Thursday, May 11, 2006


Guantánamo Poets
May 21, 2006

Prisons make poets of many, no less so the detainees
of Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. A few of their poems have been
declassifed by the Pentagon and are published in this week's
issue of Bookforum. Marc D. Falkoff, a lawyer who has worked
with the prisoners, arranged for the translations from Arabic
and Pashto. The first one reprinted here is by an ethnic Uighar,
a Chinese Muslim. The second is an excerpt from a longer
work by a Yemeni detainee.

"Even if the Pain"
By Saddiq Turkestani

Even if the pain of the wound increases
There must be a remedy to treat it.
Even if the days in prison endure
There must be a day when we will get out.

From "The Truth"
By Imad Abdullah Hassan

O History, reflect. I will now
Disclose the secret of secrets.
My song will expose the damned oppression,
And bring the system to collapse.
The tyrants, full-equipped and numbered,
Stand unmoved in the face of the Light.
They proceed in the Dark, led by
The Devil, in pride and arrogance.
They have turned their land of peace
Into a home for hypocrites.
They have exchanged piety
For cheap commodity.


More Abu Ghraib Photos Posted
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
May 21, 2006

We have posted a new collection of Abu Ghraib images
from a variety of sources.
supplied the images.

We have decided to post these in our continuing effort
to show the true face of the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Click here

to view these images.


Tues, May 23
6:00 P.M. (space is limited, please arrive on time)
School District Office
555 Franklin St
San Francisco
School board to hear resolution to phase out jrotc by the end of the
2006-2007 school year!!!




The Border War Comes Home
Our Lives are on the Line
May 18, 2006

He looked squarely into my eyes. "So, you see what's coming," he said.

I was speaking with one of the core leaders of the movement for
migrant's rights, and had laid before him a sketch of a plan of
resistance for the nation's barrios, for the protection of people
from the mass raids and mass deportations that will result from
new anti-migrant legislation being birthed in Washington.

"This is the calm before the storm; they're going to make it tough,"
Professor Armando Navarro had told LA's La Opinion. "They're
talking about raids, deportations. In every barrio we have to
organize migrant defense committees, and get ready for civil

The meeting we had just attended unanimously called for the
rejection of the so-called Hagel-Martinez "compromise" in the
US Senate, under which as many as 7 million migrants could face
deportation. Such a compromise would then have to be "reconciled"
with House bill 4437, an even more extreme measure inspired
by supporters of the ultra-Right and the racist shock troops
called the Minutemen.

The House bill calls for the universal deportation of every woman,
child and man in the country without papers, for an utterly
devastating depopulation -an ethnic cleansing - of the barrio,
and the destruction of much of its cultural and economic life.

The difference between the bills under consideration is the
difference between partial and virtually complete ethnic cleansing,
and any "compromise" between such measures will not change
the racist and quasi-genocidal nature of the result. A "compromise"
can only mean the deportation of millions and the legal
stigmatization and terrorization of millions more.

Under international law, ethnic cleansing means the expulsion
from a territory of one ethnic group by another, and pertains
to official policies aimed at the forcible removal of a targeted
group. The crime is considered a form of forced emigration,
deportation and genocide.

International law recognizes ethnic cleansing as a crime against
humanity when carried out in a time of literal warfare.
The US war on migrants is the moral equivalent of ethnic
cleansing. It is a crime against humanity.

Fittingly, the Bush administration has flatly stated its intent
to make "enforcement" the cutting edge of its new approach
to migrants, and to prove the point it recently initiated the
largest single mass arrest of migrants in US history, and put
a severe new focus on penalizing employers, as well.

Bush has already deported more people than any other
president in U.S. history.

Since he took office ICE has deported some 150,000 migrants
a year and had deported 881,478 people through 2005, figures
that do not include, for example, the 1.2 million people who
were arrested at the U.S.-Mexican border itself last year.

Now, in his Monday night speech, Bush has promised to fulfill
one of the Minutemen's most draconian hopes ­ turning the
border into a green zone, a quasi-military zone occupied
by forces of the National Guard, backed by a super high
tech "virtual" wall a wall more deadly, and more effective,
than a mere fence.

And, in apparent defiance of the Posse Comitatus Act ­
which forbids the use of military troops within US borders -
the House recently passed legislation that, according to the
Pentagon, "gives authority to the Defense Department to
assign military members to assist Homeland Security
organizations in preventing the entry of terrorists, drug
traffickers and illegal aliens into the United States"

Migrant deaths at the border are expected to skyrocket,
and the State is already building mass detention centers
for migrants. Bush claims he's not "militarizing" the border.
His claim will mean nothing to the dead and the incarcerated.

Every version of the so-called "immigration reform laws"
now under renewed consideration in Washington also
authorizes and pays local police to act as immigration
agents and to oversee the deportation of those they arrest,
effectively adding a permanent quasi-military force of 650,000
for "internal enforcement" of immigration laws.

This is an example of the "middle ground" on migrants
trumpeted by the US's white colonial ruling elite: the state
will combine mass raids with the slow process of day by day
racial profiling to eliminate the migrant population. According
to an ICE plan called Operation Engame, they mean to deport
every "deportable" migrant by the year 2012.

In his Monday speech Bush said migrants are "beyond the
reach and protection of American law." Indeed, he means
to get them in his grasp, but their "protection" is nowhere
on the agenda.

The plan is to control and terrorize the migrants who will
remain in the US, and to incarcerate and deport the rest.
When that much is achieved, the ruling elites will find
themselves in a comfortable position to continuously
exploit the labor of a subjugated, highly controlled and
vulnerable ethnic under-caste, and they will have
provided themselves with the kind of ethnic scapegoat
essential to the development of a new US-style fascism.

False Hopes

The hopes of millions of migrants have been ignited by
the recent wave of protests, and by the hope that white
America will find them with their white t-shirts and
American flags -acceptable, tolerable, even welcome.

The shock will be immense.

Migrants will learn in a brutal fashion that the concern
of America's elite has never had anything to do with
surrender, white shirts, white dreams, or any other
indication of who, as people, migrants might be or wish
to be. The only concern of the ruling elites is their own
need for migrants as exploitable workers like the slave
master of the Old South they need their workers.

There is another motive as well: today's elites also fear
the very people they need - just like any slave master.
The fear is compounded by the knowledge that today's
master is not only an exploiter, he is also a usurper: the
land he thrives on was stolen from the very people he
degrades and dehumanizes with the epithet "illegal."

And it's not just Republicans and open white racists who
are afraid. It's many "liberals," too. Ed Schultz, the liberal
talk show host, recently offered two factors as a bottom
line on why migrants should stay: "the economy needs
them" and "they can make trouble."

The fear is so intense that, because of our mass protests,
the worst elements of the Sensenbrenner bill HR4437 ­
were momentarily derailed as different elements of the
ruling class scrambled and bickered among themselves
to determine who will have the final say - to determine
who among them can assure the needs of their economy
while averting the threat that migrants represent to them all.

With every passing day, with every demonstration, with
each child who prays each night that her parents can come
out from the shadow of the stigma of being hunted and
despised, with each heartbeat of rising hope, the noose
around the neck of the ruling class gets just a little tighter;
the options contract.

With each day, each hour, the danger for the ruling elites
of crushing the life and death expectations of migrants
grows exponentially. Politically correct or not, every
American flag carried in the recent mass demonstrations
represents a rising, fluttering expectation, a sea of
expectations whose depths promise shipwreck for the
State, when, as it must, it betrays the promise of
"freedom" and racial "equality."

The crushing of those expectations could lead directly
to rebellion in the streets, following the example of the
recent rebellion of migrants in France, and of the African
American rebellions of the 1960s. When Martin Luther
King was overcome, when he lay dead of an assassin's
bullet in Memphis, a hundred cities burned across the

They burned because it had become clear to the African
American people that after more than a decade of struggle
nothing fundamental in the structure of oppression had
changed, that the changes that occurred had been mere
surface changes, compromises, like the Hagel-Martinez
bill today, aimed at silencing them, not at transforming
the conditions of their lives or the oppression that afflicted

The ruling elites have not forgotten for a moment the mass
rebellion in Los Angeles of 1992. Migrant neighborhoods
were a focal point of intense uprisings; the unity between
Black and Brown was as palpably intense as the flames
that engulfed the city and utterly terrifying to all of those
whose daily task is to keep us down.

As if to underscore the point, police were all but invisible
in the recent pro-migrant marches in downtown LA ­
although over a million of us were in the streets. But in
Pico Union, where another million marched, riot squads
were visible everywhere, even until past midnight. Pico
Union was a storm center of the LA rebellion. Half of those
arrested in that period were Brown.

Is it any wonder, then, that the rulers have taken pause
for thought about just how far they dare to go in the war
on immigrants? Sensenbrenner went too far with HR4437
he awakened the threat. Now they must gauge a thing all
but impossible to gauge: just how far is too far?

No one on either side of the equation knows the answer
to that question.

One thing at least is clear no one in the white mainstream
is going to come to the support of migrants unless migrants
themselves stop wrapping themselves in the flag of the
oppressor, and dare to stand up to oppression and unless
they are willing to polarize the nation against their persecutors
and defiantly challenge their racism.

At the same time our demands must be made clear and
millions must be challenged to re-think their prejudices.
That's exactly how the Black movement for freedom did it,
and nothing less will do. The "problem," as one writer
recently put it, isn't at the border; the problem isn't with
immigration it's that migrants are being persecuted.

And voting won't change that, no matter what the "We
Are America" coalition claims. A vote in November and
face it, most migrants simply aren't eligible to vote will
change nothing for the child whose mother or father
is deported today. Even if the Democrats win in November,
there is absolutely no guarantee that they will take
up the question of immigration anew.

No. The harsh reality is that the Democrats have supported
extremely draconian anti-migrant measures in their
willingness to "compromise" with the overtly fascistic
elements of the Republican Party.

The "compromise" already accepted by the Democrats
includes mass deportations of up to several million people,
the indefinite detention of migrants without due process,
the treatment of minor offenses as "aggravated felonies"
which would trigger harsh mandatory detention and
deportation, and of course, unleashing the police as
migrant hunters in a program of daily terror against
our communities.

When the matter goes to the House/ Senate reconciliation
committee, it can only get worse. The Democrats are no
more likely to repeal the war on migrants than they have
been willing to reverse their criminal support for the unjust
colonial war of occupation against Iraq.

They will not relent unless we leave them no choice, unless,
like the forces of resistance in other places and other times,
we make the political price of continuing the war on migrants
too high.

The Ultimate Showdown

The National Immigrant Solidarity Network says it clearly.
"This is a critical moment for the immigrant struggle."

"We should brace ourselves," they say, "for the ultimate
showdown of the immigrant struggle soon, and we should
mobilize ourselves quickly to respond to the racist anti-
immigrant xenophobia that will go down."

The group is calling for emergency community meetings
to strategize rapid response to a possible nationwide
crackdown or attack on immigrants.

No matter what the rulers do, short of a general legalization,
they will present our people with unbearable choices, with
an unimaginable grief of separation; with the mass
destruction of what is most sacred to us; our families
and communities.

Will we allow the rulers of America to deport our children,
2/3 of whom are citizens of their nation? Will we allow
them to force us to leave our children behind? Will we let
our children live in fear that their parents may not come
home from work? That they will disappear? At what point
will the grief, fear and rage become unbearable, and
uncontainable? At what point must we say "¡Ya Basta!" ?

Flying the American flag has disarmed us. It is not our
willingness to live by the rules that impresses the slave
master his entire regime is designed to ensure our
compliance. What impresses him is our potential to
awaken, to shatter the framework, to throw away the "rules".

Flying the US flag means we don't understand the
ruthless nature of our enemies; it means a basic and
unconscious allegiance to the idea of getting ahead and
doing so on the backs of others, an unconscious allegiance
to and imitation of the very foundations of the oppressor's
outlook and his control of us, and an implicit acceptance
of his colonial rule over stolen land and subjugated peoples.

Our enemies want to split our allegiances, they want us
to grasp at individual chances for "acceptance" and
"freedom," and to ignore the well being of our people
as a whole. That, after all, is the real "American Dream"
­ private wealth and well being on the backs of other,
subjugated peoples.

But we can no longer leave the fate of our children
in their hands. We cannot allow our families to be
shattered and our dreams to be crushed. We must
refuse to live any longer in the shadows, refuse to live
under slavery in any form. It is time to take matters
into our own hands, to do once more what every
migrant has already done just by crossing the border
make the decision to live, to survive together, no matter
what they throw at us.

Let them deal with the ramifications of attempting mass
repression against a people in resistance here, while
they face a similar problem overseas. Let them worry
about alienating Latin America and their European
partners in war and conquest. Let them worry about
permanently alienating the millions Black and White -
who already support us, and who understand that the
powers that be are taking the nation toward fascism.
Let them worry what will happen when they invade our
barrios and workplaces in mass raids.

Let them worry while we organize; while we create mass
networks of direct action and resistance. Let us truly
follow the example of the Black Civil Rights Movement
and of the Black Power Movement that followed it. The
Black movement of the 1950s and 60s was a resistance
movement, one that both obeyed the law, and which,
through civil disobedience and other strategies, broke
the law, as necessary, in obedience to a Higher Law.

Black people of that era laid their lives on the line for
their freedom. We can do no less.

Let us put the slogan to the test: ¡Un Pueblo Unido
Jamás Será Vencido!

Si, se puede.

