Friday, November 17, 2006



please forward...
To the people of Mexico:
To the people of the world:
To the people of the Bay Area:
On November 20th, we will let Oaxaca know that we are listening to
them, that we worry for them and that above all, we support them.
WHEN: November 20th, 4pm
WHERE: Mexican Consulate in San Francisco, Folsom
Street and First Street (by Montgomery BART)

Since the end of October all over the world we have been preparing for
and anticipating the next police-attack on the people of Oaxaca. Still
Ruiz feebly clings to his illusion of power, still political prisoners are
held in the dungeons of Mexico-- Still every day the bullets and brutality
of the Mexican federal police demonstrate the resilience and determination
of Oaxaca.

On November 20th, we will let Oaxaca know that we are listening to
them, that we worry for them and that above all, we support them. We will
show an ambitious solidarity. We have promised ourselves that we will not
sit by idly while those who struggle to change their world are attacked by
capitalists, bureaucrats, and police mercenaries.

In keeping with the Other Campaign's call out to “wherever possible,
completely, partially, at intervals or symbolically shut down the major
artery roads, streets, toll booths, stations, airports and commercial
media”- we invite you to organize and join with our festivities.

Along with the Other Campaign, the central message that we will send is
that the people of Oaxaca are not alone.

We support the demands of the Other Campaign and
justice for Oaxaca:

Ulises Ruiz out of Oaxaca!

Immediate withdrawal of the occupying federal force from Oaxaca!

Immediate and unconditional freedom for all detainees!

Cancel all arrest warrants!

Punish the murderers!




[Bay Area United Against War has been organizing to rid our schools
of JROTC. For three years, we set a table up in front of the Board of
Education meetings once a month handing out information exposing
JROTC as a major recruiting tool in our schools, organized counter-
recruitment workshops and tables in our schools; and brought the
issue up over and over again at the school board meetings.
This is a great prize for all our hard work.
Thanks to all!]

Warmest congratulations to the San Francisco Board of Education!
Many thanks to all who showed up--the students who presented
over 800 signatures demanding an end to JROTC to the board--and
all those who spoke and those who did not have the chance to
speak. And all those who have worked so hard to get JROTC
our of our schools. A battle won!

Open letter and report to the S.F. Board of Education
by Bonnie Weinstein

Dear Board Members,

You have done a wonderful thing! After all these years, while we are
still stuck with military recruiters because of No Child Left Behind,
we can finally look forward to a more non-military environment for
our children without the addition of JROTC. I can also testify than
many students are put into JROTC against their will. In one counter-
recruitment workshop a freshman student told of how, since
she was new to the district and late for enrollment, she was assigned
to JROTC and hated it but feared speaking out about it--and she
was just a sample of the many I have spoken to who were not
in JROTC by choice. Now, finally, this will end.

I do have a lot of concern for the students who were at the meeting
last evening and who are disappointed by the vote. As a matter
of fact, they were extremely hostile--several of them physically
threatened Cristina Gutierrez, myself and others as we left--
it was scary to see them filled with so much hate. Of course, that's
why we want JROTC out of our schools. (You may not be aware but
JROTC students were laughing when Cristina told of being tortured
by U.S. Military-trained Columbian troops.) I was also very
puzzled that their "teachers" were not there with them to counsel
them after the vote was taken and to monitor this threatening
and extremely disrespectful behavior.

(This is important to bring up because we were not speaking
to them on the way out--just among ourselves and we were
accosted by them screaming at the top of their lungs in our
faces with their fists raised and tight! We were standing with
an older woman with a cane and the students crowded around
us and began shouting and chanting and screaming in our
faces as we tried to leave. Cristina's small stature came to
the waist of one of the boys who stood in front of us momentarily
barring the exit. There was a big screen in the lobby and the
students--some of whom have seen and talked to us before--
must have recognized us again from the screen and were furious
with our statements. I am very afraid for these students. They
need to be counseled by professionals. Their behavior exposes
the very real danger JROTC is to our student's character and
well being.)

But this decision was an historical one. It was picked up by the
New York Times (See link to article below) and even Newsweek
sent a reporter. According to the Times article, "Lt. Cmdr. Joe
Carpenter, a Pentagon spokesman, has said he didn't know
of any other school district having barred JROTC from its

So, we have come to the attention of the Pentagon!

Hopefully this will set a precedent just as our antiwar-anti-
military recruitment initiatives have done across the country.
This past election saw many cities across the East Coast pass
antiwar referendums.

But our battle is not yet over. The Army alone has a 1.53 billion-
dollar ad campaign contract with McCann/Erickson--a major
advertising agency--to launch a new recruitment campaign.
And, meanwhile, the No Child Left Behind act will be up for
grabs again in 2007. We must organize to abolish it!

But for your information I would like to give you two quotes
I didn't have time to give you last night:

The Army JROTC text from their Leadership, Education and
Training manual page 87 states, "When troops react to command
rather than thought, the result is more than just a good-looking
ceremony or parade. Drill has been and will continue to be the
backbone of military discipline." And from the Navy JROTC Naval
Science text page. 24, the Navy calls for, "...loyalty to those
above us in the chain of command whether or not we agree
with them."

This can be found at:

Your decision last evening will go a long way toward bringing
this kind of non-thinking to an end. We have seen the results
of JROTC on our children and it isn't very pretty.

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein,


San Francisco to Boot JROTC Programs
Filed at 2:44 a.m. ET
November 15, 2006


The following is the text of my short statement and a link to the
source of the $1.35 billion figure I quote:

"The U.S. Army has a new 1.35 billion dollar recruitment campaign
budget*—they don’t need our help! And with a 45 percent recruitment
rate nationwide, JROTC qualifies as top-recruiters.

Their main job is to teach students that loyalty to those above in the
chain of command, whether or not you agree with them, takes
precedence over thinking.

Isn’t that what got us into the war in the first place?

The most basic responsibility of our public education program
is to teach critical thinking and that blindly obeying orders—especially
when you don’t agree with them—is thoughts’ antithesis, and, in fact,
has led to history’s most heinous military crimes.

For two years in a row the voters of San Francisco have declared
their opposition to the war in Iraq and against military recruitment
in our schools. Now is the time to carry out the will of the majority.
Get JROTC and all military recruiters out of our schools!...Bonnie

Text of Carole Seligman's statement to the Board of Education:

"The war on Iraq could not happen without troops. The purpose of the Jr.
ROTC is to steer young people into the military. Your decision
tonight has national importance.

The people oppose the war on Iraq and want the troops home now!
Horrified by the deaths of over 655,000 Iraqi civilians, we
oppose the half-trillion dollars spent on war that should be
spent on education, health care, and other human needs.
ROTC has been in S.F. since World War One. The purpose is still
to turn young people into occupiers and killers for the big

I hope the students and the Board of Education won’t
fall for the line.

of The Chronicle that ROTC is just harmless marching
around with flags and sticks.

It's a military program. The pressure is on because the
military has failed to meet its enlistment goals. We do not
want the military to have any part in our schools. We want
them out! Out of Iraq and out of our schools!"

* Link to New York Times article on $1.35 Billion Army advertising budget:

Army’s New Battle Cry Aims at Potential Recruits
"A PRIZED goal of Madison Avenue is to link a brand to a desirable
quality or attribute: Ford trucks with toughness, Coca-Cola
with reliability. Now comes a major effort from one of the oldest
brands of all, the Army, to lay claim to the concept of strength.
“Army strong” is the theme of a campaign that the Army plans
to announce formally today. The effort, with a budget estimated
at $1.35 billion in the next five years, will appear in traditional
media like television as well as nontraditional outlets like blogs,
social networking Web sites and chat rooms...."
November 9, 2006


You can see a sample of the real thing (if you can stand it) at:


Here's a link to the Chronicle article:

School board votes to dump JROTC program
Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Communist Manifesto illustrated by Disney [and other cartoons) with
words by K. Marx and F. Engels--absolutely wonderful!]
Asylum Street Spankers-Magnetic Yellow Ribbon com/watch? v=bfMgRHRJ- tc
Homer Simpson Joins the Army
Another morale-booster from Groening and company. [If you get
a chance to see the whole thing, it's worth]

New U.S. Army Recruitment Ad Campaign:
"There's strong, and then there's Army strong. It is not just
the strength to obey, but the strength to command. Not just strength
in numbers, the strength of brothers. Not just the strength to lift, the
strength to raise. Not just the strength to get yourself over, the strength
to get over yourself."
Commercials that feature soldiers and their families take a similar
tack. "You made them strong, We’ll make them Army strong."
The effort, with a budget estimated at $1.35 billion in the next five
years, will appear in traditional media like television as well as
nontraditional outlets like blogs, social networking Web sites
and chat rooms.

JROTC Debate in Chronicle today:

PRO: A battle over values
Michael Bernick

CON: Popular doesn't = appropriate
Dan Kelly, Mark Sanchez


See the following article in full below, number:

1) Gaza: While the world looked elsewhere,
another week of death and misery
By Donald Macintyre In Beit Hanoun
"But there is no dispute that the number of civilian deaths
from last Wednesday rose to 19 yesterday as one more man died
of his wounds. It is not lost around Hamad Street that this is more
than twice the number of Israeli civilians killed in six years
by the Qassam rockets Israel has been trying to halt."
Published: 11 November 2006

End All U.S. Aid to Israel! U.S. Out of the Middle East!

An Editorial by Bonnie Weinstein

Dear Readers:

The mass murder and genocide of Palestinians must end! This is
no "chicken and egg" quagmire. Before 1948 Palestinians lived
peacefully with Jews for centuries. And worked, loved and learned
on their land—the land of their ancestors. They were massively
and violently ejected from this land by the U.S.-orchestrated, Zionist
invasion of 1948. Using genocidal tactics this team established
a separate Jewish State with no rights for Palestinians except
to be cleansed from their land by any means necessary and
with the full financial backing of the USA and all of Western

The Palestinians are in the right and the U.S. and it's bought-and-paid-
for (by our tax dollars) puppet, Zionist, Israeli government are the guilty
parties and must be stopped, disarmed and rendered powerless!

The only way that can happen is if we unite in a struggle to do so
because we, the working people of the world, since we overwhelmingly
outnumber them are able to do so. Without us to fight their wars
for them and do their work for them, they and their weapons are

But, on the contrary, we are not helpless or powerless without them!
In fact, they are the proverbial stone around our necks!

Together, not only do we have the power to stop them. We have
the power to make things change for the better because it is we
who can and do—do the work!

Without us to fight their wars, and dig their cesspools, this tiny
minority of wealthy despots who rule this planet are helpless.

We must face it. Under their rule we are steeply descending back
to raw and brutal barbarism. These despots are not aligned by love.
They are in brutal combat with each other and are spilling our blood,
not theirs! They are using our hands to scrape their wealth out
of the earth and our hands and minds to fashion and use their
weapons of mass destruction. Be assured they will not get their
hands the least bit dirty! Not even to the very end of the planet

They need to be disarmed militarily, financially and politically—
we need to take the weapons out of their hands—demolish them
safely—all of them—and finally end the tyranny of the wealthy elite
over the poor if humanity is to survive.

I have no doubt that together, through democratic and rational
discussion, decision-making and planning we can come up with
a better and more equitable way for all of us to share this incredibly
beautiful and bountiful planet.

Personally, I think socialism is the way. But I do know whatever
way it turns out to be it must be a kind and humanitarian way that
benefits the majority and that the majority of us can agree upon.

We all want a kind and humanitarian world where we can breathe
free and thrive. Where each one is imbued with Inalienable
and equal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
no matter where on the planet we live or who we are born to.

I am not thinking of a Utopia or some pinnacle of human achievement.
There is no limit to the struggle for higher human achievement.
Therein lies the very motivation for human democratic action—
to be able to devote our wealth and resources to an ongoing
struggle for the benefit of all. To devote our energy and resources
to solving human problems instead of causing devastation, death
and destruction for the monetary benefit of a tiny few warring

A society that collectively profits from each according to peoples
individual abilities and talents, and shares the wealth produced
by this universal talent pool with each, according to individual
need and want, will be a society that automatically strives toward
even higher human achievement.

We, the majority, can make that our goal! And we, the majority
have the power—if we stand united—to actually make it happen.
Furthermore, the stronger we are united, the less of our blood
these despots can shed!

I can only plead in defense of this long editorial statement that,
in viewing the news of the world each day I am bombarded with
the horrors our brothers and sisters endure at the hands of these
bloodthirsty and spoiled tyrants.

It builds up on a person. My release is to think of how beautiful
it could be; what wonders we could discover; what human progress
we could make; what a paradise we could all share.

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein,

Again, I recommend, for those who are unfamiliar with the history of the
Palestinian struggle for liberation and a return to their ancestral land,
to read:

The full text of the book can be found for free at:
http://takingaim. info/hhz/ index.htm


Massive March in Oaxaca
11/06 | Hundreds of thousands of people
filled the streets to demand Gov.'s ouster
By John Gibler


Brad Will Presente!
See what the world has lost:
"I Really Like the Cops" a song by Brad Will



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Close the SOA and Change Oppressive U.S. Foreign Policy
Nov. 17-19, 2006 - Converge on Fort Benning, Georgia

People's Movements across the Americas are becoming increasingly more
powerful. Military "solutions" to social problems as supported by
institutions like the School of the Americas were unable to squash their
voices, and the call for justice and accountability is getting louder each

Add your voice to the chorus, demand justice for all the people of the
Americas and engage in nonviolent direct action to close the SOA and
change oppressive U.S. foreign policy.

With former SOA graduates being unmasked in Chile, Argentina, Colombia,
Paraguay, Honduras, and Peru for their crimes against humanity, and with
the blatant similarities between the interrogation methods and torture
methods used at Abu Ghraib and those described in human rights abuse cases
in Latin America, the SOA/WHINSEC must be held accountable!

Visit http://www.soaw. org to learn more about the November Vigil, hotel
and travel information, the November Organizing Packet, and more.

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

please forward...
To the people of Mexico:
To the people of the world:
To the people of the Bay Area:
On November 20th, we will let Oaxaca know that we are listening to
them, that we worry for them and that above all, we support them.
WHEN: November 20th, 4pm
WHERE: Mexican Consulate in San Francisco, Folsom
Street and First Street (by Montgomery BART)

Since the end of October all over the world we have been preparing for
and anticipating the next police-attack on the people of Oaxaca. Still
Ruiz feebly clings to his illusion of power, still political prisoners are
held in the dungeons of Mexico-- Still every day the bullets and brutality
of the Mexican federal police demonstrate the resilience and determination
of Oaxaca.

On November 20th, we will let Oaxaca know that we are listening to
them, that we worry for them and that above all, we support them. We will
show an ambitious solidarity. We have promised ourselves that we will not
sit by idly while those who struggle to change their world are attacked by
capitalists, bureaucrats, and police mercenaries.

In keeping with the Other Campaign's call out to “wherever possible,
completely, partially, at intervals or symbolically shut down the major
artery roads, streets, toll booths, stations, airports and commercial
media”- we invite you to organize and join with our festivities.

Along with the Other Campaign, the central message that we will send is
that the people of Oaxaca are not alone.

We support the demands of the Other Campaign and
justice for Oaxaca:

Ulises Ruiz out of Oaxaca!

Immediate withdrawal of the occupying federal force from Oaxaca!

Immediate and unconditional freedom for all detainees!

Cancel all arrest warrants!

Punish the murderers!




December 1 thru 3, 2006 (Friday thru Sunday!)
Victoria Theatre, Mission District
2961 16th St @ Mission St (across from the BART station)


$5 per film or $40 all weekend pass - Students and activists
$10 per film or $75 all weekend pass - General admission
Your ticket price is a donation to cover our costs.

Films such as Century of the Self and The Corporation will
be shown, complemented by new cutting-edge films about
corporate power such as The Forest for the Trees, a documentary
about the legal case of Judy Bari made by the daughter of Bari's
attorney. The final program will be announced in November.

Speakers on Saturday night will begin at 7:00 pm and offer
further insight into the films, corporations, and the structure
of our economy as a whole. In addition, there will be a festival
after-party on the evening of Sunday, December 3 with
refreshments and entertainment.

CounterCorp is an anti-corporate nonprofit organization
accepting no corporate donations. All of your donations
go to exposing the truth about corporations and finding
Alternatives to corporate ownership of our communities.
If you would like to support us, please visit
and click on "Donate Now." Every little bit helps. Thank you!

Built in 1908 as a vaudeville house, the 500-seat Victoria
Theatre is the oldest theater currently operation in San Francisco.
We thought this would be a perfect setting to begin to dream
beyond the memes of timed obsolescence and creative destruction
that corporations have injected into our societies, to a time before
the corporate agenda prevailed above all else. For directions
and info, please visit

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! Volunteering both before and/or during
the festival will earn you a FREE PASS to all films and parties!
Please contact! -for more info!


"Ode to Joy and Struggle"
Event for Lynne Stewart and co-defendants
Saturday, December 9th ,
6:30 or 7:00 pm [I'm looking into that. -t.]
Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square South
From: PatLevasseurP @
Subject: Govt. seeking authorization to appeal Lynne Stewart‚s
Govt. seeking authorization from Solicitor General to appeal
Lynne Stewart's sentence (and that of her co-defendants)

November 9, 2006

Hello All,

I am writing to update you on that status of Lynne Stewart's
case after her sentencing on October 16th. While we were all
relieved that Lynne did not get 30 years, the Government has
announced that it has gone to the Solicitor General of the
United States Justice Department for authorization to appeal
her sentence and that of her co-defendants. They are not
challenging the bail pending appeal but state that they will
only agree to one 30 day adjournment of the filing of the
appeal because they want everyone serving their sentences
as soon as possible. What does all this mean for Lynne?
Lynne's attorneys are not surprised that the government wants
to appeal her sentence. Although sentences are not usually
appealed it does happen and case law in the 2nd Circuit
which governs Lynne's case shows that although rare, when
a sentence is appealed and the Circuit sends the case back
for resentencing the result is a far longer sentence. We are
hopeful that Judge Koeltl‚s meticulous sentencing decision
will carry the day but we have no guarantees and must
continue our vigilance in the face of this latest move
by the government. Of course Lynne's attorneys
will be filing the appeal of her conviction within the year.

Remember to save the date and join us in an
"Ode to Joy and Struggle
December 9th 6:30 to ?

The evening will be held at the beautifully renovated Judson
Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South
(near Thompson St.) in the West Village, New York City.
The event is mostly one of joy but of course the struggle
continues. We will also be commemorating Mumia Abu Jamal's
25 years behind bars and to that end we will hear from:

Lynne Stewart - her case and current legal status

Pam Africa
Chair of International Concerned Family
and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is currently
determining whether Abu-Jamal will be granted a new trial
or sent back to death row, which is the district attorney's
preference. Speaking about this at our event is Pam Africa,
who will be joining us after the annual rally in Philadelphia,
which recognizes the day Mumia Abu Jamal was shot and framed.


Robert Meeropol
Executive Director, Rosenberg Fund for Children


Robert Meeropol is the founder and Executive Director of the
Rosenberg Fund for Children (RFC). For the last 30 years he
has been an activist, writer and public speaker. He has
successfully sued the federal government and through the
RFC, has assisted hundreds of children whose parents also
have been attacked for their social activism. Robert is also
the author of AN EXECUTION IN THE FAMILY (now available
in paperback from St. Martin's Press.) This political memoir
chronicles Meeropol's journey from childhood victim of
McCarthy-era repression; to 1960's militant activist; to politically
engaged parent and law student; to founder and leader of the
Rosenberg Fund for Children. ODE TO JOY AND STRUGGLE

Join Lynne Stewart and the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee in


for your support over these last 4+ years
and uniting for the struggle ahead

Saturday, December 9th , 7pm till .......
Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square South
New York, NY


Lynne Stewart
Pam Africa, International Concerned
Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Robert Meeropol. Executive Director,
Rosenberg Fund for Children

Music by:

Selah Eric Spruiell and The Fort Greene Project
Urbano Sanchez, Latin Jazz
Professor Louie and Fast Eddy
Professor Irwin Corey and Randy Credico
and MUCH more
(comedy, Latin jazz, rap)

Great Food & Drink provided

Judson Memorial Church resides on the southern edge
of Washington Square Park between Thompson
and Sullivan Streets. Accessible by subway.

Trains: A, C, E, F to West 4th; R to 8th St.; 1 to
Christopher St.-Sheridan Sq.

Mobility Handicapped please enter through
Thompson Street entrance.

Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
350 Broadway, Suite 700
New York, NY 10013


Drums Across America for Peace
December 16, 2006 simultaneously across
the country at 11:00 to 11:30 A.M. PST
For More Information contact:
Marilyn Sjaastad
Jade Screen Clinic


UFPJ calls for march on DC Sat, Jan. 27, local
actions on March 17
www.unitedforpeace. org
Please forward widely!
Tell the New Congress:
Act NOW to Bring the Troops Home!
Join United for Peace and Justice in a massive march on Washington ,
D.C. , on Sat., January 27, to call on Congress to take immediate
action to end the war.
On Election Day the voters delivered a dramatic, unmistakable mandate
for peace. Now it's time for action. On January 27, 2007, we will
converge from all around the country in Washington , D.C. to send a
strong, clear message to Congress and the Bush Administration: The
people of this country want the war and occupation in Iraq to end and
we want the troops brought home now!
Congress has the power to end this war through legislation. We call on
people from every congressional district in the country to gather in
Washington, DC -- to express support for those members of Congress who
are prepared to take immediate action against the war; to pressure
those who are hesitant to act; and to speak out against those who
remain tied to a failed policy.
The peace and justice movement helped make ending the war in Iraq the
primary issue in this last election. The actions we take do make a
difference, and now there is a new opportunity for us to move our work
forward. On Election Day people took individual action by voting. On
January 27 we will take collective action, as we march in Washington ,
DC , to make sure Congress understands the urgency of this moment.
Join United for Peace and Justice in this crucial push for peace!
1) Make a donation right now to support the January 27 mobilization and
help give us the funds we need to make this a truly massive outpouring
for peace.
2) Pass this email along to everyone you know, post it on blogs and
websites -- do everything you can to help us get the word out about
January 27th.
3) Make sure your organization endorses the January 27th mobilization.
Click here to add your endorsement.
4) Start making plans to bring people from your congressional district
to Washington on January 27. We will soon have a form on our website,
where you or your group can sign up to be the coordinator for people
coming to DC from your area, so you can meet up, coordinate
transportation, housing, etc.
5) Keep checking the UFPJ website for more details in the coming weeks!
You might have also heard that United for Peace and Justice was calling
for a demonstration in Washington to commemorate the 4th anniversary of
the war in Iraq on March 17. Because of the new developments and our
decision to organize the January 27th mobilization, we are now calling
for local and regional antiwar actions that weekend instead. We will
soon be issuing more information about the plans for the 4th
Help us continue to do this critical work: Make a donation to UFPJ
www.unitedforpeace. org | 212-868-5545
To subscribe, visit www.unitedforpeace. org/email


http://www.pephost. org/site/ PageServer? pagename= ANS_homepage

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


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




A Look at the Numbers: How the Rich Get Richer
Clara Jeffery (May/June 2006 Issue
IN 1985, THE FORBES 400 were worth $221 billion combined.
Today, they re worth $1.13 trillion more than the GDP of Canada.
THERE'VE BEEN FEW new additions to the Forbes 400.
The median household income
has also stagnated at around $44,000.
AMONG THE FORBES 400 who gave to a 2004 presidential
campaign, 72% gave to Bush.
IN 2005, there were 9 million American millionaires,
a 62% increase since 2002.
IN 2005, 25.7 million Americans received food stamps,
a 49% increase since 2000.
ONLY ESTATES worth more than $1.5 million are taxed.
That's less than 1% of all estates


Do You Want to Stop PREVENT War with Iran?

Dear Friend,

Every day, pundits and military experts debate on TV when, how and where
war with Iran will occur. Can the nuclear program be destroyed? Will the
Iranian government retaliate in Iraq or use the oil weapon? Will it take
three or five days of bombing? Will the US bomb Iran with "tactical"
nuclear weapons?

Few discuss the human suffering that yet another war in the Middle East
will bring about. Few discuss the thousands and thousands of innocent
Iranian and American lives that will be lost. Few think ahead and ask
themselves what war will do to the cause of democracy in Iran or to
America's global standing.

Some dismiss the entire discussion and choose to believe that war simply
cannot happen. The US is overstretched, the task is too difficult, and
the world is against it, they say.

They are probably right, but these factors don't make war unlikely. They
just make a successful war unlikely.

At the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), we are not going to
wait and see what happens.

We are actively working to stop the war and we need your help!

Working with a coalition of peace and security organizations in
Washington DC, NIAC is adding a crucial dimension to this debate - the
voice of the Iranian-American community.

Through our US-Iran Media Resource Program , we help
the media ask the right questions and bring attention to the human side
of this issue.

Through the LegWatch program ,

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

and in direct meetings with lawmakers. We recently helped more than a dozen
Members of Congress - both Republican and Democrats - send a strong
message against war to the White House

But more is needed, and we need your help!

If you don't wish to see Iran turn into yet another Iraq, please make a
contribution online or send in a check to:

2801 M St NW
Washington DC 20007

Make the check out to NIAC and mark it "NO WAR."

