Tuesday, June 06, 2006


"I LIVE HERE, PLEASE DON'T KILL ME" Justice 4 Asa Sullivan
by Idriss Stelley Foundation
Sunday Jun 11th, 2006 12:16 AM


Sign the petition to save Bayview Hunters Point: No more Fillmore!
Editorial by Willie Ratcliff,

As urban Black displacement grows, Bayview kicks off referendum
drive to stop Redevelopment by Randy Shaw,

Hands off Bayview Hunters Point!
An open letter to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors


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

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

Palestine, Sudan & the Myth of a "Humanitarian" U.S. Foreign Policy
Tues. June 13, 7pm
S.F. Women's Building 3543 18th St. (btwn Valencia and Guerrero)
near 16th St. BART, San Francisco
A.N.S.W.E.R. Educational Forum



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


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,
www.bauaw.org, 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


Great Counter-Recruitment Website





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



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

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

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

Bay Area Tour of Daniel and Shanti
Saturday, June 17th, 1 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Church
1187 Franklin Street at Geary
San Francisco

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

Co-sponsored by: La Raza Centro Legal, SF Living Wage
Coalition, No More Deaths, Socialist Organizer, San Francisco
Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Ministry and Bay Area
Labor Committee for Peace & Justice, East Bay Jobs
With Justice, San Francisco Labor Council.


Saving The Idriss Stelley Foundation
Host: Idriss Stelley Foundation, Rap4Rights
Location: Studio Z
314 11th Street, San Francisco, CA View Map
When: Sunday, June 25, 1:00pm
Phone: 415.252.7100


ISF is a nonprofit organization created through the settlement
of Idriss Stelley's vs. City & County and SFPD case and its
allocation to his mother Mesha Monge-Irizarry.

Her only child, a 23 year old African American honor student
was killed by SFPD at the SF Sony Metreon on June 13, 2001.
48 shots! 9 officers! He stood alone in an empty theater.

Mesha now operates the Idriss Stelley Foundation, a 24 HR
bilingual crisis line (415) 595-8251 that has broadened
its services to all people negatively impacted by law

Idriss Stelley's case is at the root of the 40-HR mandatory
SFPD Mental Health Training. ISF provides free, confidential
services to victims, biological and extended families who are
negatively impacted by law enforcement

ISF office is located at 4921 3rd St., in the heart of Bayview District,
between Palou and Quesada in San Francisco and is open Sunday,
Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 8 pm.

Please come out Sunday June 25, 2006 at 1pm to enjoy food,
drinks and live entertainment in support of ISF. (21+ Please)





LaborFest 2006 Schedule
July 1 (Saturday) 12-4:00 PM ($15-50)
(sliding scale donation to CounterPULSE requested. Bring a bag lunch!)
Labor Bike Tour with Chris Carlson of San Francisco©ˆs labor history
For more info: call Chris Carlsson carlsson.chris@gmail.com
Meet at 1310 Mission (at 9th), San Francisco


Fourth Annual International Al-Awda Convention
San Francisco - July 14-16, 2006
To register: http://al-awda.org/sf-conv_reserve.html
To flyer, the writing is on the wall: http://al-awda.org/pdf/flyer.pdf
For all other info: http://al-awda.org




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

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

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



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. BarnesandNoble.com 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


The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

Bill of Rights


1) Dollars and Dreams: Immigrants as Prey
June 11, 2006

2) Parts Supplier Reaches Buyout Deal With U.A.W.
June 10, 2006

3) Three Prisoners Commit Suicide at Guantánamo
"They are smart, they are creative, they are committed," Admiral
Harris said. "They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own.
I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical
warfare waged against us."
June 11, 2006

4) How Hispanics Became the New Gays
June 11, 2006


1) Dollars and Dreams: Immigrants as Prey
June 11, 2006

IT was when his immigration attorney asked him for $3,000
several years ago that Celso Lima Mejia started to wonder
whether his lawyer was taking him for a very costly ride.
Mr. Mejia, a Guatemalan immigrant who was residing illegally
in the United States, said he had already paid Miguel Gadda
$3,600 to help him apply for asylum. Mr. Mejia recalled in
a recent interview that Mr. Gadda promised him that the
legal fees — a large chunk of his annual pay of about $20,000
as a handyman — would land him a coveted prize: a green
card allowing him to come out from the shadows and live
in the United States as a permanent resident.

But immigration authorities rejected the application, and
Mr. Mejia said Mr. Gadda pressed him for the extra $3,000
to appeal the decision. Until that point, Mr. Mejia said, Mr. Gadda
had done virtually no work on the case — "He hadn't even done
any prep work with me before my hearing" — but his asylum
application had revealed him to immigration authorities.
Mr. Mejia, who is now 29, felt that he had to keep fighting,
so he scrounged up the money. And that was the last time
he saw Mr. Gadda.

When Mr. Mejia found a deportation order in his mail in 2001,
he rushed in panic to his lawyer's office. "But the office wasn't
there anymore, and there was nowhere to find him," said Mr. Mejia,
who gained permanent resident status — his green card — after
turning to a second lawyer he described as "my angel."

Mr. Mejia wasn't Mr. Gadda's only victim. When the State Bar
of California disbarred Mr. Gadda in 2002, it cited him for
professional misconduct and legal incompetence involving
eight illegal immigrants he had advised. (Mr. Mejia's case
was not among them.)

Mr. Gadda is hardly alone. As the number of illegal immigrants
in the country has swollen to what the Department of Homeland
Security conservatively estimates at nine million, so have the ranks
of those who inhabit the immigration business's underbelly, posing
as well-meaning advisers to those in search of a new job, a new
home and a green card if not full citizenship. Immigrants, strangers
in a foreign land for whom a green card means a ticket to a fuller
life, are ideal prey for con artists and would-be consultants
out for a quick buck.

ANALYSTS, lawyers and immigration specialists say that the
current debate over immigration reform is also providing
a perfect business environment for those who prey on the
undocumented in the Chinatowns, barrios and other immigrant
enclaves around the country.

"Every time there's talk of a new law passing, these scammers
basically pop up" and aim at immigrants, said Victor D. Nieblas,
an immigration lawyer based in Los Angeles who teaches
at Loyola Law School there. "It's big business."

The worst offenders, Mr. Nieblas and others said, tend to be
immigration consultants, or "notarios" — nonlawyers who,
whether or not they are qualified to do so, are in the business
of helping aliens negotiate the immigration system. Even the
name "notarios" rankles immigrant advocates: in many Latin
American countries, a "notario público" is a professional
licensed to represent people in legal matters.