Juan Santos is an editor and writer in Los Angeles.
He can be reached at


From the Soldiers of Solidarity's Gregg Shotwell - On Immigration
Date: Thurs, May 18 2006 1:10am

What distrubs me about this immigrant
issue is that it is not fundamentally
about immigration. It is cloaked in
nationalism and racism but it is really
anti worker. If we allow one set of
workers to be treated like criminals, where
will it end? First they came for (fill
in the blank) and I didn't say anything
because I wasn't one.

Well, the way I see it, I am one. First,
foremost, and always, I am a worker.

The bossing class wants me to make
other workers my enemies but workers don't
cut wages, steal pensions, deprive
us of health care, monoplize natural
resources, and destroy our communities,
the bosses do. The real criminals are the
bastards that gave us NAFTA, which
exploited Mexican workers and US workers.
NAFTA displaced Mexican farmers by
dumping US corn grown by Corporate farms onto
the Mexican market. Even the small
tortilla makers lost jobs because of

How is that capital can cross borders
at will to exploit workers but we can't
cross borders to buy drugs in Canada,
and workers who have been deprived of
jobs through no fault of their own are
treated like criminals because they want
to work for a living? NO WORKER IS MY ENEMY.

I volunteered for many years at a half
way house for federal prisoners. They
all told me about the Prison Industrial
Complex. Well, PIC wants more prison
labor. Who benefits when workers are
turned into criminals? It won't stop them
from crossing the borders. Criminalization
will just make it easier for bosses
to exploit them. Encouraging workers
to hate the latest set of immigrants is
a traditonal tool of bosses in America.
Sure, they were legal when they came
through Ellis Island, but then the bosses
found out that legal workers could
get organized, so they encouraged
illegal immigration.

It's the rich bastards that are depriving
us of national health care, and
stealing our pensions, and profiting
from war, and driving our wages down while
they rake in the profits. I will not
be tricked into believing poor underpaid
workers are my enemies. I know
who the enemy is. There's no dirt under his
fingernails, no sorrow in his eyes,
and he wouldn't risk his life and sacrifice
his own comfort in order to send
money home to his family.

Let us not lose our focus. Workers
are our allies. The bosses are trying to
whipsaw us against immigrant workers.
Criminalization plays into the bosses
hands. They want illegal workers.
They want all workers to be treated like
outlaws. They aren't going to stop
with Mexicans. Ask anybody who's ever been on a
picket line. Workers are outlaws in
America. It's no wonder they don't want us
to own guns.

sos, Gregg Shotwell




"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act."
--George Orwell


Great Counter-Recruitment Website


[Please read, respond and forward]
Action Alert: Release Sameeh Hammoudeh!
For Immediate Release
May 9, 2006

Talking Points:

* On 6 December 2005 a jury found
Sameeh Hammoudeh not guilty of all
charges brought against him.
Hence, there is no legal basis for
keeping him imprisoned by the
Immigration and Customs
Enforcement Service. He should
be released forthwith.

* Sameeh Hammoudeh wishes to
return to his home in Ramallah, Palestine. By
holding him prisoner, the ICE is
preventing him from exercising his
inalienable, natural and legal right
to return to his home.


* Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales
PHONE: 202-514-2001 and 202-353-1555
MAIL: U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

* Florida Governor Jeb Bush

* Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
Main office telephone numbers
Switchboard: 850-414-3300
Citizens Services: 850-414-3990
Florida Relay/TDD: 800-955-8771
Florida Toll Free: 1-866-966-7226
Fax: 850-410-1630

To obtain contact information for media outlets, go to:

Please cc your correspondence to

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
PO Box 131352
Carlsbad, CA 92013, USA
Tel: 760-685-3243
Fax: 360-933-3568

Memo to: All those who have the power
to free Sameeh Hammoudeh


(I didn't know who she was. Now I do...BW)


Exploitation, Betrayal & Triumph in the Workplace
by Helena Wojtczak


"Baghdad ER," new HBO documentary to air Sunday, May 21
The documentary, titled "Baghdad ER," chronicles two months
at the 86th Combat Support Hospital, where filmmakers were
given broad access to follow doctors, nurses, medics and others
as they treated soldiers wounded by roadside bombs and in combat.
As one nurse, Specialist Saidet Lanier, says in the film: "This is
hard-core, raw, uncut trauma. Day after day, every day."
The film, directed by Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill, will
be shown Sunday, May 21 on HBO.


National Day of Out(r)age Against the Telcos!
Heads Up! on an upcoming rally - Let me know if you or your
organization would like to participate.
Peace, Nancy/CODEPINK

National Day of Out(r)age Against the Telcos!
Wednesday May 24, 2006 4:00-6:00pm
AT&T Building
600 Folsom Street (Btwn 2nd & 3rd Sts.)
San Francisco, CA

Join Media Alliance, Access-SF Center, CODEPINK and others for a
lively rally outside of the AT&T building where the National Security
Agency (NSA) set up a secret spy room to collect phone calls.

Recent news also has exposed the privacy violation of millions of
telephone users by AT&T and Verizon who willingly handed over call
records to the National Security Agency without proper legal
warrants. AT&T has also been in the news about it's collusion with
the NSA to install computers to track the internet traffic on their
Worldnet backbone. Now these same corporation want even more access
to homes throughout the country with their fiber networks. We demand
accountability and
better protections!

If you'd like to participate in a fun & creative action outside of
AT&T Ballpark on Weds. May 24th at 11:30am-12:30pm contact Jeff

For more info. contact Nancy codepinkbayarea at


Please circulate!

Break the Silence Mural Project and Members of the JIP Culture
Committee Invite you to attend:

a collaborative photo exhibition depicting the Israeli
occupation of Palestinian land and people.
Friday, MAY 26, 6-9 PM
Michelle O'Connor Gallery
2111 Mission Street @ 17th St. in San Francisco
Admission is FREE (Donations welcome).

Refreshments, Spoken Word, Music, Break the Silence Presentation
Documentary photographers Aisha Mershani and Lisa Nessan capture
resistance to Israeli occupation and current life in Palestine. The
images in this diverse collection of photographs taken between 2002
and 2006 go beyond the headlines of the mainstream media toward
a deeper understanding of reality on-the-ground in West Bank,


Please join CODEPINK Women for Peace and Ti Couz Restaurant
for A Celebration of Resistance
Friday May 26, 2006 7:00-11:00pm
Ti Couz Too
3108 16th Street (@ Valencia Street)
San Francisco, CA 94103

Vive Le Resistance!

Join us for an evening of food, drinks, music and dancing as we
honor those Bay Area residents who have led the way of resistance
on different fronts.

Medea Benjamin, Co-founder of Global Exchange and
CODEPINK Women for Peace

Music by Los Nadies along with traditional Mexican dancers.

Evening Recognitions

Hunger Strikers' for Immigrant Rights, a broad Bay Area Coalition
launched a seven-day hunger strike at the U.S. Federal Building
in San Francisco to protest the Anti-Immigrant Specter Bill
pending in Congress. They are calling for fair and just
immigration reform, and denouncing Senator Arlen Specter's
bill that designates all undocumented immigrants as
aggravated felons.

San Francisco State University 10, Ten SFSU students protested
military recruitment at the university's career fair. Campus
police interrupted their protest and physically took the
students from the school's gymnasium where they were
protesting. The police then notified the students that they
were banned from campus. They were protesting the military's
recruiting of university students into careers that would foster
death, destruction and injustice.

Clarence Thomas, is a long-time labor activist who has worked
consistently on a number of international issues. He travelled
to Iraq with a delegation from U.S. Labor Against the War.
He is the national co-chair of the Million Worker March
Movement and a member of International Longshore and
Warehouse Union, Local 10.

Elizabeth "Betita" Martinez, A long-time activist, author and
educator, Martinez has published six books and many articles
on social justice movements in the Americas. Best known
is her bilingual volume 500 Years of Chicano History in
Pictures, which became the basis for a video she co-directed.
In 1997 she co-founded and currently directs the Institute
for MultiRacial Justice in San Francisco, and was one of
a 1000 women nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Additional honorees TBA

Space is limited so please RSVP now to Nancy Mancias at

A request for donations of $10.00-100.00 sliding scale
will be made to Esteklal! Independence for Iraq! ad campaign.

With your help, we are sending a message of sorrow, friendship
and peace directly to the women of Iraq and their families
by challenging the free press in Iraq to print an advertisement
calling on people of both nations to work together to end the
occupation. www.

Special thanks to Sylvie Le Mer and Ti Couz staff.


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!


Fourth Annual International Al-Awda Convention
San Francisco - July 14-16, 2006
To register:
To flyer, the writing is on the wall:
For all other info:




According to "Minimum Wage History" at "

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

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



I can't imagine that you haven't seen this, but if you
haven't, please sign the petition to keep our access.
Everything we do online will be hurt if Congress
passes a radical law next week that gives giant
corporations more control over what we do and see on
the Internet.

Internet providers like AT&T are lobbying Congress
hard to gut Network Neutrality--the Internet's First
Amendment and the key to Internet freedom. Right now,
Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which
websites open most easily for you based on which site
pays AT&T more. doesn't have to
outbid Amazon for the right to work properly on your

If Net Neutrality is gutted, many sites--including
Google, eBay, and iTunes--must either pay protection
money to companies like AT&T or risk having their
websites process slowly. That why these high-tech
pioneers, plus diverse groups ranging from MoveOn to
Gun Owners of America, are opposing Congress' effort
to gut Internet freedom.

So please! sign this petition telling your member of
Congress to preserve Internet freedom? Click here:


Flash Film: Ides of March




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


Please join the online campaign to
Send emails to President Bush, Vice President
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A film by Eugene Jarecki
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The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

Bill of Rights


1) Waking A Sleeping Giant
From : Airline Workers New Service
Date : Tue, May 16, 2006 09:05 AM

2) A City's Changing Face
Wealth, Race Guiding Which New Orleanians Stay, and Which Never Return
By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 17, 2006; A01

3) Cruel and unusual punishment
Homelessness was recently put on trial in California.
It was found not guilty.
Bay Guardian OpEd
by Tommi Avicolli Mecca

4) Latinos enlisting in record numbers
Despite opposition to the Iraq war, pride motivates many
to sign up for military duty
"Mayorga enlisted to take advantage of President Bush's decision
after Sept. 11 to speed the citizenship process for green card
holders who enlist. "The first reason is for citizenship," Mayorga
said flatly. "I don't have a second or third reason," he said."
- Justin Berton, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, May 15, 2006

5) Celebration of GI Resistance
Shuts Oakland Military Recruiting Station
by Jeff Paterson, Not in Our Name Tuesday, May. 16, 2006 at 1:12 PM
Oakland, California (May 15, 2006) -- 100 people shut down
Oakland military recruiting station to celebrate GI resistance
to immoral war and occupation.

6) U.S. reserves nearly 'broken,' says chief
Iraq, Afghan conflicts sap military resources
Updated: 8:28 a.m. ET Jan. 6, 2005

7) Standing Up to Repression and Fear:
The Real "War on Terror"
10 SFSU students face discipline for counter-
recruitment protest
By Karen Knoller
May 14th, 2006

8) Senate Continues to Work on Immigration Bill
May 18, 2006

9) Coming Down to Earth
May 19, 2006

10) Ground Workers Reach Deal With Northwest
Filed at 10:43 a.m. ET
May 19, 2006

11) Mexico to Protest U.S. Border Plan
May 19, 2006

12) Ecuador Cancels an Oil Deal With Occidental Petroleum
May 17, 2006

13) Japanese Cars, American Retirees
Japanese companies face little of this burden in Japan, where
the government covers retirees' health care and pays a bigger
share of workers' pensions.
May 19, 2006

14) Autopsy Finds That Soldier Under Army Medical Care Died
From Painkiller Overdose (Fort
May 19, 2006

15) Gambling on a Weaker Dollar
New York Times Editorial
May 20, 2006

16) At Unforgiving Arizona-Mexico Border,
Tide of Desperation Is Overwhelming
May 21, 2006


1) Waking A Sleeping Giant
From : Airline Workers New Service
Date : Tue, May 16, 2006 09:05 AM

Members of the International Association of Machinists have exploded onto
the scene as a result of Northwest Airlines' unwillingness to bargain in
good faith after union baggage handlers and stock clerks rejected a
proposed contract. On Sunday, May 14, at NWA's Minneapolis hub,
eyewitnesses said approximately 400 union members gathered at gate C-11 for
a ramp rally. Negotiators for the Company were on board an aircraft at that
gate, bound for New York. They were going to present arguments in
bankruptcy court to abrogate baggage handlers and stock clerks union
contracts. Workers used the sides of baggage carts to write messages in
chalk to the negotiators, who were seen looking out aircraft windows. Among
the messages were- "We have given enough." "We are united." "190 million?
No way!"

Workers had driven their equipment to the gate, creating a sea of vehicles.
As the aircraft pushed back from the gate workers walked with it, gathering
nearby as it reached the taxi way. Some workers turned their pockets inside
out, indicating to the negotiators they had no more to give. One baggage
handler explained that he had not seen this kind of unity in years. "
People around here have not had much to smile about lately, but realizing
you do have power made me smile for the rest of the day. I think we are
onto something.", he said. One hour earlier a group of about 100 workers
had escorted out another flight with company representatives on it. At both
events managers had sought unsuccessfully to send workers away.

