Saturday, May 27, 2006



Urgent Call to Support U.S. Military Officer
to Refuse Illegal IraqWar
June 2, 2006: First U.S. military officer poised to publicly refuse
orders in support of the illegal Iraq War requires immediate support
and assistance. Join this unprecedented political and legal support
campaign today! Information updated daily!
Sign the petition!
Thank you LT for standing up for international, US and military
law by refusing to deploy to Iraq in support of the ongoing
illegal war and occupation.

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

Protest the Minutemen In Fremont! Defend Immigrant Rights!
When: Friday, June 2, 2006 at 4:30pm
Where: Corner of Mowry and Fremont Blvd, Fremont CA
Contact: Jessie Muldoon, 510-467-5579

Protesta contral los Vigilantes en Fremont!
Defienda los Derechos de los Inmigrantes!
Cuando: Viernes 2 de Junio, 2006 a las 4:30pm
Donde: La esquina de Mowry y Fremont Blvd, Fremont CA
Contactar: Jessie Muldoon, 510-467-5579

LEASE RSVP ! 2nd SF Civil Rights Revival Cookout,
Sunday 6-4-06 4 pm

Please Forward Far & Wide !

2nd San Francisco
Civil Rights RevivalCOOKOUT !

Sponsored by:

Community First Coalition
Idriss Stelley Foundation
5 a n s w e r @ a c t i o
4PM - 7PM

Where: In the Heart of Bayview:
Idriss Stelley Foundation,
4921 3RD ST, San Francisco
Between Palou &Quesada

Why : Join the SF Bayview Community to celebrate the past and present,
the Struggle for Equality and Self-Determination of our Lands &
Communities !



People United For a General and Unconditional Amnesty
Rally Monday, June 19, 2006, 5:00 P.M.
Palou Avenue and Third Street, S.F.

No matter what the decisions the lawmakers make to "reform" the
immigration laws, we know that they will make some immigrant
workers "legal" and others "illegal."

We will hold a rally June 19, 2006 at 5:00 p.m. at Palou Avenue
and Third Street in San Francisco to demand General and
Unconditional Amnesty for All Immigrants. We hold this rally
in celebration of the date of June 19th, 141 years ago when
it was declared the end of slavery by Black people in this country.

Our Black brothers and sisters continue to be a slave of racism
and injustice just as we immigrants. And the government
continues to put on Death Row the great leaders of the Black
movement such as Mumia Abu-Jamal.

We make a call for unity at this rally in the Bayview so we can
honor June 19th by making a commitment to sow the first
seeds together in order to make a reality the emancipation
of the Black people and the immigrants and to demand the
immediate freedom of the great leader of the Black people,
Mumia Abu-Jamal, innocent on Death Row.

For More Information:

People United For a General and Unconditional Amnesty
Barrio Unido Por una Amnistia General e Incondicional
474 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Contact Persons:
Cristina Gutierrez: 415-431-9925
Kati Sanchez: 415-368-2576


Senate Passes Comprehensive Immigration Bill
May 25, 2006


There will be a special meeting in July when
the School Board will vote on this resolution.
The meeting date is to be announced.
School District Office
555 Franklin St
San Francisco

Report and Open letter to the Board of Education regarding JROTC:

At the first reading of the resolution to rid the schools
of JROTC on the basis of the policy of "Don't ask, don't
tell" that discriminates against gay's in the military, which
was presented to the Board of Education meeting on May 23, the
JROTC teachers (all retired military officers) mobilized students
to speak on behalf of JROTC. Carole Seligman and I spoke to many
students in the lobby before the meeting began. Repeatedly they
expressed that they loved the program. It gives them confidence
in themselves, provides a supportive environment, encourages good
scholarship in school, and encourages comradeship among the members.

So much so, that a young girl had a silver-colored chain with a tiny
silver-colored and diamond studded bullet. I really couldn't believe
it was a bullet so I asked her if it was. She said, "oh! this? Yes,
it's a bullet. You know, it's between me and my friend, you know,
like, 'I'll take a bullet for you!'"

Need I say more about the virtues of JROTC?

Unfortunately, the resolution that follows says nothing of this
aspect of JROTC. Nothing about the war. Nothing about young people
being taught to "take a bullet for each other". Nothing about the
realities of war. Nothing about asking students, gay or not, to
risk their lives and take the lives of Iraqis for this inhuman
and illegal war brought about by an inhuman and illegal

It was announced by gay supporters of JROTC at the meeting
that they expected the military to lift the prohibition on gays
in the military this year. If this is true this will make this
resolution obsolete before it can ever take effect. Are we to cheer
that our gay brothers and sisters will be able to fight in this war?
What is our plan to convince young gay and straight students that they can't
"be all they can be" if they are dead; or legless and armless; or with the
blood of too many dead in their hearts and head; or permanently
brain-damaged; burnt or blinded by exploding eyeballs and deafened by
exploding eardrums? Who will tell them of depleted uranium illness?
Who will tell them that although there is a very high survival rate for
our injured soldiers there is also a very high rate of survival with such
catastrophic injury and illness? Who will tell them that they are more
likely to be homeless after serving than in college? Who will tell
them about the logic of "following orders" and a "chain of command"
Instead of thinking and reasoning and making decisions for themselves
leads to disaster?

If you haven't seen it, I suggest you watch the HBO special,
"Baghdad ER". In fact it should be shown to all of our students
in middle and high school. (It's far too explicit for very young children.)

We and the majority of the voters in San Francisco want
the military out of our schools immediately!

Here are my comments for the meeting. I was cut off midway
through my timed one-minute delivery. The resolution
follows my comments. Please look at it again and see that a
vital antiwar message is missing from it and correct and
amend the resolution immediately to reflect opposition
to the militarization of our schools and the offering up of our
students as cannon fodder for this bloodthirsty and greedy
government and it's military might.

We want a world without war! How can we teach children
that violence is not the answer when the most powerful
and influential adults in the world--our government--
uses it as their ultimate tool to gain wealth and power
for themselves.

You must take a stronger antiwar stand! I don't care how many
antiwar resolutions you have passed. The proof of the pudding
is in the military presence in our schools!

Bonnie Weinstein

Addressed to the President, Vice President and the
Commissioners of the San Francisco Board of Education:

I commend the board members who are bringing the motion
to rid our schools of JROTC forward. This is in line with the
wishes of the majority of the voters in San Francisco who
voted to get the military out of our schools this past November.
The military’s policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is unacceptable.
Our obligation is to educate our children against prejudice
of all kinds—not turn a blind eye—and turn a bigoted military
loose on them. But that is not the only reason we want the
military and JROTC out.

We want our children to engage in physical education, in fact,
to find joy in it; and to study history—to learn how to avoid
the mistakes of the past; to gain satisfaction and experience
joy in learning so they can contribute to human knowledge
themselves as well as help fashion a better world!

We want our children to feel responsible to her or his
community. We want students to gain a sense of
responsibility and pride in a job well done by
contributing to the life and well being of their school,
their home and their community.

We don’t want to teach our children to blindly obey
a chain of command or to glorify war. In fact, it is our
duty to teach our children that blind obedience, violence,
greed, bigotry, prejudice, human inequality, torture, pre-
emptive war, profiting off of war and injustice, inequality
in the application of the law, and poverty in the face of
fantastic wealth is wrong, inhuman and intolerable and
we can do better!

We must rid our schools of the military and JROTC, hire
enough Physical Education teachers immediately, and
re-dedicate our schools to education and human
development—and reject the road to war and militarism.

Just one more thing, I want to correct the notion that the
new school policy regarding military recruiters has resulted
in less military presence in our schools. In fact, it has resulted
in more. Many schools did not invite the military on Career Day
and now they must, and that is a shame, because we want the
military out! We don’t want our children to study war or bigotry
any more! Not for one more second!

Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War,, 415-824-8730

The resolution:

Introduction of Replacement Program for JROTC
--Commissioners Mark Sanchez and Dan Kelly

WHEREAS: It is the official policy of the San Francisco Unified School
District to oppose discrimination of any kind against any group
of people; and

WHEREAS: The District’s opposition to discrimination is articulated
in Board Policy 5163, which provides that the San Francisco Unified
School District shall not discriminate on the basis of race, religion,
creed, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, or handicapping
condition in the provision of educational programs, services, and
activities, in the admission of students to school programs and
activities; and in the recruitment and employment of personnel; and

WHEREAS: The San Francisco Unified School District deplores the
"Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" policy of the U.S. Department of Defense,
which requires the discharge of any member of the armed forces
if such service member has engaged in "homosexual acts," has
revealed that s/he is a homosexual or bisexual, or the member
has married or attempted to marry a person known to be of the
same biological sex; and

WHEREAS: The District believes that the "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell"
policy is an unjust, indefensible, unintelligent, state-sanctioned
act of homophobia; and

WHEREAS: The San Francisco Unified School District cannot justify
committing any funding to a JROTC program because its connection
to the U.S. Department of Defense suggests that discrimination
against some groups is tolerable.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the Board of Education of the
San Francisco Unified School District calls for the phasing –out
of the JROTC program of the United States Department of Defense
on San Francisco Unified School District campuses; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the Board of Education instructs
District staff to provide all JROTC units at SFUSD campuses with
one year notice that the programs will be terminated at all SFUSD
campuses after the 2006-2007 school year; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the Board of Education calls for the
creation of a special task force to develop alternative, creative,
career-driven programs which provide students with a greater
sense of purpose and respect for self and humankind.

Board has plan to oust ROTC from S.F. schools
Members want to cut program over 'Don't ask, Don't tell'
The students engage in physical training such as running, push-ups
and jumping jacks; and discipline training such as marching,
drill-practice and using a mock chain of command. They also
study military history and perform community service.
- Heather Knight, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 23, 2006


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.
to view these images.




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


Great Counter-Recruitment Website


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


Exploitation, Betrayal & Triumph in the Workplace
by Helena Wojtczak


LEASE RSVP ! 2nd SF Civil Rights Revival Cookout,
Sunday 6-4-06 4 pm

Please Forward Far & Wide !

2nd San Francisco
Civil Rights RevivalCOOKOUT !

Sponsored by:

Community First Coalition
Idriss Stelley Foundation
5 a n s w e r @ a c t i o
4PM - 7PM

Where: In the Heart of Bayview:
Idriss Stelley Foundation,
4921 3RD ST, San Francisco
Between Palou &Quesada

Why : Join the SF Bayview Community to celebrate the past and present,
the Struggle for Equality and Self-Determination of our Lands &
Communities !



People United For a General and Unconditional Amnesty
Rally Monday, June 19, 2006, 5:00 P.M.
Palou Avenue and Third Street, S.F.

No matter what the decisions the lawmakers make to "reform" the
immigration laws, we know that they will make some immigrant
workers "legal" and others "illegal."

We will hold a rally June 19, 2006 at 5:00 p.m. at Palou Avenue
and Third Street in San Francisco to demand General and
Unconditional Amnesty for All Immigrants. We hold this rally
in celebration of the date of June 19th, 141 years ago when
it was declared the end of slavery by Black people in this country.

Our Black brothers and sisters continue to be a slave of racism
and injustice just as we immigrants. And the government
continues to put on Death Row the great leaders of the Black
movement such as Mumia Abu-Jamal.

We make a call for unity at this rally in the Bayview so we can
honor June 19th by making a commitment to sow the first
seeds together in order to make a reality the emancipation
of the Black people and the immigrants and to demand the
immediate freedom of the great leader of the Black people,
Mumia Abu-Jamal, innocent on Death Row.