"For unscrupulous attorneys and other practitioners, a change
in the law represents a kind of open season on aliens," said
Jennifer J. Barnes, the general counsel for the Executive Office
for Immigration Review, a unit of the Justice Department. "That's
what's happened in the past when we've enacted changes in
immigration law, and I'm sure if a new law passes this time,
we'll see people out there trying to take advantage of the

Yet that seems to be happening already. People who closely
monitor the national immigration debate may know that the
House of Representatives and the Senate are so far apart on
their immigration bills that no new amnesty laws may be enacted
— but that information reaches illegal immigrants only in
fractured pieces. Even then, immigrant advocates say, some
notarios and others milking the process for financial gain warp
and bend the true parameters of asylum opportunities to take
advantage of legions of hopefuls.

Mr. Nieblas, who is a host of a weekly immigration advice
program on a Spanish-language radio station in Southern
California, said he was already hearing from callers who
contended that local notarios were "asking them for money
so they can start processing people under the new law,
though there is no new law."

Lori A. Nessel, an associate professor at the Seton Hall
University School of Law who runs its Immigration and
Human Rights Clinic, has picked up on the same chatter
on the East Coast.

"The concern is that you have these notarios out there saying,
'Pay now and get your applications in now for the amnesty,' when
there's no reason to be taking people's money until there's a law,"
Professor Nessel said.

Nelly Reyes is a well-regarded immigration consultant in San
Francisco who has spent the last 15 years helping her Spanish-
speaking clients fill out forms, translate documents and navigate
the federal bureaucracy. She earns roughly $60,000 a year, and
says that she could make several times that amount if she emulated
the practices of some of her more nefarious competitors. "I've
gotten two or three calls over the last month from people saying,
'Let's go into business together, this is the time to start making
a lot of money,' " Ms. Reyes said.

By her estimation, more than half her counterparts should be put
out of business, because they are either scam artists or incompetents
selling skills they do not possess.

"What's scary right now," Ms. Reyes said, "is that people are saying,
'Whatever it takes, whatever I must pay to become legal.' "

"It's that attitude that people can take advantage of," she added.

Over the past three years, Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general,
has secured judicial orders to shut down a dozen notarios around
the state. That includes the Aplicación de Oro, a large immigration
consulting firm in West Texas that a judge ordered closed in January
after Mr. Abbott said that its two owners had "scammed" hundreds
of immigrants out of thousands of dollars each, according to
a press release. In California, the state attorney general, Bill
Lockyer, has obtained civil judgments against roughly two dozen
immigration consultants since 2000, a department spokesman said.

But advocates for immigrants say that California and Texas
are the exception to the rule, and that most local district
attorneys, who are also charged with monitoring consumer
fraud, contend that their resources are too thinly stretched
to devote much — if any — time to investigating immigration
consultants. Moreover, advocates say, the problem is so widespread
in California, Texas, New York and other states where illegal
immigrants tend to live that even the most well-meaning efforts
seem futile.

"The authorities will close down one of these shops, and
a couple of weeks later they'll open up someplace else," said
Mr. Nieblas, who is also an officer in the American Immigration
Lawyers Association. "There are literally hundreds of these
businesses in the Los Angeles area alone that are targeting
the community."

At the moment, the most common fraud perpetuated on illegal
immigrants — and certainly the most lucrative — is the kind
that Mr. Mejia and his new lawyer believe almost had him sent
back to Guatemala. "There are any number of immigration scams,
but the asylum scam is by far and away the most popular right now,"
said Nora Privitera, a lawyer for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center
in San Francisco. The brilliance of asylum fraud, at least from the
perspective of the perpetrator, is that the federal government ends
up sending most of the casualties back to their lands of origin.

"Their victims are typically deported and can't rat on them,"
Ms. Privitera said.

There are two general versions of the asylum scheme. The more
simple of the two has a lawyer or notario convincing an illegal
immigrant to pay the going rate of about $5,000 — more if
a client is willing to pay for appeals — to apply for asylum.
The payment changes hands, even though the illegal immigrant
is unlikely to secure asylum status, which is meant for those who
would face persecution back in their home country if they were

That is among the accusations that the State Bar of California
was leveling at Walter Pineda, an immigration lawyer, in a San
Francisco hearing room last week. According to immigration
experts, people typically emigrate from Mexico to search for
better economic opportunities, not because they fear for their
safety. Even so, Mr. Pineda routinely encouraged his Mexican
clients to file "meritless" asylum applications, according to the
state bar, which has accused him of more than two dozen
counts of incompetence and five counts of moral turpitude
for what it called "repeatedly and knowingly" lying to his clients.

The bar association contends that Mr. Pineda would routinely
"take client money to file frivolous applications, spend no time
actually trying to develop a viable position for the clients to stay
legally in the United States, lose the applications for asylum and
take more money to file frivolous appeals."

Doron Weinberg, Mr. Pineda's lawyer, said, "We admit to the
general facts, but as you can imagine, we deny every judgment
that has my client doing something reprehensible."

An immigration lawyer typically works hard for a $5,000 fee —
assembling evidence, prepping witnesses, drawing up arguments
to convince a skeptical immigration hearing officer that a client
deserves asylum. Then there are cases like those of Mr. Mejia,
the Guatemalan handyman who lost $6,600 pursuing his asylum

Guatemalan rebels kidnapped Mr. Mejia, the son of a government
employee, when he was 7 years old and the country was in the midst
of a prolonged civil war; two years after securing his release, his
family fled Guatemala for the United States. Like so many illegal
immigrants, Mr. Mejia and his parents did their best to live their
lives out of the view of the authorities — until a family friend
referred Mr. Gadda to them a half-dozen years ago.

Another lawyer might have been able to make a credible case
that Mr. Mejia deserved asylum. But Mr. Gadda apparently was
unwilling or unable to do so. Mr. Mejia says he believes his own
experience reflects the accusations that the California bar made
against Mr. Gadda: that he proved willing to collect fees but not
to do the work for which he was paid.

"This was a lawyer who took money from his clients and repeatedly
failed to perform legal services," said Sherrie B. McLetchie, the lead
lawyer for the California bar in the disbarment proceedings against
Mr. Gadda. And the undocumented "are among the most vulnerable
clients any lawyer can represent," she said.

Despite his travails, Mr. Mejia stayed the course. It would
eventually cost him over $10,000 more in legal fees beyond what
he paid Mr. Gadda, but Ilyce Shugall, a local immigration lawyer,
was able to secure him a green card in April. "I worked after work,
and I worked on weekends," to pay the added fees, Mr. Mejia said.

