the
Berlin Wall combined!

Walls, even great ones, are barriers reflecting fear of the outsider.

They are not achievements of confidence, but actions of people deeply
anxious about 'the barbarians' beyond the barrier.

They reflect the closing and decline of nations and empires, not their
expansion nor strength.

The events of 9/11 unleashed waves of national anxiety and fear in many
Americans. National myths, in times of great conflict, often die
first. The idea that the US is an open nation, that welcomes the people
of the world, is fast eroding.

Foreigners, especially those from Islamic countries, are now seeking
other venues to study, to play, and to live.

For they know that the legend emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty's
base, the Emma Lazarus poem about welcoming 'your tired, and your
poor', doesn't refer to them.

It's just another wall.

Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal


April 7th, 8th & 9th 2006
Quality Inn (Located On US 31)
Kokomo, Indiana 46902
Meeting Introductions 7:ooPM Friday
Saturday & Sunday Begin With Registration At 8:00AM

Working people are under attack as never before. The institutions on
which workers have dependedˆthe Democratic Party and the unions have
utterly failed to defend us. Democratic as well as Republican
politicians support the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, savage cuts in
social programs, outsourcing jobs, attacking public education,
rewriting bankruptcy laws to benefit credit card companies. Union
officials work with corporations to cut wages, rob retirees of their
pensions, impose wage tiers, cut health care. They replace worker
solidarity with worker-against-worker Company Teams. They support the
war-makers in DC.

Meanwhile most working people, blue-collar and white-collar, employed
and unemployed, remain unorganized and largely defenseless.

The politicians and the unions are part of the problem. We cannot rely
on them and we cannot change them. We have to go around them, to create
institutions that we control to fight for the values, the livelihoods,
the future of working people.

SOLIDARITY NOW is a new organization formed in Peoria, IL in 2005. Our
goals are to rebuild the culture of mutual support that is natural to
working people, to fight for the goals of working people, and to build
a movement for democratic revolution.

If you are an auto worker, a teacher, a nurse, a student, a professor,
work in an office or school or hospital or university, are employed or
unemployed, working or retired, we invite you to join Solidarity Now
and to join us in Kokomo for our National Meeting.

To be assured of a room, please make your reservations now at the
Quality Inn, Kokomo, IN (765-459-8001). Tell them you are with
Solidarity Now. Rooms are $58 per night, single or double, breakfast
included. Please let Tino Scalici ( or Dave
Stratman ( know if you would like to join Solidarity Now
or if you plan to attend the meeting.

(For more info on Solidarity Now, please see our web site at

Future of the Union Mailing List


Stop Environmental Racism in Bayview Hunters Point!
TUESDAY, APRIL 11, 2006, 12:00 NOON
Evans and Middlepoint Rd.,
Bayview Hunters Point,
San Francisco

Help Make the Closure of PG&E’s Hunters Point Power Plant
a Reality! No More Delays!

PG&E has announced plans to close the dirty Hunters Point Power Plant,
but no date has been set. Bayview Hunters Point residents are sick and
tired of PG&E’s pollution, years of delays and broken promises.
Support the community and join us on April 11th!

Please join Bayview Hunters Point residents in helping to shut down
the PG&E Hunters Point power plant on Tuesday, April 11th at 12 noon.
Despite more promises that the plant would be closed by now, we
have just learned of more delays. If PG&E and the government won’t
shut it down by April 11th, then the community will.


Participating groups include: All Hallows Garden Residents Association,
Answer-SF, Code Pink, Bayview Hunters Point Mothers Committee
for Environmental Justice, Bayview Newspaper, Bayview Samoan
Community, Circle of Life, Chinese Progressive Association,
Community First Coalition, Environmental Justice Air Quality
Coalition, Global Exchange, Gray Panthers, Greenaction for Health
and Environmental Justice, Huntersview Tenants Association,
Literacy for Environmental Justice, Our City, PODER, POWER,
Rainforest Action Network, San Francisco Green Party.

More information on the issue and action is available on our website

Here is the Bay Guardian’s alert about the shutdown action!

Shut it down ... now!
Environmental activists are demanding Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
set a firm date for its long-planned closure of the Hunters Point
Power Plant, or demonstrators will move forward with a planned
protest that they threaten could include nonviolent direct action.

"What [PG&E] has to do is shut down the plant by April 11 at
12 noon," Bradley Angel, executive director for Greenaction,
said. "There's nothing else they can do to avoid the demonstration."

PG&E has surpassed several deadlines without ever closing the
dirtiest power plant in the state. Most recently, the company
announced in mid-March that the plant would close "sometime
this spring," without setting an actual date, according to company
statements. The company, which did not return our phone calls,
has claimed that it has been preparing for the plant's closure
by shifting the energy load to other electric transmission
projects in the region.

Angel said PG&E has so far declined to set a permanent date
for closure and has also failed to answer inquiries about when
its alternative transmission lines would be completed. The
California Public Utilities Commission has previously explained
that PG&E was scheduled to close the plant by early April.

The Hunters Point plant was built in 1929, and two of its four
generating units were shut down in 2000, mostly because
of complaints that it was polluting Bayview-Hunters Point
and making its residents - particularly children - sick from
asthma and other respiratory ailments.

The protest (or celebration, depending on what PG&E decides)
is scheduled for noon on April 11, outside the company's
Hunters Point plant, located on Evans Avenue at Middlepoint
Road. (G.W. Schulz)


SATURDAY, APRIL 15, 2006, 12:00 NOON
Centro del Pueblo
474 Valencia St., S.F
(Near 16th Street BART)

Mumia's Been Fast-Tracted! FREE MUMIA!
Saturday, April 22, 3-5:30 p.m.
West Oakland Public Library
1801 Adeline St. at 18th


Jack Heyman, ILWU Local 10; Mel Mason, Seasice CA NAACP, former
Black Panther; Pierre Labossiere, Haiti Action; Yuri Kochiyama, Friend
of Malcolm X and long time Mumia supporter; Cristina Gutierrez,
Co-Founder, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, Bay Area United
Against War. (Organizations for identification purposes only.)
Legal Update: Leigh Fleming, Associate of Robert R. Bryan, lead counsel
for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Moderator: Gerald Smith, Copwatch and former Black Panther
Video: 1999 West Coast Longshore Port Shutdown to Free Mumia
Donations to benefit Mumia's legal defense.

Sponsored by: Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
and The Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
Info: 510-763-2347

The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
P.O. Box 16222, Oakland, CA 94610,

(The Oakland Public Library does not advocate or endorse viewpoints
of meetings or meeting-room users.)


People United for General Amnesty
May 1, 2006, 5:00 p.m.
Federal Building
450 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco
(For more information: 415-431-9925)

We make a call to all people to come and celebrate International
Workers Day by surrounding the Federal Building with our flags
and picket signs showing that we have built the richness and
strength of the United States of North America from our countries
up to now and that we are part of the work force in this country.
That is why we raise our national flags high, not as an insult to the
United States of North America, but to recognize that even though
we come from other countries we have enriched this soil and that
gives us the moral right to demand general amnesty for all.


Barrio Unido por una Amnistia General
1 de Mayo 2006, 5:00 p.m.
450 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco
Mas informacion: 415-431-9925

Hacemos un llamado a toda la poblacion a celebrar el Dia de los
Trabajadores rodeando el Edificio Federal con nuestras banderas
y pancartas demostrando que desde nuestros paises hasta cuando
trabajamos aqui en este pais hemos contribuido a la riqueza y
poderio de los Estados Unidos de Norte America. Por eso levantamos
nuestras banderas nacionales, no como insulto a los Estados Unidos,
sino como reconocimiento que viniendo de otros paises hemos
enriquecido su suelo y con ese derecho moral demandamos una
amnistia general para todos.

Ven Y unete a la lucha

Flash Film: Ides of March
Do you agree with Charlie Sheen that the U.S. government
covered up the real events of the 9/11 attacks?
[So far it's running 83 percent in agreement.]

POLICY (62-14Sp1)

Commissioner Eric Mar voted against this resolution
at the March 28 Board of Education meeting. We, who spoke
against it were applauded with enthusiasm by the parents
and teachers who were at the meeting. Some even spoke
against it from their own experiences. One had a daughter
in JROTC and she asked the military representatives why
they don't show the returning veterans who have lost their
legs or parts of their brains?

I wrote the following letter to Eric Mar and sent copies to
the other Board members. I didn't get to hear how everyone
of them voted so others might have voted against it as well
but the room was full of pre-school kids because there was
a childcare issue on the agenda. It was noisy but it was
beautiful to see their parents respond against approval
of the policy.

Here's my letter to Eric Mar:

Dear Eric,

Thank you so much for taking such a strong stand last
evening and voting against the Equal Access for Recruiters
Board of Education Policy (62-14Sp1). Naturally, I am very
disappointed that it passed. And I am dismayed at the way
Board members, who I know are opposed to the war, voted
on this issue. (I didn't catch how everyone voted. I hope
it will be posted somewhere.)

I am particularly concerned about the restrictions on protests
outside the schools--a restriction that is unconstitutional--
and on the lack of clarity about the equal access to students
by antiwar counter-recruiters.

During the Proposition I campaign this past fall, on the
first day of school, we passed out flyers outside of George
Washington High School. About six of us came early in the
morning, set up a table with buttons and flyers, etc. and
tried to reach as many students as possible with brochures
advocating a yes vote on Prop. I.

When parents drove up with their children we politely
offered them a brochure. Most gladly took them. We did
not use sound or loud voices, we did not block the front
entrance at all, nor did we force any brochure on any
student or parent. Yet, the Principal and Vice Principal
came out with the security guard and told us we were
"disrupting" the school by handing out the brochures.
They called the police. I expressed to them and the police
that we were doing nothing illegal and that we had every
right to stand out here quietly and offer our information
to whoever was interested. The police left because that
is the truth. I am very disturbed by the addition of the
prohibition of "activity" outside of the school within
a block of the entrance.

Clearly it may become school policy to prohibit activity
in front of the school but it is unconstitutional to prohibit
the distribution of material as long as all laws are being
observed. It will not stop us from trying to reach students
and parents to let them know that the military will now be
on school grounds on a regular basis.

I am very unclear as to whether antiwar counter-recruiters
will also be allowed on school grounds on an equal basis?
That was not clarified. There are Career Fairs coming up
very soon and we have material we have to gather to inform
students of alternatives to military service and of career
choices instead of the military.

And, there is still the problem of JROTC--the military's
prime recruitment tool--entrenched in the district. It has
to stop and we have to get enough Physical Education
classes to go around and save the district a million dollars
in the bargain (it's share of the Phys. Ed./JROTC deal.
My figure could be wrong but I thought it was around one
million from the district and one million from the Army
[a million to it's own program] to fund JROTC in lieu of
Phys. Ed. Classes that don't exist and that students need.)

It is also unclear how the community--the parents, families,
friends of school children--are going to know when the
military will be coming to their local school?

The parents have the right to know that their children are
being put in contact with the military against their wishes.
In fact, there are some school districts that prohibit students
who have chosen to "opt out" from coming in contact with
the military recruiters when they are there. Perhaps this
can be added to the policy. In addition, perhaps a sign
could be posted outside of the front door of the school
notifying the local community of the schedule of military
visits to the school at least a month ahead of time.

The schools have a basic obligation to respect the wishes
of the parents who have "opted out" of having that "career
choice" offered to their children. That is the whole sense
of "opting out." The military should be kept away from
those children. Perhaps the military should be assigned
a room and only those children who have "opted in"
be allowed to attend.

I did have trouble hearing a lot of what was being said
by Board members. I was in the last row in the back
with the preschoolers so, as I said, I did not catch how
everyone voted. (To all those who voted No, we thank you.)

We were sitting with a parent of an eleven-year-old in
the SFUSD who thought that by passage of the ballot
initiative, Proposition I, this issue was over and the
schools were finally rid of the military.

This new policy has brought us to a rude awakening.
It seems we won't get rid of the military any time soon--
at least until 2007 when No Child Left Behind will come
before Congress again and we can defeat it. But we can
educate our children in these matters and take a stand
with them and their parents against war, against No Child
Left Behind and against the militarization of our schools.

There seems to be no end in sight to U.S. Imperial military
involvement throughout the world or to their fantastic,
trillion-dollar budget that starves all other social necessities
including our schools. This means it is up to us, the people,
to say no to military service and no to war as a means
to solving the world's problems.

If no one joins they can't fight a war. That would be a truly
democratic expression of the will of the people.

I hope we can work together to change this policy and
make our schools "military free zones."

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War,


Public Law print of PL 107-110, the No Child Left Behind
Act of 2001 [1.8 MB]

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


"Sir! No Sir!"
April 6 Benefit for Iraq Vets Against the War
Runs in SF at the Red Vic April 7-13th
LISTS in San Francisco!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Greetings all,

I hope you'll come out to see this amazing and
important film! It is the untold story of the GI
movement to end the war in Vietnam and tells a
part of history that has been forgotten, about
the conscientious objectors, underground
newspapers and coffee houses, of those who
resisted in many ways. It is a powerful glimpse
of both history and of the present and
future. In addition to meeting vets featured in
the film and modern day resisters on April 6th,
there will also be talks featuring these folks,
the director David Zeiger, and members of Bay
Area peace groups after all the screenings during
the week run at the Red Vic April
7-13th!! Finally, we need your help and support
to get the word out in NYC where the film will be
at the IFC for a week April 19-26th. There are
some 30 cities around the nation that are waiting
to see how the film does in NY. If news of this
movement is to reach the heartland of the USA we
MUST sell out all the shows in NYC. If you or
someone you know has contacts in NYC please email for an email blast about the NYC screenings!


Celia Alario

Global Exchange presents
Special Oakland Preview Screening of the film

Sir, No Sir!
A Benefit for Iraq Vets Against the War
Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary
at the Los Angeles Film Festival &
Best Documentary Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival

Thursday April 6th at 7:00pm
Grand Lake Theater
3200 Grand Avenue in Oakland
(Closest BART: MacArthur or 19th Street Station)

Celebrate Soldiers' Resistance from Vietnam to Iraq
Film, Music, Spoken Word, Community

Aimee Allison, Army Conscientious Objector
Pablo Paredes, Iraq War Resister
David Zeiger, Director of the Film
Vietnam Veterans from the Film

Advance tickets $8, $10 at the door
For Tickets call 415-255-7296 x244

Presented in partnership with:
Global Exchange, Courage to Resist, Not Your
Soldier, Leave My Child Alone, Not in Our Name,
Ruckus Society, Art in Action, Central Committee
for Conscientious Objectors, Veterans for Peace, Codepink

"A penetrating eye-opener of a documentary."
-The Hollywood Reporter

"Bolstered by proud memories of Vietnam vets
who turned against the war, Sir! No Sir! rings
with an exultant, even elated tone."

Check out the trailer at and
contact celia @ for posters, postcards
and flyers to help promote this event!


Regional Student Antiwar Conferences
Sponsored by the Campus Antiwar Network
Students and Educators to Stop the War Conference
San Francisco, CA
Mission High School
April 22

Recently the US government has stepped up its bombing campaign
in Samara to the highest level of intensity since the onset of the war. 
Even though public support has turned against the war and active
resistance has begun in many sectors of the country and in the
military, the movement is not at the necessary organizational
levels to attain a complete withdrawal of American forces from
the Middle East.  Meanwhile, large demonstrations are being
planned in cities across the country in April.  This comes at
a time when many politicians, Democrat and Republican, are
supporting policies of “re-deployment” or outright military
action against Iran.

Students are becoming organized and have been making great
strides in fighting recruitment, fostering debate, and
demonstrating for civil liberties. At this crucial time in the
antiwar movement it is essential that a unified student front
emerge to fight campus repression and to end the war. 
Real strategies for active resistance need to be developed
to motivate the overwhelming public support into viable

Campus Antiwar Network is establishing regional conferences
to develop the true student power needed to breakdown the
military machine that has relentlessly torn several countries
asunder.  Workshops will look at concrete steps to end the war. 
Anyone is welcome to attend and campuses are encouraged
to send as many people as they can. With the spirit of grassroots
democratic action, we can truly set in motion the catalyst to change.

Chicago, IL
University of Illinois Chicago
April 22

New York City, NY
April 29 & 30
(to coincide with the April 29 protest in New
York City to bring all the troops home now)


location and date to be announced


For more information, contact the people above or visit:


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


End the War at Home! Money for Human Needs, Jobs, Education,
Healthcare, and Hurricane Disaster Relief, Not War! No U.S. Wars and
Occupations from Palestine to Haiti, from Afghanistan to Cuba,
from Iran to Venezuela!

The STOP THE WAR NOW! COALITION Invites all those who agree
with the above perspective to join us at the:


SATURDAY, MAY 13, 9:00 A.M. TO 9:00 P.M.
(Including evening entertainment and rally)



In the U.S. today there is a major gap between the rapidly growing
antiwar consciousness of the U.S. population and the dramatic
decline of support for the U.S. war in Iraq, on the one hand, and
the organizational framework to mobilize ever-widening and broad
sectors of society against this war. This is particularly glaring on the
West Coast.

The growing opposition to the war is evidenced by the massive response
to the courageous actions of Cindy Sheehan, the growth of groups like
Gold Star Mothers for Peace and Military Families Speak Out, Iraq veterans'
organizations, the formation of U.S. Labor Against the War, the massive
demonstration of 300,000 in Washington D.C. on September 24, the
open debate in Congress, the increasing number of soldiers who lose
their lives for corporate profit and empire, the exposure of the lies
that were employed to justify the war and the subordination of many
social programs (like the immediate and critical relief necessitated
by Hurricane Katrina) to ever increasing military spending. All of the
above takes place against the backdrop of increasing attacks on basic
civil liberties and civil rights, union busting and broadside attacks
on social gains that were won decades ago, including pensions and

The above fives us great confidence that a far wider social and
political spectrum of society are opposed to the Iraq War and can
be engaged in ongoing educational activities as well as massive
mobilizations against it. What is needed most of all is a broad,
independent united-front perspective and an open and democratic
organizational form that is capable of filling the present void.