ALL donations are welcome, both big and small. And just so you know,
your donations make a huge difference. Before you leave the office
today, please make a contribution to stop the war.

Trita Parsi
President of NIAC

U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW)

PMB 153
1718 "M" Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Voicemail: 202/521-5265

Co-convenors: Gene Bruskin, Maria Guillen, Fred Mason,
Bob Muehlenkamp, and Nancy Wohlforth
Michael Eisenscher, National Organizer & Website Coordinator
Virginia Rodino, Organizer
Adrienne Nicosia, Administrative Staff


Enforce the Roadless Rule for National Forests
Target: Michael Johanns, Secretary, USDA
Sponsor: Earthjustice
We, the Undersigned, endorse the following petition:
This past September, Earthjustice scored a huge victory for our roadless
national forests when a federal district court ordered the reinstatement
of the Roadless Rule.
The Roadless Rule protects roadless forest areas from road-building
and most logging. This is bad news for the timber, mining, and oil
& gas industries ... And so they're putting pressure on their friends
in the Bush Administration to challenge the victory.
Roadless area logging tends to target irreplaceable old growth forests.
Many of these majestic trees have stood for hundreds of years.
By targeting old-growth, the timber companies are destroying
natural treasures that cannot be replaced in our lifetime.
The future of nearly 50 million acres of wild, national forests
and grasslands hangs in the balance. Tell the secretary of the
USDA, Michael Johanns, to protect our roadless areas by enforcing
the Roadless Rule. The minute a road is cut through a forest, that
forest is precluded from being considered a "wilderness area," and
thus will not be covered by any of the Wilderness Area protections
afforded by Congress.


Mumia Abu-Jamal - Reply brief, U.S. Court of Appeals (Please Circulate)

Dear Friends:

On October 23, 2006, the Fourth-Step Reply Brief of Appellee and
Cross-Appellant, Mumia Abu-Jamal was submitted to the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia. (Abu-Jamal v. Horn,
U.S. Ct. of Appeals Nos. 01-9014, 02-9001.)

Oral argument will likely be scheduled during the coming months.
I will advise when a hearing date is set.

The attached brief is of enormous consequence since it goes
to the essence of our client's right to a fair trial, due process
of law, and equal protection of the law, guaranteed by the Fifth,
Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The issues include:

Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied the right to due process
of law and a fair trial because of the prosecutor’s “appeal-after
-appeal” argument which encouraged the jury to disregard the
presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt, and err
on the side of guilt.

Whether the prosecution’s exclusion of African Americans
from sitting on the jury violated Mr. Abu-Jamal’s right
to due process and equal protection of the law,
in contravention of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).

Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied due process and equal
protection of the law during a post-conviction hearing
because of the bias and racism of Judge Albert F. Sabo,
who was overheard during the trial commenting that
he was “going to help'em fry the nigger."

That the federal court is hearing issues which concern
Mr. Abu-Jamal's right to a fair trial is a great milestone
in this struggle for human rights. This is the first time
that any court has made a ruling in nearly a quarter
of a century that could lead to a new trial and freedom.
Nevertheless, our client remains on Pennsylvania's death
row and in great danger.

Mr. Abu-Jamal, the "voice of the voiceless," is a powerful
symbol in the international campaign against the death
penalty and for political prisoners everywhere. The goal
of Professor Judith L. Ritter, associate counsel, and
I is to see that the many wrongs which have occurred
in this case are righted, and that at the conclusion
of a new trial our client is freed.

Your concern is appreciated

With best wishes,

Robert R. Bryan

Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123

Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Antiwar Web Site Created by Troops
A small group of active-duty military members opposed to the war
have created a Web site intended to collect thousands of signatures
of other service members. People can submit their name, rank and
duty station if they support statements denouncing the American
invasion. “Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price,”
the Web site,, says. “It is time for U.S. troops
to come home.” The electronic grievances will be passed along
to members of Congress, according to the Web site. Jonathan
Hutto, a Navy seaman based in Norfolk, Va., who set up the Web
site a month ago, said the group had collected 118 names and
was trying to verify that they were legitimate service members.
October 25, 2006


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


Profound new assault on freedom of speech and assembly:
Manhattan: New Rules for Parade Permits
After recent court rulings found the Police Department's
parade regulations too vague, the department is moving
to require parade permits for groups of 10 or more
bicyclists or pedestrians who plan to travel more than
two city blocks without complying with traffic laws.
It is also pushing to require permits for groups of 30
or more bicyclists or pedestrians who obey traffic laws.
The new rules are expected to be unveiled in a public
notice today. The department will discuss them at
a hearing on Nov. 27. Norman Siegel, a lawyer whose
clients include bicyclists, said the new rules
"raise serious civil liberties issues."
October 18, 2006
http://www.nytimes. com/2006/ 10/18/nyregion/ 18mbrfs-002. html

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Soul-Sick Nation: An Astrologer's View of America
Jessica Murray
Format: Paperback (6x9)
ISBN 1425971253
Price: $ 13.95
About the Book
Astrology and geopolitics may seem strange bedfellows, but
Soul-Sick Nation puts the two together to provide a perspective
as extraordinary as the times we are living in. Using the principles
of ancient wisdom to make sense of the current global situation,
this book invites us to look at the USA from the biggest possible
picture: that of cosmic meaning. With a rare blend of compassion,
humor and fearless taboo-busting, Soul-Sick Nation reveals
America's noble potential without sentiment and diagnoses
its neuroses without delusion, shedding new light on troubling
issues that the pundits and culture wars inflame but leave
painfully unresolved: the WTC bombings, the war in Iraq,
Islamic jihad, media propaganda, consumerism and the
American Dream.
In her interpretation of the birth chart of the entity born
July 4, 1776, Murray offers an in-depth analysis of America's
essential destiny--uncovering , chapter by chapter, the greater
purpose motivating this group soul. She shows how this
purpose has been distorted, and how it can be re-embraced
in the decades to come. She decodes current astrological
transits that express the key themes the USA must learn
in this period of millennial crisis—including that of the
responsibility of power—spelling out the profound lessons
the nation will face in the next few years.
Combining the rigor of a political theorist with the vision
of a master astrologer, this keenly intelligent book elucidates
the meaning of an epoch in distress, and proposes a path
towards healing—of the country and of its individual citizens.
Murray explains how each of us can come to terms with this
moment in history and arrive at a response that is unique
and creative. This book will leave you revitalized, shorn
of illusions and full of hope.
About the Author
"Jessica Murray's Soul-Sick Nation raises the symbol-system
of astrology to the level of a finely-honed tool for the critical
work of social insight and commentary. Her unflinching,
in-depth analysis answers a crying need of our time. Murray's
application of laser beam-lucid common sense analysis
to the mire of illusions we've sunken into as a nation is
a courageous step in the right direction... Just breathtaking! "
--Raye Robertson, author of Culture, Media and the Collective Mind
" Jessica Murray,..a choice-centered, psychospiritually- oriented
astrologer.. . has quietly made a real difference in the lives of her
clients, one at a time. In "Soul Sick Nation," she applies exactly those
same skills to understanding America as a whole. Starting from
the premise that the United States is currently a troubled adolescent,
she applies an unflinching gaze to reach an ultimately compassionate
conclusion about how we can heal ourselves and grow up."
- Steven Forrest, author of The Inner Sky and The Changing Sky
http://www.authorho e/ItemDetail~ bookid~41780. aspx

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Shop for a Donation at Al-Awda!
Interested in furthering your knowledge about Palestine
and its people?
Want to help make the Palestinian Right to Return a reality?
Looking for ways to show your support for Palestine and
Palestinian refugees?
Why not shop for a donation at Al-Awda
http://al-awda. org/shop. html
and help support a great organization and cause!!
Al-Awda offers a variety of educational materials including interesting
and unique books on everything from oral histories, photo books
on Palestinian refugees, to autobiographies, narratives, political
analysis, and culture. We also have historical maps of Palestine
(in Arabic and English), educational films, flags of various sizes,
and colorful greeting cards created by Palestinian children.
You can also show your support for a Free Palestine, and wear with
pride, great looking T-shirts, pendants, and a variety of Palestine pins.
Shop for a Donation at Al-Awda!
Visit http://al-awda. org/shop. html for these great items, and more!
The Educational Supplies Division
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
PO Box 131352
Carlsbad, CA 92013, USA
Tel: 760-685-3243
Fax: 360-933-3568
E-mail: info@al-awda. org
WWW: http://al-awda. org
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC), is a broad-
based, non-partisan, democratic, and charitable organization of
grassroots activists and students committed to comprehensive public
education about the rights of all Palestinian refugees to return to their
homes and lands of origin, and to full restitution for all their confiscated
and destroyed property in accordance with the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, International law and the numerous United Nations
Resolutions upholding such rights (see FactSheet). Al-Awda, PRRC
is a not for profit tax-exempt educational and charitable 501(c)(3)
organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the
United States of America. Under IRS guidelines, your donations
to Al-Awda, PRRC are tax-deductible.

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

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In an interview in March 1995 entitled, "Jesse Helms: Setting the
Record Straight" that appeared in the Middle East Quarterly, Helms
said, "I have long believed that if the United States is going to give
money to Israel, it should be paid out of the Department of Defense
budget. My question is this: If Israel did not exist, what would
U.S. defense costs in the Middle East be? Israel is at least the
equivalent of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Middle East. Without
Israel promoting its and America's common interests, we would
be badly off indeed."
(Jesse Helms was the senior senator from North Carolina and the
chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time.)
http://www.meforum. org/article/ 244

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These pdf files can be found on Michael Schiffmann's web site at:

http://againstthecr imeofsilence. de/english/ copy_of_mumia/ legalarchive/

The first brief is from the National Lawyers Guild.
The second brief is from the NAACP Legal Defense
and Educational Fund, Inc.

Howard Keylor
For the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

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


I urge everyone to get a copy of "Sir! No Sir!" at:
http://www.sirnosir .com/
It is an extremely informative and powerful film
of utmost importance today. I was a participant
in the anti-Vietnam war movement. What a
powerful thing it was to see troops in uniform
leading the march against the war! If you would
like to read more here are two very good

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


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

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

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein

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

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Stop funding Israel's war against Palestine
Complete the form at the website listed below with your information.
Personalize the message text on the right with
your own words, if you wish.
Click the Next Step button to send your letter
to these decision makers:
President George W. Bush
Vice President Richard 'Dick' B. Cheney
Your Senators
Your Representative
Go here to register your outrage:
https://secure2. pep/site/ Advocacy?
JServSessionIdr003= cga2p2o6x1. app2a&cmd= display&page= UserAction& id=177

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Idriss Stelley Foundation is in critical financial crisis, please help !
ISF is in critical financial crisis, and might be forced to close
its doors in a couple of months due to lack of funds to cover
DSL, SBC and utilities, which is a disaster for our numerous
clients, since the are the only CBO providing direct services
to Victims (as well as extended failies) of police misconduct
for the whole city of SF. Any donation, big or small will help
us stay alive until we obtain our 501-c3 nonprofit Federal
Status! Checks can me made out to
ISF, ( 4921 3rd St , SF CA 94124 ). Please consider to volunteer
or apply for internship to help covering our 24HR Crisis line,
provide one on one couseling and co facilitate our support
groups, M.C a show on SF Village Voice, insure a 2hr block
of time at ISF, moderate one of our 26 websites for ISF clients !
http://mysite. vzeo9ewi/ idrissstelleyfou ndation/
http://groups. group/isf23/
Report Police Brutality
24HR Bilingual hotline
(415) 595-8251
http://groups. group/Justice4As a/

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Appeal for funds:
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website http://dahrjamailir
Request for Support
Dahr Jamail will soon return to the Middle East to continue his
independent reporting. As usual, reporting independently is a costly
enterprise; for example, an average hotel room is $50, a fixer runs $50
per day, and phone/food average $25 per day. Dahr will report from the
Middle East for one month, and thus needs to raise $5,750 in order to
cover his plane ticket and daily operating expenses.
A rare opportunity has arisen for Dahr to cover several stories
regarding the occupation of Iraq, as well as U.S. policy in the region,
which have been entirely absent from mainstream media.
With the need for independent, unfiltered information greater than ever,
your financial support is deeply appreciated. Without donations from
readers, ongoing independent reports from Dahr are simply not possible.
All donations go directly towards covering Dahr's on the ground
operating expenses.
(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.

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Legal update on Mumia Abu-Jamal's case
Excerpts from a letter written by Robert R. Bryan, the lead attorney
for death row political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal.
...On July 20, 2006, we filed the Brief of Appellee and Cross
Appellant, Mumia Abu-Jamal, in the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia.
http://www.workers. org/2006/ us/mumia- 0810/

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Contact:  Nick Mottern, Consumers for Peace

Howard Zinn joins Kathy Kelly, Dahr Jamail, Ann Wright and Neil MacKay in
endorsing "War Crimes Committed by the United States in Iraq and
Mechanisms for Accountability."
The report was published internationally by 10 organizations in October.

"This report on the war crimes of the current administration is an
invaluable resource, with a meticulous presentation of the
evidence and an astute examination of international law.
- Howard Zinn. 

The 37 page report, written by Consumers for Peace with the
consultation of international humanitarian law expert Karen
Parker, JD, is available for free download at

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

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Oklahoma U's First African-American Speaker

Dear Representative Johnson:

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

I have a suggestion for including an important
moment in Oklahoma African-American
history in the displays.

The first African-American speaker at the
University of Oklahoma was Paul Boutelle,
in 1967.

He is still alive but has changed his name
to Kwame Somburu. I believe it would be
very appropriate also to invite Mr. Somburu
to attend the dedication ceremony for
this plaza. I correspond with him by email.

Here is a 1967 Sooner magazine article about his appearance:


Mike Wright

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Interesting web site with many flash films. The site is managed
by veteran James Starowicz, USN '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In-Country
'70-'71 Member: Veterans For Peace as well as other Veterans
and Pro-Peace Groups. Also Activist in other Area's, Questioning
Policies that only Benefit the Few, supporting Policies that Benefit
the Many and Move Us Forward as a Better Nation and World!
Politics: Registered Independent

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

Essential reading for understanding the development of Zionism
and Israel in the service of British and USA imperialism.
The full text of the book can be found for free at the
new Taking Aim web address:

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For those of you who don't know who Lynne Stewart is, go to
www.lynnestewart. org and get acquainted with Lynne and her
cause. Lynne is a criminal defense attorney who is being persecuted
for representing people charged with heinous crimes. It is a bedrock
of our legal system that every criminal defendant has a right to a
lawyer. Persecuting Lynne is an attempt to terrorize and intimidate
all criminal defense attorneys in this country so they will stop
representing unpopular people. If this happens, the fascist takeover
of this nation will be complete. We urge you all to go the website,
familiarize yourselves with Lynne and her battle for justice
www.lynnestewart. org

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Comité Nacional por la Libertad de los Cinco Cubanos
Who are the Cuban Five?
The Cuban Five are five Cuban men who are in U.S. prison, serving
four life sentences and 75 years collectively, after being wrongly
convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001.
They are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero,
Fernando González and René González.
The Five were falsely accused by the U.S. government of committing
espionage conspiracy against the United States, and other related
But the Five pointed out vigorously in their defense that they were
involved in monitoring the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups,
in order to prevent terrorist attacks on their country of Cuba.
The Five's actions were never directed at the U.S. government.
They never harmed anyone nor ever possessed nor used any
weapons while in the United States.
The Cuban Five's mission was to stop terrorism
For more than 40 years, anti-Cuba terrorist organizations based
in Miami have engaged in countless terrorist activities against
Cuba, and against anyone who advocates a normalization
of relations between the U.S. and Cuba. More than 3,000 Cubans
have died as a result of these terrorists' attacks.

Gerardo Hernández, 2 Life Sentences
Antonio Guerrero, Life Sentence
Ramon Labañino, Life Sentence
Fernando González, 19 Years
René González, 15 Years

Free The Cuban Five Held Unjustly In The U.S.!

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Eyewitness Account from Oaxaca
A website is now being circulated that has up-to-date info
and video that can be downloaded of the police action and
developments in Oaxaca. For those who have not seen it
elsewhere, the website is:
http://www.mexico. indymedia. org/oaxaca

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http://www.indybay. org

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

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

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

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"It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."
- Emilano Zapata
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Join the Campaign to
Shut Down the Guantanamo Torture Center
Go to:
to send a letter to Congress and the White House:
Shut Down Guantanamo and all torture centers and prisons.
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
http://www.ANSWERco http://www.actionsf .org
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Public Law print of PL 107-110, the No Child Left Behind
Act of 2001 [1.8 MB]
http://www.ed. gov/policy/ elsec/leg/ esea02/index. html
Also, the law is up before Congress again in 2007.
See this article from USA Today:
Bipartisan panel to study No Child Left Behind
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
February 13, 2006
http://www.usatoday .com/news/ education/ 2006-02-13- education- panel_x.htm

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

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

Bill of Rights constitution/ constitution. billofrights. html
http://www.indybay. org/news/ 2006/02/1805182. php

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -
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1) Gaza: While the world looked elsewhere,
another week of death and misery
By Donald Macintyre In Beit Hanoun
"But there is no dispute that the number of civilian deaths
from last Wednesday rose to 19 yesterday as one more man died
of his wounds. It is not lost around Hamad Street that this is more
than twice the number of Israeli civilians killed in six years
by the Qassam rockets Israel has been trying to halt."
Published: 11 November 2006

2) My Mother and Alzheimer’s. And cancer.
By Jack Herer

3) Immigrant Protection Rules Draw Fire
November 12, 2006

4) ¡Viva el Capitalismo!
Guatemala City
November 13, 2006

5) The Corporate Looting of the Gulf Coast
Robin Hood in Reverse
November 13, 2006

6) The Corporate End Run
New York Times Editorial
November 12, 2006

7) Wall Street Gets Ready for Rain
November 14, 2006, 6:38 am

8) Boy’s Death at China Hospital Spurs Riot Over Care and Fees
November 13, 2006

9) US: Immigrants May Be Held Indefinitely
November 13, 2006

10) The Democrats Don't Care
Screw the Palestinians, Full Steam Ahead

[From transcription recently posted on ICFFMAJ web site - Howard Keylor]
[Col. Writ. 11/5/06] Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

12) Marijuana
By Bonnie Weinstein
November 15, 2006

13) Iraq veteran - The body of a Camas man is coming home
while an investigation continues
The Oregonian
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

14) Texas Lawmakers Put New Focus on Illegal Immigration
November 16, 2006

Col. Writ. 10/19/06
Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

16) Hubble Telescope Makes New Discovery
Filed at 9:26 p.m. ET
November 16, 2006

17) 9 Billion-Year-Old ‘Dark Energy’ Reported
November 17, 2006

18) Hundreds, All Nonunion, Walk Out at Pork Plant in N.C.
November 17, 2006

19) Locals Accuse U.S. of Massacre in Ramadi
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

20) Farmers in Dire Straights
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

21) Press Release from the Central Bank of Cuba
Havana. November 17, 2006
http://www.granma. cu/ingles/ 2006/noviembre/ vier17/48banco. html

22) Victory in San Francisco on November 14:
Board of Ed. Votes to Phase Out JROTC!
Student Activist Receives
Threats For Opposing JROTC


24) The Ghosts of 1898
Wilmington's race riot and the rise of white supremacy
Timothy B. Tyson, Special to the News & Observer

25) Education Under Siege
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily
Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches

26) Another 1934 Is Just around the Corner
By The Editors of Socialist Viewpoint
Socialist Viewpoint

27) A New Class War: The Haves vs. the Have Mores
November 19, 2006


1) Gaza: While the world looked elsewhere,
another week of death and misery
By Donald Macintyre In Beit Hanoun
"But there is no dispute that the number of civilian deaths
from last Wednesday rose to 19 yesterday as one more man died
of his wounds. It is not lost around Hamad Street that this is more
than twice the number of Israeli civilians killed in six years
by the Qassam rockets Israel has been trying to halt."
Published: 11 November 2006

Majdi Saad Athamneh couldn't easily explain why he had come back
after Friday prayers yesterday to the now empty, four-storey breeze-
block building where it had all happened two days earlier. "I don't
know," he said in hesitant English. "It's the house where I was born
and lived all my life. What can I say?"

It was also, he didn't need to remind anybody, the house outside
which he had passed the most hellish 15 minutes he will ever
live through.

Forty-eight hours earlier he had been in the morgue at Kamal
Adwan hospital distraught and weeping as he wrote down the
names on a cigarette packet while the refrigeration trays were
opened in turn to reveal the bodies of his 10-year-old son,
Saad, three of his brothers and nine of his other close relatives,
lost as they tried to flee through the choking smoke and dust
from the barrage of shells fired by an Israeli artillery battery.
The puddles in the dirt road beside the building through which
the family had tried to flee were no longer dark red with blood
as they had been on Wednesday. Someone, too, had moved
the chickens killed by shrapnel from the backyard. But last
Tuesday's wash was still there, women's long dresses, a child's
frayed orange tracksuit trousers, some blouses, hanging
from poles dislodged by the blasts.

The Western world, which was anyway more interested by the
count in the state of Virginia than the catastrophe in Beit Hanoun,
has no doubt already moved on. For the Athamneh family,
now in their second day of mourning after the funerals,
it is impossible to do so.

Majdi's cousin Munir Athamneh, 36, who had lived across
the road, sat smoking a cigarette and weeping yesterday,
hunched and alone in the doorway of the building. He pointed
to the still visible patches of blood on the ground across
the alley where he had first seen, amid the confusion and
screams of panic, the bodies of his two brothers lying by the
wall. He, too, struggled to explain his presence here two
days later. "I came to see," he said simply.

Five miles away from here and an hour or so earlier, the
poverty-stricken and increasingly desperate 1.3 million
residents of Gaza had been thrown what may prove their first
real lifeline since the beginning of international economic
blockade against the new Hamas government they had elected
almost 10 months ago. Ishmail Haniyeh, the Palestinian Prime
Minister, offered publicly to step down if it was necessary
to ease the boycott. He was cheered by stunned worshippers
when he announced at a Gaza City mosque: "When the issue
of the siege is on one side, and my being Prime Minister
is on the other, let the siege be lifted to end the suffering
of the Palestinian people."

While the carnage in Beit Hanoun may have stimulated further
popular demand for the Palestinian factions to resolve their
differences in the face of external attack, it isn't the main reason
for Mr Haniyeh's declaration. It could presage the long talked
about "national unity" government which President Mahmoud
Abbas hopes will persuade the international community -
among other things - to pressure Israel to pay up the $60m
a month in duties it owes the Palestinian Authority so that
salaries can be paid to the tens of thousands of employees
on whom Gaza and West Bank income is now so disproportionately

For now at any rate, it will have little meaning for the Athamneh
family, immersed in its private grief. It is unlikely, for example,
to console Majdi's surviving brother, Ibrahim Athamneh, 26,
whose wife, lying in intensive care in Shifa, has yet to be told
that their infant daughter, Malak, is dead. Even less so 11-year-
old Mustafa Athamneh, whose mother, Nihad, 33, was killed
in the alley, whose two brothers, Yazin and Saqr, are in Shifa
hospital in Gaza City, and whose 13-year-old brother, Saeb,
has been transferred to the Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv with
severe head injuries.

As friends and neighbours continued to arrive at the blue
mourning tent 150 yards from the now-deserted family home,
Mustafa, the arm of his widowed father Usama around his
shoulder, was unable to stop crying. "I have no one to play
with," he had said a few minutes earlier. "I have no one
around me."

The sense of loss and survivor guilt he will have to grow
up with is scarcely imaginable. "I was with my mother when
she fell down," he said. "I ran away. I haven't slept for two
days and nights."

Yesterday, red-eyed but eager now to get the details right,
Majdi, who had barely been able to speak on Wednesday,
described how he had rushed out into the alley with his wife
and children after the first shell hit the roof only to see Saad,
semi conscious and gasping after being struck by the second
shell, lying on the ground. He had rushed to the end of the
alley, turning right into Hamad Street, to try and summon
help or an ambulance, but was halted in his tracks by third
shell. As he turned back, a fourth shell, he said, struck the
building, killing Saad. He picked the child up in his arms and
ran back and turned left into the street. Before he could reach
the crossroad 50 metres away, a fifth landed. He believes this
was the shell which killed four of his female relatives.

The more grief stricken the family members, the less inclined
they are to mouth political slogans or, for the most part,
to engage in open debate over whether the tactic of Qassams
has brought more suffering to Palestinians than to Israelis.
But they react with near-universal disbelief at Israel's depiction
of the artillery barrage as a "technical malfunction", or at the
idea that its targeting could not have been observed in real time
by one of the units among the military presence in the vicinity.
"One or two shells might be a mistake but not 15 or 20," said
Ibrahim Al Athamneh. The number of shells was probably closer
to 12. But there is no dispute that the number of civilian deaths
from last Wednesday rose to 19 yesterday as one more man died
of his wounds. It is not lost around Hamad Street that this is more
than twice the number of Israeli civilians killed in six years
by the Qassam rockets Israel has been trying to halt.