For More Information:

People United For a General and Unconditional Amnesty
Barrio Unido Por una Amnistia General e Incondicional
474 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Contact Persons:
Cristina Gutierrez: 415-431-9925
Kati Sanchez: 415-368-2576


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


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


The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

Bill of Rights


1) Laid Off and Left Out
May 25, 2006

2) An Immigration Victory [for the slave-holders, certainly
not for]
New York Times Editorial
May 27, 2006

3) The Energy Challenge
Coal May Be Fuel of the Future, but Industry Battles Over Path
May 28, 2006

4) In the war of the super-rich on the rest of us ...
in San Francisco, as in New Orleans
"In the war of the super-rich on the rest of us, whether in Iraq, New
Orleans or San Francisco’s Hunters Point, the plan is to utterly
destroy the land of the vulnerable and then further enrich the
super-rich with contracts for reconstruction – or redevelopment:
In Iraq, shock and awe; in New Orleans, devastation wrought by
a hurricane and the hand of man; in the Hunters Point Shipyard,
without notice to the neighborhood, the clearcutting by developer
Lennar of all the trees covering 64.5 acres to make way
for its Superfund condos."
by Ann Garrison
May 24, 2006

5) Are Enrons Bustin' Out All Over?
By Gretchen Morgenson
May 28, 2006

6) Block the Vote
New York Times Editorial
May 30, 2006

7) Justices Set Limits on Public Employees' Speech Rights
May 30, 2006

[How the employer uses immigration papers, or lack thereof, as a
tool to lower wages, increase hours and speed-up production
in order to increase their rate of profit at the expense of the
health and well being of]

9) Responsible Reform of Immigration Laws Must Protect Working
Conditions for all Workers in the U.S.
March 01, 2006
San Diego, CA

10) Exxon Mobil Shareholders Reject Effort to Restrain Executive Pay
DALLAS, May 31 (AP) — Shareholders of the Exxon Mobil
Corporation, whose last chief executive took home $147
million when he retired, overwhelmingly rejected resolutions
to rein in compensation at the company's annual meeting on
Wednesday...Mr. Raymond was paid $49 million in cash and
restricted stock last year, then got a $98 million lump-sum
pension payment.
June 1, 2006


1) Laid Off and Left Out
May 25, 2006

You don't hear much from the American worker anymore.
Like battered soldiers at the end of a lost war, ordinary
workers seem resigned to their diminished status.

The grim terms imposed on them include wage stagnation,
the widespread confiscation of benefits (including pensions
they once believed were guaranteed), and a permanent state
of employment insecurity.

For an unnecessarily large number of Americans, the workplace
has become a hub of anxiety and fear, an essential but
capricious environment in which you might be shown the
door at any moment.

In his new book, "The Disposable American: Layoffs and
Their Consequences," Louis Uchitelle tells us that since 1984,
when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics started monitoring
"worker displacement," at least 30 million full-time workers
have been "permanently separated from their jobs and their
paychecks against their wishes."

Mr. Uchitelle writes on economic issues for The Times. In his
book, he traces the evolution of that increasingly endangered
species, the secure job, and the effect that the current culture
of corporate layoffs is having on ordinary men and women.

He said he was surprised, as he did the reporting for the book,
by the extensive emotional fallout that accompanies layoffs.
"There's a lot of mental health damage," he said. "The act of
being laid off is such a blow to the self-esteem. Layoffs are
a national phenomenon, a societal problem — but the laid-off
workers blame themselves."

In addition to being financially strapped, laid-off workers and
their families are often emotionally strapped as well. Common
problems include depression, domestic strife and divorce.

Mr. Uchitelle's thesis is that corporate layoffs have been carried
much too far, that they have gone beyond a legitimate and
necessary response to a changing economy.

"What started as a necessary response to the intrusion of foreign
manufacturers into the American marketplace got out of hand,"
he writes. "By the late 1990's, getting rid of workers had become
normal practice, ingrained behavior, just as job security had
been 25 years earlier."

In many cases, a thousand workers were fired when 500 might
have been sufficient, or 10,000 were let go when 5,000 would
have been enough. We pay a price for these excesses. The losses
that accrue to companies and communities when many years
of improving skills and valuable experience are casually and
unnecessarily tossed on a scrap heap are incalculable.

"The majority of the people who are laid off," said Mr. Uchitelle,
"end up in jobs that pay significantly less than they earned before,
or they drop out altogether."

At the heart of the layoff phenomenon is the myth, endlessly
repeated by corporate leaders and politicians of both parties,
that workers who are thrown out of their jobs can save themselves,
can latch onto spiffy new jobs by becoming better educated
and acquiring new skills.

"Education and training create the jobs, according to this way
of thinking," writes Mr. Uchitelle. "Or, put another way, a job
materializes for every trained or educated worker, a job
commensurate with his or her skills, for which he or she
is appropriately paid."

That is just not so, and the corporate and political elite need
to stop feeding that bogus line to the public.

There is no doubt that the better-educated and better-trained
get better jobs. But the reality is that there are not enough
good jobs currently available to meet the demand of college
-educated and well-trained workers in the United States,
which is why so many are working in jobs for which they
are overqualified.

A chapter in "The Disposable American" details the plight of
exquisitely trained airline mechanics who found themselves
laid off from jobs that had paid up to $31 an hour. Mr. Uchitelle
writes: "Not enough jobs exist at $31 an hour — or at $16 an
hour, for that matter — to meet the demand for them. Jobs
just don't materialize at cost-conscious companies to absorb
all the qualified people who want them."

The most provocative question raised by Mr. Uchitelle is whether
the private sector is capable of generating enough good jobs
at good pay to meet the demand of everyone who is qualified
wants to work.

If it cannot (and so far it has not), then what? If education and
training are not the building blocks to solid employment,
what is? These are public policy questions of the highest
importance, and so far they are being ignored


2) An Immigration Victory [for the slave-holders, certainly
not for]
New York Times Editorial
May 27, 2006

Americans should be proud of what the United States Senate did
this week. It passed an ambitious bill that could lead to the most
far-reaching overhaul of immigration laws in the nation's history.
It did so after months of thoughtful debate and through a bipartisan
compromise, a creature that many thought had vanished from
Capitol Hill. The bill has many flaws, but its framework is realistic
and humane. At various low points in the debate, this outcome
could scarcely have been imagined, but the near-impossible
happened on Thursday, by a vote of 62 to 36.

The Senate has given the cause of immigration reform a lot of
momentum, which it will need since it is now heading for a brick
wall: the House of Representatives.

The House Judiciary Committee chairman, James Sensenbrenner Jr.,
in the role of head brick, called the Senate bill "a nonstarter" the
morning after it passed. Discussing the odds of reconciling the
House and Senate legislation into one bill, Mr. Sensenbrenner
struck a tone of deathly pessimism. The chambers had once
been miles apart, but now they were "moons apart or oceans
apart," he said, grasping for words to convey the vastness of his
gloom, and the ferocity of his bargaining stance.

But why was he so down?

The House's immigration bill is tough on security. But so is the
Senate's. The House wants 700 miles of new fencing on the
Mexican border; the Senate wants 370, with another 500 miles
of vehicle barriers. That looks like mere miles apart to us.

But when you add the real crux of the debate — the future flow
of temporary workers and a path to citizenship for the nation's
shadow population of 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants
— things do get tricky.

Many polls show that the American public has moved decisively
toward favoring a comprehensive immigration solution: tightening
security and giving illegal immigrants a chance to seek the burdens
and benefits of citizenship. But those in the Sensenbrenner camp
are clinging to a fantasy that only a clenched fist will set the nation's
immigrant problems right. They have refused to treat illegal
immigrants as anything but outlaws, and oppose the Senate
bill's citizenship path. They speak with the sullen defeatism
of those who have dug into their positions and can't climb out.

It is hard to understand what — besides election-year pandering
and xenophobic hostility — motivates their unwillingness to bend
toward the flexible, sensible policy that immigrants, their families
and their advocates, many business organizations and labor unions,
and a majority of the Senate are seeking.

Is it their fear that the United States as we know it is on the brink
of disintegrating under a flood of poor people looking for work?
That dread was expressed this month in a much-buzzed-about
report from the Heritage Foundation. It warned that the Senate
bill would increase the United States population by 103 million
in 20 years. An uproar followed, and led to an amendment that
shrank the bill's guest-worker quotas. The foundation then
revised its estimate down to 66 million.

But that is still a staggeringly ridiculous sum, considering that
Mexico's entire work force is only 43 million. We suppose it is
possible that every last worker south of the border could move
here, bringing family members and pets, but Mexico and Central
America would have to be depopulated to make the conservatives'
nightmare come true. To the reality-based community, thankfully,
the Senate bill is not a nightmare.

It is a rough draft of what could end up as a profound achievement.
There is a huge gap between the House and the Senate, but it can
be bridged, and President Bush should bridge it. The coalition
that passed the Senate bill has handed Mr. Bush an opportunity
to lead the country to a better place. He should spend every last
shred of his political capital and skill to take it.


3) The Energy Challenge
Coal May Be Fuel of the Future, but Industry Battles Over Path
May 28, 2006

WRIGHT, Wyo. — More than a century ago a blustery Wyoming
politician named Fenimore Chatterton boasted that his state alone
had enough coal to "weld every tie that binds, drive every wheel,
change the North Pole into a tropical region, or smelt all hell!"

His words seem prophetic.

The future for American energy users is playing out in coal-rich
areas like northeastern Wyoming, where dump trucks and bulldozers
swarm around 80-foot-thick seams at a Peabody Energy strip mine
here, one of the largest in the world.

Coal, the nation's favorite fuel in much of the 19th century and early
20th century, could become so again in the 21st. The United States
has enough to last at least two centuries at current use rates —
reserves far greater than those of oil or natural gas. And for all
the public interest in alternatives like wind and solar power, or
ethanol from the heartland, coal will play a far bigger role.

But the conventional process for burning coal in power plants
has one huge drawback: it is one of the largest manmade sources
of the gases responsible for global warming.

Many scientists say that sharply reducing emissions of these
gases could make more difference in slowing climate change
than any other move worldwide. And they point out that American
companies are best positioned to set an example for other nations
in adopting a new technique to limit the environmental impact
of the more than 1,000 coal-fired power projects on drawing
boards around the world.

It is on this issue, however, that executives of some of the most
important companies in the coal business diverge. Their
disagreement is crucial in the debate over how to satisfy
Americans' growing energy appetite without accelerating
climate change.

One of those executives, Michael G. Morris, runs American
Electric Power, the nation's largest coal consumer and biggest
producer of heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions from its
existing plants. He is spearheading a small movement within
the energy industry to embrace the new technology. His
company plans to build at least two 600-megawatt plants,
in Ohio and West Virginia.

The company says these plants are not only better for the
environment but also in the best interests of even its cost-
conscious shareholders. While they would cost 15 to 20 percent
more to build, Mr. Morris says they would be far less expensive
to retrofit with the equipment needed to move carbon dioxide
deep underground, instead of releasing it to the sky, if limits
are placed on emissions of global warming gases.

"Leave the science alone for a minute," Mr. Morris said in an
interview at the Columbus, Ohio, headquarters of his company.
"The politics around climate issues are very real. That's why
we need to move on this now."