Ms. Shugall said that Mr. Gadda "had made such a mess out of
the asylum claim that we decided to drop it." Instead, Ms. Shugall,
who works for the law firm of Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale
in San Francisco, pursued an alternative claim known as a "cancellation
-of-removal" order. Such orders grant green cards to anyone who has
lived in the United States for at least 10 years and can demonstrate that
a parent or a child in the country legally would suffer "exceptional and
unusual hardship" if the applicant was deported. Mr. Mejia, who arrived
here in the late 1980's and later became the primary care provider for
his ailing parents, met that criteria and won his green card.

MR. MEJIA was fortunate to have an advocate like Ms. Shugall,
because cancellation-of-removal orders are often central to the
other type of fraud involving an asylum claim. In it, a deceitful
notario or lawyer tells potential clients that they qualify for
a cancellation order, but does not disclose a crucial prerequisite:
that even if they are care providers for a legal but ailing resident
who is a parent or child, they must still prove that a loved one
would suffer extreme hardship if the authorities deported the

"That's a very difficult standard to meet, but people are not told
that part of it," said Ms. Privitera of the Immigrant Legal Resource
Center. The most insidious aspect of this unfortunate legal strategy,
Ms. Privitera said, is that first the lawyer or immigration consultant
must get someone into the system, because only if there is a removal
order in place can someone petition to have the order rescinded, which
would lead to a green card. The simplest way to do this is to request
asylum, so the client will typically pay thousands of dollars for a futile
asylum claim and, after the loss, will spend thousands of dollars more
to pursue a legalization strategy that is far more likely to snare
a deportation order than a green card.

"Once you're in immigration court, there's only two ways out,"
Ms. Privitera said. "You get granted something, or you get told to
leave. There's no prosecutorial discretion for people who come into
court because they've been defrauded."

Illegal immigrants who escape this trap are those who find a capable
lawyer willing to take on their botched cases before they are deported
— immigrants like Silvia Castillo of San Jose, Calif. Ms. Castillo, along
with four other plaintiffs, has filed a suit accusing Rose Ann Martinez,
an immigration consultant, and several San Francisco Bay Area lawyers
of conspiring "on a fraudulent immigration scheme." Ms. Castillo,
a housekeeper and single mother of two, said the process cost her
about $10,000.

"My mother basically spent her entire life's savings," said Glancy Robles,
her 16-year-old daughter.

According to the complaint, filed earlier this year in California, Ms.
Martinez persuaded Ms. Castillo and her fellow plaintiffs, all of them
illegal immigrants from Mexico, to pursue the cancellation-of-removal
strategy. But, court papers say, Ms. Martinez never informed her clients
that they also had to file an asylum application, which would put them
in peril of deportation. The victims also contend that Ms. Martinez
failed to tell them that a cancellation-of-removal order was rare and
that they would be successful only if they also proved that their
deportation would cause extreme hardship for a parent or child.
Ms. Martinez declined to comment.

Because both of Ms. Castillo's children were born in the United States,
they are citizens. But both are healthy. Ms. Castillo lost her case
— and her family would have been forced to move back to Mexico
if not for the intervention of Vaughan de Kirby, a San Francisco lawyer.

Mr. de Kirby was able to convince a judge that sending Ms. Castillo
back to Mexico also meant deporting her two children, both of whom
were in school at the time. He also was able to prove that her two
daughters would experience extreme hardship if they were forced
to leave the country, thereby clearing up the mess that he said Ms.
Martinez — and the outside law firm she commissioned — had
made of Ms. Castillo's case.

"Immigration consultants serve a valuable function, because they
can operate at a cost factor for people who can't afford an attorney,"
Mr. de Kirby said. "But unfortunately they're not well regulated,
and there are abuses."

Mr. Nieblas, the Los Angeles immigration lawyer, is not nearly so
generous in his comments about notarios. He estimates that he
meets with as many as 20 people a month who have shown up
in his office after an immigration consultant has botched a case
through incompetence or malfeasance. If it were up to him, he said,
he would outlaw immigration consultants altogether.

Another Los Angeles immigration lawyer, Alan R. Diamante, says
that "70 to 80 percent of my clients have either been victims of
a notario, or a lawyer working together with a notario." He, too,
says he does not believe that notarios play a legitimate role in
handling the legal mechanics of immigration.

LIKE other lawyers interviewed for this article, both Mr. Nieblas and
Mr. Diamante said that they would never advise clients to reveal
their residency status to authorities on the chance that they might
secure a cancellation-of-removal order. He said that the stakes
were very high, and the chances of winning low.

"I've had clients come to me and say, 'I've got a son who is
suffering from this disease or that disease, let me turn myself in,' "
Mr. Nieblas said. "I always tell them no. But some then just find
someone else to handle the case. They've heard from people on
the streets that this is the perfect opportunity to get a green card,
and they don't want to believe me — and they can always find
a notario who'll take their case."

The undocumented are not always on the losing end of immigration
schemes. In Chinatown in San Francisco, for instance, an immigrant
can spend $20,000 to $40,000 over six to seven years fighting to
secure a green card, said Steve W. Baughman, a local immigration
lawyer. Alternatively, he said, the same person can find an unscrupulous
consultant who, for roughly $5,000, "will teach you how to lie and
cheat your way into a bogus asylum claim."

For example, the granting of asylum is nearly automatic for a Chinese
expatriate who claims religious and political persecution because
he or she is a member of the Falun Gong spiritual sect. So some
immigration consultants, Mr. Baughman said, maintain libraries
of materials and videos about the group so that illegal immigrants
can fake membership in Falun Gong when an asylum officer
quizzes them.

"I can hardly blame people for doing it," he said. "It's the supply
side that needs to be dealt with."

The federal government's Bureau of Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, said Chris Bentley, a spokesman, does what it can
to spread the word that illegal immigrants must be careful about
whom they turn to when seeking legal assistance. "If people snuck
in the country illegally, we still don't want them to be taken by
someone hanging out a shingle on a street corner, claiming they're
an immigration expert when they're not," Mr. Bentley said.

Yet the abuses of immigration consultants are hardly a top priority,
Mr. Bentley acknowledged, for an agency now tucked inside the
Department of Homeland Security.

The San Francisco district attorney's office will "vigorously
prosecute any complaints we receive" about immigration
consultants, said an assistant district attorney, June Cravett.
Her office, she said, is trying to spread the word that it offers
a haven for illegal immigrants who feel that they have been
fleeced by a scam artist.

