Saturday, November 25, 2006


Condi and George W. are A Love Story



Bring some food to share and let's celebrate a tremendous victory
in ridding our schools of JROTC. Let's put our heads together
and brainstorm:

--community involvement in alternative programs
--continued counter-recruitment activity in the schools
--repealing the No Child Left Behind Act up for re-vote in 2007
--other school, student, parent and community needs
--organizing antiwar work in the community

and any other ideas you have for future action. Any plans already
under way?

Everyone welcome--please circulate


JROTC Supporters Threaten JROTC Opponents

First published in BEYOND CHRON, November 22, 2006

Copyright (c) 2006 by Marc Norton

"Hey you stupid hatin azz bitch!!! Better watch ur fkn bk ya dumbazz

This was just one of the threatening MySpace messages directed at Mara
Kubrin, a senior at Lowell High School, following the vote by the San
Francisco school board to phase Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps
(JROTC) out of the City's public schools.

On Tuesday evening, November 14, Mara presented a petition to the board
opposing JROTC, signed by over 800 students. The next morning her
picture appeared in the online edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, and
the flood of threats began.

"God you know how many people you have made cry & how many people hate
you! & wanna Beat you up & Slap the Shit out of you!!!!"

The San Francisco Chronicle has editorialized that JROTC teaches
"leadership skills and self-discipline." One of the program's supporters
demonstrated that leadership, if not self-discipline, by drafting a
bulletin with Mara's picture, calling her a "traitor," identifying her as a
student at Lowell, and claiming that "by viewing this... [you agree] to
release said author from all damages resulting from... any physical or
mental damages resulting from violence" as a result of the bulletin.

"Man those pic bulletins of you are really funny. i mean HAHAH! funny.
Like LOL funny. BITCH."

MySpace web pages are often private, which means that they can not be
accessed without the permission of the individual involved. Mara's page
is private. Yet, somehow, the person who drafted the inflammatory
bulletin about Mara hacked into her page, got vital information about her
and her family, and broadcast it with a link to her MySpace page --
resulting in the deluge of threatening MySpace messages.


Ironically, when Mara presented the petition at the school board she
claimed that many students opposed to JROTC were afraid to come to the
meeting, fearing intimidation by JROTC students. The threats she has
received since then have proven that point.

Others have experienced similar intimidation. Bonnie Weinstein has
posted an open letter on the Bay Area United Against War web page -- -- stating:

"...several of them [JROTC supporters] physically threatened Cristina
Guitierrez, myself and others as we left [the school board meeting] --
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 that 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

The message from JROTC supporters to JROTC opponents, as stated in one
of the MySpace threats aimed at Mara, is coming through loud and clear.

"u should stfu."

Or else.

A police report has been filed about the threats against Mara. She
believes that the student who sent out the threatening bulletin can be


Marc Norton is a bellman at a small hotel in downtown San Francisco.
Norton's partner, Riva Enteen, is Mara's mother. Norton can be reached at, and through his website at





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)

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




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]


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

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

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1) Victory in San Francisco on November 14:
Board of Ed. Votes to Phase Out JROTC!
Student Activist Receives
Threats For Opposing JROTC
Report by Bonnie Weinstein,
With statements read to the board by Bonnie Weinstein and
Carole Seligman.

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

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

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

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

6) Marijuana
By Bonnie Weinstein
November 15, 2006


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

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

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

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

12) Rejecting the Draft
New York Times Editorial
November 21, 2006

13) A Free-for-All on Science and Religion
“Children are systematically taught
that there is a higher kind of knowledge which comes from faith,
which comes from revelation, which comes from scripture, which
comes from tradition, and that it is the equal if not the superior
of knowledge that comes from real evidence.”
November 21, 2006

14) Israeli Map Says West Bank Posts Sit on Arab Land
November 21, 2006

15) Military Documents Hold Tips on Antiwar Activities
“Veterans for Peace is a peaceful organization,” the entry said,
but added there was potential that future protests
“could become violent.”
November 21, 2006

16) Treasury Chief Urges ‘Balance’ in Regulation of U.S. Companies
[i.e., corporations freely go across borders to increase their profits but
individuals who cross borders to find the means to survive are]
November 21, 2006

17) Officer in Taser case identified
Terrence Duren, a 2001 UCLA officer of the year, has been the
subject of two other use-of-force complaints.
By Charles Proctor and Richard Winton
Times Staff Writers
November 21, 2006,0,1459046.story?coll=la-home-headlinesOfficer

18) Weighing In on Wages
New York Times Editorial
November 22, 2006

19) Herrera Secures Civil Gang Injunction
Against Notorious 'Oakdale Mob'
CONTACT: MATT DORSEY (415) 554-4662

20) Bombing Appalachia

21) Medical System Becomes Sickening
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily
Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches

22) Selective Service: Ready for a draft
By Thom Patterson

by Roger Burbach and Paul Cantor
Why has Iraq turned into a haven for terrorists and a bloody, war
ravished nation?
It's the occupation, stupid.

24) Interview with Ricardo Alarcon,
President of the National Assembly
of People's Power of Cuba
Walter Lippmann, CubaNews
Translation by Robert Sandels.
La Jornada (Mexico)

25) Dollar Falls as Concerns Grow About Economy
November 24, 2006

26) Stolen Dinner Costs Mother Thanksgiving Behind Bars

27) Drug Industry Is on Defensive as Power Shifts
November 24, 2006

28) Yearning to Be Whole Again
Sergeant Sees the Light After Year of Emotional, Family Turmoil
By Donna St. George
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 24, 2006; A01

[Col. Writ. 11/19/06] Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal


1) Victory in San Francisco on November 14:
Board of Ed. Votes to Phase Out JROTC!
Student Activist Receives
Threats For Opposing JROTC
Report by Bonnie Weinstein,
With statements read to the board by Bonnie Weinstein and
Carole Seligman.
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.

Report by Bonnie Weinstein,
With statements read to the board by Bonnie Weinstein and
Carole Seligman.

[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,

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

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


2) 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.


3) 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


4) 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


5) 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)


6) 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.



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



8) 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.


9) 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.


10) 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


11) 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.”


12) Rejecting the Draft
New York Times Editorial
November 21, 2006

There are many reasons why we are distressed to hear that
Representative Charles Rangel of New York plans to reintroduce
his annual measure aimed at resurrecting the draft when the
Democrats take control of the House in January. We don’t favor
military conscription in general. And in this particular case,
compelling military service won’t achieve the things Mr. Rangel
says he wants, either.

Mr. Rangel wants to replenish an Army that is in critical
condition, make the armed services more equitably representative
of American society as a whole, and find a way to prevent future
presidents from embarking on military misadventures. Those
are laudable goals, but not ones the nation can achieve
by bringing back the draft.

Even if the draft was a good idea, it would be politically
impossible to achieve. Members of Congress are well aware
that their constituents oppose it. This White House has never
been willing to ask the American public to do anything but
accept more tax cuts; it’s hardly going to embrace something
as difficult and unpopular as military conscription.

But the idea is flawed as well. Because of the dire situation
in Iraq, the Army is indeed having trouble meeting its yearly
quota of 80,000 recruits. Yet military leaders nevertheless
oppose a draft. They believe you don’t get a highly skilled
Army by forcing people to serve against their will, and they
are right.

The draft would not demonstrate to young people that everyone
must do his or her fair share. It is more likely to convince them
that the demand for sacrifice is made mainly on those too poor
to avoid it. The volunteer force in Iraq has been a truer cross
section of America than the force created under the last draft,
which ended in 1973, before the end of the Vietnam War.
The wealthy and well-connected could get deferments then
or assignments to safe alternatives, and many did. While there
are plenty of underprivileged in the current force, at least they
are there by their own choosing.

The problem with the draft does not lie in the fact that it requires
young people to spend some time contributing to the nation’s
well-being before they embark on their life careers. We wish
the president had called for such sacrifices after Sept. 11, 2001,
when so many Americans were aching to contribute.

For those young people who do not feel moved by patriotism
or propelled by economics to enlist in the military, there should
be other options for national service — like AmeriCorps.
These programs need money and attention. Some of the
potential candidates for president in 2008 have said the
United States should require all young people to devote
a year or two to service after high school or college, and
that idea should be debated during the upcoming campaign.

But the urgency of the Army’s current needs requires a different
solution. There are many ways for the armed services to meet
their recruitment goals outside of general conscription. After
all, the Army’s annual quota of 80,000 recruits is barely a drop
in the ocean of some 60 million Americans between 18 and 35.
Forcing the issue, with a draft, is no solution.


13) A Free-for-All on Science and Religion
“Children are systematically taught
that there is a higher kind of knowledge which comes from faith,
which comes from revelation, which comes from scripture, which
comes from tradition, and that it is the equal if not the superior
of knowledge that comes from real evidence.”
November 21, 2006

Maybe the pivotal moment came when Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate
in physics, warned that “the world needs to wake up from its long
nightmare of religious belief,” or when a Nobelist in chemistry,
Sir Harold Kroto, called for the John Templeton Foundation to give
its next $1.5 million prize for “progress in spiritual discoveries”
to an atheist — Richard Dawkins, the Oxford evolutionary
biologist whose book “The God Delusion” is a national

Or perhaps the turning point occurred at a more solemn moment,
when Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium
in New York City and an adviser to the Bush administration on
space exploration, hushed the audience with heartbreaking
photographs of newborns misshapen by birth defects —
testimony, he suggested, that blind nature, not an intelligent
overseer, is in control.

Somewhere along the way, a forum this month at the Salk
Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., which might
have been one more polite dialogue between science and
religion, began to resemble the founding convention for
a political party built on a single plank: in a world dangerously
charged with ideology, science needs to take on an evangelical
role, vying with religion as teller of the greatest story ever told.

Carolyn Porco, a senior research scientist at the Space Science
Institute in Boulder, Colo., called, half in jest, for the establishment
of an alternative church, with Dr. Tyson, whose powerful
celebration of scientific discovery had the force and cadence
of a good sermon, as its first minister.

She was not entirely kidding. “We should let the success of the
religious formula guide us,” Dr. Porco said. “Let’s teach our
children from a very young age about the story of the universe
and its incredible richness and beauty. It is already so much
more glorious and awesome — and even comforting — than
anything offered by any scripture or God concept I know.”

She displayed a picture taken by the Cassini spacecraft of Saturn
and its glowing rings eclipsing the Sun, revealing in the shadow
a barely noticeable speck called Earth.

There has been no shortage of conferences in recent years,
commonly organized by the Templeton Foundation, seeking
to smooth over the differences between science and religion and
ending in a metaphysical draw. Sponsored instead by the Science
Network, an educational organization based in California, and
underwritten by a San Diego investor, Robert Zeps (who
acknowledged his role as a kind of “anti-Templeton”), the La Jolla
meeting, “Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival,”
rapidly escalated into an invigorating intellectual free-for-all.
(Unedited video of the proceedings will be posted on the Web

A presentation by Joan Roughgarden, a Stanford University
biologist, on using biblical metaphor to ease her fellow Christians
into accepting evolution (a mutation is “a mustard seed of DNA”)
was dismissed by Dr. Dawkins as “bad poetry,” while his own
take-no-prisoners approach (religious education is “brainwashing”
and “child abuse”) was condemned by the anthropologist
Melvin J. Konner, who said he had “not a flicker” of religious
faith, as simplistic and uninformed.

After enduring two days of talks in which the Templeton Foundation
came under the gun as smudging the line between science and faith,
Charles L. Harper Jr., its senior vice president, lashed back, denouncing
what he called “pop conflict books” like Dr. Dawkins’s “God Delusion,”
as “commercialized ideological scientism” — promoting for profit the
philosophy that science has a monopoly on truth.

That brought an angry rejoinder from Richard P. Sloan, a professor
of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, who
said his own book, “Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and
Medicine,” was written to counter “garbage research” financed
by Templeton on, for example, the healing effects of prayer.

With atheists and agnostics outnumbering the faithful (a few believing
scientists, like Francis S. Collins, author of “The Language of God:
A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief,” were invited but could not
attend), one speaker after another called on their colleagues to be
less timid in challenging teachings about nature based only on
scripture and belief. “The core of science is not a mathematical
model; it is intellectual honesty,” said Sam Harris, a doctoral
student in neuroscience and the author of “The End of Faith:
Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason” and “Letter to
a Christian Nation.”

“Every religion is making claims about the way the world is,”
he said. “These are claims about the divine origin of certain
books, about the virgin birth of certain people, about the survival
of the human personality after death. These claims purport
to be about reality.”