The following day, Monday, Northwest attempted to discipline several
workers who they say had been at the ramp rally. When ground crews learned
of this, over 100 of them gathered outside the site of the Company
investigation to protest management's action. After several minutes the
investigation was canceled. Also on Monday, Northwest union stock clerks
gathered at a "prayer meeting" to show unity. They later joined several
dozen baggage handlers at Northwest Company Headquarters in Eagan,
Minnesota to show their dissatisfaction with company contract demands. Many
workers reported they will not accept any contract which does not contain
substantial improvements over the Company's last offer. " We will be
looking to hook up with our fellow union members throughout the system and
with the flight attendants so we can strengthen our fight." said one long
time baggage handler.

Airline Workers News Service is maintained by a group of airline industry
workers. Our aim is to seek out and report on information about the state
of our industry and what workers are doing to fight back against some of
the biggest attacks by the airlines in decades. Please share this with your
coworkers. If you know of others who would like to receive these mailings,
please forward their email addresses to Thank you.


2) A City's Changing Face
Wealth, Race Guiding Which New Orleanians Stay, and Which Never Return
By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 17, 2006; A01

NEW ORLEANS -- Block by block, this city is springing back to life.
Block by block, it is receding into the past tense.

With Hurricane Katrina nearly nine months gone and about 60
percent of New Orleans's pre-storm population still somewhere
else, the rebirth and the wasting away are closely tracking
neighborhood patterns of race and poverty.

Disparities in wealth and in the distance of evacuees from
their ruined houses are dictating, in many cases, which
neighborhoods will be part of the city's future and which
will be consigned to its history. For a city that was two-
thirds black and nearly one-third poor before the storm,
the uneven pilgrimage back to New Orleans has already
changed voter turnout and seems certain to transform
the culture and character of the city, making it substantially
whiter, richer and less populous than before.

This article, part of an occasional series about two severely
flooded streets in the city, examines an affluent white and
a poor black neighborhood that appear to have reached
their tipping points.

That point has clearly arrived for the 6500 block of Memphis
Street in Lakeview, a white neighborhood hit hard by Katrina.
It is roaring back to middle-class life, and most owners on
the block have committed to coming home.

Landscapers are rolling out sod for new lawns. Granite
countertops and commercial-grade stainless-steel stoves
are being installed in rebuilt kitchens. There is electricity,
water, gas, mail service, newspaper delivery and garbage pickup.
Two neighborhood banks are up and lending. A post-Katrina
restaurant, Touché, serves breakfast and lunch. Two blocks
away, St. Dominic Catholic church has been refurbished and
is open each morning for Mass.

"Every day and every week is better, and people need to know
that," said Bea Quaintance. With the help of a trailer from the
Federal Emergency Management Agency that is parked in her
front yard, she and her husband, Gary, and their son, Steven,
were the first family back on Memphis Street. "I think this country
has done a wonderful job of providing for us."

Across town, in a 98-percent-black, mostly working-class
neighborhood that was also wrecked by the storm, the 2500
block of Delery Street has tipped the other way.

Like much of the Lower Ninth Ward, the block is empty and
silent, with no electricity, no drinkable water, no gas, no FEMA
trailers and no signs of rebuilding on a street where many families
owned their homes for generations.

No nearby churches, banks or restaurants are open, and no one,
not even organizers from groups demanding the reconstruction
of the Lower Ninth, seems to have a list of residents with firm plans
to come home. Throughout the spring, bodies were found
in neighborhood houses.

A sign in the window of Daphne Jones's brick house at 2531 Delery
declares: "No Bulldozing. We Are Coming Home." But Jones concedes
that the sign is more wish than pledge.

College students on spring break gutted her house free of charge
in April, but she says she does not have enough money to rebuild.
She has been trying for months to contact and mobilize her neighbors,
dropping "Rebuilding Our Own Neighborhood" fliers in their abandoned
houses. But such fervent, low-tech efforts have not worked.

"A lot of them are far away, and they don't know what is going on,"
said Jones, 55, whose two grown daughters and entire extended family
have fled the Lower Ninth, mostly for Georgia. She evacuated to
a shelter in Hammond, La., filtered back to New Orleans at the
beginning of the year, and lives now with a disabled friend in
a FEMA trailer across town. The lack of progress in re-creating
her old neighborhood leaves her baffled and sad.

"If the levees are being rebuilt stronger than before, why can't
we rebuild here?" she said. "It feels strange to me."

To Return or Not?
After fleeing the storm, black residents, especially poor ones
from the Lower Ninth Ward and the city's public housing projects,
were much more likely than whites to end up living far out of
town, according to city, state and federal studies. After long
bus rides, many ended up in cities such as Houston and Atlanta.

For these African Americans, generations-old networks of kinfolk,
church folk and friends have been obliterated or transplanted
to another state where distance and the cost of travel undermine
their ability to come home, even for short visits.

Middle-class whites fled in their own cars and tended not to
go so far, according to the studies. Many of them rented apartments,
bought houses, or moved in with friends or relatives in the mostly
white suburbs that developed as whites fled school integration.
These New Orleanians have remained close enough to get building
permits, deal with insurance agents, hire contractors and bird-dog
the reconstruction of their houses.

"The people from Lakeview are not poor," said the Rev. Donald
Dvorak, pastor at St. Dominic, the largest church in Lakeview, which
is 94 percent white. "They all had the means to leave on their own
terms and a place to go -- and the means to come back. That is
the difference between us and the Lower Ninth Ward."

Out of 23 houses on the 6500 block of Memphis Street, three have
been refurbished and are occupied. Owners of 10 others have firm
plans to demolish and rebuild. Architects are finishing drawings
for new and -- in some cases -- larger houses.

The block is a work in progress. Three houses are for sale, and
seven owners have yet to decide whether they are coming home.
The neighborhood's storm-drainage system is damaged and clogs
up after heavy rain -- a worrisome reminder of what could happen
when the hurricane season starts next month.

Still, the momentum of return now seems unstoppable.

"It's not a wager, it's a sure thing," said John Pippenger, an
accountant and deacon at St. Dominic. He and his wife, Linda,
bought a house on Memphis Street early this year to replace
one that Katrina destroyed a few blocks away.

There is a large bulletin board in the back of St. Dominic
church with a computer-generated map of Lakeview. It shows
that more than 1,400 families have pledged to come home.
Every Sunday after Mass, worshipers wander back to the map
and the pledge list grows longer.

A Toll on the Polls
The post-storm difference between the Lower Ninth and Lakeview
was starkly quantified by voter turnout in the first election since
Katrina, a mayoral primary held April 22.

Despite months of national publicity and an intensive effort
to encourage out-of-town voting, turnout in the Lower Ninth
fell 40 percent compared with the 2002 mayoral election. In
the precinct that includes the 2500 block of Delery, turnout
was down 50 percent. The falloff was mirrored in other black
districts across the city.

In Lakeview, where most houses are also still empty, turnout
dipped by only 6 percent. On the day of the primary, the
neighborhood's polling center at St. Dominic became the site
of a joyous homecoming party -- as cars rolled in all day long
from the suburbs. In the precinct that includes the 6500 block
of Memphis, turnout increased as it did in undamaged, mostly
white neighborhoods such as the French Quarter and the
Garden District.

Election results -- and the results of a mayoral runoff on Saturday
-- will "have a big effect on what neighborhood voices are heard
by city politicians," predicted John R. Logan, a sociology professor
at Brown University who has begun a long-term study of demographic
change in post-Katrina New Orleans.

"Lakeview is going to be an increasingly important political
constituency in the future," he said. "And the Lower Ninth is almost
certainly going to have less clout in coming years, and that really
puts its future on the line."

The prospect of increased political power is an enticement drawing
homeowners back to Lakeview, said Dvorak of St. Dominic. There
is a growing certainty among returnees to the neighborhood, he
said, that they will shape the future of New Orleans.

Waiting in the Suburbs
"When people don't vote, you lose your right to complain about
services," said Ron Martinez, an architect who expects to move
back with his family to Memphis Street by the end of the summer.

Ever since the storm, Martinez has been saying that race relations
are as great a problem for New Orleans as hurricanes. But he says
he can do little to redress the imbalances that have been worsened
by Katrina. He and his wife, Cathy, have been preoccupied with the
cost and complexities of finding a way to bring their own family
back to New Orleans.

After the storm, they agonized about the financial sense and
physical risks of returning to Memphis Street. It is below sea
level (lower by five feet, in fact, than the Lower Ninth Ward) and
just half a mile from where a levee breached along the 17th
Street Canal, flooding Lakeview.

They opted last October for a holding pattern in the suburbs,
buying a house in Destrehan, a 40-minute drive west of New
Orleans. Since then, Ron has been commuting to his office in the
Garden District. Their children, Evan, 12, and Marcelle, 11,
commute to St. Dominic's School, in its temporary location
about two miles from Lakeview. Ron usually takes the children
in and Cathy drives them home.

On the first day of spring, they decided enough was enough.
They took a financial leap that will soon take them back to
Lakeview. They bought another house on Memphis Street and
will use it as a base while fixing up their larger house on that
street. They have not yet sold their house in the suburbs.
"We weren't risk-takers before, but after Katrina, what the
hell," Cathy Martinez said.

The Martinezes said they are taking the risk because their block,
their church and their neighbors are all up and running. They
want to be part of it without driving in from the suburbs every
day. And St. Dominic School is scheduled to reopen in August
in Lakeview. The kids will need to walk only two blocks to get there.

'Look and Leave'
Until last week, the city had designated the entire Lower Ninth
Ward as a "look and leave" area because city water tested unsafe
for drinking. That order has now been lifted, but only for about
half of the neighborhood.

There is another post-storm fact of life that is even more
maddening to former neighborhood residents. Just two blocks
to the east of Delery Street -- where New Orleans Parish ends
and St. Bernard Parish starts -- homeowners have been back
for months. Their houses and their neighborhoods were
ravaged by floodwaters to the same terrible degree as the
Lower Ninth, but they have electricity, drinkable water and
FEMA trailers.

Most of the residents across the parish line are white and,
like many white residents of New Orleans, they tended not to
have fled far from the metropolitan area. Many stayed with
friends or relatives, and have exerted political pressure on
officials in St. Bernard Parish to restore services to their ruined

"I am not a conspiracy person," said William Quigley, a professor
at Loyola University Law School in New Orleans and director
of its Gillis Long Poverty Law Center, "but it is pretty hard
to argue with the facts on the ground. If you are black in the
Lower Ninth and you don't have electricity, water or a FEMA
trailer and nobody is giving you a timeline when you will,
that is a hell of a lot of conspiracy dots to connect."

City, state and federal officials have repeatedly said that they
do indeed want residents of the Lower Ninth to come home
and rebuild -- when the neighborhood is safe and when
appropriate services are available.

But nearly nine months of delays in making the Lower Ninth
safe and appropriate -- as similarly flood-damaged white
neighborhoods are provided with a full complement of city
services -- strikes Quigley as unfair.

"People in Lakeview have had the chance to decide whether
to come home," he said. "People in the Lower Ninth have not
yet had the choice. With every week that passes, it means they
are less likely to come home. These delays are remaking the city."

Anna Valdery and her husband, David Stirgus, would like
to go home to Delery Street.

They finally own their house, thanks to an $84,000 flood insurance
payment that allowed them to pay off their mortgage and have
$27,000 left over.

The brick house, part of what had been a highly successful project
for low-income, first-time home buyers, is seven years old and,
unlike most houses in the Lower Ninth, appears structurally sound.

But Stirgus, a retired truck driver, and his wife, a nursing-home
aide, agree that returning is all but impossible. For one thing, their
house on Delery is in the part of the Lower Ninth that remains closed
to reconstruction. For another, they have only about $16,000 left
in savings from the Katrina flood insurance settlement -- not nearly
enough to rebuild their gutted house.

They live now in a FEMA trailer parked in a row of 52 identical
white trailers lined up along a gravel road in Gonzales, La., a small
town about 50 miles west of New Orleans. They arrived there after
a seven-month multi-state post-Katrina evacuation that took them
by helicopter, bus and airplane to Texas, Arizona and California.

In the past month, they have been back to New Orleans for a couple
of short, depressing looks at their house and the moldering,
abandoned neighborhood that surrounds it.

"The feeling I got when I went back to Delery Street was: Leave
it alone, forget about it, go someplace else," Stirgus said.

Database editor Sarah Cohen in Washington contributed
to this report.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company


3) Cruel and unusual punishment
Homelessness was recently put on trial in California.
It was found not guilty.
Bay Guardian OpEd
by Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Homelessness was recently put on trial in California.
It was found not guilty.

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declared
April 14 that the city of Los Angeles can't arrest
those who have no choice but to sleep on its streets.
It's a victory for those of us who believe that
homelessness is not a crime, but a symptom of an
unjust economic system.

At issue in the LA case was a 37-year-old law
prohibiting sitting, lying, and sleeping on the
sidewalks. Six homeless folks brought the complaint in
2003 with the aid of the ACLU and the National Lawyers

In her ruling against the statute, Judge Kim McLane
Wardlaw wrote: "Because there is substantial and
undisputed evidence that the number of homeless
persons in Los Angeles far exceeds the number of
available shelter beds at all times," the city is
guilty of criminalizing people who engage in "the
unavoidable act of sitting, lying, or sleeping at
night while being involuntarily homeless." She termed
this criminalization "cruel and unusual" punishment, a
violation of the Eighth Amendment to the US

Her enlightened opinion should guide public policy
everywhere, especially here in San Francisco. In our
"progressive" city, we have gay weddings at City Hall
and an annual S-M street fair, yet our views on the
homeless are as 19th century as the rest of the
country's opinions on gay marriage and kinky sex. The
majority of voting people here still favor the
old-fashioned method of punishing the poor and the
homeless. That's how Care Not Cash and our current
antipanhandling measure managed to become law.