BUT limited resources mean that her office does not set up sting
operations or the like, Ms. Cravett said. "Unfortunately, we haven't
received that many complaints," she said.

The local authorities in Los Angeles have adopted a similar approach,
said Mr. Diamante, a former president of the local Mexican American
Bar Association. "They do one major token case every five years, it gets
a lot of attention, and then that's it," he said.

Immigrant advocates and law enforcement officials in California point
to the district attorney's office in Santa Clara County, in the heart
of Silicon Valley, as a model enforcement program. But they say that
while county officials have taken impressive steps to crack down
on unscrupulous notarios, the office's experiences and limited
resources still underscore how hard it is to rein in the problem.

"There are so many of them it's really hard to go after every single
one," said Martha J. Donohoe, a deputy district attorney in the county
who oversees her office's efforts to monitor immigration consultants.
"Basically our focus has had to have been going after the really bad

When she has a law clerk, Ms. Donohoe says, her office can monitor
the immigration consultant industry more proactively. Otherwise, her
office must wait until it receives complaints from local advocacy groups
that represent illegal immigrants, she said.

"I hate to say it, but by the time we go after someone, they've typically
hurt so many people," Ms. Donohoe said. "Typically it takes years
to bring one of these cases, and the word has to really spread that
someone is a bad, bad actor before we get people who are here
illegally to bring a complaint."


2) Parts Supplier Reaches Buyout Deal With U.A.W.
June 10, 2006

DETROIT, June 9 — The Delphi Corporation, the auto parts supplier,
reached an agreement on Friday with the United Automobile
Workers union and General Motors that offered buyouts to all
of its 24,000 workers and reduced the possibility of a crippling

The plan, which G.M. will finance, expands a plan announced
in March that covered 13,000 Delphi workers, and comes on
the eve of the union's leadership convention, which begins
Monday in Las Vegas.

Agreement on the buyouts allows the two companies and the
union to focus negotiations on other crucial issues like the
level of wage and benefit cuts at Delphi, the amount G.M.
is willing to pay for buyouts and to subsidize workers' wages,
and the number of workers who will be left at Delphi, once
the cuts are made.

The situation also needs to be settled, analysts say, for G.M.
to proceed with its own restructuring.

The broadened buyout offer will "really alleviate a lot of the
uncertainty and take away a lot of the militant impetus in
the union for a strike," said David L. Gregory, professor
of labor relations at St. John's University Law School in
New York.

Delphi, which filed for bankruptcy protection in October,
is the country's biggest parts supplier. It was part of G.M.
until it was spun off in 1999. G.M. remains liable for pension
and retirement health care benefits for Delphi workers who
were at the automaker before the spinoff.

On March 22, G.M. offered buyouts ranging from $35,000
to $140,000 to all 113,000 of its hourly workers and 13,000
of the 24,000 U.A.W. members at Delphi. In addition,
it agreed to take back 5,000 Delphi workers.

After announcing that deal, Delphi asked a federal bankruptcy
judge for permission to set aside its labor contracts and
impose sharply lower wage rates and less-generous benefits.
Delphi also said it would close or sell 21 of its 29 plants
in the United States, and cut 20,000 hourly jobs, many
held by U.A.W. members.

In return, the U.A.W. threatened to strike Delphi if that
happened, a move that could cripple G.M. Last month,
workers voted to give leaders the authority to call a strike.

Since then, the issue has played out at the negotiating table
and in court. Hearings on Delphi's request to set aside
its contracts began last month, and the union had been
set to present its case this week.

But on Friday, a federal judge postponed the hearings until
Aug. 11, easing the likelihood of a strike before then, since
the U.A.W. contract remains in effect. And, the additional
time increases the prospects that the two companies and
the union will come to terms.

In a statement, Delphi said it was "committed" to reaching
a deal outside of court. The U.A.W., for its part, said the
additional time would allow it, Delphi and G.M. to focus
on negotiations without the "distraction" of the court

A spokeswoman for G.M., which has not said how much
it expects the buyouts to cost, said the broadened plan
was a "win-win all the way around."

Analysts said the development was promising.

"It's a very encouraging sign, because it greatly reduces
the risk of a long strike," said one automotive analyst, John
Casesa, managing partner of Casesa Strategic Advisers in
New York. A lengthy walkout "is mutually assured destruction
for G.M. and the U.A.W.," Mr. Casesa added.

But getting to a deal will require intense discussions that
will ultimately reveal just how much G.M. is willing to pay
to help overhaul its former parts supplier.

Delphi has proposed cutting Delphi workers' wages from
about $28 an hour to $22 an hour, then to $16.50 an hour,
assuming a subsidy of $50,000 a worker paid by G.M., which
has not committed itself to the plan.

Without the subsidy, Delphi would cut wages next year to $12.50
an hour, or less than half what workers earn on their current
contract, which is essentially the same as the contract at G.M.

The longer time for negotiations increases the chance that the
U.A.W. will agree to some concessions, a move that experts say
is generally inevitable once a company asks for its labor
contracts to be set aside.

Still, "it's always superior if you can reach an agreement outside
of court," Mr. Gregory of St. John's University Law School said.

Under the buyout plan, workers with at least 30 years experience,
making them eligible to retire, would receive $35,000 and their
complete retirement benefits including a pension and health care.

Workers with 10 to 26 years would receive $140,000 to leave,
while workers with one to 10 years experience would receive
$70,000. Both groups would receive a pension once they
reached retirement age, but no health care benefits.

A small group of workers who joined Delphi in the last year,
and received different benefits, would receive $40,000 to give
up their jobs.

Another program would pay workers with 26 to 29 years of
service a monthly stipend of $2,750 until they are eligible
for retirement, if they will leave now. The plan originally
applied to workers with 27 to 29 years experience, but was
lowered by a year under the new program.

Claudia Piccinin, a Delphi spokeswoman, said the plan "allows
us to more rapidly transform our U.S. manufacturing operations
and also softens the economic impact on our hourly work force."

The deadline for accepting the buyouts at G.M. and Delphi
is June 23; workers have a week after that to change their
minds. Discussions continue with Delphi's five other unions
on a similar buyout program.

G.M. lost $10.6 billion in 2005, and continues to lose money
on its automotive operations despite posting a profit in the
first quarter. G.M. wants to eliminate 30,000 jobs and close
all or parts of a dozen plants through 2008, and it hopes
to get that many workers to agree to its buyout plans.