By shying away from questioning people’s deeply felt beliefs,
even the skeptics, Mr. Harris said, are providing safe harbor for
ideas that are at best mistaken and at worst dangerous. “I don’t
know how many more engineers and architects need to fly planes
into our buildings before we realize that this is not merely a matter
of lack of education or economic despair,” he said.

Dr. Weinberg, who famously wrote toward the end of his 1977 book
on cosmology, “The First Three Minutes,” that “the more the universe
seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless,” went
a step further: “Anything that we scientists can do to weaken
the hold of religion should be done and may in the end be our
greatest contribution to civilization.”

With a rough consensus that the grand stories of evolution by
natural selection and the blossoming of the universe from the
Big Bang are losing out in the intellectual marketplace, most
of the discussion came down to strategy. How can science
fight back without appearing to be just one more ideology?

“There are six billion people in the world,” said Francisco J. Ayala,
an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Irvine,
and a former Roman Catholic priest. “If we think that we are going
to persuade them to live a rational life based on scientific knowledge,
we are not only dreaming — it is like believing in the fairy godmother.”

“People need to find meaning and purpose in life,” he said. “I don’t
think we want to take that away from them.”

Lawrence M. Krauss, a physicist at Case Western Reserve University
known for his staunch opposition to teaching creationism, found
himself in the unfamiliar role of playing the moderate. “I think we
need to respect people’s philosophical notions unless those
notions are wrong,” he said.

“The Earth isn’t 6,000 years old,” he said. “The Kennewick man
was not a Umatilla Indian.” But whether there really is some kind
of supernatural being — Dr. Krauss said he was a nonbeliever —
is a question unanswerable by theology, philosophy or even science.
“Science does not make it impossible to believe in God,” Dr. Krauss
insisted. “We should recognize that fact and live with it and stop
being so pompous about it.”

That was just the kind of accommodating attitude that drove
Dr. Dawkins up the wall. “I am utterly fed up with the respect that
we — all of us, including the secular among us — are brainwashed
into bestowing on religion,” he said. “Children are systematically taught
that there is a higher kind of knowledge which comes from faith,
which comes from revelation, which comes from scripture, which
comes from tradition, and that it is the equal if not the superior
of knowledge that comes from real evidence.”

By the third day, the arguments had become so heated that
Dr. Konner was reminded of “a den of vipers.”

“With a few notable exceptions,” he said, “the viewpoints have
run the gamut from A to B. Should we bash religion with
a crowbar or only with a baseball bat?”

His response to Mr. Harris and Dr. Dawkins was scathing. “I think
that you and Richard are remarkably apt mirror images of the
extremists on the other side,” he said, “and that you generate
more fear and hatred of science.”

Dr. Tyson put it more gently. “Persuasion isn’t always ‘Here are
the facts — you’re an idiot or you are not,’ ” he said. “I worry
that your methods” — he turned toward Dr. Dawkins — “how
articulately barbed you can be, end up simply being ineffective,
when you have much more power of influence.”

Chastened for a millisecond, Dr. Dawkins replied, “I gratefully
accept the rebuke.”

In the end it was Dr. Tyson’s celebration of discovery that stole
the show. Scientists may scoff at people who fall back on explanations
involving an intelligent designer, he said, but history shows that
“the most brilliant people who ever walked this earth were doing
the same thing.” When Isaac Newton’s “Principia Mathematica”
failed to account for the stability of the solar system — why the
planets tugging at one another’s orbits have not collapsed into
the Sun — Newton proposed that propping up the mathematical
mobile was “an intelligent and powerful being.”

It was left to Pierre Simon Laplace, a century later, to take the
next step. Hautily telling Napoleon that he had no need for the
God hypothesis, Laplace extended Newton’s mathematics and
opened the way to a purely physical theory.

“What concerns me now is that even if you’re as brilliant as Newton,
you reach a point where you start basking in the majesty of God
and then your discovery stops — it just stops,” Dr. Tyson said.
“You’re no good anymore for advancing that frontier, waiting
for somebody else to come behind you who doesn’t have God
on the brain and who says: ‘That’s a really cool problem.
I want to solve it.’ ”

“Science is a philosophy of discovery; intelligent design is
a philosophy of ignorance,” he said. “Something fundamental
is going on in people’s minds when they confront things they
don’t understand.”

He told of a time, more than a millennium ago, when Baghdad
reigned as the intellectual center of the world, a history fossilized
in the night sky. The names of the constellations are Greek and
Roman, Dr. Tyson said, but two-thirds of the stars have Arabic
names. The words “algebra” and “algorithm” are Arabic.

But sometime around 1100, a dark age descended. Mathematics
became seen as the work of the devil, as Dr. Tyson put it. “Revelation
replaced investigation,” he said, and the intellectual foundation

He did not have to say so, but the implication was that maybe
a century, maybe a millennium from now, the names of new planets,
stars and galaxies might be Chinese. Or there may be no one
to name them at all.

Before he left to fly back home to Austin, Dr. Weinberg seemed
to soften for a moment, describing religion a bit fondly as a crazy
old aunt.

“She tells lies, and she stirs up all sorts of mischief and she’s getting
on, and she may not have that much life left in her, but she was
beautiful once,” he lamented. “When she’s gone, we may miss her.”

Dr. Dawkins wasn’t buying it. “I won't miss her at all,” he said.
“Not a scrap. Not a smidgen.”


14) Israeli Map Says West Bank Posts Sit on Arab Land
November 21, 2006

JERUSALEM, Nov. 20 — An Israeli advocacy group, using maps and figures
leaked from inside the government, says that 39 percent of the land held
by Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is privately owned
by Palestinians.

Israel has long asserted that it fully respects Palestinian private property
in the West Bank and only takes land there legally or, for security
reasons, temporarily.

If big sections of those settlements are indeed privately held Palestinian
land, that is bound to create embarrassment for Israel and further
complicate the already distant prospect of a negotiated peace.
The data indicate that 40 percent of the land that Israel plans
to keep in any future deal with the Palestinians is private.

The new claims regarding Palestinian property are said to come
from the 2004 database of the Civil Administration, which controls
the civilian aspects of Israel’s presence in the West Bank. Peace
Now, an Israeli group that advocates Palestinian self-determination
in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, plans to publish the information
on Tuesday. An advance copy was made available to The New York

The data — maps that show the government’s registry of the land
by category — was given to Peace Now by someone who obtained
it from an official inside the Civil Administration. The Times
spoke to the person who received it from the Civil Administration
official and agreed not to identify him because of the delicate
nature of the material.

That person, who has frequent contact with the Civil Administration,
said he and the official wanted to expose what they consider to be
wide-scale violations of private Palestinian property rights by the
government and settlers. The government has refused to give the
material directly to Peace Now, which requested it under Israel’s
freedom of information law.

Shlomo Dror, a spokesman for the Civil Administration, said
he could not comment on the data without studying it.

He said there was a committee, called the blue line committee,
that had been investigating these issues of land ownership for
three years. “We haven’t finished checking everything,” he said.

Mr. Dror also said that sometimes Palestinians would sell land
to Israelis but be unwilling to admit to the sale publicly because
they feared retribution as collaborators.

Within prominent settlements that Israel has said it plans
to keep in any final border agreement, the data show, for
example, that some 86.4 percent of Maale Adumim, a large
Jerusalem suburb, is private; and 35.1 percent of Ariel is.

The maps indicate that beyond the private land, 5.8 percent
is so-called survey land, meaning of unclear ownership, and
1.3 percent private Jewish land. The rest, about 54 percent,
is considered “state land” or has no designation, though
Palestinians say that at least some of it represents agricultural
land expropriated by the state.

The figures, together with detailed maps of the land distribution
in every Israeli settlement in the West Bank, were put together
by the Settlement Watch Project of Peace Now, led by Dror Etkes
and Hagit Ofran, and has a record of careful and accurate
reporting on settlement growth.

The report does not include Jerusalem, which Israel has annexed
and does not consider part of the West Bank, although much
of the world regards East Jerusalem as occupied. Much of the
world also considers Israeli settlements on occupied land to be
illegal under international law. International law requires
an occupying power to protect private property, and Israel
has always asserted that it does not take land without legal

One case in a settlement Israel intends to keep is in Givat Zeev,
barely five miles north of Jerusalem. At the southern edge is the
Ayelet Hashachar synagogue. Rabah Abdellatif, a Palestinian
who lives in the nearby village of Al Jib, says the land belongs
to him.

Papers he has filed with the Israeli military court, which runs
the West Bank, seem to favor Mr. Abdellatif. In 1999, Israeli
officials confirmed, he was even granted a judgment ordering
the demolition of the synagogue because it had been built
without permits. But for the last seven years, the Israeli system
has done little to enforce its legal judgments. The synagogue
stands, and Mr. Abdellatif has no access to his land.

Ram Kovarsky, the town council secretary, said the synagogue
was outside the boundaries of Givat Zeev, although there is no
obvious separation. Israeli officials confirm that the land
is privately owned, though they refuse to say by whom.

Mr. Abdellatif, 65, said: “I feel stuck, angry. Why would they
do that? I don’t know who to go to anymore.”

He pointed to his corduroy trousers and said, in the English he
learned in Paterson, N.J., where his son is a police detective:
“These are my pants. And those are your pants. And you should
not take my pants. This is mine, and that is yours! I never took
anyone’s land.”

According to the Peace Now figures, 44.3 percent of Givat Zeev
is on private Palestinian land.

Miri Eisin, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said
that Israeli officials would have to see the data and the maps
and added that ownership is complicated and delicate. Baruch
Spiegel, a reserve general who just left the Ministry of Defense
and dealt with the separation barrier being built near the boundary
with the West Bank, also said he would have to see the data
in detail in order to judge it.

The definitions of private and state land are complicated, given
different administrations of the West Bank going back to the
Ottoman Empire, the British mandate, Jordan and now Israel.
During the Ottoman Empire, only small areas of the West Bank
were registered to specific owners, and often villagers would
hold land in common to avoid taxes. The British began a more
formal land registry based on land use, taxation or house
ownership that continued through the Jordanian period.

Large areas of agricultural land are registered as state land;
other areas were requisitioned or seized by the Israeli military
after 1967 for security purposes, but such requisitions are
meant to be temporary and must be renewed, and do not
change the legal ownership of the land, Mr. Dror, the Civil
Administration spokesman, said.

But the issue of property is one that Israeli officials are familiar
with, even if the percentages here may come as a surprise and
may be challenged after the publication of the report.

Asked about Israeli seizure of private Palestinian land in an
interview with The Times last summer, before these figures were
available, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: “Now I don’t deny
anything, I don’t ignore anything. I’m just ready to sit down
and talk. And resolve it. And resolve it in a generous manner
for all sides.”

He said the 1967 war was a one of self-defense. Later, he said:
“Many things happened. Life is not frozen. Things occur. So many
things happened, and as a result of this many innocent individuals
on both sides suffered, were killed, lost their lives, became crippled
for life, lost their family members, their loved ones, thousands
of them. And also private property suffered. By the way, on all sides.”

Mr. Olmert says Israel will keep some 10 percent of the occupied
West Bank, including East Jerusalem, possibly in a swap for land
elsewhere. The area Israel intends to keep is roughly marked by the
route of the unfinished separation barrier, which cuts through the
West Bank and is intended, Israel says, to stop suicide bombers.
Mr. Olmert, however, describes it as a putative border. Nearly
80,000 Jews live in settlements beyond the route of the barrier,
but some 180,000 live in settlements within the barrier, while
another 200,000 live in East Jerusalem.

But these land-ownership figures show that even in the settlements
that Israel intends to keep, there will be a considerable problem
of restitution that goes beyond the issue of refugee return.

Mr. Olmert was elected on a pledge to withdraw Israeli settlers
living east of the barrier. But after the war with Hezbollah and with
fighting ongoing in Gaza, from which Israel withdrew its settlers
in the summer of 2005, his withdrawal plan has been suspended.

In March 2005, a report requested by the government found
a number of illegal Israeli outposts built on private Palestinian land,
and officials promised to destroy them. But only nine houses
of only one outpost, Amona, were dismantled after a court case
brought by Peace Now.

There is a court case pending over Migron, which began as a group
of trailers on a windy hilltop around a set of cellphone antennas
in May 1999 and is now a flourishing community of 50 families,
said Avi Teksler, an official of the Migron council. But Migron, too,
according to the data, is built on private Palestinian land.