But most in the industry are not making that bet. Among
them is Gregory H. Boyce, chief executive of Peabody Energy,
the largest private-sector coal producer in the world thanks
in part to its growing operations here in Wyoming and with
aspirations to operate coal-fired plants of its own. Mr. Boyce's
company alone controls reserves with more energy potential
than the oil and gas reserves of Exxon Mobil.

"We're still not convinced that the technology or cost structure
is there to justify going down a path where we're not
comfortable," Mr. Boyce said.

Mr. Boyce's view has prevailed. No more than a dozen of the
140 new coal-fired power plants planned in the United States
expect to use the new approach.

The decisions being made right now in industry and government
on how quickly to adopt any new but more costly technologies
will be monumental.

"Coal isn't going away, so you have to think ahead," said Gavin
A. Schmidt, a climate modeler at the Goddard Institute for Space
Studies, part of NASA. "Many of these power stations are built
to last 50 years."

Increased Gas Emissions

Michael Morris and Gregory Boyce, both kingpins in their industries,
have a lot in common. They do a lot of business together — Mr. Morris
is one of Mr. Boyce's largest customers. They are solid Republicans.
And they serve together on various industry initiatives.

They agree that energy from coal — the nation's most important source
of electricity — is cheaper than energy from oil and natural gas and
is competitive with the uranium used in nuclear power plants. And
coal could serve new uses: replacing petroleum in making chemicals,
for example, or even fueling vehicles.

But while sooty smokestacks are no longer a big problem in modern
coal-burning power plants, the increase in global warming gases is.
A typical 500-megawatt coal-fired electricity plant, supplying enough
power to run roughly 500,000 homes, alone produces as much
in emissions annually as about 750,000 cars, according to estimates
from Royal Dutch Shell.

Coal has perhaps no stronger evangelist than Mr. Boyce, who
grew up on Long Island, the son of a mining executive, and studied
engineering in Arizona. He argues that a way to reduce carbon
dioxide emissions can be found without having to switch from
the existing cheaper coal-burning technology.

Much in the way that Exxon Mobil influences discussion of climate
issues from the petroleum industry, Peabody is a backer of industry
-supported organizations that seek to prevent mandatory reductions
in global warming emissions and promote demand for coal.

Peabody's executives are also by far the coal industry's largest
political contributors to federal candidates and parties, giving
$641,059 in the 2004 election cycle, with 93 percent of that amount
going to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics,
an independent research group in Washington that tracks money
in politics. And while Peabody says it expects contributions to
Democrats to increase, under Mr. Boyce the company has cultivated
close contact with the Bush administration.

Mr. Boyce was chairman of an advisory panel for the Energy Department,
organized by the National Coal Council, that produced a controversial
report in March calling for exemptions to the Clean Air Act to encourage
greater consumption of coal through 2025. The thrust of the report,
which Mr. Boyce outlined in an interview, is that improvements in
technology to limit carbon dioxide emissions should be left to the
market instead of government regulation.

By contrast, the environmental advocacy group Natural Resources
Defense Council, which has brought many lawsuits aimed at controlling
pollution, described the report as an "energy fantasy" that would
increase carbon dioxide emissions by more than 2 billion tons a year.

But it is Peabody's economic argument, not the environmental
opposition's, that is resonating throughout the electricity industry
and among energy regulators.

Led by Peabody, dozens of energy companies have embarked on
the most ambitious construction of coal-fired electricity plants
since the 1950's.

Coal, as Mr. Boyce notes, is a bargain. Despite a doubling in
domestic coal prices in the last two years, a surge in prices
for natural gas, the preferred fuel for new power plants in the
1990's, has made coal more attractive.

With coal so favorably priced, Peabody saw an opportunity
to enter the power-plant business itself, setting out to build two
of the largest in the world, the 1,500-megawatt Prairie State
Energy Campus in southern Illinois and the 1,500-megawatt
Thoroughbred Energy Campus in western Kentucky. Both are
in areas where the St. Louis-based company has substantial
coal reserves.

Despite growing concern among some large energy companies
over the liabilities they face if global warming advances or legal
limits on carbon dioxide emissions become a reality, Peabody
remains loyal to its technology choice. Vic Svec, Peabody's senior
vice president for investor relations, said the possibility of near-
term caps on carbon emissions was not viewed as a "material threat."

Cost of Clean Technology

Mr. Morris, at American Electric Power, sees things differently.
He cites cost concerns in arguing for its move to cleaner technology.
At the request of environmental groups that hold shares in the
company, A.E.P. agreed in 2004, shortly after Mr. Morris arrived,
to report on the potential costs it would face if emissions rules
were tightened. The company recognized that its growth beyond
2010 could be limited if it stuck with old technology.

The company has since won important allies in its push for cleaner
coal, including General Electric, which is pinning much of its hopes
for growth in the electricity industry on new technology and is
working with A.E.P. on designing its plants.

One vital element of A.E.P.'s ambitions, and by extension those
of other energy companies with similar projects, fell into place
in April when the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio allowed
the company to bill customers for a portion of the higher pre-
construction costs for the plant it is planning in the state.
The company hopes to complete construction of its first such
plant by 2010.

Proponents of these plants, which turn coal into a gas that is
burned to produce energy, say they would also emit much lower
amounts of other pollutants that contribute to acid rain, smog
and respiratory illness.

But for every small advance of the new technology, there are
bigger setbacks. Many within the industry argue that it would
be a waste of time and money to build such plants in the United
States unless China, which passed the United States several years
ago as the largest coal-consuming nation, also moves to limit
carbon dioxide emissions from its rapidly growing array of
coal-fired plants.

Divided Industry

With widespread uncertainty in the state-regulated power industry,
the debate has moved to the federal level, where testimony by
senior energy executives before the Senate Energy Committee
in April revealed a sharp fault line within the industry.

On one side, A.E.P., lined up with Peabody and other heavy coal
users against mandatory limits on global warming gases if
industrializing countries like China and India are not included.
Others that have less to lose from carbon caps — like Exelon and
Duke Energy, which rely much more on nuclear power — spoke
in favor of national limits that would include coal consumers.

The Bush administration has rejected mandatory limits on carbon
dioxide emissions. But there is some support in Washington for
such legislation. The two senators from New Mexico, Jeff Bingaman,
a Democrat, and Pete V. Domenici, a Republican, are working on
a bill that could require limits on carbon dioxide emissions.

Ahead of the 2008 presidential election, two senators often
mentioned as candidates, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat
of New York, and John McCain, Republican of Arizona, have
endorsed mandatory cuts in emissions. Mr. Morris of A.E.P. said
such support has persuaded him that limits might be imposed
in coming years.

While Peabody supports some coal gasification projects, it remains
skeptical about departing from traditional coal-burning methods
to produce electricity.

The pulverized coal plants it wants to build, which grind coal into
a dust before burning it to make electricity, currently cost about
$2 billion each, or 15 percent to 20 percent less to build than the
cleaner "integrated gasification combined cycle," or I.G.C.C., plants,
which convert coal into a gas.

The hope among scientists is that I.G.C.C. plants could be relatively
quickly fitted with systems to sequester deep underground the
carbon dioxide created from making electricity. Without such
controls, the new coal plants under development worldwide
could pump as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over
their lifetimes as all the coal burned in the last 250 years, according
to Jeff Goodell, who has written on coal for several publications,
including The New York Times, and is author of a new book on
the coal industry.

But state and federal regulators have been hesitant to endorse
the technology. Peabody and other companies remain skeptical
that carbon-capture methods, whether for pulverized coal or
combined cycle plants, will become commercially or technologically
feasible until the next decade.

Legal battles over this reluctance have already begun, with the
Natural Resources Defense Council and the American Lung
Association this year challenging the Environmental Protection
Agency for allowing electric companies to move ahead with power
plant projects without evaluating the new technology.

In one key decision on the state level, the Wisconsin Public Service
Commission rejected a proposal from WE Energies of Milwaukee
in 2003 to build a plant with the new technology, saying it was
too expensive and would result in higher electricity prices.

Gas From Coal

Engineers have known how to make gas from coal for more than
a century, using this method in the gaslights that first illuminated
many American cities. A handful of coal gasification plants are
already in operation in the United States, Spain and the Netherlands,
built with generous government assistance.

Selling the captured carbon dioxide from coal gasification plants
could make them more competitive with pulverized coal plants.
One gasification plant in North Dakota, though different from an
electric plant, already sends its carbon dioxide to Saskatchewan,
where it is injected in aging oilfields to force more crude from the
ground. And the oil giant BP announced a similar project in March
for a refinery it owns near Los Angeles, using petroleum coke as
a fuel there instead of coal.

Scientists have developed numerous other plans to pump away
carbon dioxide, like shipping it to offshore platforms to inject it
below the ocean floor. These plans are not without risk, with some
officials concerned that carbon dioxide sequestration could trigger
earthquakes. Yet, time and again, the most limiting factor remains

As they proceed with plans to build pulverized coal plants, Peabody
and other companies often point to their support of the alternative
technology through their participation in Futuregen, a $1 billion
project started three years ago by the Bush administration to build
a showcase 275-megawatt power station that could sequester
carbon dioxide and reduce other pollutants.

Futuregen's 10 members include some of the world's largest coal
mining companies, among them Peabody and BHP Billiton of Australia,
as well as large coal-burning utilities like A.E.P. and the Southern

One Chinese company, the China Huaneng Group, is also a member
of Futuregen, while India's government signed on in March. Washington
is financing the bulk of the project, more than $600 million, with about
$250 million coming from coal and electricity companies and the rest
from foreign governments.

But Futuregen is already behind schedule, with planners now hoping
to choose a site for the plant by the end of the year, with an eye on
starting operation by 2012. Environmental groups have criticized
the project as too little, too late.

"Futuregen is a smokescreen, since it's not intended to bring
technology to the market at the pace required to deal with the
problem," said Daniel Lashoff, science director at the climate center
at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "We don't have that
kind of time."


4) In the war of the super-rich on the rest of us ...
in San Francisco, as in New Orleans
"In the war of the super-rich on the rest of us, whether in Iraq, New
Orleans or San Francisco’s Hunters Point, the plan is to utterly
destroy the land of the vulnerable and then further enrich the
super-rich with contracts for reconstruction – or redevelopment:
In Iraq, shock and awe; in New Orleans, devastation wrought by
a hurricane and the hand of man; in the Hunters Point Shipyard,
without notice to the neighborhood, the clearcutting by developer
Lennar of all the trees covering 64.5 acres to make way
for its Superfund condos."
by Ann Garrison
May 24, 2006

“It’s a war down here, and there’s a new battle to fight almostevery
day.” – Lorie Arcenaux Seruntine, 21, geography student, ninth
generation native of New Orleans

I met 21-year-old Lorie Arsinaux Seruntine in New Orleans.
She’d told her professors at the University of Memphis that she
had to go home, had to be in New Orleans, doing independent
study until she finished her degree.

What better place for a geography student studying “hazards”
– hazards both human and natural – to become an expert?
Lorie understands levees, hurricanes, storm surges, geology,
topography and the jet stream, most of which are still
a mystery to me, and she knows as well as anyone that
the flood that destroyed three quarters of New Orleans
was no more natural than the bombs that destroyed Iraq.

She knows that the levee system protecting the Black and
poor parts of town had been de-funded and neglected for
years and that, whether the alleged levee explosions occurred
or not, the powerful had been eager to empty the city of its
poor, mostly Black residents for a long time and that they
had no care for preserving more than a tourist industry’s
pale simulacrum of the unique and overwhelmingly Black
New Orleans culture so loved all over the world.