Earlier this year, Delphi asked a federal judge to cancel
hundreds of its parts contracts with G.M., an action that would
allow it to raise the prices G.M. pays it for parts. The move
ignited an angry reaction from G.M., which agreed last fall
to give up discounts it had negotiated with Delphi so the
company would have more cash at the beginning of its

On Friday, the judge postponed a hearing on that request
by Delphi until Aug. 11, allowing the two sides time to reach
a deal in that dispute.

Expanding the buyouts at Delphi came as the U.A.W.'s lead
negotiator, Richard Shoemaker, is set to retire next week.
He also oversees talks with G.M., and is considered to be
the union official closest to the U.A.W. president, Ron

Mr. Gettelfinger will choose a successor for Mr. Shoemaker
at the U.A.W. convention next week. Whoever succeeds
Mr. Shoemaker will immediately join Mr. Gettelfinger in
the three-way discussions, which have been among the
most difficult that the union has faced since the 1979
talks that resulted in concessions to Chrysler.


3) Three Prisoners Commit Suicide at Guantánamo
"They are smart, they are creative, they are committed," Admiral
Harris said. "They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own.
I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical
warfare waged against us."
June 11, 2006

WASHINGTON, June 10 — Three detainees being held at the United
States military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, committed suicide
early on Saturday, the first deaths of detainees to be reported at the
military prison since it opened in early 2002, United States military
officials said.

The deaths come at a time of mounting international criticism
of the Bush administration's handling of terrorism suspects at
Guantánamo and other prisons around the world. President Bush,
who was at Camp David on Saturday, expressed "serious concern"
about the deaths, said Tony Snow, the White House spokesman.

The three detainees were not identified, but United States officials
said two were from Saudi Arabia and the third was from Yemen.
Military officials said that the three hanged themselves in their
cells with nooses made of sheets and clothing and died before
they could be revived by medical personnel.

Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., the commander of the detention
camp at Guantánamo, told reporters in a news conference that
the deaths were discovered early on Saturday when a guard noticed
something out of the ordinary in a cell and found that a prisoner
had hanged himself. Admiral Harris said guards and a medical
team rushed in to try to save the inmate's life but were
unsuccessful. Then, guards found two other detainees
in nearby cells had hanged themselves as well; all were
pronounced dead by a physician.

Military officials on Saturday suggested that the three suicides
were a form of a coordinated protest.

"They are smart, they are creative, they are committed," Admiral
Harris said. "They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own.
I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical
warfare waged against us."

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has opened an investigation
into the deaths, and the State Department has notified the
governments of Saudi Arabia and Yemen, according to a
statement issued on Saturday by the United States Southern
Command, the military organization that oversees Guantánamo.

All three men left suicide notes in Arabic, officials said. One
of the detainees was a mid- or high-level Qaeda operative,
another had been captured in Afghanistan and the third was
a member of a splinter group, Admiral Harris said, in an account
by The Associated Press. He said all three had participated
in hunger strikes at the detention center.

He said the acts were tied to a "mystical" belief at Guantánamo
that three detainees must die at the camp for all the detainees
to be released. There have been 41 suicide attempts by 25
detainees since the facility opened, officials said.

Lawyers for the detainees, human rights groups and legal
associations have increasingly questioned whether many of the
prisoners can even rightfully be called terrorists. They note that
only 10 of the roughly 465 men held at Guantánamo have been
charged before military tribunals, and that recently released
documents indicate that many have never been accused even
in administrative proceedings of belonging to Al Qaeda or
attacking the United States.

Advocates for the detainees said they believed the suicides resulted
from the deep despair felt by inmates who are being held indefinitely.

"The total, intractable unwillingness of the Bush administration
to provide any meaningful justice for these men is what is at the
heart of these tragedies," said Bill Goodman, the legal director of the
Center for Constitutional Rights, the New York advocacy group that
oversees lawyers representing many of the detainees. "We all had the
sense that these men were getting more and more hopeless. There's
been a general sense of desperation that's been growing."

Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, a lawyer at Dorsey & Whitney in New York
who represents one detainee who has repeatedly attempted suicide,
said, "These men have been told they will be held at Guantánamo
forever. They've been told that while they're held there they do
not have a single right."

Foreign governments and international organizations have stepped
up their criticism of detainee treatment at Guantánamo. Just last
month, a United Nations treaty panel reviewing the United States'
compliance with the international prohibition on torture argued
that Guantánamo should be shut down. Last week, the Council
of Europe issued a separate investigative report that said the
United States had created a "reprehensible network" of dealing
with terror suspects, highlighted by secret prisons believed to
be in Eastern Europe and other nations around the world.

Responding to the growing furor over the issue in Europe, Mr. Bush
said in an interview with German television in May that he would like
to close the Guantánamo prison, but that his administration had
to await the outcome of a Supreme Court ruling on whether the
detainees should be tried by civilian courts or military commissions.

Meanwhile, the situation inside the detention center has grown
more volatile in recent months, with reports that prisoners have
engaged in hunger strikes, suicide attempts and violent attacks
on guards.

Lawyers for the detainees have predicted for months that some
would kill themselves. They have complained repeatedly about
their access to the detainees, and have litigated in federal courts
to try to get more information about the prisoners' medical and
psychological health.

The lawyers have also strenuously protested the administration's
efforts to have all litigation over the treatment of the detainees
dismissed under the Detainee Treatment Act, a law signed by
Mr. Bush on Dec. 30 that would strip the courts of jurisdiction
to hear habeas corpus petitions from detainees.

Action on nearly all of those petitions has been suspended in
recent months, pending a ruling by the Supreme Court this month
on the case of a former driver for Osama bin Laden.

In public statements, Defense Department officials have often
dismissed the detainees' suicide attempts as less than serious
and as the actions of trained Qaeda terrorists to manipulate public
opinion. The first hunger strikes by detainees at Guantánamo began
soon after the camp opened in January 2002, and two of those
prisoners were forcibly fed through tubes that year. Dozens of
other suicide attempts followed.

Over one eight-day period in August 2003, 23 detainees tried to
hang or strangle themselves, including 10 on a single day. But the
Pentagon did not disclose the episode until January 2005, and lawyers
for the detainees have complained about what they say has been
a pattern in which the government has withheld information about
suicide attempts or minimized their importance.

In late 2003, military officials at Guantánamo began to re-classify
many of the suicide attempts as "manipulative, self-injurious behavior"
that was intended to bring pressure for better conditions or for release.
Officials at Guantánamo acknowledged that those designations were
not necessarily made after any formal psychological evaluation.