Reflecting for a moment on the meaning of the attack, Majdi
allowed himself one political statement - a reference to the
newest Israeli Cabinet member, the hard-right nationalist
Avigdor Liberman. "It's a present for the deputy Prime Minister,"
he said. "The man who said he wanted to turn Gaza into Chechnya."

A bloody week
Two Palestinian militants are killed and several injured in an
Israeli missile strike near Jabalya.
Israeli missile aimed at a group of militants lands near a Palestinian
kindergarten, killing a teenage boy, critically wounding a teacher
and seriously wounding eight children. A female Palestinian suicide
bomber blows herself up near Israeli troops in Beit Hanoun, injuring
one soldier.
Eight Palestinians are killed by Israeli soldiers in separate incidents.
Hamas fires six rockets into Israeli town of Ashkelon. Israel says
it has completed its week-long Gaza operation in Beit Hanoun
which killed 60 gunmen and civilians.
Nineteen civilians killed in artillery barrage in Beit Hanoun, including
13 members of a single Palestinian family.
Two Palestinians reported missing after Israeli missile attack
on home of a militant leader. Israeli drones buzz funeral
of victims of Beit Hanoun attack.
The death toll from Beit Hanoun rises as Israeli hospital officials
confirm that one of the wounded transferred to Israel, has died.


2) My Mother and Alzheimer’s. And cancer.
By Jack Herer

Around 1983, when my mother was 75 years old, she was in the first
stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She came out to California from Miami
Beach for six weeks to visit my children and me. My son, Barry went
into the airport to get her, while I waited in the car. Although she had
just seen him the year before, she didn’t recognize him and thought
he was trying to pick her up. My older sister, Marlene, explained
to me that was a symptom of the disease.

At that time, I was just beginning to write a book called “The Emperor
Wears No Clothes” about the history of hemp, including the medical
history of cannabis. I had read many reports about diseases being
treated with cannabis, including the first reports on Alzheimer’s
disease and dementia. One report said that if you smoke marijuana
morning, noon and night you won’t have a problem with Alzheimer’s.
It won’t go away but it won’t progress and may even go backwards
a little bit.

My mother didn’t smoke except for maybe 10 tobacco cigarettes
a year. When she came to California I gave her marijuana morning,
noon and night. She smoked it and ate it. She had never tried it before.

Prior to this, I was never able to really talk to my mother. Our
conversations always consisted of her telling me to “don’t do this”
or “don’t do that.” Now, for the first time, I was able to talk
to my mother about everything including politics, family and
about when she first came to the U.S. from Poland 60 years
before. It was the most wonderful time in my whole life being
able to talk with my mother like that. My only regret was that
I didn’t give it to her when she was 45 or 55.

After six weeks she had no symptoms of Alzheimer’s whatsoever.
Then it was time for her to go back to Miami Beach to my stepfather.
I sent her back with about 60 joints. I was planning on sending
her 60 already rolled joints a month.

When she got home she showed her husband what she was doing
and he had a fit about her smoking so she quit. He said “You can’t
smoke marijuana. I don’t care if you think it’s good for you or not.
It’s against the law.” They threw away the 60 joints.

Two years later my mother got so bad she was put into a hospital.
One year later she didn’t recognize me or my children at all.
She died in 1990. The last 4 years she didn’t recognize me
at all when I came to visit.

When I wrote the first edition (106 pages) of my book, I wrote
that Alzheimer’s disease is best treated by using marijuana
morning, noon, and night (not once in a while). Everyone
thought I was crazy, including my brother and sister.

I have kept up on all the information about marijuana for the
last 30 years. I’ve known about the preliminary studies
for Alzheimer’s since the early ‘80s.

Two weeks ago it was reported on CNN and newspapers
throughout the world that using marijuana is the best treatment
for Alzheimer’s. If you use marijuana morning, noon and night
it won’t progress. You may even get better. If you start using
it when you’re 20 or 30 or 40, your chances are high you will
not get Alzheimer’s. Cannabis has been proven to be many
times more effective than the drugs currently being used
to treat it. But marijuana is illegal in most places.

Thirty percent of all medicines used 100 to 200 years ago
were made out of compounds of natural marijuana. In 1964,
researchers discovered the main ingredient is THC. No one
has ever died from using marijuana.

In 1974, Virginia Medical College in Richmond, Virginia did
research on tumors of the lung, brain, liver and kidney using
mice and rats. Incredible things were done. The cancer stopped
growing and in most cases even reversed itself 100 percent.
Some of the mice who were given cancer and treated with
cannabis actually lived longer than some of the control mice
who were not even given cancer! It was found that marijuana
is the best thing to treat cancer of the lungs, brain, etc. After
that they were stopped from doing anymore research at all
by first Nixon and then Ford. No research with positive results
could be done, only research with negative results. That’s the
way it’s been since 1975 until now, even though a 1999
marijuana study turned out to be positive also.

You live almost two years longer if you smoke marijuana morning,
noon and night. This was the result of the most extensive research
ever done (from 1968 to 1974). It was a $6,000,000 study done
by Dr. Vera Ruben in Jamaica and Costa Rica. Today that same
research would cost $150,000,000. If you smoke cigarettes and
drink alcohol, you will lose approximately 8-24 years off your life.
If you don’t smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol you will live (in the U.S.)
until about 76 for a man and 78 for a woman. But if you smoke
marijuana and don’t smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol, you live
about two years longer than that.

When this study came out in 1974, Nixon and then Ford dropped
the most expensive research ever done on anything whatsoever.
No more research of any type could be done on marijuana to prove
the positive effects, only negative effects. From 1984 until now.

Read my book “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” and get mad.
The chapters are online free on this website.

The reason I am writing this is because my friend, Ed Rosenthal, is
on trial for marijuana. He was convicted in federal court two years
ago and was sentenced to one day in prison by a federal judge.
Ed fought this one day conviction and now the federal government
is indicting him again. Ed and others in the hemp movement
are the real American heroes and our government leaders
are the real criminals.

Please get this information out to everyone you know.


3) Immigrant Protection Rules Draw Fire
November 12, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 9 — Dr. Stephen B. Turner built a profitable
business here by providing low-cost “immigrant medical exams,”
including immunizations and blood tests, to hundreds of newcomers
to America. Many of his clients did not speak English, but they paid
in cash, spending a total of nearly $250,000 at Dr. Turner’s practice
from 2003 to 2005.

It was only later, after a tip from a suspicious client, that the San
Francisco police and the district attorney’s office learned the truth:
Dr. Turner had been throwing out his clients’ blood samples
and injecting them with “inoculations” of saline.

Kamala D. Harris, the San Francisco district attorney, said the case,
which led to a seven-year prison term for Dr. Turner, was one
of many her office had been able to pursue under San Francisco’s
so-called sanctuary policy, which forbids police and city officials
from asking people they encounter in the course of an investigation
about their immigration status. It is a protection Ms. Harris says
has made immigrants — legal and illegal — more willing to come
to forward about crimes.

With immigration continuing to flare and frustrate as a national
political issue, sanctuary cities like San Francisco may soon be the
next battlefront. Critics argue that sanctuary policies discourage
the police from enforcing laws, though about 50 cities and counties
have enacted variations on sanctuary, according to the National
Immigration Law Center. They include Detroit, Los Angeles, New
York and Washington. A handful of states have similar policies,
including Alaska, Maine and Oregon.

Conservative legal groups and politicians have begun to challenge
such policies. Yet on the other side, cities like Chicago have
announced they will avoid involving their police in issues that
smack of federal immigration enforcement. And while a federal
proposal to punish sanctuary cities recently failed to become
law, some states have passed laws discouraging sanctuary

“To say to a law enforcement official, if you encounter a foreign
national who is in this country illegally and you believe that
information would be of use and benefit to federal authorities,
that you can’t call them, that’s just wrong,” said Representative
John Campbell, Republican of California, who authored a provision
in the federal Homeland Security bill that would have denied
federal antiterrorism money to cities with sanctuary policies.
The provision passed the House, but was not part of the bill
eventually signed by President Bush.

But even with Democrats in control of Congress, immigration
hard-liners say the issue is here to stay.

“It’s mind-blowing for us to see taxpayer dollars spent to subsidize
criminal activity — that’s the end result,” said Christopher J. Farrell,
director of research for Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group
that is suing the Los Angeles Police Department over its sanctuary rule.

Some states have also taken up the issue. In Colorado, a law signed
by the governor in May prevents localities from passing ordinances
that stop officials or police from communicating or cooperating
with federal officials on immigration.

Other states have taken up larger immigration issues involving local
cooperation with the federal authorities. A Georgia law enacted
in April authorizes the state to enter into an agreement with federal
officials to train and certify state law enforcement officials to enforce
immigration. The Georgia law also requires the police to make a
“reasonable effort” to determine the legal status of those they
arrest for felonies or drunken driving.

Both the Colorado and Georgia laws include some protections
against and stiffer penalties for exploitation of illegal immigrants.

In September, a sanctuary debate erupted in Houston after an illegal
immigrant was accused of killing a police officer. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs,
a Republican city councilwoman who ran for Congress as an unsuccessful
write-in candidate in place of former Representative Tom DeLay, called
on the mayor to declare the city off-limits to illegal immigrants.

“Terrorists, drug runners and cartel members could be among
us, and police officers are not allowed to check their identities,”
Ms. Sekula-Gibbs wrote in an e-mail message to supporters.
“Why? Because some politicians fear that asking people who
have no ID about their legal status might intimidate all illegals
into not reporting crimes. This policy of appeasement must
be stopped.”

Craig E. Ferrell Jr., general counsel for the Houston Police
Department, said the city did not have a formal sanctuary
policy. But he said a tangle of laws — police codes and legal
decisions, including those involving racial profiling and the
Fourth Amendment guarantee against unlawful search and
seizure — required caution by police officers.

“We’re not just trying to be obstructionist or not trying to help,”
Mr. Ferrell said. “What we’re against is the federal government
mandating that local enforcement be initiated without addressing
these issues.”

Sanctuary supporters have pushed back. In San Francisco, Supervisor
Gerardo C. Sandoval — who authored a resolution affirming
the city’s policy, which dates to 1989 — said the federal government
was simply trying to pass the buck for failing to secure federal borders.

“If they want to enforce the law,” Mr. Sandoval said, “they should
put troops on the ground to do that.”

Lt. Paul Vernon, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department,
which has operated under sanctuary guidelines since 1979, said,
“We didn’t want people to fear cooperating with police.” Lieutenant
Vernon added, “And the local police department job is not to enforce
the federal immigration law.”

An organization of police chiefs, the Major Cities Chiefs Association,
said that requiring the local police to enforce immigration policy
did not “take into full account the realities of local law enforcement
dealing with this issue on the ground.” The association said
its concerns included a lack of authority, training, and resources,
as well as risks of liability.

Advocates for illegal immigrants, meanwhile, said they feared that
getting rid of sanctuary rules would encourage immigrant communities
not to report crime, including human and drug trafficking, prostitution,
domestic violence, and even terrorism.

“Once the police are seen as agents of the immigration service,
it discourages and deters immigrant communities from going
to the police,” said Lucas Guttentag, the director of the Immigrants’
Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. “There’s a whole
mixture of people in these communities — some recent, some illegal
— and its going to cause the entire community to fear going to the
police if they feel going to the local cop is essentially going to the
immigration service.”

But opponents say localities should be forced to participate in solving
some of the problems that accompany illegal immigration.

“You can’t have it both ways,” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for
the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which lobbies for
stronger immigration enforcement. “If you want to harbor people
who are in the country illegally, you can’t expect to have federal
funds for issues that arise from having illegal people in your

Sanctuary policies are often less sweeping than opponents make
them out to be. In San Francisco, for example, where resources
cannot be used in immigration investigations, the police can inquire
about immigration status in felony or drug cases.

Joan Friedland, an immigration lawyer for the National Immigration
Law Center, said the concept of sanctuary cities was often misunderstood
and that it gave the impression that such cities were lawless havens
for illegal immigrants.

“It’s not like people, if they are charged with a crime, they just escape
immigration,” Ms. Friedland said. “Even the cities that have ordinances
limiting inquiries about immigration status cooperate and are in touch
with the Department of Homeland Security when a serious crime
is involved.”


4) ¡Viva el Capitalismo!
Guatemala City
November 13, 2006

THE irony could not be more poignant. Twenty years ago today,
Ronald Reagan went on national television and admitted
his government’s involvement in an arms deal with Iran,
the proceeds of which, we later found out, were diverted
to the contra rebels fighting a Marxist regime in Central
America. Now Daniel Ortega, the man those funds were
aimed against, has just been elected president of Nicaragua.

And the irony does not stop there. A few days before last
week’s elections, Oliver North, the face of the Iran-contra
scandal, landed in Managua and asked Nicaraguans to vote
for the right-wing Liberal Constitutionalist Party, which
is made up in part of old contra sympathizers, and
to stop Mr. Ortega.

Whatever else he might have been doing all these years,
Mr. North has not been following Nicaraguan politics:
for the last seven years, the Liberal Constitutionalists
have been allied with Mr. Ortega’s Sandinistas, and they
paved the way for Mr. Ortega’s victory by lowering the
electoral bar for a first-round victory and by helping
split the anti-Sandinista vote. The Gipper must be
turning in his grave.

Some will be tempted to conclude that Mr. Ortega’s
return amounts to a revival of the cold war dynamic
in the Western Hemisphere and, in particular, to a
retrospective impugning of Reagan’s policy in Central
America. Some might also be inclined to see the vote
as a confirmation that the radical left is sweeping Latin
America and that the Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez,
who supported Mr. Ortega and provides municipalities
under Sandinista governments with fertilizer and oil,
has scored a strategic victory.

That would be giving too much credit to Nicaragua, which
is today a political and economic pygmy in the region;
to left-wing radicalism, which had little to do with
Mr. Ortega’s comeback; and to Mr. Chávez, whose
favored candidates were recently repudiated in Peru
and in Mexico, the two countries where he concentrated
most of his efforts.

Daniel Ortega’s comeback is the result of two factors.
One is the power-sharing pact that the former President
Arnoldo Alemán sealed with the Sandinistas in 1999, with
a view to protecting himself and his Liberal Constitutionalist
cronies from charges of corruption after leaving office.
(It didn’t work out well for Mr. Alemán, who in 2003 was
given a 20-year sentence.) The deal they came up with
gave Mr. Ortega, who was politically moribund at the time,
the kiss of life and gave the Sandinistas seats on the Supreme
Court and control of some key institutions, including
the election authority.

The other factor was Mr. Ortega’s betrayal of his own
creed. The Sandinista leader shed his Marxist rhetoric and,
conscious of the need to seduce a profoundly Catholic
nation, mended fences with the Roman Catholic Church
he had once persecuted. His old nemesis, Cardinal Miguel
Obando, presided over the religious (should I say bourgeois?)
ceremony in which Mr. Ortega married his longtime partner
last year.

The man responsible for the infamous “piñata” — a series
of laws put in place just before he lost power in 1990 that
allowed the Sandinista leaders to take for themselves
confiscated property worth hundreds of millions of dollars
— is now talking about his respect for private property
and foreign investment.

He has tossed the olive green fatigues and the red and
black flag; his campaign colors were pink and turquoise,
and his theme song a Spanish version of John Lennon’s
“Give Peace a Chance.” He apologized for the massacre
of the indigenous Miskito people that took place in the
north of the country during his first regime and, finally,
he instructed his legislators to vote for a bill banning
abortion even in cases of a threat to the woman’s life.

What this farcical saga tells us is that Daniel Ortega was
much more interested in being president than in being
principled and, more important, that anyone who wants
to lead today’s Nicaragua needs to persuade voters that
he will respect the rule of law and private property, will
try to lure investment and will be sensitive to the nation’s
religious heritage. The fact that Mr. Ortega’s past conduct
casts a shadow over the proclamation that he is a reformed
character does not detract from the fact that Nicaragua
has not voted for radical leftist policies.

What about the broader claims — that Mr. Ortega’s victory
is a confirmation that radical left-wing politics are back in
Latin America? True, in addition to Mr. Chávez, leftists have
taken power in Brazil, Chile, Panama, and Uruguay.
(Mr. Chávez’s efforts have apparently led the Bush administration
to quietly lift a ban on the training of military personnel from
11 Latin American countries in the United States.) But these
other Latin American socialists belong to the “vegetarian left”
rather than the “carnivorous left.” Other than the occasional
Castro-like rhetorical flourish, the new leaders are avoiding
the mistakes of the old left, including confrontation with the
United States and Europe, fiscal profligacy and nationalization
of industry.

Hugo Chávez has been unable to reproduce his regime in any
other country except in Bolivia, where President Evo Morales
is now increasingly unpopular and has been forced to backtrack
on some of his revolutionary announcements. Mr. Morales,
for example, campaigned on a promise to force the nationalization
of Bolivia’s natural gas fields, but last month came to a deal
in which two major Brazilian companies agreed to share revenues
and operate as service providers to the state energy company.
He even sent his vice president to Washington in July to appeal
to the White House for renewed trade preferences.

And in the week since his victory, Mr. Ortega has been sending
the signal that he thinks joining the “vegetarians” will bring him
more credit than being a clone of Hugo Chávez without the oil.
“No one is going to allow the seizure of property big or small,”
he told a group of Nicaraguan businessmen after his victory.
“We need to eradicate poverty, but you don’t do that by getting
rid of investment and those who have resources.”

Now, whether the moderate left will continue to enjoy the
support of the masses is an entirely different question. Since
many of these new leaders are not engaging in systematic
reform, it is likely that voters will hold them to account
should their economies — now buoyed by the forces
of globalization, through rising exports and foreign
investment — start to sag. But for the moment, it’s their
show, and the carnivores are outside looking in.

In a sense, these moderate left-wing leaders, perhaps
now including Mr. Ortega, are a lot more in sync with what
Ronald Reagan and his men were aiming for in Central
America in the 1980s than Oliver North would care to
admit. As they fall over themselves pandering to the
church, the business community and conservative voters,
there’s little time left over for creating a New Man.

Álvaro Vargas Llosa, the author of “Liberty for Latin America,”
is the director of the Center on Global Prosperity at the
Independent Institute in Washington.


5) The Corporate Looting of the Gulf Coast
Robin Hood in Reverse
November 13, 2006

Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. On the Gulf
Coast, the reverse is happening. Federal state and local governments
are teaming up with corporations and developers to systematically
steal hurricane relief funds from the poor to enrich themselves.

Billions of dollars were given to help the communities damaged
by Katrina. The people gave this money to help the working,
elderly and disabled people of the Gulf Coast rebuild and restart
their lives after Katrina.

The need is still great. Over three hundred thousand people
remain displaced from the City of New Orleans alone. Hundreds
of thousands of others on the rest of the Gulf Coast are also not
home. Over 80,000 families in Louisiana are living in FEMA trailers.
Texas says they have 250,000 displaced people and Georgia
reports another 100,000.

Tragically, money that was supposed to go to those in need
is instead being diverted by federal, state and local politicians
and corporations who have swooped down on these billions
and are taking them for other purposes.

Example one. Congress allocated $10.4 billion through the
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to
rebuild Louisiana. By law, over 50% of these funds are
supposed to benefit low and moderate income people

As of November 1, 2006, only eighteen people have actually
received any of this money to fix up their homes, out
of over 77,000 homeowners who have applied
for assistance. Yes, only 18!

Louisiana cannot get the money to those in need, but it has
managed to start paying a corporate management company,
ICF International, $756 million over the next three years.
This is very big for ICF, whose total revenue in 2005
was $177 million.

While tens of thousands of homeowners wait for assistance,
renters are not even on the list. Not a single dollar of CDBG
money is allocated directly to any of the renters devastated
by Katrina, despite the fact that over 50% of the people
in New Orleans were renters.

Example two. Louisiana is giving $200 million in CDBG
federal hurricane relief funds to bail out a private utility
corporation, Entergy New Orleans. This corporation pleads
poverty despite being a subsidiary of its parent Entergy Inc.
which reported a net cash flow of $777 million dollars
for the third quarter of 2006.

Worse, Louisiana is saying this $200 million in CDBG funds
counts as a contribution to the low and moderate income
people of New Orleans most of whom have not even
made it back to the city.

Example three. U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD),
which has taken over the local Housing Authority of New
Orleans (HANO), is seeking millions in hurricane relief tax
credits to demolish over 5000 apartments. Since Katrina,
HUD and HANO have barred thousands of families from
returning to their apartments. All the renters are African
American, most are mothers and grandmothers. Some
are elderly and disabled. Private apartments are out
of the question as rent in the New Orleans area is up
nearly 80% over last year.

These apartments are safe and could have already been
repaired, but almost all the maintenance workers were fired.
A professor from MIT recently inspected the apartments and
declared they are structurally sound and are in better shape
than most of the rest of the housing in New Orleans.

Residents still living in Texas and Georgia are pleading
to return to their apartments and promise to clean up the
apartments themselves if only the government will take
the bars off the doors and windows.

Developers and the agencies want to tear these apartments
down and build other mixed income housing. They say there
is only a short window of opportunity available to get hurricane
tax credits to demolish and redevelop so it does not make
financial sense to repair the apartments.

After taking millions in hurricane relief money will the developers
still provide affordable housing to 5000 families? Absolutely
not. HUD flatly says that everyone who lived in these apartments
before Katrina will not have a home after the developers
are finished. Public housing residents remember a 1600
apartment development was demolished before Katrina
and only 100 families have been allowed to live in the
new place.

A hopeful sign is that Amnesty International USA has joined
in on the side of local residents and affordable housing allies.
AIUSA has mounted a campaign calling on people across the
country to "stand with Katrina survivors and call for HUD
to stop the destruction of housing for low-income residents."

Meanwhile, disaster profiteering continues. The Gulf
Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 was established by Congress
to rebuild the communities devastated by Hurricanes Katrina
and Rita. So far, this has been used to subsidize all kinds
of private projects including the building of a mall
for Target and JC Penny in Lafayette, expanding
an auto dealership in Baton Rouge, converting
a plantation in Livingston into a hotel.

This corporate plundering follows the path taken in the
immediate days after Katrina when politically connected
corporations were given hundreds of millions of no-bid
contracts. Ashbritt of Florida was awarded a contract
over $500 million to clean up debris in Mississippi despite
not owning a single dump truck. Ashbritt had paid a GOP
lobbyist firm $40,000 right before the storm and another
$50,000 directly to the GOP the year before.

Ceres Environmental of Brooklyn Park, MN was given a $500
million contract for debris removal in LA by the Corps
of Engineers. In the previous 4 years, the company had
received a total of $29 million in government contracts.
The Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance listed
the company as a provider of "yard waste compost and
horticultural potting soil."

Circle B Enterprises was awarded $287 million in contracts
by FEMA to build trailers despite not even being licensed
to build homes in its own state of Georgia and filing for
bankruptcy in 2003. The company does not even have
a website.

Other corporations profiting off the devastation include
Bechtel, Blackwater, CH2M Hill, Fluor, Halliburton subsidiary
KBR and many others.

There has been no real oversight of these misdeeds. The only
criminal charges filed have been against individuals who ripped
off programs for a couple of hundred or a few thousand dollars.
Most recently, the Department of Justice triumphantly announced
to the press that they had issued an indictment for abuse
of Katrina funds of a man who illegally received Katrina
unemployment benefits while still working! Meanwhile,
hundreds of millions are being diverted without a peep
from the government.

The people of New Orleans and the Gulf coast are fighting
against the robbing of the poor and the looting of hurricane
relief funds, but the clock is ticking.

Before long, there will be no money left. The generosity
of those who contributed to help those harmed by Katrina will
be snugly in the pockets of developers and corporations.
Affordable housing will remain scarce. The working poor,
the elderly and the disabled will remain displaced. The next
disaster will occur and this will happen again.

Support the people and community organizations of the gulf
coast in this fight. Raise righteous and holy hell! Join with Amnesty
International USA in the human rights campaign to stop
the demolition of affordable housing. Ask your federal
elected officials for an immediate investigation into the looting
of the Gulf Coast. We need your help, before all the money is gone.

Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer and professor at Loyola
University New Orleans College of Law. Bill and Dan Gregor
assisted the defendants in this matter. You can reach Bill

If you want to know more, check out
and look at the CorpWatch report,
"Big, Easy Money: Disaster Profiteering on the American Gulf Coast."


6) The Corporate End Run
New York Times Editorial
November 12, 2006

Corporate profits are at record levels. The Dow, too, has climbed past
its high-water mark from the dot-com era. Executives reap bigger
and bigger paydays, even as wages have stagnated. Meanwhile,
the widening investigation into stock-option backdating reminds
us that the corporate malfeasance era was much more than just
a couple of bad apples like Enron and WorldCom.

It seems almost unbelievable, then, that corporate America
would pick this moment to beg for relaxed regulation and
enforcement, as well as more protection from investors’ lawsuits.
But as Stephen Labaton reported recently in The Times, industry
groups are seeking broad new protections for corporations
and accounting firms, not through legislation but from the
Bush administration through agency rule changes.