According to Religious Witness with the Homeless, in
the first 22 months of Mayor Gavin Newsom's
administration, San Francisco police issued 1,860
citations for panhandling and sleeping on the
sidewalks, as well as 11,000 "quality of life"
tickets. That's more than were issued under former
mayor Willie Brown in a similar time period. How many
officers did it take to issue those citations? How
much money did it cost the city? What better things
could San Francisco have done with the money to
actually help those who were cited? How many of the
people cited are now in permanent affordable housing
with access to services they need to put their lives
back together?

Homelessness can't be eradicated with punitive
measures. Addressing homelessness in America doesn't
mean sweeping the poor out of sight of tourists or
upscale neighbors. It doesn't mean taking away the
possessions of homeless folks or fining people for
sleeping in their cars. It means addressing the basic
social inequities that create homelessness, among them
low-paying jobs, the immorally high cost of housing,
and the prohibitive price of health care.

It means having drug and mental health treatment for
those who need it when they need it.

That's the real message behind Wardlaw's ruling.

Tommi Avicolli Mecca is a radical, working-class,
queer, southern Italian activist, performer, and writer.


4) Latinos enlisting in record numbers
Despite opposition to the Iraq war, pride motivates many
to sign up for military duty
"Mayorga enlisted to take advantage of President Bush's decision
after Sept. 11 to speed the citizenship process for green card
holders who enlist. "The first reason is for citizenship," Mayorga
said flatly. "I don't have a second or third reason," he said."
- Justin Berton, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, May 15, 2006

Amalia Avila never supported the war. But after her first son, Victor
Gonzalez, told her he wanted to join the Marines, she felt a mixture
of fear, concern and, finally, pride.

"This war makes no sense to me," Avila said last week in her
Watsonville home. "I'd ask him why he wanted to go, and he'd just
say his brothers needed his help. ... But when Victor did get into the
Marines, when that day came, I was so proud of him."

Avila paused to allow her tears. "It was a beautiful day."

It was also one of the last days Avila saw her son. Gonzalez, 19,
who was born in Salinas shortly after Avila arrived in the United
States from Mexico, served a little more than a month in Anbar
province before he was killed by a roadside mortar explosion
in October 2003.

The discord between Avila's unsettled feelings toward the war
and her son's sacrifice reflects a growing paradox within the
Latino community. A majority of Latinos believe the troops
should come home as soon as possible, according to Pew
Hispanic Center surveys, yet enlistment of Latinos has steadily
risen in the past decade.

According to the Department of Defense, in 2004, the most
recent year of confirmed data, Latinos made up 13 percent
of new recruits. This is an all-time high, nearly twice the
percentage of 10 years earlier.

Latinos' presence in the military still does not match their
17 percent share of the overall population ages 18 to 24. And
African Americans continue to be overrepresented in the military,
making up about 18 percent of active duty personnel but only
13 percent of the U.S. population. Nonetheless, the absolute
number of Latinos entering the armed forces continues to grow.

"The dichotomy is this," said Steven Ybarra, a member of the
nonprofit political advocacy group Latinos for America, "on the
one hand, our children view serving in the military as showing
they are part of this community; while on the other, their
grandparents and parents have seen this all before.

"But within the Latino family unit," Ybarra added, "maybe more
than others, there's a value system where the parents will look
at their son and say, 'Hijo, you're a man now. You're going to
do what you're going to do, and I will respect that' -- even
if it means going to war."

Historically, Latinos have been underrepresented in the military,
said Beth Asch, a senior economist at the Rand National Defense
Research Institute who has studied Latino recruitment trends.
An informal theory held that the rising number of Latino
enlistments during the 1990s and early part of this decade
simply mirrored a rise in the group's overall population.

"Their growth in population was fast," Asch said. "Their growth
in the military was faster."

Latinos accounted for about 17.5 percent of Americans ages
18 to 24 in 2000, while 13.7 percent were African American,
61.6 percent were non-Hispanic white and 4.1 percent were
Asian American.

The reasons Latinos are drawn to the military vary, Asch said.

Carlos Montes, an organizer with Latinos Against the War in Los
Angeles, cites a variety of reasons: aggressive recruiters who
prey on youth; the enticement of skipping the usual five years
that legal permanent residents must wait before applying for
citizenship; the immigrant's desire to assimilate.

"When you're young and naive you see a guy show up on
campus, all dressed up, promising things you don't have,"
Montes said. "That kind of influence, especially in the barrio,
can be greater than even a parent's words."

Curtis Gilroy, director of accession policy for the office of the
secretary of defense, said that in a national youth poll conducted
last year, Latinos ages 18-24 simply showed a "higher propensity
to serve" than other ethnic groups.

Gilroy said a full 25 percent of Latino respondents answered
the question, "How likely is it that you'll be serving in the military
in the next few years?" by marking the box "definitely" or
"probably likely." Meanwhile, only 16 percent of African Americans
and just 11 percent of whites showed the same interest.

"We just don't know why that is," Gilroy said. "We don't try
and get behind the numbers too much."

On the ground in San Jose, Army recruiter Sgt. Brian Ditzler
recently fashioned a theory behind the numbers. Ditzler, who
was raised by his mother in Corozal, Puerto Rico, and speaks
fluent Spanish, staffed a booth during the city's Cinco de Mayo
festival. He said of the 22 recruits he enlisted last year,
15 were Latino.

"The remarkable thing that is consistent with Latinos is the
sense of pride," Ditzler said. "More than any other group, they
have a deep sense of pride about serving for this country."

By comparison, Ditzler observed that his Asian American
enlistees were more interested in job-training skills, while
African Americans spoke of college tuition as the trade-off.
Whites, the recruiter observed, were most intrigued by the
"sense of adventure" the Army provided.

"So, knowing that Latinos were focused more on pride," Ditzler
added, "that's the thing I'm going to show them: how they can
make themselves and their families proud."

For more empirical evidence, researchers such as Asch are
just now beginning to examine the results from field studies.
Already consistent with Ditzler's observations, Asch said recent
post-enlistment surveys indicate Latinos noted "patriotism"
and "service to country" as the top two reasons for joining,
as well as "duty" and "honor."

Still, according to a Department of Defense poll conducted
last year that was aimed at tracking the influences that lead
a civilian to enlist, Latino parents were more likely than their
African American counterparts to recommend military service
to their children as a way to fight the war on terrorism.

"It's a conundrum, for sure," Asch said of the results.

When Orlando Mayorga, a 24-year-old in Antioch, told his
mother he wanted to join the Army, he said she was happy for
him. Mayorga, who is still awaiting a call for active duty, makes
his living cleaning buildings in the East Bay. Born in Nicaragua,
he migrated to the United States and obtained an alien resident
card as a teenager, he said.

Mayorga enlisted to take advantage of President Bush's decision
after Sept. 11 to speed the citizenship process for green card
holders who enlist. "The first reason is for citizenship," Mayorga
said flatly. "I don't have a second or third reason," he said.

Mayorga's father and three brothers still live in their native
Nicaragua, and a sister lives in Costa Rica, he said. After his
four-year service, Mayorga will be awarded full citizenship.
If he dies while in the Army, citizenship is awarded

Despite the risk, Mayorga said family discussions about his
enlistment have focused only on what he stands to gain. Even
though he signed up to obtain citizenship, his family is proud
of his choice.

"My grandfather is proud that I'll be serving," Mayorga said.
"My mother is, my father is. My whole family is."

Fernando Suarez del Solar, whose son, Marine Lance Cpl. Jesus
Suarez, was killed in Iraq in 2003, said he felt a reluctance to
discuss the casualty risk with his son, who had been a citizen
since he was 15.

Suarez said Jesus enlisted only after a recruiter told him a year's
commitment in the Marines would lead to a job as a Drug
Enforcement Administration agent. Since his son's death, Suarez
has become a counter-recruitment activist and recently participated
in the immigration protests in Los Angeles. The combination
of the rising Latino death toll, Suarez said, and the recent
proposed immigration legislation has only stirred more
contentious feelings within him.

"I feel it twice," Suarez said. "First it's: 'My son served this country
in the military and died,' and now: 'They're attacking the parents
with this legislation.' On one end of the school campus, they want
our sons to enlist. On the other, they want us out of the country.

"When my son told me he wanted to join, I said, 'No, no, no!' "
Suarez added. "I never believed in this war, but I believed in him."

Of the more than 2,400 U.S. casualties in Iraq since 2003,
270 have been Latino, according to the Department of Defense.

Jesse Martinez, 19, was killed after his vehicle crashed in Tal Afar,
Iraq, in 2004. Jan Martinez described her son as a couch potato
before he joined, the kind of teenager who, "didn't have a smile
on his face most of the time."

As they watched the events of Sept. 11 on television from their
Tracy home, mother and son had different responses.

Martinez said she sensed a war was coming. She did not favor it,
she said, nor could she disagree with the action, either. Her son,
meanwhile, felt compelled to join the Marines.

"I asked him to wait a little while," she recalled. "I asked him to
let things blow over, because I knew things could get worse.

"But once he signed up, he started smiling. He felt good about
himself. It gave him a sense of purpose."

After her son's death, Martinez said she still felt ambivalent
about the war.

"There are good things and bad things that have come from
this," she said. "One of the bad things is that kids die.
... But you still got to be proud of them."

E-mail Justin Berton at

Page A - 1


5) Celebration of GI Resistance
Shuts Oakland Military Recruiting Station
by Jeff Paterson, Not in Our Name Tuesday, May. 16, 2006 at 1:12 PM
Oakland, California (May 15, 2006) -- 100 people shut down
Oakland military recruiting station to celebrate GI resistance
to immoral war and occupation.

Oakland, California (May 15, 2006) -- 100 people marched this
afternoon from Oakland City Center to the nearby military recruiting
station to celebrate GI resistance to immoral war and occupation.
Behind a colorful banner for “International Conscientious Objector Day”,
and under a giant peace dove, drummers led the procession
of high school students, senior citizens, musicians, artists, and
community members north on Broadway. At the recruiting station,
large posters were unrolled and pasted over the station’s windows
to better inform potential recruits of the realities of military service.

Earlier in the day a delegation of Bay Area community members met
with a representative of the Canadian consulate to press the case
for safe haven for the scores of US military service members now
in Canada resisting the ongoing Iraq War.

The initial march and rally was organized by Courage to Resist
and the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, with the
help of Not in Our Name, Grandmothers Against the War, CodePink,
International Capoeira Angola Foundation Oakland, Not Your Soldier,
Act Against Torture, and the Heads Up Collective.


6) U.S. reserves nearly 'broken,' says chief
Iraq, Afghan conflicts sap military resources
Updated: 8:28 a.m. ET Jan. 6, 2005

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army Reserve, tapped heavily to provide
soldiers for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is “degenerating into a
‘broken’ force” due to dysfunctional military policies, the Army
Reserve’s chief said in a memo made public Wednesday.

“I do not wish to sound alarmist. I do wish to send a clear, distinctive
signal of deepening concern,” Lt. Gen. James Helmly said in
a Dec. 20 memo to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker.

The Army Reserve is a force of 200,000 part-time soldiers who
opted not to sign up for the active-duty Army but can be mobilized
from their civilian lives in times of national need. About 52,000
Army Reserve soldiers are on active duty, with 17,000 in Iraq and
2,000 in Afghanistan, the Army said.

The Army Reserve has provided many military police, civil affairs
soldiers, medics and truck drivers for the wars.

“While ability to meet the current demands associated with OIF
(Operational Iraqi Freedom) and OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom
in Afghanistan) is of great importance, the Army Reserve is
additionally in grave danger of being unable to meet other
operational requirements including those in named OPLANS
(operational plans) and CONUS (continental United States)
emergencies, and is rapidly degenerating into a 'broken’ force,”
Helmly wrote.

Helmly said military leaders had rebuffed his proposals for
change. The memo’s purpose was to inform Schoomaker
of the Army Reserve’s “inability — under current policies,
procedures and practices governing mobilization, training
and reserve component manpower management — to meet
mission requirements” for the two wars, Helmly wrote.

'Dysfunctional practices’
In his eight-page memo, first disclosed by the Baltimore Sun,
Helmly titled one section “US Army Reserve Readiness Discussion,
Past Dysfunctional Practices/Policies.”

The Pentagon, maintaining higher-than-expected troop levels
after failing to anticipate that a bloody guerrilla war would follow
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s ouster in 2003, has relied heavily
on Army Reserve and Army National Guard soldiers. These part-
time troops comprise about 40 percent of the U.S. force in Iraq.

Some reservists and families have complained about frequent
and lengthy tours in war zones, inferior equipment and scant
notice before being pressed into service.

Helmly’s remarks gave fuel to critics of Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld who argue that his policies and his resistance to a large
increase in the active-duty Army are harming the all-volunteer military.

Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island called the memo ”deeply
disturbing,” adding: “By consistently underestimating the number
of troops necessary for the successful occupation of Iraq, the
administration has placed a tremendous burden on the Army
Reserve and created this crisis.”

Volunteer versus mercenary
Helmly referred to “potential ‘sociological’ damage” to the all-volunteer
military by paying inducements of $1,000 extra per month to reservists
who volunteer to remobilize.

“We must consider the point at which we confuse ’volunteer to become
an American Soldier’ with ' mercenary,”’ Helmly said.

Helmly said Pentagon reluctance to issue orders calling reservists
to active duty “in a timely manner” resulted in more than 10,000
reserve soldiers getting as little as three to five days notice before
being compelled back into uniform.