But early last summer, as a new wave of protests broke out, officials
at Guantánamo and at the Pentagon grew increasingly concerned,
Defense Department officials said.

Doctors overseeing the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo sought
new guidance from the Pentagon about the circumstances under
which they could force-feed hunger strikers by tubes inserted through
their noses and into their stomachs. While Defense Department
officials took new measures to try to break a wave of hunger strikes
that began last summer, they also undertook a review of procedures
they would follow for the possible burial of detainees or the transfer
of their remains in the event that any of them succeeded in committing
suicide, military officials said.

Military officials began trying to discourage the detainees from
killing themselves in part by having military and medical personnel
cite passages in the Koran that condemn suicide. The detainees
were systematically told that annual reviews of their status as
"enemy combatants" had been completed, that they would remain
at Guantánamo for at least another year, and that they should
reconcile themselves to the situation, Defense Department
officials said.

The military's review of the hunger-strike issue, which included
senior Pentagon officials and officers of the United States Southern
Command, which oversees Guantánamo, eventually led to a decision
to begin strapping those detainees who refused to eat into metal
"restraint chairs" while they were force-fed.

After the use of the chairs was disclosed by The New York Times
in February, military officials insisted that they were acting only
to save the lives of hunger-striking detainees who were
precariously close to serious harm or death.

Interviews with military officials indicated that only a handful
of the detainees who were then being force-fed had lost so much
weight that they were classified by doctors there as "severely
malnourished." The restraint chair was used on all of those
who refused to eat, military officials said, regardless of their
medical condition.

For months after the use of the restraint chairs became public,
lawyers for the detainees and other critics of United States detention
policy predicted that the tougher measures would push the
prisoners to take more radical steps to end their lives.

What may have been the most serious such incident before
Saturday's suicides came on May 18, when two detainees were
found unconscious in their cells after ingesting a large quantity
of anti-anxiety medication that various prisoners had apparently
hoarded for the purpose. Another detainee said he had also
tried to commit suicide but did not have enough medication;
military officials said they did not believe his attempt had
been serious.

Military officials said other detainees violently attacked guards
in subsequent searches of their cells. A few of the detainees have
since told their lawyers that the upheaval was provoked by guards
who mistreated the prisoners' Korans as they tore through their cells.

Another brief hunger strike began barely two weeks later, the
military authorities said, and eventually involved some 75 detainees.
The chief spokesman for the military task force charged with guarding
and interrogating the detainees, Cmdr. Robert Durand of the Navy,
described that episode, like others before it, as an "attention getting"
effort intended to increase public pressure for their release.


4) How Hispanics Became the New Gays
June 11, 2006

HE never promised them the Rose Garden. But that's where America's
self-appointed defenders of family values had expected President
Bush to take his latest stand against same-sex marriage last week.
In the end, without explanation, the event was shunted off to
a nondescript auditorium in the Executive Office Building, where
the president spoke for a scant 10 minutes at the non-prime-time
hour of 1:45 p.m. The subtext was clear: he was embarrassed
to be there, a constitutional amendment "protecting" marriage
was a loser, and he feared being branded a bigot. "As this debate
goes forward, every American deserves to be treated with tolerance
and respect and dignity," Mr. Bush said.

That debate died on the floor of the Senate less than 48 hours
later, when the amendment went down to an even worse defeat
than expected. Washington instantly codified the moral: a desperate
president at rock bottom in the polls went through the motions
of a cynical and transparent charade to rally his base in an election
year. Nothing was gained — even the president of the Family
Policy Network branded Mr. Bush's pandering a ruse —
and no harm was done.

Except to gay people. That's why the president went out of his
way to talk about "tolerance" at this rally, bizarrely held on the
widely marked 25th anniversary of the first mention of an AIDS
diagnosis in a federal report. Mr. Bush knew very well that his
participation in this tired political stunt, while certain to have
no effect on the Constitution, could harm innocent Americans.

When young people hear repeatedly that gay couples aspiring
to marital commitment are "undermining the moral fabric of the
country, that stuff doesn't wash off," says Matt Foreman of the
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Most concretely, the
Washington ruckus trickles down into sweeping assaults on
gay partners' employee benefits and parental rights at the
state level, as exemplified by a broadly worded referendum
on the Virginia ballot this fall outlawing any kind of civil union.
Had Mr. Bush really believed that his words had no consequences,
he would have spoken in broad daylight at the White House and
without any defensive touchy-feely bromides about "tolerance."

Mr. Bush prides himself on being tolerant — and has hundreds
of photos of himself posing with black schoolkids to prove it.
But his latest marriage maneuver is yet another example of how
his presidency has been an enabler of bigots, and not just those
of the "pro-family" breed.

The stars are in alignment for a new national orgy of rancor
because Americans are angry. The government has failed to alleviate
gas prices, the economic anxieties of globalization or turmoil in Iraq.
Two-thirds of Americans believe their country is on the wrong track.
The historical response to that plight is a witch hunt for scapegoats
on whom we can project our rage and impotence. Gay people,
though traditionally handy for that role, aren't the surefire
scapegoats they once were; support for a constitutional marriage
amendment, ABC News found, fell to 42 percent just before the
Senate vote. Hence the rise of a juicier target: Hispanics. They
are the new gays, the foremost political piñata in the election
year of 2006.

As has not been the case with gay civil rights, Mr. Bush has
taken a humane view of immigration reform throughout his
political career. Some of this is self-interest; he wants to cater
to his business backers' hunger for cheap labor and Karl Rove's
hunger for Hispanic voters. But Mr. Bush has always celebrated
and promoted immigrants and never demonized them —
at least in Texas. In the White House, he sidelined immigration
after 9/11, then backed away from a "guest worker" proposal
when his party balked in 2004. After bragging about his
political capital upon re-election, he squandered it on Iraq
and a quixotic campaign to privatize Social Security. Now
Congress has acted without him, turning immigration reform
into a deadlocked culture war not unlike the marriage amendment.
A draconian federal law is unlikely, but the damage has been
done: the ugly debate has in itself generated a backlash against
a vulnerable minority.

Most Americans who are in favor of stricter border enforcement
are not bigots. Far from it. But some politicians and other public
figures see an opportunity to foment hate and hysteria for their
own profit. They are embracing a nativism and xenophobia that
recall the 1920's, when a State Department warning about an
influx of "filthy" and "unassimilable" Jews from Eastern Europe
led to the first immigration quotas, or the 1950's heyday of
Operation Wetback, when illegal Mexican workers were hunted
down and deported.