For list of endorsers, and information on registration fees, agenda,
workshops, etc. visit:
415-647-8796, 650-326-8837 or 510-451-1422




Power in Eden:
Emergence of Gender Hierarchies
in the Ancient World

With Bruce Lerro

4 Sunday evenings from 7 to 9 March 19th, 26th, April 2nd, April 9th
Marxist Library 6501 Telegraph (cross-street Alcatraz)

-How Relevant is Engels' Origin of the Family,
Private Property and the State in the light of over one-hundred
years of anthropology and archeology?

-To what extent was "primitive communism" egalitarian
in terms of gender relations?

-When in history does individualism start? Is it a product
of capitalism or does it go back further?

-Agricultural State Civilizations (The Asiatic Mode
of Production) were the most oppressive to women in history.
Why was there no women's movement in the ancient world?

Bruce Lerro has been teaching and writing about the origins
of class and gender inequalities for the past fifteen years.
He has lectured at New College of California and teaches
regularly at Golden Gate University, Dominican University,
John F. Kennedy University and Diablo Valley College.
He is the author of Power in Eden: Emergence of Gender
Hierarchies in the Ancient World, Trafford Press, 2005.

Initial Talk˘broadly discussing all four questions

Part I˘In Depth Reading and Discussion of each of the
Four Questions

Part II √Optional˘In Depth Reading and Discussion of Other
Chapters in the text.

This will be determined by Bruce and the class participants


The initial talk will be a lecture with brief discussion
at the end of each question

For all four classes in part one there will be assigned
readings during the week and each class will be
a discussion of the readings. We will discuss clarification
as well as substantive questions each week.
There will be no lecture.

Required Reading: Power in Eden: Emergence
of Gender Hierarchies in the Ancient World

My Approach
I consider myself a Marxist-materialist and I believe
that the Marxian tradition must be informed and
enriched by over one hundred years of research.
I consider Marxism a method rather than a scholastic dogma.
What You May Learn
-The process of female subordination was a very gradual
and had super-structural and psychological components
as well as economic
-Engels was right about some things and wrong about others
-A provocative stage theory about how male dominance originated
-There are well-researched conditions under which women
will or will not be likely to rebel



(A two-week march to the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas,
starting April 1, that will call for an end to the Iraq War and
immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq)
Contacts - March info: Valley Reed
ExxonMobil info: Nick Mottern

A two-week march to the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas,
starting April 1, that will call for an end to the Iraq War and
immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq - endorsed
by peace worker Cindy Sheehan and historian Howard Zinn -
will also call on ExxonMobil Corporation to spend $7 billion
of its record $36 billion 2005 profit to alleviate war suffering
and to compensate thousands more who have documented
harm from its operations.

Ms. Sheehan and Mr. Zinn are among a list of endorsers
of the march that includes: independent journalist Dahr Jamail;
Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly; Michael Letwin,
co-convener of New York City Labor Against the War; author
Norman Solomon; Sundiata Xian Tellem, co-chair of the Green
Party of the U.S. Black Caucus; David Swanson, co-founder
of; Tim Carpenter, National Director
of Progressive Democrats of America; and Global Exchange.
The march is being organized by the Dallas Peace Center,
Peace Action Texas, Crawford Peace House,
and is endorsed also by the Southern Christian Leadership Council
and the Dallas NAACP. (A complete list of endorsers appears below.)

The call for ExxonMobil to spend $7 billion on meeting war-
related and business-related human needs is based on the
increasingly widely-held view that the conditions created by
the Iraq War have contributed significantly to the dramatic
profits of ExxonMobil and other major oil companies since
the occupation began in 2003. For example, Nobel Prize-
winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and colleague, Linda Blimes,
writing on the cost of the Iraq War, note that the war has had
a major inflationary impact on oil prices, which in turn, has
meant that “Profits of oil companies have increased enormously.”

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and
Policy Research, responding to an inquiry from, estimates that as much as 20
percent of ExxonMobil’s record $36 billion 2005 profit,
or about $7 billion, is “a ball park number” for what can
be considered war profits for the oil giant. This is an estimate
of the amount of profit that is essentially unearned and is
traceable to oil prices that have been inflated because
(1) the Iraq War has severely depressed Iraq oil production,
and (2) there are fears that the Iraq War may spread, possibly
affecting oil production in Iran and Saudi Arabia. is promoting the ExxonMobil War
Boycott, which seeks immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces
and mercenaries from Iraq, reparations for Iraq, impeachment
of George W. Bush and prosecution of U.S. officials for war
crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq.

“ExxonMobil has made at least $7 billion extra in 2005 because
of the invasion and occupation of Iraq,” said Nick Mottern,
director of “This is unearned money,
taken from consumers, and it needs to be returned to society,”
he continued. “We propose that ExxonMobil write checks
to private organizations for relief in Iraq, for war-related
injuries of U.S. veterans and to compensate people in the U.S.
and elsewhere who have been harmed by ExxonMobil operations.”
The beneficiaries would include residents of Beaumont and Baytown,
Texas, living near ExxonMobil refineries who have experienced severe
health problems, according to Mottern. is developing a list of potential
recipients for the $7 billion.

“War profiteering is unacceptable in any war,” said Mottern, “and
it is particularly despicable when it is done by the nation’s largest
oil company during an illegal war that has so much suffering and
has so much to do with oil.”

On April 4, in Waxahachie, Texas, the march will commemorate
the 38th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. This is also the date in 2004 when Ms. Sheehan’s son
was killed in Iraq; his body was returned to her on Palm Sunday.


April 1 - 10 a.m. Press conference at ExxonMobil headquarters
in Irving, Texas, then march to the Trinity River.
A partial list of those appearing at the press conference:

Texas Rep. Lon Burnham
Dallas civil rights leader Rev. Peter Johnson
Rev. Roy Malveaux, Beaumont, Texas
Valley Reed, chief organizer, March to Redeem Campaign
Maureen Haver, Jumpstart Ford Campaign
Nick Mottern, Director,

April 2 - 2:30 p.m. Press conference in front of Dallas County
Courthouse and Jail, then take DART to Dallas VA Hospital.
4:30 p.m. Rally at Dallas VA Hospital.
April 3 - 10 a.m. March south to Red Oak.
April 4 - 10 a.m. March south to Waxahachie.
7 p.m. Vigil in Waxahachie commenrating the
assassination of Dr. King.
April 5 - 10 a.m. March south to Italy.
April 6 - 10 a.m. March south to Carl’s Corner.
8 p.m. Performances by musicians and dancers.
April 7 - 10 a.m. March south to Hillsboro,
then southwest to Aquilla Lake.
April 8 - 10 a.m. March to Aquilla.
April 9 - 10 a.m. March to Gholson.
April 10 -10 a.m. March to Lacy Lake View.
April 11 -10 a.m. March to Waco.
April 12 -10 a.m. March to Waco Lake.
April 13 -10 a.m. March to Crawford for the celebration
of the 3rd Anniversary of the founding of the
Crawford Peace House.


After Downing Street
Annie and Buddy Spell, Louisiana peace activists
(Annie is president of the Greater Covington, LA branch of the NAACP.)
Anthony Arnove, author - “Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal”;
co-editor with Howard Zinn - “Voices of a People’s History of the U.S.”
Arden Buck, Mountain Forum for Peace, Nederland, CO
Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Chaplain, NGO Rep. to the United
Nations for the American Humanist Society.
Bloomington Peace Action Coalition (Indiana)
Campus Antiwar Network
Charles Jenks, Chair, Advisory Board, Traprock Peace Center,
Deerfield, MA
Cindy Sheehan, Co-founder, Gold Star Families for Peace
Coalition Against War and Injustice (Baton Rouge)
Consumers for Peace
Covington Peace Project (Louisiana)
Crawford Peace House
Dahr Jamail, independent journalist who spent over 8 months
reporting from occupied Iraq
Dallas County Young Democrats
Dallas NAACP
Dallas Peace Center
David Swanson, Co-founder,
Dennis Kyne, Gulf War veteran, activist and author of
“Support the Truth”
Dirk Adriaensens, Coordinator, SOS Iraq and member
of the Executive Committee of the Brussells Tribunal, Belgium
Don Debar, correspondent, WBAI, New York, NY
Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, National Coordinating Committee
- Campus Antiwar Network
Eric Ruder, reporter, Socialist Worker newspaper
Gabriele Zamparini, freelance journalist and film maker
living in London; co-editor of
Global Exchange
Goldstar Families for Peace
Howard Zinn, historian, playwright and activist; author
of “A People’s History of the United States” and co-editor
with Anthony Arnove of “Voices of a People’s History of the U.S.”
International Socialist Organization
Jacob Flowers, Director, MidSouth Peace and Justice Center
Judy Linehan, Military Families Speak Out
Jumpstart Ford Campaign, a joint effort of Global Exchange,
the Rainforest Action Network and the Ruckus Society
Kathy Kelly, Nobel Peace Prize nominee; Co-founder
Voices for Creative Non-Violence
Karen Burke, Campus Antiwar Movement to End the
Occupation, Austin, TX
Karen Hadden, Seed Coalition, Austin, TX
Lindsey German, Convener, Stop the War Coalition (UK)
Michael Letwin, Co-convener, New York City Labor Against the War
Mid-South Peace and Justice Center (Memphis)
Mike Corwin, International Socialist Organization, Austin, TX
Nick Mottern, Director,
Nada Khader, Executive Director, WESPAC Foundation,
White Plains, NY
Norman Solomon, author of “War Made Easy: How Presidents
and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death”
Paola Pisi, professor of religious studies (Italy) and editor of
Phil Gasper, Chair, Department of Philosophy & Religion,
Nortre Dame de Namur University; Professors for Peace
Progressive Democrats of America
Sharon Smith, author of “Women and Socialism: Essays
on Women’s Liberation”
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Sonya Sofia, Rainbow organization
Stan Goff, Master sergeant, retired, U.S. Army
Sundiata Xian Tellem, Co-chair, Green Party of the United States
Black Caucus; former chair, Green Party of Dallas County
Sunny Miller, Executive Director, Traprock Peace Center, Deerfield, MA
Texans for Peace
Traprock Peace Center (Massachusetts)
Thomas F. Barton, Publisher, GI Special
Tim Baer, Director, Bloomington Peace Action Coalition
Tim Carpenter, National Director, Progressive Democrats of America
Valley Reed, Chief organizer, March to Redeem Campaign
Ward Reilly, SE National Contact, Vietnam Veterans Against the
War; Veterans for Peace, Baton Rouge, LA
Wespac Foundation

Affiliations are for identification purposes only.

- 30 -

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


April 7-9, 2006
Quality Inn (Located On US 31)
Kokomo, Indiana 46902
Meeting Introductions 7:ooPM Friday
Saturday & Sunday Begin With Registration At 8:00AM

Working people are under attack as never before. The institutions on
which workers have depended?the Democratic Party and the unions have
utterly failed to defend us. Democratic as well as Republican
politicians support the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, savage cuts in
social programs, outsourcing jobs, attacking public education,
rewriting bankruptcy laws to benefit credit card companies. Union
officials work with corporations to cut wages, rob retirees of their
pensions, impose wage tiers, cut health care. They replace worker
solidarity with worker-against-worker Company Teams. They support the
war-makers in DC.

Meanwhile most working people, blue-collar and white-collar, employed
and unemployed, remain unorganized and largely defenseless.

The politicians and the unions are part of the problem. We cannot rely
on them and we cannot change them. We have to go around them, to create
institutions that we control to fight for the values, the livelihoods,
the future of working people.

SOLIDARITY NOW is a new organization formed in Peoria, IL in 2005. Our
goals are to rebuild the culture of mutual support that is natural to
working people, to fight for the goals of working people, and to build
a movement for democratic revolution.

If you are an auto worker, a teacher, a nurse, a student, a professor,
work in an office or school or hospital or university, are employed or
unemployed, working or retired, we invite you to join Solidarity Now
and to join us in Kokomo for our National Meeting.

To be assured of a room, please make your reservations now at the
Quality Inn, Kokomo, IN (765-459-8001). Tell them you are with
Solidarity Now. Rooms are $58 per night, single or double, breakfast
included. Please let Tino Scalici ( or Dave
Stratman ( know if you would like to join Solidarity Now
or if you plan to attend the meeting.

(For more info on Solidarity Now, please see our web site at

We are still negotiating the cost of the conference rooms. We will
either take up a collection or charge a small conference fee to cover
the costs. The meeting will be an all day event.

Future of the Union Mailing List


Major Mobilization Set for April 29th

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

The times are urgent and we must act.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

300,000 Came to Washington on Sept. 24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Code Pink Mother's Day Vigil May 13-14, in Washington DC

Mother's Day is often seen as if through a soft-focus lens --
a sentimental day of cards and flowers and frills. It has a
surprisingly radical history, however. Just as International
Women’s Day, March 8, started as a day for women to rise
up for peace and justice, so did Mother’s Day in the US begin
with Julia Ward Howe’s inspirational 1870 Proclamation against
the carnage of the Civil War:

Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!…
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity,
mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes
up with our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!

Julia goes on to exhort women to leave their homes and
gather for an “earnest day of counsel” to figure out how
“the great human family can live in peace.” It’s time to
take Julia’s words to heart and bring them to fruition
in the world. Bouquets of spring flowers may be lovely,
but lasting peace is the greatest way to honor all mothers
-- past, present and future. Read the rest of Julia's
Proclamation here.

Join us this Mother's Day weekend, May 13-14, in
Washington DC as we gather for a 24-hour vigil outside
the White House. Bring your mother, your children, your
grandmother, your friends, your loved ones. Come for
the whole vigil (4pm Saturday to 4pm Sunday) or for
a few hours! We’ll sing, dance, drum, bond, laugh,
cry and hug. We’ll write letters to Laura Bush to appeal
to her own mother-heart, and read them aloud. We’ll
discuss new ideas for ending the war and building peace.
In the final two hours, from 2-4pm on Sunday, we’ll be
joined by some amazing celebrity actresses, singers,
writers--and moms. For more information & a schedule
of events to help you plan your trip, check out the
Mothers' Day page on the CODEPINK website. If you
can’t join us, you can create or join a Mother's Day
activity in your own community. For ideas to help
you plan an action check out the resources section
of the Mother's Day page.

And whether you’re in the US or overseas, please
consider writing a letter to Laura Bush to ask her how
she, as a mother, can continue to support a war that
is leaving scores of American and Iraqi mothers bereft.
Send your letters to,
we’ll deliver them en masse; we'll also take the most
compelling letters and turn them into a book, “Letters to Laura.”
Let’s make this Mother’s Day, May 14, one where we
heed Julia Ward Howe’s original call to action. Let’s
come together to build the world we want for our
children -- and our mothers.
Alison, Dana, Farida, Gael, Jodie, Medea, Rae and Tiffany


MONDAY, MAY 29, 2006
(Exact location to be announced.)

Welcome to the Official Push for Peace Site!

The Push For Peace movement is geared to combine the efforts of
able-bodied activists to those with special needs or challenges,
so that all people can participate and be counted.

The Push for Peace logo shows a Navy veteran in a wheelchair
with a peace sign on the wheel, with people marching behind
him. It can be seen at:

Just in case we don't get to modify the map before the weekend,
I'll just name our proposed stops. We start, of course with Golden
Gate Park, from there we head south to Los Angeles. Turning
east we move to Phoenix, then on to Albuquerque. Now it's
north to Denver, and east to St Louis. North again to Chicago,
and east to Detroit. Continue east to Cleveland, and then NYC
if all goes well Central Park (Imagine), culminating at the gates
of the White House on July 4, 2006

Push For Peace is a collective of veterans, progressive activists,
and everyday citizens working together through education,
motivation, and truth to bring America's troops home from the
war in Iraq and to help bring healing and peace to our nation.
The Push For Peace movement is geared to combine the efforts
of able-bodied activists to those with special needs or challenges,
so that all people can participate and be counted. The Push
For Peace effort will include organized rallies and marches,
as well as appearances and performances by high-profile
speakers and entertainers, to rally the American people and
show them we stand united with our fellow citizen and soldier.
It is our goal to grow the base of participants each day resulting
in a cross-country Push culminating at the gates of the White
House on July 4, 2006. Events will be scheduled across the
country leading up to the big Push in July. So keep checking
the Push calendar for events near you. Mapping it all out...
[Website shows map of stops in US en route to DC on July 4,]

This is a tentative and unfinished P4P route and is only a work in progress.
The Push is set to leave Golden Gate Park on Memorial Day 2006 (currently
working on permits) and then we will Push our way across the country
to arrive in DC across from the White House gathering at Lafayette Park
(currently working on permits) on July 4th, 2006. Golden Gate Park,
San Francisco, California Las Vegas Nevada Phoenix, Arizona Denver,
Colorado Crawford, Texas New Orleans, Louisiana more states pending...
Pushing real Democracy!


The Right To Return, a Basic Right Still Denied

Protests Planned Against Media War Coverage
By Danny Schechter


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


March 2006 National Immigrant
Solidarity Network Monthly Digest
National Immigrant Solidarity Network
No Immigrant Bashing! Support Immigrant Rights!
No Borders! Papers for All!