Mr. Teksler said that the land was deserted, and that its ownership
would be settled in court. Migron, where some children of noted
settlement leaders live, has had “the support of every Israeli
government,” he said. “The government has been a partner
to every single move we’ve made.”

Mr. Teksler added: “This is how the state of Israel was created.
And this is all the land of Israel. We’re like the kibbutzim. The only
real difference is that we’re after 1967, not before.”

But in the Palestinian village of Burqa, Youssef Moussa Abdel Raziq
Nabboud, 85, says that some of the land of Migron, and the land
on which Israel built a road for settlers, belongs to him and his
family, who once grew wheat and beans there. He said he had
tax documents from the pre-1967 authorities.

“They have the power to put the settlement there and we can
do nothing,” he said. “They have a fence around the settlement
and dogs there.”

Mr. Nabboud went to the Israeli authorities with the mayor, Abu
Maher, but they were told he needed an Israeli lawyer and surveyor.
“I have no money for that,” he said. What began as an outpost taking
5 acres has now taken 125, the mayor said.

Mr. Nabboud wears a traditional head covering; his grandson, Khaled,
27, wears a Yankees cap. “The land is my inheritance,” he said. “I feel
sad I can’t go there. And angry. The army protects them.”


15) Military Documents Hold Tips on Antiwar Activities
“Veterans for Peace is a peaceful organization,” the entry said,
but added there was potential that future protests
“could become violent.”
November 21, 2006

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 — An antiterrorist database used by the
Defense Department in an effort to prevent attacks against military
installations included intelligence tips about antiwar planning
meetings held at churches, libraries, college campuses and other
locations, newly disclosed documents show.

One tip in the database in February 2005, for instance, noted that
“a church service for peace” would be held in the New York City
area the next month. Another entry noted that antiwar protesters
would be holding “nonviolence training” sessions at unidentified
churches in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The Defense Department tightened its procedures earlier this year
to ensure that only material related to actual terrorist threats —
and not peaceable First Amendment activity — was included
in the database.

The head of the office that runs the military database, which is
known as Talon, said Monday that material on antiwar protests
should not have been collected in the first place.

“I don’t want it, we shouldn’t have had it, not interested in it,” said
Daniel J. Baur, the acting director of the counterintelligence field
activity unit, which runs the Talon program at the Defense
Department. “I don’t want to deal with it.”

Mr. Baur said that those operating the database had misinterpreted
their mandate and that what was intended as an antiterrorist database
became, in some respects, a catch-all for leads on possible disruptions
and threats against military installations in the United States,
including protests against the military presence in Iraq.

“I don’t think the policy was as clear as it could have been,” he
said. Once the problem was discovered, he said, “we fixed it,” and
more than 180 entries in the database related to war protests were
deleted from the system last year. Out of 13,000 entries in the
database, many of them uncorroborated leads on possible terrorist
threats, several thousand others were also purged because he said
they had “no continuing relevance.”

Amid public controversy over the database, leads from so-called
neighborhood watch programs and other tips about possible threats
are down significantly this year, Mr. Baur said. While the system
had been tightened, he said he was concerned that the public
scrutiny had created “a huge chilling effect” that could lead the
military to miss legitimate terrorist threats.

Mr. Baur was responding to the latest batch of documents produced
by the military under a Freedom of Information Act request brought
by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups. The A.C.L.U.
planned to release the documents publicly on Tuesday, and officials
with the group said they would push for Democrats, newly empowered
in Congress, to hold formal hearings about the Talon database.

Ben Wizner, a lawyer for the A.C.L.U. in New York, said the new
documents suggested that the military’s efforts to glean intelligence
on protesters went beyond what was previously known. If intelligence
officials “are going to be doing investigations or monitoring
in a place where people gather to worship or to study, they
should have a pretty clear indication that a crime has occurred,”
Mr. Wizner added.

The leader of one antiwar group mentioned repeatedly in the
latest military documents provided to the A.C.L.U. said he was
skeptical that the military had ended its collection of material
on war protests.

“I don’t believe it,” said the leader, Michael T. McPhearson, a former
Army captain who is the executive director of Veterans for Peace,
a group in St. Louis.

Mr. McPhearson said he found the references to his group
in the Talon database disappointing but not altogether surprising,
and he said the group continued to use public settings and
the Internet to plan its protests.

“We don’t have anything to hide,” he said. “We’re not doing
anything illegal.”

The latest Talon documents showed that the military used
a variety of sources to collect intelligence leads on antiwar
protests, including an agent in the Department of Homeland
Security, Google searches on the Internet and e-mail messages
forwarded by apparent informants with ties to protest groups.

In most cases, entries in the Talon database acknowledged
that there was no specific evidence indicating the possibility
of terrorism or disruptions at the antiwar events, but they
warned of the potential for violence.

One entry on Mr. McPhearson’s group from April 2005, for
instance, described a protest at New Mexico State University
in Las Cruces at which members handed out antimilitary
literature and set up hundreds of white crosses to symbolize
soldiers killed in Iraq.

“Veterans for Peace is a peaceful organization,” the entry said,
but added there was potential that future protests
“could become violent.”


16) Treasury Chief Urges ‘Balance’ in Regulation of U.S. Companies
[i.e., corporations freely go across borders to increase their profits but
individuals who cross borders to find the means to survive are]
November 21, 2006

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. said yesterday that excessive
regulation and burdensome litigation were prompting companies to
choose to list their stock on foreign exchanges over American ones.

In a speech in New York on the competitiveness of the United States
capital markets, Mr. Paulson said that a wave of revisions to federal
laws and regulations after the Enron and WorldCom scandals had
improved transparency and accountability at companies and restored
investor confidence. But he also suggested that lawmakers and
regulators had gone too far and that it was time for a reassessment.

“When it comes to regulation, balance is key,” he told the Economic
Club of New York. “And striking the right balance requires us to
consider the economic implications of our actions. Excessive
regulation slows innovation, imposes needless costs on investors,
and stifles competitiveness and job creation. At the same time,
we should not engage in a regulatory race to the bottom, seeking
to eliminate necessary safeguards for investors in a quest
to reduce costs.”

The speech echoed the arguments made by some business groups,
which have been pressing the Bush administration and senior
Republicans and Democrats in Congress for relief from some
regulations as well as criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits
from investors.

But institutional investors and some experts argue that
a significant loosening of the rules will be harmful to
shareholders and may lead to more corporate problems.

They point to other factors as more important reasons some
companies are choosing to list overseas. The quality of the
financial statements of some companies that have recently
listed their shares abroad, they note, may be too poor to meet
even earlier American standards. They also point to significantly
lower underwriting fees in Europe and Asia than in the United States.

The critics, meanwhile, say stock indexes in the United States have
performed significantly better than their counterparts abroad over
the last two years, suggesting that investors may be benefiting
from the domestic regulatory regime.

Mr. Paulson’s comments came just days before the first of two
influential business groups examining the same issue are to make
recommendations, with the encouragement of the Bush administration,
to provide broad new protections to corporations and accounting firms.

The speech came a few weeks before the Securities and Exchange
Commission is expected to propose significant limitations on the
most contentious provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the 2002
law that imposed tougher accounting rules and more stringent
corporate governance guidelines. The provision, Section 404,
requires audits of the financial controls of publicly traded

Mr. Paulson stopped short of calling for any legislative changes
to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. But he praised the commission
for taking steps to reduce the law’s burdensome effect
on smaller businesses.

“We need to implement the law in ways that better balance the
benefits of the legislation with the very significant costs that
it imposes, especially on small businesses,” Mr. Paulson said.
Speaking about Section 404, he said it “should be implemented
in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.”

“It seems clear that a significant portion of the time, energy
and expense associated with implementing Section 404 might
have been better focused on direct business matters that create
jobs and reward shareholders,” he said.

The S.E.C. has indicated that it may act as early as next month
to reduce the section’s impact on all but the largest of companies.

In a letter this month, Christopher Cox, the chairman of the
commission, said the commission would be proposing a
“scaled standard” that would reduce the effect of the section
on companies, depending on their “characteristics and needs.”

The letter, to Mark Olson, the head of the Public Company
Accounting Oversight Board, did not specify details of that
standard. It said that the commission would also limit the
application of the section to controls that could have a “material”
effect on financial statements. It also said that the regulators
would encourage auditors to rely on prior years’ work and
to focus on the “areas of greatest risk.”

Mr. Paulson, in his speech, also attacked the nation’s tort law
system, saying it was “the Achilles’ heel for our economy.” Under
Republican control, Congress adopted a few of the White House
proposals to limit civil lawsuits, most notably one last year that
sharply limited the ability of people to file class-action lawsuits
against companies. But other revisions to the civil justice system
were not adopted, and prospects for major legislation are dim
while Congress is under Democratic control.

Mr. Paulson did not speak about some proposals expected to be
made by the two business groups to limit shareholder lawsuits.
In 1995, Congress adopted legislation over the veto of President
Bill Clinton that made it more difficult for investors’ lawyers to bring
securities law cases against companies. The law also gave greater
authority to large institutional investors in such cases.

But Mr. Paulson suggested that the administration was sympathetic
to proposals by the large accounting firms for legislation
or regulations that could limit their liability from shareholder
lawsuits and civil cases brought by regulators and state officials.

“The Sarbanes-Oxley reforms were intended to increase the quality
of corporate audits,” he said. “They have had a significant effect
on the accounting industry, fundamentally altering the interactions
between auditors and corporate management and boards in
a number of ways, some of which are not constructive. Also,
we have been left with only four major accounting firms, each
of which is exposed to potentially large legal liabilities.”
“This may not be healthy,” he added. [Duh!]


17) Officer in Taser case identified
Terrence Duren, a 2001 UCLA officer of the year, has been the
subject of two other use-of-force complaints.
By Charles Proctor and Richard Winton
Times Staff Writers
November 21, 2006,0,1459046.story?coll=la-home-headlinesOfficer

The UCLA police officer videotaped last week using a Taser gun
on a student also shot a homeless man at a campus study hall
room three years ago and was earlier recommended for dismissal
in connection with an alleged assault on fraternity row, authorities said.

UCLA police confirmed late Monday that the officer who fired the Taser
gun was Terrence Duren, who has served in the university's Police
Department for 18 years.

Duren, who was named officer of the year in 2001, also has been
involved in several controversial incidents on campus.

In an interview with The Times on Monday night, Duren, 43, defended
his record as a campus police officer and urged people to withhold
judgment until the review of his Taser use is completed.

"I patrol this area the same way I would want someone to patrol
the neighborhoods where I live," he said. "People make allegations
against cops all the time. Saying one thing and proving it are two
different things."

While he would not directly talk about why he used the Taser
on the student, he said a videotape of any arrest doesn't necessarily
tell the whole story.

"If someone is resisting, sometimes it's not going to look pretty
taking someone into custody," he said. "If you have to use some force,
it's not going to look pretty. That's the nature of this job."

A student's cellphone video of the incident has been broadcast
around the world and focused much criticism on the officer.

But Duren — who was back on duty at the UCLA campus Monday
night — said he can roll with these punches and wants to explain
himself to students critical of his actions.

"In this line of business, you have to have a thick skin," he added.
"I am proud of my service as a cop."

The incident occurred about 11 p.m. Nov. 14 in a library filled
with students studying for midterm examinations.

Senior Mostafa Tabatabainejad, 23, was asked by Duren and other
university police officers for his ID as part of a routine nightly
procedure to make sure that everyone using the library after
11 p.m. is a student or otherwise authorized to be there.

Authorities said Tabatabainejad refused repeated requests
to provide identification or to leave. The officers decided to use
the Taser to incapacitate Tabatabainejad after he went limp while
they were escorting him out and after he urged other library patrons
to join his resistance, according to the university's account.

The video shows portions of the incident, in which Tabatabainejad
can be heard screaming in pain when the Taser shocks are

The tape, which has been broadcast on the YouTube website
and TV newscasts, prompted widespread criticism both on campus
and from outsiders. On Friday, more than 200 students held a march
to the police station, while acting Chancellor Norman Abrams tried
to quell the critics by announcing an independent investigation
of the Taser use. Abrams said UCLA had received numerous
e-mails and calls from concerned alumni and parents.

Tabatabainejad's attorney, Stephen Yagman, said his client was
shocked five times with the Taser after he refused to show his ID
because he thought he was being singled out for his Middle
Eastern appearance. Tabatabainejad is of Iranian descent but
is a U.S. citizen by birth and a resident of Los Angeles.