The rationale is that the high cost of complying with the
corporate governance law, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, along with
runaway lawsuits have scared foreign companies away from
American stock exchanges. The timing is particularly odd given
that the compliance costs associated with the much-reviled
Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley — which requires audits
of companies’ internal financial controls — fell last year,
as did the number of investor lawsuits, for the second
year in a row.

What has actually happened is that opponents of regulation
believe that the coast is clear. The law’s namesakes, Paul
Sarbanes and Michael Oxley, are retiring. Kenneth Lay of
Enron is dead. The time appears ripe for rollbacks.

Advocates of big business like to point to a sharp decline
in the United States’ share of global initial stock offerings
between 2000 and 2005, hoping that everyone will infer that
the cause was the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley in 2002. In fact,
that share had been declining since 1996, even before the
Asian financial crisis. It hit bottom in 2001 and has risen since.

United States markets lost their dominance of initial stock
offerings for numerous reasons that had little to do with
regulation. Some of last year’s biggest deals were Chinese
and French privatizations. Markets elsewhere are bigger and
more liquid than they once were. There are also intangibles,
such as America’s recent unpopularity, increased barriers for
visa seekers and extraordinary budget and trade deficits,
which might make an issuer think twice about a dollar-
denominated stock.

The London Stock Exchange, one of the leading beneficiaries
of the American decline, commissioned a study showing that
underwriting fees in London are just 3 percent to 4 percent
of a transaction, compared with an average of 6.5 percent
to 7 percent in the United States.

When workers confront globalization, they are told to adapt,
take their pink slips and go to night school. It is the harsh
downside of an integrated world economy that has on balance
significantly enriched the country. When financiers feel the
pinch from competition in Hong Kong and London, they
run to the Bush administration for rule changes.

America’s investor protections and corporate regulations
have made it a nation of share owners, with almost
57 million American households owning stocks either
directly or through mutual funds. The Securities and
Exchange Commission has already signaled that it will
smooth the implementation of Sarbanes-Oxley, especially
for smaller companies. And abuses of the private litigation
system like pay-to-play should be stopped. There is room
for reform. But over all, the system is working. It may
need tweaks, but it does not need a revamping.


7) Wall Street Gets Ready for Rain
November 14, 2006, 6:38 am

The sun is shining now, but many financial firms seem to be gearing
up for a storm. The latest bellwether, as reported Tuesday in The
New York Times, is Perella Weinberg Partners‘ decision to acquire
Kramer Capital Partners, a small firm established last year by Michael
Kramer, a restructuring whiz formerly with Greenhill & Company.
Kramer Capital advises companies and creditors in bankruptcy
and out-of-court restructurings, and the deal suggests that Perella
Weinberg, a new investment banking boutique with high-profile
founders, expects this sort of workout activity to increase.

Other examples abound. Duff & Phelps, an investment bank
known for providing valuation services, recently agreed to buy
Chanin Capital Partners, a firm that is a leading adviser
to creditors in major bankruptcy cases.

AlixPartners, which has advised some of the largest corporate
debtors in recent years in their bankruptcy proceedings, including
WorldCom and Kmart, recently received an investment from
a private equity firm, Hellman & Friedman, which is the largest
single shareholder of the Nasdaq Stock Market. That transaction
put an enterprise value of more than $800 million on AlixPartners,
the firm said.

The activity is especially notable because corporate default rates
are near historic lows. Most companies have found it exceedingly
easy to get new loans or refinance their existing debt, which
has masked a multitude of sins.

But companies may be getting complacent. As The New York
Times’s Floyd Norris reported last week, the median debt rating
for nonfinancial companies in the United States is BB, or relatively
high-quality junk. A decade ago, the median rating was BBB,
an investment grade rating.

This trend toward lower-rated credit — and more highly leveraged
balance sheets — may cause problems if lenders and purchasers
of bonds become less willing to hold speculative-grade debt.
The result could be a rash of defaults, which seems to be just
what firms such as Perella Weinberg are bracing for.


8) Boy’s Death at China Hospital Spurs Riot Over Care and Fees
November 13, 2006

BEIJING, Nov. 12 — Some 2,000 people mobbed and ransacked
a hospital in southwestern China on Friday in a dispute over medical
fees and shoddy health care practices, a human rights group
said Sunday.

At least 10 people were injured when the police broke up the
demonstration at Guang’an City No. 2 People’s Hospital, said
the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, based
in Hong Kong. The area, in Sichuan Province, was described
as under tight police control on Sunday, with at least five
people detained on suspicion of instigating a riot.

The unrest erupted after a 3-year-old boy died in the hospital,
where he had been taken for emergency treatment after ingesting
pesticides. Reports conflicted about how much medical
care he had received.

The human rights group said in a faxed statement that
essential medical care had been denied the boy until his
grandfather, who was taking care of him, could pay.
The boy died after the grandfather left to raise money,
the group said.

An official report from the New China News Agency
confirmed that a dispute over medical fees had occurred
at the hospital, but also said that doctors there had
treated the boy even though the grandfather had
not been able to pay the $82 bill.

Local residents who heard about the incident staged
a demonstration at the hospital that quickly turned
violent. People smashed windows and destroyed
equipment at the six-story building. The human
rights group said three police vans had been

The New China News Agency did not report the
demonstration or the police crackdown in its dispatch,
saying only that there had been a dispute over fees.
The state-run Sichuan Daily newspaper reported
Sunday that local authorities were looking into the
matter and “attached great importance” to investigating
the causes of the boy’s death.

Medical costs are a major issue for tens of millions
of people in Chinese cities and hundreds of millions
in the countryside who have no medical insurance and
no public safety net to cover the soaring cost of care.

The Communist Party-controlled government once
offered rudimentary medical care for nominal prices
in the countryside. But hospitals were left largely
to fend for themselves in the expanding market
economy of the 1990s.

Many ceased providing even emergency care for people
who could not pay hospital fees in cash before treatment.

Providing better access to health care and education
and reducing the country’s growing urban-rural wealth
gap have become part of President Hu Jintao’s pledge
to build a “harmonious society.”

But the government has provided relatively little money
for hospital care in poor areas. It has experimented with
social insurance for people who do not work for major
companies, including most of the 800 million classified
as peasants, but has not introduced a national plan.

China has also been grappling with a wave of social unrest
in recent years. Riots involving thousands of people
protesting confiscation of land, environmental pollution,
official corruption and other issues are no longer uncommon.

The government canceled agricultural taxes and promised
to spend more on rural development in response. But rural
residents still face weak or nonexistent public services and
have regular disputes with local officials over repossession
of their farmland for development.

The number of violent protests declined by 22 percent
in the first nine months of 2006, to 17,900, one measure
the police use indicates.


9) US: Immigrants May Be Held Indefinitely
November 13, 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) - Immigrants arrested in the United States may
be held indefinitely on suspicion of terrorism and may not challenge
their imprisonment in civilian courts, the Bush administration said
Monday, opening a new legal front in the fight over the rights
of detainees.

In court documents filed with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
in Richmond, Va., the Justice Department said a new anti-terrorism
law being used to hold detainees in Guantanamo Bay also applies
to foreigners captured and held in the United States.

Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar, was arrested in 2001
while studying in the United States. He has been labeled
an "enemy combatant," a designation that, under a law signed
last month, strips foreigners of the right to challenge their
detention in federal courts.

That law is being used to argue the Guantanamo Bay cases,
but Al-Marri represents the first detainee inside the United
States to come under the new law. Aliens normally have the
right to contest their imprisonment, such as when they
are arrested on immigration violations or for other crimes.

"It's pretty stunning that any alien living in the United States
can be denied this right," said Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney
or Al-Marri. "It means any non-citizen, and there are millions
of them, can be whisked off at night and be put in detention."

The new law says that enemy combatants will be tried before
military commissions, not a civilian judge or jury, and establishes
different rules of evidence in the cases. It also prohibits
detainees from challenging their detention in civilian court.

In a separate court filing in Washington on Monday, the Justice
Department defended that law as constitutional and necessary.

Government attorneys said foreign fighters arrested as part
of an overseas military action have no constitutional rights
and are being afforded more legal rights than ever.

In its short filing in the Al-Marri case, however, the Justice
Department doesn't mention that Al-Marri is being held
at a military prison in South Carolina - a fact that his
attorneys say affords him the same rights as anyone
else being held in the United States.

The Justice Department noted only that the new law applies
to all enemy combatants "regardless of the location
of the detention."

The Bush administration maintains that al-Marri is an al-Qaida
sleeper agent. The Defense Department ordered a review
of Al-Marri's status as an enemy combatant be conducted if,
as requested, the case is thrown out of court.


10) The Democrats Don't Care
Screw the Palestinians, Full Steam Ahead

At a panel on the defense and foreign policy impact of the midterm
election, sponsored two days after the election by Congressional
Quarterly, Steven Simon, late of the Clinton administration and
still a member of the Democratic, pro-Zionist mainstream at the
Council on Foreign Relations, pronounced on prospects for
Palestinian-Israeli peace and essentially declared it not worth
anyone's effort. Using words, a tone, and a body language that
clearly betrayed his own disinterest, he said that Hamas is "there"
(exaggerated shrug), that the Israeli government is in turmoil
after its Lebanon "contretemps" (dismissive wave of the hand),
that both sides are incapable of significant movement, and that
therefore there is no incentive for anyone, Democrat or Republican,
to intervene (casual frown indicating an unfortunate reality about
which serious people need not concern themselves). There is
simply no prospect for more unilateral Israeli withdrawals and
therefore for any progress toward peace, Simon said in conclusion
-- signaling not only a total lack of concern but an utter ignorance
of just what it is that might bring progress, as if Israeli unilateralism
were truly the ticket to peace.

Thus spake the Democratic oracle. Not that anyone who knows
the Palestinian-Israeli situation from other than the selective focus
of the Zionist perspective had any expectations in the first place.
No one ever thought the new Democratic Congress would hop
to and put pressure on Israel to make peace. Just remember
John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, to say nothing of Bill Clinton,
when any question of the Democrats' stance arises. And don't
forget Nancy Pelosi, who rushed to condemn Jimmy Carter for
using the word "apartheid" in the title of his new book and for
whom, according to a Jewish Telegraphic Agency profile, support
for Israel is personal and "heartfelt." One Jewish activist and long-
time friend described her as "incredibly loyal" (interesting term)
and as feeling Jewish and Israeli issues "in her soul."

But Simon's brief disquisition on the futility of even making
an effort was particularly striking for its profound dismissiveness
and its profound blindness to what is and has been going
on on the ground. Simon's "contretemps" in Lebanon was
no mere embarrassing misstep but a murderous rampage
that killed 1,300 innocent Lebanese and dropped over a million
cluster bomblets in villages across the south, left to be discovered
by returning residents. But the Democrats don't care, and Steven
Simon considers this hardly worth a second thought. Israel gets
itself in trouble, showing its true brutal nature in the process,
and this gives Simon and the Democrats a handy excuse
to avoid doing anything.

Eighteen [Now 19--one died in hospital--this number is twice
the number of Israeli's killed by Palestinian rockets in the last
six years! And most of Israeli's killed were military
combatants not civilians!] Palestinian innocents in
Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip were murdered
while sleeping in their beds a day before Simon spoke,
killed by Israeli shellfire, round after round
fired at a residential housing complex -- 16 members of one
extended family and two others who came to help them after
the first round exploded. The Democrats don't care.
Steven Simon considers this not worth a mention.

In the six days preceding this incident, Israel assaulted
Beit Hanoun the way it assaulted Jenin and Nablus and
other West Bank cities in 2002 -- a murderous assault
reminiscent of Nazi sieges or of the Russian siege of
Chechnya, in which in these six days 57 Palestinians
were killed, to one Israeli soldier. The dead include
Palestinian fighters and a large number of civilians,
including children and including two women shot down
in the street while attempting to lift the Israeli siege
of a mosque. The mosque was leveled. The Democrats
don't care. Steven Simon considers this not worth a mention.

In the four months preceding this six-day siege, the Israelis
killed 247 Palestinians in a prolonged attack on Gaza.
Of the dead, two-thirds are civilians, 20 percent children. Of nearly
1,000 injured, one-third are children. The Democrats don't care.
Steven Simon considers this not worth a mention.

Israel is planning a larger siege of Gaza, concentrating not
just on Beit Hanoun in the north but on Rafah in the south,
ostensibly to unearth arms-smuggling tunnels. This has
been going on for years; Rafah has been the scene of Israel's
murderous pummeling periodically since the intifada began --
in 2003 when Rachel Corrie was killed trying to protect the
home of an innocent family from demolition, in 2004 when
hundreds of homes were demolished in multiple sieges and
a peaceful protest demonstration was strafed from the air.
But the Democrats don't care. Steven Simon considers this
not worth a mention.

Gaza, of course, is not the only Palestinian territory being
raped and pillaged. Its 1.4 million residents are the most
distraught -- living imprisoned in a territory with the highest
population density in the world, walled in with no exit except
as Israel sporadically allows, being deliberately starved by the
official policy of Israel, which dictates to the U.S., which dictates
to Europe, vulnerable to constant Israeli assault. But the West
Bank's 2.5 million Palestinians are not much better off. They
continue to be killed by Israelis and squeezed by Israel's
separation wall, by settlement expansion, by movement
restrictions, by theft of agricultural land, by diminishing
economic opportunity, and by massive Israeli-fostered
unemployment. Their death toll is only minimally less
than Gaza's.

This obscenity of oppression and murder does not faze the
Democrats or any of Israel's Zionist supporters in the U.S.
Whatever Israel wants is all right with the Democrats.
The 110th Congress will screw the Palestinians just the
way the Republican 109th did.

Kathleen Christison is a former CIA political analyst and
has worked on Middle East issues for 30 years. She is the
author of Perceptions of Palestine and The Wound
of Dispossession.

Bill Christison was a senior official of the CIA. He served
as a National Intelligence Officer and as Director of the
CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis. They spent
October 2006 in Palestine and on a speaking tour of Ireland
sponsored by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.


[From transcription recently posted on ICFFMAJ web site - Howard Keylor]
[Col. Writ. 11/5/06] Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

With excitement and barely suppressed glee, the media announced the
death sentence returned against Iraqi strongman, Saddam Hussein, for
crimes against humanity during the 1982 Dujail massacre.

In the face of the deadly horror that is Iraq, Hussein has become little
more than a bad, but distant memory.

Indeed, in both print and audio interviews I've read and heard in the
last few weeks, Iraqis looked to life under the Hussein regime as the
good old days. That is a measure, not of how 'good' the old days were,
but of how anguished is the present.

While Shi'as groaned under the repression of the secret police, and the
Kurds lived in terror of the central government, the day-to-day life of
Iraqis was one that was among the most envied of the Arab world. Its
populace was among the most educated, certainly one of the highest among
women in that region.

With the very serious exception of the omnipresent threat of government
security forces, Iraqis lived lives of relative safety and security.

Today, Iraq is bedlam; the police and army are little more than ethnic
death squads.

The U.S.-backed puppet government in Baghdad is a 'government' in name
only. Real power is in the militias and regional religious leaders,
like Moqtada al-Sadr, a man who is both!

In light of Saddam's death sentence, you'll probably hear some pundits
claim it's a 'turning point', or a 'benchmark', of the new Iraqi
democracy. In truth, it's neither.

The forces unleashed by the invasion and occupation have become bigger
than Saddam.

The irony is that Saddam Hussein, according to recently published
reports, never believed that the U.S. would actually take Baghdad; not
because he thought his Republican Guard was so fierce, but because he
thought that Americans couldn't be so stupid.

Peter Galbraith in an Aug. 2006 article in the *New York Review of
Books* criticized the military knowledge of both Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld, and Saddam Hussein, as leaders who routinely ignored
advice from their generals.

In the article, "Mindless in Iraq," Galbraith noted:

"Men who had put their lives on the line in combat were mostly unwilling
to put their careers on the line to speak out against a plan based on
the numbers pulled out of the air by a cranky sixty-nine-year old [i.e.,

"Fortunately for the US troops who had to invade Iraq, they were
initially up against an adversary who was also convinced of his own
military genius. Saddam Hussein knew it made no strategic sense for the
US to invade Iraq and therefore he assumed it wouldn't happen. He had
maintained ambiguity about whether he had WMDs not because he had
something to hide but to intimidate the two enemies about whom he really
was worried, the Iranians and Iraq's Shiite majority.

"Even before the invasion began ... Saddam could not quite believe the
United States intended to go all the way to Baghdad .. Saddam could not
imagine that the United States would see an advantage in replacing him
with a pro-Iranian, Shiite-dominated regime." [Fr.: Galbraith, P.,
"Mindless in Iraq," NYROB (Aug. 10, 2006), p. 29.]

And so, Saddam will soon have a date with the hangman; but events and
forces at work in Iraq will barely ripple from his passage. His death
warrant, signed and sealed in Washington, D.C., will bring it no closer
to US regional objectives.

Hasn't Iraq had *enough* death?

The hell of today is far worse than the hell of yesterday.

Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal


12) Marijuana
By Bonnie Weinstein
November 15, 2006

This article is written in two parts., “Part 1 : Background to the Drug
War,” gives an essential history of the racist criminilzation of Marijuana.
“Part 2: Marijuana Today,” is an analysis of the current “drug war”
that has its roots in this racist history.
—Bonnie Weinstein

Part 1: Background to the Drug War

There is a great book that documents how hemp and marijuana
proscriptions and the racist application of the law throughout
its history came about. The book is free on the web. It’s called,
“The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” by Jack Herer1—a tale of capitalist
profit, greed and tyranny. Here’s are excerpts from Chapter 4,
“The Last Days of Legal Cannabis” which outlines this history:
“In the mid-1930s, when the new mechanical hemp fiber stripping
machines and machines to conserve hemp’s high-cellulose pulp
finally became state-of-the-art, available and affordable, the
enormous timber acreage and businesses of the Hearst Paper
Manufacturing Division, Kimberly Clark (USA), St. Regis - and
virtually all other timber, paper and large newspaper holding
companies - stood to lose billions of dollars and perhaps
go bankrupt…

“Coincidentally, in 1937, DuPont had just patented processes
for making plastics from oil and coal, as well as a new
sulfate/sulfite process for making paper from wood pulp.
According to DuPont’s own corporate records and historians,
these processes accounted for over 80 percent of all the
company’s railroad car loadings over the next 60 years into
the 1990s…

“If hemp had not been made illegal, 80 percent of DuPont’s
business would never have materialized and the great majority
of the pollution, which has poisoned our Northwestern
and Southeastern Rivers, would not have occurred…

“But competing against environmentally-sane hemp paper
and natural plastic technology would have jeopardized the
lucrative financial schemes of Hearst, DuPont and DuPont’s
chief financial backer, Andrew Mellon of the Mellon Bank
of Pittsburgh…

“In 1931, Mellon, in his role as Hoover’s Secretary of the
Treasury, appointed his future nephew-in-law, Harry J.
Anslinger, to be head of the newly reorganized Federal
Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (FBNDD),
a post he held for the next 31 years…

“By the fall of 1936, Herman Oliphant (general counsel
to the Treasury Department) had decided to employ the
taxing power [of the federal government], but in a statute
modeled after the National Firearms Act and wholly unrelated
to the 1914 Harrison [narcotics] Act. Oliphant himself was
in charge of preparing the bill. Anslinger directed his
army to turn its campaign toward Washington...

“The key departure of the marijuana tax scheme from that
of the Harrison Act is the notion of the prohibitive tax. Under
the Harrison Act, a non-medical user could not legitimately
buy or possess narcotics. To the dissenters in the Supreme
Court decisions upholding the act, this clearly demonstrated
that Congress’ motive was to prohibit conduct rather than
raise revenue. So in the National Firearms Act, designed
to prohibit traffic in machine guns, Congress ‘permitted’
anyone to buy a machine gun, but required him to pay
a $200 transfer tax and carry out the purchase on an
order form…

“The Firearms Act, passed in June 1934, was the first
act to hide Congress’ motives behind a prohibitive tax.
The Supreme Court unanimously upheld the anti-machine
gun law on March 29, 1937. Oliphant had undoubtedly been
awaiting the Court’s decision, and the Treasury Department
introduced its marijuana tax bill two weeks later, April 14, 1937…
Thus, DuPont’s decision to invest in new technologies based
on ‘forcing acceptance of sudden new ideas of industrial
and social reorganization’ makes sense…”

“Yellow Journalism” becomes the tool of oppression

“The war fury that led to the Spanish American War in 1898
was ignited by William Randolph Hearst, through his nationwide
chain of newspapers, and marked the beginning of ‘yellow
journalism’ as a force in American politics…

“In the 1920s and ’30s, Hearst’s newspapers deliberately
manufactured a new threat to America and a new yellow
journalism campaign to have hemp outlawed. For example,
a story of a car accident in which a “marijuana cigarette” was
found would dominate the headlines for weeks, while alcohol
related car accidents (which outnumbered marijuana connected
accidents by more than 10,000 to 1) made only the back pages…

“Starting with the 1898 Spanish American War, the Hearst
newspaper had denounced Spaniards, Mexican-Americans
and Latinos…

“After the seizure of 800,000 acres of Hearst’s prime Mexican
timberland by the ‘marihuana’ smoking army of Pancho Villa,
these slurs intensified…

“Non-stop for the next three decades, Hearst painted a picture
of the lazy, pot-smoking Mexican—still one of our most insidious
prejudices. Simultaneously, he waged a similar racist smear
campaign against the Chinese, referring to them as the
‘Yellow Peril.’…

“From 1910 to 1920, Hearst’s newspapers would claim that
the majority of incidents in which blacks were said to have
raped white women, could be traced directly to cocaine.
This continued for 10 years until Hearst decided it was not
‘cocaine-crazed Negroes’ raping white women—it was now
‘marijuana-crazed Negroes’ raping white women…

“Hearst’s and other sensationalistic tabloids ran hysterical
headlines atop stories portraying ‘Negroes’ and Mexicans
as frenzied beasts who, under the influence of marijuana,
would play anti-white ‘voodoo-satanic’ music (jazz) and heap
disrespect and ‘viciousness’ upon the predominantly white
readership. Other such offenses resulting from this drug-induced
‘crime wave’ included: stepping on white men’s shadows,
looking white people directly in the eye for three seconds
or more, looking at a white woman twice, laughing
at a white person, etc.”

Part 2: Marijuana Today

The U.S. incarceration rate is the largest in the entire world.
Most of those in prison are in there because of drug-related

Treatment by police is completely arbitrary. But 90 percent
of the prison population is poor. A high percentage is non-
white. Rich people rarely go to jail for drug offenses unless,
of course, they aren’t white.

The drug problem exists everywhere—in the inner cities,
of course—but also in poverty-stricken rural areas. In those
areas kids are sniffing gasoline and paint thinner to escape
from their dreadful lives of poverty and destitution. In none
of these areas is marijuana the “problem drug.” Cigarettes
and alcohol still remain the most problematic of all the drugs
causing tens thousands of deaths every year. But the point
is, in the drug-infested neighborhoods of the poor the hard
stuff—the most dangerous stuff—is the cheapest and easiest
to buy and sell.

Thanks to the CIA, crack-cocaine goes hand in hand with
the opiates to turn kids into zombies and then, blame them
for their own addiction—“Just say no,” they tell these kids.
Then, every TV show, every movie portrays the most violent
and vicious, callous, unfeeling crimes being perpetrated
by these very same drug-addicted kids—taking care to portray
them as mostly and overwhelmingly Black or Latino.

“Gang Bangers” is the term used to describe kids living in abject
poverty, without any education, without language skills, without
the kind of deportment or clothing that would allow them into
corporate society—the trash; the riffraff resulting from “too many
poor people having too many babies!” That’s the view perpetrated
by the bourgeois media. That’s the purpose of “The Jerry Springer
Show.” For those watching to say to themselves, “these people
are worthless and stupid! Who cares about them! They belong in jail.”

And the capitalists, using the most sanctimonious, self-righteous
and condescending voice they can muster perpetuate this myth
in every way possible. We need only mention the case of the
New York kids convicted and incarcerated for over ten years
for the beating and rape of a white jogger only to find out that
the whole case was trumped up by the cops to perpetuate the
myth of rampaging black youth in order to get more law
enforcement money to repress them. In fact, the woman was
raped and beaten by a solitary man! He, by the way, was convinced
to come forward and confess to the crime by attorney Lynne Stewart,
who is now facing prison for her role in defending “The Blind Sheik”
(convicted of planning several bombings in New York—bombings
that never took place.) The confession by this single attacker,
spurred on by Lynne, finally lead to the release of the innocent

Drug rehabilitation for real drug problems

Massive drug rehabilitation programs for hard drugs like
heroine, cocaine and met amphetamines are desperately needed.
And these programs must include educational development along
with development of feelings of self-worth and ability. There is
50 percent unemployment among Black youth today! And 30
percent unemployment among poor white youth! Both are profoundly
undereducated—victims of an unjust school funding system where
the rich kids get way more than the poorest kids—those
who need the most get the least!

Today we are faced with a tremendous drug problem most
prominent among our poorest youth. And, while there is no
difference in the amount of drug use among wealthier, white
America, they are not in our prisons and jails and are not trying
to make a living by selling it to each other in the streets.