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


The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

Bill of Rights


By Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War

2) In Notification of Army Deaths, More Pain
April 7, 2006

3) Gonzales Suggests Legal Basis for Domestic Eavesdropping
April 7, 2006

4) Freedom of Movement, a Working Class
Alternative to Immigration Problem
by Mahmood Ketabchi
April 7, 2006

5) Lobbying Cases Shine Spotlight on Family Ties
April 9, 2006

6) Ángels in America
April 8, 2006

7) Making It Ashore, but Still Chasing U.S. Dream
April 9, 2006

8) Drug Plan's Side Effect Is Severe
April 8, 2006

9) We are what we eat
"The Omnivore's Dilemma" author Michael Pollan on how
Wall Street has driven America's obesity epidemic, the
misleading labels in Whole Foods, and why we should
spend more money on food.
By Ira Boudway

[Col. Writ. 3/23/06] Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

11) Criminal probe of mine fire initiated
U.S. attorney to investigate
By Tara Tuckwiller
Staff writer
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has launched a criminal investigation into
the January fire at Massey Energy’s Aracoma Alma No. 1 Mine in
Logan County that killed two coal miners.
April 07, 2006

12) Chirac to Replace Youth Jobs Law
April 10, 2006


By Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War

These are my notes about my experience at a counter-recruitment
table at George Washington High School that I was able to arrange
on the spur of the moment thanks to a tip-off from one of the
Teachers at the school. I had been to the school last year also for
their Career Fair--a time when the colleges, and trades come
to offer kids their programs in order to help them choose their
future careers.

As a result of the passage March 28, 2006, by the San Francisco
Board of Education, of the "Equal Access for Recruiters" Board of
Education Policy (62-14Sp1), the high schools in San Francisco
are being inundated with military recruiters in full force.

This new policy in effect, circumvents the 95 percent "opt-out"
rate chosen by the parents of San Francisco students. It is
outrageous that after 95 percent of all parents in the district
have made it clear that they do not want the military to contact
their children; and while the signed "opt-out" form will prevent
the school from turning over students information to the military
--including school files--the new policy lets the military right
in the front door, up close, and in personal contact with students
on a regular and frequent basis. This decision is a clear betrayal
of the will of the overwhelming majority of parents and voters
in the district!

In 2005 San Francisco voters voted Yes on Proposition N, to
Bring the Troops Home Now! In 2006, we voted Yes on Proposition I,
to get the military out of our schools! And 95 percent of the parents
of the San Francisco Unified School District opted out of military
recruitment of their kids and yet, here we are, with an open door
policy for military recruiters in our schools.


At the counter-recruitment table set up at George Washington
High School's Career Fair this past Tuesday, April 4, not only did
the military send two representatives from each of their branches
--but, clustered together with their three-billion-dollar advertising
budget, they were the most popular tables at the fair.

Each branch of the military gave out flashlights, nylon-web key
chains (very popular with students), school folders, rulers, periodic
table charts, and shopping bags full of other stuff from the Army,
Marines, Navy, Air Force and National Guard.

And each had their usual slick brochures that promise students
they can become electric guitar players and graphic designers in
the Service and that they don't even have to go into combat if they
don't want to! They promise tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses
to students who join.

(Of course, the reality is, that an honorably discharged, and bronze
star recipient who was sent home because of post traumatic stress
syndrome has been ordered to pay back the bonus he had received
while serving in Iraq. Not only did the Army seize his final bonus check
but he is being forced to pay back the bonus money he received because
he did not complete his full tour of duty of six years. He only completed four.)

What was remarkable at George Washington High, was the interest in
the counter-recruitment table that Bay Area United Against War set up.
I copied brochures from American Friends Service Committee, War Resisters
League and other informative pamphlets and hand-outs, in Spanish and
English, that offered information on how to apply for college financial aid,
8 Reasons JROTC has to go (very popular with the students since there
is a large JROTC at this school,) questions you should ask yourself
before you enlist, a flyer called "the military is hazardous to your health" etc.

We had a bunch of College Not Combat Prop. I buttons which were
snapped up right away--I even had to give up my Mumia button to
a student. We also had flyers for upcoming activities in the antiwar
movement like the upcoming Stop the War Now Coalition May 13
conference flyers and the April 10, Amnesty for All demonstration
at 5pm at 16th and Mission Street, S.F.

More than half of the material that I brought was taken by students
(hundreds.) I had a lot of Spanish flyers left because the school seems
to be predominantly Asian. I only wish I had more stuff to give out.
I ran out of the main flyers and, of course, the buttons.

I had wonderful conversations with students. A young woman who
had stuff from the Army in her arms stopped at the table with a friend,
also holding the military junk. The young woman who spoke first
picked up the "8 Reasons Why JROTC Has to Go" flyer. She said she
had been put into JROTC in her freshman year because the P.E. classes
were full. She hated it. Her friend said that her gym teacher told the
class that if anyone fails PE, they will have to take JROTC. This is
a clear violation of the San Francisco Unified School District policy
that prohibits forcing students into JROTC, but it happens routinely.
We also ran across this at Lincoln H.S. and International Studies
Academy last spring.

Most often, students are unable to take a PE class because there
is not enough to go around so they either have to wait a semester
to graduate or take JROTC--and that is no choice to any kid who
wants to graduate with his or her class. And some, who are late
registers to high school, get put into JROTC automatically their
freshman year. JROTC is supposed to be for Juniors and Seniors

I had a great conversation with these two young women about
their JROTC experience. We also talked about the war and the
state of our schools as a result of the huge costs of the war.
I explained that the military advertising budget ($3 billion) alone
for recruitment--to hand out the slick brochures and trinkets--
could fund fantastic public education improvements. After hearing
that, the two young women looked at each other and said, "heck,
we didn't even need these stupid folders" referring to the Military
folders they had in their arms.

I spoke with a group of four or five young men who had their
arms full of Military stuff too. They came over to the table
enthusiastically and took the flyers about JROTC and the "military
is hazardous to your health" flyer and read them then and there.
They asked questions and listened in earnest. They took the
COLLEGE NOT COMBAT buttons and put them on.

I spoke to these young men for about ten minutes comparing
the information in the flyers we had at our table to what the
recruiters had just told them when they were getting the free
stuff. They reacted like they knew those military guys were
"full of it."

The same group of young men came back about a half-hour
later with other friends after looking at all the other tables
and told me that, "although I didn't have a lot of fancy stuff
to give out, this was the best table."

These instances were repeated throughout the 10:00 am to
12:30 pm time slot for the fair as hundreds of students strolled
down the long hallway gathering free stuff and looking at the
career options offered to them.

There were many colleges present and I sat across from the
Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Union. Everyone was giving out some
kind of trinket, button, sticker, pen, etc. and the kids were
grabbing all of it up.


The School Administration--the Principal and the Career
Counselor--although they permitted our table, held us under
different guidelines than everyone else. We were situated in
a place where we had no view of the military tables which were
around the corner in another hallway. As part of securing the
table, I had to send electronic copies of all material I intended
to give out to students--which I did, promptly.

I got a call from the Career Counselor informing me that we
could not have any sigh-up sheets or way to collect students
names or phone numbers or any information from them and
that, she said, went for the Military as well. Yet I saw many
of the tables giving students cards to fill out to receive
information, etc. I could not see if the Military was doing that
as I was prohibited from going near their tables. I would have
loved to pick some of their brochures up. I have a few that were
sent to our teenage grandsons but would like to have more.

I was informed by the Career Counselor the day before the fair,
that the Principal did not want me to bring the flyer, "8 Reasons
Why JROTC Has to Go" because, he said, it would "upset and
intimidate the students who were in JROTC." I spoke to the
Principal directly and he repeated this claim. I asked him if he
is saying that presenting students with an alternative point of
view--the reason we were there in the first place--was considered
intimidating by him? Was this what he was teaching his students?
Should students be "intimidated" by a different point of view?

He told me that if I brought those flyers I would not be allowed
to set up the table. I told him I would contact the members of
the Board of Education about it immediately. He got very angry
with me and hung up. I was in the process of emailing the board
members when, about an hour later, the Principal called me back
and told me it was OK to bring the flyer. I didn't write the letter
to the board.

I was told, however, in no uncertain terms, that I was to stay put
and stay away from the military tables. (Last year we stood quietly
by the military tables with Stephen Funk (who came on his own and
stood there quietly wearing an Iraq War Resister T-shirt) and handed
out flyers about "Military Myths." We were ordered to stop, by the
Principal at that time and in fact he eventually called the police on us.

About three squad cars came and the police surrounded us with
about seven officers, and threatened to arrest us if we didn't stop
handing out flyers near the military tables. So this year, the Principal
made me guarantee that I would not approach the military. And
I didn't--even though at least one Recruiting Officer came to our
table and took a flyer--a flyer asking, "Why Enlist?" (The recruiter
took it with a smirk on his face and he didn't look me in the eye!)

The experience was invigorating. The students are bright and full
of questions and have opinions of their own--good ones! The table
tended to get clusters of 4 to 6 students together who also discussed
among themselves and compared their experiences they had just
had at the military tables. It was a real upper for me to be included
in these discussions. Some students who came to the table came
by again later and brought other friends.

I am writing this long report of my experience to express the
importance I feel this kind of work is. I must also report that I had
a hell of a time getting anyone to go with me--in fact--I went alone
with the stuff I copied off my computer, using my ink cartridges
($$$plural$$$) and the buttons we had left over from Prop. I. The
students are hungry for information and for activity to do. If we
had hundreds of buttons, hundreds of students would be wearing

We need to organize this work. We need to produce material to
hand out; raise the money to pay for the material. We need to set
up career day events in all the schools and organize a network of
volunteers who can go to them. We also need to set up flyering
at the schools especially in the mornings, since many parents
still drop their kids off and can be reached with a flyer, etc.

We must give these counter-recruitment endeavors the tools
they need to attract and educate students by creating a literature
committee, volunteer and outreach committee, and fundraising
committee to pay for the material.

We also need to decide on unifying slogans and a counter-
recruitment program that can involve the parents.

Many of the parents in the district know nothing of this new policy
and think the military has already been banned in the schools.
They also think that since they signed the opt-out form that their
children will remain free from military predation--at least in

In fact, many students came up to the table and questioned
if Proposition I, the No Military in our Schools initiative, had
passed? One parent, who attended the fateful board meeting
where the policy was adopted, was shocked to find the military
still in the schools. She had the naive idea that passing Prop.
I would have put a stop to it. She was furious when she found
out that now they would be more firmly in place in our schools
then they were before the passing of this new policy--a policy
that the military recruiters were very pleased with! That's why
she came to the meeting--she was outraged!

It is imperative that we continue to convince young people not
to enlist on a massive scale and to demand increased funding
for schools and for job training and career training options as
well as increased financial aid for college. The decision not to
enlist on a massive scale is a profoundly democratic antiwar

By carrying out a high school counter-recruitment program
we can involve broad new layers of people into the antiwar
struggle. By coordinating our efforts, planning and working
together, we can reach out into more schools than ever before.
By pooling our resources--asking print shops to donate their
services, or by procuring donations for the printing of specific
flyers or general donations for the costs of producing as much
as we can to give out to kids and for the kids to take home to
their parents as possible. We also need some young designers
who can design stuff that is attractive to young people.

We need to set tables up at the malls where the kids hang out
and, by the way, where many of the recruitment offices are
located! Stonestown Mall is one! We need to set tables up
outside of all the summer concerts that will be coming up--
concerts that are often co-sponsored by the Navy, etc.

We also need to encourage the formation of antiwar and counter
-recruitment and Amnesty Now committees on the high schools
and college campuses and among the parents--and encourage
them to coordinate and work with the organized antiwar
movement to demand, for instance, that only those students
whose parents have "opted in" can approach the military at
any school career fair and that the military should be out of
reach to the other 95 percent of students.

This is a momentous task but one that promises to bring in
fresh new thinking and ideas into the movement. It is a chance
to reach the masses of people who have never demonstrated
or protested before and bring them into the movement and
broaden it. It is a chance to influence a young person--make
them think twice about enlisting. (Regina Johnson from College
Not Combat, was able to convince a young woman at International
Studies Academy last spring not to join the military and to go
to college instead to become a nurse. That was the result of
setting up a counter-recruitment workshop at the school's
Career Day Fair.)


We went out on the sidewalks to collect signatures for Proposition I.
We talked to thousands of people and were happy, but not surprised
at the vote in favor of Prop. I. The increased militarization of our schools
is intolerable under these circumstances in San Francisco. We need
to organize a movement strong enough to get the military out of
our schools as per the wishes of 95 percent of the parents of the
district and the majority of voters in the city! And a growing majority
of people throughout the country and the world.


2) In Notification of Army Deaths, More Pain
April 7, 2006

After Neil Santorello heard the news that his son, a tank commander,
had been killed in Iraq, from the officer in his living room, he walked
out his front door and removed the American flag from its pole.
Then, in tears, he tore down the yellow ribbons from his tree.

Rather than see it as the act of a man unmoored by the death
of his 24-year-old son, the officer, an Army major, confronted
Mr. Santorello, saying,

"Don't be disrespectful," Mr. Santorello recalled. Then, the officer,
whose job it is to inform families of their loss, quickly disappeared
without offering any comfort.

Later, the Santorellos heard a piece of crushing but inaccurate
news: They would not be allowed to look inside their son's coffin.
First Lt. Neil Santorello, of Verona, Pa., had been killed by
an improvised bomb. His body, the family was told, was

The Santorellos eventually learned that families have the right
to see a loved one's body.

"I asked them to open the casket a few inches so I could reach
in and touch his hand," recalled Mr. Santorello, who is still
struggling with his son's death, in large part because
he was not allowed to see him.

"The government doesn't want you to see servicemen in
a casket, but this is my son. He is not a serviceman.
You have to let his mother and I say goodbye to him."

Scores of families whose loved ones have died fighting
in Iraq and Afghanistan have gone head-to-head with
a casualty system that, in their experience, has failed to
compassionately and competently guide them through
the harrowing process that begins after a soldier's death.

When the system works smoothly, and it often does,
families say they feel a profound sense of comfort.
But others have seen their hurt deepen.

They have complained about coffins placed in cargo bays
alongside crates, personal belongings that disappear,
questions about how their loved ones died that go
unanswered for months or even years, and casualty
assistants who are too poorly trained to walk them
through the labyrinth of their anguish.

After three years of war in Iraq, with the number
of active-duty deaths there surpassing 2,330, the
military is scrambling to improve the way it cares for
surviving relatives and honors soldiers who have been
killed in battle. Even senior officials, including the
secretary of the Army, have acknowledged flaws
in the system.

Not since the Vietnam War have so many service
members in dress uniforms knocked on so many
doors to deliver such somber news.

The Army, which has suffered the largest number
of deaths, 1,589 as of March 28, has faced an enormous
challenge and has received the sharpest criticism for
its treatment of surviving families and soldiers killed
in action.

Now it is rushing through new regulations to overhaul
the casualty process, which has been tinkered with,
but not fully revised, since 1994. "We take it to heart
whenever something is not done properly and are
painfully aware of the additional grief it brings to the
family concerned," said Col. Mary Torgersen, the
director of the Army's Casualty and Memorial Affairs
Operation Center, in an e-mail response to questions,
adding that some changes have already been put in place.

For some grieving families, the cracks in the system
have deepened their distress and many have been
turned to Congress, state officials and private lawyers
for help.

Many wonder why it has taken the military so long
to address their concerns. The answer appears
straightforward: The military did not expect to be
fighting this long. It also did not expect to lose
this many soldiers.

Lapses in the past few years run from the heart-wrenching
to the head-scratching. Families have said that items like
cameras and computers containing treasured e-mail
messages and photographs have been lost or damaged.

Gay and Fred Eisenhauer, of Pinckneyville, Ill., whose son,
Wyatt, an Army scout, was killed last May in Iraq by an
improvised bomb, are still hoping to receive their son's
watch, eyeglasses and cellphone. The phone is precious
because it holds a recording of their son's voice. A combat
patch they were promised has never arrived.

"I know these are little things," Mrs. Eisenhauer said. "What
makes it important to me is that my son was good enough
to go over there to fight, but he is not important enough
to get his stuff back to his family."

Colonel Torgersen said the Casualty and Memorial Affairs
Operation Center "aggressively monitors the movement"
of personal effects. Mortuary specialists inventory, photograph,
clean and then ship belongings to the center via Federal Express.

Soldiers, in their coffins, usually arrive from Dover Air Force
Base in the belly of a commercial flight. But honor guards
have not always been present as the coffins come off the plane.

The Eisenhauers had hoped to take comfort in the military
rituals. Instead, the airline placed Private Eisenhauer's coffin
in a cargo warehouse with crates and boxes stacked high
around it. There was no ceremony, no flag over the coffin.

Only the airport firefighters did their bit to honor him,
hoisting flags on their ladder trucks.

"I just wanted to scream," Mrs. Eisenhauer said. "My son
was owed that. He was owed that."

When Joan Neal of Gurnee, Ill., went to the airport for the
body of her son, Specialist Wesley Wells, 21, she was aghast.
"To glance over and see your child's casket on a forklift is not
really the kind of thing you want to see," Ms. Neal said.

News of a death has also been delivered at awkward times.
Ms. Neal was at work when she was notified in September 2004
that her son had been killed in Afghanistan, and Mrs. Eisenhauer's
6-year-old niece was in the room when Mrs. Eisenhauer
received the news.

As parents to a married son, the Santorellos experienced
something that is commonplace: The Army focuses on the
spouse and has often left parents to fend for themselves.

The Santorellos were not assigneda casualty assistant and
were expected to pay their own way to a memorial ceremony
in Fort Riley, Kan., and to find transportation to the burial at
Arlington Cemetery.

"We were not considered next of kin," said Mr. Santorello,
who with his wife, Dianne, opposes the war. "He was my son
for 25 years. He was her husband for 22 months, and I had
no say."