"What a repellent spectacle," the Fox News anchor Brit Hume
said when surveying masses of immigrant demonstrators, some
of them waving Mexican flags, in April. Hearing of a Spanish
version of "The Star-Spangled Banner," Lamar Alexander,
a Republican from Tennessee, introduced a Senate resolution
calling for the national anthem to be sung only in English.
There was no more point to that gratuitous bit of grandstanding
than there was to the D.O.A. marriage amendment. Or more
accurately, both had the same point: stirring up animosity
against a group that can be branded an enemy of civilization
as we know it.

The most pernicious demagogues on immigration often invoke
national security as their rationale, but no terrorist has been
known to enter the United States from Mexico. Even the
arguments about immigrants' economic impact are sometimes
a smokescreen for a baser animus. As John B. Judis of The
New Republic documented in his account of Arizona's
combustible immigration politics, the dominant fear in that
border state has less to do with immigrants stealing jobs
(which are going begging in construction and agriculture)
than with their contaminating the culture through "Mexicanization."
It's the same complaint that's been leveled against every
immigrant group when the country's in this foul a mood.

That mood was ratcheted up last week by the success of
Brian Bilbray's strategy in winning the suburban San Diego
House seat vacated by the jailed Duke Cunningham. Mr. Bilbray,
a card-carrying lobbyist, was thought to be potentially vulnerable
even in a normally safe Republican district. But by his own account,
his campaign took off once he started hitting the single issue
of immigration, taking a hard line far to the right of the president
who endorsed him. Mr. Bilbray goes so far as to call for the refusal
of automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants
— a repudiation of the 14th Amendment, enacted after the
Civil War to ensure citizenship to everyone born in the United

His victorious campaign set a tone likely to be embraced by
other Republicans fearful of a rout in 2006. The election year
is still young, and we haven't seen the half of this vitriol yet.
Some politicians, like Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, are
equal-opportunity bigots: when he isn't calling for the Senate
to declare English the national language and demanding that
immigrants be quizzed on the Federalist Papers (could he pass?),
he is defending marriage by proclaiming that in his family's
"recorded history" there has never been "any kind of homosexual
relationship." (Any bets on how long before someone unearths
the Inhofes' unrecorded history?) Vernon Robinson, a Republican
Congressional candidate challenging the Democratic incumbent
Brad Miller in North Carolina, has run an ad warning that "if
Miller had his way, America would be nothing but one big
fiesta for illegal aliens and homosexuals."

The practitioners of such scare politics know what they're up
to. That's why they so often share the strange psychological
tic of framing their arguments in civil-rights speak. The
Minuteman Project, the vigilante brigade stoking fears of
an immigration Armageddon, quotes Gandhi on its Web site;
its founder, Jim Gilchrist, has referred to his group as
"predominantly white Martin Luther Kings." On a Focus on
the Family radio show, James Dobson and the White House
press secretary, Tony Snow, positioned the campaign to deny
gay civil rights as the moral equivalent of L.B.J.'s campaign to
extend civil rights. James Sensenbrenner, the leading House
Republican voice on immigration policy, likened those who
employ illegal immigrants to "the 19th-century slave masters"
that "we had to fight a civil war to get rid of." For that historical
analogy to add up, you'd have to believe that Africans voluntarily
sought to immigrate to America to be slaves. Whether
Mr. Sensenbrenner is out to insult African-Americans or
is merely a fool is a distinction without a difference in this
volatile political climate.

Mr. Bush is a lame duck, but he still has a bully pulpit. Here
is a cause he has professed to believe in since he first ran for
office in Texas, and it's threatening to boil over in an election
year. Imagine if he exercised leadership and called out those
who trash immigrants rather than merely mouthing homilies
about tolerance and dignity.

Tolerance and dignity are already on life-support in this debate.
If the president doesn't lead, he will have helped relegate
Hispanics to the same second-class status he has encouraged
for gay Americans. Compassionate conservatism, R.I.P.


Ten civilians, including children, killed in Israeli strike at Gaza Beach
Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies - Friday, 09 June 2006, 20:46

Polar bear apocalypse
Climate change is forcing this giant predator into extinction.
Can zoos save the species?
By Paul Rodgers
Published: 11 June 2006

House Shoots Down Amendment Protecting Net Neutrality

Blind Man's Bluff
New York Times Editorial
June 11, 2006

The Range Gets Crowded for Natural Beef
June 10, 2006

Online Remark Can Now Sink Job Candidate
June 11, 2006

Dahr Jamail and Jeff Pflueger | Propaganda and Haditha
"Propaganda is when the Western corporate media tries
to influence public opinion in favor of the Iraq War by
consistently tampering with truth and distorting reality,"
write Jamail and Pflueger. "It is to be expected. And it is
to be recognized for what it is."

Zarqawi Is Dead, but Weary Iraqis Fear the Violence Won't Subside
As news of Mr. Zarqawi's death settled into homes across the
country, Iraqis at lunch tables and in living rooms found themselves
wondering what, if anything, would be different. A relentless stream
of killings and kidnappings has choked the routines of life to a trickle,
and the death of Mr. Zarqawi, while welcome, did not seem likely
to stop the violence.

A.K. Gupta | Why Zarqawi's Death May
Strengthen the Iraqi Resistance
"Bombing Zarqawi into oblivion will not end the resistance
in Iraq. In fact, it may do the opposite," writes A.K. Gupta.
"Zarqawi was a polarizing figure, a non-Iraqi promoting
sectarian warfare. While the sectarianism in Iraq has become
too entrenched to undo easily, his death creates space for Sunni
resistance groups that were opposed to attacking Shiites."

Soldiers Quit Army in Protest After Acquittal on Boy's Death
Two soldiers cleared this week of the manslaughter of
a 15-year-old Iraqi in Basra in May 2003 are to leave the
army in protest at their treatment.

US Prison Study Faults System and the Public
Not only are America's prisons and jails largely failing the 13.5
million adults who pass through them each year, but the American
public is also failing the prisons and jails, a bipartisan study group
concluded in a report released Wednesday.

Sarah Olson | Military Officer Gains National Support for Resisting
When 27-year-old US Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada announced
his refusal to deploy to Iraq yesterday, he did so surrounded
by veterans, military family members, and members of the
religious and anti-war communities. News of Watada's intent
to refuse his orders to deploy to Iraq has galvanized anti-war
communities around the country.