Lorie was among the first to occupy the rectory at historic,
multi-racial St. Augustine’s Parish Church, when the archbishop
of New Orleans threatened to replicate the New Orleans
diaspora by dispersing its members into much larger
neighboring parishes. This battle has been won – for now
– but, like most, it will require continued organization,
support and constant vigilance.

She is now organizing local emergency response committees
to face the next Caribbean hurricane season, beginning June 1,
in New Orleans. Like those she is organizing with, natives left
in the neighborhoods and the Common Ground Collective,
she expects no help from FEMA or from the federal government
in any form. More likely, she and others expect obstruction,
federal authority preventing people from helping one another
or from accepting the assistance last offered by Fidel Castro
and his world famous hurricane doctors, or from Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez or even from the Black American medics
who rushed to New Orleans from Atlanta, only to be turned
back at the hurricane zone’s perimeter.

Like many of the natives I met still in New Orleans, Lorie believes
that their city was attacked and continues to be under siege by
real estate developers, oil companies, energy and utility giant
Entergy, and the usual suspects, Bechtel and Halliburton and
the Shaw Group, corporations also awarded huge reconstruction
contracts in response to the lobbying efforts of the very same
lobbyists who pressed their interests in Iraq even before the
bombs began to fall.

Many more New Orleans natives still in the city confirmed the
perception that they had been attacked. Grimly, quietly, often
with resignation, most even seemed to believe that the barge
that had catapulted through – or over, according to some
– residential side of the Industrial Canal into the Lower Ninth
Ward levee had been a Halliburton barge. It was not, but its
owner is another story for another day.

Many remaining residents told me horrifying stories but
declined to be quoted. Even the editors of the New Orleans
Times-Picayune, however, joined in an editorial lambasting
the federal government, published on Sept. 4,
I later learned that former FEMA chief and longtime Bush
ally Joseph Allbuagh arrived on the Gulf Coast to represent
his clients even before George Bush or then FEMA chief
Michael Brown arrived.

Having spent six weeks in New Orleans, having seen the
deserted and devastated Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth
Wards and having studied the web of federal “reconstruction
contracts,” I agree: New Orleans is a new front in the war
of the super-rich against the rest of us, a war waged most
virulently against the poorest and most vulnerable.

The highly capitalized and corporate organized now pick
New Orleans’ bones much as vultures picked the bones
of those whose bodies lay in the bayous for an entire week
while FEMA reportedly haggled with Kenyon International,
a subsidiary of Houston-based Service Corporation International
(SCI), over the price of recovering the dead.

SCI, Kenyon International’s owner, is the world’s largest chain
of funeral retail outlets, about to become even larger by merging
with Alderwood Funeral Homes. A little-known corporation,
unlike Halliburton, Bechtel and Shaw, whose war profiteering,
in both Iraq and New Orleans, are quite well known, SCI has
earned most of its headlines by desecrating the dead, in Texas,
Georgia and Florida. In response to a class action lawsuit in
Florida and charges by the Florida State Attorney General,
SCI agreed to pay $100 million dollars to the Jewish families
who had trusted one of SCI’s many subsidiaries, Menorah
Gardens, to bury their dead.

SCI-owned Menorah Gardens books gravesites in advance,
and it had way overbooked the gravesites at Menorah Gardens,
as it often does. Having done so, it overpacked them with bodies,
lost track of who was buried – if they were buried – where, then
dug up and discarded corpses in nearby woods to make room
for more. In one particularly grisly incident, it bashed into
a crypt with a backhoe to remove corpses and discard them
to make room for more.

George Bush, however, is such a close family friend of SCI CEO
Robert Waltrip that he did his best to save SCI from paying
$450,000 in fines for using unlicensed embalmers, with grisly
consequences, in Texas. And he has been so generous in the
extension of reconstruction contracts to his corporate family
friends that it’s quite difficult to believe that “haggling over
the price” really postponed the recovery of New Orleans’
mostly poor, mostly Black dead.

As this “haggling over the price” went on, the number of “American”
soldiers, including the first, a Central American, and the 1,000th,
a Navajo, to die in Iraq was nearing the 2,000 mark, scheduled
to trigger anti-war demonstrations all over the country. And the
national mobilization in D.C. against the war was only days away.

Recovery of more casualties within the bounds of the nation state
that the war on Iraq was said to be defending might have given
this country pause. Some might even have realized that, at that
time, New Orleans had become the newest front in the war of
the super-rich on the rest of us. The 500 tons of yellow cake
uranium ore – that Saddam Hussein had allegedly imported from
French-owned mines in Niger had long since been discounted.

Little could be more audacious, disgusting and tasteless than
hiring Kenyon International, a subsidiary of SCI, already repeatedly
convicted not only of desecrating, but also of even losing track
of and literally discarding the dead. But who would be better
suited to keep New Orleans death count comfortably below the
approaching 2,000 U.S. military casualty number in Iraq and
below the 2,986 9/11 casualty count, reputed victims of Osama
bin Laden? SCI had contracts to recover and bury the dead in
New York and Pennsylvania after 9/11 as well and to counsel
the bereaved in both states.

Finally, embarrassed and disgusted by the so-called “haggling”
between FEMA and SCI subsidiary Kenyon International, Louisiana
Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco took charge and signed Kenyon
International’s contract to begin the recovery of New Orleans dead.
The contract is ongoing, though the official number still has not
topped 2,000. But if anyone believes the official number, I’d like
to sell you the Mississippi River Bridge.

SCI International has not only settled repeated legal charges for
its unceremonious disposal of the dead in the U.S.A. for corporate
profit, but has also rushed to recover remains, count the dead and
“return effects” in the Bali bombings, the truck bombing at the U.N.
in Baghdad and nearly every suspicious plane crash in recent history.
See SCI subsidiary Kenyon International’s list of Disaster Management
contracts at

Now: Opening a new front on the war in Bayview Hunters Point

The Redevelopment Agency is now fighting hard to open a new
front in the war right here in San Francisco. If passed, their
Redevelopment “Concept Plan” for Bayview Hunters Point will
be an attack of the super-rich, the highly capitalized and corporate
organized, on the rest of us, especially the poorest and most
vulnerable, who are, of course, as a result of colonialism in Bayview
Hunters Point, mostly Black and Brown – 48 percent Black and
43 percent Brown, precisely. Some Supervisors seem to feel
uncomfortable about voting against Sophie Maxwell, the only
Black Supervisor on the Board, and seem confused by what they
perceive as division within the Black community.

There is division indeed in Bayview Hunters Point and division
amongst those of us who will be stuck with the bill for some
$300 million in reconstruction – property taxes that will be
diverted from the City’s General Fund to stuff the pockets
of big developers to “redevelop” Bayview Hunters Point.

There is also division amongst those of us, throughout San
Francisco, who will also be breathing the air stirred up when
bulldozers, backhoes, cranes and the like begin digging into all
the toxics, including radioactive waste, relentlessly dumped in
Bayview Hunters Point for the past 60 years, in what is probably
among the worst of many cases of environmental racism throughout
this country. Even lying where they are, barely beneath the ground,
all the toxics dumped in Bayview Hunters Point have already given
it the highest breast cancer rate per capita in the entire U.S.A.,
infant mortality rates 2.5 times those of the rest of the city and
far higher birth defects rates as well. See:

As to the Supervisors’ fear of voting against Supervisor Sophie Maxwell,
they should get over it. Fast. Of course Sophie Maxwell is voting with
the Redevelopment Agency. Hamed Karsai is also the president of
Afghanistan. Condoleezza Rice is secretary of state. Jalal Talabani
seems to be the president of Iraq for the moment, and someone
named Nuri al-Maliki seems to be Iraq’s prime minister-designate,
also for the moment. All brown-skinned heads of brown-skinned
countries, but so what?

Not one of them is calling for a U.S. military or corporate pull-out
from Afghanistan or Iraq. Black or Brown skin does not disadvantage
those who side with the highly capitalized and corporate-organized
super-rich, no more than white skin protects anyone who happens
to be poor from aggressive military recruitment, toxic employment
or a nuclear waste dump landing in their back yard.

I myself grew up in Bremerton, Washington, a town built around the
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and, at that time, a far from wealthy,
mostly white town, though it did have an unusually large Black
population, which had migrated north, like those who migrated to
Bayview Hunters Point, to work in the shipyard during World War II.
Most students I went to high school with did not expect to attend
college, and most residents seemed to feel that work in the shipyard
was the best deal they would ever get.

That meant that speaking out against U.S. wars, the U.S. military and
U.S. military expenditures made me unpopular at an early age. However,
after many of those I grew up with died young and two of my own
brothers contracted cancers in their 40s, I dug in to do some research
and learned something the Navy had never told us: that Bremerton
is the final resting and recycling place for all the nuclear-powered
vessels in the U.S. Navy.

Some unfortunate U.S. Navy employees remove the spent nuclear fuel
rods and send them off for disposal in Hanford, Washington, a largely
white town with high cancer rates and a nuclear enrichment plant that
was finally shut down due to irreparable contamination, though Hanford
is still home to the largest nuclear power plant in the U.S.A. I also learned
that Bremerton is on the path planned for nuclear waste returned to the
U.S. for reprocessing, like that transported from a major nuclear
accident in Japan.

Bremerton, despite having a shipyard much like that in Hunters Point,
was nevertheless no San Francisco. Not by any means. Though, at least
to me, it seemed not particularly racist, it was, at that time at least,
extremely homophobic. Same sex love was something people didn’t
even talk about, except to whisper, “Oooh ... disgusting; how could
they do that?” A couple of local college professors and our best high
school English teacher were all suspect. Bremerton also voted for
Ronald Reagan and celebrated his election because it was likely to
mean larger military budgets and thus a bigger budget for the shipyard.

No such behavior, obviously, would be allowed here. Everyone knows
that no Republican nor open racist nor homophobe can be elected in
San Francisco. Nor can anyone supporting a foreign war expect to be
elected here. However, how many of us believe that these foreign wars
are really wars between nation states? Capital has long since become
global, so isn’t it high time that the nation state and its aggressive and
defensive armies become global as well – as in a United Nations not
dominated by the nuclear superpowers of the U.N. Security Council?

Who among us believe that this war fought by American soldiers
– including the Central American who was the first to die, the
19-year-old Navajo Indian who was the 1,000th to die, and the
34-year-old Black Texan who was the 2,000th to die – is really
a war between nation states, between the United States and the
nation state of Iraq, possessed by England at the conclusion of
World War I and turned into a faux European nation state in 1932?

Most of us, especially those in New Orleans and in Bayview Hunters
Point, know that this is a war of the corporate super-rich on the rest
of us, especially, and first, on the poorest and most vulnerable, who,
by the way, always – always – lack nuclear weapons. Why is it that those
so evil as to be subjected to the full force of the U.S. military never
seem to have nuclear weapons?

Nicaragua had none, nor did El Salvador, Panama, Afghanistan or Iraq.
Mightn’t that be why Iran and Venezuela dream of having some, and
the nuclear weapons empowered or nuclear-weapons-capable G-4
now knock on the door of the U.N. Security Council demanding a seat?