Recognizing the distress of parents with married children,
the Army in mid-February began assigning casualty assistants
to mothers and fathers.

Unanswered Questions

Some families say that the most upsetting aspect of the
casualty process may be the lack of information about how
the loved ones died.

In a 2005 survey of 50 military families by The Military Times,
about half of the families said they did not know enough about
their loved ones' deaths.

Parents and spouses crave details to help them cope, particularly
because they cannot visit the spot where loved ones died: Who
held his hand? Did he say anything?

"You know what my casualty assistant said? 'These are just
questions you will never get answers to,' " Ms. Eisenhauer said.
"But there were men there. Why can't I get answers?"

The Santorellos were told by the Army that their son had died
instantly. A few weeks later, they received a letter saying he
had lived for four hours.

Mrs. Santorello learned the time of death by reading the a
utopsy report. "I don't think anyone should be forced to read
an autopsy report to find out when their son died," she said.

Ms. Neal's casualty officer told her that her son had been
killed in action by a gunshot wound to the chest. After her
son's funeral, Ms. Neal learned that he might have been
killed by his own forces.

She had been told that she would be notified in 30 days.
Seven months later, when she still had not received further
news, she took a plane to Hawaii, where her son had been
stationed, to talk with his superiors, who greeted her warmly.

"They did confirm he was killed by American bullets," she said.
"The autopsy was done within a week of his death. They knew
that when they did the autopsy."

A Personal Apology

Karen Meredith's son Lt. Ken Ballard, 26, a fourth-generation
Army officer and a tank commander, was killed in Iraq in May 2004.

Her experience went so awry that she received a personal letter
of apology last September from the secretary of the Army,
Francis J. Harvey.

The problems began when her casualty officer abandoned her
after 10 days, just as the process was beginning. It also took
five months to receive Lieutenant Ballard's personal belongings.
His clothes were returned washed, which might have made some
families thankful, but devastated her. But there was worse to come.

The week her son died, Ms. Meredith was told that he had
been killed by enemy fire.

Fifteen months later, there was a knock on the door. Ms. Meredith
was told by an Army casualty official that her son's death had been
accidental. Her son had been killed when his tank backed into
a tree branch, setting off an unmanned machine gun.

"It was not a secret," said Ms. Meredith, now an outspoken
critic of the war. "It was incompetence."

"The subliminal assumption is that they take care of everything,"
added Ms. Meredith, who credits the Army for responding to her
complaints and working to fix the system. "They don't. I was

Even when soldiers are alive, it can be difficult to get answers.
Laura Youngblood, 27, was seven months pregnant with their
second child in New York last July when her husband was
wounded by an improvised bomb in Iraq.

Because of the pregnancy, she said, the corpsman assisting
her did not want to tell her that her husband was "very seriously
injured." When she was finally told he was off his ventilator, she
recalls saying, "Good, because you never told me he was on one."

Six days after being wounded, he died.

A Sensitive Duty

Many casualty assistants say they recognize the sensitive nature
of their task and are assiduous about getting it right. Although
all services have different casualty policies. The Marines,
steeped in tradition, have been mostly praised for the way
they handle the jobs. But all agreed that the job of a casualty
assistant is a difficult one. At times, they have become the focus
of a family's anger. Sometimes they suffer emotionally, watching
as wives crumble or children hysterically cry "Daddy."

Afterward, some casualty assistants seek counseling.

"It's hard," said Sgt. First Class Julio Correa, 44, who is based
at Fort Bragg, N.C., and has notified two families of deaths and
assisted two others. "You see the kids screaming. You think,
'It could be my kids.' "

But typically the Army's notification officers, who bring news
of the death, and its casualty assistants, who help families
afterward, are picked simply because they are nearby. Their
training often amounts to reading a manual and watching a video.
Casualty duty is a side job. The officers and assistants are told
to focus on families as long as needed, typically six weeks.
Sometimes they retire or are reassigned midstream. Eric K. Schuller
is a senior policy adviser for the Illinois lieutenant governor,
Pat Quinn, whose office has dealt with distraught families,
including the Eisenhauers and Ms. Neal.

"This had to be fixed," Mr. Schuller said. "There were so many
of them over a large period of time."

Still, the casualty process has improved since the Vietnam War,
when it amounted to little more than face-to-face notification
of a death.

"It is dramatically different now in terms of how they respond
and the number of survivor benefits," said Morton Ender,
a West Point sociology professor. "They really embrace the

The Army acknowledges that more can be done. Mr. Harvey,
the Army secretary, ordered an investigation last September
to help address families' concerns.

The report, issued in January, included suggestions that the
Army is planning to implement, including upgrading training
materials, creating a 24-hour hot line and sending mobile
casualty assistance training teams across the country.

The Army now requires commanders to telephone families
within a week of a death and to cross-check casualty reports.

Congress has asked for an investigation by the Government
Accountability Office.

These instances, Colonel Torgersen said, "do cause us to
reflect on our processes."

She added, "In the end, however, this work is carried out
by human beings and however hard we may strive, none
of us are invulnerable to error on occasion."


3) Gonzales Suggests Legal Basis for Domestic Eavesdropping
April 7, 2006

WASHINGTON, April 6 — Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales
suggested on Thursday for the first time that the president might
have the legal authority to order wiretapping without a warrant on
communications between Americans that occur exclusively within
the United States.

"I'm not going to rule it out," Mr. Gonzales said when asked about
that possibility at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

The attorney general made his comments, which critics said reflected
a broadened view of the president's authority, as President Bush
offered another strong defense of his decision to authorize the
National Security Agency to eavesdrop without warrants on
international calls and e-mail messages to or from the United States.

Mr. Bush, in an appearance in North Carolina, told a questioner
who attacked the program that he would "absolutely not" apologize
for authorizing it.

"You can come to whatever conclusion you want" about the merits
of the program," Mr. Bush said. "The conclusion is I'm not going
to apologize for what I did on the terrorist surveillance program."

At the House hearing, Mr. Gonzales faced tough questioning from
Democrats and Republicans but declined to discuss many
operational details.

Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the Wisconsin
Republican who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee and
one of the administration's staunchest allies, accused the
administration of "stonewalling."

"Mr. Attorney General, how can we discharge our oversight
responsibilities if every time we ask a pointed question, we're
told that the answer is classified?" Mr. Sensenbrenner asked.
"Congress has an inherent constitutional responsibility to do
oversight. We are attempting to discharge those responsibilities."

The House and Senate have conducted limited inquiries into the
surveillance program, which many Democrats contend is illegal.

Republicans on the Senate intelligence panel have agreed
on measures to impose new oversight but allow wiretapping
without warrants for up to 45 days.

Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who is
chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has proposed that
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court have a role in ruling
on the legitimacy of the program. In the past, Mr. Gonzales and
the administration have avoided discussing what they consider
hypothetical possibilities in the face of Democrats' accusations
that Mr. Bush has asserted unbridled authority to fight terrorism.

At the hearing, Mr. Gonzales inched closer toward acknowledging
that intercepting purely domestic calls could be considered legally
permissible in his view if the communications involved Al Qaeda.

"You would look at precedent," he said. "What have previous
commander in chiefs done?"

Answering his question, he cited Woodrow Wilson's authorizing
the interception of all cables to and from Europe in World War I
"based upon the Constitution and his inherent role as commander
in chief."

Mr. Gonzales said he would use that legal framework to decide
whether intercepting purely domestic communications without
a warrant was legally permissible. He would not say whether such
wiretapping has been conducted.

The attorney general and other administration officials have said
the National Security Agency eavesdropping was authorized just
to monitor communications with one end outside the United States.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, the California Democrat who raised
the question with Mr. Gonzales, said the refusal to rule out purely
domestic interceptions without a warrant was "very disturbing."

The position, Mr. Schiff said, "represents a wholly unprecedented
assertion of executive power."

"No one in Congress would deny the need to tap certain calls under
court order," he added. "But if the administration believes it can tap
purely domestic phone calls between Americans without court
approval, there is no limit to executive power. This is contrary
to settled law and the most basic constitutional principles of the
separation of powers."

The Justice Department later backed away somewhat from
Mr. Gonzales's statement and said his comments should not
be interpreted as a change in policy.

A department spokeswoman, Tasia Scolinos, said, "The attorney
general's comments today should not be interpreted to suggest
the existence or nonexistence of a domestic program or whether
any such program would be lawful under the existing legal analysis."


4) Freedom of Movement, a Working Class
Alternative to Immigration Problem
by Mahmood Ketabchi
April 7, 2006

As Republican and Democrats in Washington have been debating
what sort of anti immigration bill they can pass, millions
of immigrant workers, student, and progressive forces all across
the country have come out in protest. Their voice was clear;
the sea of people who poured into streets condemned the racist and
xenophobic immigration measures that the government plans
to impose on the society. The protesters demanded human rights
and equality for millions of undocumented immigrant workers who
with their blood and sweat have worked to build this country.

While right-wing republicans and their fascist allies want
to turn millions of immigrant into criminals and erect a 700-mile
wall on the border with Mexico among many other draconian and
sickening racist measures, a so called „bipartisan‰ group of
Republican and Democrats are pushing another reactionary
legislation that will make millions of undocumented immigrants
into second class workers to be ruthlessly exploited by US capitalist
who need cheep and under sieged labor.

The level of discussion in the Congress over the immigration bill
is so degraded that it only shows the deep seated hatred and
contempt that Washington politicians have against immigrants.
The debate over the immigration bill has been so openly racist
that even Bush noticed and advised his racist colleagues to watch
their mouths while referring to immigrants.

The right-wing and racist campaign to criminalize current and
future undocumented immigrants, as well as humanitarian and
progressive groups who help them, is a „shock and awe‰ tactic
to intimidate the public and immigrant rights groups and push
the Democrats as far to the right as they can possibly go. These
reactionary lunatics who hold a powerful position in Washington,
as a matter of political maneuvering, always end up with the
most abhorrent policies. Many people can still remember Newt
Gingrich's „Contract with America‰ where he proposed taking
kids away from their poor families and placing them in orphanages.
These right-wingers know they have very little chance to push
through all their outrageous policies as they would love to, but
by lowering the level of the debate they exact the maximum
concession. The „Contact with America‰ although not fully
realized, led to the most sweeping anti welfare legislation in
1996 that basically laid the foundation to dismantle a social
program that provided a bare minimum of relief for poor
women and children.

Now as the immigration bill is being discussed, right-wing
politicians such as Sensenbrenner, Tom Tancredo, Bill Frist,
Dana Rohrbacher, etc are taking the most intimidating and
thuggish posture as they possibly can. As usual, Democrats
are aligning themselves more and more with the Republicans
and have come up with a disgraceful „guest worker‰ or rather
"Bracero" program that will legalize and institutionalize millions
of immigrant workers in a sort of 21 century indentured servitude.

Although some immigrant rights groups and labor unions are
picking the "guest worker program" to fend off the criminalization
of undocumented workers, progressive forces by and large, together
with millions of other people, are opposing both anti immigration
bills being discussed at the Congress. This opposition basically
revolves around a third alternative that calls for amnesty for all
current undocumented workers.

But what about those who will come in to the US in the future?
In the next 10 or 20 years, we will have millions of other
undocumented workers crossing the border in search of jobs
and joining their families and relatives. What about the thousands
of people who will perish and die as the US government and the
fascist vigilantly groups force immigrants to take greater risks
to their lives in crossing the border? What about all the families
who will be deprived of having their loved ones with them here
in the US?

The movement of labor is an unstoppable trend that has become
a fact of life in a globalized capitalist economy. Workers from
across the border will come to the US, and it is their inalienable
right to come and work here just like everyone else who lives
and has a job here. Capital since long ago has lost its national
character. Capital has no borders and it increasingly flows freely
from one place to another. It goes wherever greater exploitation
and higher profit is obtainable. This course cannot be reversed
as nationalists and protectionists dream of. It can only be
confronted on a global level. Free movement of workers is
a crucial step towards developing a global strategy to confront
capitalist exploitation.

While capital moves freely around the globe, workers are tied
to their national borders as modern slaves who were tied to
their owners or as serfs who were confined to a piece of land.
Capital supposedly freed workers from dependence and
bondage to feudal lords and allowed them to work for
whoever they desire in order to sell his labor power at
a better price. But in todays globalized world, workers
are forcefully deprived of their basic right to move freely
in search of a job that pays higher wages and provides
better benefits. In a global battle between capital and labor,
the restriction of workers from free movement has put them
everywhere at a great disadvantage. As Mexican workers
in Mexico are forced to sell their labor power at lower
prices, American workers lose their jobs, work for lower
wages, lose their bargaining power, see their unions
shattered, and take greater risks any time time they
confront their employers and the government. The current
system is set up to divide workers and push them
to compete against one another in a race to the
bottom. This is a race to a life of rightlessness
and misery.

We need a different solution. Amnesty for all the
undocumented worker is a great idea, but it does not
resolve the underlying problem of undocumented and
other workers in the US. In 1986, about 3 million
undocumented workers were given amnesty. 20 years
later, we are faced with the same problem; this time even
bigger. We now have about 12 workers who work day
in day out in fear and inhuman conditions that is harmful
to themselves and all other workers. This vicious cycle
must end.

We need a solution that will enhance working class
solidarity in the long run, place workers at a higher ground
where they can fight capital with full force, and enable them
to lift their living standards up to a level that is worthy
of all human beings. We must openly and clearly oppose
nationalism, xenophobia, and nativism, for they are all
shameful sentiments that divide workers and weaken their
movement. This solution cannot and should not be
articulated based on the level of discussion being conducted
in Washington. The ruling class is always far far away from
the masses of people and their needs, desires, and sense
of justice. The immigrant and worker's rights movement
should build a movement around demands such as:

**Providing an immediate general amnesty to all undocumented

**Opposing all militarization of the borders, shutting down
all immigration detention centers, and prosecuting fascist
militia gangs who target immigrants crossing the Mexican border;

**Defending workers right and providing equal protection
to all workers;

**Allowing free movement of labor among the US,
Mexico, and Canada;

**Issuing permanent residency and citizenship upon
request by anyone for reasons such as, humanitarian,
family reunification, and work; and

**Opposing all temporary work permissions.

These demands are expressions of freedom and human
rights for workers. At the same time, that they will help
lift the general standard of living for workers in the US,
Mexico, and Canada, they will also help close the gap
between poor and high paid workers. Also, overtime,
they will reduce the pressure off workers to move around
in search of job, and they will balance out the spread
of population across the three countries.

To build a movement around these demands is long
over due. There will never be a "prefect" and "appropriate"
timing to raise these demands as the banner of worker's
movement. We can only create them. The opportunity
to build a powerful movement does exist as immigrants
have come forward in astonishing and unprecedented
number that surprised friends and foes. Millions of workers
marched across the country and 10s of thousands of kids
walked out of their schools and poured into the street
to protest against the hideous immigration bills being
discussed in the Washington halls of power.

A new buzz is around that there is a sleeping giant that
might be waking up. It is a powerful force that has the
potential to move the country into a new humane direction.
But, it can only do so if it has a clear radical demand, lucidity
of thought about its future direction, and the ability
to understand its Herculean power. To the extent that
this movement is able to move to the left and separate itself
from half-hearted friends who only want to ride on its back
for their petty class interests, it will have the ability to be
present on the scene for a longer time and make the greatest
impact in charting a new direction for worker's movement.

The potential to build a powerful movement around the
demands mentioned above does exit. It is only the question
of vision and willingness to push this movement forward and
to a new level. Which side are we on? That is the challenge
we are facing.


5) Lobbying Cases Shine Spotlight on Family Ties
April 9, 2006

WASHINGTON, April 8 — On Dec. 3, 2003, Aeneas Enterprises
opened for business in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los
Angeles, and judging by its bank records, the small consulting
company with no listed telephone number was an instant success.
Within a month, its records show, Aeneas had taken in
$2.3 million from a single client.

Aeneas is under scrutiny by the Justice Department and
Congressional investigators. Its founder, Robert Abramoff,
a lawyer and sometime Hollywood movie producer, is the brother
of Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist at the center of
a Washington influence-peddling scandal involving several
members of Congress.

The company's records show that the $2.3 million was received
from another consulting firm, GrassRoots Interactive of Silver
Spring, Md., which was established by Jack Abramoff and where
he directed some of his huge lobbying fees. Billing statements
prepared by Aeneas do not show what service Robert Abramoff
provided to warrant millions of dollars in payments from his
brother's company.

Robert Abramoff did not return phone calls for comment.
His apparent entanglement in his brother's business is an
example of what government investigators say is something
remarkable about the criminal inquiry centered on Jack
Abramoff and his Washington lobbying network.

To a surprising degree, the spouses and other family members
of the investigation's central targets are being caught up in the
inquiry, dealing with subpoenas and interviews with the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, with at least the possibility that some
of them could face civil or criminal charges themselves.

Lawyers with detailed knowledge of the Justice Department's
investigation, who were granted anonymity because of rules
barring public discussion of grand jury evidence, say that so
many of the wives of lawmakers and lobbyists have become
tied up in the investigation that F.B.I. agents have begun
referring to them as "The Wives Club."

The lawyers said the scrutiny of the families would increase
the leverage of prosecutors, since the targets might be willing
to plead guilty and incriminate others to spare their family
members from being charged.

At least one of the wives, Julie Doolittle, who is married to
Representative John T. Doolittle, Republican of California,
has been subpoenaed in the investigation of Mr. Abramoff
and questioned by the F.B.I. The June 2004 subpoena sought
information about Mrs. Doolittle's marketing and events-
planning work for Mr. Abramoff's lobbying firm and for his
Washington restaurant, Signatures, which he later sold. Her
lawyer, William L. Stauffer, said Mrs. Doolittle was contacted
by the Justice Department again last year and asked for
additional records. Her work has become a central issue
in her husband' s difficult re-election bid this November.