Duren said Monday that he joined the UCLA police force after
being fired from the Long Beach Police Department in the late
1980s. He said he was a probationary officer at the time and
was let go because of poor report-writing skills and geographical

In May 1990, he was accused of using his nightstick to choke
someone who was hanging out on a Saturday in front of a UCLA
fraternity. Kente S. Scott alleged that Duren confronted him while
he was walking on the street outside the Theta Xi fraternity house.

Scott sued the university, and according to court records, UCLA
officials moved to have Duren dismissed from the police force.
But after an independent administrative hearing, officials overturned
the dismissal, suspending him for 90 days.

Duren on Monday disputed the allegations made by Scott.

In October 2003, Duren shot and wounded a homeless man he
encountered in Kerckhoff Hall. Duren chased the man into
a bathroom, where they struggled and he fired two shots.

The homeless man, Willie Davis Frazier, was later convicted
of assaulting an officer. Duren said Frasier had tried to grab his
gun during the struggle. But Frazier's attorney, John Raphling,
said his client was mentally ill and didn't do anything to provoke
the shooting.

It remains unclear when the independent investigation of the Taser
incident will be completed. It will be headed by Merrick Bobb,
a veteran watchdog of both the Los Angeles Police and Los
Angeles County Sheriff's departments.

UCLA police officials said in a short statement that Duren arrived
at Powell Library with Officer Alexis Bicomong. Duren "discharged
the Taser," the statement said. Officers Kevin Kilgore, Andrew
Ikeda and Ricardo Bolanos, and Sgt. Philip Baguliao, a supervisor,
were also at the scene.

"Let the independent watchdog run its course," Duren said.

The officer said that when the probe is complete, he'd like to sit
down with students, particularly Muslim student groups, to explain
his actions at the library.

"I have nothing to hide."


18) Weighing In on Wages
New York Times Editorial
November 22, 2006

Nearly every month for the past two and a half years, inflation
has eaten up whatever wage gains most American workers
have managed to eke out. In August, however, the cost of
living started to moderate, thanks largely to falling energy
prices. As a result, wages outpaced prices substantially
in September. And in October, according to a government
report last week, average hourly earnings were 2.8 percent
higher than a year earlier, after adjusting for inflation —
the biggest annual increase since 1998.

A real increase is something to cheer for a broad swath
of working Americans — non-managers who make up 80
percent of the labor force and whose wages up until now
have not reflected their impressive productivity over the
past several years. But behind the headline numbers,
the wage picture — and what it says about the economy —
is still cloudy.

The gains of September and October were due to declining
inflation, not faster wage growth. And with most economists
predicting a slower economy through the middle of next year,
it’s unlikely that American workers will get a sustained
pay boost any time soon.

In other words, Americans’ purchasing power now depends
almost entirely on the up and down of energy prices. That’s
not encouraging for anyone worried about America’s
dependency on the countries that produce most of the
world’s oil. It’s also not likely to make for a confident
consumer in an economy that has long depended on
enthusiastic borrowing and shopping to fuel growth.
And sure enough, retail sales have been disappointing
even as gas prices have declined. An economic analysis
released this week by Merrill Lynch shows that fatter
paychecks in September fed into just three spending
categories: music, clothing and eating out, rather than
big-ticket categories like cars or appliances. In October,
consumers backed off even more, with most all of the
“extra” pay going into groceries and pharmacy items.

The coming holiday shopping season will be the true
test of consumer resiliency. But the modesty of recent
purchases — in the face of the best real wage growth
in eight years — does not bode well.

There are early signs that Americans, untypically, may
choose to pay down debt in the weeks and months ahead,
rather than spend their money. The savings rate, though
still negative, has improved of late, while bank lending
to households has flattened.

Debt reduction would help families clean up their balance
sheets, but it risks slowing the economy even further
as spending winds down. That may be an inescapable
bind. Working Americans, who have yet to participate
fully in the Bush-era economic expansion, may not be
ready or able to rev up the economy out of its current
slow pace.


19) Herrera Secures Civil Gang Injunction
Against Notorious 'Oakdale Mob'
CONTACT: MATT DORSEY (415) 554-4662

[The phone number of the City Attorney's press officer Matt Dorsey,
above. If you have a few choice words to share about this travesty,
please share them with him.

And consider these words from Minister Louis Farrakhan in the
Final Call of Dec. 14, 1992. They are particularly relevant because
the young people from Oakdale are known as the peacemakers
who have worked to reduce turf conflict in the neighborhood:

In Los Angeles , the so-called gangs--the Bloods and the Crips--
have come together and decided on their own to stop the violence.
Why did they decide to stop it? Because the idea of Muhammad, the
idea of Malcolm and the idea of Martin is beginning to take root and
they saw the folly of killing one another. The idea of unity is coming
to birth in them, giving them a new vision, so they embraced each other.

When they embraced each other, the police became alarmed instead
of rejoicing. Parents were happy because there would be no more
drive-by shootings. But the police are doing everything in their power,
as I am told, to destroy that unity because they want to see our young
people killing one another.

We have to ask ourselves, "Is this a plan?"

Here in Bayview Hunters Point, we think the plan is to speed up the
ethnic cleansing of our community. In this press release, City Attorney
Dennis Herrera boasts that his "Civil Gang Injunction Team works
alongside the Code Enforcement and Resident Protection Team
under a newly created Neighborhood and Resident Safety Division."
Local Black merchants are reporting intensified code enforcement -
visits by inspectors accompanied by police - with inspectors listing
minor code violations and concluding with a veiled threat: "You can't
afford to fix all this, so you might as well sell."

We are still seeking legal help, both to fight this gang injunction -
and no doubt more to come - and the Redevelopment Plan to repeople
our community. It was this same City Attorney Dennis Herrera who,
at the request of the mayor and other elected leaders, threw out over
33,000 signatures we had gathered on a referendum petition
for reconsideration of the plan.

Any suggestions regarding legal assistance would be greatly

Mary Ratcliff, SF Bay View, (415) 671-0789]

First-Ever Civil Gang Injunction in San Francisco Seeks to Curb Gang-
Related Violence and Nuisances with Threat of Civil Penalties, Jail Time

SAN FRANCISCO (Nov. 22, 2006) -- City Attorney Dennis Herrera today
prevailed in obtaining a preliminary injunction against the Oakdale Mob,
a notorious criminal street gang that has threatened the safety of
residents in areas of the Bayview/Hunter's Point district for more
than a decade. In granting the preliminary injunction that will
prohibit a variety of gang-related nuisance and criminal conduct
within a "safety zone" around the Oakdale housing development,
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter J. Busch found that the
City had made a compelling case that the violent gang posed
a significant threat to those living within the four-block area.

"Today's ruling is a victory for a community that deserves to live
in safety and peace, free from the constant threat of gang violence,"
said Herrera. "I'm extremely gratified that Judge Busch has
recognized the serious threat posed by the Oakdale Mob in
granting a civil gang injunction to protect this neighborhood
and its residents. My office has achieved great success in other
efforts to help protect residents from nuisances, polluters and
slumlords who threaten public health and safety. My civil gang
injunction initiative represents a natural extension of my office's
longstanding work to aggressively protect neighborhoods using
civil remedies."

The court adopted a curfew provision to prohibit loitering by gang
members within the four-block safety zone between the hours
of midnight and 5:30 a.m. Gang members are additionally
prohibited from any form of association together within the
safety zone, except when inside a school to attend a class or
on other legitimate school business, or when inside of a church.
Additional provisions of the preliminary injunction include
prohibitions against the following within the four-block safety
zone by gang members: possession of any gun or dangerous
weapon; possession of any illegal drug or drug paraphernalia;
loitering with intent to sell or distribute drugs; undertaking
any form of intimidation against witnesses; coercion into
joining the gang, or intimidation against leaving the gang;
defacing property with graffiti or possessing any graffiti-
making instruments; and trespassing.

Herrera sued the Oakdale Mob on September 27, 2006 for its
criminal activities at the Oakdale housing development. The
City's lawsuit alleges that members of the gang have claimed
this particular area of Bayview-Hunter's Point as its "turf" to use
it for the primary purpose of illegal drug sales and to participate
in other felonious acts including robberies, carjackings, aggravated
assaults, and homicides. In addition to bringing in profits for the
gang, these violent acts have intimidated law-abiding residents
from taking any action against the gang by showing an increased
potential for retribution. The City's case shows Oakdale Mob
members are suspects in at least 12 killings in the past three
years. All but one of the 22 members designated for service
live outside the area, commuting daily from as far away as
Fairfield, Vallejo and Daly City to conduct illegal business
within San Francisco.

In December of 2005, City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced
his intention to pursue civil injunctions against gangs in San
Francisco. The City Attorney's initiative worked in conjunction
with U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan's office for training and to develop
procedures and protocols for civil gang injunctions in San Francisco.
Within Herrera's office, the Civil Gang Injunction Team works
alongside the Code Enforcement and Resident Protection Team
under a newly created Neighborhood and Resident Safety
Division to head these efforts.

Civil gang injunctions have been used with remarkable success
in Southern California since 1980 in reducing the rate of crime
in at risk areas. The City Attorney's civil gang injunction program
continues to work in collaboration with other enforcement agencies
including the San Francisco Police Department and San Francisco
District Attorney Kamala Harris's office. Violations of civil gang
injunctions may be pursued civilly by the City Attorney,
or criminally by the District Attorney.


NYPD Installs "Sky Watch" In Harlem Neighborhood

The NYPD has installed a patrol tower in a Harlem neighborhood
in an effort to cut crime in the high-risk neighborhood.

The two-story booth tower, called Sky Watch, gives the officer
sitting inside a better vantage point from which to monitor the
area. Officers in the booth have access to a spotlight, sensors,
and four cameras. The tower is portable and can be moved
to the areas that need it most.

Residents in Harlem say they like the idea, though some wonder
if the appearance of Sky Watch has anything to do with the two
new luxury condos built on a nearby corner.

"There was crime around here before and they never had it.
Now all these expensive buildings, it's true,” said one area resident.
“But actually it's good though, because then I used to see a lot
of crowd here and sometimes I was scared to pass here, but
guess what, that doesn't happen anymore. It’s a kind
of deterrence and it's good."

Police say the Harlem tower was placed there to combat
a rise in murders.

Sky Watch has also been tested in Crown Heights in Brooklyn
where it reduced crime. Police are hoping to have three more
towers soon.


20) Bombing Appalachia

Dear Folks,

There's a bombing campaign underway in the United States. And
it's happening in Appalachia.

Ravenous coal companies, financed by banks like Wells Fargo, are
literally blowing the tops off of mountains simply to get to the
seams of coal buried underneath. To date, 474 Appalachian
mountains have been decapitated by the coal industry. By the end
of the decade, mountaintop removal mining, if it continues
unabated, will destroy an estimated 1.4 million acres. It has
already buried and polluted over 1200 miles of rivers and
streams with debris and waste.

Check out this shocking video and help spread the word about
mountaintop removal.

As its land is blown apart, Appalachian culture faces extinction
at the hands of corrupt coal companies and the greedy bankers
that finance them. Families and communities have been driven
from their homes and land by floods, landslides and blasting
from a mixture of ammonium nitrate and diesel fuel, the same
combination used by Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City
bombing, set to knock the tops off some of Appalachia's most
beautiful peaks. Mountaintop removal has damaged or destroyed
hundreds of homes and caused a 90% decrease in property values.
Groundwater and wells are being poisoned by seeping mine waste
causing a variety of health issues. As one coalfield resident
remarked: "Our wells, our land, our homes, our culture, our very
lives are being threatened. Will it take a tragedy for us to be

However, Appalachia has a long storied history of citizens
standing up to power. From the 1880's until her death in 1930,
Mother Jones organized miners against long hours, low pay and
dangerous working conditions in underground mines. In 1920,
Matewan, West Virginia's workers initiated and won a strike to
speak as one collective voice through a mining union. Today's
struggle is no less critical as people throughout the region and
country are continuing these traditions by uniting against
mountaintop removal and standing up to the wealth and power of
the coal companies and their banks.

Those past and present stories are told throughout Appalachia.
Recently, Rainforest Action Network, with the help of our
friends and allies in the coalfields, created a brief video to
chronicle the story of coalfield residents.

We need your help in getting the word out about mountaintop
removal and folks in the coalfields. Please forward this video
to 10 friends today and tell them to spread the word about
mountaintop removal.