Now that the 500 yellow cakes of milled uranium ore from French-
owned mines in Niger have long been discounted, not as French
controlled yellow cakes mined and milled by miners now sick in Niger,
but as Saddam Hussein’s imports to create the dreaded WMD, Donald
Rumsfeld suddenly claims that newly found chemical weapons stores
must have justified this war on Iraq. Some readers, particularly Gulf
War vets,, may have
ideas about where the chemicals in these weapons came from, but,
for now, let’s return to the basic question:

How many of us believe that these foreign wars are really wars between
nation states? How many of us believe that they are instead, wars of the
super rich, the highly capitalized and corporate organized, on the rest
of us, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, who are, as a result
of history and whatever else, most often Brown and Black?

Those of us who believe that the war in Iraq is a war of the super-rich
on the rest of us, and that the war my young friend Lorie Arsinaux
Seruntine and many others describe in New Orleans is a front in the
very same war, that of the super-rich on the rest of us, are also seeing
that a new front in the very same war has long been opened here in San
Francisco, by the Redevelopment Agency, which has always represented
the super rich, the highly capitalized and corporate organized, like the
Lennar Corp., its chosen “Master Developer” of the Hunters Point Shipyard
Redevelopment Project, building $100,000 Superfund Condos next to
a 46-acre nuclear waste dumpsite.

Or the Catellus Corp., the “Master Developer” of Mission Bay, which
Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her banker husband Richard Blum own significant
interests in. Or the Treasure Island Redevelopment contract awarded
to former Mayor Willie Brown’s two biggest campaign contributors, who
were guaranteed a 25 percent return on their $40 million investment.
We, the taxpayers of San Francisco, put up the other $350 million.

Laurence Pelosi, stepson of House Whip Nancy Pelosi and former campaign
treasurer for his first cousin, Mayor Gavin Newsome, is also a former vice
president of a Lennar subsidiary redeveloping the Shipyard. Lennar, a
corporation based in Florida, about as far from San Francisco as one
could get, recently “acquired 37 communities in the Phoenix, San Diego
and Orange County areas,

Does San Francisco want any more of its communities acquired,
built and/or re-built by the Lennar Corp. or other huge corporate
“Master Developers” represented by politicians with flagrant conflicts
of interest that flagrantly break the law against such conflicts of interest
in the state of California?

Many of us see, within the Bayview Hunters Point district and without,
strategic similarities in the wars being waged in Iraq, in New Orleans
and here in our own home town. (We have been spared the bombs,
thus far, though not the toxics, especially in Bayview, which may soon
fill the skies above all of us as whoever is named the next Master
Developer starts ramming into the Bay Area’s worst toxic dump with
backhoes, bulldozers, cranes and wrecking balls.)

Basic strategy in Iraq

1) Plan to bomb every major city in the country to rubble.

2) Get your lobbyists – Joseph Allbaugh in the lead – pushing for
reconstruction contracts even before the first bombs drop. Never
mind the U.N.

3) Get the rest of us taxpayers to pay for the bombs and for the
huge reconstruction contracts won by the corporate lobbyists and
woefully fulfilled by the winners. Let the national debt – that owed
by the rest of us, whose assets do not span the globe – soar beyond
$8 trillion dollars to fill the pockets of the global super-rich, the highly
capitalized and corporate-organized.

4) Make sure not to significantly employ or train many Iraqis in the
reconstruction of next to nothing so as to avoid leaving much money

5) Control local resources, in this case oil, so as to control its price
on the international market.

Basic strategy in New Orleans

1) Let the levees crumble by defunding the Army Corps budget for
repairing them until three quarters of the city floods.

2) Stop as many volunteers as possible from getting in to help the
victims, and stop people – people sharing food and water after the
floodwaters subsided – from helping each other. Drive them out of
their homes at gunpoint into the baking hot sun on the Mississippi
River Bridge and then “evacuate” them, without even asking where
they might have family or might want to go, and keep barely any
records of where they have gone.

3) Get lobbyists – again, with former FEMA Chief Allbaugh turned
Halliburton, Bechtel, Shaw and SCI lobbyist in the lead – down to the
Gulf Coast ahead of FEMA Chief Michael Brown or President George Bush.

4) Get the rest of us to pay millions in sympathy and distraction taxes
to the Red Cross and then use the rest of our taxes to pay for $2.5 billion
in hurricane relief to Louisiana energy companies, including Entergy,
a hugely capitalized new leader in nuclear energy, half a billion in tax
credits to the gambling industry and similarly huge dollar figures to
Bechtel, Halliburton, the Shaw Corp. and little-known Circle B Industries,
a manufacturer of kitschy-coo Western trailer theme parks.

5) Then, in May, kick most of the poor, mostly Black, mostly scattered
evacuees off their FEMA vouchers, even though no one but a smattering
of volunteers have rebuilt anything for them to go home to. They’ll be
so isolated, damaged and discouraged that they won’t have a lot of
fight left.

6) Seize local resources, i.e., the property, which, like all inner city
property, has highly appreciated with the rising oil prices, long
commutes and the end of the safe suburban dream.

Basic strategy in San Francisco and, right now, imminently,
in Bayview Hunters Point

1) Pay the Redevelopment Agency to spend 10 years writing
a “Redevelopment Concept Plan” to destroy a neighborhood neglected
and assaulted with toxics, 80 percent of the City’s solid waste and
high level radiation from the National Radiological Defense Laboratory,
plus a nuclear dumpsite, fallout from weapons tests hauled back
from the Pacific for 60 years.

2) Position corporate lobbyists while the “concept plan” is being

3) Then give Mayor Gavin Newsom the right of eminent domain
and the land grant authority of a king over “redevelopment” building
contracts for 1,300 plus acres. Rebuild big and fast, making big fast
profits for huge corporations. Shatter the community; then take the
money and run.

4) As in Iraq and New Orleans, make sure not to employ local people
or contract with local business longer than necessary to satisfy token
local employment and training requirements, so as to avoid leaving
any money behind.

5) As in New Orleans, seize the highly appreciated inner city property.

6) Make sure San Francisco taxpayers pay companies like Florida-
based Lennar, Redevelopment’s last big corporate prizewinner, to
destroy a neighborhood, scatter a lot of our neighbors, and make
a bundle building a gargantuan planned “community,” totally out
of character with everything people love about San Francisco –
unique houses, built one by one, by individuals, and neighborhoods
that grew as they built those houses, one by one, over the past
150 years.

The City – that’s us, supposedly – and the Redevelopment Agency
will wait to get theirs in increased property taxes, though some
highly capitalized, corporate-organized members of city government
aren’t likely to have to wait that long, being members and special
friends of the super-rich, the highly capitalized and corporate

Will our Bayview Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan money stay
in the Bayview? Will it develop skills and businesses there and build
a mutually supportive commercial community that lives beyond the
big building project?

Of course not. The money will leave, become further concentrated
in the hands of fewer corporations – and their local friends – and
vanish into further mergers, disappear in search of new even larger
projects – new wars, disasters, even epidemics, and more urban
“blight” – not high level radiation, but unpainted houses and broken
porches – all projects of a size large enough to guarantee the rate
of return required by highly concentrated capital growing ever more
so. Will the money and the great big plan create community? Of course
not. Community can only be created by the day-to-day interactions
of individuals.

Yes, Black Bayview Supervisor Sophie Maxwell will vote for the plan;
Sophie was elected the same year thousands of ballots were left
untended across the street from City Hall and then found floating
around in the Bay, unreadable. PG&E fought off public power in San
Francisco that year too. If it passes, the Bayview Hunters Point
Redevelopment Plan will take care of Sophie – and Gavin Newsome
– for life. (As though Gavin were not taken care of.) With so much
patronage, they will never have to raise another campaign dollar
in their political lives.

And I’m sure there are plenty of people in Bayview who understandably
think that this is the best deal they can hope for. I understand that.
I honestly do. I grew up in a town that felt the Puget Sound Naval
Shipyard, last resting and recycling place to every nuclear-powered
vessel in the Navy, was the best deal they were ever gonna get.

But I myself am far from perfect, and I have to believe that not
only I, but also Sophie and Gavin and everyone else supporting
this toxic Redevelopment for the Rich Plan could do better, much
better, and that we would all be better for it.

Why not use the same $300 million budgeted for enriching the rich
to make small 0 percent loans to individual Bayview homeowners
who can’t get loans for home improvement, despite good credit
and large amounts of equity in their homes, because banks have
redlined their mostly Black and Brown neighborhoods?

Why not use our money to make 0 percent loans to small, local
developers, those who build a house or two or rehab one building
at a time, then maybe another, those who have roots in the Bayview
Hunters Point community, rather than Florida and the global

Don’t Bayview residents deserve this after being saturated with
toxics, including high level radiation for all these years, the highest
breast cancer rate in the entire country and 80 percent of this City’s
solid waste, pushed out there for chemical dousing before being
pushed out into the Bay?

If we’re going to spend $300 million, why not spend it on soil
remediation, solar installation, community gardening, a community
food system, electric rail lines, and everything else that might make
Bayview a stellar example of green reclamation and environmental

Why not use some of this $300 million to fund scholarships for Bay
View Hunters Point students to attend the Bay Area’s several excellent
green colleges and universities to learn all the green skills now much
in demand in the booming green industries. It takes less than 16 months
to train a solar installer, and solar business means small business,
distributed business. So do community gardening, community-based
food systems and community waste disposal – unlike the Bay Area’s
disgraceful disposal of all its toxics and most of its solid waste –
in Bayview Hunters Point.

Distributed energy means distributed power, energetic and political.
So does distributed food production and food sales, and so distributed
waste. If every community in America, including Sea Cliff, Pacific Heights,
Russian Hill and Noe Valley, kept the nuclear waste – and the solid waste
they generate – instead of storing or shipping it elsewhere, we’d soon see
the end of nuclear waste and find a more environmentally friendly way of
dealing with our own solid waste, in our own neighborhoods. Some aspects
of life are simply too basic for the oblivious delegation we’ve all indulged
in for so very long.

Email Ann Garrison at

Related Article:
The crashing barge and the deafening silence
New Orleanians say that Halliburton owned the
industrial barge that crashed through the levee
into the Lower Ninth Ward, making way for the
toxic floodwaters that destroyed neighborhoods
and lives. A lost dog sits forlornly in front of the
barge in this photo taken Sept. 22, 2005.
[sorry I can't post the]
Photo: Jessica Rinaldi, Reuters
by Ann Garrison
May 24, 2006


5) Are Enrons Bustin' Out All Over?
By Gretchen Morgenson
May 28, 2006

CHIEF executives everywhere probably breathed a sigh of relief last
week when the Enron verdicts came in. With Kenneth L. Lay, the
company's former chairman, and Jeffrey K. Skilling, its former
chief executive, found guilty of fraud and other crimes, maybe
now we can all move past this corporation-run-amok stuff.Enron,
after all, was an anomaly, right?

Sorry, pals. Other news from last week showed that the Enron
verdicts were, at best, the end of the beginning of this dispiriting
corporate crime wave. They were certainly not the beginning of its end.

Last week, for example, investors learned that a throng of former
executives at Fannie Mae, the mortgage-financing giant, had cooked
the company's books to generate munificent bonuses for themselves.
And while this was going on, Fannie's board was AWOL.

While Fannie Mae has not been charged with criminal wrongdoing,
the 350-page report issued by the Office of Federal Housing
Enterprise Oversight, or Ofheo, was a gripping and definitive
account of the company's $10.6 billion accounting debacle..
The report confirmed that Fannie Mae is, as its spinmeisters
say, in "the American Dream business"— for its executives, that is.

Josh Rosner, an analyst at Graham Fisher & Company, an independent
financial research firm in New York, has followed Fannie Mae for years.
The report's revelations were disgraceful on several counts, he said.