Mr. Stauffer said in a statement that Mrs. Doolittle's consulting
firm, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions, has "complied fully
with the subpoena" and has "cooperated fully by making
its records available."

Lisa Rudy, who is married to Tony Rudy, the former deputy
chief of staff to Representative Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas,
received $50,000 in consulting fees as a result of what her
husband has acknowledged was a corrupt scheme with
Mr. Abramoff to influence the workings of Mr. DeLay's
office and promote the concerns of Mr. Abramoff's clients
on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Rudy pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges last
month. The Justice Department has said that Mrs. Rudy has
agreed to cooperate with the investigation and will sign her
own agreement with prosecutors. The Rudy family's lawyer,
Laura A. Miller, did not return phone calls for comment.

Christine A. DeLay, Mr. DeLay's wife, received $115,000 in
consulting fees from 1998 to 2002 from a lobbying firm set
up by her husband's former chief of staff, Edwin A. Buckham,
who is also under scrutiny by the Justice Department because
of his lobbying contacts with Mr. DeLay's House office.

Although there is no suggestion of any criminal investigation
focused on Mrs. DeLay, lawyers involved in the investigation
say prosecutors have asked about the circumstances of her
hiring by Mr. Buckham and whether it was an effort to influence
Mr. DeLay, the former House majority leader. Mr. DeLay
announced this week that he was resigning from Congress,
saying he wanted to avoid an "ugly" re-election fight this fall
that might focus on ethical issues, including his ties
to Mr. Abramoff.

A lawyer for the DeLays, Richard Cullen, said Mrs. DeLay
had been employed by Mr. Buckham's firm, the Alexander
Strategy Group, to gather information on the favorite charities
of members of Congress. "Christine DeLay is a very talented
woman with a keen political mind, and the project she was
working on was one that had substance and added value
to Alexander," Mr. Cullen said.

The phone records of the couple's daughter, Dani DeLay
Ferro, a political organizer for her father, were formally
requested last year by a grand jury in Travis County, Tex.,
where Mr. DeLay is under indictment, accused of violating
his home state's election laws.

Mr. Buckham's wife, Wendy, shared more than $1 million in
consulting fees with her husband from the U.S. Family Network,
a nonprofit group tied to Mr. DeLay. The group has drawn the
scrutiny of law enforcement officials because so much of its
income was directed to the Buckham family and appears to
have come from Russian businessmen eager to court favor
from Mr. DeLay. The Buckhams did not return phone calls
seeking comment.

Jack Abramoff's wife, Pamela, was tied to at least some
of her husband's activities that he has now acknowledged
were crimes.

Although there is no suggestion by the Justice Department
that Mrs. Abramoff was aware of her husband's criminal acts,
she and her husband were the sole directors of a nonprofit
group, the Capital Athletic Foundation, which Mr. Abramoff
used illegally to channel millions of dollars from his lobbying
clients to pet projects that had nothing to with the charity's
supposed mission: providing sports programs to needy children.

Most of the charity's money was spent to underwrite a Jewish
school in Maryland that was founded by Mr. Abramoff and
where the couple educated two of their sons. The foundation
also underwrote a 2002 trip to Britain for Representative
Bob Ney, an Ohio Republican who is under investigation
by the Justice Department for gifts he received from
Mr. Abramoff. Mr. Ney has denied wrongdoing, saying
he was duped by Mr. Abramoff about the financing of the
$150,000 trip, which included rounds of golf at the fabled
course at St. Andrews in Scotland.

There are also references to Mrs. Abramoff's activities in
the indictment of a former senior White House budget
official, David F. Safavian. The Justice Department has
accused Mr. Safavian of lying about his ties to Mr. Abramoff,
who sought Mr. Safavian's help in trying to buy government
land for himself and clients. Mr. Abramoff has acknowledged
that he sent his wife to inspect the properties, instructing
her not to reveal her real name to government officials
to avoid scrutiny.

A spokesman for Mr. Abramoff's defense team, Andrew Blum,
had no comment when asked whether Mrs. Abramoff had
obtained separate counsel in the investigation. Mr. Blum
also would not comment on Mr. Abramoff's involvement
with GrassRoots Interactive, the Maryland consulting firm,
and the lobbyist's business ties to his brother Robert.

The Abramoff brothers have been doing business together
for years. They co-wrote — and Jack Abramoff produced —
a poorly reviewed 1989 action-adventure movie called
"Red Scorpion."

State business records in California show that Robert
Abramoff, who went on to produce other little-known films,
is a director or registered agent for almost 100 companies,
many of them with colorful names, including FilmSoup,
Deliberate Ink, It's Pawfect, Knot-2-Much-2-Ask and
Make-Up Your Mind Inc.

He is also the registered agent for Nicole Richie Inc.,
an umbrella company for the business activities of the
young Hollywood celebrity. Ms. Richie's spokesman,
Cindy Guagenti, said that Mr. Abramoff had been hired
to deal with the logistics of the company's incorporation.
She said Ms. Richie "has never met him, never talked to him."

Robert Abramoff appears to have been drawn into his
brother's Washington lobbying network through Aeneas
Enterprises, which shared its offices and phone number
with Robert Abramoff's law office.

Documents gathered from Jack Abramoff's files by government
investigators and provided to The New York Times show that
Robert Abramoff sent an e-mail message to his brother's
accountant on Dec. 19, 2000 — 16 days after Aeneas was
incorporated — that provided instructions on wiring money
to Aeneas's bank account.

"I opened the account yesterday," he wrote. "I told the bank
that a wire would be sent in the next day or two, so they opened
the account with a zero balance."

An Aeneas billing statement sent later that month to Grassroots
InterActive shows that $1.4 million was received from GrassRoots
on Dec. 26. A January statement shows that an additional
$900,000 was received by Aeneas on Jan. 2, 2004.

The one-page statements make no reference to what service,
if any, was performed by Robert Abramoff's company in exchange
for the payments, nor do they indicate how Aeneas disbursed
the money.


6) Ángels in America
April 8, 2006

Ángel Espinoza doesn't understand why Republicans on Capitol Hill
are determined to deport Mexicans like him. I don't get it, either.
He makes me think of my Irish grandfather.

They both left farms and went to the South Side of Chicago, arriving
with relatively little education. My grandfather took a job in the
stockyards and lived in an Irish boardinghouse nearby. Espinoza
started as a dishwasher and lived with his brother in a Mexican

Like my grandfather, who became a streetcar motorman and then
a police officer, Espinoza moved on to better-paying jobs and
a better home of his own. Like my grandfather, Espinoza married
an American-born descendant of immigrants from his native country.

But whereas my grandfather became a citizen, Espinoza couldn't
even become a legal resident. Once he married an American,
he applied, but was rejected because he'd once been caught
at the border and sent home with an order to stay out. Violating
that order made him ineligible for a green card and eligible
for deportation.

"I had to tell my 4-year-old daughter that one day I might not
come home," he said. "I work hard and pay taxes and don't want
any welfare. Why deport me?"

The official answer, of course, is that he violated the law. My
grandfather didn't. But my grandfather didn't have to. There
weren't quotas on Europeans or most other immigrants in 1911,
even though, relative to the population, there were more immigrants
arriving and living here than there are today. If America could
absorb my grandfather, why keep out Espinoza?

It's been argued that Mexicans are different from past immigrants
because they're closer to home and less likely to assimilate.
Compared with other immigrants today, they're less educated,
and their children are more likely to get poor grades and drop
out of school. Therefore, the argument goes, Mexicans are in
danger of becoming an underclass living in linguistically isolated

Those concerns sound reasonable in theory. But if you look
at studies of immigrants, you find that the typical story is much
more like Espinoza's. He dropped out of school at age 16 in
southern Mexico, when his family needed money for medical
bills. He paid a coyote to sneak him across the border and went
to the Mexican neighborhood of Pilsen in Chicago, a metropolitan
area that is now home to the second-largest Mexican population
in the nation.

Espinoza started off making less than $4 an hour as a dishwasher
in a restaurant that flouted the minimum-wage law. But he became
a cook and worked up to $15 an hour. He switched to driving
a street-cleaning truck, a job that now pays him $17 an hour,
minus taxes and Social Security.

By age 24, he and his wife, Anita, had saved enough to buy a house
for about $200,000 in Villa Park, a suburb where most people don't
speak Spanish. Now 27, Espinoza's still working on his English
(we spoke in Spanish), but his daughter is already speaking English
at her preschool.

There's nothing unusual about his progress. More than half of the
Mexican immigrants in Chicago own their own homes, and many
are moving to the suburbs. No matter where they live, their
children learn English.

You can hear this on the sidewalks and school corridors in
Mexican neighborhoods like Pilsen, where most teenagers
speak to one another in English. A national survey by the Pew
Hispanic Center found that nearly all second-generation Latinos
are either bilingual or English-dominant, and by the next
generation 80 percent are English-dominant and virtually
none speak just Spanish.

Yesterday, the Senate seemed close to a deal letting most
immigrants become legal residents. But it fell apart when
Republicans fought to add restrictions, including some that
could prevent an immigrant with Espinoza's history from

Bobby Rush, a Democratic representative from Chicago, is
trying to pass protections for the Espinozas and other families
in danger of being separated. The issue has galvanized other
Chicago public officials and immigrant advocates, who are
planning to take the families to Washington to press their case.

I'd like to see Republicans on Capitol Hill explain to Espinoza
why he's less deserving than their immigrant ancestors, but
that's probably too much to expect. Espinoza has a simpler
wish: "I would like them to tell my American daughter why
her father can't stay with her."


7) Making It Ashore, but Still Chasing U.S. Dream
April 9, 2006

They all journeyed to America on the Golden Venture, a rusty
freighter crammed with 286 Chinese immigrants when it ran
aground off Queens on the night of June 6, 1993.

But a father of three who was seeking asylum from China's one-child
policy was deported back and forcibly sterilized. A teenager seeking
adventure became a United States citizen, proud owner of a New
Jersey restaurant praised for its translucent dumplings. And a man
who swam the last 300 yards through cold, rough surf was suddenly
ordered a decade later to report for deportation, with a warning
to bring no more than 44 pounds of luggage, though by then he
had his own business and two children born in New York.

Almost 13 years after the Golden Venture shuddered to a stop and
set off a national argument about illegal immigration, the last of
its smugglers has just been sent to prison, as the debate rages
again. Ten passengers died that night in a frantic swim for freedom;
six of those who made it to shore escaped without a trace. But for
the rest, their journeys are still unfolding in widely disparate ways,
buffeted by the shifting rules and often arbitrary results of
America's immigration wars.

Whether they had come to escape persecution or just to seek
a better life, nearly all were detained and quickly ordered deported,
as the Clinton administration reversed previous practice in an
effort to deter illegal immigrants and their smugglers. Yet today,
a great majority of the Golden Venture passengers are living and
working in the United States, most with no certainty that they can
stay. Of the 110 who were actually deported, often after years
in detention, at least half have returned illegally, including the
father of three who was sterilized.

And as Congress again grapples with how to turn back illegal
immigrants and deal with those already here, the passengers'
fates show the limits of enforcement and the far-reaching
human consequences of any new twist or turn in the
immigration system.

Although the details and whereabouts of many of the Golden
Venture passengers remain sketchy, interviews with passengers,
lawyers and longtime activists in the case, and a documentary
filmmaker who spent two years tracking their experiences,
paint a picture of bittersweet striving against a backdrop
of growing insecurity.

They are scattered from Brooklyn to Austin, Tex., and
Greensboro, Ga., and even some without legal status, have
worked their way up from delivering Chinese takeout to
owning their own businesses and homes. Some have
American-born children with names like Steven, Wendy
and Jack. Others, still renting bunk beds, faithfully send
money back to the families they have not seen for 15 years.
Yet increasingly, they live in fear of arrest and deportation.

About 220 Golden Venture passengers are living in the United
States, according to those who have followed them most
closely. Fifty-three of them were released from prison with
great fanfare in 1997, but are left, with few exceptions, in
a precarious legal limbo. Another 50 or so disappeared
after being released on bail earlier in the 1990's, while
about as many have won asylum or citizenship.

Another 60 who have sneaked back into the United States
after being deported include Y.C. Dong, the father who was
held in a Pennsylvania prison for three years as he appealed
an immigration judge's 1993 ruling that he did not qualify
for asylum because his fear of persecution under China's
one-child policy was only "subjective."

As soon as he was deported to China in 1996, Mr. Dong
was detained, beaten, fined and sterilized, he said in an
account corroborated by medical tests and court documents.
He returned to America in 1999 by plane through Los Angeles
with a false passport, having borrowed $50,000 from relatives
to pay smugglers — twice what he paid the first time — and
reapplied for asylum. So far, however, his petitions have
been automatically rejected on the ground that he already
had his day in court in 1993.

"I almost feel that my life is out of hope," Mr. Dong, 47, said
through a translator in a recent telephone interview from
Arkansas, where he works 72 hours a week as a cook at
an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet restaurant. "But I still
hope one day I will live freely in this country."

Meanwhile, his second-born daughter, now 21, has opened
a new chapter in the Golden Venture odyssey, leaving the
Chinese village where she said others looked down on her
impoverished family, to seek her father and her fortune
in America.

Another chapter in the story was closed only last month,
when a Chinatown businesswoman who calls herself Sister
Ping was sentenced to 35 years in prison for organizing
and financing the voyage.

Lin Yan Ming, 35, who swam the last 300 yards to shore,
spent the next three years and eight months in jail — until
February 1997, when President Clinton ordered the release
of the last 53 passengers still detained.

There were scenes of jubilation as Mr. Ming and others left
the prison in York, Pa., where an unlikely coalition of anti-
abortion evangelicals, feminists and volunteer lawyers had
held daily vigils for their release. But after the passengers
dropped from the headlines, it became clear that most were
still in danger of deportation because the release had not
given them legal status. A few went on to win asylum, but
a vast majority, including Mr. Ming, tried but failed.

Mr. Ming went to work for take-out restaurants in a rough
section of Brooklyn, braving beatings and robberies, he
said, as he saved enough to buy his own business, marry
and have two sons.

Then, seven years after his release, he received a deportation
letter. It became the catalyst for a private bill repeatedly
introduced in Congress by Representative Todd Russell
Platts, Republican of Pennsylvania, seeking permanent
legal status for 31 men in the York contingent who had
not won asylum. The bill has little chance of passing,
but has provided some temporary protection for Mr. Ming
and the others.

"It's been a roller coaster," said Beverly Church, a paralegal
who credits her late Irish grandfather for inspiring her,
a staunch Republican, to keep fighting for the 31 men
she began visiting at the York prison years ago. She helped
Peter Cohn, a documentary filmmaker, contact many of
them, and on April 26 they will be reunited in New York
at the Museum of Chinese in the Americas before the film's
first showing that night at the TriBeCa Film Festival.

All 31 have been vetted at least twice by the Department
of Homeland Security, the local police, the F.B.I. and
Interpol, Ms. Church pointed out, sharing a book compiled
from the official immigration reports on each man, and
the handwritten notes and color snapshots they send her.

Many show children the men left behind in China, and
cannot visit. Some are teenagers turning into grown-ups.
Others are babies or toddlers, like Mr. Ming's sons,
United States citizens who were sent back to China
through intermediaries to be raised by their grandparents
until they could attend public school in the United States.

"Initially I was having so big a hope," Mr. Ming said,
referring to proposals for guest-worker programs that
could legalize millions of immigrants. "But they have
been saying it for so long. It's like very big thunder,
and the rain that comes out is a small rain."

In contrast, for a half-dozen minors on the Golden
Venture who were placed in foster care on Long Island,
America soon became a safe harbor. Most of the four
or five taken into the foster home of Patricia Yacullo,
in Deer Park, who were 16 or 17, won special juvenile
green cards before they turned 21. Three, whom she
nicknamed Charlie, Paul and Tim, stayed with her and
her husband, Tony, a retired construction worker, until
they could establish American lives.

Both Paul and Charlie, who still call Ms. Yacullo "Mom,"
are now citizens. Paul, originally Cheng Wu Lin, owns
the Red Lantern Restaurant and Tea Bar in Cherry Hill, N.J.,
where a New York Times food critic found the hot and
sour soup "ethereal." He is now president of a company
with a second Red Lantern in Chicago, and plans for a chain.

Charlie, or Si Lun Cheng, has a wholesale handbag business
on West 29th Street in Manhattan. On holidays he takes
his two children to visit Ms. Yacullo, 66, who is diabetic
and legally blind.

"She treat me like her own kids," said Mr. Cheng, his eyes
glistening as he stood among cartons of handbags from
China. After working in a garment factory and in a post
office, he went into business, and recently bought his
first home in Bayside, Queens, where he and his wife
sought good schools for their son, 7, and daughter, 5.

"My son speak full English," he said proudly, glancing
at his parents, who speak only Chinese, but have helped
keep the store open seven days a week since he sponsored
them to join him two years ago.

Yet even in this lucky group, some lost out. Ms. Yacullo
still laments that the young man she calls Tim turned 21
before his green card came through. Despite her payments
to several lawyers, she said, he is stranded without legal status,
with no road to citizenship and no way to reunite his family.
Still, she added, he owns a restaurant in Georgia, is married
and has American children.

"He's done great," she said. "We need more kids like that."

Back in China's Fujian province, being the child of a Golden
Venture passenger was a misfortune, recalled H. L. Dong, the
daughter who followed her father to the United States.

Other absent fathers soon sent money home, transforming
the lives of their families. Tile floors replaced beaten earth;
daughters wore pretty clothes and could go to high school.
But her family, which had its sewing machine confiscated when
the birth-control police came looking for her father, only grew
more indebted, she said. Her father left when she was about 5,
took almost three years to reach America, and languished
in detention another three.