A senior Army official said Schoomaker and Army Secretary Francis
Harvey were reviewing the memo. “Changes are expected over time,
and the Army is already working these issues. The memo just brings
it to the forefront,” the official said.

Copyright 2006 Reuters
© 2006



7) Standing Up to Repression and Fear:
The Real "War on Terror"
10 SFSU students face discipline for counter-
recruitment protest
By Karen Knoller
May 14th, 2006

The San Francisco State University
administration is stepping up its attack on student
anti-war activists. The university‚s office of
judicial affairs has targeted 10 individuals in an
attempt to intimidate, divide, and stifle student
protests on campus. The 10 students have each received
letters requesting confidential meetings to discuss
and „investigate‰ a complaint filed by the Chief of
Public Safety regarding a counter-recruitment protest
the students participated in on April 14th.
That day, students gathered at the
school‚s career fair to protest the presence of
military recruiters and the war in the Iraq that has
viciously claimed the lives of over 2,400 U.S.
soldiers and over 100,000 Iraqis. Their activities
included questioning recruiters and talking to
potential recruits, distributing anti-war literature,
and chanting while holding up signs. The students were
loud but peaceful. Soon after the chanting begun, ten
protestors were suddenly, and without warning
confronted by a wall of policemen who forcibly removed
the students from the fair and cited them for
„disrupting university activity.‰ The citation,
sanctioned by university president Robert Corrigan,
barred them from campus for two weeks and threatened
the activists with immediate arrest and a fine if they
returned within that period. Three of the students
live on campus and were in effect made homeless as a
result of the citation
It is important to note exactly what these
students were protesting. SFSU allowed the military on
campus, a discriminatory apparatus of war and
exploitation that attempts to recruit students with
false promises of job training, education, and
benefits. They coerce young people to go senselessly
kill and be killed in an imperialistic war for profit
and the domination of resources. By allowing military
recruiters on campus, the SFSU administration is
complicit, and an active participant in the war
As the war rages on, students on campuses
all around the country are standing up and then
getting smacked down by their university
administrations who want to maintain business as usual
as the U.S. military destroys and ravages Iraq while
threatening to spread the war to Iran. Bodies are
piling up as the military grows more and more
desperate to fill its‚ ranks with able college and
high school students. The SFSU administration has made
it a priority to help them in this sick endeavor.
Their loyalties lie not with the students, but with
the exploiters and war profiteers.
The protestors, who were subjected to
outrageous repression by the campus police and
administration, stood up and fought back. On April
17th, the students held a press conference in order to
defend their actions and condemn the „liberal‰ frauds
that clearly stand on the side of war and
exploitation. The response from the community and the
country, which flooded the president‚s office with
phone calls and e-mails in support of the activists,
forced the administration to momentarily back down.
Later that day all 10 of the students received word
that they were allowed back on campus. But the fear of
future disciplinary action still loomed. A petition
and open letter of support and solidarity has been
signed by over 1,000 people, including many prominent
members of the anti-war movement like Cindy Sheehan
and Dahr Jamail. The signatories also include Denis
Halliday, former UN Assistant Secretary General who
resigned in protest from his position as the UN's
Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.
Chief of Public Safety Kim Wible released
a response to the open letter of solidarity that
includes a litany of blatant lies, in an attempt to
discredit the students and quell the anger that came
after the public was made aware of the university‚s
actions. She asserts that the students were asked by
the director of the career fair as well as the
commander of DPS to leave before they were confronted
and accosted by the police. This is a lie. She plainly
refutes any instances of police aggression. There are
photographs of the event that depict otherwise. And
finally, she has the audacity to claim that „the
University remains committed to the ideals of free
speech.‰ Chief Wible must be referring to the „free
speech‰ students are allowed only in designated zones
from the hours of 12-2pm. The hypocrisy of this
university, that commemorates and celebrates the
efforts of people like Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and
Cesar Chavez, is nothing short of astounding.
Now the administration is trying to
discipline the students further, just when they think
no one is paying attention. They are most certainly
wrong in this assumption. We are all paying attention
and will not stand idly by as these hypocrites and
war-facilitators, who claim to foster an educational
environment of free-speech and respect for student
activism, tries to punish and divide these students in
the bureaucratic shadows of a „conference.‰ These
thugs will attempt to marginalize and isolate these
protestors, who are in fact representative and a part
of the anti-war majority in this country and around
the world. The students will not be intimidated, as
they acted in unity and will fight back in unity. They
will not sit down and apologize for protesting the
sexist, racist, and homophobic military that attempts
to funnel people into a brutal and ceaseless war for
economic and political hegemony. In this current
crisis, it is imperative that students be allowed to
protest and voice their concern and outrage without
fear of reprisal from police or school officials. The
struggle for a better world, one not plagued by the
horrors of war and ruthless competition for profit
must continue.

Sign the petition:

Call, Email and Fax support to

Donna Cunningham Judicial Affairs Officer
Telephone: (415) 338-2032

Robert Corrigan President
Telephone: (415) 338-1381

Penny Saffold Vice President / Dean of Students
Telephone: (415) 338-2032
Fax: (415) 338.6327

Open letter to the above by Bonnie Weinstein
Bay Area United Against War,
(415) 824-8730

Dear All:

I understand that although you let the students back onto campus
you are now "investigating" them--treating them as if they are
criminals, threatening their education and acting, yourself, like
you are the CIA. Come to your senses. Young people have every
right to protest the war and to demand that the military stay away
from them. There is no honor in killing innocent people on the
basis of proven lies! Too many have already died! The students
are right in their protest!

Bless and cherish and help these students to achieve their goals.
It is in the interests of education, democracy and a truly free world.

You--all of you--are supposed to be dedicated to education--
to searching for the truth so that solutions to problems can be
found. This, an educator must be dedicated to.

You are all supposed to uphold the U.S. Constitution as well.
The right to protest doesn't mean the right to protest as long
as you get permission from the authorities! That is not the sense
of our right to free speech and freedom of assembly.

The purpose of having those rights in the first place are so that
if the government or the authorities are acting consistently against
the wishes of the majority of its people, then the people have
a right to protest this and voice their opposition to this freely
and try to change it. It is called, "democracy."

Certainly, the majority of students have no intentions of signing
up to fight this horrific, unjust, immoral and inhuman war. They,
clearly, are not willing to loose their lives, limbs and humanly
functions so the blood-thirsty war mongers can continue
to rack up a fortune at their expense.

They have educated themselves about the lies the military tells
potential recruits. The military, with their two-billion-dollar
advertising budget, like most slick salesmen, offer to students
and youth whatever it is they don't have yet always wanted.
The problem is--and the students have found out, by the way,
without your help--that these promises are all lies. The
statistics point to the exact opposite. Less than ten percent
of all who serve ever finish college or become U.S. Citizens.
They are far more likely to become homeless and that's a fact!

And the stories recently in the New York Times as well as
many other newspapers about the lack of treatment and care
and downright cruelty toward wounded soldiers and enlistees
and their families, right here at home as well as on the
battlefield, is astoundingly shameful.

(Could this be the reason the wealthy don't let their children
serve in the military or let the military in their children's schools?)

This is a filthy disgusting war carried out by a corrupt, filthy
and disgusting government whose only concern is to increase
the rate of profit for themselves--the super rich--and damned
the world!



Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War,


8) Senate Continues to Work on Immigration Bill
May 18, 2006

WASHINGTON, May 18 — The Senate continued its work on an
immigration bill today, approving an amendment that would allow
immigrant workers to apply for permanent residence without the
sponsorship of their employers.

The amendment, offered by Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John
McCain, was intended to prevent "abuse of employees," according
to Senator Kennedy. It was adopted by a vote of 56 to 43. .

President Bush also today wrote to the House speaker, J. Dennis
Hastert, today, formally asking for an emergency appropriation
of $1.9 billion to pay for the deployment of 6,000 National Guard
troops to assist the Border Patrol, a plan he outlined in a speech
on Monday. Mr. Bush said he would cut a similar amount from
an emergency request for funds for the Department of Defense.

Since the speech, administration officials have focused on border
security. But Mr. Bush is facing a revolt among conservatives over
a proposal that would allow some illegal immigrants to qualify
for residency, and the White House on Wednesday dispatched
Karl Rove, the president's political adviser, to a meeting of House
Republicans to make the case for the president's call for
comprehensive changes in immigration laws.

House members said that Mr. Rove had made little headway
and that most Republicans remained adamantly opposed
to any plan that leads to citizenship for those unlawfully
in the United States.

One House Republican also warned Mr. Rove that it was
dangerous to work too closely with Senator Kennedy, the
Massachusetts Democrat who is one of the authors of the
Senate legislation.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to bar illegal
immigrants convicted of a felony or three misdemeanors from
having a chance at citizenship and to add hundreds of miles of
fencing along the Mexican border. The actions bolstered the law
enforcement provisions of the Senate bill, which the White House
has signaled it supports.

Another House Republican, J. D. Hayworth of Arizona, said of
the divide between House Republicans and the White House over
citizenship and temporary foreign workers, "This is a polite
but profound disagreement." At a demonstration near the
Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, scores of immigrants chanted
"Work, yes! Deportation, no!" as they protested provisions in
the Senate legislation.

They said the measure would impose new hardships on asylum
seekers, expand the deportation and detention of illegal immigrants
and deny a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who had
been here for less than two years.

By a vote of 83 to 16, the Senate approved a proposal by Senator
Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, to construct about 370
miles of "triple layer" fencing on the Southwest border along
with 500 miles of vehicle barriers.

Mr. Sessions said that type of fencing would cost about $3.2
million a mile, but he said the cost would be offset by reductions
in the expense of detaining and processing people illegally
crossing the border. The House has approved 700 miles of fencing.

"It is important for the country to make clear to our own citizens
and to the world that a lawful system is going to be created, that
there is no longer an open border," he said.

The Senate also agreed 99 to 0 to a proposal by two Republican
senators, Jon Kyl of Arizona and John Cornyn of Texas, that would
deny potential citizenship to convicted criminals and those who
ignored deportation orders.

"I think it reflects the will of the American people that however
we treat people who are here illegally, there are some limits,"
Mr. Kyl said.

He said about 500,000 illegal aliens out of more than 11 million
could come under the plan, most for failing to comply with
deportation demands.

The provision, initially seen as a proposal that could sink the
Senate bill, was narrowed to allow for family hardships and
other exceptions. It was endorsed by Democrats.

"We want to keep those who can harm us, the criminal element,
out," Mr. Kennedy said.

The Senate, on a 66-to-33 vote, defeated an effort by Senator
David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, to kill a provision that
would allow illegal immigrants who meet certain qualifications
and pay a fine and back taxes to seek citizenship.

Mr. Vitter said the provision would result in illegal immigrants'
"being treated better than the folks who have lived by the
rules from the word go." He said that amounted to amnesty.

Advocates of the Senate bill said critics were distorting it to
stir opposition. "The American people deserve an honest
debate," said Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska.
"Let's stop this nonsense."

As the debate unfolded, the White House asserted that the
president's speech on Monday and efforts on Capitol Hill
were paying dividends, if only small ones.

Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, pointed to
remarks by Mr. Hagel supporting the president's plan to send
as many as 6,000 National Guard troops to the border with
Mexico. Mr. Hagel had been critical of the Guard proposal but
said he had warmed to it after hearing its particulars.

Pressed to name one Republican House member who had
moved from the position that the president's call for possible
citizenship for some illegal immigrants — namely, those here
for many years who pay fines and back taxes — amounted
to amnesty, Mr. Snow did not.

He said it would take time to define the meaning of "amnesty."
"It's not amnesty," Mr. Snow said. "Amnesty means 'sorry, no harm,
no foul, no crime, go about your business.' "

An indication of the difficulty facing the proposals came from
Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Republican of Wisconsin.
Mr. Sensenbrenner, the Judiciary Committee chairman, would take
the lead for the House in efforts to draft compromise legislation.

"Regardless of what the president says, what he is proposing
is amnesty," Mr. Sensenbrenner said.

On Wednesday night, President Bush took his case to an influential
group of party faithful during a speech at the Republican National
Committee's annual gala dinner in Washington.

"The Republican Party needs to lead on this issue of immigration,"
Mr. Bush said. "The immigration system is not working, and we
need to do something about it now. America can be a lawful
society and a welcoming society."

Mr. Hayworth, an outspoken critic of the president's approach,
planned to travel to Arizona on Air Force One with Mr. Bush on
Thursday for an immigration event. Mr. Hayworth, who attended
the signing of the tax bill on Wednesday, said the president had
offered a playful warning about the trip and Mr. Hayworth's opposition.

"He said, 'Hey, be careful over by the emergency exit at 30,000 feet,'
" Mr. Hayworth recounted.

Rachel L. Swarns contributed reporting from Washington for this
article, and John Holusha and John O'Neil from New York..


9) Coming Down to Earth
May 19, 2006

Um, wasn't the stock market supposed to bounce back after Wednesday's big drop?

We shouldn't read too much into a couple of days' movements in
stock prices. But it seems that investors are suddenly feeling uneasy
about the state of the economy. They should be; the puzzle is why
they haven't been uneasy all along.

The rise in stock prices that began last fall was essentially based
on the belief that the U.S. economy can defy gravity — that both
individuals and the nation as a whole can spend more than their
income, not on a temporary basis, but more or less indefinitely.

To be fair, for a while the data seemed to confirm that belief. In
2005, the trade deficit passed $700 billion, yet the dollar actually
rose against the euro and the yen. Housing prices soared, yet
houses kept selling. The price of gasoline neared $3 a gallon,
yet consumers kept buying both gas and other items, even
though they had to borrow to keep spending (the personal
savings rate went negative for the first time since the 1930's).