Oh! There are plenty of drug dealers among white, rich kids;
but to them it’s merely a hobby and a way to make friends—
everyone likes to hang out with the marijuana dealer—but
it’s not an economic necessity as it is among the poorest youth.

There is also the question of the medical use of marijuana. This
is legal in many states and cities. San Francisco has Cannabis
Clubs all over the city. But even the permits are distributed
unequally. No doctor would proscribe Cannabis to a Black
teenager—even if he or she would benefit from it for some
health reason or other.

Just say no to the drug laws

We must oppose the unjust drug laws that allow the wealthy
to go to Betty Fords to “recover” even when they are caught
using and selling large quantities of extremely dangerous
drugs and lock-up and throw away the key on the poor even
for marijuana use and sale, and consistently fail to provide
drug rehabilitation for even the most severe cases of drug
dependency and addiction among the poor.

All drug problems should be treated until cured trying
as many rehabilitation attempts as it takes to succeed!
Saving lives must be society’s top priority!

Education and opportunity are the only real insurance
against recurrence.

Marijuana and all drugs should be decriminalized

Marijuana use is not addictive and has caused no deaths
on its own. Among the poor, marijuana is treated as the
same as heroine or cocaine. Among the wealthy, even
those drugs are considered “recreational.”

Here are some facts:

Annual American deaths caused by drugs: tobacco, 400,000;
alcohol, 100,000; all legal drugs, 20,000; all illegal drugs, 15,000;
caffeine, 2,000; aspirin, 500; marijuana, 0. (Source: United
States government National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bureau
of Mortality Statistics.)2

Marijuana, a convenient tool for the cops.

Most kids smoke or at least have tried marijuana. In a crowd
of say, five kids, the cops are sure to find someone with a joint,
and the cops can always use that discriminately. To them, the
drug laws are just a means of putting them in control of the
whole thing allowing them to pick and choose who to enforce
the laws against.

It has been proven that the prohibition of drugs is counter-
productive to reducing their use and dependency. Drug treatment,
withdrawal and rehabilitation programs backed up with education,
decent paying job opportunities and decent housing once one
is “cured” of the addiction is the answer.

These are real, current and compelling issues among the poor
and working class in this country

Workers are drug users—on the job, at home, when they
are away on vacation. They smoke marijuana.

Who hasn’t gone to a concert and come out high just by being
there? Or maybe you didn’t know why you were feeling so good!

But still, the reality still is that workers will get the book thrown
at them if it suits the boss, the cops and their generals.

Marijuana is the recreational drug of choice of most American
workers, both men and women. They work all day, come home
exhausted and frustrated from the day’s work—and the gauntlet
they have to go through, usually, to get there and back home—
and look forward to smoking a joint, eating, playing with the
kids and watching TV then getting up and doing it all over again.
There’s not much time or energy left in an average worker’s
life for anything else.

Money for drug rehabilitation, education, jobs and housing,
not for war!

The enemy isn’t drugs, or too many poor quality, rotten people
as the Jerry Springer’s would have us believe. It’s capitalism that
judges human worth in dollars and cents. The solution to drug
addiction is the cure and all that that entails, i.e., ultimately,
the cure of our society by ridding it of the disease of capitalism.

We are struggling with encroaching barbarism now. The drug
culture is part of it. It’s dog-eat-dog on the streets—each out
for themselves and their own and to hell with everyone else.
That’s just business as usual and don’t the cops know it and
love it. And don’t they feed it and stir it up again and again!
Let them kill each other. Who cares?

We must show we are on the side of the working class and
that they along with their allies are the key to the better world
we all know is possible.

We can’t get into the blame-game. Or purge those who may
be using. Instead, our job is to expose the true nature of this
“drug war on the poor” and fight for what is needed to solve
the very real problems those suffering from drug addiction face.
And to organize to eliminate capitalism, the real cause of the
problem and the giant obstacle in the way of solving it.


13) Iraq veteran - The body of a Camas man is coming home
while an investigation continues
The Oregonian
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Marine Sgt. William C. Wold didn't die in Iraq but Iraq still killed him,
said his mother.

The 23-year-old Camas, Wash., man was found dead Friday morning
in his room at a military medical facility near San Diego, where he was
undergoing treatment and evaluation for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Officials at the public affairs office at Camp Pendleton, where Wold
was stationed, would say only that an investigation is under way.

"He called me Thursday morning, and asked, 'Mom, can I come
home for Thanksgiving? ' " said Sandra Wold, who lives with her
husband, John, in Camas. " 'I don't care if we just order out for
pizza.' He called his wife, Angela, that evening, and he sounded
fine both times."

But the next night, she opened the front door to two green-
uniformed Marine sergeants. "I knew immediately why they
were there. I said, 'Oh my God. Not now.' I feared this every
minute of every day that he was in Iraq, but not now."

The Marines told Wold that her son had been found dead on
the floor of his room and that his death was being investigated.
"This is a stellar Marine," she said, "one of 94, who was stationed
at Camp David where he guarded the president. He was qualified
to wear the Presidential Service Badge."

William Wold enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17 after finishing
high school a year early and graduated from boot camp
Sept. 21, 2001. He then underwent the extensive security
clearance and training required of the troops stationed
at Camp David.

In 2004, Wold reverted to his military occupational specialty
of infantryman and served in Iraq with the 3rd Battalion
of the 1st Marine Division, which saw intense fighting
in the Fallujah area. Sandra Wold said that her son was
discharged from the Corps in June 2005 and that he
was forever changed by what he saw and did.

"Iraq crippled him," Wold said. "I never saw him sleep;
he couldn't go out in public; he couldn't handle crowds;
he couldn't stand loud noises. I've never seen a horror
movie that bad."

William Wold developed substance abuse problems, she
said. "In February of this year, he came to me and said,
'Mom, I just can't handle this anymore. I'm going to re-
enlist.' He was just going all the time, and nobody ever
told him how to flip off the light switch."

Wold went back into the Marines as a sergeant and was
sent to Camp Pendleton. Sandra Wold said that his last
months were spent being shuttled among drug and PTSD
rehabilitation programs and that he was being evaluated
for a medical discharge at the time of his death.

Wold's body will be escorted from Portland International
Airport to Vancouver today by the massed motorcycles
of the Patriot Guard Riders. Wold's funeral service will
be at noon Friday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-
day Saints, 18200 N.E. 18th St., Vancouver. Burial with
military honors will follow at Evergreen Memorial
Gardens, 1101 N.E. 112th Ave., Vancouver.

Wold is survived by his parents, John and Sandra; his
wife, Angela of Newberg; sisters Christi Lowden and
Becki Wold; and brothers, Robert Wold and Thomas Nelson.
John Foyston: 503-221-8368;
johnfoyston@ news.oregonian. com


14) Texas Lawmakers Put New Focus on Illegal Immigration
November 16, 2006

HOUSTON, Nov. 15 — In a sign of rising passions over immigration
issues, Texas lawmakers prepared for the 2007 session this week
by filing a flurry of bills that would deny public assistance and other
benefits to the children of illegal immigrants, tax money transfers
to Mexico and the rest of Latin America and sue the federal
government for the costs of state border control.

At the same time, a Dallas suburb, Farmers Branch, became the first
Texas municipality to enact measures fining landlords who rent
to illegal immigrants, authorizing the police to seek certification
to act on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security and
declaring English the city’s official language.

Many of the bills are unlikely to become law, but, combined with
the Farmers Branch action, they have raised questions about
whether Texas, where almost a third of the population was
listed as Hispanic in the 2000 census, is about to get caught
up in the kinds of legal fights about illegal immigration that
have occurred elsewhere.

“It’s awful,” said Brent A. Wilkes, the national executive director
of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the nation’s
largest and oldest Hispanic rights group. “Texas for a long time
has avoided this anti-immigrant hysteria.”

But some Texas officials said the time had come for the state
to crack down on illegal immigration because the federal
government had chosen not to do so.

“Want to know what it’s all about?” asked State Representative
Burt R. Solomons, a Republican from Carrollton, outside Dallas,
who introduced a bill to deny state licenses to people without
proof of legal residence. “Absolute frustration.”

“If they get a license or permit, they ought to be here legally,”
Mr. Solomons said. “What’s wrong with that? I don’t think it’s

Mr. Solomons also filed a resolution to put the House on record,
as he put it, as “demanding the federal government do what
they’re supposed to” to control the border with Mexico and
to authorize the state attorney general to sue Washington
to recoup the state’s costs.

Monday was the first day members of the Texas House and
Senate, who convene every two years, could file bills for the
coming session. At least 9 of the first 325 or so bills, as posted
on the legislative Web site, dealt with immigration.

Perhaps the most sweeping, proposed by Representative Leo
Berman, a Republican from Tyler, would deny state benefits,
including welfare payments, food stamps, disability payments
and public housing and unemployment assistance to the
children of illegal immigrants. The children, if born in the
United States, are American citizens.

An earlier version of the bill would also have denied the
children schooling and health care, rights affirmed as basic
constitutional guarantees by a divided United States Supreme
Court in 1969. Mr. Berman said he removed those provisions
to gain passage of the measure in Texas with the goal
of leading to another Supreme Court review.

“We want to see if that law is still applicable today,” he said.
“The environment is totally changed.”

Mr. Berman also proposed a bill that would impose an
8 percent tax on electronic money transfers from immigrant
workers in the state to people in Mexico and Central and
South America, although it is not clear whether federal
law would allow it.

Another Republican representative, Dianne White Delisi, from
Temple, introduced a bill to require state agencies to report
the cost of services like hospital care provided to illegal
immigrants. Ms. Delisi said some figures suggested a rise
of 77 percent in unpaid hospital care in Harris County,
which includes Houston, over the last three years. But,
she said, “the bottom line in Texas is we don’t know.”

The housing ordinance in Farmers Branch, adopted on a 5-to-0
vote by the City Council, requires landlords to demand proof
of legal residency from all renters, with violations punishable
by fines of $500 per tenant for each day of violation. The
preamble says the action was taken “in response to the
widespread concern of future terrorist attacks following
the events of Sept. 11, 2001.”

It prompted quick opposition from landlords who protested
that they were ill-equipped to police the immigration status
of their tenants, and from Hispanic activists who said they
would challenge the measure in court.

On Tuesday, two other towns, Taneytown in central Maryland
and Pahrump in southern Nevada, passed measures declaring
English the official language. Hazleton, Pa., enacted a similar
ordinance in July, but it has been held off pending a court


Col. Writ. 10/19/06
Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

It is easy to liken the Iraq War to Vietnam, but, for many reasons, it
isn't a perfect fit.

Vietnam differed in very fundamental ways: terrain, the nature of the
opposing armies, and perhaps most obviously, the scale of human carnage.

Iraq is undoubtedly a bloody mess; but compared to the loss of life in
Vietnam, Iraq is a cakewalk.

Yet behind the numbers, apart from terrain, similarities abound.

Both wars were decided by insurgencies instead of frontal, pitched battles.

Soon, if conservative media sources are to be believed, there will be
another similarity: the U.S. politics of overthrow.

The *Washington Times* (kind of the print version of Fox News), citing
high-level sources, recently reported that plans are in place for
"U.S.-trained Iraqi forces" to overthrow the government of Iraq's Prime
Minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

This U.S.-supported coup would be quietly accepted, to allow the
placement of a so-called 'strongman' who would bring the insurgencies to

A recent government meeting between al-Maliki and Shiite militia leader,
Muqtada al-Sadr, a man whose armed forces has engaged U.S. forces in
recent months and weeks, apparently doesn't inspire U.S. faith in
al-Maliki's leadership.

The report, if true, casts a long shadow, back to the bloodbath that was
Vietnam, when a U.S.-supported regime in power in the former city of
Saigon, under the leadership of Ngo Dinh Diem, failed to rouse
sufficient resistance to the National Liberation Front.

Like many of the Iraqis in the present government, Diem came to Vietnam
after living in a foreign country (to be precise, New Jersey). He, and
his government were hugely unpopular.

When Buddhists staged dramatic demonstrations against the government,
with many burning themselves alive, Diem ordered his police to attack
Buddhist shrines and temples, where people were beaten and arrested.
Police shot and killed demonstrators.

When Diem's generals grew impatient with him, they began plotting a
coup. They kept in touch with the CIA, which heartily endorsed their
plans. The CIA passed the news on to US ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge,
who passed it on to the White House. No one warned President Diem.

As historian Howard Zinn recounts in his *A People's History of the
United States* (New York: Harper Collins, 1980 [2003]), the U.S.-backed
army attacked the presidential palace on Nov. 1, 1963, and Diem placed a
call to the U.S. ambassador. Records of the call show the following

"Diem: Some units have made a rebellion and I want to know what is the
attitude of the United States?

Lodge: I do not feel well enough informed to be able to tell you. I
have heard the shooting, but am not acquainted with all the facts. Also
it is 4:30 A.M. in Washington and the U.S. Government cannot possibly
have a view.

Diem: But you must have some general ideas ....

Lodge told Diem to phone him if he could do anything for his physical

That was the last conversation any American had with Diem. He fled the
palace, but he and his brother were apprehended by the plotters, taken
out in a truck, and executed." [pp. 474-475]

When a puppet is no longer sufficiently obedient, or useful, it is
chucked aside like trash.

We are looking at the beginning of the end in Iraq.

No one thought Vietnam would end with the U.S. lifting off the roof of
the U.S. embassy, leaving behind tens of thousands of its 'allies.'

The handwriting is on the wall.

This is what 'American democracy' really looks like.

Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal


16) Hubble Telescope Makes New Discovery
Filed at 9:26 p.m. ET
November 16, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Hubble Space Telescope has shown that
a mysterious form of energy first conceived by Albert Einstein,
then rejected by the famous physicist as his ''greatest blunder,''
appears to have been fueling the expansion of the universe
for most of its history.

This so-called ''dark energy'' has been pushing the universe
outward for at least 9 billion years, astronomers said Thursday.

''This is the first time we have significant, discrete data from
back then,'' said Adam Riess, a professor of astronomy at Johns
Hopkins University and researcher at NASA's Space Telescope
Science Institute.

He and several colleagues used the Hubble to observe 23
supernovae -- exploding white dwarf stars -- so distant that
their light took more than half the history of the universe
to reach the orbiting telescope. That means the supernovae
existed when the universe was less than half its current age
of approximately 13.7 billion years.

Because the physics of supernova explosions is extremely
well-known, it is possible for the astronomers to gauge not
just their distance, but how fast the universe was expanding
at the time they went off.

''This finding continues to validate the use of these supernovae
as cosmic probes,'' Riess said.

He and his colleagues describe their research in a paper that
is scheduled for publication in the Feb. 10 issue
of Astrophysical Journal.

The idea of dark energy was first proposed by Einstein as
a means of explaining how the universe could resist collapsing
under the pull of gravity. But then Edwin Hubble -- the
astronomer for whom the NASA telescope is named --
demonstrated in 1929 that the universe is expanding,
not a constant size. That led to the big-bang theory,
and Einstein tossed his notion on science's scrap heap.

There it languished until 1998, when astronomers who
were using supernova explosions to gauge the expansion
of the universe made a shocking observation. It appeared
that older supernovae, whose light had traveled a greater
distance across space to reach the Hubble telescope, were
receding from Earth more slowly than simple big-bang
theory would predict. Nearby supernovae were receding
more quickly than expected. That could only be true if
some mysterious force were causing the expansion of
the universe to accelerate over time.

Cosmologists dubbed the force ''dark energy,'' and ever
since they've been trying to figure out what it is.

''Dark energy makes us nervous,'' said Sean Carroll,
a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology
who was not involved in the supernova study. ''It fits the data,
but it's not what we really expected.''

Answers may come once NASA upgrades the Hubble Space
Telescope in a space shuttle mission scheduled for 2008.
NASA and the Department of Energy are also planning
to launch an orbiting observatory specifically designed
to address the mystery in 2011.

Dark energy could be some property of space itself, which
is what Einstein was thinking of when he proposed it. Or it
could be something akin to an electromagnetic field pushing
on the universe. And then there's the possibility that the whole
thing is caused by some hitherto undiscovered wrinkle
in the laws of gravity.


17) 9 Billion-Year-Old ‘Dark Energy’ Reported
November 17, 2006

A strange thing happened to the universe five billion years ago.
As if God had turned on an antigravity machine, the expansion
of the cosmos speeded up, and galaxies began moving away
from one another at an ever faster pace.

Now a group of astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope
have discovered that billions of years before this mysterious
antigravity overcame cosmic gravity and sent the galaxies scooting
apart like muscle cars departing a tollbooth, it was already present
in space, affecting the evolution of the cosmos.

“We see it doing its thing, starting to fight against ordinary gravity,”
Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute said about
the antigravity force, known as dark energy. He is the leader
of a team of “dark energy prospectors,” as he calls them, who
peered back nine billion years with the Hubble and were able
to discern the nascent effects of antigravity. The group reported
their observations at a news conference yesterday and in a paper
to be published in The Astrophysical Journal.

The results, Dr. Riess and others said, provide clues and place
new limits on the nature of dark energy, a mystery that has thrown
physics and cosmology into turmoil over the last decade.

“It gives us the ability to look at changes in dark energy,” he said
in an interview. “Previously, we knew nothing about that.
That’s really exciting.”

The data suggest that, in fact, dark energy has changed little,
if at all, over the course of cosmic history. Though hardly
conclusive, that finding lends more support to what has become
the conventional theory, that the source of cosmic antigravity
is the cosmological constant, a sort of fudge factor that Einstein
inserted into his cosmological equations in 1917 to represent
a cosmic repulsion embedded in space.

Although Einstein later abandoned the cosmological constant,
calling it a blunder, it would not go away. It is the one theorized
form of dark energy that does not change with time.

Sean Carroll, a cosmologist at the California Institute
of Technology who was not on the team, said: “Had they
found the evolution was not constant, that would have been
an incredibly earthshaking discovery. They looked where
no one had been able to look before.”

The paper by Dr. Riess and his colleagues represents a sort
of progress report from the dark side, where astrophysicists
have found themselves more and more as they try to understand
what is happening to the universe.

This encounter with the invisible began eight years ago, when
two competing teams of astronomers were using exploding
stars known as Type 1a supernovas as cosmic distance
markers to determine the fate of the universe.

Ever since the Big Bang 14 billion years ago, the galaxies
and the rest of the universe have been flying apart like
a handful of pebbles tossed in the air. Astronomers reasoned
that gravity would be slowing the expansion, and the teams
were trying to find out by how much and, thus, determine
whether all would collapse one day into a “big crunch”
or expand forever.

Instead, to their surprise, the two teams, one led by Saul
Perlmutter of the University of California, Berkeley, and
the other by Brian Schmidt of the Mount Stromlo and
Siding Spring Observatories in Australia, found that the
universe was speeding up instead of slowing down.

But the ground-based telescopes that the two teams used
could track supernovas to distances of just seven billion
light-years, corresponding to half the age of the universe,
and the effect could have been mimicked by dust or
a slight change in the nature of the supernova explosions.

Since then, Dr. Riess, who was a member of Dr. Schmidt’s
team, and his colleagues have used the Hubble telescope
to prospect for supernovas and dark energy farther
out in space or back in time.

The new results are based on observations of 23 supernovas
that are more than eight billion years in the past, before
dark energy came to dominate the cosmos. The spectra
of those distant supernovas, Dr. Riess reported, appear
to be identical to those closer and more recent examples.
By combining the supernova results with data from other
experiments like the NASA Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy
Probe, Dr. Riess and his colleagues could begin to address
the evolution of dark energy.

“That’s one of the $64,000 questions,” he said. “Is dark
energy changing?”

So far, he said, the results are consistent with the cosmological
constant, but other answers are also possible. The possibility
that it is the cosmological constant is a mixed blessing.
Physicists concede that they do not understand it.

Dr. Carroll of Caltech said, “Dark energy makes us nervous.”

Einstein invented his constant to explain why the universe
does not collapse. After he abandoned it, the theory was
resuscitated by quantum mechanics, which showed that
empty space should be bubbling with staggering amounts
of repulsive energy. The possibility that it really exists
in the tiny amounts measured by the astronomers has
flummoxed physicists and string theorists.

Because it is a property of empty space, the overall force
of Einstein’s constant grows in proportion as the universe
expands, until it overwhelms everything. Other theories
of dark energy like strange force fields called quintessence
or modifications to Einstein’s theory of gravity can change
in more complicated ways, rising, falling or reversing effects.

Astronomers characterize the versions of dark energy
by their so-called equation of state, the ratio of pressure
to density, denoted by the letter w. For the cosmological
constant, w is minus one.

Dr. Riess and his group used their data to make the first
crude measurement of this quantity as it stood nine billion
years ago. The answer, he said, was minus one — the
magic number — plus or minus about 50 percent.
By comparison for more recent times, with many more
supernovas observable and thus more data, the value
is minus one with an uncertainty of about 10 percent.

“If at one point in history it’s not minus one,” Dr. Riess said,
“then we have killed the very best explanation.”

Getting to the precision needed to kill or confirm Einstein’s
constant, however, will be very difficult, he conceded. One
of the biggest sources of uncertainty is the fact that the
Type 1a explosions are not completely uniform, introducing
scatter into the observations.

The Hubble is the sole telescope that can pursue supernova
explosions deeply enough to chart the early days of dark
energy. The recent announcement that the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration will send astronauts
to maintain and refurbish the Hubble once again, enabling
it to keep performing well into the next decade, is a lift
for Dr. Riess’s project. A new camera could extend
observations to 11 billion or 12 billion years back.


18) Hundreds, All Nonunion, Walk Out at Pork Plant in N.C.
November 17, 2006

Support Smithfield Food Workers:
Dear Labor Activists, Workers in Smithfield Foods' plant in Tar Heel,
North Carolina need your help RIGHT NOW! Tired of abuse and unfair
punishment, they're streaming out of the factory in protest as I write this.
They need your support! Call or write Smithfield and tell them
to respect their workers' rights:
Phone: 757-365-3000 or 888-366-6767
[Open Letter To:
To whom it may concern:
Workers have basic human rights no matter where they are born
or where they choose to live. At some point we must all take
a stand for justice and human rights. Take that stand today
against unjust, anti-immigrant laws and hire back those you
have fired. Take a stand and recognize the right of workers
to organize and fight for their just cause.
The world is watching what you do.
Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War,]

Workers are pouring out of the plant right now in a spontaneous
protest against abuse and intimidation. The workers are walking
out because Smithfield retaliated against several workers who
were standing up for their rights and demanding a voice
on the job. The workers are saying enough is enough --
and they need our help to send that message. We need
to tell Smithfield to respect the rights of its workers;
to stop the abuse in Tar Heel; and that the world is watching
how they react. Please support the workers by calling
or emailing the Company NOW! Demand that Smithfield
not retaliate, stop any firings and stop the abuses
in Tar Heel. You can reach Smithfield by phone or e-mail:
Phone: 757-365-3000 or 888-366-6767

In a move highly unusual for nonunion workers, more than 500
employees walked out yesterday at the Smithfield Packing Company’s
hog-killing plant in Tar Heel, N.C., the largest pork-processing plant
in the world.

Workers involved in the walkout said it was fueled by anger over
Smithfield’s recent decision to fire several dozen immigrants who
the company said had presented false Social Security numbers
in applying for a job.

Several of the workers said their action had largely crippled production
at the plant, which employs 5,500 people and slaughters 32,000 hogs
a day. But Smithfield officials said production had merely been slowed
a little.

The walkout coincided with a big push by the United Food and
Commercial Workers to unionize the Smithfield employees in Tar Heel,
about two-thirds of them Hispanic immigrants. A number of workers
said the discontent stemmed not just from the recent firings but also
from brusque treatment, the speed of the production line
and widespread injuries.

“They were tired of the working conditions,” said Gene Bruskin,
director of the union’s organizing drive. “They want a permanent
solution to the problems there.”

Mr. Bruskin said the walkout had been organized by the plant’s
immigrant workers and not by the union. But Dennis Pittman,
a Smithfield spokesman, maintained that it had been carried
out in close cooperation with the union, as a way of pressuring
the company to halt its fight against organizing efforts.

Mr. Pittman said 350 workers had walked out during the
morning shift, and 200 during the afternoon shift. But several
employees involved put the number at about 700 on the
morning shift and some 500 on the afternoon shift.

Several weeks ago Smithfield Packing, a subsidiary of Smithfield
Foods Inc., sent hundreds of workers “no-match letters,”
notifying them that the name and Social Security number
they had given the company did not match records of the
Social Security Administration. In recent days, the company
began firing those who were unable to explain the discrepancies.

Eduardo Pena, an organizer for the union, said some of the
letters had gone to employees who had valid Social Security
numbers, and several workers said yesterday that they would
not return to work until Smithfield pledged not to fire any
more immigrants over the issue.

But the government has threatened to fine companies that
knowingly continue to employ illegal immigrants, and
Mr. Pittman said: “If Smithfield were to do what the union
is calling for, we would be breaking federal law by knowingly
employing undocumented workers. The union should stop
trying to pressure Smithfield to break the law.”

One of those engaged in the walkout, Keith Ludlum, who
is paid $11 an hour to herd hogs to slaughter, said the
workers were concerned about far more than the
immigration matter.