Her journey, by air on a false passport, took only 10 days.
But as her mother feared, she was caught crossing the Mexican
border. Remembering her father's description of Chinese prison,
she was pleasantly surprised. "I was not tortured," she said,
looking very young in jeans and a pink top.

Relatives arranged bond, and now she waits tables 10 hours
a day at a Chinese restaurant in Maryland with a $5, all-you-
can-eat lunch, trying to pay off her $65,000 smuggling debt.
Her father has worked in 10 similar restaurants in six different
states, and in Arkansas now. He spends his day off alone,
watching TV. For both, the only path to legal status is Mr. Dong's
asylum petition, now stuck among thousands of immigration
appeals overwhelming the federal courts, said their lawyer,
Peter Lobel.

But they both return to New York's Chinatown, where survivors
of the Golden Venture often recognize each other in the street,
and share their experience of America.

"I just have this feeling about how America should be," Ms. Dong
said with a laugh. "It should be as good as heaven, otherwise why
do so many people want to come here?"


8) Drug Plan's Side Effect Is Severe
April 8, 2006

YEADON, Pa. — As a result of the new Medicare drug program,
thousands of people who take pills to fight cancer have suddenly
found themselves with new bills to pay for their essential medicines.
Frances Blue is one of them.

Ms. Blue, a retired teacher, learned five years ago that she had
lung cancer. In December, her doctor decided that her old
medicine was not working and that her best bet would be the
cancer drug Tarceva, a medication from Genentech that costs
about $3,000 a month.

A few weeks later, on Jan. 1, the new Medicare Part D program,
which is supposed to help provide prescription drug coverage
for people like Ms. Blue, went into effect.

Ms. Blue says she cannot afford the $3,600 in annual co-payments
that are required before her Part D insurance fully kicks in.
And her income from her teacher's pension and Social Security
disability payments, about $4,000 a month, is too high
to qualify for charitable programs that help patients with
drug co-payments.

Now, as her cancer spreads slowly through her lungs, Ms. Blue
is getting no medicine at all. "I've had a month of crying,"
she said in an interview in mid-March.

The details of Ms. Blue's case are complex. But from interviews
with doctors, patients, drug makers and charitable foundations,
it is evident that Part D has posed new complications for at least
10,000 Medicare patients who had been getting free cancer
medicines directly from manufacturers, or, in some cases,
through special programs run by insurance companies.

The drugs include Gleevec, for stomach cancer; Thalomid, for
multiple myeloma; and Tarceva. They are all taken orally in pill
form, rather than given by injection like most cancer medicines.
Medicare has always covered injectable drugs given in hospitals
or doctors' officers, but it generally did not cover oral medicines
until Part D began on Jan. 1.

Because the oral cancer drugs cost up to $4,000 a month,
more than most people without coverage can afford, many
Medicare patients received them free through charity programs
from the drugs' manufacturers. Or, like Ms. Blue, they received
them through extended Medicare policies provided by private
insurers that charged minimal co-payments.

But now that the oral cancer drugs are covered by Part D, they
are bound by rules requiring Medicare enrollees to pay $3,600
in out-of-pocket costs each year.

As the year continues, that proviso could put financial pressure
on millions of Medicare patients. But it is already hitting hard
at patients who take cancer pills, among the most expensive
of the medicines covered by the new program. Patients taking
these drugs often must meet their entire annual co-payment
requirement when they fill their first two prescriptions —
a daunting prospect for retirees with limited savings and incomes.

And in many cases, added pressure is coming from drug makers
that have begun restricting their charitable free-drug programs
and encouraging — or in some cases, forcing — patients
to enroll in Part D coverage.

Last year, about 4,500 patients in the United States received
Gleevec free from its maker, Novartis. Not all of those people
are eligible for Medicare. But Debra Freire, the company's
director of patient assistance programs, said Novartis
wanted all patients eligible for Part D to switch to Medicare.
Novartis has not set a deadline for the switch.

Medicare Part D, Ms. Friere said, is "a wonderful opportunity
for patients to gain access to a program that might provide
them with prescription coverage that they might not have had."

Steven Hahn, a spokesman for AARP, the lobbying group
for older Americans, said that once patients work through
the upfront co-payments, sometimes called the doughnut
hole, Part D provides excellent coverage for cancer drugs.
But the high initial cost can be frightening, he said.

"AARP would like to see the elimination of the doughnut
hole altogether," he said.

Leslie V. Norwalk, a deputy administrator for Medicare,
acknowledged that some cancer patients were struggling
with the transition to Part D. But over all, she said, the
program has worked well for millions of people, offering
new benefits for patients who might not have qualified
for drug-maker assistance programs.

In addition, low- and middle-income people can get co-pay
relief, Ms. Norwalk said. For patients making less than about
$15,000 a year, the co-pay requirements are lower, and for
those making less than $40,000 some charities offer
co-payment assistance.

"There are terrific options for every beneficiary," she said.

No firm statistics exist for how many cancer patients are
being moved from free drug programs to Part D. But the
number appears to be between 10,000 and 20,000, according
to the drug makers and the charities that run co-payment

Since Jan. 1, for example, more than 5,000 people have applied
for help with co-payments from the HealthWell Foundation,
a Maryland charity that provides co-pay assistance, according
to Krista Zodet, the foundation's director. Most of these people
are in Part D, she said.

Some patients without co-pay relief feel compelled to decline
Part D coverage so they can continue to participate in drug-
maker charity programs.

For example, Maye Navarre, a 79-year-old retiree in Hertford,
N.C., said she had been receiving free Tarceva from Genentech,
its maker, until she signed up for a Part D program through
Blue Cross in February. When she visited her pharmacy in early
March to fill her Tarceva prescription, she learned the drug
would cost her $1,425, not the $25 her insurance agent had
told her to expect.

Ms. Navarre says her only income is $932 a month in Social
Security, and her savings total $4,000 in a money market account.

"I said, 'O.K., pull the plug on me right there,' " Ms. Navarre said.

Ms. Navarre's income is low enough that she should qualify for
a federal subsidy that would essentially eliminate her co-pay
requirement. It is not clear why she was told her co-pay was
so high. The insurance agent who arranged her Blue Cross
coverage, David Parker, did not return calls for comment.

In any case, Ms. Navarre said she had canceled her Part D
enrollment so that she could again get Tarceva free from
Genentech. In mid-March, in response to her pleas, Genentech
shipped her another month of Tarceva free, so she is not out
of medicine, she said.

But Genentech warned her that the shipment would be her final
free prescription until Blue Cross and Medicare processed her
cancellation, she said.

"So there I am, in limbo," Ms. Navarre said. "They did send me
a free month's supply, but they said that would be all. I got it
on the 14th, so I have until the 13th of next month."

Genentech provides free medicines to people who do not have
insurance and earn less than $75,000 annually, according to
Walter K. Moore, the company's vice president for government
affairs. In 2005, the company provided $200 million in free
medicines to 18,000 patients and donated $21 million to co-pay
assistance programs, he said.

Unlike many drug makers, Genentech has not required Medicare
patients in its free-drugs program to enroll in Part D. But once
patients join Part D, Genentech bars them from participating in
the company-run program, because it does not want to run afoul
of Medicare's complex rules that cover patients who are enrolled
in Part D but are also getting free drugs from manufacturers.

Genentech is aware that some cancer patients in Part D are
having problems affording their co-payments or filling prescriptions,
Mr. Moore said. "We understand that our drug has a significant
co-pay, and we're trying to do something about it," he said.
"It's incumbent upon all of us that are trying to serve these
patients to be vigilant and try to seek out ways to be certain
that nobody falls through the cracks."

Still, patients like Ms. Blue seem to be slipping.

Ms. Blue, who lives in a tidy brick house in Yeadon, a suburb
a few miles southwest of Philadelphia, was told she had cancer
in her left lung five years ago. Doctors removed the tumor, but
the disease returned to her right lung in 2002. Despite
chemotherapy, the cancer continued to spread slowly through
her lungs, leaving a grim prognosis.

In May 2004, she began taking Iressa, a drug from AstraZeneca.
Since then, her cancer has remained relatively in check. She received
the drug without co-payments through a supplemental Medicare
policy offered by Independence Blue Cross. Although she is under
65 — age 59 — she is eligible for Medicare because her cancer
has left her unable to work.

In December 2005, her oncologist, Dr. Stephen Shore, decided
to switch her from Iressa to Tarceva. Two clinical trials had cast
doubt on Iressa's effectiveness.

"All the indications were showing that the Iressa wasn't working,
that she wasn't getting any benefit from it," Dr. Shore said. But
in January, Ms. Blue learned her first Tarceva prescription would
cost $2,800 — not because she had switched drugs, but because
of Part D's rules requiring co-payments.

While Ms. Blue's income is too high to qualify for co-payment
assistance, she has almost no assets aside from her house.
She also has substantial credit card debt and fears adding
to it by spending $2,800 on Tarceva, she said.

"Who expects to have to come up with a couple of thousand
dollars?" she said.

Dr. Shore said he had expected Ms. Blue to be able to find
a way to get Tarceva through Medicare. If he were certain
Tarceva would benefit her, he would advise her to pay the
$2,800, he said. But uncertain that the drug will help,
he does not want to make her spend money for a drug that
may not work.

Dr. Shore said he and his staff found Ms. Blue's case very frustrating.

"We're used to roadblocks," he said. "We're not used to this."


9) We are what we eat
"The Omnivore's Dilemma" author Michael Pollan on how
Wall Street has driven America's obesity epidemic, the
misleading labels in Whole Foods, and why we should
spend more money on food.
By Ira Boudway

Apr. 08, 2006 | On the long trip from the soil to our mouths, a trip
of 1,500 miles on average, the food we eat often passes through
places most of us will never see. Michael Pollan has spent much
of the last five years visiting these places on our behalf. "Industrial
food," as Pollan defines it, "is food for which you need an investigative
journalist to tell you where it came from." We have been eating such
food for so long that most of us have no memory of the much shorter
and less complicated food chains that once tied people to the land.
We need someone, in other words, to tell us where food of any kind
comes from. A longtime writer on food for the New York Times
Magazine and author of the bestseller "The Botany of Desire,"
Pollan is a good man for the job.

In his new book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of
Four Meals," Pollan traces meals across four different food chains,
or, if you prefer, markets, arranged in order of popularity: a McDonald's
drive-through meal, a Whole Foods dinner, a meal raised on a "beyond
organic" pasture farm in Virginia, and what Pollan labels the "Perfect Meal,"
one whose ingredients he hunts and forages for himself. In the course
of his investigations, Pollan comes across an unlikely collection of people
-- from Iowa corn farmers, Kansas feedlot managers and food processing
scientists, to rebel farmers, San Francisco Bay area gourmands and fanatic
mushroom foragers -- yet manages to approach all of them with
a common sympathy. As he sees it, the corn farmer dumping nitrogen
on his fields, the veterinarian loading corn-fed cattle with medication,
and the hog farmer snipping pigs' tails to prevent stress-induced
chewing in close quarters are all driven by the same pressures.
He lays the blame for our destructive and precarious system, if at all,
on those in Washington and on Wall Street -- at the USDA and Archer
Daniels Midland -- who set the rules of the game. But then they too,
he knows, are responding to a set of pressures that come from all
of us and our appetites.

"The Omnivore's Dilemma" is equal parts exposé and invitation --
a rolling together of "Fast Food Nation" and "The Moosewood
Cookbook" to make the case for saner, more pleasurable eating
habits. "Our ingenuity in feeding ourselves is prodigious," Pollan
writes, "but at various points our technologies come into conflict
with nature's way of doing things, as when we seek to maximize
efficiency by planting crops or raising animals in vast monocultures.
This is something nature never does, always and for good reason
practicing diversity instead."

Pollan caught up with Salon recently at Le Pain Quotidien in Manhattan
to discuss the hard plight of American farmers, the trouble with labels
at Whole Foods, and the lure of the Big Mac.

In your book's introduction you write that "The Omnivore's Dilemma"
probably isn't for people who are perfectly content eating at the end
of an industrial food chain. What do you mean by that?

Well, there are a lot of people who are happy to eat at McDonald's
a couple times a day. They don't see it as a problem, and I'm not
expecting to turn everybody around. Those of us who are concerned
about food issues often make the mistake of preaching too much.
But when it comes to food, doing the right thing is often the more
pleasurable thing. That's why I like the Slow Food approach. When
McDonald's came to Rome, they didn't drive a tractor through the plate
glass the way José Bové did in France. They set up a table outside and
had Italian grandmothers cook their favorite traditional dishes as
a way of saying, "Isn't this better? Isn't there more pleasure at this
table than at that one?" It's a better strategy to invite someone to
a better table than to turn over the table they are at.

Was access much of problem in writing this?

Yes, it's amazing that it should have become so hard. I wasn't able
to get into the factories where corn is turned into high-fructose corn
syrup, which you wouldn't think would be so controversial, and I wasn't
able to get onto the kill floor of a large meat plant. They allowed me
to see everything but the knocker who actually administers the fatal
blow. It's become more difficult since Sept. 11. The food industry has
a new argument, which is partly sincere. They've recognized that with
such a centralized food supply, somebody dropping a vial of bacterium
into a vat of hamburger could reach tens of thousands of people. But
it has also become an excuse to keep the prying eyes of journalists
away from how our food is made, which is unfortunate because we
would be better off if we had more transparency in our food system.
If there was a right of access to meat slaughterhouses, they wouldn't
be slaughtering 400 beefs an hour, allowing manure to be smeared
on carcasses, and going so fast that live animals get cut open. The
best we could do for the safety of our food supply, for the beauty of
our landscape and for the quality of our water would be to decentralize
meat and agriculture.

So why don't we see more pressure to change the regulations?

The food industry takes advantage of the fact that we're really out of
touch. I mean, some people would be shocked to learn that you can't
get a steak without killing a cow. And for some reason food policy is
treated as a parochial issue in this country. It's a debate between the
senator from Nebraska and the senator from Iowa. The senators from
New York and California don't think they have a dog in that fight, which
is an enormous error, because these are the rules of the game in which
we all play as eaters. And we're giving the right to set these rules to
a very small number of interested parties. Maybe we need to start calling
it a food bill instead of an agriculture bill. Maybe then people in New York
and California would pay more attention. I know as a writer I've learned
that you can't pitch a story on agriculture to an editor in New York,
but if you call it a story about food, suddenly people are interested.
And the same goes for the politics of it. I mean, why are we essentially
subsidizing high-fructose corn syrup when we have an epidemic of
obesity? These connections don't get made. But I'm hoping that in this
next farm bill, since the obesity crisis has come to the public's attention
recently, that we'll figure out a way to make public health a consideration.

How would you do that?

I'm not exactly sure, but we need to create a set of rules so that
the produce aisle would be competitive with the junk food aisle.
That's the beginning of the solution. People living on junk food
aren't stupid. If you go into the supermarket with little money,
you're going to buy the most calories you can get for a dollar.
And a dollar will buy you a couple thousands calories' worth of
potato chips, but only a few calories worth of carrots. So the
decision to eat badly is rational in that those are the calories
we subsidize. Our food policy is geared toward the overproduction
of corn and soybeans in order to keep raw materials cheap for
the likes of ADM, Cargill, Coca-Cola and General Mills, who
happen to exert an enormous control over the farm bill.

So the obesity epidemic, or at least the fact that the average
American's daily caloric intake has jumped 10 percent since
1977, is not exactly an accident.

Well, the logic of the food business and the logic of human biology
and ecology are fundamentally in conflict. I don't think we can get
around that. The American population is growing at about 1 percent
per year, and we can only eat about 1,500 pounds of food per year.
So if you're in the business of selling food, your natural growth rate
would be about 1 percent a year. But Wall Street will not tolerate
a company that grows that slowly. They want 5 to 10 percent growth
as a minimum. So how do you get those kinds of margins? One way
is to get people to pay more for the same 1,500 pounds of chow,
and the other is to get them to eat more. And the food corporations
pursue both strategies. Coca-Cola is the perfect example. It's
a penny or two in raw ingredients, mostly high-fructose corn syrup
and some water. And people will pay you pretty well for that. It's
very hard, on the other hand, to make money selling whole foods,
the supermarket chain of that name notwithstanding.

If cheap corn is at the root of the problem, why not just get rid
of the $19 billion a year in subsidies?

People tend to assume that if you removed the subsidy the price
would go up, but from everything I've been able to learn, that may
not be the case. The subsidies we have are a response to the price
collapse of the Depression. We started a system in which the
government would lend farmers the value of their crop so that they
wouldn't have to dump it on a weak market. They would hold it
until the market got stronger, sell it and then pay back the
government. It was a pretty good system. But beginning with
the Nixon administration, there was a switch from loans to direct
payments. For the farmer it seems like the same thing, but it makes
an enormous difference to the system. Say there's a target price of
$2 for a bushel of corn but the price at market falls to $1.50, you
can lend the farmer $2 until he sells it at a better price or you just
cut him a check for 50 cents. But if you're cutting the check, he's
free to sell into that bad market and crash it even further.
You're not shrinking the supply.

So if they made you secretary of agriculture tomorrow would
you go back to a reserve system?

[Laughs] I don't have to worry about that. But the problem with
that system would be making it work in an era of global trade.
If you're artificially holding up prices in this country, then you
also need a system of tariffs so other countries don't dump on
our markets. The trouble is that Cargill doesn't care where they
buy their corn from. They will go anywhere in the world. And
even if we don't allow corn in, they'll just manufacture high-
fructose corn syrup overseas. So then what? Do you keep that out?

Why shouldn't we be happy for a system that keeps food cheap?