First was the disturbing breadth of Fannie Mae's dubious management
and accounting practices. "At Enron, it was really three or four
individuals who were intimately involved in the plan and the
process and the intent to manipulate," he said. "The number
of people who are identified as being problematic here is pretty

More than a dozen executives appear in the report, and Fannie
Mae's board also comes in for criticism. "Every bit of this report
says the board was asleep at the switch," Mr. Rosner said.

For example, the Ofheo report noted that the board was advised
in 1999 that the company had adjusted its financial statements
to burnish its 1998 results.

Notes made by J. Timothy Howard, Fannie Mae's chief financial
officer, for a January 1999 board meeting stated the following:
"Taking these adjustments now will mean that we can report
higher levels of net interest income and guaranty fees over
the next year or two. That's one reason we made them."

Ofheo found that the adjustments were meant to mislead
investors. Perhaps the most shocking tidbit in the Ofheo
report was its disclosure that Fannie Mae entered into insurance
contracts to help the company keep its losses artificially low.
The arrangements had no economic value and did not involve
any transfer of risk, as insurance typically does. Instead, the
contracts were designed so that they produced a greater
benefit to the company if more of its mortgages went into

"Fannie Mae was essentially betting against the American
dream," Mr. Rosner said. "It is truly disgusting that you had
a company entering into a sham transaction that had little
economic benefit but that only paid off if more people had
their homes foreclosed."

One of the central players in the manipulation at Fannie
Mae, according to the Ofheo report, was Franklin D. Raines,
its chief executive from 1999 to 2004. The report said that
he not only created an "unethical and arrogant culture" at
the top of the company, but that more than half of the $90
million in compensation he hauled in between 1998 and 2003
was generated by accounting gimmicks that allowed him to
meet bonus targets artificially.

Robert Bennett, a lawyer representing Mr. Raines, said in
a statement last week that the former chairman "never authorized,
encouraged, or was aware of violations of Generally Accepted
Accounting Principles (GAAP) at Fannie Mae for the purpose
of smoothing earnings, reaching bonus targets, or for any other
improper reason." He noted that Mr. Raines had promised that
he would hold himself accountable "if it was determined that
Fannie Mae misapplied accounting rules."

According to Mr. Bennett's statement, Mr. Raines fulfilled that
pledge by "retiring early" from Fannie Mae. Volunteering to give
back portions of his jury-rigged bonuses was not mentioned
as another way to keep his promise.

Mr. Rosner said that he found the $400 million fine that Ofheo
and the Securities and Exchange Commission leveled against
Fannie Mae to settle the company's accounting shenanigans
to be disturbingly low. He described the fine as a mere "toll."

"For a $10.6 billion minimum restatement, for them to have
to pay $400 million, you may as well tell people 'you can lie
and here's the dollar figure per lie,' " Mr. Rosner said.

After the report came out, Daniel H. Mudd, Fannie Mae's chief
executive said: "We are glad to resolve these matters. We have
all learned some powerful lessons here about getting things
right and about hubris and humility. We are a much different
company than before. But we also recognize that we have
a long road ahead of us."

TWO days later, the Enron verdicts were announced. That was
also when Thomas J. Lehner, director of public policy for the
Business Roundtable, was testifying on Capitol Hill in defense
of current practices in executive compensation. Mr. Lehner
reiterated the Business Roundtable's belief that executive pay
at most American companies is justified and expressed opposition
to legislation that would allow shareholders to approve
compensation plans.

Mr. Lehner's testimony brought back memories from
November 2003, when the Business Roundtable announced
what it called an important initiative on executive pay.
Mr. Raines, who was chairman of the roundtable's Corporate
Governance Task Force, said at that time: "Executive compensation
should reward success and not reward failure."

Do as I say, not as I do?

Yes, the long and sorry story of Enron is nearing a close.
Unfortunately, questionable corporate practices continue apace.
There is obviously much work to be done — by prosecutors and
shareholders — before we can be sure that other Enrons will
not happen.

Prosecutors know what trails to follow. Shareholders, less
accustomed to taking such an active role, may not be as certain.

They should begin by holding directors accountable for trouble
that occurs on their watch. They should demand that executives
forfeit compensation generated by fraudulent practices. And they
must hold their mutual fund managers responsible for proxy
voting practices that encourage excessive pay and cozy,
somnambulant boards. If these managers don't vote against
directors who hand out oversized pay for undersized performance,
they are part of the problem and should be fired.

As the Enron jury eloquently told us last week, silence in the face
of these offenses gives consent.


6) Block the Vote
New York Times Editorial
May 30, 2006

In a country that spends so much time extolling the glories
of democracy, it's amazing how many elected officials go out
of their way to discourage voting. States are adopting rules that
make it hard, and financially perilous, for nonpartisan groups
to register new voters. They have adopted new rules for
maintaining voter rolls that are likely to throw off many
eligible voters, and they are imposing unnecessarily tough
ID requirements.

Florida recently reached a new low when it actually bullied
the League of Women Voters into stopping its voter
registration efforts in the state. The Legislature did this
by adopting a law that seems intended to scare away
anyone who wants to run a voter registration drive. Since
registration drives are particularly important for bringing
poor people, minority groups and less educated voters
into the process, the law appears to be designed to keep
such people from voting.

It imposes fines of $250 for every voter registration form
that a group files more than 10 days after it is collected,
and $5,000 for every form that is not submitted — even if
it is because of events beyond anyone's control, like a hurricane.
The Florida League of Women Voters, which is suing to block
the new rules, has decided it cannot afford to keep registering
new voters in the state as it has done for 67 years. If a volunteer
lost just 16 forms in a flood, or handed in a stack of forms
a day late, the group's entire annual budget could be put at risk.

In Washington, a new law prevents people from voting if the
secretary of state fails to match the information on their
registration form with government databases. There are
many reasons that names, Social Security numbers and
other data may not match, including typing mistakes.
The state is supposed to contact people whose data does
not match, but the process is too tilted against voters.

Congress is considering a terrible voter ID requirement as
part of the immigration reform bill. Senator Mitch McConnell,
Republican of Kentucky, introduced an amendment to require
all voters to present a federally mandated photo ID. Even people
who have been voting for years would need to get a new
ID to vote in 2008. Millions of people without drivers' licenses,
including many elderly people and city residents, might fail
to do so, and be ineligible to vote. The amendment has been
blocked so far, but voting-rights advocates worry that
it could reappear.

These three techniques — discouraging registration drives,
purging eligible voters and imposing unreasonable ID requirements
— keep showing up. Colorado recently imposed criminal penalties
on volunteers who slip up in registration drives. Georgia, one
of several states to adopt harsh new voter ID laws, had its law
struck down by a federal court.

Protecting the integrity of voting is important, but many of these
rules seem motivated by a partisan desire to suppress the vote,
and particular kinds of voters, rather than to make sure that
those who are entitled to vote — and only those who are entitled
— do so. The right to vote is fundamental, and Congress and
state legislatures should not pass laws that put an unnecessary
burden on it. If they do, courts should strike them down.


7) Justices Set Limits on Public Employees' Speech Rights
May 30, 2006

WASHINGTON, May 30 — The Supreme Court declared today,
in a ruling affecting millions of government employees, that the
Constitution does not always protect their free-speech rights
for what they say on the job.

In a 5-to-4 decision, the court held that public employees'
free-speech rights are protected when they speak out as citizens
on matters of public concern, but not when they speak out in the
course of their official duties.

Today's ruling, involving a deputy Los Angeles district attorney
who contended that he had been denied a promotion for
challenging the legitimacy of a search warrant, came in a case
that has been closely watched not just by public workers but
by those who have worried that it could discourage internal
whistle-blowers from speaking up about government
misconduct and inefficiency.

"We hold that when public employees make statements pursuant
to their official duties, the employees are not speaking as citizens
for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not
insulate their communications from employer discipline," Justice
Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court.

The court's newest justice, Samuel A. Alito Jr., was in the majority
as were Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Justices Antonin Scalia
and Clarence Thomas.

The ruling noted the enormous variety of factual situations
involving relationships between public employers and their
employees, and it suggested that the particular facts of a case
must be closely examined.

In this case, the Los Angeles deputy prosecutor, Richard Ceballos,
complained to his bosses in early 2000 that after being alerted
by a defense lawyer, he had found "serious misrepresentations"
in an affidavit used to obtain a search warrant.

Discussions with his superiors were heated, and a trial court
rejected challenges to the warrant. In the aftermath, Mr. Ceballos
contended, he was reassigned and denied a promotion. He filed
an employee grievance, which was denied based on a finding
that he had not suffered any retaliation, despite his claim
to the contrary.

Mr. Ceballos took his case to federal district court, which threw
it out after accepting his employer's argument that the actions
Mr. Ceballos complained about were explainable by legitimate
staffing needs. But the United States Court of Appeals for the
Ninth Circuit reversed the lower court, concluding that
Mr. Ceballos's free-speech rights had indeed been violated.

The case, Garcetti v. Ceballos, No. 04-473, was one of a long
line of cases addressing the rights of public employees and
surely not the last. When it was argued before the justices
on Oct. 12, the Bush administration sided with Los Angeles
County in arguing that if the Ninth Circuit were upheld, public
employees would in effect get constitutional protection for
performing their duties "to the dissatisfaction of the employer."

Employees who think they are unfairly treated should rely
on Civil Service laws, Los Angeles County said.

Mr. Ceballos's lawyer argued unsuccessfully that the result
the government lawyers were seeking would cause an
unacceptable chilling of the speech of potential whistle-
blowers. Justice Kennedy was skeptical of that position
at the time. "You're saying that the First Amendment has
a function within the government office," he said. "The First
Amendment isn't about policing the workplace."

In writing the decision that reversed the Ninth Circuit today,
Justice Kennedy noted that the Supreme Court has made it
clear in previous rulings "that public employees do not
surrender all their First Amendment rights by reason of
their employment." On the other hand, he wrote, "When
a citizen enters government service, the citizen by necessity
must accept certain limitations on his or her freedom."

The controlling factor in this case, Justice Kennedy wrote,
was that Mr. Ceballos was acting purely in an official capacity
when he complained internally about the search warrant.
"Ceballos wrote his disposition memo because that is part
of what he was employed to do," Justice Kennedy wrote.
"He did not act as a citizen by writing it."

To accept Mr. Ceballos's argument, the majority concluded,
would be to commit state and federal courts to "a new,
permanent and intrusive role" overseeing communications
among government employees and their superiors.

Dissenting in three separate opinions were Justices John
Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and
Stephen G. Breyer.

"The notion that there is a categorical difference between
speaking as a citizen and speaking in the course of one's
employment is quite wrong," Justice Stevens wrote. He said
the majority ruling could have the "perverse" effect of giving
public employees an incentive to speak out publicly, as citizens,
before talking frankly to their superiors.

And Justice Souter asserted that "private and public interests
in addressing official wrongdoing and threats to public health
and safety can outweigh the government's stake in the
efficient implementation of policy, and when they do public
employees who speak on these matters in the course of their
duties should be eligible to claim First Amendment protection."


[How the employer uses immigration papers, or lack thereof, as a
tool to lower wages, increase hours and speed-up production
in order to increase their rate of profit at the expense of the
health and well being of]

The current struggles in our community involve a group of workers at an auto
parts supplier called Hope International. The company is located in Redford
and makes parts for Leer and the auto companies. Several workers were fired
today after the owner was visited by members of the Interfaith Committee for
Worker Justice, which had spoken to several of the workers. The workers
originally visited Latinos Unidos, who asked the Interfaith Committee to
intervene on behalf of the employees of HOPE international. Several of the
workers expressed an interest in joining the Union, but the company claimed
the workers had bad social security numbers and fired them after the visit
from the religious committee.