King Archives Will Be Sold at Auction
June 9, 2006

By Mark Jensen
Lt. Ehren Watada, barred from attending, announces
his decision via video
United for Peace of Pierce County (WA)
June 7, 2006

'U.S. Military Hides Many More Hadithas

The police are "dropping bags"
June 6, 2006 10:23 PM
According to the Toronto Star, the three tons of ammonium nitrate
found with the Toronto terrorism suspects was planted by the
police in an elaborate sting operation.

Bankruptcy Law in Shambles
By:Brian J. Rogal on:Jun 06 2006 [11:35 am] (72 reads)

The Last Taboo
By John Pilger

British Antarctic Survey
Rapid temperature increases above the Antarctic
30 year weather balloon record
Public release date: 30-Mar-2006
Contact: Linda Capper

FOCUS | Freedom Not Extended to Women in New Iraq
Across Iraq, a bloody and relentless oppression of women has
taken hold. Many women have had their heads shaved for refusing
to wear a scarf or have been stoned in the street for wearing
make-up. Others have been kidnapped and murdered for crimes
that are being labelled simply as "inappropriate behavior." The
insurrection against the fragile and barely functioning state has
left the country prey to extremists whose notion of freedom
does not extend to women.

U.S. Strike Hits Insurgent at Safehouse
BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 8 — Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi, was killed in an American airstrike on an isolated safe
house north of Baghdad at 6:15 p.m. local time on Wednesday,
top American and Iraqi officials said today. Islamic militant Web
sites linked to Al Qaeda quickly confirmed the death, saying
Mr. Zarqawi had been rewarded with "martyrdom" for his role
in the war here.
June 8, 2006

The White House
After Welcome Piece of News, a Decision to Stay Silent
June 8, 2006

Senate Emphasis on Ideology Has Some in G.O.P. Anxious
June 7, 2006

Military Alters the Makeup of Interrogation Advisers
WASHINGTON, June 6 — Pentagon officials said Tuesday that
they would try to use only psychologists, and not psychiatrists,
to help interrogators devise strategies to get information from
detainees at places like Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
The new policy follows by little more than two weeks an
overwhelming vote by the American Psychiatric Association
discouraging its members from participating in those efforts.
June 7, 2006

C.I.A. Knew Where Eichmann Was Hiding, Documents Show
June 7, 2006

Bush Turns to House in Immigration Debate
June 7, 2006

Louisiana Governor Plans to Sign Anti-Abortion Law
June 7, 2006

Newton Journal
With Loss of Maytag, Town Faces the Loss of Its Identity
June 7, 2006

Reports Reveal Katrina's Impact on Population
June 7, 2006

Size of Identity Theft Grows to Affect Millions
WASHINGTON, June 6 — Personal information stolen from the home
of a Veterans Affairs employee included data on 2.2 million active-
duty members of the military, the government said on Tuesday.
June 7, 2006

Gay Marriage Ban Fails in Senate Vote
Filed at 11:16 a.m. ET
June 7, 2006

Army Manual to Skip Geneva Detainee Rule

Marine's Wife Paints Portrait of US Troops Out of Control in Haditha

US Won't Compensate Vietnam's Agent Orange Victims: Official

AIDS at 25 :A War of Attrition With a Virus

Wen Ho Lee Settles Privacy Lawsuit
The Associated Press
Saturday, June 3, 2006; 12:23 AM

Israel's "Right to Exist"
The insistence on Arabic acceptance of Israel's "right to exist" is
racist without a similar insistence for Israel to accept Palestine's
"right to exist."

FOCUS: Eric Schaeffer | Junketing Judges: A Case of Bad Science
Last fall, after two judges attended a six-day seminar at Yellowstone
National Park sponsored by a lobbying group, the US Court
of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the
Clean Air Act does not require regulating carbon dioxide emissions
that are heating up the planet at an unprecedented rate. Eric
Schaeffer wonders, "Just how far will corporate lobbyists go
to tilt governmental decisions in their favor?"

By Louise Roug
Nearly 1,400 bodies were brought to the facility,
the highest number since the war began.
Los Angeles Times
June 4, 2006

Israel Targets Palestinian Americans, U.S. Does Nothing
Israel Separates American Mother, Wife from Her Family
Palestine Media Center – PMC

FOCUS | Army Manual to Skip Geneva Convention Detainee Rule
The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies
a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating
and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials,
a step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away
from strict adherence to international human rights standards.

VIDEO | Largest Urban Farm in the Country on the Verge of Eviction
A Report by Chris Hume
The South Central Farm is like an oasis. Situated in one of the
roughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, it is a haven for the poor
working people of the area, where they can grow and sell their own
food locally. But they face eviction. Truthout correspondent Chris
Hume interviews Daryl Hannah, Julia Butterfly Hill, and the local
farmers about their struggle to stay on the land they've been
farming for 14 years.

Medicaid Rules Toughened on Proof of Citizenship
June 5, 2006

Assassinations and Cover-up #4
"M.L. King Murder A Government Plot,"
Says Former CIA Participant. "I was part of it."
"Raoul" Identified as FBI Agent
by Pat Shannan
New evidence has surfaced in the 1968 Martin Luther King murder
case. It is supplied by an "insider" who claims to have been part
of a "hit team" that had come out of the "Missouri Mafia" headquartered
in the town of Caruthersville, a small town in the bootheel section
of that state. In a yet-to-be-published book, former County Deputy
Jim Green reveals his assigned role in the conspiracy, the name
of the actual trigger man, and the long-suspected involvement
of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. Green also believes that he possesses
the actual murder weapon, which he personally secreted away
only hours after the murder.

Chilean Promised a New Deal; Now Striking Youth Demand It
June 5, 2006

Senate to Tackle Gay Marriage Ban
Filed at 10:09 a.m. ET
June 5, 2006

Justices to Rule on Race and Education
Filed at 10:22 a.m. ET
June 5, 2006

David Carr
Show Me the Bodies
June 5, 2006

Guest workers sue ranchers
By Deborah Frazier, Rocky Mountain News
June 2, 2006

Mentally Unfit, Forced To Fight
The Hartford Courant
May 14 2006

Invoking Secrets Privilege Becomes
a More Popular Legal Tactic by U.S.
June 4, 2006

Bush Calls for an Amendment Banning Same-Sex Nuptials
June 4, 2006

Cubans Jailed in U.S. as Spies Are Hailed at Home as Heroes
By Manuel Roig-Franzia
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, June 3, 2006; Page A01

Initial Response to Marine Raid Draws Scrutiny
June 3, 2006

Surge in Racist Mood Raises Concerns on Eve of World Cup
June 4, 2006

17 Terror Suspects Arrested in Toronto
Filed at 12:04 p.m. ET
June 3, 2006

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