To think that this food is cheap is a failure to see all the costs
involved. The real price is not reflected at the cash register, but
in your healthcare bill, in your tax bills, or in your bills for bottled
waters after the water supply has been contaminated by industrial
chemicals. There's an argument often made that buying the right
food is elitist, because it is more expensive. And I'm not going to
defend the prices at Whole Foods, because there's certainly
profiteering going on in the organic food industry, but, in general
you're paying closer to the real costs when you buy organic or
local. Organic food is not subsidized in any way. And organic
food does not put as much burden onto the public health system.

But, from the perspective of a consumer, buying organic isn't
going to reduce your tax bill, it just costs more.

Yes, but I think most people could afford to spend more money
on food in this country. There is a segment of the population,
probably less than 10 percent, that can't spend more than they're
spending now. And we need to help those people by designing
food aid that points them to the produce aisle and away from
the snack food aisle. But say we already help that 10 percent
to feed themselves in healthier ways, the other 90 percent are
spending less on food, as a percentage of income, than any
people in the history of mankind. We spend 9 percent of our
income on food, which is less than we spent 10 years ago or
20 years ago. If we could get that up a few percentage points,
we could build a much more sustainable food system. So I think
people just have to dig down in their pockets and spend more
for food. We seem to be able to afford spending $50 to $100
a month on television and cellphones. I'm not saying people
shouldn't have cellphones or pay television, but that it's finally
a decision about what you value. And the elitism charge is often
used simply to defend bad practices. I'm dubious about any
situation where McDonald's can occupy the moral high ground.

But it's more than an issue of money, isn't it? I know plenty of
people who would love to buy and prepare fresh, local food
more often but don't feel that they have the leisure time.

It's true. That is an issue. It does take more time to eat well.
People have to spend more time choosing what they buy and
they have to reacquaint themselves with the kitchen. It's odd,
to judge by the Food Network and the fame of chefs and the
popularity of Viking stoves, we're obsessed with cooking in this
society, yet we don't really cook anymore. Cooking has become
more of a ritual than a habit -- a high ritual that happens once
a month. But it's true that to get off of processed food, you might
have to join a CSA [community-supported agriculture program],
where you get a box of produce every week and you have to figure
out what to do with all that chard or butternut squash. And a lot
of people don't feel they have time for that, partly because of the
$50 to $100 they're paying for cable television and the Internet.
Again, it's a matter of priorities. The good news is that there's
a great deal of interest in eating whole foods. Farmers markets
are appearing and thriving all over the country. And there's
a movement taking shape to source school food and other
institutional food locally, which could make a huge difference
given that we eat half of our meals away from home. The one
upside to having a monopolized food system is that a single
company can make a dramatic difference. When McDonald's
got out of selling genetically modified French fries, that
product disappeared in a year. I was once told -- though I
couldn't confirm this -- that if McDonald's gets just 25
unorganized calls or letters on a particular customer concern,
the matter will get on the agenda at a board meeting. And I think
that that's exactly what happened with genetically modified

We may have that leverage, but McDonald's still has that
unmistakable taste, which you aptly describe as "a fragrance
and flavor only nominally connected to hamburgers or French
fries." It's a flavor that, once tried, you tend to crave. I expect
a part of me, anyway, will always be attached to the flavor of
a McDonald's cheeseburger.

Yeah, you probably grew up on it -- that salty, meaty, hard-to-
describe taste that is not really the product of any cow or chicken
but of food science. It's a part of our culture now and it's not going
to go away. But, I wonder whether or not you can turn that craving
back with good food. I've seen many children who lost their taste
for fast food after being exposed to really good food. A grass-fed
hamburger, for instance, takes some getting used to but it's such
a wonderful taste. I know I'm ruined for a fast food hamburger now.
But that's partly because I know too much. Food is not simply a matter
of taste bud to brain. There are memories involved and they can play
both ways. You may have the memory of your childhood Big Mac, but
I have the memory of a slaughterhouse. Junk food does have the
advantage of being designed to push our buttons. We're hard-wired
to take in as much sweet and fat as we can get when it's available
because, for most of human history, we never knew if it would be
around tomorrow. But now it will be around tomorrow. So there's
a disconnect between our genetic inheritance and our food
environment. And fast food companies are good at manipulating
that, at designing flavors that will seduce us. But nature's been
designing flavors to seduce us for 10,000 years or more,
so I still think they're a pretty good match.

But this line between "artificial" and "natural" has become increasingly
difficult to locate, as evidenced by the rise of what you call "big organic"
or "industrial organic." What do those terms mean?

I use them as a way to describe how the scaling up of organic
agriculture has led to a diminishment of the core principles of the
movement. Now you have 5,000 cow organic dairies that are organic
only in the narrow sense that the cows are eating organic grain. It's
probably less important to a cow that its feed be organic than that its
food be what it was evolved to eat, which is grass. There's a perversion
in taking an animal off the food that it's evolved to eat and feeding
it organic grain just because some consumer thinks pesticide is the
worst thing in the world. And as organic farms get bigger, there's
a push toward monoculture because large buyers would rather get
all their corn from one farm. If you're making organic corn chips,
you don't want to be writing 50 contracts with 50 small farms, you
want one honking big organic corn farm. You see it with Whole Foods.
Farmers used to be able to go to the back door of Whole Foods in
California after they were done at the farmers market and sell whatever
was left over. But as Whole Foods grew, it went to this regional
distribution system and now most of their produce comes from
two companies. Still, the fact is that even that big organic corn
farm is better for the environment and better for the eater than
a conventional one. The idea is not to condemn Whole Foods or
the organic movement but to hold them to a higher bar.

Which leads us to the genre you call "supermarket pastoral."
What is it exactly?

Walking through Whole Foods, I joke in the book, is a literary experience.
You need to be a pretty good literary critic, in other words, to figure out
what's really being said on these labels. They're written in what I call
supermarket pastoral, which is a very persuasive form. I read a lot of
labels and I'm still a sucker for it. Free-range chicken, for instance,
can mean nothing more than a 20,000-bird shed with a tiny little lawn
and a little door that's opened two weeks before the hens are slaughtered.
These little yards are purely symbolic. Chickens don't use them because
they're too careful. They've never been outside before; there's not enough
room for all of them and they're a flock animal. So it's a conceit to appeal
to the consumer. When you see "free-range," it's not happening, but if you
see "pastured" chicken, which you sometimes will at a farmers market, that's
real. And pastured eggs, by the way, are a superior product in every way.
I know a farmer in California who grows them. They're $6 a dozen and
I consider them worth it.

So is pastured the new organic?

It's certainly an important thing to look for as a consumer. But again,
when you see "range-fed" beef that also doesn't mean anything, because
all beef is range fed until the animal is 6 months to a year old. You can't
put them on the feedlot right after they're born because the corn will kill
them. So you shouldn't be fooled. What you're really looking for is grass-
finished, which can still be hard to find, but is becoming much more c
ommon. For my money, grass is nature's great free lunch. When you eat
animals at the end of a grass-based food chain, you're eating food that
comes from the sun and not from fossil fuel.

But are any of these alternative food chains up to the task of feeding
large cities?

Well, I think it's a challenge. People in cities are probably always going
to have to access larger markets. The definition of their food shed is
going to be larger, but cities offer advantages as well. The farmers
markets in our big cities are more vital than those in our small towns
because there's so much buying power. Agriculture around the San
Francisco Bay area is thriving precisely because you have a large and
discerning population not too far from farms so farmers can get a really
high premium on their food. In a way, the solution to the Iowa problem
is to have a bigger city in the middle of Iowa. But it's really important
and increasingly difficult to protect the greenbelts around cities. The
best way is to patronize those farms, but no matter how much local
food you buy, the temptation for farmers to sell their land is often
tremendous. Farmers are going out of business not because they
can't survive on their sales, but because their land is so valuable
they decide to sell it and retire on the income. I read one projection
that by the end of this century, there won't be any farms left in
California's Central Valley. I don't feel so good about that. However
you feel about free trade with regard to your computer or your car,
my guess is that, if you thought about it, you'd feel differently about
your food. A situation where America no longer produces its own food
is not only disturbing at a visceral level, but a national security crisis
waiting to happen.

-- By Ira Boudway


[Col. Writ. 3/23/06] Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

As some groups celebrate Women's History Month, they do so in
societies that are hostile to women, and which pays lip service to
Women's History, while actually celebrating themselves.

By this I mean, in most recollections of such history, are named
those women who have served the State in some way, as politicians.

They are celebrated because they supported State power, which is,
by definition, male supremacy.

Rarely are real rebels celebrated, for real rebels have opposed the
State, especially when they have been anti-capitalist or anti-imperialist.

Put quite another way, few will celebrate the works of the brilliant
German revolutionary, Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919).

Few in this country will celebrate the continuing works of the
brilliant Angela Y. Davis, scholar/activist and educator.

Few officials will mark the month by remembering people like the
courageous voting rights fighter, Fannie Lou Hamer, or the steadfast
organizer and teacher, Ella Baker, or a dozen other brave souls like
them, who made movements possible, by building them at the

Indeed, there can be no real 'Women's History Month', without the
recognition that such a month is but a political construction that
ignores great, buried truths.

Like any real history would be a 'herstory', for to go to the beginning
is to go to a woman. For every being that lives on this earth today,
of every race and clime, from Inuits in the North, to the AmaZulu in
Southern Africa, have a common mother -- an African mother who
generously donated her mitochondrial DNA to her children, and this
genetic gift lives in the cell of all who dwell on earth today.

None other than Huey P. Newton, late founder of the Black Panther
Party, wrote, as early as 1974, of the research of psycho-biologist
Mary Jane Sherfrey, for the proposition that socalled 'science' has tried
to ignore science, especially when it contradicted biblical beliefs.
Huey wrote, in "Eve - the Mother of All Living":

"...Adam came out of Eve, and not the reverse, as we have been taught
for millennia. The fairy tale of Genesis is taken lightly at our peril, as
Ms. Sherfrey and lately the women's liberation movement have told
us. But the conflict between appearances and reality is perhaps more
profound than even the women's movement has argued.

"The first principle of nature itself seems to be female. Genesis is
a startling testament to man's realization of that basic identity.
In Genesis we see the ancient Mother Nature co-opted by a patriarchal
super-masculine beard of a god. The trauma of female primacy
is further denied by making the woman, Eve, a mere extension
of the man, Adam, and the issue of *his* body!

"The early *gens* and tribes, as far as we can tell, were primarily
matriarchal and matrilocal, or at least, avuncular, with the mother's
brother as the power. *All* of the earliest mythology is univocal in
the identification of creativity, power, and primacy with the female.
Mother Nature and Mother Earth are the universal models for *all*
creation, human and metaphysical. But by the time of writing the
Bible, woman had suffered her world-historical defeat and man's
revenge appears complete." [Fr. Newton, Huey P., *The Huey P.
Newton Reader* (David Hilliard & Donald Weiss, eds.) (New York:
Seven Stories Press, 2002), pp. 313-314.]

Despite this hidden *her*story, the mark of Eve is written deep in
our common genetic code. All of us who consider ourselves human
are children of one Mother.

Even after several millennia of misogyny (or women hatred), the
memory of ubiquitous women's power seeps through into our

Women gave birth to the world. They supported and still support
social change movements more than men, for they know, from their
lived experiences, that the world isn't fair, and it must
be fundamentally changed.

Women not only gave birth to the world, they rebirth the world,
daily, in ones and twos, by triplets, and more.

Women deserve more than a make-believe month. They deserve
our daily honor, and our eternal gratitude, for making life worth living.

They deserve the creation of a world where they are beings
of our common adoration, high regard, and respect.

Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal


11) Criminal probe of mine fire initiated
U.S. attorney to investigate
By Tara Tuckwiller
Staff writer
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has launched a criminal investigation into
the January fire at Massey Energy’s Aracoma Alma No. 1 Mine in
Logan County that killed two coal miners.
April 07, 2006

The office accepted a criminal referral from the federal Mine
Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Attorney Charles T.
Miller said Thursday.

MSHA and state mine safety officials have been investigating
the fire that killed Don I. Bragg, 33, and Ellery “Elvis” Hatfield, 47.

The fire started on a conveyor belt in the mine’s No. 9 longwall
section, according to a preliminary report from MSHA.
Investigators have since cited Massey for being unable
to produce records showing that they performed required
monthly tests of the automatic firefighting system in that

Massey also was unable to produce any record of performing
more than 100 required electrical equipment checks in the
two months before the fire, records show.

But state regulators didn’t find those violations until after
the fire because they had not performed their own required
annual electrical inspection for least two years, officials
disclosed last week.

Massey also has been cited for not immediately notifying
state officials of the fire, for not training miners to use f
ire-safety equipment and more. Through March 22, MSHA
inspectors had issued nearly 200 new citations for violations.

Miller said his office would determine if any federal criminal
laws had been broken.

Richmond, Va.-based Massey says that it has a corporate
policy of not responding to questions from Charleston Gazette

To contact staff writer Tara Tuckwiller, use e-mail or call 348-5189.


12) Chirac to Replace Youth Jobs Law
April 10, 2006

PARIS, April 10 — French President Jacques Chirac announced
today that a contested labor law would be taken off the books,
handing a victory to student groups and labor unions who have
demonstrated in the millions in recent weeks to have the measure

The announcement is a blow for Prime Minister Dominique
de Villepin, the chief architect of the law, who until late last
week still categorically ruled out dropping the legislation.
It comes only eight days after Mr. Chirac had formally enacted
the legislation, albeit with promises of a speedy revision and
far-reaching modifications.

But over the last week, students and union officials made it
clear that they would not be satisfied with anything less than
a withdrawal of article 8 — the part of the legislation which
creates a controversial new contract that makes it easier
for employers to fire young workers.

"The president of the republic has decided to replace Article 8
of the law on equal opportunities with measures that favor
the professional insertion of young people in difficulty,"
Mr. Chirac's office said in a statement.

It was the first unambiguous admission of defeat by Mr. Chirac,
who had so far sought to defuse the crisis without disavowing
Mr. Villepin, his longstanding ally and favored successor
in next year's presidential elections.

Mr. Villepin had championed the First Employment Contract,
known by its French acronym as the CPE, in order to curb
youth unemployment, which is at 22 percent. It would have
given businesses, who say that the country's tough labor
protections are a disincentive to hiring, the right to fire
workers younger than 26 for any reason.

Speaking shortly after Mr. Chirac issued his statement,
Mr. Villepin said that it was no longer feasible to maintain
the measure.

"The necessary conditions of confidence and serenity are
not there today, neither on the part of the young people,
nor on the part of companies to apply the First Employment
Contract," Mr. Villepin said in a televised address shortly
after Mr. Chirac had issued his statement.

"I wanted to act quickly because the dramatic situation and
the desperation of so many young people demand it," he said.
"That was not understood by everyone and I regret that."

Following talks with student organizations and labor unions
last week, senior lawmakers from the governing center-right
party presented a revised proposal to parliament on today,
though details of the new plan were not immediately available.

Union leaders and student representatives were to meet later
today to decide whether Mr. Chirac's promise to "replace" the
contract was enough to drop their demand for formal abrogation.

Early reactions appeared to be favorable.

"The CPE is dead and buried," said Jean-Claude Mailly of the
FO union. "The goal has been achieved."

Francois Chereque, head of the CFDT, France's largest union,
told Agence-France Presse: "If there is a new text in which the
CPE does not appear, that will mean it has been withdrawn,
that is what counts."

Julie Coudry, president of the Student Confederation, one of
the organizations behind the two-month protest movement said
on LCI television: "Today I think we can say that they have finally
understood and that we are satisfied, I think it's the word we can use."

The crisis and the humiliating climb-down appear to have
severely weakened the government. According to a poll published
Sunday in the newspaper Le Parisien, 85 percent of the
respondents see both Mr. Villepin and Mr. Chirac as weakened,
while more than half say it has boosted the position of Interior
Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

A number of French newspapers reported over the weekend
that the wording in a new bill was being held up by a disagreements
between Mr. Villepin and Mr. Sarkozy, his main rival on the right.

The minister of employment, Jean-Louis Borloo, told Le Monde
newspaper that the new plan will include increasing government
subsidies to employers who hire people under 26 who face the
biggest obstacles to finding jobs. He said the cost to the
government in the second half of the year would be about
$180 million.


13) Yes He Would
April 10, 2006

"But he wouldn't do that." That sentiment is what made it possible
for President Bush to stampede America into the Iraq war and to
fend off hard questions about the reasons for that war until after
the 2004 election. Many people just didn't want to believe that
an American president would deliberately mislead the nation
on matters of war and peace.

Now people with contacts in the administration and the military
warn that Mr. Bush may be planning another war. The most
alarming of the warnings come from Seymour Hersh, the veteran
investigative journalist who broke the Abu Ghraib scandal. Writing
in The New Yorker, Mr. Hersh suggests that administration officials
believe that a bombing campaign could lead to desirable regime
change in Iran — and that they refuse to rule out the use of
tactical nuclear weapons.

"But he wouldn't do that," say people who think they're being
sensible. Given what we now know about the origins of the Iraq
war, however, discounting the possibility that Mr. Bush will start
another ill-conceived and unnecessary war isn't sensible.
It's wishful thinking.

As it happens, rumors of a new war coincide with the emergence
of evidence that appears to confirm our worst suspicions about
the war we're already in.

First, it's clearer than ever that Mr. Bush, who still claims that
war with Iraq was a last resort, was actually spoiling for a fight.
The New York Times has confirmed the authenticity of a British
government memo reporting on a prewar discussion between
Mr. Bush and Tony Blair. In that conversation, Mr. Bush told
Mr. Blair that he was determined to invade Iraq even if U.N.
inspectors came up empty-handed.