Over the last few weeks, however, gravity seems to have started
reasserting itself.

The dollar began falling about a month ago. So far it's down
less than 10 percent against the euro and the yen, but there's
a definite sense that foreign governments, in particular, are
becoming less willing to keep the dollar strong by buying
lots of U.S. debt.

The housing market seems to be weakening rapidly. As late
as last October, the National Association of Home Builders/
Wells Fargo housing market index, a measure of builders'
confidence, was still close to the high point it reached last
summer. But on Monday the association announced that
the index had fallen to its lowest level since 1995.

Finally, there are preliminary indications that consumers,
hard-pressed by high gasoline prices, may be reaching
their limit.

The National Retail Federation, reporting on a new survey,
warns that "while consumers have seemed resilient in the
face of higher energy costs, a tipping point may soon be
in sight."

I can't resist pointing out that the Bush administration's
response to the squeeze on working families has been,
you guessed it, to accuse the news media of biased

On May 10 the White House issued a press release titled
"Setting the Record Straight: The New York Times Continues
to Ignore America's Economic Progress." The release attacked
The Times for asserting that paychecks weren't keeping up
with fixed costs like medical care and gasoline. The White
House declared, "But average hourly earnings have risen
3.8 percent over the past 12 months, their largest increase
in nearly five years."

On Wednesday Treasury Secretary John Snow repeated that
boast before a House committee. However, Representative
Barney Frank was ready. He asked whether the number was
adjusted for inflation; after flailing about, Mr. Snow admitted,
sheepishly, that it wasn't. In fact, nearly all of the wage
increase was negated by higher prices.

Meanwhile, the return of economic gravity poses a definite
threat to U.S. economic growth. After all, growth over the
past three years was driven mainly by a housing boom and
rapid growth in consumer spending. People were able to buy
houses, even though housing prices rose much faster than
incomes, because foreign purchases of U.S. debt kept interest
rates low. People were able to keep spending, even though
wages didn't keep up with inflation, because mortgage
refinancing let them turn the rising value of their houses
into ready cash.

As I summarized it awhile back, we became a nation in which
people make a living by selling one another houses, and they
pay for the houses with money borrowed from China.

Now that game seems to be coming to an end. We're going
to have to find other ways to make a living — in particular,
we're going to have to start selling goods and services, not
just I.O.U.'s, to the rest of the world, and/or replace imports
with domestic production. And adjusting to that new way of
making a living will take time.

Will we have that time? Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the
Federal Reserve, contends that what's happening in the housing
market is "a very orderly and moderate kind of cooling." Maybe
he's right. But if he isn't, the stock market drop of the last two
days will be remembered as the start of a serious economic


10) Ground Workers Reach Deal With Northwest
Filed at 10:43 a.m. ET
May 19, 2006

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Northwest Airlines Corp. and its baggage
handlers and ramp workers reached a tentative agreement early
Friday aimed at slashing the bankrupt airline's labor expenses,
union and airline officials said.

Terms of the tentative agreement and the schedule for a ratification
vote were being prepared for distribution to members of the union
representing about 5,600 ground workers.

''The negotiating committee unanimously recommends ratification
of the agreement to avoid the elimination of our contract,'' said
Bobby DePace, president of District 143 of the International
Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

''We are not recommending ratification because the terms are
favorable, but because the alternative is worse,'' DePace said
in a statement.

The union will also hold a simultaneous strike authorization
vote in case the tentative agreement is rejected and the union
contract is nullified by the court, DePace said.

Northwest Airlines said it was pleased the sides reached an
agreement. ''We hope that our equipment service employees
and stock clerks will ratify the agreement,'' the airline said
in a statement.

The agreement came hours before a bankruptcy court hearing
in New York, where Judge Allan Gropper was to consider
whether to allow Northwest to throw out the union contract
and impose its own terms.

Bankruptcy law allows companies to reject their union contracts
with a judge's permission, a threat that prompted pilots and
flight attendants to also make deals.

The ground workers had rejected an earlier wage-cut and
layoff offer.

Northwest has been seeking concessions from its workers
to exit bankruptcy, including $190 million in payroll savings
from the baggage handlers' union. Northwest says it has
among the highest labor costs in the airline industry.

On the Net:




11) Mexico to Protest U.S. Border Plan
May 19, 2006

MEXICO CITY, May 18 — Mexico will formally complain to the United
States about plans to build security fences and deploy National Guard
troops on the border to curb illegal immigration, Mexico's foreign
minister, Luis Ernesto Derbez, said Thursday.

"There are 12 million Mexicans on the other side, 12 million people
who live every day in anguish about the need for a reform to let them
live peacefully," Mr. Derbez said. He said Mexico would send
a diplomatic note to the United States about American plans
for the border.

Such notes are often sent as a form of protest when nations are
at odds with each other.

Mexico wants the United States to make it easier for immigrants to
attain legal status, and supports a guest-worker program rather
than a tightening of the border.

The status of illegal immigrants in the United States is a major
political issue in Mexico. Opponents have criticized President
Vicente Fox as not protesting strenuously enough against
American efforts to tighten the porous frontier. Andrés Manuel
López Obrador, the leftist candidate in the presidential election,
which will be held in July, accused Mr. Fox on Wednesday
of being "a plaything, a puppet of foreign governments."


12) Ecuador Cancels an Oil Deal With Occidental Petroleum
May 17, 2006

QUITO, Ecuador, May 16 (Reuters) — Ecuador began to take over
operations of the United States oil giant Occidental Petroleum on
Tuesday, the latest move in Latin America against foreign energy
producers after nationalization in Bolivia and state intervention
in Venezuela.

Ecuador revoked Occidental's contract Monday after accusing it
of transferring part of an oil field without authorization. Occidental
says it has complied with its obligations and still hopes to settle.

Occidental shares fell by 2.2 percent Tuesday, to $96.97.

President Alfredo Palacio has been under pressure from Indian
groups in the oil-rich Amazon to expel Occidental. The Indians
accuse the company of exploiting natural resources with no
benefit for Ecuadoreans.

The surprise contract cancellation came a little more than two
weeks after President Evo Morales, a leftist who is Bolivia's first
indigenous president, nationalized the industry and ordered
the military to occupy natural gas fields.

Bolivia's move set off Wall Street fears that President Hugo
Chávez of Venezuela, a self-styled revolutionary known for his
anti-United States rhetoric, was pushing his neighbors in
a campaign to tighten state control over natural resources.

Ecuador ruled out any nationalization of the oil industry. Officials
say the country will receive an extra $100 million a year in
revenues because of the Occidental contract cancellation.

Occidental is Ecuador's largest investor and extracts 100,000
barrels of oil a day, about 20 percent of Ecuador's total production.

The Associated Press reported that the Bush administration had
broken off talks on a free trade agreement with Ecuador because
of the move on Occidental.

In Bolivia, the head of a pension fund run by Zurich Financial
Services said Tuesday that it had agreed to hand over shares
in three energy companies to the government.

The president of Futuro de Bolivia, Gonzalo Bedoya, said the
fund had no choice but to comply.

On Monday, the government gave two private pension funds
three days to transfer the shares they hold in two energy firms
— Andina, which is controlled by Repsol , and Chaco, run by
BP — and in the gas transport company Transredes, controlled
by Royal Dutch Shell.

Higher Royalties in Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela, May 16 (Bloomberg News) — Venezuela's
congress approved higher royalties for oil companies like Exxon
Mobil and Chevron that are shareholders in four heavy-oil
ventures as President Hugo Chávez seeks a bigger share
of industry profits.

The law increases royalties to 33.3 percent from 16.67 percent
on all oil companies operating in the country, including the four
heavy-oil ventures, the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela
said on its Web site.


13) Japanese Cars, American Retirees
Japanese companies face little of this burden in Japan, where
the government covers retirees' health care and pays a bigger
share of workers' pensions.
May 19, 2006

GEORGETOWN, Ky. — For the last quarter-century, Toyota, Honda
and Nissan have strived to appear to American consumers like
homegrown companies.

They built a string of manufacturing plants in the South, employing
tens of thousands of local workers. They hired American designers.
They spent millions on ads to trumpet their growing roots in
communities across the country.

"Being a good corporate citizen starts with hiring lots of good
citizens," one Toyota ad says.

Yet as they built up their operations, the Japanese "transplants"
have worked hard not to resemble an American car company
in one vital respect: how they treat their retirees.

"We want to avoid commitments when we have no control over
their costs," said Pete Gritton, the head of human resources
for Toyota's United States manufacturing operations. "We
can't build in things in such a way that we won't be able
to keep our commitments later."

Until recently, the issue has mostly been academic for the
Japanese car companies. Most of the American factory workers
they started hiring in the mid-1980's are still working.

But age is creeping up on them. All three Japanese companies
are anticipating that the ranks of retirees will swell over the
next several years. Toyota's American arm, for example, has
just 258 retired production workers (G.M., by contrast, has
more than 400,000 retirees).

But things will change over the next five years. In 2011 and
2012, a combined 1,700 workers will be eligible for retirement
at Toyota — about 6 percent of its current labor force.

Their retirement will contrast in a crucial way with their
counterparts who have retired from the Big Three auto
companies in that they will bear much more of the costs and
the risks of retirement on their own.

This difference adds up to an important cost disadvantage for
the Big Three as they fight to regain market share.

The benefit packages offered by Detroit's three carmakers to
its blue-collar workers, negotiated over time with the United
Automobile Workers union, pretty much fit a standard model.
Retirees receive a pension check every month, which varies
with the number of years served.

An average worker who reaches retirement age at G.M. will
get a monthly pension check worth about $50 for every year
of service, up to a maximum of about $1,500 a month, which
accrues after 30 years of service, according to a G.M. spokesman,
Jerry Dubrowski. Retirees with 30 years of service get
a supplement that brings their monthly check up to about
$3,000 until they reach 62.

Moreover, until last year, when General Motors and the union
cut a deal for retirees to cover co-pays and deductibles,
G.M. covered retirees' health care expenses.

With benefits like these, it's no wonder that G.M. was once
known as "Generous Motors."

But these days, health care costs are causing enormous
financial headaches for the Big Three. G.M. has an unfunded
liability of $85 billion in today's money to cover future health
care costs for workers and retirees. That is seven to eight times
the market value of the whole company.

General Motors estimates that health care costs add about
$1,500 to the cost of each vehicle it makes in the United States.
Chrysler claims a health care cost of $1,400 per vehicle.
Ford says its burden is $1,100.

G.M.'s pension plan has also been a drain. Since 1992, G.M.
has plowed $56 billion in stock and cash into it. It is hoping
to reduce its burden by offering all of its 105,000 U.A.W.
workers buyout packages worth up to $140,000. It is still
unclear how many plan to accept the offer.

"The higher legacy costs are reflected in a less modern product,"
said George E. Hoffer, a professor of economics at Virginia
Commonwealth University who has studied the auto industry.
"They had to cut costs somewhere else and they cut costs
in retooling."

Japanese companies face little of this burden in Japan, where
the government covers retirees' health care and pays a bigger
share of workers' pensions.

Toyota expected to pay out about $700 million in pension
benefits in fiscal year 2006, which ended in March. That's less
than a tenth of what G.M. expects to pay on its pensions this year.

In the United States, retirees of the Japanese companies pay part
of their health care costs. And the Japanese companies' pension
obligations are a fraction of that of the American carmakers.

While G.M. paid $5.4 billion last year for the health care of its
141,000 workers, 449,000 retirees and their dependents, Toyota
said in its 2005 annual report that its obligations to cover the
health care expenses for its retirees "are not material."

At Honda, a 60-year-old retiree with 10 years of service would
typically pay $345 a month for health care; a 62-year-old retiree
with 25 years at the company would pay $70. Toyota also requires
retirees to pay part of their premiums, based on years of service.

In general, these retirees are cut off from the company health
plan when they turn 65, and receive instead a lump sum with
which they can buy supplementary insurance to Medicare. Honda i
s alone among the big three Japanese carmakers to still offer
a defined-benefit pension guaranteeing a monthly check to
newly retired workers in the United States.

At Toyota, a worker's pension consists of an investment account
in which the company deposits the equivalent of 5 percent of
a worker's earnings each year, typically around $3,000 to
$3,500. An employee can supplement that with a 401(k) plan,
and the company matches contributions up to a maximum of
4 percent of the worker's income.

For the company, these retirement packages carry no uncertainty.
But they do for workers, whose nest eggs depend on their
contributions and the financial markets.

Consider Richard Baugh. The 61-year-old worker, who applies
sealant on Camrys, Solaras and Avalons in the paint room,
is planning to retire next January after 17 years at Toyota's
factory here, to tend his horses and teach at his local church
in nearby Cynthiana.

His wife, Ruth, 58, will also retire after 14 years at the plant.
With total savings of some $700,000, the Baughs feel ready for
retirement. They were thrifty, plowing at least 12 percent of
their wages into their 401(k)'s.

"After the stock market crash we stayed invested and kept buying,
and our 401(k) roared back," Mr. Baugh said.

With less than 25 years at the company, they will have to pay
a portion of their health insurance premium, which Mr. Baugh
said would amount to some $300 a month.

Tim Garrett, vice president of administration at Honda
Manufacturing of America, says talk of the Big Three's "legacy"
problem is overblown. Had they set enough money aside when
the workers were active, their retirement would not be costing
them anything today. "Depending on your decisions you will
have legacy costs or you will not have legacy costs," Mr. Garrett
said. "We have no legacy costs."