Issues in the plant are the same issues we are hearing from workers in many
work places: higher production expectation of Mexican workers, overall
discriminatory treatment of workers by managers, in this case who are also
Mexican. Many of the workers have carpal tunnel syndrome and are working
with injuries. Most are wearing braces on their wrists. Many have been fired
for being unable to keep up production levels with injuries.

The Committee visited the plant last Wednesday to ask that the issues raised
by the workers be addressed by management. The management responded by
firing one of its employees on the pretext of having a bad social security
number. Five more were fired today after the Interfaith Committee visited
the plant.

A picket line is planned for Friday morning at the plant, which is located
at 25215 Glendale, Redford, Michigan, 48239. See you there at 7:00 a.m. Be
there or be square; the workers are worried about the company calling
immigration, and if they do, the committees who support the workers will be
meeting to plan the next move.

The Lotus International workers have filed a lawsuit for their backwages and
other unfair labor practices. Centro Obrero and LaSed worked with the group
when they walked off the job after being told that their wages would be
decreased and their work load would increase. As it was, they were getting
paid for forty hours and working 55 per week, according to all the workers
in this plant located in Canton, Michigan. Health and Safety violations are
rampant and many of the workers have sustained injuries associated with
working with chemicals and glass. This company makes plasma tv screens for

It seems that the auto part suppliers have Mexican workers and Mexican
working conditions in the United States, right here in the Motor City. The
struggle is never over; we are fighting the same fight our grandparents
fought to bring decent working conditions and be treated as human beings.
The UAW is working with the HOPE workers; stay tuned. The Interfaith
Committee for Worker Justice and Centro Obrero will assist in their efforts
and the entire community must remain vigilant to protect ourselves from
exploitation and internal vendidos, who surely will have a special place in

Elena Herrada
Rosendo Delgado por Latinos Unidos


9) Responsible Reform of Immigration Laws Must Protect Working
Conditions for all Workers in the U.S.
March 01, 2006
San Diego, CA

Overhaul of our nation’s immigration laws is long overdue. The
current system is a blueprint for exploitation of workers, both
foreign-born and native, and is feeding a multimillion dollar
criminal enterprise at the U.S.-Mexico border.

America deserves an immigration system that protects all
workers within our borders—both native-born and foreign—
and at same time guarantees the safety of our nation without
compromising our fundamental civil rights and civil liberties.

Any viable solution to this crisis must address the reasons why
people are coming to the U.S. Most immigrants come from
countries where the international development process has
failed, and many are from countries where International
Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and trade policies have
weakened countries’ economies and labor protections, causing
a devastating impact on all workers. In some developing countries,
IMF policies have caused public-sector workers to lose their jobs
and their union protections, forcing them into competition in the
private sector, where few, if any, jobs are available, driving down
wages and working conditions even further. Trade agreements
such as the North American Free Trade Agreement undermine
the agricultural economies of developing countries, leading
workers to leave the fields and consider moving north. Without
rising living standards abroad for workers and the poor,
the pressure for illegal immigration will continue and escalate.

At the same time that global forces are pushing workers to
our borders, judicial and public policies toward immigrants
have created new so-called pull factors for migration into the
United States, namely, an incentive for employers to recruit
undocumented immigrants for economic exploitation. Too
many employers seek to avoid, evade, and ultimately negate
U.S. labor and employment laws through the recruitment and
importation of undocumented workers. The U.S. Supreme
Court created a powerful new incentive for such exploitation
by its decision in Hoffman Plastic Compounds v. National Labor
Relations Board. In that case, the Court determined that an
undocumented worker is not entitled to back pay – the only
monetary remedy available to workers under the National
Labor Relations Act – when he or she is fired illegally for
trying to organize a union. This has made the cost of
exploiting immigrants insignificant to unscrupulous employers.
The end result is that industries that cannot export jobs –
such as those in construction – are attempting to use flawed
immigration policies to import the labor standards of
developing nations into the United States.

The broken immigration system has allowed employers
to create an underclass of workers, which has effectively
reduced working standards for all workers. Immigrant
workers are over-represented in the highest risk, lowest
paid jobs, but the exploited immigrants do not work in
isolation. U.S.-born workers who work side by side with
immigrants suffer the same exploitation. The U.S. Department
of Labor, for example, determined the poultry industry – which
is nearly half African American and half immigrant – was
100 percent out of compliance with federal wage and hour
laws. The Department of Labor also estimated more than
half of the country’s garment factories violate wage and hour
laws, and more than 75 percent violate health and safety laws.
Of course, workplaces that are dangerous for immigrant
workers are equally dangerous for their U.S.-born
counterparts and co-workers.

Our failed immigration policies also have encouraged
employers to use guestworker programs to lower labor
standards and working conditions for all workers within
our borders. We’ve seen employers turn tens of thousands
of permanent, well-paying jobs in the United States into
temporary jobs through the use of various guestworker
programs. The temporary guestworker jobs come with few
or no benefits, lower wages and often are staffed through
temporary agencies, whose fees come out of workers’ pockets.
The foreign workers recruited to fill these jobs remain legally
tied to the employers that recruited them and are thus naturally
vulnerable to exploitation.

Guestworker programs, such as the L and H-1B visa programs,
operate with little employer accountability and to the detriment
of all professional workers. None of these programs connect
to the realities of current U.S. labor market conditions. In fact,
employers are allowed to turn permanent jobs into temporary
jobs and import workers, despite the unusually high current
rate of unemployment among professional and technical workers.
As a result, working conditions for all professional workers have
suffered: pressures caused by employer exploitation of
professional guestworkers coupled with the increases in
outsourcing continue to have a chilling effect on any real
wage increases for professionals, even those not directly or
immediately impacted by these matters.

Immigrant workers, like all workers, should be full social partners.
We will continue to support effective, credible and enforceable
rights for all workers, regardless of their country of origin
or immigration status. At the same time, we will ensure that
our member mobilization efforts include our immigrant brothers
and sisters, and ultimately place immigration squarely within
a progressive and sustainable economic agenda that benefits
all working families in our nation.

We hereby renew our call for comprehensive and responsible
reform of our immigration laws, which must—at a minimum—
comply with the following standards:

¨ Uniform enforcement of workplace standards must be
a priority. History, economics and common sense dictate that
exploitation of workers will continue as long, as it makes
economic sense to do so, to the detriment of U.S.-born and
foreign-born workers alike. Unfortunately, the lax enforcement
of labor and employment laws has given too many unscrupulous
employers the economic incentive to recruit undocumented
workers, and has penalized those employers who abide by the
law because it has put them at a competitive disadvantage.

The only meaningful way to remove that perverse economic
incentive and to equalize the competitive playing field is to
ensure that all those who gain the benefit of a worker’s labor,
whether that worker is an employee or an independent contractor,
abide by all labor and employment laws. That means that the
immigration reform law must provide real and enforceable
remedies for labor and employment law violations that are
available to all workers, regardless of their immigration status,
and that there must be a mechanism by which all workers can
vindicate their rights without having to face restrictive standing
requirements or meaningless regulatory hurdles;

¨ Reforms must provide a path to permanent residency
for the currently undocumented workers who have paid taxes
and made positive contributions to their communities.
Legalization is an important worker protection. History shows
that legalizing this population benefits all workers: Wages
and working standards of undocumented workers increased
significantly after the legalization program of the 1986
Immigration Reform and Control Act, thereby raising the floor
for all workers. Without a legalization program, the economic
incentive to hire and exploit the undocumented will remain,
to the detriment of U.S. workers who labor in the same
industries as the undocumented, because all workers will
see their working conditions plummet.

¨ We must reverse the trend of allowing employers to
turn permanent, full-time year-round jobs into temporary
jobs through attempts to broaden the size and scope of
guestworker programs. Longstanding U.S. guestworker
policy requires that temporary workers can be used only to
satisfy short-term or seasonal labor needs. The agricultural
guestworker program, for example, the best known of these
programs, is designed to satisfy the seasonal needs of
employers who need to temporarily hire large numbers of
workers during the growing season, which may be as short
as six weeks. Similarly, the H2-B program allows non-
agricultural employers in industries such as landscaping,
hospitality and crabbing, to hire non-U.S. workers on
a temporary basis to fill their seasonal needs.

Guestworker programs are bad public policy and operate
to the detriment of workers, in the both the public and private
sector, and of working families in the U.S. The abuses suffered
by workers in the first such program, the post World-War II
Bracero program, are well documented. The negative effects
of the modern versions of the “guestworker” construct—such
as the H1-B and H2-B programs—are all too evident today.
Workers around the country are witnessing the transformation
of formerly well-paying, permanent jobs into temporary jobs
with little or no benefits, which employers are staffing with
vulnerable foreign workers who have no real enforceable rights
through the guestworker programs. These modern programs
have had a major and substantial detrimental effect on
important sectors of our economy.

The massive expansion of guestworker programs contemplated
by current legislation before the Senate—which would more than
quadruple the number of foreign workers admitted annually
and would allow employers to import workers into the public
and private sector--will not only harm U.S. workers, but also
represents a radical and dark departure from our long-held
vision of a democratic U.S. society. We are not a nation of “guests,”
who, by definition, have only short-term and short-lived interests,
but a nation of people who believe in investing in our communities,
in our future, in the future of our children, and in our democracy.
It defies everything that our nation stands for to legitimize
a system that forces our communities to simply be “hosts”
for “guests” who are only here to lend their labor, and who have
no reason to become invested in that community, and who will
never have a voice in their future within that community.
We are not a nation of guests; we are a nation of citizens.

In our view, there is no good reason why any immigrant who
comes to this country prepared to work, to pay taxes, and to
abide by our laws and rules should be denied what has been
offered to immigrants throughout our country’s history, a path
to legal citizenship. To embrace instead the creation of a permanent
two-tier workforce, with non-U.S. workers relegated to second-class
“guestworker” status, would be repugnant to our traditions and our
ideals and disastrous for the living standards of working families.

We fully support the right of all workers to bargain collectively,
and we fully support and endorse the existing arrangement within
the H2A program that the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC)
negotiated with the North Carolina Growers Association, which
provides the protections of a collective bargaining agreement
to Mexican H2A workers at the Mt. Olive, N.C., facility.

¨ Long-Term Labor Shortages Should be Filled With Workers
with Full Rights. We recognize that our economy may face real
labor shortages in the coming years, as the baby boomer generation
retires. Instead of relying on a construct that guarantees the
deterioration of working conditions in the U.S., we should focus
on a meaningful solution that guarantees full workplace rights
for all workers, both foreign-born and native, and also permits
employers to hire foreign workers to fill proven labor shortages.
The solution is simple: Congress should revise the permanent
employment-based visas system and devote more resources
to removing processing delays.

Employment-based admissions for permanent visas (commonly
known as “green cards”) are subject to labor certification provisions:
the employer must show that there are not sufficient workers in the
U.S. who are able, willing, qualified and available at the time and
at the place where the foreign worker is to perform the job.
To demonstrate this adequately, the employer must offer the job
at a prevailing wage, and must attest that the employment of the
foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working
conditions of similarly employed workers in the U.S. Congress
has arbitrarily set the number of these visas at 140,000 annually.
That approach should be changed so that the number of visas
available responds to actual, demonstrated labor shortages,
which will satisfy employers’ needs for workers, and will prevent
the creation of a secondary class of workers and residents,
because the new foreign workers will have full employment
rights and the promise of a permanent future in our democracy.