“They’re asking for the company to allow us to have
a union contract,” Mr. Ludlum said, “and to respect
workers’ rights and to respect workers in general.”

Hundreds of workers milled in front of the plant for much
of the day. In an effort to ease the dispute and restore
full operations there, the workers’ leaders and Smithfield
officials exchanged tense, on-again, off-again feelers.


19) Locals Accuse U.S. of Massacre in Ramadi
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

RAMADI, Nov 17 (IPS) - U.S. military tank fire killed scores of
civilians in Ramadi, capital of Al-Anbar province, late Monday night,
according to witnesses and doctors. Anger and frustration were evident
at the hospitals and during the funerals in the following days.*

Iraqi doctors and witnesses at the scene of the attack said U.S. tanks
killed 35 civilians when they shelled several homes in the Al-Dhubat
area of the city.

Ramadi, located 110 km west of Baghdad, has been beset with sporadic but
intense violence between occupation forces and insurgents for several

On Tuesday, hundreds of people carried the 35 coffins of the dead to a
graveyard in a funeral procession which closely resembled an angry

"We heard the bombing and we thought it was the usual fighting between
resistance fighters and the Americans, but we soon realised it was
bombing by large cannons," 60-year-old Haji Jassim explained to IPS at
the burial. "We weren't allowed by the Americans to reach the destroyed
houses to try to rescue those who were buried, so certainly many of them
bled to death."

Jassim claimed that everyone killed was innocent, that they were not
fighters. He said that when he and others attempted to reach the rubble
of the destroyed homes, located near mosques whose minaret's
loudspeakers had broadcast pleas for help, "There was a big American
force that stopped us and told us the usual ugly phrases we hear from
them every day."

Jassim, speaking with IPS while several other witnesses listened while
nodding their heads, said that ambulances did not appear on the scene
for hours because "we realised that the Americans did not allow them to
move," and that as a result, "there were people buried under the rubble
who were bleeding to death while there was still a chance to rescue them."

Jassim then burst into tears and walked away saying prayers to Allah to
bless the souls of the dead.

A doctor at Ramadi's main hospital, Abdullah Salih, told reporters that
35 bodies had been brought in and he also believed that others had not
been retrieved since access had been limited by ongoing U.S. military

Another doctor, Kamal al-Ani, said that in addition to the dead, another
17 wounded had been brought into the hospital.

The scene at the hospital was tragic as doctors confirmed the reason of
death for many as severe bleeding that had gone on for several hours.
Most of the doctors were unwilling to discuss too many details for fear
of U.S. military reprisals.

"You can notice the number of dead is at least twice as high as the
number of wounded," one of the doctors, speaking on condition of
anonymity, told IPS. A local Iraqi policeman who identified himself as
Khalif Obeidi told IPS that tanks had destroyed several houses in the
area during the U.S. raid, killing more than 30 civilians.

"We know that those killed were innocent," said Obeidi, "although there
have been attacks on the Americans from near that area in the past."

Residents of the city and relatives of the dead who were at the funeral
were furious.

"There is no other way for the Sunnis than to fight," Ali Khudher, a
25-year-old carpenter who lost a relative in the attack told IPS. "It is
a religious war and no one can deny that now."

Others who attended the mass funeral chanted anti-American,
anti-Israeli, anti-Iranian and even slogans against the Islamic Party
which is now part of the Iraqi government.

Tempers run high in Ramadi also because the city has often been the
scene of large-scale U.S. military operations and their inherent forms
of collective punishment.

Last June, thousands of residents were forced from their homes due to
military operations, according to Maurizio Mascia, programme manager for
the Italian Consortium of Solidarity (ICS), a non-governmental group
based in Amman, Jordan that provides relief to refugees in Iraq.

At that time, Mascia told IPS, "The Americans, instead of attacking the
city all at once like they've done in their previous operations in
cities like Fallujah and Al-Qa'im, are using helicopters and ground
troops to attack one district at a time in Ramadi."

Mirroring a complaint heard often from residents of Ramadi, Mascia said,
"The main dangers for the population are the MNF (multi-national force)
at the checkpoints and the snipers: both usually shoot at any movement
that they consider dangerous -- causing many victims among civilians."

In a phone conversation with IPS, a spokesman for the U.S. military in
Baghdad said he had no specific details of the incident and that "the
U.S. military has been conducting ongoing patrols and security details
in Al-Anbar for months now. Our efforts are always to attack the
terrorists and protect the civilian population."

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail


20) Farmers in Dire Straights
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

BAGHDAD, Nov 16 (IPS) - Despite the Iraqi prime minister's optimism for
the agricultural sector, the farmers who are struggling to survive tell
another story.*

In an address to Iraqi politicians this week, Prime Minister Nouri
Al-Maliki praised his government's performance in agriculture. Maliki
highlighted the new state-supported crop prices, through which farmers
would receive subsidies and encouragement to continue growing their
crops -- but he did not mention how much the price supports would be.

"The prime minister seems not to be aware of the real problems we are
facing here," Haji Jassim, a farmer from the rural Al-Jazeera area near
Ramadi, told IPS. Speaking from a relative's home in Baghdad, he added,
"What he is talking about would have been good if prices were the only
problem, but someone should explain to him the other obstacles we are

Jassim said that one of the main problems is lack of manpower, "since
most of our young men who were not killed by U.S. and Iraqi troops are
in jail or missing."

The frustrated farmer added that obstacles like lack of electricity,
fuel and security in the field and "dozens of others, should be known to
the man who claims to be our supporter."

Under the regime of Saddam Hussein, overthrown by U.S.-led forces in
2003, the government purchased crops from farmers in order to encourage
them to continue planting. In this way, the government guaranteed that
farmers would sell their crops, regardless of how bad the market was
under the economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations in 1990.

Many farmers now even wish the Saddam Hussein dictatorship had remained
in place, since economic hardship has become so severe under the
U.S.-led occupation.

"What they call the 'condemned regime' used to supply us with everything
we needed. Seeds, fuel, trucks, harvest machines and anything we might
need," Ali Abdul-Hussein, a farmer from Diwaniya who used to produce
rice but now works as a simple laborer in Baghdad, told IPS. "We were
happy to get rid of Saddam, but now we wish to get half the services he
used to offer us."

The Iraqi economy as a whole has been affected negatively by the
occupation and the related problems it has brought to Iraq. Some
estimates of the unemployment rate are as high as 50 percent, which is
significantly higher than it was under the sanctions.

According to the Integrated Regional Information Networks, which is the
UN's humanitarian news and information service, "Up to half of the
national population is currently unemployed in Iraq, where women
represent almost 60 percent of the total populace."

In 2005, Iraq's Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs estimated a
48-percent unemployment rate.

Further hampering farmers is the fact that Iraq's inflation rate has
soared to nearly 70 percent, according to the country's planning
minister, Ali Baban.

Baban told reporters in September that prices had increased for all
goods used to measure inflation, including food, fuel, transport,
medical services and medicine, clothing, property, furniture and other
essential goods.

Across Iraq, petrol and electricity, both of which extremely important
to Iraqi farmers, have seen the highest increase: 374 percent over the
last year. Also bad news for farmers is that the transport sector saw a
218-percent hike in prices.

Thus, the cost of farming, along with the average Iraqi's increasing
inability to afford rising market prices, has made everyday life
extremely challenging.

Lack of security is another problem that has hampered farmer's productivity.

"How can one deliver any crops to Mr. Maliki's warehouses? Militias are
taking firm positions there and so if you are Sunni, they will kill you
and take your money. But if you are a Shi'ite, then they will only take
your money and release you for ransom," farmer Latif Hameed said in an

One of the first and at the time famous sectarian killings carried out
by Shi'ite militias was in the main Jameela wholesale market in Baghdad.
Death squads killed 14 Sunni farmers from Madaiin while they were
selling their vegetables to merchants there.

Since that time, the market has been effectively paralysed because the
sharp increase in militia activity means most farmers no longer feel
safe there.

In addition, some Iraqi farming experts blame malfunctioning
infrastructure for hampering farmers' work.

Agriculture in Iraq will not improve in the near future "because our
soil was corrupted by the water table rising due to a failure of
functioning drainage systems," a university agriculture professor,
speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS in Baghdad.

Drainage systems depend on pumping machines that have come to a nearly
complete stop because of electricity and fuel shortages.

"Lack of supporting material like fertilisers and soil treatment has
affected agricultural operation in the country, and even when it is
available it is too costly and badly manufactured," the professor added.

In a study to be published soon by an Iraqi economics institute, over 75
percent of the vegetables and fruit consumed in Iraq are imported from
Syria, Jordan and Iran.

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail


21) Press Release from the Central Bank of Cuba
Havana. November 17, 2006
http://www.granma. cu/ingles/ 2006/noviembre/ vier17/48banco. html

As is widely known, in late 2004, Cuba had to take measures to
substitute the Cuban Convertible Peso for the dollar in monetary
circulation, with the goal of frustrating the perfidious attempt by
the United States government to prevent dollars in cash that had
arrived in Cuba via completely legal channels from being utilized to
pay for part of our imports of goods and services.

At the time, it was extensively explained how the U.S. government was
bringing pressures to bear against the Swiss Bank UBS to prohibit it
from carrying out its normal business with Cuba. That attempt was
based exclusively on the terror being spread throughout the United
States with its proclaimed policy of "you're either with us or
against us."

As has occurred throughout all of these years, the actions of our
enemies were defeated on that opportunity, as well: the dollar, the
symbol of their imperial power, was humiliatingly expelled from Cuba;
or commercial and financial relations continued to expand, and the
credibility and respect for our country and its financial
institutions are growing every day.

It should be added that based on that experience, our country's
far-sighted policy has been to substantially increase the use of
other currencies in our international transactions, given that we are
persuaded that the irresponsible materialistic U.S. policy, which has
led it to fall into unsustainable fiscal and commercial deficits and
placed its own currency in crisis, and the tendency for its gradual
depreciation is now irreversible.

An example of how times have changed for the dollar is that at this
moment, a simple statement by the president of the Central Bank of
China regarding the composition of its reserves by currency type is
enough to make the dollar depreciate, as occurred very recently.

It should not be forgotten that China today possesses the largest
amount of monetary reserves on the planet (more than $1 billion
dollars), four times more than those of the United States; hence, any
comment by the Central Bank of China that is interpreted as an
intention to reduce the amount of dollars in its reserves can have a
negative impact on that currency.

To the great discomfort of the United States, the fate of its
currency now depends - among other factors - on what is said in
China. That is the fragility of the dollar at this time.

In the specific case of the Swill bank UBS and subsequently of
another bank from that same country, Credit Suisse, an unfortunate
subordination to the orders of the empire took place, providing an
irrefutable example of how the United States imposes its laws in an
extraterritorial manner, and decides who can or cannot do business
with the institutions of other nations that are supposed to be free
and sovereign.

In the case of UBS, coercion and blackmail may also be involved,
given that an EFE news agency report dated Oct. 29, 2005 indicated
that certain branches of that bank participated in the United States
"food for oil" program imposed on Iraq, and according to
investigations, at least five Swiss businesses paid the Iraqi
government some $1 million each to win contracts in that country
within that program. This was revealed to U.S. authorities, who were
conducting the aforementioned investigations, and extraordinarily
weakened their ability to act independently of the United States,
even when they see themselves obliged to sacrifice their professional
ethics, even by lying.

It should be added that, according international media reports, UBS
was a generous donor to the election campaigns of Bush and his rival,
John Kerry, which confirms its desire to win the complacence of the
U.S. government no matter which party is in power.

More recently, the Swiss newspaper Sonntagszeitung published an
article last Sunday in which it was justly noted that in Cuba's case,
there are no international sanctions but that nevertheless, the two
aforementioned Swiss banks had broken off their business with our

This article said, among other things:

"In the case of Cuba, which has no international sanctions and is not
in conflict with the organizations of the United Nations, the Cubans
are boycotted by one country alone: the United States of America."

Questioned by the press, on November 14, both banks offered the
following explanation to the Swiss newspaper Le Temps:

"UBS is explaining its decision due to the high costs of monitoring
respect for and conformity with the regulations for dealing with
clients from the communist island. For Credit Suisse, 'Cuba is one of
the sensitive countries,' the bank's spokesman said, without
expanding on what that means."

In the same article, there are statements by Carlo Lombardini,
business lawyer for the Geneva Bar Association, in which he says
"Both Swiss banks are influenced by the U.S. viewpoint of the world.
The cessation of transactions with Cuba is one of the consequences. "

Finally, we must ask: Who decides which countries are "sensitive" or
not? And within what parameters is that classification based?

Or could it be that nobody knows that 50% of all the money-laundering
in the world is done in the United States? Shouldn't this be taken
into account by the aforementioned banks in considering that the
United States is a truly "sensitive" country with respect to acting
in accordance with the laws of its financial system?

The answer is very simple: the actions of these two Swiss banks have
nothing to do with respect for the law or precautions in their
banking transactions. They are simply acts of submission to the
United States, which they do not dare to admit.

Fortunately, there are few institutions like UBS or Credit Suisse
that humiliatingly subordinate themselves to the United States, and
there is a growing number of agencies and countries that are not
disposed to blindly allying themselves with an empire whose repeated
failures in the last few weeks are just the tip of the iceberg of its
irreversible decadence.

(Translated by Granma International)


22) Victory in San Francisco on November 14:
Board of Ed. Votes to Phase Out JROTC!
Student Activist Receives
Threats For Opposing JROTC

On November 14, a major political earthquake shook San Francisco and
the entire country. For the first time ever in the United States, a
school board -- the Board of Education of the San Francisco Unified
School District (SFUSD) -- voted to kick the Junior Reserve Officer
Training Corps (JROTC) off the high school campuses.

By a vote of 4-2 (with one board member absent), the school board
voted to phase out the JROTC program over the next two years and to
set up a task force to establish an alternative program to provide a
community structure and leadership skills to the approximately 1,600
high school students -- mainly Asian, Black and Latino -- who enroll
in JROTC every year.

With this vote, San Francisco will immediately become an important
example for other cities to kick out this authoritarian recruitment
tool of the U.S. military from our country's public high schools.

This victory was not a foregone conclusion. Not by a long shot.
Enormous pressures were brought to bear on the school board to
maintain JROTC.

All-Out Media Drive to Keep JROTC

On November 5, the San Francisco Chronicle published a front-page
glowing tribute to the JROTC, warning of the proposal to "kill off
the long-standing and enormously popular course," which, it stated,
is neither discriminatory nor a vehicle for military recruitment, but
merely a positive "learning experience."

A few days later, the Chronicle editors published an editorial urging
its readers to contact all the board members who had indicated they
might support the proposal to drop JROTC from the high schools. They
even gave out the board members' email addresses, which they never do.

In the week leading up to the vote, S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsom, School
Superintendent Gwen Chan, and countless other prominent community
figures lashed out at the school board members who had moved the
anti-JROTC resolution through committee. The board members were
accused of racism, elitism, scorn for the city's students, and a
blind concern for their own "narrow and leftist" political agendas at
the expense of the most needy children in the district.

A few voices went so far as to place the blame for any future
students killed in gang wars on the board members who would vote to
suspend JROTC. They claimed that the only thing that has prevented
these most at-risk students from joining these gangs is the JROTC

Other voices still insisted that JROTC is not a vehicle for the
military to recruit in San Francisco, and that JROTC does not
discriminate against LGBT students in San Francisco. This might occur
in other cities, they insisted, but not in San Francisco.

RY Launches Anti-JROTC Campaign

At the beginning of the school year, Revolution Youth (RY) members at
Lowell High School began to organize support the school board
resolution to phase out JROTC. They decided to circulate a student
petition in support of this proposal and to build a city-wide
campaign on the high school campuses.

Within weeks, the Lowell RY students were holding weekly Saturday
afternoon meetings at Dolores Park with students from 11 other public
and private high schools in the city (and even the greater Bay Area).
The campaign was carried out in close collaboration with the American
Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

A few days before the school board vote, Revolution Youth sent out an
email posting to students and antiwar activists throughout the city
urging them to attend the board meeting and reminding them of the
importance of this campaign. The posting reads, in part:

"Is the JROTC really 'enormously popular' throughout the city, as the
Chronicle claims? Hardly. In fact, an independent movement of
high-school students at more than 12 schools began in August to
support the proposal in the Board of Education. A petition circulated
by these students has in a few weeks received more than 800
signatures. [See copy of Petition below.]

"It also should be noted that at Mission High School, some of the
main student-advocates of the petition are Latino youth who are
current members of JROTC and who were pushed into the program without
knowing what it was -- or because their parents couldn't afford the
P.E. uniforms -- and who are unable to leave it now because of
scheduling conflicts due to the lack of space in regular P.E.
classes. Š

"'As students we believe that fighting JROTC is a way to fight the
Iraq war by taking away a valuable recruitment tool for the U.S.
military,' says J.L., Lowell high-school student and member of
Revolution Youth, the principal youth organization mobilizing S.F.
students against the military presence on campuses.

"And in November 2005, S.F. voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition
I, opposing military recruiters on campuses.

"What about the claim that JROTC is not a recruitment tool? Rudy de
Leon, Under Secretary of Defense, testifying before the Military
Personnel Subcommittee House Committee On Armed Services in March
2000 admitted that, 'The proportion of JROTC graduates who enter the
military following completion of high school is roughly five times
greater than the proportion of non-JROTC students.'

"It is true that this percentage is for the time being lower in San
Francisco, but this could change in coming period, as the U.S.
military seeks to overcome its recruitment woes in order to continue
the occupation of Iraq.

"And what about the denial that JROTC is discriminatory? It is true
that in San Francisco there are openly LGBT students in JROTC, but
these students are denied certain privileges of joining JROTC, such
as eligibility for special military scholarships or eligibility for
entering the military with higher pay. Moreover, JROTC is
intrinsically linked to and funded by the military, which overtly
bans openly LGTB citizens from joining.

"And what about the 'positive impact' of JROTC on students? It is
true that some students in San Francisco have learned leadership
skills and 'found a family' in JROTC, but there is no reason why
students couldn't have a similar experience with the new alternative
program that is planned to be set up after phasing out JROTC; the $1
million in S.F. yearly public funding that goes to JROTC could
provide the financial base for building this new program.

"What is needed now is for all students, community organizations,
progressives, and antiwar activists to mobilize in support of the
school board proposal to get rid of JROTC."

The RY members devoted the final week before the school board vote to
line up students to speak at the school board meeting in support of
the proposed board resolution. This was not so easy. It was one thing
for students to sign a petition addressed to the school board
members, but it was quite another for students, particularly at the
predominantly Black or Latino high schools, to testify publicly
against JROTC.

Public Testimonies and the Final Vote

The evening of November 14 began as anticipated. The pro-JROTC forces
bused in hundreds of their supporters, including war veterans, to
pressure the school board to drop the resolution disbanding their
program. Pro-JROTC speakers claimed throughout the evening that "at
least 1,500" of their supporters had mobilized in front of the school
board building. Most observers placed the number at a 200 to 300 --
still not a negligible turnout.

After taking up some other minor agenda items, the president of the
school board, Norman Yee, called on board member Dan Kelly to read
and move the final and amended version of the resolution on JROTC.
This was followed by some initial comments by school board members
and then the comments from the public.

Each side was given half an hour of testimony to support their
position. With a one-minute time limit per speaker, this meant
roughly 30 speakers per side.

The pro-JROTC group went first. The speakers were livid against the
board members, accusing them of racism against Asians, wanton
disregard for the poor students in the district, and more. All denied
there was any link between JROTC and the military; in fact a few
teachers who spoke in favor of JROTC said they strongly opposed the
war and military recruitment. For them this was simply a case of
providing structure and discipline to kids who otherwise would be out
in the streets, susceptible to the pressures from the gangs.

To the surprise of many, the pro-JROTC grouping included only a few
high school students. Most of the speakers were adult leaders of the
JROTC program.

The anti-JROTC side went next, led off by M.K., a Revolution Youth
member and senior at Lowell High School, who opened her comments
announcing that students at 11 high schools had gathered more than
800 signatures from students in support of the board resolution.

M. then announced that many more students would have been at the
meeting in support of the proposal to phase out JROTC but they were
scared to speak out. She mentioned that anti-JROTC activists at
Lincoln High School were actually threatened physically on account of
their support for the school board resolution..

M. was one of six RY students who spoke before the board. Two student
members of the Youth Commission from SOTA and Lowell also spoke in
favor of the board resolution. [Two of the statements from RY members
are included below; the others will be available shortly.]

Other speakers in support of the resolution included political and
community activists Eric Blanc, Millie Phillips, Tom Lacey, Denise
D'Anne, Cristina Gutierrez, Medea Benjamin, Bonnie Weinstein and
Carole Seligman, among others. All underscored the fact that the
people of San Francisco, in two separate ballot votes, have rejected
the war in Iraq and recruiters on campuses: Prop N (2004) called for
the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, and then Prop I
(2005) called for Out Now! and also for an end to JROTC on the high
school campuses.

All insisted on the horrors of the war and explained that the
military, with its task of killing or be killed for the sake of
empire and oil profits for the multinational corporations, cannot be
viewed as an acceptable alternative to gang-war violence; it only
transfers the killing fields to the streets of Kabul or Baghdad.

School, many said, also must be a place to develop critical thinking
-- something that is contrary to what JROTC and the army is all
about. Bonnie Weinstein, for example, noted the following in her

"The Army JROTC text from their Leadership, Education and Training
manual states on page 87, 'When troops react to command rather than
thought, the result is more than just a good-looking ceremony or
parade. Drill has been and will continue to be the backbone of
military discipline.' And from the Navy JROTC Naval Science text,
page 24, the Navy calls for, 'loyalty to those above us in the chain
of command whether or not we agree with them.'

The anti-JROTC activists were a slight minority in the room but they
were as loud, or louder, than the pro-JROTC forces. No one who
observed the meeting, or who heard the impassioned pleas of the
anti-recruitment student speakers over KALW Radio can claim that the
JROTC program has 'overwhelming support' among the students of San

Then came the vote, with the school board holding its ground and
voting to phase out the JROTC program. A major victory was scored for
peace, and for public education independent from military recruiters!

M.K. Receives Physical Threats

As the anti-JROTC activists left the meeting room following the
board, many were harassed and subjected to threats from the JROTC

Antiwar activist Bonnie Weinstein wrote a letter to the school board
members the day after the vote to congratulate them for their
historic stand and to notify them of threats she and others had
received on their way out of the board meeting. Weinstein wrote:

"Students who were at the meeting last evening and who are
disappointed by the vote were extremely hostile -- several of them
physically threatened Cristina Gutierrez, myself and others as we
left. It was scary to see them filled with so much hate. Of course,
that's why we want JROTC out of our schools. (You may not be aware
but JROTC students were laughing when Cristina told of being tortured
by U.S. military-trained Colombian troops.) I was also very puzzled
that their 'teachers' were not there with them to counsel them after
the vote was taken and to monitor this threatening and extremely
disrespectful behavior.

"This is important to bring up because we were not speaking to them
on the way out -- just among ourselves, and we were accosted by them
screaming at the top of their lungs in our faces with their fists
raised and tight! We were standing with an older woman with a cane
and the students crowded around us and began shouting and chanting
and screaming in our faces as we tried to leave.

"Cristina's small stature came to the waist of one of the boys who
stood in front of us momentarily barring the exit. There was a big
screen in the lobby and the students -- some of whom have seen and
talked to us before -- must have recognized us again from the screen
and were furious with our statements. Their behavior exposes the very
real danger JROTC is to our student's character and well being."

The threats did not stop there.

RY member M.K. reports that the night after the school board vote she
received a dozen threatening myspace messages from students across
the city about the petition and her comments to the board. M. also
reports she found out there is a bulletin circulating with her
information, pictures of her, and a direct link to her myspace site
encouraging people to harass and physically threaten her.

"So much for the JROTC kids proving how much the program taught them
leadership, social skils, and maturity," M. writes.

M.'s parents have contacted the police, the board of education, the
JROTC instructors, and the principals at various high schools, to
notify them of the threats against their daughter. M. has sent a
letter to the Chronicle editors informing them of the threats and
urging them to stop fanning the flames of intolerance and hatred.

Where To Go From Here?

This is an important first victory -- but the battle has not been won.

The U.S. Army has just announced a $1.53 billion ad campaign contract
with McCann/Erickson, a major advertising agency, to launch a new
recruitment campaign. Also, so long as Bush's No Child Left Behind
Act is the law of the land, school board will be pressured to keep
the military recruiters on the campuses.

We must organize to repeal No Child Left Behind!

For now, Revolution Youth members are calling on all San Francisco
students who signed the RY petition and on all anti-recruitment
activists in San Francisco to contact the school board members to
congratulate and thank them for writing the historic resolution and
for making the tough decision to support it.

Please write your letters to:

- Dr. Dan Kelly
- Mr. Mark Sanchez
- Mr. Eric Mar, Esq.
- Ms. Sarah Lipson

Also, please inform the board members if you are willing to work with
the SFUSD to develop an alternative program to JROTC. We now have an
obligation to develop such a program for the students who, for
various reasons, have found a home in JROTC.