To be fair, Detroit's car companies were no more shortsighted
than many companies in other industries. From steelmakers
to telephone companies, free health and defined pension checks
were a staple of the retirement packages negotiated between
America's industrial titans and their unions half a century ago.

When these companies were growing quickly, providing generous
retirement benefits seemed cheaper than offering better pay,
a future cost that often did not even have to be accounted for
on the financial books.

From 1990 to 2005, G.M.'s payroll shrank by two-thirds, and
its current work force is now just one-third the number of
its retirees and their dependents.

Today, defined-benefit pensions are dwindling across industries,
as companies force retirees and active workers to pick up part
of their health costs. According to a survey by the Kaiser Family
Foundation, only one out of three big companies now provide
health care coverage for their retirees, down from two-thirds
in 1988.

In 2003, 22 million workers were covered by some sort of defined
-benefit pension, 8 million fewer than in 1980, according to the
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. And the number
of workers in defined-contribution plans jumped to 52 million,
from 14.5 million, over the same period.

Union contracts have limited what Detroit's car companies can
do with their blue-collar workers, but they are paring back where
they can.

G.M. eliminated health care coverage for its salaried, nonunion
retirees hired after 1993. This year, it froze the salaried workers'
defined-contribution pension plan. Chrysler made its salaried
workers pay more for their health care starting this year.

Under an agreement last year with the autoworkers' union,
retirees at G.M. and Ford will start paying part of their health
care costs, up to $370 a year for an individual and $752 for
a retiree's family.

With Detroit sagging under the burden of these "legacy" costs,
it is unsurprising — even to executives at the Big Three — that
the Japanese companies arriving in America chose to do things

"These are well-managed companies," said Frederick A. Henderson,
G.M.'s chief financial officer. "It is natural that they would look
at our experience and say 'I don't want to do that.' "


14) Autopsy Finds That Soldier Under Army Medical Care Died
From Painkiller Overdose
May 19, 2006

HOUSTON, May 18 — An injured Army recruit who died while under
medical treatment at Fort Sill, in Lawton, Okla., succumbed to an
accidental overdose of the powerful narcotic painkiller fentanyl,
according to a military autopsy report released to the family on
Thursday. But a fellow soldier said he had warned the Army that
the recruit had been abusing the drug.

The death was the second drug fatality in two years in the Physical
Training and Rehabilitation Program, which is intended to treat new
recruits who are injured in basic training. Last week, The New York
Times reported that the Army had shaken up the therapy program
after repeated complaints from soldiers and their parents that
injured recruits were punished with physical abuse and medical

The autopsy report, by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology,
found that the soldier, Pfc. Mathew Scarano, 21, of Eureka, Calif.,
died the night of March 18-19 from a blood concentration of
fentanyl of 0.09 milligrams per liter, at least three times the fatal
dosage cited in medical studies, the report said. "The manner
of death is accident," it concluded.

Col. William L. Greer, Fort Sill's chief of staff, said in a telephone
interview on Thursday that Private Scarano appeared to have abused
the medication by removing a three-day skin patch he had been
given and eating the fentanyl. While the investigation has not yet
been formally closed, Colonel Greer said, "the death will be ruled
an accident based on oral ingestion of the patch." He defended
the medical procedures as proper. "I'm not sure how we could
have prevented that," he said.

But a fellow soldier who was also in the therapy unit, and has since
been medically discharged from the Army, said he knew that Private
Scarano had been ingesting fentanyl from the skin patch, and had
told Army doctors about it.

"I told doctors he was not using the medication the way he should
have," said the former soldier, Clayton Howell. "But I don't know
why they didn't do anything."

Private Scarano's mother, Christen Scarano-Bailey, said the
findings left crucial questions unanswered. "It was negligence
or improperly prescribed," she said in a telephone interview.
"I think the Army was at fault."

Jon Long, the Army spokesman at Fort Sill, said the Criminal
Investigation Division Command at the post was completing its
inquiry into the death. Though the Army declined to release the
autopsy report, a copy was provided by Ms. Scarano-Bailey.

In the Army shake-up of the program, one drill sergeant was
disciplined and reassigned after soldiers said he had kicked
an injured recruit, and another was reassigned after soldiers
said he had ordered medicated soldiers repeatedly awakened
during the night.

Among the changes in the programs nationwide, commanders
said, was closer control of medications. A six-month limit on
stays in the recuperation program would also be enforced,
they said.

On Monday, the under secretary of the Army, Pete Geren, was
at Fort Sill on what the Army called a previously planned visit
to discuss base realignments. Mr. Geren visited the therapy
unit and talked to soldiers, and "recommended that the lessons
learned at Fort Sill be shared with the Army's other P.T.R.P. sites,"
said a Pentagon spokeswoman, Betsy J. Weiner.

Private Scarano had been in and out of the unit for more than
a year, after he injured his groin and then hurt his shoulder falling
off a rappelling tower, his family said. He was adamantly against
having Army surgeons operate on his shoulder, he wrote in letters
home. But he was dedicated to the Army, friends said, and planned
to re-enlist if he could get out long enough to have his shoulder
repaired at a civilian hospital.

Ms. Scarano-Bailey said that when she last saw her son, on
a Christmas furlough, he showed no signs of drug dependency
and, though in pain from his shoulder, took nothing stronger
than Tylenol.

Other soldiers in the therapy program said in recent interviews
that they thought Private Scarano showed signs of overmedication.

"I can't remember ever seeing him conscious after 6:30 p.m.," said
Pvt. Justin Nugent, 21, of Candor, N.Y. He said that Private Scarano
had to be awakened earlier than the others because it took him longer
to shake off sleep and that he might have taken unauthorized extra
medications, not realizing that doctors had already increased his dosage.

Pvt. Richard Thurman, now out of the unit, said Private Scarano had
often been so "doped up" that "somebody would have to hold him
up when he walked to final formation," and that his medication
schedule was adjusted so that he would get his dosage only after
the evening formation.

Private Thurman said that the night before Private Scarano died,
he was lying in his bunk on his back and that soldiers who knew
it was an uncomfortable position for him rolled him onto his stomach.
He was found dead the next morning.

"What we felt is that the P.T.R.P. did this to him," Private Thurman
said, "and that the system itself was flawed."


15) Gambling on a Weaker Dollar
New York Times Editorial
May 20, 2006

For some time now, shortsighted lawmakers in Congress have been
threatening China with tariffs for what they call its unfair currency
practices. The Bush administration, to its credit, has generally resisted
the protectionist rant, most notably by refusing to brand China
a "currency manipulator" in an official report to Congress last week.

China responded to the administration's responsible policy and
diplomatic courtesy this week when it loosened, a bit, the tether
that binds the Chinese currency, the yuan, to the dollar. A stronger
yuan implies a weaker dollar, as does the general strengthening
so far this year of the euro and the yen. By making foreign goods
sold here more expensive and American goods sold abroad cheaper,
a weaker dollar would, in theory, eventually help reduce the United
States' huge trade gap.

The problem is this: unless a falling dollar is paired with reductions
in the federal budget deficit, it could do more harm than good
by driving up interest rates, perhaps sharply. That's because the
foreign investors who finance the administration's "borrow as you
go" budget are likely to demand higher returns to invest in
a depreciating dollar.

But if budget deficits declined over the long run, the government's
reduced need to borrow would help keep interest rates low as the
dollar depreciated. Then, after a lag, the falling dollar would shrink
the trade deficit without risking big increases in interest rates
in the process.

Unfortunately, the incessant tax cutting of the past five years
precludes any serious attempt to reduce the budget deficit. So
to keep interest rates in check as the dollar falls, the administration
would have to persuade investors not to believe what they see:
a dollar that is declining even as the United States does nothing
to curb its borrowing.

That would be a difficult trick even for a Treasury Department that
commanded respect. It will be especially difficult for Mr. Bush's
Treasury team, which has suffered a diminution of esteem and

The Bush tax cuts also make it harder for Americans as a nation
to bail themselves out of the trade deficit by saving more. Higher
personal savings would allow the government to finance its budget
deficit without outsized foreign borrowing — another safe route
to a cheaper dollar and a smaller trade gap. But the Republicans
who control Congress let a tax credit for low-income savers expire
this year to free up room in the budget for nearly $70 billion
in additional tax cuts for high-income Americans over the near

That tax cut bill, signed into law this week by President Bush,
also commits an estimated $53 billion through the middle of
the century to help those same high earners shift their existing
savings into tax shelters. This adds not one cent of new savings
and presages big deficits far into the future.

A weakening dollar, on top of intractable budget deficits and
a chronic savings shortfall, is a recipe for recession. The
question now is whether the country will change direction
in time. The portents are not good.


16) At Unforgiving Arizona-Mexico Border,
Tide of Desperation Is Overwhelming
May 21, 2006

ARIVACA, Ariz., May 18 — All the talk in Washington about putting
walls and soldiers along the border with Mexico did not stop
Miguel Espindola from trying to cross the most inhospitable part
of it this week with his wife and two small children.

Their 6-year-old daughter, Karla, clutched her mother's back
pocket with one hand and a bottle of Gatorade with the other
as the family set out across the Sonora Desert on Thursday.
Miguelito, 7, lugged a backpack that seemed to weigh almost
as much as he did.

"Yes, there is risk, but there is also need," said Mr. Espindola,
explaining why he had brought his children on a journey that
killed 464 immigrants last year, and a 3-year-old boy this week.

Looking out at the vast parched landscape ahead, Mr. Espindola,
a coffee farmer, talked about the poverty he had left behind,
and said: "Our damned government forces us to leave our
country because it does not give us good salaries. The
United States forces us to go this way."

Here at ground zero for the world's largest and longest wave
of illegal migration, about the only thing that is clear is that
easy answers do not apply. During a drive along a narrow
highway that runs parallel to the line, it is hard to see how
increased law enforcement and advanced technologies will
stop an exodus made up predominantly of Mexicans willing
to risk everything.

Meanwhile, it becomes easier to understand the conflicting
attitudes about migrants that have not only strained relations
between the United States and its neighbors to the south,
but also tested America's identity as a melting pot.

In the last five years, Arizona has become the principal,
and deadliest, gateway for illegal migrants. It accounts
for nearly one-third of the 1.5 million people captured
for illegally crossing the border last year, and nearly half
the migrants who died, according to the United States
Border Patrol.

Those figures have inspired competing responses.

After the 3-year-old boy was found dead this week in the
desert, some local law enforcement authorities called for
charging his mother, Edith Rodriguez Reyes, with reckless
endangerment. The authorities at the Mexican consulate
here said Ms. Rodriguez was a victim of smugglers and
demanded that she be released.

The mesquite-covered landscape here was a base for the
Minuteman militias, who have threatened to take the law
into their own hands in defense of America's southern border.

It is also home to so-called border Samaritans, who scour
the desert in search of migrants in distress to deliver water,
medical attention and, sometimes, advice on how to avoid

"This is a token deployment of unarmed and grossly
inadequate numbers of National Guardsmen," a Minuteman
spokeswoman, Connie Hair, told The Arizona Daily Star.
Ms. Hair said the troops would be placed in the "same
demoralizing position as the Border Patrol, outmanned
and outgunned against international crime cartels."

Jim Walsh, a volunteer with the Samaritans, was not
optimistic either, but for different reasons. "With this
president and this Congress," he said, "it's not going
to be too humane."

Worried about the enormous drain on taxpayers, voters
here passed a ballot initiative intended to limit immigrants'
access to public services. Meanwhile, economists like
Marshall Vest at the University of Arizona said the illegal
immigrants were an important source of labor for the
booming construction and tourism industries that had
helped make Arizona the second-fastest growing state,
after Nevada.

When Mr. Bush deploys an estimated 6,000 National
Guard troops to the border, it is expected that most
will be sent here in an effort to seal off the desert.
So this is likely to be the place where the successes
and failures of the policy will unfold.

Arizona has been hurt by "bad immigration policies,"
said Laura Briggs, an associate professor of women's
studies at the University of Arizona, and a member of
the border Samaritans. "There is a long tradition of
hospitality in the borderlands, and this rising death
toll is stressing everybody out."

Those conflicting interests, and growing frustrations,
come to life on Arivaca Road, which runs about 14 miles
west of Interstate 19, on the way to Sasabe, Mexico.

Once a bucolic settlement of horse and cattle ranchers,
the area around the highway has been overrun, according
to residents, by illegal immigrants who move in groups
of up 80 at a time, and up to a thousand a day in the
peak winter season. Residents must also contend with
the buzz of Border Patrol agents in trucks and helicopters.

Frank Ormsby, a rancher, and his brother, Lloyd, said
that after living for more than a decade in the middle
of the buildup of the Border Patrol and the growing waves
of immigrants, they are just plain sick of all of it. There
are more backpacks littering the desert than rocks, they
said, and enough money is being spent on equipment
for the Border Patrol to rebuild New Orleans.

To them, illegal immigration is a huge business managed
by powerful interests to make money and political careers.
Among the beneficiaries, Frank Ormsby said, were immigrant
smugglers, whose fortunes increased every time a new law
enforcement effort was announced, and the Border Patrol,
whose budget has increased fivefold in 10 years.

"There are so many agents they could stand hand-in-hand
across the border and stop illegal immigrants if they really
wanted to," said Mr. Ormsby from beneath a wide black
cowboy hat. "The money we are spending on the Border
Patrol, in gas, in equipment, in technology, what do we
have to show for it?"