For the mountains,
Scott Parkin
Global Finance Campaign
Rainforest Action Network


21) Medical System Becomes Sickening
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily
Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches

BAGHDAD, Nov 23 (IPS) - After three and a half years of occupation,
Iraq's medical system has sunk to levels lower than seen during the
economic sanctions imposed after the first Gulf war in 1990.*

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said Iraqis are now extremely
vulnerable in their health needs.

"Several wars and 13 years of economic sanctions left a heavy toll on
the nutrition of the population, on the social structure, on the economy
and on the health infrastructure and services," according to a statement
on the WHO website.

"This is well depicted in the morbidity and mortality rates of the
population of Iraq, particularly of infants, children and mothers. The
majority of Iraqis completely depend on the food Public Distribution
System for their nutritional requirements."

The health situation in Iraq has been in constant decline since the
beginning of the U.S.-backed UN-imposed sanctions in 1990. Iraqi doctors
were reputed to be the best in the Middle East during the 1980's, but
now they are short of medicines, medical equipment and funding to
maintain the hospitals.

"We were angry with Saddam's government for the poor health situation in
the country, but now we wish we could get that back," 55-year-old
teacher Ahmed Zaydan from Sadr City in Baghdad told IPS. "There was not
enough medical care, but there was something that one could live with
and the private sector market was cheap. We were hoping for the change
of regime to improve our lives, but the result is that we practically
have no government healthcare."

Saddam Hussein's regime managed to keep basic medical services free of
charge for most Iraqis until the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. There
was a hospital in almost every town. Surgeries were carried out free of
charge. Medicines were imported by the government and sold at affordable
prices to those going to private clinics and hospitals.

The Ministry of Health is now controlled by Shia cleric Muqtada
al-Sadr's movement under a political agreement between the ruling
parties. The sectarian influence on the ministry has greatly impeded

"The ministry office in Baghdad is under the control of ignorant people
who know nothing about medical science," a doctor told IPS. "The whole
ministry is controlled by clerics who brought their militiamen along to
divert the ministry into a death squad headquarters. Many of my
colleagues resigned, were expelled or abducted by those who should have
provided protection for them. Others quit and left the country."

The independent Iraq Medical Association (IMA) announced earlier this
month that the healthcare system has continued to deteriorate and lacks
adequate qualified staff and equipment. The IMA estimates that 90
percent of the nearly 180 hospitals countrywide lack essential resources.

"Our hospitals look more like barns with lack of electric power,
medicines, equipment and now doctors and surgeons because of the corrupt
managers who care for nothing but filling their pockets with false
contract money and conducting sectarian killings against doctors and
patients," a doctor from a hospital in Baghdad told IPS. "I personally
have been able to stay with my job only because I am from the favoured
sect and my cousin is a ruling party member."

The IMA announced this month that of 34,000 Iraqi physicians registered
prior to 2003, over half have fled the country, and that at least 2,000
have been killed.

Two months ago the Iraqi Islamic Party announced that its candidate for
deputy health minister was abducted from inside the minister's office.
"Dr. Ali al-Mehdawi is still in the hands of his kidnappers, and we are
not certain of his safety," a senior Islamic Party member told IPS.

Despite more than a billion dollars claimed to have been spent by the
U.S. on Iraq's healthcare system, health needs are one of the biggest
problems for Iraqis under the occupation. There appears to be no quick
solution to this worsening situation.

Apparent corruption has made the crisis worse. Earlier this year a 200
million dollar reconstruction project for building 142 primary care
centres ran out of cash with just 20 on course for completion, a
situation the WHO described as "shocking."

The Iraqi government estimates that 8 billion dollars is needed over the
next four years to fund the ailing healthcare system.

The campaign group Medact has reported that in Iraq "easily treatable
conditions such as diarrhoea and respiratory illness caused 70 percent
of all child deaths," and "of the 180 health clinics the U.S. hoped to
build by the end of 2005, only four have been completed -- and none opened."

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.


22) Selective Service: Ready for a draft
By Thom Patterson

(CNN) -- Although Congress is unlikely to follow calls from a top
Democrat to bring back the military draft, the United States does
have a plan, if necessary, aimed at inducting millions of young
men for service.

The Selective Service System, an agency independent of the
Defense Department, says it's ready to respond quickly to any
crisis that would threaten to overwhelm the current all-
volunteer military.

"We're the fire department," said spokesman Pat Schuback
at the service headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

"We're prepared to do the mission with whatever time period
we're asked to do it in. Our current plan is 193 days and
that was based on manpower analysis."

With an active list of more than 15 million names, Schuback
said an estimated 93 percent of all men in the United States
between 18 and 26 have registered for the Selective Service,
as required by law.

Chris Baker, 20, of Decatur, Georgia, said he wouldn't support
a draft under any circumstances.

"I don't believe it's right to send people who don't really want
to go fight for the country," Baker said. "I probably wouldn't
go, but I know that'd I have to go to jail for that. That's
probably what I would do -- sit in jail."

But 25-year-old Donnie Deerman of West Blocton, Alabama,
said he would feel obligated to participate in a military draft.

"I'd have to do it. My dad did two tours of duty for Vietnam
and for this country," Deerman said. "I wouldn't want to leave
my kids behind, but I wouldn't argue about it."

While U.S. commanders insist sending more U.S. troops
is not the answer in Iraq, they concede they really couldn't
maintain a much bigger force than the 150,000 deployed
there now because the U.S. military is just too small.

Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, the Democrat who likely
will head the powerful House Ways and Means Committee
in the next congressional session, said Sunday on CBS's
"Face the Nation" he plans to propose a new military
draft next year.

But virtually no one expects the bill to have any chance
of passage, and incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday
the Democratic Party's House leadership would not support
Rangel's proposal.

CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider said every poll he's
seen in the past year or two indicates Americans young and
old don't want to return to the draft.

"And those who are calling for a draft, of course, know that
it's unpopular," Schneider said. "They believe it may be the
fastest way to end the war, and to keep the United States
out of future wars."

Military experts say it's highly doubtful a military draft would
ever again be green-lighted because the volunteer system works.

They also say any major attack against the United States would
certainly result in a surge of additional volunteers that would
make a draft unnecessary.

They point to the volunteer response following the December 7,
1941, Japanese attack on the military complex at Pearl Harbor,
Hawaii, as an example, along with the surge in volunteers after
the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Retired Gen. James "Spider" Marks, a decorated 33-year veteran
and CNN military analyst, doesn't see any likely scenario that
would require the Pentagon to ask for a draft.

But, he said, "it's never a discussion topic that's off the table
for long-term planning."

Instead of a draft, Marks said, the armed forces should be more
aggressive about recruiting volunteers, "to increase the top
line of the military."

If needed, the U.S. Selective Service System says it's ready
to pull the trigger on a new draft. According to the Selective
Service, here's how a draft would happen:

A crisis occurs that overwhelms the current all-volunteer military,
forcing Congress and the president to authorize a draft system.

Selective Service starts a lottery, based on birth dates,
beginning with men age 20.

Those who are assigned low lottery numbers are "ordered
to report for a physical, mental, and moral evaluation at a
Military Entrance Processing Station to determine whether
they are fit for military service," according to the Selective
Service's Web site.

They have 10 days to claim "exemption, postponement,
or deferment," that would excuse them from service.

Compared to the Vietnam War era, any future draft would allow
"fewer reasons to excuse a man from service," according
to the Selective Service.

Some of the rule changes include shorter postponements
due to student deferments. Many draft eligible men during
the Vietnam era avoided military service by attending college.

The previous active draft was established in 1940 before World
War II and suspended after it ended. The draft was resumed
in 1948 and continued until 1973, when the military converted
to an all-volunteer force.

The requirement that all men between 18 and 26 register with
the draft was suspended in 1975 and reinstated five years later
in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

CNN's Kristi Keck, Jamie McIntyre and Bill Schneider contributed
to this report.


by Roger Burbach and Paul Cantor
Why has Iraq turned into a haven for terrorists and a bloody, war
ravished nation?
It's the occupation, stupid.

But George W. Bush and a host of other politicians in both the
Republican and Democratic parties just don't seem to get it. When
asked recently if Vietnam held any lessons for the debate over Iraq,
for instance, Bush indicated the lesson was that "we'll succeed
unless we quit." Over two million people, including fifty- eight
thousand Americans, died in the war in Southeast Asia. Yet the
President has the audacity to imply that a lack of will caused us to
lose the war.

More alarming than this nonsensical remark by our mentally challenged
President, however, are statements by the 2008 Republican
Presidential contender, John McCain, that we need to increase our
troop level in Iraq in order to establish security and turn the
corner in the war. And almost as disturbing as McCain's views are the
many Democrats who echo his and others arguments that Donald
Rumsfeld's failure to go into Iraq with more troops, or Paul Bremer's
disbanding of the Iraq army, or the failure to maintain discipline
which led to Abu Gharib and other human rights atrocities in the
country, or the corruption of U.S. contractors, or a combination of
all these matters is most responsible for our failure to establish a
stable pro-American democratic regime in Iraq and the horrifying
sectarian war that threatens to spread throughout the region. Of
course each of these factors provided fuel for the fire but the basic
cause of the escalating violence should be clear to almost everyone by now.

It's the occupation, stupid.

Or perhaps it would be better to say: "the occupations." Until
American troops are pulled out of Iraq and Afghanistan and Israeli
troops withdrawn from the occupied territories violence in the region
is likely to spread. Starting with the French wars in Algeria and
Vietnam, history since the end of World War II demonstrates that
people in the Third World do not take well to occupying armies bent
on laying claim to their resources under the guise of establishing
democratic regimes or obtaining some other humanitarian objective.

If Iraq and Palestine haven't brought that lesson home in spades for
our representatives in Congress today they should be pointed to
Afghanistan. The people of Afghanistan do not want to be ruled by
warlords or religious fanatics. But they want even less to be ruled
by foreign occupying armies whether the soldiers in those armies wear
Soviet, British or American uniforms. That is why we are now
witnessing a resurgence of the Taliban in the country. And yet, like
Bush's neocon lemmings, leading policymakers in the United States and
Britain are calling for additional NATO forces to reinforce the ones
already on the ground. If they really think more troops will allow
them to achieve their objective of driving the Taliban and Al Qaeda
out of the country and into the open they need to learn the lesson
of late 20th century occupations. It is not a lack of boots on the
ground or tactical decisions of one kind or another that is the major
cause of escalating violence in countries where our troops are an
unwelcome presence.

It is the occupation, stupid.

Roger Burbach is director of the Center for the Study of the Americas
based in Berkeley, CA, and co-author with Jim Tarbell of "Imperial
Overstretch: George W. Bush and the Hubris of Empire."

Paul Cantor is a professor of economics who lives in Norwalk, CT
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24) Interview with Ricardo Alarcon,
President of the National Assembly
of People's Power of Cuba
Walter Lippmann, CubaNews
Translation by Robert Sandels.
La Jornada (Mexico)

"The current situation in Latin America is better than that which the
Bolsheviks encountered. I don't want to say that we are going to
repeat Moncadas or Sierra Maestras. It's not a question of imitation.
We are fortunate that in Cuba our Lenin has lasted throughout this
half century."


Oviedo, Asturias. Immersed in the hurricane of a history that began
long before Nov. 25, 1956, when in Tuzpan, Veracruz, aboard the
Granma in pursuit of a dream, Fidel Castro not only was able to
conquer and persuade"with reason and justice in the struggle," as
Unamuno said, but he eliminated the word "impossible" from his
vocabulary and for half a century set a strategic course toward a
social paradigm.

>From the left and right of the ideological spectrum came pressures in
favor of various hypotheses and prejudices: Which will prevail? The
people who support the revolution or the accidents of providence?

Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada (Havana, 1937) was not among the 82
members of the Granma expedition, but was among the July 26 Movement
youths who supported them.

A former Cuban ambassador to the United Nations, foreign minister,
and president of the National Assembly of People's Power, Alarcón is
an advocate of the "parlamentarization of society" (the classical
idea of the German jurist Hans Kelsen) and has won widespread respect
from his enemies, a rare accomplishment among men of thought and

In this small city where Leopoldo Alas (Clarín) wrote La Regenta
(1885), a satire ridiculing the provincial pettiness and ignorance of
the supposedly cultured who are incapable of saying anything sensible
while expressing their liberal or conservative ideas, Alarcon told La

"I believe that in Latin America it is possible to construct
alliances, agreements. There are interests that agree on limiting the
interventionist power of United States imperialism. It is necessary
to eradicate that pattern, which makes it difficult for us to build
agreements. The so-called Washington Consensus, which still survives,
must go."