Students interested in continuing to organize this anti-recruitment
work should contact RY at the following: Tel. 415-641-8616 or

There are a lot of things we can do in the coming months, such as an
antiwar battle of the bands or a holiday CD action at the Stonestown
Recruiting Center.

Please get back to us. We have to continue the struggle to end the
war in Iraq and to get the military recruiters off our campuses -- in
other Bay Area cities, across California, and all across the country.

(Eric Blanc, a graduate of Lowell High School in 2002, was one of the
Revolution Youth anti-JROTC campaign coordinators.)


Hello, my name is D.S. and I attend Lowell High School.

I support the Board of Education's resolution to replace JROTC with
an alternative program that is not directly affiliated with the
military. Career opportunities in high schools should be equally
represented, and JROTC holds for the military the advantage of
receiving physical education credit as well as almost one million
dollars in district funding while other clubs do not. (There is also
a smaller student to teacher ratio, despite JROTC instructors'
$15,000 greater salary.)

The military is not the only organization capable of teaching
leadership, discipline, first aid, and map reading. I trust that the
Board of Education will not abandon their students, and ensure that
the talent of the Drum Corps, Drill Team, Colour Guard, and so on are
not wasted. If the statistics of the views on war of JROTC and
non-JROTC students are equal, let us unite to demilitarize and
promote a progressive educational environment in our schools in San
Francisco to initiate this movement throughout America.


Hello, my name is I.C. and I am a freshman at School of the Arts high

I support the proposal made by the school board to phase out JROTC
from San Francisco public schools. It is not accurate to say that
this proposal will deprive students of feeling leadership. If JROTC
remains connected to the military it will eventually deprive these
same students of their lives. JROTC is used by the military as a
recruiting tool and though not all of the students who participate in
it end up joining the military a great many of them do.

Yes, many people are in JROTC because they feel that it provides
great leadership opportunities and they feel like a family among
their fellow JROTC peers, and I think that all of this is important.
However, all of this is highly achievable with alternative programs
not linked so strongly with the military.

I have only been at my school for about three months and through my
art discipline I have felt family. Perhaps with more creative and
artistic opportunities in public schools, these students can feel the
same way.



Dear Labor Activists,

Thank you all who called or wrote Smithfield in support of the workers
in Tar Heel NC. Your solidarity was essential in winning this agreement.

This is only one step in a long stuggle to attain Justice@Smithfield.
Please log in to our website and find out how you can help the workers
at Tar Heel by not inviting the Smithfield products produced
in Tar Heel to your Thanksgiving Celebration.

*Click in the link below to SIGN UP for the Smithfield Tar Heel Free
Holiday Celebrations


Workers at Tar Heel plant ignite widespread call
for justice at world's largest pork plant

Tar Heel, North Carolina--After a two-day walk out by hundreds
of workers, Smithfield Packing agreed to workers demands to halt
the wholesale firings of employees and agreed to reconsider their
implementation of immigration policies in the plant. The company,
for the first time, also agreed to meet with a group of workers
elected by the workers themselves to further negotiate about
plant issues and employee concerns on Tuesday.

The catalyst for the protest was a disagreement between the workers
and the company about Smithfield's improper use of social security
data to wrongfully terminate employees. Social security data is no
determinant of work authorization or immigration status. In other
Smithfield operations where workers are represented by the United
Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), contract language
provides for a systematic and constructive process for workers
and the employer to resolve issues such as immigration and work
status. Workers at the Smithfield Tar Heel plant have been struggling
for the protection of a union contract for over a decade.

The walk-out generated thousands of calls to the company from
national religious, civil rights and immigrant rights organizations
demanding that the workers? rights be respected. Organizations
included the National Baptist Convention, the Progressive Baptist
Convention, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the
North Carolina NAACP, National Council of Churches and Rainbow
Push. Eric Schlosser, whose new movie Fast Food Nation opens
this weekend, issued a public statement condemning
the company for its victimization of the workers.

Following the walk out, the company agreed to negotiate around
the workers? issues through the Catholic Church and its attorneys.
The company acknowledged that they had misinterpreted
the law and agreed to make appropriate adjustments to comply.

"We're glad the company did the right thing and recognized
that they were mistaken in the way that they were applying these
policies. The fact that they sat down and negotiated over the workers'
concerns is an example of the kind of process that benefits everyone,
the company, community and employees allowing all to resolve
differences. This is a historic break from Smithfield Packing's long
history of confrontation and intimidation of their workers in Tar
Heel and we hope this will continue" says Gene Bruskin, UFCW
Director of the Smithfield Justice campaign, a coalition of labor,
immigrant rights, civil rights, faith and student groups.

Specifically, the workers and the company have already
agreed to the following:

Smithfield has agreed to increase the time allowed for employees
to respond to "no match" letters from the Social Security

Employees who have been laid off for failure to resolve Social
Security issues may return to work while they sort out
these issues.

Smithfield's Human Resources Department will designate a staff
member to help process "no match" Social Security issues
and respond to questions.

Smithfield has agreed that if mistakes have been made,
they will be addressed.

No disciplinary actions of any kind will be taken against those
employees who participated in the walkout.

Tar Heel plant manager Larry Johnson will meet again with
a group of Smithfield employees on Tuesday, November 21 at 2:00 pm.
Employees will return to work on Saturday, November 18th.

The UFCW represents 1.3 million workers, including 250,000
in the meat packing and food processing industries.

*Click in the link below to SIGN UP for the Smithfield Tar
Heel Free Holiday Celebrations



24) The Ghosts of 1898
Wilmington's race riot and the rise of white supremacy
Timothy B. Tyson, Special to the News & Observer

On Nov. 10, 1898, heavily armed columns of white men marched into the
black neighborhoods of Wilmington. In the name of white supremacy,
this well-ordered mob burned the offices of the local black
newspaper, murdered perhaps dozens of black residents -- the precise
number isn't known -- and banished many successful black citizens and
their so-called "white nigger" allies. A new social order was born in
the blood and the flames, rooted in what The News and Observer's
publisher, Josephus Daniels, heralded as "permanent good government
by the party of the White Man."

The Wilmington race riot of 1898 stands as one of the most important
chapters in North Carolina's history. It is also an event of national
historical significance. Occurring only two years after the Supreme
Court had sanctioned "separate but equal" segregation in Plessy v.
Ferguson, the riot marked the embrace of virulent Jim Crow racism,
not merely in Wilmington, but across the United States.

Despite its importance, the riot has remained a hidden chapter in our
state's history. It was only this year that North Carolina completed
its official investigation of the violence. In addition to providing
a thorough history of the event, the report of the Wilmington Race
Riot Commission recommended payments to descendants of victims. And
it advised media outlets, including The News & Observer, to tell the
people the truth about 1898.

Those truths include that what occurred in Wilmington on that chilly
autumn morning was not a spontaneous outbreak of mob violence. It
was, instead, the climax of a carefully orchestrated statewide
campaign led by some of the leading figures in North Carolina's
history to end interracial cooperation and build a one-party state
that would assure the power of North Carolina's business elite.

The black-white coalition

At the end of the 19th century, Wilmington was a symbol of black
hope. Thanks to its busy port, the black majority city was North
Carolina's largest and most important municipality. Blacks owned 10
of the city's 11 eating houses and 20 of its 22 barbershops. The
black male literacy rate was higher than that of whites.

Black achievement, however, was always fragile. Wealthy whites were
willing to accept some black advancement, so long as they held the
reins of power. Through the Democratic Party, whites controlled the
state and local governments from 1876 to 1894. However, the party's
coalition of wealthy, working class and rural whites began to unravel
in the late 1880s as America plunged into depression.

North Carolina became a hotbed of agrarian revolt as hard-pressed
farmers soured on the Democrats because of policies that cottoned to
banks and railroads. Many white dissidents eventually founded the
People's Party, also known as the Populists. Soon they imagined what
had been unimaginable: an alliance with blacks, who shared their
economic grievances.

As the economic depression deepened, these white Populists joined
forces with black Republicans, forming an interracial "Fusion"
coalition that championed local self-government, free public
education and electoral reforms that would give black men the same
voting rights as whites. In the 1894 and 1896 elections, the Fusion
movement won every statewide office, swept the legislature and
elected its most prominent white leader, Daniel Russell, to the governorship.

In Wilmington, the Fusion triumph lifted black and white Republicans
and white Populists to power. Horrified white Democrats vowed to
regain control of the government.

Race baiting fuels vote

As the 1898 political season loomed, the Populists and Republicans
hoped to make more gains through Fusion. To rebound, Democrats knew
they had to develop campaign issues that transcended party lines.
Democratic chairman Furnifold Simmons mapped out the strategy with
leaders whose names would be immortalized in statues, building names
and street signs: Charles B. Aycock, Henry G. Connor, Robert B.
Glenn, Claude Kitchin, Locke Craig, Cameron Morrison, George
Rountree, Francis D. Winston and Josephus Daniels.

They soon decided that racist appeals were the hammer they needed to
shatter the fragile alliance between poor whites and blacks. They
made the "redemption" of North Carolina from "Negro domination" the
theme of the 1898 campaign. Though promising to restore something
traditional, they would, in fact, create a new social order rooted in
white supremacy and commercial domination.

At the center of their strategy lay the gifts and assets of Daniels,
editor and publisher of The News and Observer. He would spearhead a
propaganda effort that would incite white citizens into a furor that
led to electoral fraud and mass murder. It used sexualized images of
black men and their supposedly uncontrollable lust for white women.
Newspaper stories and stump speeches warned of "black beasts" who
threatened the flower of Southern womanhood.

The Democrats did not rely solely upon newspapers, however, but
deployed a statewide campaign of stump speakers, torchlight parades
and physical intimidation. Aycock earned his chance to become North
Carolina's "education governor" through his fiery speeches for white supremacy.

Issue of race and sex

As in the rest of the state, Wilmington Democrats founded their
campaign upon propaganda, violence and fraud. Their efforts to
persuade white men to commit wholesale violence was made easier in
August 1898 when Alexander Manly, the black owner of The Daily
Record, answered a speech supporting lynchings. Not all interracial
sex is rape, he noted; many white women willingly sleep with black men.

For Democrats, Manly's editorial was a godsend, allowing them to
support their lies about predatory blacks. And no one was better at
spreading that message of hate and violence than Wilmington's Alfred Waddell.

The former Confederate soldier was a passionate speaker, who riled
crowds with his famous line: "We will never surrender to a ragged
raffle of Negroes, even if we have to choke the Cape Fear River with

As Waddell spoke, the Red Shirts, a paramilitary arm of the
Democratic Party, thundered across the state on horseback, disrupting
African-American church services and Republican meetings. In
Wilmington, the Red Shirts patrolled every street in the days before
the election, intimidating and attacking black citizens.

Through these efforts, the Democrats won resounding victories across
the state on Nov. 8, 1898.

Stealing the election would not be enough for the conservatives. For
one thing, Wilmington's local Fusionist government remained in
office. Many local officials -- the mayor and the board of aldermen,
for example -- had not been up for re-election in 1898. And
Wilmington remained the center of African-American economic and
political power, as well as a symbol of black pride. White Democrats
were in no mood to wait.

The day after the election, Waddell unfurled a "White Declaration of
Independence" that called for the disfranchisement of black voters.

The following morning, Nov. 10, Waddell and a heavily armed crowd of
about 2,000 marched to Love and Charity Hall, where the Record had
been published. The mob battered down the door of the two-story frame
structure, dumped kerosene on the wooden floors, and set the building ablaze.

Soon the streets filled with angry blacks and whites. Red Shirts on
horseback poured into the black community and other white vigilantes
romped through the black sections of town to "kill every damn nigger
in sight," as one of them put it.

At the end of the day, no one knew how many people had died --
estimates ranged from nine to 300. The only certainty in the matter
of casualties is that democracy was gravely wounded on the streets of

While the violence raged, white leaders launched a coup d'etat,
forcing the mayor, the board of aldermen, and the police chief to
resign at gunpoint. By 4 p.m. that day, Waddell was Wilmington's mayor.

Still, they were not done. The white mob gathered at the city jail to
watch soldiers with fixed bayonets march Fusionist leaders to the
train station, banishing at least 21 successful blacks and their
white allies from the city.

Effects of 1898 linger

When the new legislature met in 1899, its first order of business was
to disfranchise blacks. In the years that followed, the leaders of
the white supremacy campaign were largely responsible for the birth
of the Jim Crow social order and the rise of a one-party political system.

More than a century later, it is clear that the white supremacy
campaign of 1898 injected a vicious racial ideology into American
political culture that we have yet to transcend fully. Our separate
and unequal lives attest to the fact, though much has changed for the
better and a few things have changed for the worse.

But if 1898 has saddled us with its legacy, it also suggests how we
might overcome it. Its central lesson is this: Human beings make
history. So the mistakes that North Carolinians made in 1898 can be
overcome, if we choose.

Timothy B. Tyson is senior research scholar at the Center for
Documentary Studies at Duke University. This is a condensed version
of an article he wrote for The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer.

The day after the election, Waddell unfurled a "White Declaration of
Independence" that called for the disfranchisement of black voters.

The following morning, Nov. 10, Waddell and a heavily armed crowd of
about 2,000 marched to Love and Charity Hall, where the Record had
been published. The mob battered down the door of the two-story frame
structure, dumped kerosene on the wooden floors, and set the building ablaze.

Soon the streets filled with angry blacks and whites. Red Shirts on
horseback poured into the black community and other white vigilantes
romped through the black sections of town to "kill every damn nigger
in sight," as one of them put it.

At the end of the day, no one knew how many people had died --
estimates ranged from nine to 300. The only certainty in the matter
of casualties is that democracy was gravely wounded on the streets of

While the violence raged, white leaders launched a coup d'etat,
forcing the mayor, the board of aldermen, and the police chief to
resign at gunpoint. By 4 p.m. that day, Waddell was Wilmington's mayor.

Still, they were not done. The white mob gathered at the city jail to
watch soldiers with fixed bayonets march Fusionist leaders to the
train station, banishing at least 21 successful blacks and their
white allies from the city.

Effects of 1898 linger

When the new legislature met in 1899, its first order of business was
to disfranchise blacks. In the years that followed, the leaders of
the white supremacy campaign were largely responsible for the birth
of the Jim Crow social order and the rise of a one-party political system.

More than a century later, it is clear that the white supremacy
campaign of 1898 injected a vicious racial ideology into American
political culture that we have yet to transcend fully. Our separate
and unequal lives attest to the fact, though much has changed for the
better and a few things have changed for the worse.

But if 1898 has saddled us with its legacy, it also suggests how we
might overcome it. Its central lesson is this: Human beings make
history. So the mistakes that North Carolinians made in 1898 can be
overcome, if we choose.

Timothy B. Tyson is senior research scholar at the Center for
Documentary Studies at Duke University. This is a condensed version
of an article he wrote for The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer.


25) Education Under Siege
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily
Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches

BAGHDAD, Nov 18 (IPS) - The recent kidnapping of scores of academics in
Baghdad highlights the desperate situation of the educational system in
occupied Iraq.*

Armed men wearing Iraqi police uniforms abducted as many as 150
academics from the Ministry of Higher Education on Tuesday.

Alaa Makki, the head of the Parliament's education committee called the
action a "national catastrophe" and the minister of higher education,
Abed Dhiab al-Ujaili, announced that teaching in all of Baghdad's
universities would be halted "until we find out what happened," and
because "we are not ready to lose more professors."

While 70 of the academics have been released since then, others remain

Academics, along with other professionals, have been increasingly
targeted by sectarian violence which continues unchecked across much of
Iraq. Thousands of professors and university researchers have long since
fled the war-torn country.

An administration manager of a large university in Baghdad spoke with
IPS on condition of anonymity: "Iraqi universities have turned into
militia and death squad headquarters... Pictures of clerics and
sectarian flags all over are not the only problem, but there is the
interference of clerics and their followers in everything."

The university employee, who said he fears for his life each day he goes
to work, explained that religious clerics now had the authority to "sack
teachers and students, forbid certain texts, impose certain uniforms and
even arrest and kill those who belong to other sects or those who object
to their behaviour."

He angrily added, "Our government seems to approve all that, as no
security office ever intervened to protect teachers and students or make
any change to the situation."

Iraqi security forces have been accused of taking part in, or at least
ignoring several mass kidnappings, which are widely believed to have
been carried out by sectarian groups. The Sunni minority have blamed
many of the kidnappings on armed groups from what are now the dominant
Shi'ite political parties, who also control the Ministry of Interior.

The higher education ministry is currently headed by a member of the
main Sunni Arab political bloc.

The 2003 U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, with the broken
promises of reconstruction and rehabilitation of Iraq's educational
system, have not been the only cause of the current disaster.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organisation) had reported before the 1991 Gulf War that Iraq had one of
the best educational performances in the region. Literacy rates were
extremely high and primary school enrollment was 100 percent.

The number of schools in Iraq under the Saddam Hussein regime
(1979-2003) increased due to the compulsory learning law enacted in the
1970s. A huge campaign for the eradication of illiteracy was organised
and people had to send their children to school to avoid legal

The Ba'ath party had influence on the kind of subjects studied
concerning religion. In addition, education administrators and teachers
preferred to join the ruling party, mostly for job security, but they
still had to be scientifically qualified as teachers.

Being members of the Ba'ath party when the U.S.-led occupation began,
particularly when CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) Administrator
Paul Bremer instituted the "de-Ba'athification" plan, caused most
teachers and administrators to be fired, arrested or later to be
assassinated by death squads and replaced by others who were selected by
new ruling parties, which tended to be Shi'ite religious fundamentalists.

These factors, on top of the harsh economic sanctions and the current
occupation, have left Iraq's education system in shambles.

"The newly employed teachers are either selected for being members of
Islamic parties in power or those who paid bribes in order to get the
job," a chief education supervisor in Baghdad told IPS, speaking on
condition of anonymity.

He has managed to keep his job since he had never joined the Ba'ath
Party, and added that other problems had arisen because, "Some of them
[teachers] are too old to teach and others brought fraudulent graduation
certificates that we could not deny because they were sent to us by
parties who have militias."

Billions of dollars were supposedly spent for rehabilitating schools
that were severely bombed by U.S. war planes during the 2003 invasion.
However, the quality of work by foreign contractors, such as Bechtel
Corporation, and their subcontractors was so poor that thousands of
schools across the country remain in a state of disrepair.

Most of the money was spent on repainting and supplying the schools with
cheap equipment that has not stood for long.

"The money for rebuilding schools just vanished between the
U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council and the western contractors and
so we still need a lot to be done," Abdel Aziz, an education manager
told IPS, "We are doing our best to facilitate the educational
operation, but we are facing a great deal of problems with the capacity
of our schools and teachers."

Another problem in some areas is the misuse of school buildings. People
in conflict-ridden areas like Ramadi and parts of Baghdad have
complained that U.S. soldiers use school buildings as combat posts,
especially for snipers.

Other schools are used by militias and death squads in areas of Baghdad
and southern provinces of Iraq.

Today, security is perhaps the major problem facing the education
system. Teachers and students find it too dangerous to move between
their homes and schools under such a chaotic security situation. Further
complicating matters, there is great fear of abduction for ransom and an
even greater of for assassination by death squads.

And the poor state of Iraq's economy has exacerbated the situation.

"There is no possible way for me to cover school expenses," Omar Jassim
told IPS. Father of four from Baghdad, Jassim said, "I am unemployed and
life became too expensive, as well as the high school bus fare and
clothes for the children. I had to cut them from school and make them
help me provide food for the family."

Many families have decided not to send their children to school and have
instead pushed them to work as cleaning boys or beggars in the streets.

Last month Iraq's Ministry of Education released statistics which
indicated that only 30 percent of Iraq's 3.5 million students were
attending classes. This is less than half the number from the previous
year, which, according to the Britain-based non-governmental
organisation Save the Children, was 75 percent attendance.

Attendance rates for the new school year which started on Sep. 20 were
at a record low, according to the ministry.

According to the Ministry of Education, 2006 has been the worst year for
school attendance since U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. The immediate
pre-war level of attendance in 2003 was nearly 100 percent.

At least 270 academics have been killed during the occupation, according
to the Iraq study group Brussels Tribunal.

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.


26) Another 1934 Is Just around the Corner
By The Editors of Socialist Viewpoint
Socialist Viewpoint

It's fair to say that all class-conscious trade unionists recognize that
the greatest labor upsurge in American labor history was kicked-off
by three citywide strikes in the year of 1934-by autoworkers in Toledo,
teamsters in Minneapolis, and longshoremen in San Francisco.

Most would also agree that the strategy that made the great labor
upsurge of the '30s possible-class struggle as opposed to class
collaboration-was imposed on the unions by the rank-and-file
and the new generation of working-class leaders among them.
It's even more widely understood that the Great Depression and
the sudden steep decline in working people's living and working
conditions was the objective force that fueled the mass rank-
and-file rebellion that erupted in 1934.

But what is not so well known is why it took five long years after
the 1929 collapse of the economy before the American working
class seemed to draw the conclusion that either they must begin
a no-holds-barred, mass mobilization for a fight-to-the-finish
for better wages, hours, and working conditions-or sink ever
deeper into pauperization.

To answer this question is one of the purposes of this statement
by the editors of Socialist Viewpoint magazine. But our main
purpose is to make the case that the five-year purgatory through
which our predecessors had to pass through back then is very
similar to the nearly three decades of purgatory many of today's
workers have passed through since a similar, but far more slowly
developing, decline in mass living standards began in 1980.

We will further argue that the sudden quickening of this long
decline in the living standards of the American working class,
though it began early in 1980, was actually set in motion in
1947 when the Taft-Hartley "Slave-Labor Law" was rammed
through Congress by the bipartisan capitalist government.

Most union-conscious workers would also agree that the most
conservative pro-capitalist wing of the labor bureaucracy played
an indispensable role in the enactment of Taft-Hartley. But they
played an even more infamous role in the successful implementation
of its various anti-strike provisions, as well as having inserted
clauses in most union contracts forcing workers to cross the
picket lines of sister unions in the decades following the
enactment of the labor law.

This, of course, was in gross violation of the principle of class
solidarity upon which trade unionism is founded. The principle
is embodied in the labor slogan: "An injury to one is an injury to all!"

In other words, the attack on the gains made by working people
in the years between 1934 and the end of 1946 can be laid directly
at the feet of the labor officialdom.

But only a minority of today's trade-union activists has come
to understand that this is the root cause of the transformation
of the working class from a force capable of bringing the mightiest
industrial corporations to their knees, into one that appears to have
lost its ability to defend anything whatever of what was won
by workers in the hundreds of years of class struggle upon
which the heroic conquests of the '30s were founded.

Most importantly, we are rapidly approaching a time when workers
will once again come to the conclusion that either they must also
begin a collective fight-to-the-finish for better wages, hours,
and working conditions, as our predecessors did, or sink ever
deeper-down the lowest rungs of the economic ladder.

But while it often seems that big changes like general strikes
and other semi-revolutionary and revolutionary uprisings happen
all at once, they are always preceded by countless small changes
in objective conditions and their reflection in the minds of the
ordinary people. A radical change has been steadily taking place
in mass consciousness.

Take, for instance, the level of opposition to the war in Iraq and
the attitude most of us have that politicians and their votes on
legislation are for sale to the highest bidder.

However, when sudden changes in the world around us occur,
such as occurred in 1934, rarely can we see the point at which
quantity changes into quality. In fact, it is generally recognized
that these radical changes always come as a complete surprise,
no one having predicted the day, month, or even year that such
events would occur. Nor could anyone have possibly predicted
that in 1934 there would be three strikes in three cities in which
virtually the entire working class of these cities would play a vital
part in deciding their outcomes.

It's a lot easier to see when a trend has begun that will have
a lasting impact. Thus, we can make such a prediction regarding
the trend toward worsening wages, benefits, and job insecurity
now under way. Despite the current state of deepening hopelessness
and relative worker passivity, it is our conviction that another 1934
is, indeed, just around the corner. A new wave of revolutionary mass
action is inevitable, and it's closer than the great majority in the U.S.
and the world may think.

If we look back at the year preceding the sudden explosion of mass
worker resistance it will be seen that the mood of the working class
in 1933, the fourth year of the Great Depression, was very similar
to the mood of workers in 2006 and the preceding few decades!
In fact, it could be said that the feeling of powerlessness that
engulfed working people for the first four terrible years after
the stock-market crash of October 1929 is comparable to the
sense of powerlessness engulfing workers in the year 2006.

Alongside the deepening discouragement among workers today,
however, there is a diametrically opposed trend in worker
consciousness that began in early 2006. This trend, though
still restricted to a minority of our class, is nonetheless an
important manifestation of rising class-consciousness and
the kind of fighting spirit that had begun spreading through
the ranks of active trade union militants in 1933.

1933: Signs of changing worker consciousness

If we take a brief look back at 1933 for signs of an awakening
of American labor then, and compare it to the present year,
it will provide a basis for estimating the likelihood that such
an awakening has begun again.

In 1933, there were at least two events suggesting that a change
in mass worker consciousness was underway. From demoralization
and passivity, workers started to move toward the realization that
the only choices before them were either more years of hard and
harder times or else rise up and begin a collective struggle for
higher wages and better working conditions-or die trying.