"I see so much waste," he added. "Ray Charles could see it."

A couple miles down the road, two sunburned men, their
clothes tattered and their lips severely chapped, look the
image of needy. Raúl Calderón, 60, and his 22-year-old
son Samuel, had been walking in the desert heat for four days.

Natives of the western Mexican state of Michoacán, they
said they had been abandoned by the smuggler — known
among immigrants here as "coyotes" — they had hired
on the second day of their journey.

On the third night, the men said, they lost track of the
10 other people traveling with them in the darkness. And by
the fourth morning, they had run out of food and water.

"Our government has forgotten about us," the father said.
Then nodding toward his son, he added, "Each generation
stays as poor as the last."

Mr. Calderón said his native town of Churintzio had been
nearly emptied by migration to the United States. He himself
had gone back and forth across the border for much of the
last two decades. But he said he had spent the last five years
in Mexico, trying to start his own restaurant.

His son, on the other hand, had made enough money working
in restaurants between San Antonio and Corpus Christi to
return to Michoacán and build a home. Now the two of them
were off to the United States again to seek more work,
this time in California.

Mr. Calderón said he had heard that President Bush "is going
to give work permits, and so I have come to get one."

He would not, however, get one this day. Border Patrol
helicopters buzzed overhead. A few minutes later came
the trucks. And without much of an exchange, Mr. Calderón
and his son were taken away.

"It's like saying we're going to stop crime," said a Border
Patrol spokesman, Gustavo Soto, when asked whether the
presence of the National Guard would stop undocumented
immigrants from coming. "It's hard to say that we will be
able to stop all people from coming across the border.
But we can achieve better control."

On the Mexican side of the border, where remittances have
become the second-largest source of income after oil,
Mexican immigration agents said they felt helpless in
stopping the immigrants, even though the law prohibits
citizens from leaving through unofficial ports.

Hundreds of people, carrying backpacks and gallon jugs
of water, filed into the desert on Thursday. Among them,
were Karla and Miguelito, neither one of them more than
four-feet tall.

In a speech cut short so that the migrants could be on
their way before sundown, Mario López, an agent in Grupo
Beta, a Mexican government agency that seeks to protect
the migrants, advised the men, women and children about
the dangers of their illegal journey and advised them of
their rights in case they were apprehended by the Border Patrol.

"This is a sad reality," he said. "We hate to see our people
leaving this way. But what can we do, except wish them luck."


Middle America: Welcome to the Center of the USA

4 Guantanamo Prisoners Attempt Suicide in One Day

The Occupational Health Branch is trying to reach workers in the
food flavoring manufacturing industry, their employers, and their
health care providers, to alert them about two cases of a life-
threatening lung disease, bronchiolitis obliterans, among workers
(both English fluent Latinos) in companies located in southern
California. Food flavoring companies that may have exposed
workers are also located in northern California.  The disease
is associated with inhalation exposure to diacetyl, a butter
flavoring chemical. The lung disease is also known as "microwave
popcorn lung disease" based on cases among workers
in that industry.

Lawsuit Is Filed to Force FEMA to Continue Housing Vouchers
May 20, 2006

Explosion at Kentucky Mine Kills 5 Workers
May 21, 2006

Ecological Extortion in the National Forests

New Century Of Thirst For World's Mountains
By the century's end, the Andes in South America will have less than
half their current winter snowpack, mountain ranges in Europe and
the U.S. West will have lost nearly half of their snow-bound water,
and snow on New Zealand's picturesque snowcapped peaks will
all but have vanished.
Source: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
May 19, 2006

Dead soldiers flown home as British presence in Basra is questioned
By Kim Sengupta
Five military coffins, bearing the latest British dead from Iraq, arrived
home yesterday. At the same time, 105 people died during two days
of carnage in Afghanistan the next battleground for British forces.
Published: 19 May 2006

Detective Was 'Walking Camera' Among City Muslims, He Testifies
May 19, 2006

Senate Votes to Set English as National Language
May 19, 2006

Italy Calls Iraq War 'Grave Error'
May 19, 2006

Inquiry Implies Civilian Deaths in Iraq Topped Initial Report
May 19, 2006

U.N. Panel Backs Closing Prison at Guantánamo
May 19, 2006

House Passes a $2.7 Trillion Spending Plan
"The measure calls for increasing military spending by 7 percent,
to nearly $558 billion in 2007, a figure that includes $50 billion
for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The package would
essentially freeze or cut spending on most domestic discretionary
programs, including education, energy and national parks, and
it calls for trimming $6.8 billion over five years from entitlement
programs like Medicaid and farm subsidies.
May 18, 2006

Bush Turns to Big Military Contractors for Border Control
WASHINGTON, May 17 — The quick fix may involve sending in the
National Guard. But to really patch up the broken border, President
Bush is preparing to turn to a familiar administration partner: the
nation's giant military contractors.
Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, three of the
largest, are among the companies that said they would submit bids
within two weeks for a multibillion-dollar federal contract to build
what the administration calls a "virtual fence" along the nation's
land borders.
Using some of the same high-priced, high-tech tools these
companies have already put to work in Iraq and Afghanistan —
like unmanned aerial vehicles, ground surveillance satellites
and motion-detection video equipment — the military contractors
are zeroing in on the rivers, deserts, mountains and settled areas
that separate Mexico and Canada from the United States.
May 18, 2006

Return to a Bad Place
Has Anything Really Changed at Fort Sill?
May 17, 2006

Freedom of the Press Under Attack: Government Begins Tracking Phone
Calls of Journalists
Democracy Now!
May 16, 2006>

How grandma got legal
Illegal-immigration foes say today's migrants
are different from their own
forebears. They don't know U.S. history.
By Mae M. Ngai,0,4068154.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

US Assaults Wiretap Suit; AT&T Accused of Aiding Surveillance

Aids and a Lost Generation: Kids Raising Kids

Big Corporate Tax Breaks Upheld

Global Warming Turns Pristine Coral into Rubble

Crack of Israeli Bullets Ends Activists' Protest Against Barrier

Chavez Ridicules Washington's Weapons Ban

Venezuela Considers U.S. Weapons Ban Sale
Prelude to Further Aggression
By: Gregory Wilpert –
Tuesday, May 16, 2006

How A Minority Can Change Society
By George Breitman
(Spring 1964)

Stocks Plunge; Dow Sinks to 1-Month Low
Wednesday, May 17, 2006

FOCUS | Dahr Jamail: Support Our Troops, Anybody?
Dahr Jamail points out that if current trends continue, May will be one
of the deadliest months of the occupation yet for troops, with an
average of over three being killed per day. 54 coalition soldiers have been
killed in the first 16 days of May alone. Meanwhile, troops returning
from Iraq are finding little comfort in the hollow rhetoric of their
chief chicken-hawk. The medical attention necessary to support the troops
is becoming scarcer with each passing tax-cut.

The Guard Has Heard the Plan. Now It Needs the 'How.'
Over time, the rotations could strain some units in demand in
Iraq and in Afghanistan, current and former Pentagon officials
said. Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, calculated
that the plan could result in more than 150,000 Guard members
being deployed to the border in the next two years.
To minimize the stress on Guard units, the plan calls for sending
units to the border as part their annual two-week training obligation,
which would be lengthened to three weeks to allow time for travel.
In addition, officials said, some headquarters personnel in each
state would not be rotated, to ensure continuity.
May 17, 2006

Governors of Border States Have Hope, and Questions
Criticism of the president's plan was bipartisan. Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger of California, a Republican, said that using National
Guard troops was at best a "Band-Aid solution." And he questioned
whether the 6,000 troops who would be assigned temporary duty
on the border would be enough to hold back the flood of migrants.
"I have not heard the president say that our objective is to secure
the borders no matter what it takes. That's what I want to hear,"
Mr. Schwarzenegger said at a bill-signing ceremony on Tuesday.
"So what if they have 6,000 National Guards at the borders and
we find out that the same amount of people are coming across?
Does it mean he will increase it to 12,000, to 15,000, to 50,000?
We don't know. I have no idea. And so we were not consulted
on that, and we have not really been included in the decision
making process, so I cannot tell you."
May 17, 2006

Verizon Denies Turning Over Local Phone Data
May 17, 2006

C.I.A. Making Rapid Strides for Regrowth
May 17, 2006

Bush Faces Resistance on Immigration
May 17, 2006

Schools Plan in Nebraska Is Challenged
[A plan to set up separate Black, White and
Latino school]
May 17, 2006

West's Failure over Climate Change 'Will Kill 182m Africans'

Too Late to Shut the Gate on Killer 'Mad Cow'

Majority of Americans against Phone Record Collection

The Spies Who Shag Us
The Times and USA Today have Missed the Bigger Story -- Again
by Greg Palast

Inmate to Be Freed as DNA Tests Upend Murder Confession
Today, however, Mr. Warney is due to appear in a Rochester
courtroom — he uses a wheelchair — and prosecutors have agreed
that his conviction should be dismissed. A series of DNA tests, which
prosecutors at first tried to block, have linked blood found at the
scene to another man, who is in prison for a different killing and
three other stabbings....Mr. Warney appears poised to join a roster
of people who confessed to crimes they had not committed,
a phenomenon whose size has been one of the startling
revelations of the DNA era.
May 16, 2006

Wal-Mart Goes Organic: And Now for the Bad News
By Michael Pollan
May 15, 2006

Behind Bush's Address Lies a Deep History
May 16, 2006

President's Middle Path Disappoints Both Sides
May 16, 2006

Border Illusions
New York Times Editorial
President Bush's speech from the Oval Office last night was not
a blueprint for comprehensive immigration reform. It was
a victory for the fear-stricken fringe of the debate.
These are the people who say illegal border crossings must
be stopped immediately, with military boots in the desert sand.
May 16, 2006

'Racist' marriage law upheld by Israel
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Published: 15 May 2006

Pictures from mass rally with Chavez in Vienna
By Hands off Venezuela Committee
Monday, 15 May 2006
Pictures from the mass rally with Chavez in Vienna. Aleida Guevara,
Alan Woods and Hugo Chávez address 5,000 enthusiastic youth
in the meeting organised by the Hands Off Venezuela and
Cuba campaign.

Bush's Plan to Seal Border Worries Mexico
May 15, 2006

Mayor Ken holds lunch for Chavez
Controversial Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, on a two-day
visit to London, is due to attend a lunch hosted
by Mayor Ken Livingstone.
6.58AM, Mon May 15 2006

Revolution in the Camden air as Chávez - with amigo Ken -
gets a hero's welcome
Show of solidarity for Venezuelan president
Three-hour speech wins over 800-strong crowd
Duncan Campbell and Jonathan Steele
Monday May 15, 2006,,329480223-111259,00.html

FOCUS | Bush to Deploy Guard at Border
President Bush tried to ease the worries of his Mexican counterpart
yesterday as he prepared for a nationally televised address tonight
unveiling a plan to send thousands of National Guard troops to help seal the
nation's southern border against illegal immigrants.

Chávez Is a Threat Because He Offers the Alternative
of a Decent Society
Saturday, May 13, 2006
By: John Pilger - The Guardian,,1773908,00.html

Chavez offers oil to Europe's poor
Venezuelan President promises fuel to the needy and proclaims
'final days of the North American empire' before visit to Britain today
Sunday May 14, 2006

An Army of one wrong recruit
Mon, 08 May 2006 11:21:17 -0700
The American Army is being ground to dust in Iraq in several ways:
insurgent attacks destroy personnel and equipment, desert
conditions take their toll on machinery, an interminable,
confusing conflict lowers morale, and experienced soldiers
increasingly leave at their first available opportunity.
As this article describes, the quality of the soldiers themselves
may also be in jeopardy. As the desire of Americans to fight and
die in the desert declines, military recruiters are being forced to
recruit less and less qualified applicants. Here’s the story of one
such recruit.
[Posted By bacchus]
Republished from The Oregonian
Autism - The signing of a disabled Portland man despite warnings
reflects problems nationally for military enlistment

Operation Northwoods
Information Center
Follow the links provided below to declassified Pentagon documents
and an ABC News article on Operation Northwoods. Approved by
the top Pentagon chiefs, Operation Northwoods proposed fabricating
terrorism in US cities and killing innocent citizens to trick the public
into supporting a war against Cuba in the early 1960s. Operation
Northwoods even proposed blowing up a US ship and hijacking
planes as a false pretext for war. First coming to light in the year
2000 through a Freedom of Information Act request, key excerpts
from the Operation Northwoods documents are provided below.
Operation Northwoods on the ABC News website:
15 pages of declassified Joint Chiefs of Staff
documents on Operation Northwoods
as posted on the National Security Archive
of George Washington University:
Instructions on how to access 181 pages of
declassified documents from Operation Northwoods
on the official website of the
US National Archives and Records Administration:

Military Plans Tests in Search for an Alternative to Oil-Based Fuel
May 14, 2006

Full Text: The President of Iran's Letter to President Bush
The full text of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's letter
to US President George W. Bush, a historic document, is the first
written communication between the leadership of Iran and the
leadership of the United States since the Iranian Revolution of
1979 overthrew the US-backed Shah of Iran and stormed the
US Embassy in Tehran.

The Black Stake in the Internet:
Net Neutrality is an African American Issue
by BC Editor Bruce Dixon

Remember Sheila Detoy
A police officer's bullet took her life, then came the vicious
slander of her good name
Peter Keane
Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ban sought on strike at Delphi
Customer warns that U.S. economy at risk
May 11, 2006

New UAW Chrysler Stealth Agreement Reveals The Future