· Reform of immigration laws must consider the root causes
of migration, and must take into account the global economic
policies, as well as U.S. foreign policy that are pushing workers
to migrate. Without rising living standards abroad for workers
and the poor, the pressure for illegal immigration will continue.
U.S. foreign policy, as well as trade and globalization policies,
must be grounded upon a coherent national economic strategy,
as described in An Economic Agenda for Working Families,
adopted at the AFL-CIO’s 2005 Convention.


10) Exxon Mobil Shareholders Reject Effort to Restrain Executive Pay
DALLAS, May 31 (AP) — Shareholders of the Exxon Mobil
Corporation, whose last chief executive took home $147
million when he retired, overwhelmingly rejected resolutions
to rein in compensation at the company's annual meeting on
Wednesday...Mr. Raymond was paid $49 million in cash and
restricted stock last year, then got a $98 million lump-sum
pension payment.
June 1, 2006

DALLAS, May 31 (AP) — Shareholders of the Exxon Mobil
Corporation, whose last chief executive took home $147 million
when he retired, overwhelmingly rejected resolutions to rein
in compensation at the company's annual meeting on Wednesday.

But the chairman and chief executive, Rex W. Tillerson, said
some shareholders sent a signal by withholding votes for
directors who approved the pay and pension packages
of the former chief, Lee R. Raymond.

Mr. Raymond was paid $49 million in cash and restricted
stock last year, then got a $98 million lump-sum pension payment.

In comments after the meeting, Mr. Tillerson, who took
over in January after Mr. Raymond retired, said it was up
to Exxon Mobil directors to determine his retirement
package. He has not asked them to limit his compensation,
but "they know how to reach me," he said.

As in the past, Wednesday's meeting attracted environmental
protesters who accuse the company of financing groups
that question the link between global warming and the
burning of hydrocarbons such as oil and coal.

Most of the 13 shareholder resolutions — all opposed by the
board — dealt with corporate governance issues, however,
including three on executive and director compensation.
None of the three got more than 12.9 percent support,
according to the company.

A firm that advises large shareholders recommended
withholding votes for four directors on Exxon Mobil's
compensation committee. The treasurer of North Carolina
had indicated this week that his state's pension fund would
withhold votes from five directors in protest over
Mr. Raymond's compensation.

The four compensation committee directors received 79
to 82 percent of the votes cast, while the other eight directors
were re-elected with percentages in the mid-90's, a spokesman said.

A resolution to require that directors get a majority vote to be
elected passed with 52 percent support. Mr. Tillerson said the
board would consider the issue but made no promises about
the outcome.


Another Hunters Point Shipyard cover-up
by Ebony Colbert

Danny Schechter | Media Crimes Sanitize War Crimes in Iraq
Danny Schechter writes, "As events in Iraq continue to slip from bad
to worse, the good news brigade is scrambling for new stories
('anything, give me anything') to shore up what's left of public
support for a bloody war without end."

Union: Scrapping pacts not needed
By LARRY RINGLER Tribune Chronicle
NEW YORK — Union attorneys spent Friday afternoon in Delphi
Corp.’s bankruptcy hearing building a case that the company
doesn’t need to scrap its labor pacts to cut labor costs because
the unions have agreed to cut jobs.
June 2, 2006

FOCUS | New "Iraq Massacre" Tape Emerges
The BBC has uncovered new video evidence that US forces may
have been responsible for the deliberate killing of 11 innocent
Iraqi civilians. The video appears to challenge the US military's
account of events that took place in the town of Ishaqi in March.
The US said at the time four people died during a military
operation, but Iraqi police claimed that US troops had deliberately
shot the 11 people.

Dog Handler Convicted in Abu Ghraib Abuse
June 2, 2006

Judging Whether a Killer Is Sane Enough to Die
June 2, 2006

As Economy Slows, Mixed Data on Inflation
June 2, 2006

British Police Shoot Man in Counterterrorism Raid
June 2, 2006

Jobs Report Signals Cooling Economy
June 2, 2006

Afghans Call for Trial of U.S. Troops

Chavez's 'citizen militias' on the march
By Mike Ceaser
In Caracas, Venezuela

Highest Court in New York Confronts Gay Marriage
June 1, 2006

Black and Hispanic Home Buyers Pay Higher Interest
on Mortgages, Study Finds
June 1, 2006

Bush Urges Congress to Find Compromise on Immigration
June 1, 2006

The List: The World's Water Crises
If oil was the resource of the 20th century, then the 21st century belongs
to water. The lack of clean water and basic sanitation already curbs world
economic growth by $556 billion a year, according the World Health
Organization. FP looks at four countries struggling to quench their thirst.

US probe finds Haditha victims were shot:NYT
Wed May 31, 2006 09:34 AM ET

Well-Intentioned Food Police May Create Havoc With Children's Diets
May 30, 2006

Chief Named for Troubled G.M. Unit
May 31, 2006

Is It Tableware or a Leading Indicator?
May 31, 2006

Treasury Nominee Faces a Change in Pay and Control
May 31, 2006

Files Contradict Account of Raid in Iraq
May 31, 2006

The Flies Will Lay Their Eggs

Basic Economics

Delphi Workers Prepare Their Delegates

Soldiers Of Solidarity Message Put To Music

The Legacy Of The Soldiers of Solidarity

Jobs Bank Update

A Dictator, Not A Visionary

Workers Will Rule When They Work To Rule

Men Are Born To Labor And The Bird To Fly

Keanu Reeves Slams Police State As Scanner Lights Up Cannes
Media suggest films show world is in sorry state
Paul Joseph Watson/Prison | May 30 2006
Keanu Reeves has slammed the modern day police state and surveillance
society, a centerpiece of the upcoming film in which he stars, during
promotion for A Scanner Darkly at the Cannes film festival.

Books on Science
Who Should Decide Land Use? U.S. Government Already Does
May 30, 2006

U.S. Is Sending Reserve Troops to Iraq's West
May 30, 2006

Asbestos - The Deadly Legacy
By John Kelly   
Tuesday, 30 May 2006

FOCUS | Dahr Jamail: Countless My Lai Massacres in Iraq
Dahr Jamail argues that "just like Abu Ghraib, while the media
spotlight shines squarely on the Haditha massacre, countless
atrocities continue daily, conveniently out of the awareness
of the general public. Torture did not stop simply because the
media finally decided, albeit in horribly belated fashion,
to cover the story, and the daily slaughter of Iraqi civilians
by US forces and US-backed Iraqi "security" forces had not
stopped either.

Where's the Petite Department? Going the Way of the Petticoat
"But despite what executives say, overall sales of petite clothing
sizes have grown in the past several years, reaching $10 billion.
So petite women suspect another culprit: high-end department
stores that they say view the petite consumer as older,
unfashionable and undesirable."
May 28, 2006

The Price of Iraq
New York Times Editorial
May 28, 2006

Beware: Predators prowling Bayview streets!
It has been brought to my attention by several relatives and family
friends that the streets of Bayview Hunters Point have been invaded
by PREDATORS! What is taking place is that many elderly homeowners,
while out doing minor tasks in front of or near their homes, are being
approached and told, “I’ll buy your house for $25,000! Just sign here.”

FOCUS | Fernando Suarez del Solar: Memorial Day -
What Is this Special Day?
Fernando Suarez del Solar wonders what has happened to Memorial Day:
"In spite of all of the wars that have taken thousands of our soldiers
and millions of innocents, especially children, the world is still at
war, and people everywhere suffer under unjust political systems where
there is no freedom."

DU: A Scientific Perspective/ An Interview With LEUREN MORET, Geoscientist
By W. Leon Smith/Nathan Diebenow
May 13, 2005, 07:20

Investigation of Seminal Plasma Hypersensitivity Reactions
Authors: Jonathan Bernstein; CINCINNATI UNIV OH

Title: Investigation of Seminal Plasma Hypersensitivity Reactions
Synopsis: This study looked at Gulf War veterans and their sexual
partners who experienced a burning sensation after contact with semen.®ion=0&researchTopic=2&majorDeployment=0&researchSubTopic=5

Is burning semen syndrome a variant form of seminal plasma
Bernstein JA, Perez A, Floyd R, Bernstein IL.

With Illegal Immigrants Fighting Wildfires, West Faces a Dilemma
May 28, 2006

Chavez One, Bush Zero
by Audrey Sasson; May 22, 2006
ZNet | Venezuela

Military to Report Marines Killed Iraqi Civilians
May 26, 2006

Arundhati Roy on India, Iraq, U.S. Empire and Dissent
Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Gilded Paychecks | Ties That Bind
With Links to Board, Chief Saw His Pay Soar
May 24, 2006

Iraq War Provoking Terror: Amnesty International
"The war on terror and the way it has unfolded is actually premised on
the principle that by eroding human rights you can reinforce security,"
said Amnesty International's Secretary-General Irene Khan. "And that is
why as part of the war on terror we see restrictions being placed on
civil liberties around the world."

Ford Layoffs Hit
Black Auto Workers Hardest
CHRIS NISAN / Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

Rice's Appearance Draws Protests in Boston
May 23, 2006

Nigerian Monkeys Drop Hints on Language Origin
May 23, 2006

Judge Steps In for Poor Inmates Without Justice
The public defenders' office, run not by City Hall but by a parish
board, is basically broke. Louisiana, alone among the states, relies
mainly on local court fees — mostly surcharges on traffic tickets —
to finance its public defenders, according to the National Legal Aid
and Defender Association.
It is a financing system that Judge Hunter and Calvin Johnson,
the chief judge of the criminal court in New Orleans, have recently
found to be unconstitutional because it forces poor people to pay
for the system. The Louisiana attorney general's office says it plans
to appeal those decisions.
May 23, 2006

Failed Amnesty Legislation of 1986 Haunts the
Current Immigration Bills in Congress
May 23, 2006

Dahr Jamail | Easily Dispensable: Iraq's Children
Dahr Jamail implores us to understand: "That women and children
suffer the most during times of war is not a new phenomenon. It is
a reality as old as war itself. What Rumsfeld, Rice and other war
criminals of the Cheney administration prefer to call "collateral
damage" translates in English as the inexcusable murder of and
other irreparable harm done to women, children and the elderly
during any military offensive."

Breaking point: Inside Story of the Guantanamo Uprising

Americans Don't Like President Bush Personally Much Anymore, Either

The Dixie Chicks: America Catches Up With Them

Iraq is Disintegrating as Ethnic Cleansing Takes Hold

McCain Gets Cantankerous Reception at Commencement

By Faye Fiore
The military offers steady wages, housing and a health plan
-- benefits that many service members find scarce in civilian life.
Los Angeles Times
May 21, 2006,0,3677295.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Gonzales Says Prosecutions of Journalists Are Possible
The government has the legal authority to prosecute journalists
for publishing classified information, Attorney General Alberto
R. Gonzales said yesterday.
May 22, 2006

Rising Ocean Temperatures Threaten Florida's Coral Reef
May 22, 2006

Poisoned Air Killed 3 Miners, Tests Suggest
Filed at 1:19 p.m. ET
May 22, 2006

Supreme Court Backs Police in Emergencies
Filed at 11:55 a.m. ET
May 22, 2006

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