And as he signed his book Cuba and the Struggle for Democracy, we
asked: You say that Fidel has one defect; he doesn't know how to
rest. Is this a defect in all Cubans?

Alarcón smiles: "I wouldn't say that. For Fidel Castro, the
missionary sense of commitment is paramount."

–And then?

"People talk a lot about what will happen when Fidel dies and they
focus everything on that. The CIA was very alert and tried to kill
him on more than 600 occasions. If Fidel had died at the beginning of
the revolution, Cuba would have been exposed to terrible risks. But,
unlike Lenin, who died early, Fidel forged several generations of
capable leaders to direct the revolution with innovative style and

–A year ago, at the University of Havana, Fidel said, "nothing is
irreversible." Was that a gunshot in the middle of the concert?

"Internal reflection has not stopped. Fidel's central idea is that
the revolution and socialism are inevitable but are apart from
supposed laws of history."

–And what do you think?

"As a boy I thought that I would see the world revolution and that
later we were going to take a sip of it. But when you reach a certain
age you begin to give more importance to the future of the world.
The fall of the Soviet Union and its satellites dramatically underlined
that feeling. The most hard-line capitalists and the leftists
believed that the USSR would be a socialist state or a capitalist one

Democracy within revolution? –How can one change course?

"Our revolution was an indigenous, not an imported one. So, we go
back to the second Declaration of Havana (1962): "The duty of all
revolutionaries is to make revolution." To make means to create.
Likewise, if you do something you can undo it. This problem is real
and different from the nonsense about transition, succession, and
other naïve terms the media employ. It has to do with the old debate
among the Marxists: How to carry out a socialist revolution that
needs constant deepening and a favorable external context."

–Is the external context favorable to the Cuban revolution?

"The current situation in Latin America is better than that which the
Bolsheviks encountered. I don't want to say that we are going to
repeat Moncadas or Sierra Maestras. It's not a question of imitation.
We are fortunate that in Cuba our Lenin has lasted throughout this
half century."

–Is the revolution to be saved by Lenin or by Jose Marti?

"Fidel studied Cuban history in depth - the Cuban revolutionary
experience - and found its roots. In his Centenary speech (1969), he
very well sums up the fundamental thesis that in Cuba there was just
one revolution, when Marti was a child. For this reason it has more
force. Marti was able to articulate, to offer an interpretation. When
he was very young he united two generations and had moral and
political authority over the old combatants of 1868. One has to
imagine how those veterans responded a boy who tried to apply a
doctrine to a movement in which he had not participated."

–What real weight do you think the Cuban-Americans of Florida have in
the government of George W. Bush?

"Bush's actions lack logic. The effort to persecute travelers to Cuba
is directed against Cuban-Americans who are voters. It's absurd
when you think that these actions are carried out to get more votes.
The policy is not just for Miami. All over the United States an
electioneering vision predominates. From the start of the first
administration, there was a perfect union between the most radical
groups in Miami and the North American right. Think of the number of
Cubans who occupy posts at the federal level. With the exception of
some Hispanics of Mexican origin, it's as if the only Latinos were
Cubans. Even the Secretary of Commerce, Carlos Gutierrez, who was an
executive with Coca Cola in Mexico, is a Cuban."

The end of Bushism

–There are leftist voices in the United States who reject the idea
that imperialism is in crisis.

"The United States lacks the momentum it had at the end of the Second
World War. In 1989, in a certain sense, it emerged the winner against
the USSR. But a new situation is emerging: the loss of its hegemony
in the West originally brought about economically by the Marshall
Plan, the nuclear umbrella, and the Cold War, etc. And in Latin
America, crude, aggressive capitalism of the neoliberal model is

-How do you think the internal politics of the United States will
impact Latin America?

"In the first place I don't think there will be more of Bushism.
It's going to be difficult for them to go on past 2008. There is a
disconnect between those who continue to repeat the discourse of
Fukuyama in the 1990s (the end of history, of socialism, etc.) and
the current situation."

A time of transition

"Washington does not know what to do in Iraq. The neoconservatives
believed, in a truly stupid way, that it was possible to reverse
history and to focus their strategy on the Greater Middle East. But
at the moment the Berlin wall came down and they proclaimed the
victory of capitalism the caracazo happened. The neocons were
incapable of imagining that their weak point was in Latin America,
something that the leftist forces also failed to see."

–Could Washington make an aggressive change in direction in Latin
America if it retreated from Central Asia?

"–The risk exists and it could be worse than in other periods, but
I trust that it won't happen. The war in Iraq proves that it's one
thing to defeat a country and another to govern it. Nevertheless, in
the context of culture, of ideas, the Washington ideology retains its
hegemony, and you can not say that it is in decline in Europe."

–Various Latin American governments are trying to escape from the
United States orbit. At the Mar de Plata summit, the Free Trade Area
of the Americas was defeated. How will this history play out?

"–We can be optimistic to the extent that there are more governments
with a popular sensibility and that there are politicians with a
truly popular background who are taking over power from the managers
of transnational corporations. Not all of them are responding in the
same way. The United States' strong point lies in its ability to
influence, to deceive, to confuse, to falsify the terms of debate. In
many Latin American countries, including those in which progressive
forces govern, neoliberalism prevails. But if we believe in the myth
of US invulnerability and omnipotence we are lost."

–In the coming days México will have two presidents. One will take
power on Nov. 20 and the other on Dec. 1. How do you think this will
influence Cuba-Mexico relations?

"It's an unusual situation. I can't recall a similar case. My problem
is that anything I say can be taken as an official view of my
government. Something has to happen. For many years Mexico
was an example of exceptional political stability. It will be difficult to
go through six years with two presidents. Something has to happen
and that something will depend heavily on the struggle by the social

Translation by Cuba-L Direct [R. Sandels]


25) Dollar Falls as Concerns Grow About Economy
November 24, 2006

The dollar dropped sharply against a broad range of major currencies
today, and the euro broke through the $1.30 mark for the first time
in a year and a half, highlighting concern about the strength of the
American economy.

The dollar’s losses came during a thin trading day in which the
British pound rose to its strongest value against the dollar in two
years. The Japanese yen and the Swiss franc also gained at the
dollar’s expense.

Stocks closed lower on Wall Street today after a shortened trading
session that was soured by news of the dollar’s woes.

Though the Thanksgiving holiday probably accentuated the
dollar’s fall, analysts said the drop appears to reflect concerns
that the American economy will continue to weaken as economies
in Europe and Asia grow stronger.

“To dismiss this as a technical correction is to overlook the
structural reasons why the U.S. dollar is having a very hard time
these days,” said Hans Redeker, global head of currency strategy
at BNP Paribas in London.

A number of factors, including slower growth and the multibillion
-dollar trade deficit, put the American economy in a vulnerable
position compared with its global competitors. While the most
recent data show that the trade gap tightened in September, the
decline was largely due to falling oil prices. The trade deficit was
$586.2 billion for the first nine months of the year, and it remains
on track to break last year’s record of $716.7 billion. The biggest
chunk by far represents imports from China.

The trade imbalance will be one of the major issues that Treasury
Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and other top Bush administration
officials discuss next month when they travel to China. Mr. Paulson,
along with a delegation that will include Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal
Reserve chairman, is expected to press Chinese officials on a number
of economic issues, from cracking down on piracy to allowing
the Chinese yuan to trade more freely in currency markets.

Analysts said that the dollar’s drop today reflected a growing
anxiety over Chinese economic policy. China’s central bank holds
a large amount of American currency, and speculation has intensified
recently that it could begin selling off dollars to avoid being burned
if the dollar collapses.

Also lurking behind the dollar’s depreciation is the rising probability,
in the view of some economists and currency investors, that
a weakening American economy will force the Federal Reserve
to begin cutting borrowing costs next year.

Against the backdrop of a European Central Bank that seems
determined to tighten rates further next year, the appeal
of dollar-denominated assets is falling as the prospect
of higher returns in Europe rises.

“There can be no doubt that the ECB has more shots in its gun,”
said Erik Nielsen, chief Europe economist at Goldman Sachs in
London. “If the Fed starts cutting next year, then the gap begins
to widen.”


26) Stolen Dinner Costs Mother Thanksgiving Behind Bars

VALPARAISO, Ind., Nov. 23 — For most people, Thanksgiving is a day
to be surrounded by those dearest to them. For Donna Shelby that
would have included fawning over her daughter, who was 6 months
old on Thursday.

Eventually, Ms. Shelby, 19, did get there. But it was early evening
before she received her walking papers and was set free from the
Porter County Jail, where she spent some of the day scrubbing
dishes for a crowd of inmates.

That time with thieves, thugs and addicts instead of her mother,
child, boyfriend and three younger sisters was her punishment
for skipping out of a Valparaiso restaurant without paying her
bill last summer.

“The bill? I think it was like $18.96,” Ms. Shelby said in a brief
jailhouse interview. “My cousin, she ate the steak and eggs.
I got a salad. And it wasn’t even that good.”

Still, it was a lesson learned, she said.

“If I had to do it again, I’d either never walk into that restaurant
or I’d just pay the bill,” she said. “But I didn’t have the money.
And when my family showed up at the restaurant to get me,
they paid the bill. So I was like, what am I getting arrested for?
But they said I left. I did.”

Wanting a quick meal, Ms. Shelby said, she and her 15-year-old
cousin had stopped at the restaurant, the Round the Clock,
a popular spot in this pocket of northwest Indiana, on Aug. 12.
After cleaning their plates, the pair simply got up and left.
They made it to the parking lot.

“Our waitress chased her down,” said the restaurant manager,
Milan Radinovich. “We called the cops, and the prosecutors
and judge took it from there.”

This month, rather than simply sentence Ms. Shelby to six
months of probation, which is not unusual for a minor offense,
Judge David Chidester of Porter County Court went a step further.
Harking back to the old idea that if a customer cannot pay his tab,
he can work it off washing dishes, Judge Chidester gave Ms. Shelby
a choice: work in the restaurant’s kitchen until the debt was paid,
or spend a day in the lockup.

“We said no,” Mr. Radinovich said. “We wanted nothing to do
with her. Get out. Stay out.”

So off to the county jail it was for Ms. Shelby, who had to leave
the baby at home for a full day of washing dishes for inmates
spending Thanksgiving behind bars.

After being dropped off at the jail promptly at 9 a.m. by her mother,
who “was not very happy,” Ms. Shelby said, she donned the dark
red jail garb and headed to the kitchen, where the turkey was
being prepared.

But maybe 30 minutes into her shift, Ms. Shelby took ill, and
was told by jail officials to sit down and rest. Before long, she
was consulting with the medical staff, who thought she had
perhaps come down with the flu, according to Ms. Shelby
and a jail guard who escorted her.

The dishwashing was over, but the sentence was not. Unable
to reach the judge, jail supervisors told Ms. Shelby they had
little choice but to keep her in a cell until her scheduled
release at 6 p.m.

“Do I think I deserve this?” she said. “I didn’t pay. We ditched.
But they told me I wouldn’t have to wear the jail clothes, and
look at me. They told me I would wash dishes, and I’m
in a cell, locked up.”

To make matters worse, Ms. Shelby said, the publicity
surrounding her sentence cost her a job. A high school
dropout, Ms. Shelby completed a course to become
a certified nursing assistant and was hired at a rehabilitation
center in the weeks after her arrest.

“But all the news, they just fired me,” Ms. Shelby said. “I had
made enough to pay back my family the $325 bail they put
up for me to get out. But I have no job now. Looking for work.”

Sgt. Michael Grennes of the Valparaiso Police Department
said the punishment was just.

“They decided to get up and leave,” he said, noting that
Ms. Shelby’s 15-year-old cousin, who is pregnant, was
charged as a juvenile in the case. “The judge decided
to do something unusual here, to teach a lesson. Perhaps
it’s an important lesson learned.”

Ms. Shelby said she understood her family’s anger and
embarrassment, and even the punishment the judge gave
her — if only in part. But Thursday was Thanksgiving.

“My baby’s at home, and I want to get back to her,” she
said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to. I can give thanks.”


27) Drug Industry Is on Defensive as Power Shifts
November 24, 2006

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 — Alarmed at the prospect of Democratic
control of Congress, top executives from two dozen drug companies
met here last week to assess what appears to them to be a harsh
new political climate, and to draft a battle plan.

Hoping to prevent Congress from letting the government negotiate
lower drug prices for millions of older Americans on Medicare,
the pharmaceutical companies have been recruiting Democratic
lobbyists, lining up allies in the Bush administration and Congress,
and renewing ties with organizations of patients who depend
on brand-name drugs.