Second, it's becoming increasingly clear that Mr. Bush knew
that the case he was presenting for war — a case that depended
crucially on visions of mushroom clouds — rested on suspect
evidence. For example, in the 2003 State of the Union address
Mr. Bush cited Iraq's purchase of aluminum tubes as clear
evidence that Saddam was trying to acquire a nuclear arsenal.
Yet Murray Waas of the National Journal reports that Mr. Bush
had been warned that many intelligence analysts disagreed
with that assessment.

Was the difference between Mr. Bush's public portrayal of the
Iraqi threat and the actual intelligence he saw large enough
to validate claims that he deliberately misled the nation into
war? Karl Rove apparently thought so. According to Mr. Waas,
Mr. Rove "cautioned other White House aides in the summer
of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be
severely damaged" if the contents of an October 2002
"President's Summary" containing dissents about the
significance of the aluminum tubes became public.

Now there are rumors of plans to attack Iran. Most strategic
analysts think that a bombing campaign would be a disastrous
mistake. But that doesn't mean it won't happen: Mr. Bush
ignored similar warnings, including those of his own father,
about the risks involved in invading Iraq.

As Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace recently pointed out, the administration
seems to be following exactly the same script on Iran that
it used on Iraq: "The vice president of the United States
gives a major speech focused on the threat from an
oil-rich nation in the Middle East. The U.S. secretary of
state tells Congress that the same nation is our most
serious global challenge. The secretary of defense calls
that nation the leading supporter of global terrorism.
The president blames it for attacks on U.S. troops."

Why might Mr. Bush want another war? For one thing,
Mr. Bush, whose presidency is increasingly defined by
the quagmire in Iraq, may believe that he can redeem
himself with a new Mission Accomplished moment.

And it's not just Mr. Bush's legacy that's at risk. Current
polls suggest that the Democrats could take one or both
houses of Congress this November, acquiring the ability
to launch investigations backed by subpoena power. This
could blow the lid off multiple Bush administration scandals.
Political analysts openly suggest that an attack on Iran
offers Mr. Bush a way to head off this danger, that an
appropriately timed military strike could change the
domestic political dynamics.

Does this sound far-fetched? It shouldn't. Given the combination
of recklessness and dishonesty Mr. Bush displayed in launching
the Iraq war, why should we assume that he wouldn't do it again?

Bob Herbert is on vacation.


Young Officers Leaving Army at a High Rate
April 10, 2006

Prosecution Sees Setback at Terror Trial in California
April 10, 2006

Democracy in the Arab World, a U.S. Goal, Falters
April 10, 2006

FOCUS | Seymour M. Hersh: The Iran Plans
The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order
to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine
activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major
air attack, according to Seymour M. Hersh.

A Former Trooper's Take on His Race Profiling Case
Mr. Hogan and Mr. Kenna were seen as national symbols of police
discrimination and were indicted for attempted murder and
aggravated assault. Those charges were eventually dropped,
but the troopers were forced to resign after pleading guilty
to lying to investigators about the shooting and repeatedly
falsifying documents to conceal the fact that they stopped
minority drivers because of their race. They each paid a $280 fine.
April 5, 2006

Give Rebuilding Lower Priority in Future Wars
April 8, 2006

On the Brink: Filariasis | Tormented and Ashamed
Beyond Swollen Limbs, a Disease's Hidden Agony
April 9, 2006

Working stiffs, unite
Respect on the job shouldn't be something that we have
to work overtime to achieve
By Studs Terkel
Chicago Tribune
April 7, 2006,1,6491332.story

Immigration Deal Falls Short in Senate
April 7, 2006

Talking Points
The Scandal of 'Poor People's Diseases'
March 29, 2006

Fossil Called Missing Link From Sea to Land Animals
April 6, 2006

Opponents Set April 17 Deadline to Rescind French Labor Law
PARIS, April 5 — French union and student leaders said Wednesday
that if the government did not, by April 17, rescind a labor law
to which there have been widespread objections, more nationwide
strikes and protests would occur.
April 6, 2006

With This Ethical Ring I Thee Wed
April 6, 2006

Bush Wants Capacity to Make 125 Nukes a Year
The administration wants the capability to turn out 125 new nuclear
bombs per year by 2022, as the Pentagon retires older bombs that it claims
will no longer be reliable or safe. The plan calls for the most
sweeping realignment and modernization of the nation's massive system of
laboratories and factories for nuclear bombs since the end of the Cold War.

The Honorable John P. Murtha
War in Iraq
November 17, 2005
To Redeploy U.S. Forces from Iraq.
MR. MURTHA introduced the following joint resolution:
November 17, 2005

Two Deadlines and an Exit
By John F. Kerry
The New York Times
Wednesday April 05 2006
For this transition to work, we must finally begin to engage in
genuine diplomacy. We must immediately bring the leaders of
the Iraqi factions together at a Dayton Accords-like summit
meeting. In a neutral setting, Iraqis, working with our allies,
the Arab League and the United Nations, would be compelled
to reach a political agreement that includes security guarantees,
the dismantling of the militias and shared goals for
reconstruction....We will defeat Al Qaeda faster when we
stop serving as its best recruitment tool. Iraqis ultimately
will not tolerate foreign jihadists on their soil, and the United
States will be able to maintain an over-the-horizon troop
presence with rapid response capacity. An exit from Iraq will
also strengthen our hand in dealing with the Iranian nuclear
threat and allow us to repair the damage of repeated deployments,
which flag officers believe has strained military readiness and morale.
For three years now, the administration has told us that terrible
things will happen if we get tough with the Iraqis. In fact, terrible
things are happening now because we haven't gotten tough enough.
With two deadlines, we can change all that. We can put the
American leadership on the side of our soldiers and push
the Iraqi leadership to do what only it can do: build a democracy.

Stop Press! April 4: an even bigger mobilisation of French
workers and youth
By our correspondent in Paris   
A massive demonstration marched through the streets of Paris
today, April 4, on the national day of action against the hated
First Employment Contract introduced by the right-wing
government of de Villepin. According to the CGT, more than
700,000 people participated in the demonstration, making
it bigger than the one on March 28.

Environmental and Occupational Causes of Cancer
A Review of Recent Scientific Literature
Richard Clapp, D.Sc.
Genevieve Howe, MPH
Molly Jacobs Lefevre, MPH
Prepared by
Boston University School of Public Health
and the
Environmental Health Initiative, University of Massachusetts Lowell
For the Cancer Working Group of the Collaborative on Health and
the Environment
A Publication of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production
University of Massachusetts Lowell
September 2005

Majority of 32 Wisconsin Towns Vote for Iraq Pullout
By Kari Kydersen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 5, 2006; A07

FOCUS | Dahr Jamail: How Massacres Become the Norm
Dahr Jamail writes that Robert J. Lifton's studies on the behavior of
those who have committed war crimes led him to believe it does not
require an unusual level of mental illness or of personal evil to carry out
such crimes. Rather, these crimes are nearly guaranteed to occur in
what Lifton refers to as "atrocity-producing situations." Iraq today is
most certainly an "atrocity-producing situation," as it has been from the
very beginning of the occupation.

Chávez, Seeking Foreign Allies, Spends Billions
April 4, 2006

An Immigration Debate Framed by Family Ties
April 4, 2006

Strike to support undocumented people's legalization
Los Angeles, U.S., March 30, 2006 (Notimex) - The March 25
Coalition, who called for Saturday's march in Los Angeles,
announced an "American national strike." This is part of its
mobilizations to support the legalization of 12 million
undocumented people in the US.

The Psychology And Brainwash

Workers To Protest Delphi‚s Fraudulent Bankruptcy

Miller‚s Deadline The Same Day As FBI/SEC Deadline

Good Day Honorable Robert D. Drain

Do Not Call In Sick To Picket Monday

SOS Kokomo Seeks A More Democratic Union

Point Of Order Madam Chairman

Auto Worker Forum In Toledo

A Buy-Off That Looks Like Rosemary‚s Baby

East Asia must prepare for possible dollar collapse
TOKYO: With the U.S. trade deficit at a record high and global
interest rates rising, East Asian economies need to be prepared
for a possible `collapse' of the dollar, the Asian Development
Bank warned on Tuesday.
"Any shock hitting the U.S. economy or the global market may
change investors' perceptions given the existing global current
account imbalance,'' said Masahiro Kawai, ADB's head of regional
economic integration. "Our suggestion to Asian countries is:
do not take this continuous financing of the U.S. current account
deficit as given. If something happens then East Asian economies
have to be prepared,'' he told reporters on a trip to Japan.
Because of the highly interdependent nature of the East Asian
economies, if countries worked together to allow their currencies
to collectively appreciate against a tumbling dollar then the
cost of adjustment would be spread, he said. "The possibility
of a U.S. dollar collapse or sharp decline may be small at this
point but it would generate very significant turmoil so East
Asian economies... ought to be ready for that,'' Mr. Kawai said.
The Manila-based ADB is working on several indices of Asian
currencies that could be helpful to monitor exchange rate
movements in the case of a sharp dollar decline, though its
main aim is to help develop regional bond markets. • ‚· AFP
The End of Dollar Hegemony

Government in Secret Talks About Strike Against Iran
The British government is to hold secret talks with defense chiefs
tomorrow to discuss possible military strikes against Iran.

Privacy Under Siege: Electronic Monitoring in the Workplace
"By 2003, 92% of employers were conducting some form of
workplace monitoring.'
Bringing Human Rights to the Workplace
(609) 683-0313
FAX (609) 683-1787

School Aid: Meet the New Math, Same as the Old
March 31, 2006

Harvard Extends Breaks for Low-Income Parents
The quest by prestigious colleges to attract more low- and middle
-income students is turning into a financial aid arms race.
Harvard University, which two years ago focused attention
on the paucity of low-income students in the Ivy League with
its announcement that it would not ask parents who earned less
than $40,000 a year to contribute money for their children's
education, said yesterday that it would raise that ceiling
to $60,000 for students entering this fall.

G.M. Makes Deal to Sell Majority Stake in Finance Unit
April 3, 2006

A sea of people as far as the eye could see:
Blacks and immigrants call for unity!
by Nunu Kidane

FOCUS | Immigration Debate Awakens Latino Youth
US immigration reform sparks political activism among Latino youth in
California who see plans of criminalization as an attack on their

U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group to make Caribbean deployment
MIAMI, Fla. – A U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group will deploy from
the U.S. east coast to the Caribbean Sea to conduct Operation
Partnership of the Americas from early April through late May 2006.
March 27, 2006
[This is a U.S. show of force against Venezuela and]

French Law Is Affirmed as Protests Snarl Traffic
March 31, 2006

Army Cannot Deploy Soldier Applying For Conscientious
Objector Status, Federal Judge Rules
March 20, 2006 -- A federal district court has ordered the U.S.
Army not to deploy to Afghanistan a soldier who has a pending
application for Conscientious Objector (C.O.) status.

Slum Ecology
inequity Intensifies the Earths Natural Forces

The Tyranny Of Israel Over America
James Petras
January 27, 2006

The mass expulsion of Israeli spies was a response to Israel's
failure to co-operate in preventing the massacre of thousands of
people in New York on September 11, 2001.
Agent Orange Victims Gather to Seek Justice
by Reuters
March 28, 2006

PTSD stalks veterans, civilians
Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Dahr Jamail | An "Alliance" of Violence
Dahr Jamail writes: A disturbing trend noticeable in Iraq for quite
some time now is that each aggressive Israeli military operation in the
occupied territories results in a corresponding increase in the number of
attacks on US forces in Iraq. One of the first instances of this was
the assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in March 2004 and
the reaction it set off across Shia and Sunni, ultimately spiraling into
the siege and devastation of Fallujah.

Britain rocked by biggest strike since 1926
By Pam Woods - shop steward Unison Islington (personal capacity)
Wednesday, 29 March 2006

Greece: New general strike - the working class in revolt
By Stamatis Karayannopoulos
editor of Marxistiki Foni
Tuesday, 28 March 2006

French workers and youth mobilise on
a scale never seen since 1968
By Greg Oxley in Paris
Tuesday, 28 March 2006

G.A.O. Sees Loss in Oil Royalties of at Least $20 Billion
March 29, 2006

At G.M.'s Helm or Going Under?
March 29, 2006

Protests choke French cities
By Meg Bortin and Katrin Bennhold
International Herald Tribune
PARIS Hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets
of cities across France on Tuesday in the biggest show of force
to date against Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and his
new labor law targeting youth.
The police said that 450,000 people turned out nationwide, not
counting Paris, where hundreds of thousands more people marched
in a colorful, mainly peaceful demonstration marked by early
incidents of violence.
One of the country's largest unions, the CGT, put the nationwide
figure at 3 million, a turnout that the CGT secretary general,
Bernard Thibault, hailed as "historic."

Riding High on a Tide of Oil
Some of the biggest international oil companies plan to sink 100
billion Canadian dollars ($85.5 billion) over the next decade into
developing the gooey oil sands that are at the heart of Alberta's
growing wealth and political influence. The oil sands have
transformed Alberta into the epicenter of a new energy-based
Canadian economy that promises to be even more crucial
to the United States.
March 28, 2006

Big Oil's Big Windfall
New York Times Editorial
March 28, 2006

DiFi, Incorporated
The Democrats' Daddy Warbucks
March 27, 2006

Purple Heart recipient forced to repay signing bonus (Updated w/Poll)
by Pacific John
Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 03:58:20 PM PDT
Iraq War veteran who received Purple Heart says Army is making
him repay money
When Fontana resident and 2001 Fontana A.B. Miller High School
graduate Kevin Stonestreet joined the U.S. Army in the summer of
2001 as a member of the infantry, he was given a $20,000 bonus
to be paid out over his six-year enlistment.
However, when Stonestreet was honorably discharged from the
Army in 2005, he found out he needed to repay $3,800 of that
bonus because he did not complete his six years.
But Stonestreet, who is now 23, said he was kicked out of the
Army because he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress
disorder, anxiety and depression from serving in Iraq.
In addition, Stonestreet, who was awarded the Purple Heart and
was considered for the Bronze Star for bravery in combat,
said the amount he was to pay back was originally $6,000,
but the government repossessed his final paycheck of $2,200.
"They were nice enough to take out the $170 for my child
support," Stonestreet said, laughingly.

Who Is Killing New Orleans?
by Mike Davis
Published on Friday, March 24, 2006

Why Be a Billionaire? – 9.7k
Deconstructing Forbes' annual list.
By Michael Kinsley
Posted Friday, March 24, 2006, at 6:08 AM ET
Prince Ahlwaleed bin Talal Alsaud has a 317-room (but who's counting?)
palace in Riyadh that cost $130 million. Suppose you own five of these, and
every 10 years you tear them all down and rebuild from scratch. Even if you
add maintenance, air conditioning, and condo fees, you have to struggle to
hit $100 million a year. Put one of them on your own private island. The
most expensive island Forbes could find for sale was listed at $39.7
million. But when they see you coming they're going to up that to $40 mil,
aren't they? So what! Buy a new one every year. Fly there in your private
plane. Forbes strangely doesn't say how much a private plane costs, but
says you can charter a plane to the Bahamas for $40,000. So, leave all your
houses and your island and do that every weekend. It adds up to under $2.1
million. Check into a nice hotel. Use the minibar. Another million or so,
depending on whether you go for the chips or the nuts...This raises the
interesting question: If winning is what the money is all about, wouldn't,
say, half as much money be just as much winning—as long as everybody
else in the game had half as much money as well? If Icahn is right, a stiff
tax on billionaires ought to have no negative effect at all, as long as it is
applied to all billionaires equally. I'm not advocating such a tax. I am,
though, suggesting that the exquisite sensitivity to the incentives of
rich people that has been the dominant force in tax policy since 1980
may be overwrought.
Michael Kinsley is Slate's founding editor.


How poor is poor?
Issue of 2006-04-03
Posted 2006-03-27
Consider a hypothetical single mother with two teen-age sons living in New
Orleans' Ninth Ward, a neighborhood with poor schools, high rates of crime
and unemployment, and few opportunities for social advancement. The mother
works four days a week in a local supermarket, where she makes eight
dollars an hour. Her sons do odd jobs, earning a few hundred dollars a
month, which they have used to buy stereo equipment, a DVD player, and a
Nintendo. The family lives in public housing, and it qualifies for food
stamps and Medicaid. Under the Earned Income Tax Credit program, the mother
would receive roughly four thousand dollars from the federal government
each year. Compared with the destitute in Africa and Asia, this family is
unimaginably rich. Compared with a poor American family of thirty years
ago, it may be slightly better off. Compared with a typical two-income
family in the suburbs, it is poor....The conservative case against a relative
-poverty line asserts that since some people will always earn less than
others the relative-poverty rate will never go down. Fortunately, this
isn’t necessarily true. If incomes were distributed more equally, fewer
families would earn less than half the median income. Therefore,
the way to reduce relative poverty is to reduce income inequality—
perhaps by increasing the minimum wage and raising taxes on the
rich. Between 1979 and 2000, the inflation-adjusted earnings of
the poorest fifth of Americans increased just nine per cent; the
earnings of the middle fifth rose fifteen per cent; and the earnings
of the top fifth climbed sixty-eight per cent.

Legislation & Politics
Key to Immigration Reform: Fairness
March 27, 2006

The Demonization And Death Of Slobodan Milosevic
by Louis Proyect
March 27, 2006

Senate Panel Backs Protection of Groups That Aid Immigrants
March 27, 2006

Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants
March 27, 2006

Bush Was Set on Path to War, Memo by British Adviser Says
March 27, 2006

Cuba and Human Rights, official statement
Statement from the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs
24 March 2006

A Poverty Line That's Out of Date and Out of Favor
March 12, 2006