The first indication that a spirit of class struggle had begun
spreading throughout the working class, both employed and
unemployed, was the outbreak of a mass organizing strike
by thousands of newly organized hotel workers in New York
City. The spirit of renewed combativity culminated in a strike
that succeeded in paralyzing all the city's biggest and best
hotels, with a heavy impact on the tourist industry.

The big hotel strike ended with a partial but important victory:
For the first time in years, hotel workers, who had lacked union
representation, won recognition of their union as the bargaining
agent for all hotel workers in the city. And while they won nothing
yet in the way of a contract, they won something more important.
A flood of unorganized hotel workers joined the union, multiplying
the impact of union recognition by the owners and managers
of New York City's major hotels.

The second indication that something new had begun was another
mass organizing strike, this time by workers in the coal-distribution
centers of Minneapolis and St. Paul, organized and led by Teamster
Local 574. This strike also ended in the same sort of partial victory-
recognition by the bosses of their union as its bargaining agent
and a much larger union membership.

A word is in order for those who may not know the difference
between union recognition won through the force of a strike
and that won via an National Labor Relations Board [NLRB] election.
Recognition won by a strike gives the union the upper hand when
bargaining over wages, hours, and working conditions begins.
Recognition by the peaceful road of an NLRB election does
not have the same force.

These two partial strike victories were an indication that mass
worker passivity was turning into its very opposite. Masses
of workers had embarked on the road of class struggle.

2006: The emergence of Soldiers of Solidarity

Similar to the events in 1933 that were precursors of the three
citywide strike victories in the following year, 2006 saw the
emergence of Soldiers of Solidarity, which also augurs things
to come.

While events in 2006 were not of the same kind that occurred
more than 70 years ago, they demonstrated an even more
advanced growth in class consciousness-such as we saw
in 1933, by a small but important layer of trade-union
activists, all of whom are concentrated in the strongholds
of labor power centered in America's industrial heartland.

Although in this case there was nothing like the two big strikes
of 1933, we witnessed the rise of what can be most accurately
described as the formation of a class-struggle rank-and-file
movement of workers. It was precipitated by a carefully calculated
decision by General Motors and its spinoff Delphi Corp, to deal
a major blow to one of American labor's most powerful unions,
the United Auto Workers.

Those who have read any of this year's editions of Socialist
Viewpoint know we speak of a small but growing formation
that calls itself Soldiers of Solidarity. Although SOS is only one
of many similar formations, it appears to have heavily influenced
the strategic orientation of most if not all of this wave of newly
radicalizing rank-and-file formations in what is still the industrial
heartland of mid-America-despite all the fluff about the
"deindustrialization of America."

So what exactly is there about SOS that makes it so important?
It will be helpful to first say what SOS and most of its counterparts
are not: It is not a more militant, nucleus of a rival union oriented
toward replacing the UAW. Neither is it a union caucus devoted
exclusively to challenging the incumbent bureaucratic misleadership
for control over the UAW. It is that, of course, but it's much more
than that.

SOS has made it clear what it stands for in its numerous public
statements distributed throughout the movements of left-wing
trade-union activists in North America and beyond. They
communicate mainly through the Internet, a powerful medium
of mass communication. The Internet is a medium open to
anyone with access to a computer. It has supplied rank-and-
file workers with a powerful organizational and educational
tool. And there can be no effective grass-roots organizing
without teaching workers the lessons of labor history,
its victories and defeats.

It's all there in the written histories and the sort of oral histories
one gets from old timers that are not only anecdotal but also
contain condensations of the lessons of class struggle. These
are a mix of what they learned from the books and from their
own experiences in strikes and other class battles.

But, of course, the most important lesson of labor history had
occurred in the explosive year of 1934. The new spirit
of militancy and combativity that marked the first 13 years
of accelerating and deepening class confrontations, had
spread with amazing speed as workers rushed on to the
road of direct mass action to defend and advance their
class interests. It's as though anger and a rising sense
of class consciousness had been growing below the surface
of mass consciousness.

In fact, anyone who thinks seriously about the change in
mass consciousness from the time of the official beginning
of the Vietnam War can sense that a state of mass radicalization
has engulfed America.

In our view, it is as deep in some respects as it had been during
the Great Depression. However, what has yet to crystallize
is the advanced state of mass class-consciousness that broke
onto the surface throughout the amazing year of 1934. In fact,
it can break out just as suddenly and explosively as it did then.
And while no one can predict when or what sort of event will
serve as the straw that breaks the camel's back, it's not likely
that we will have long to wait before quantity changes into quality.

In fact labor history teaches that when workers are demobilized
and demoralized by misleadership or the lack of a leadership that
has absorbed the lessons of labor history, they tend to be passive.
And the few mavericks among them who try to get the class struggle
ball rolling again often themselves become demoralized when they
don't get the response they hoped for.

Nevertheless, SOS did get a response from a very important layer
of newly radicalizing assembly-line workers, who show a far more
advanced level of class consciousness than any we have seen since
the end of the last great labor upsurge in 1946.

What is there about SOS that sets it apart?

There are five basic characteristics of what could be called a class-
struggle program of action for the trade-union movement
as presented by SOS.

It's first most distinguishing feature is its open advocacy of the
tactics and strategy of class struggle-as against the official UAW
and labor-movement strategy of class collaboration-although
the labor officialdom prefer to call their policy a "partnership"
between labor and capital.

Secondly, SOS welcomes-as most of its counterparts do-all workers
into its fold, both members of the UAW and members of other unions.
But they don't stop there; they also welcome into their ranks
all unorganized workers in America. This reinforces its class-
struggle character.

Third, even though most international unions in this country are
formally affiliated to either the AFL-CIO or its recent splitoff,
Change to Win, which are in turn affiliated with one or another
of the world's international labor federations; rather than being
champions of class solidarity they give it empty and meaningless

On the other hand, contrasting sharply with the bureaucratic
conservatism of the latter, SOS and most of its counterparts
suggest in many ways that they are genuinely committed
to international class solidarity.

Fourth, along with Soldiers of Solidarity, Members for CHANGE!,
GM Gypsy, Future of the Union, Live Bait and Ammo, Disgruntled
Autoworker, Catholic Worker, Solidarity Now, The Barking Dog,
Factory Rat and many others, most adhere to the guiding principle
that workers can win from the boss class only what they are strong
enough to take.

Fifth, SOS and its counterparts adhere to the principle of genuine
workers' democracy, which is not at all the same as what passes
for capitalist democracy. Capitalist democracy is restricted,
essentially, to the right to vote for candidates on one day in an
election year. But almost every one of these politicians is
a millionaire. Thus, workers have a choice between not only
pro-capitalists but also actual capitalist politicians.

Workers' democracy, however, is far more democratic than the
capitalist variety, as could be seen during the best days of the
labor movement. But under bureaucratic administration and
control, it is far less today than it had been in the 1930s and
early '40s. Even so, workers always had and still have the power
to make decisions at regular meetings regarding local union policy,
including the right to override decisions made by full-time officials
from one meeting to the next.

They also have a measure of control over the decisions made
by their delegates at meetings of higher bodies encompassing
more than one local union. But the higher up the bureaucratic
hierarchy we go, rank-and-file democratic control declines,
reaching zero at the top. Consequently, at those higher levels
it takes semi-revolutionary mass action to regain the kind
of democratic rank-and-file control over their unions that
had been won in the 1930s.

Moreover, in the years before Taft-Hartley, most unions met
weekly, and election of local union officers was held once a year.
After the enactment of the "Slave-Labor Law," the frequency
of most union meetings had declined from weekly to monthly
and the election of most local union officers from yearly to once
every three years. Now, most regional and national elections
of union officers are only once in every five years.

But when the rank-and-file get riled up enough, union attendance
always tends to rise. And when workers are riled up and begin
to hear their own discontent and growing inclination to take
direct control over their union being voiced by more and more
of their coworkers, quantity changes into quality and confidence
about what can be accomplished rises.

It should be no surprise that the recent history of working-class
powerlessness has raised the question of whether or not workers
still have the power to change the world.

Lets take a closer look at how this notion has been spread far
and wide by the powers that be.

How the mass media fosters the illusion of powerlessness

If there is a theme that runs like a brightly colored thread through
the capitalist-owned-and-controlled mass media, it is that the working
class, like the old gray mare in the song, "ain't what it used to be."

The usual argument offered by so-called professional labor experts
and pro-labor professors-many of whom are on the payrolls of the
billionaire owners of the mass media-is the myth that there has been
and continues to be a process they call the "deindustrialization
of America."

But this is a cleverly contrived myth having no foundation in fact.
Industrialization, far from being diminished, has been uninterruptedly
intensified every minute in every hour of every day since World War II
brought an artificial end to the Great Depression (at the cost
of 62 million dead, or 2.5 percent of the world population). All big
lies, however, are based on a grain of truth, and so too is the evidence
offered for what is wrongly labeled "deindustrialization."

What passes for deindustrialization is the never-ending process
of scientific and industrial development that serves to replace human
labor with ever-more productive machines. In other words, capitalism
creates ever-more efficient factories, employing ever-fewer workers
turning out ever-greater quantities of products. Rather than that being
de-industrialization, it's an advance in industrialization.

But this myth has another side to it. And that, too, is also a matter
of factual and logical sleight of hand. That is, by mis-labeling this
process as the "deindustrialization of America," the mass media's
manufacturers-of-public-opinion create the illusion that better-paid
jobs are disappearing only in America, when it is in reality a global

In other words, machines are replacing human labor everywhere
in the capitalist world, not just in the USA.

The myth of deindustrialization serves another purpose for the
mythmakers. And this is its main objective. It is designed to create
the illusion that the enemy of American workers is their counterparts
in other lands (or other cities in the USA) who are stealing jobs by
"offering" to work for lower wages. Thus, the employer gives the
former the option of "offering" to work for even lower wages than
had been "offered" by the latter.

But that's not all this myth is designed to accomplish. In fact, in
addition to the purposes already described, its larger aim is to shift
the blame for decades of givebacks handed over to the bosses by
labor bureaucrats to purely objective forces beyond anyone's control.
It is the pseudoscientific version of what is called, "An Act of God!"

Workers 'ain't what they used to be'?

Bureaucrats, bosses and the latter's handmaiden, the mass media,
have belatedly recognized that the industrial workforce has far greater
economic power at its disposal than do commercial, financial,
and service-sector workers. Industrial workers engaged in production,
transportation, and other basic industries, are capable of bringing
the entire economy to a grinding halt, while those elsewhere in the
economy do not and cannot have such an impact.

In other words, industrial workers are the heavy battalions of the
working class army. But its here where the mythmakers' argument
falls-only the army as a whole can win the war. And it doesn't matter
what role workers play in the economy, as a class and as a majority
that dwarfs to pygmy size the capitalist minority, they have the
objective power they always had from the 19th century until
the present day.

Now let's examine the relevant facts more closely.

Although the workers in basic industry are certainly fewer, both
absolutely and relatively, they retain exactly the same power
to make the wheels of industry stop and go.

For instance, if say, all four million workers in basic industry went
on strike and kept it shut down tight, that would add up to a huge
power in the hands of this sector of the working class to impose
its will on the mightiest of the world's industrial corporations-as
was done in the 1930s.

But let's say, instead of 4 million there are now only 2 million
industrial workers, but nonetheless this smaller number was still
able to keep industry shut down hard and fast, in what way
can the result be different?

All other things being equal, the overall effect is the same as
when there were twice as many workers in basic industry.

The same dynamic applies to each plant or group of plants in
the industrialized sector of the economy.

However, it must be emphasized that the more inclusive is the
action of the working class, the greater is their power. In fact,
the greatest power that industrial workers intrinsically possess
is not their power to bring the entire economy to a halt, as important
as that is. Rather, it is that when workers act as a class to defend
and advance their common class interests; it is that which gives
the entire working class, acting as a class, the power to change
the world.

Moreover, to act as a class in the interests of the class as a whole,
means to defend and advance the interests of all workers, throughout
the economy, irrespective of race, sex, religion, national origin,
or any other characteristic that differentiates one worker from
another. And that includes the millions of workers who perceive
themselves to be primarily a racial, religious, or national entity,
with their existence as workers, seemingly, a subordinate

If proof of our argument is needed, we need only look back at
the official policy of the industrial unions that became the CIO
in the mid-1930s, as against that of most craft unions that remained
with the AFL regarding Black workers. All CIO unions welcomed their
Black members while most AFL unions rejected them or organized
them into segregated Jim Crow local unions. But when the UAW
went on strike in the 1930s, Black and white UAW pickets worked
as a team to bar Black and white scabs and strike-breakers from
breaking through their picket lines.

In other words, the only effective response to the capitalist strategy
of divide and conquer is class solidarity. And its ultimate expression
is the slogan, "Workers of the World Unite, You Have Nothing to lose
but Your Chains, and a World to Win!"

Thus, it's no accident that Soldiers of Solidarity came into existence
by forming the nucleus of a mass class-struggle left wing of the
working class before a major new labor offensive has even begun.
Rather it serves as proof of one of the most important lessons
of class-struggle history: When one giant step forward by the
working class ends and reaction takes over; it is invariably followed
by the next big labor counter-offensive to regain lost ground and
conquer new territory. But it always tends to begin from the highest
point reached by the previous leap forward.

And finally, besides what SOS has already done along the lines
of beginning from the highest point previously reached we have
good reason to make this prediction:

Whereas the last upsurge never broke politically with the twin
parties of American capitalism, the Democrats and Republicans,
this one will not only organize workers as a class in the economic
arena of class war but also in the political arena as well, and quickly
rise to the most advanced state of mass class-consciousness.

Neither can we discount the possibility that this time it may not
stop until the class war is won, capitalism is overthrown and the
working class and its natural allies seize state power and become
the ruling class. And from that point on, begins the process
of abolishing all class and other distinctions between members
of the human race and the state itself will wither away until there
are no longer rulers and ruled.
Socialist Viewpoint


27) A New Class War: The Haves vs. the Have Mores
November 19, 2006

AT this time every year, there’s chatter about the magnitude of year-
end bonuses in the financial sector, and the attendant fallout (or
trickle-down): large tables at Peter Luger will be hard to come by
in December; co-op sales will be healthy in January; and the gals
who work the poles at Scores will receive more marriage proposals
(and when the men who are proposing turn out to be already married,
more jewelry) than ever before.

This year’s special contribution to the canon may be the argument
that the moment has arrived for a battle that looks to most of the
population like a battle among peers, which in a sense it is: the rich
versus the rich, the meritocrats versus the meritocrats, the ambitious
versus the ambitious. But it also pits two highly distinct groups,
the merely rich and the superrich.

Let’s define the terms first, or at least make some attempt to. The
merely rich are those whose income puts them in the top 1 percent
of the population. According to a recent study by the Center on Budget
and Policy Priorities in Washington, the average real income for the
top 1 percent of American taxpaying households was $940,000
in 2004 — a difficult group to feel pity for. But to stand for a moment
on its shores (let’s pretend) and look toward the rapidly growing ranks
of the superrich is to stare across a vast chasm indeed.

The superrich might be the top tenth of 1 percent (average real
household income for 2004: $4.5 million) or the top hundredth
(the $20-million-a-year households). Income inequality is growing
fastest the higher we go up the chart. While the percentage change
in average real household income between 1990 and 2004 was
an increase of 2 percent for the bottom 90 percent of American
households, it was 57 percent for the top 1 percent; and shot up
to 85 percent for the top 0.1 percent; and up to 112 percent for
the top .01 percent. That is, the richest are getting richer almost
twice as fast as the rich.

Class warfare has been hypothesized by various publications,
including the online magazine Slate, New York magazine and
Matt Miller in Fortune last month. Mr. Miller calls the bigger and
poorer group, which consists largely of professionals — doctors,
lawyers, management consultants, the vast majority of Wall Street
soldiers — the “lower-uppers.” The targets of their resentment,
he says, are by and large hedge fund managers and certain
astronomically paid C.E.O.’s.

“The problem is that there’s all this wealth at this new strata that
feels unrelated to merit or achievement,” Mr. Miller says. “When
a C.E.O. whose leadership has caused a company’s stock price
to fall gets a $100 million golden parachute, or when a guy’s
running so much money that his commission — even if his picks
are only getting an 8 or 10 percent return on his client’s money
— is $100 million, that’s crazy.” He says that such compensation
“goes against the notion of a meritocracy.”

Or maybe not. “A meritocracy increases inequality — by its very
nature, it has to,” says Nicholas Lemann, whose book “The Big
Test” explored the history of the SAT and the American meritocracy.
“The goal was equality of opportunity, not equality of result.”

Part of the problem may lie with the fact that the members of
both classes went into their respective lines of work with the
goal of making a lot of money, and one just happens to make
several times more of it.

Take the lawyers. “Lawyers are an odd group,” says the novelist
Louis Begley, whose day job for several decades has been
practicing law with the white-shoe firm Debevoise & Plimpton.
“Lawyers at the great law firms earn a lot of money. But for
a good many of them, it’s impossible to do so without accepting
anything but cases involving huge corporate deals that generate
a great many hours they can charge for. But these deals are
repetitive. And the lawyers in these transactions often play
second fiddle to the bankers.”

The money paid to investment bankers, who were once the
stronghold of the financial elite, typically pales next to hedge-
fund money. “I recently hosted a panel with Carl Icahn at the
Core Club where the whole point was that if you’re an investment
banker nowadays, you’re kind of a schlepper,” says Michael Wolff,
a Vanity Fair writer who has often written about the moneyed classes.
“Investment banking is for the C+ students now. Where you want
to be is not somebody who’s advising people with money — whose
currency is intellectual capital — but somebody whose currency
is money itself.”

This, too, may be what irks the professional classes. Managing
a hedge fund is the purest abstraction of making money out of
money — there is no other product to show for it.

The resentment may be intensified in New York, a city whose
physical layout has always engendered a lot of class-mixing.
The middle class might have been largely squeezed out of Manhattan
over the past decade, but the merely rich and the superrich still live
in the same neighborhoods (if not necessarily the same buildings),
buy houses in the same Hamptons (just houses of very different
scales), and send their children to the same schools.

Mr. Lemann said that the rich versus richer envy factor “assumes
that the relatively poor group is bumping into the most upper income.”

He added, “You might only see it at, say, functions that parents
go to at certain rarefied private schools — Fieldston, say, or Harvard
-Westlake in Los Angeles.”

Even Mr. Begley, who has earned enough to raise a large family in
a grand apartment on Park Avenue, said he was astonished by the
sheer number of billionaires he has met in recent years.

“I must say, I’ve begun to feel in New York as if I were driving
a Volkswagen on the highway when a Greyhound bus happens
to go by,” he said. “At which point, I feel a whoosh of air blasting
me off the road. These people belong to another species.”

Except, he said, that it’s “these young Wall Street types” buying
up the apartments in his building. “There are maybe four or five
of us who bought our apartments at some understandable price
30 years ago,” he said. “And then these new people — I must say,
with the money seems to come a rather large physical size. Some
of them are polite, but the men do fill the elevator cage. And the
women always seem to have a bottle of water attached to their

He added that he did not feel any need to engage in class warfare
against his neighbors. “If I did, they might crush me against the
elevator wall,” he said. “The only thing to do is get adopted by them.”


LA Times series on Navaho Indians and uranium mining,0,4515615.special?coll=la-home-headlines

UCLA orders outside probe of Taser arrest
The move comes hours after a protest march by more than 200 students.
By Richard Winton, Rong-Gong Lin II and Charles Proctor, Times Staff Writers
November 18, 2006,0,4080498.story?coll=la-home-headlinesUCLA

2006 Report on Migrant Deaths at the
U.S.-Mexico Border

Seymour Hersh | Iran: The Next Act
A month before the November elections, Vice-President Dick Cheney was
sitting in on a national-security discussion at the Executive Office
Building. The talk took a political turn: what if the Democrats won both
the Senate and the House? How would that affect policy toward Iran,
which is believed to be on the verge of becoming a nuclear power? The White
House's concern was not that the Democrats would cut off funds for the
war in Iraq, but that future legislation would prohibit it from
financing operations targeted at overthrowing or destabilizing the Iranian
government to keep it from getting the bomb. "They're afraid that Congress
is going to vote a binding resolution to stop a hit on Iran, a la
Nicaragua in the Contra war," said a former senior intelligence official.

Fidel Castro on the 50th anniversary of
the triumph of the Chinese Revolution:

Human Shield Deters Israel Strike in Gaza
Mohammedweil Baroud said he was warned
by Israeli forces to leave his
home. He instead ran to a mosque and
summoned neighbours to help defend
the house.

How to Stop the Stupid
by One Pissed Off Liberal
Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 11:49:38 AM PST

Where is the Justice?
Anti-Castro Terrorist Gets Only 4 Years

US Plans Last Big Push in Iraq with 20,000 Troops

The Truth? 'Nuclear is Not the Answer'

Former Prisoner Tells of Torture at Guantanamo

Kentucky: Soldier Is Sentenced to 90 Years
Specialist James P. Barker of the Army, who admitted to being one
of four soldiers who conspired to rape and murder an Iraqi girl and
then kill her family, received a 90-year prison sentence; he will
be eligible for parole after 20 years. In exchange for cooperating
with investigators, Specialist Barker was spared the death penalty.
Before he was sentenced, he made a tearful apology for his actions
on March 12. On Wednesday, Specialist Barker said he and the other
men had left their post near Baghdad to go the family’s house,
where he and two other men raped the girl, and Steven D. Green,
another soldier at the time, killed her, her parents and her sister.#
November 17, 2006

Red Wine Ingredient Increases Endurance, Study Shows
A drug already shown to reverse the effects of obesity
in mice and make them live longer has now been shown
to increase their endurance as well.
Experts say the finding may open up a new field
of research on similar drugs that may be relevant
to the prevention of diabetes and other diseases.
November 17, 2006

Reid Pledges To Press Bush On Iraq Policy
Senator Is Elected Majority Leader
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
But it was on the issue of Iraq that he was most passionate. Voter
anger over the war swept his party to power with the unlikely
defeat of six Republican senators, he said. Democrats must
respond to that anger, he added, with hearings to keep the heat
on the Bush administration, and with calls for a regional Middle
Eastern conference and a revitalized Iraqi reconstruction effort.
To that end, he said, one of the first acts of the new Democratic
Congress will be a $75 billion boost to the military budget to try
to get the Army's diminished units back into combat shape.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006; A01

Affirmative Action, Immigrants Rights Lose Big at Ballot Box

Latin America is preparing to settle accounts with its white settler elite
The political movements and protests sweeping the continent - from
Bolivia to Venezuela - are as much about race as class
Richard Gott
Wednesday November 15, 2006

South African Parliament Approves Gay Marriages
November 14, 2006

Manhattan: Students Arrested at Protest
Five students were arrested yesterday and charged with disorderly
conduct after demonstrating on the Pace University campus without
permission. The demonstration followed a rally at City Hall, where
students had called for Pace’s president, David A. Caputo, to resign.
Lauren A. Giaccone, who helped organize the protest, said beforehand
that students were concerned about the president’s salary, free speech
issues and general management of the university. A police spokesman
said the arrested students were released after being ticked for
disorderly conduct; two were also charged with obstructing
governmental administration. Uruj Sheikh, a Pace student, said
those arrested were members of Students for a Democratic Society
from Pace, Pratt Institute and the New School and “were merely
exercising their First Amendment rights of free speech.” Christopher
Cory, a Pace spokesman, said that only registered organizations
were allowed to hold events on campus and that the group’s
chapter was not registered.
November 16, 2006

Money for Cuban Democracy Buys Chocolate
American money intended to promote democracy in Cuba has been used
to buy crab meat, cashmere sweaters, computer games and chocolates,
according to a Congressional audit. The survey by the Government
Accountability Office found little oversight and accountability in the
program, which paid out $76 million from 1996 to 2005 to support
Cuban dissidents, independent journalists, academics and others.
To protect recipients from prosecution, none of the money is paid
in cash to people in Cuba. A Cuban law sends citizens to jail for
receiving money from the American government. The money
is distributed to Cuban-American groups in Miami; the recipients
were not identified.
November 16, 2006

West Virginia: More Families Sue Over Mine Disaster
Relatives of six men killed in the Sago Mine disaster sued the mine’s
owner and other companies, accusing them of failing to maintain
a safe working environment. The families also claim executives
of the owner, International Coal Group, negligently caused emotional
pain by waiting to correct initial reports that all the miners had
survived. Twelve men died in the Jan. 2 blast. The lone survivor,
Randal McCloy Jr., and the widows of two miners sued International
Coal Group and a subsidiary in August. ICG said it had not seen
the new lawsuits and could not comment on them.
November 16, 2006

FOCUS | CIA Admits to Memo From Bush on Interrogation Techniques
After years of denials, the CIA has formally acknowledged the existence
of two classified documents governing aggressive interrogation and
detention policies for terrorism suspects, according to the American Civil
Liberties Union. But CIA lawyers say the documents - memos from
President Bush and the Justice Department - are still so sensitive that no
portion can be released to the public.

Ford Profits for a Few Years Are Revised Higher
November 15, 2006

Fed Minutes Show Concerns About Inflation
Filed at 2:10 p.m. ET
November 15, 2006