Many drug company lobbyists concede that the House is likely
to pass a bill intended to drive down drug prices, but they are
determined to block such legislation in the Senate. If that strategy
fails, they are counting on President Bush to veto any bill that
passes. With 49 Republicans in the Senate next year, the industry
is confident that it can round up the 34 votes normally needed
to uphold a veto.

While that showdown is a long way off, the drug companies are
not wasting time. They began developing strategy last week at
a meeting of the board of the Pharmaceutical Research and
Manufacturers of America.

Billy Tauzin, president of that group, a lobbying organization
for brand-name drug companies, recently urged Representative
Edolphus Towns, Democrat of New York, to seek a position as
chairman of a powerful House subcommittee, said Karen Johnson,
a spokeswoman for Mr. Towns. The subcommittee has authority
over Medicare and the Food and Drug Administration.

Democrats have yet to decide who will head the subcommittee.

Mr. Tauzin, a former congressman, also met with Senator Byron
L. Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat who has been trying for
six years to allow drug imports from Canada. The industry
vehemently opposes such legislation.

James C. Greenwood, president of the Biotechnology Industry
Organization, another trade group, said, “There is a lot of
pent-up animosity among Democrats against the pharmaceutical

Mr. Greenwood, a former Republican congressman from
Pennsylvania, said he had a list of 37 Congressional Democrats
whom he intended to call in the next month.

Amgen, the biotechnology company, recently disclosed that it
had retained as a lobbyist George C. Crawford, a former chief
of staff for Representative Nancy Pelosi of California. Ms. Pelosi,
the House Democratic leader, is in line to become speaker
in January and has said that the House will immediately take
up legislation authorizing Medicare to negotiate prices with
drug manufacturers.

The 2003 Medicare law prohibits the federal government from
negotiating drug prices or establishing a list of preferred drugs.

Amgen is also seeking strategic advice from the Glover Park
Group, a consulting firm whose founders include Joe Lockhart,
a former press secretary for President Bill Clinton.

Other major drug companies have been snatching up Democratic
former-aides-turned-lobbyists. Merck recently has hired Peter
Rubin, a former aide to Representative Jim McDermott of
Washington, one of the more liberal House Democrats.
Cephalon has hired Kim Zimmerman, a health policy aide
to Senator Ben Nelson, a conservative Democrat of Nebraska.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization has retained Paul T. Kim,
a former aide to two influential Democrats, Senator Edward M.
Kennedy of Massachusetts and Representative Henry A. Waxman
of California.

A Medicare expert who works for House Democrats said he
recently received three job offers in one day from the drug
industry, by telephone and in person.

At a dinner last week at the Hotel Monaco here, as part of their
board meeting, pharmaceutical executives dissected the midterm
election results with experts including Ed Goeas, a Republican
pollster, and Stuart Rothenberg, the editor of a political newsletter.

Drug makers have not set a budget for their campaign. They and
their trade groups already spend some $100 million a year on
lobbying in Washington.

“We have new political realities to attend to,” Mr. Tauzin said in
an interview after the board meeting. “We and our allies will do
everything we can to defend the Medicare drug benefit, to get
out the message that it is working.”

To reinforce that message, drug companies plan to mobilize
beneficiaries and urge them to contact Congress.

“I’m putting my trust in beneficiaries,” said Mr. Tauzin, who
represented Louisiana in the House for more than two decades,
first as a Democrat and then as a Republican. Several recent
surveys suggest that at least three-fourths of the people with
Medicare drug coverage are satisfied.

But Representative Frank Pallone Jr., Democrat of New Jersey,
who hopes to head the health subcommittee of the Energy
and Commerce Committee, said price negotiations for
Medicare were his priority.

“The 2003 Medicare law was essentially written by the drug
industry,” Mr. Pallone said in an interview. “That’s why you
don’t have negotiated prices. Republican policies have served
special interests like the pharmaceutical industry, and the
American taxpayer is paying the price.”

Drug lobbyists believe that the Senate will be receptive to their
argument that price negotiations lead inevitably to price
controls, and to restrictions on access to drugs, likely
to be unpopular with beneficiaries.

Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services,
said the White House opposed federal price negotiations
because they would unravel the whole structure of the
Medicare drug benefit, which relies on competing private

Among leaders who attended the board meeting last week
were Kevin Sharer, chairman of Amgen; Jeffrey B. Kindler,
chief executive of Pfizer; Sidney Taurel, chairman of Eli Lilly;
and Richard T. Clark, chief executive of Merck.

Drug lobbyists say they want to work with the new Democratic
majority, but that will not be easy. In its campaign contributions,
the pharmaceutical industry has overwhelmingly favored
Republicans over Democrats. Drug companies infuriated
many Democrats in 2003, when they worked closely with
Republicans to create the Medicare drug benefit, in a process
from which Democrats were largely excluded.

On other issues, Democrats are pushing for stricter regulation
of drug safety and for legislation to encourage development
of low-cost generic versions of expensive biotechnology drugs.
They are determined to allow imports of drugs from Canada,
where brand-name products are often cheaper.

They want to investigate drug pricing and profits, drug advertising
aimed at consumers and the marketing of drugs to doctors
for purposes not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Democrats may try to repeal some of the liability protections
that have been given to vaccine manufacturers.

Outspoken critics of the pharmaceutical industry will gain power
as a result of Senate committee assignments made last week.
Senators Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan, and Maria
Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, are joining the Finance
Committee, which has sweeping authority over Medicare and
Medicaid. Three liberal senators — Sherrod Brown of Ohio,
Barack Obama of Illinois and Bernard Sanders of Vermont —
are joining the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions, which oversees drug regulation and biomedical

The pharmaceutical industry lost one of its most effective
defenders when Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of
Pennsylvania, was not re-elected. The new Senate Republican
whip, Trent Lott of Mississippi, is no friend of the brand-
name drug industry. He supports bills to allow imports from
Canada and to increase access to generic drugs.

Top pharmaceutical executives are hurriedly planning
a response to the Democratic agenda.

“It’s all hands on deck,” said Ken Johnson, a senior vice
president at Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers
of America. “It’s like a hurricane warning flag. You don’t know
where it will hit. You don’t know who will be affected.
But everybody has to be prepared.”

Drug companies may be open to some changes in the
Medicare drug benefit, but they say they cannot accept
any form of price negotiation.

“The new Medicare program is clearly benefiting seniors
and people with disabilities and has exceeded initial
expectations,” Mr. Tauzin said. “But we are open to new
ideas that could make it even better. We will propose at
the same time we are opposing.”

Specifically, Mr. Tauzin said, drug companies would like
permission to fill a gap in coverage that has angered many
Medicare beneficiaries.

Many drug companies have programs to provide free drugs
to people with limited incomes. When such programs are used
to fill the gap in the Medicare drug benefit, they may run
afoul of federal law — the anti-kickback statute — because
they steer patients to products made by one particular company.

The drug industry is anxiously waiting to see details of the
Democratic proposal. Lawmakers are weighing several options.
At a minimum, Congress could simply repeal the ban on price
negotiations, without requiring Medicare officials to do anything.
Many House Democrats want to go further. They would direct
Medicare officials to negotiate prices for a government-run
prescription drug plan, which would compete with dozens
of existing private plans.

The government could negotiate prices for all drugs or just
for brand-name drugs that have no competition. Alternatively,
Congress could require manufacturers to provide a specified
discount, so Medicare would get the “best price” available
to any private buyer.

Such details, defining the federal role, are immensely important
and could determine the outcome of any votes in Congress.


28) Yearning to Be Whole Again
Sergeant Sees the Light After Year of Emotional, Family Turmoil
By Donna St. George
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 24, 2006; A01

When they called her name, she could not move. Sgt. Leana Nishimura
intended to walk up proudly, shake the dignitaries' hands and accept
their honors for her service in Iraq-- a special coin, a lapel pin,
a glass-encased U.S. flag.

But her son clung to her leg. He cried and held tight, she recalled.
And so Nishimura stayed where she was, and the ceremony last
summer went on without her. T.J. was 9, her oldest child, and
although eight months had passed since she had returned from
the war zone, he was still upset by anything that reminded him
of her deployment.

He remembered the long separation. The faraway move to live
with his grandmother. The months that went by without his
mother's kisses or hugs, without her scrutiny of homework,
her teasing humor, her familiar bedtime songs.

Nishimura was a single mother -- with no spouse to take
over, to preserve her children's routines, to keep up the
family apartment.

Of her three children, T.J. seemed to worry most. He sent
letter after letter to the war zone, where she was
a communications specialist, part of the Maryland
National Guard.

"He went from having one parent to having no parents,
basically," Nishimura said, reflecting, "People have said,
'Thank you so much for your sacrifice.' But it's the children
who have had more of a sacrifice."

When war started in Iraq, a generation of U.S. women became
involved as never before-- in a wider-than-ever array of jobs,
for long deployments, in a conflict with daily bloodshed.
More than 155,000 women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Among their ranks are more than 16,000 single mothers,
according to the Pentagon, a number that military experts
say is unprecedented.

How these women have coped and how their children are
managing have gone little-noticed as the war stretches
across a fourth year.

"It has to be one of the hardest things that a mom and her
children have to go through," said Steven Mintz, a University
of Houston professor with an expertise in family life. "You
can't cuddle a young child over the phone, and you can't
cuddle a child through e-mail."

In the military, parental status is not a barrier to serving
in a war. All deploy when the call comes -- single mothers,
single fathers, married couples -- relying on a "family-care plan"
that designates a caregiver for children when parents are gone.

The thinking is that a soldier is a soldier. "Everyone trains
to a standard of readiness and must be able to be mobilized,"
said Lt. Col. Mike Milord of the National Guard Bureau.

But war duty can be especially difficult for single parents.
A year ago, Nishimura returned to the United States to face
practical difficulties. Emotional issues. And unavoidable
questions concerning her children: Will there be another
deployment? What if a parent does not come back?

Home, but Still Apart

On a cool, dusky Saturday evening last November, her bus
arrived at the red brick Maryland National Guard Armory
in Towson. There were yellow ribbons and welcome-home
banners. A crowd of supporters cheered and cried.

One soldier walked off the bus and kissed the ground.

Nishimura fell into the embrace of two friends who had
come to meet her, but she felt disconnected from the
emotion of the moment. Instead, she noticed a friend
who had returned on the same bus -- and was now
hugging her husband and son.

She wondered: When would she see her own children?

Before Iraq, Nishimura had worked as a teacher and
cheerleading coach at a Christian school in Prince George's
County. Her National Guard duty, with the 129th Signal
Battalion, brought in extra money. Her ex-husband paid
child support. Still, she only scraped by, with the help
of public assistance.

Now her life was like a puzzle with missing pieces.

Her children -- Cheyenne, then 3; Dylan, then 6; and T.J.,
then 7 -- were in Hawaii, being cared for by their grandmother.
Nishimura did not have the money to fly them back. She had
no home for them, either, having long ago given up her apartment.

As she got off the bus, she could not help but dwell on one fact
of timing: Christmas was 50 days away. Would they be together
for the holiday?

She was heartened by a good lead on a full-time contracting
job with the National Guard. But there was a glitch: It would
mean relocating to Havre de Grace, Md., more than 90 miles
from her home in Waldorf.

If she got the job, she had decided, the family would move there.

For the kids, the move to her mother's house in Hawaii had
meant new schools, new friends and a new caregiver with
a high-rise apartment and a full-time job. Nishimura's 3-year-
old daughter seemed to have the toughest time, said grandmother
Cynthia Nishimura. She cried at night and at day care.

Unable to grasp the concept of a faraway war, the girl had
absorbed only her mother's mode of transportation. "Mommy
works on an airplane," she told people.

Her brothers knew more. T.J., in particular, knew that Iraq
was dangerous. For a time, he watched war coverage on television.
He saw the violence, heard about casualties. Finally,
his grandmother banned the news.

The Essential Phone Calls

In Iraq, Nishimura was attached to a soft flannel pillow adorned
with the faces of her three children. "God's gifts," it read. "This
is why I Fight!" She hugged it at night, even packing it in her
duffle bag when she left the base.

As often as she could, she talked to her children by phone,
and they had a ritual: At the end of every call, they counted
one, two, three -- and then made noisy kisses in unison.

Now she was back in the United States, still clutching the
pillow and talking on her cellphone, the children still
thousands of miles away.

In a matter of weeks, Nishimura landed the job in Havre
de Grace and found a little duplex to rent -- with wood
floors and a big picture window -- using all that she had
to cover the rent and security deposit.

There was a little yard. The public school was down the block.

On the day her new telephone service was connected, Nishimura
called her children. Then the phone rang.

"Hi, Mommy," her oldest son said.

Her middle child called next.

"Hi, Mommy," he said.

The phone rang again.

"Mommy, I wanted to call you, too," her daughter announced.

Nishimura assured them that they would be together soon.

Some days, she wondered how.

For airline tickets, she had pinned her hopes on the well-known
charitable program Operation Hero Miles, which donates airline
miles to U.S. service members.

It was only in late November that she learned the program was
geared to hospitalized troops and their families. She and
her children did not qualify.

Nishimura then took heart when fellow guardsmen offered
to donate miles to her -- only to learn that airlines would
not allow such mileage transfers.

At 29 years old, she had no credit cards, she said, having
badly damaged her credit in the financial turmoil of her divorce.
While in Iraq, she sent her earnings to her mother for her
children's care.

"I'm pretty discouraged," she admitted one afternoon four
weeks after she flew home.

The Grace of Others

Help came in unexpected bits. There were groceries delivered
by the pastor and elder of the church across the street. There
was a bed for her daughter donated by her new boss. There were
clothes and food and other help from volunteers Mary
and Paul Crawford.

Much of this happened because Nishimura was "adopted" by
First Christian Church of Havre de Grace through a National
Guard program, Partners in Care, which links needy soldiers
with congregations.

Then one of her senior officers, Maj. Timothy Mullen, wrote
letters on her behalf, which inspired contributions for the
plane tickets from three chapters of the 29th Division
Association, a veterans group, and four churches.

Twelve days before Christmas, it all came together: The children
and their grandmother would board Christmas Day flights, which
were least expensive, at a total cost of less than $1,500, covered
largely by the generosity of strangers.

"It was probably one of the best things I've seen happen in a long time,"
said Mullen. "I don't think anyone [in the unit] had the volume
of issues she had."

Nishimura's children bounded off a plane the morning after Christmas.

"I hugged Mommy first!" she recalled her daughter exclaiming.

Nishimura, in tears, felt the worst was behind them.

Shaken and Nervous

On a bright day in January, Nishimura walked her children to church,
glad to be back to her old life, to be thinking about Sunday school
and loose teeth and untied shoes and homework.

But the experience of war did not easily fade. She had been based
in Tikrit, amid mortars that shook the earth, near roads where
bombs were often hidden.

Now she found herself seized by sudden tears, insomnia
and nightmares.

In one dream, she saw herself doing a military crawl, with her
middle child on her back, as bombs exploded around them.

In another, she hunted everywhere for her children, but they
were gone. "Either I'm separated and I can't find them," she
said, "or I am with them and we are in danger. "

She eventually saw a counselor, who told her she had post-
traumatic stress disorder and gave her medication .

The stress of war came on top of the stress of life.

Her closest friends lived far away. There were new schools, new
neighbors. Her job paid well and she still got child support, but
it was hard to make ends meet. Over time, her family settled in:
her sons joining baseball teams, her daughter signing up
for gymnastics. The family bought one pet bird and rescued
another. "I feel like it's finally coming together," she said
one spring morning.

Then her oldest son cried at the sight of her packing a suitcase
for a short business trip. And after a veterans celebration
at school, he refused to open his books.

Finally, she said he told her: "I don't want you to go again."

Experts say that emotional fallout for children can come
and go after war. "Kids, at some level, must feel a sense
of abandonment," said Mintz, the Houston professor.

Recently, Nishimura switched military jobs, becoming
a chaplain's assistant. She wants to make the military
a career, although she could be redeployed. "I tell [the
children] that if God needs Mommy to go . . . then Mommy's
going to have to go again and they're going to have to let me."

Last week, Nishimura, in uniform, gave a presentation
about Iraq to her sons' Cub Scout pack. The boys were
about to make care packages for U.S. troops, and she
wanted to let them know about life as a soldier.

"I carried my M-16 wherever I went," she told them.

T.J. listened wide-eyed.

"I had to go one whole year without seeing my kids,"
she let them know. "How would you feel if you went
one whole year without seeing your Mommy and Daddy?"

"Lonely," volunteered one scout.

"I would go crazy," another said emphatically.

T.J. spoke up without reluctance.

"I cried a lot," he told them.

His mother was surprised by his admission, then glad.

When the boys went on to making cards for the troops,
T.J. said he was reminded of all the letters he had sent
her in Iraq. His own message to the war zone was simple.
It read, "Come back safely!"


[Col. Writ. 11/19/06] Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Since the recent Democratic wins in the U.S. House and Senate, there has
been a concerted effort from the corporate media to evoke from them
pre-installation promises of moderation, and a mass denial that there
are any plans to impeach a widely unpopular President, George W. Bush.

There has been equally aggressive attention paid to House Speaker-elect,
Nancy Pelosi (Dem. - Ca.), who makes history as the first American woman
to reach what is essentially the third most powerful office in the nation.

With few exceptions, most outspoken legislators have pooh-poohed the
idea of impeaching the President, even before there have been hearings
into the events that led to the ruinous disaster in Iraq.

Columnists lecture, "It would be too divisive." Others decry such talks
as 'radical.'

What is more radical than war?

Why are the same voices and institutions that led the cheerleading squad
to war now setting the parameters of acceptable political debate and

Perhaps the most influential newspaper in the U.S., the *New York
Times*, used its front pages as a virtual billboard for the Bush
administration, and high-ranking people like Vice-President Dick Cheney,
and Secretary of State (then National Security Advisor), Condoleeza Rice
quoted the *NYT* incessantly in the run-up to the Iraq War. Pulitzer
Prize-winning *Times* reporter, Judith Miller essentially served as a
scribe for the White House.

It was press scrutiny that led to the recent downfall of outspoken
anti-war figure, Congressman John Murtha (Dem.-Pa.) in the race for
House Majority Whip, using grainy tapes from almost 3 decades ago -- the
FBI ABSCAM attempts to bust corrupt politicians. It certainly appears
like the so-called 'Washington consensus' was unilaterally opposed to
Murtha in the Whip post, for it would have provided the critic with a
platform that could not be easily ignored. It was precisely this
so-called 'consensus' that lined up to support the Iraq adventure,
virtually without a whisper of dissent.

It very well may be the case that these same forces wanted to humble the
House Speaker-elect. And yet it was this same alleged 'consensus'
(driven, to be sure, by the mad neocons in the White House, the Defense
Dept. and the corporate think tanks) that led to this mess.

Consensus, here in the U.S., is actually the agreement of a fairly
narrow slice of the American (and sometimes foreign) elite. In the
brief but brilliant book, *Behind the Invasion of Iraq* (N.Y.: Monthly
Review Press, 2003) written by the Humbai, India-based Research Unit for
Political Economy, this theme is argued quite strongly:

"Typically apart from legislators and the press, a proliferation of
research institutes, semi-governmental bodies, and academic forums
circulate proposals voicing the case of one or the other lobby (leaving
the administration free to deny that they constitute official policy).
These proposals elicit objections from other interests, through similar
media; other powerful countries press their interests, directly or
indirectly; and the entire discussion, in the light of the strength of
the respective interests, helps shape the course of action finally
adopted and helps coalesce the various ruling class sections around it.
(This process, of course, has nothing to do with democratic debate,
since the *people* are excluded as participants, and are included only
as a factor to be taken into account)."

We shouldn't haggle with theory here. One need only recall the
unprecedented mass pre-war protests, all around the nation, and abroad.
The experts and think tank types decried the ignorance of the masses,
but time has proven that the mass demonstrations were right. Now, the
Democrats, being seduced by the lobbyists, the media, and the
know-it-alls (who might best be called 'the know-nothings') are being
persuaded to be bipartisan; to take impeachment off the table; to cool
that rap about ending the war.

That, like before, is the recipe for disaster, for it ignores the people
who turned out to vote, largely disgusted with Bush's war. People are
sick to the soul about Iraq.

If they ignore the public mood, they will, once again, be digging their
political graves. For this war, from beginning to now, has been an
unholy disaster, causing the deaths of at least a 1/2 million people.
That ain't impeachable?

Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal


Peer Pressure: Inflating Executive Pay
November 26, 2006

BBC Claims CIA Involvement in RFK Assassination
New video and photographic evidence that puts three senior CIA
operatives at the scene of Robert Kennedy's assassination has been brought to
light. The evidence was shown in a report by Shane O'Sullivan, broadcast
on BBC Newsnight. It reveals that the operatives and four unidentified
associates were at the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles in the moments
before and after the shooting on 5 June, 1968.

In Trials for New Cancer Drugs, Family Pets Are Benefiting, Too
November 24, 2006

Bigger Push for Charging Drivers Who Use the Busiest Streets
November 24, 2006

A Border Watcher Finds Himself Under Scrutiny
November 24, 2006

Civil War in Lebanon

Bush Plans to Bomb Iran Nuclear Sites in 2007: Analysts

Rivers of Blood and Tears in Gaza

Another “antiwar” General calls for escalation
Filed under: Iraq — louisproyect @ 3:26 pm
November 23, 2006

Of Rubber and Blood in Brazilian Amazon
November 23, 2006

Too Young to Die
The health care system's prescription for saving the country's sickest
babies isn't working. Newborns are more likely to die in the U.S.
than in almost any other industrialized nation. San Francisco's
rate of infant deaths is the lowest among U.S. cities, but in the
Bay Area's disadvantaged neighborhoods babies die as often
as those in much poorer countries. New science suggests the
problem may have been misdiagnosed.
Part 1: Life's Toll
In Bayview-Hunters Point, the stress created by environmental problems,
racism, poverty and crime may explain why so many babies die young.
Infant mortality is twice as high here as in the rest of San Francisco.

Lessons from the Teachers
Repression and Resistance in Oaxaca

Study: 40 percent of settlements were built on Palestinian land
By Yair Sheleg, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Service and Agencies
A new study conducted by left-wing group Peace Now has found that
approximately 40 percent of settlements, including long-standing
communities, are built on private Palestinian land and not
on state-owned land.
November 21, 2006

Six Imams Removed From Twin Cities Flight
Muslim Group Calls for Investigation of Airline Staff, Security
[vote on this policy in the poll on this site]

Manhattan: Second Man Charged in Terror Plan
A New Jersey man has been charged with conspiring to help the
terrorist group Hezbollah by allowing people to obtain satellite
broadcasts of a Hezbollah television station, federal prosecutors
said yesterday. The man, Saleh Elahwal, 53, of Matawan, N.J., was
charged in an 11-count indictment unsealed yesterday in Federal
District Court. The indictment also charged another man, Javed
Iqbal of Staten Island, who was arrested in August. The indictment
charges the men with helping people receive broadcasts of Al Manar,
which features programming that promotes Hezbollah's positions,
prosecutors said. Messages left for the men's lawyers were not
returned yesterday. Mr. Iqbal's supporters have said he was
exercising free speech.#
November 21, 2006

Newark: Immigration Sweep
Immigration agents arrested 137 people last week in a five-day sweep
for illegal immigrants, federal officials said yesterday. Of those arrested,
54 had ignored warrants for their removal from the United States,
while 83 were illegally in the country, Immigration and Customs
Enforcement said. The immigrants are from 21 countries, including
Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Pakistan, Egypt, Poland, India, Slovakia,
Costa Rica, Albania, Macedonia and the United Kingdom. A similar
operation last month resulted in 111 arrests in New Jersey.#
November 21, 2006

Village Officials Harassed Day Laborers, Judge Rules
November 21, 2006

Nevada: Judge Blocks Homeless Feeding Ban
A federal judge rejected a Las Vegas ban on feeding poor or homeless
people in city parks. Mayor Oscar Goodman had argued that handouts
discouraged homeless people from seeking help from social service
providers, and neighbors had complained of large numbers of homeless
people congregating at downtown parks, drawn by groups providing
meals. The judge, Robert Jones of Federal District Court, issued
an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the ordinance.#
November 21, 2006

Milton Lost: Can We Regain Paradise?
by Jason Miller

Blockades Close Chiapas in Defense of Oaxaca
By Al Giordano
Posted on Mon Nov 20th, 2006 at 08:54:12 AM EST
Thousands of indigenous residents of Chiapas - civilian support
bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN, in its
Spanish initials) - have successfully blocked all major roads and
highways in the state in defense of the people of neighboring
Oaxaca state.

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