Wednesday, January 17, 2007



TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2007, 7:00 P.M.
Board of Education
555 Franklin St
San Francisco
To get on the speakers list call the day before between the hours
of 8:30 a.m., and 4:00 p.m. Or on the day of the meeting, Tuesday,
January 23rd from 8:30 a.m., and 3:00 p.m.


Troops out of Iraq NOW!
Stop racism against Arabs and Muslims!
End the Occupation of Palestine!

Over 3,000 dead American soldiers, hundreds of thousands
of dead Iraqis. It's time to put a stop to the war machine.
Millions of people voted to get the Republicans out and
end the war, but we can't leave it up to the Democrats
to do the only reasonable thing:

President Bush just announced his intent to escalate the
number of troops in Iraq by over 20,000 more troops.

It's time to get the anti-war movement back in the streets!
On January 27, hundreds of thousands of people will march
in Washington, DC to demand an end to the war.

We're bringing the same message to the streets of San Francisco.
Make your own signs and banners and march with your friends,
family, co-workers, class-mates, church, union or organization.
Join us to show Bush and the new Democratic Congress
that the anti-war movement is back.

There will be one last organizing meeting on Saturday,
January 20, 2 PM @ 110 Capp St., and everybody is encouraged
to attend. Please forward this far and wide and tell everybody
you know!

For more information, call 510-484-5242 or email
or check out


SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2007
(The annual St. Patrick's Day Parade is taking
place on Sat., March 17 in SF.)
For more information:
Phone: 415-821-6545
Fax: 415-821-5782


1) Picking Up the Pieces
New York Times Editorial
January 14, 2007

2) Gunboat Diplomacy: The Watch on the Gulf
January 14, 2007
Gunboat Diplomacy: The Watch on the Gulf (map)

3) Nomadic Herdsmen Innocent Targets of Bombing in Somalia, Says OXFAM
By Joe De Capua
12 January 2007

4) The Best We Can Hope For
January 14, 2007

5) Busywork for Nuclear Scientists
New York Times Editorial
January 15, 2007

6) Democrats Are Unified in Opposition to Troop Increase,
but Split Over What to Do About It
January 15, 2007

7) U.S. and Iraqis Are Wrangling Over War Plans
January 15, 2007

8) Opening a New Front in the War, Against Iranians in Iraq
News Analysis
January 15, 2007

9) New York Rabbi Finds Friends in Iran and Enemies at Home
January 15, 2007

10) Endgame:
The Biggest Police Operation in U.S. History
by Richard D. Vogel
January 15, 2007
[A detailed map is also at this]

11) Worried about war, LI parents restrict access to recruiters
Newsday Staff Writer
January 15, 2007,0,7612715.story?coll=ny-top-headlines

12) The Smithfield Strike Victory
By The Editors of Socialist Viewpoint Magazine

13) Community Work
By Bonnie Weinstein
Socialist Viewpoint Magazine


1) Picking Up the Pieces
New York Times Editorial
January 14, 2007

It was surreal how disconnected President Bush was the other night,
both from Iraq’s horrifying reality and America’s anguish over this
unnecessary, mismanaged and now unwinnable war. Indeed, most
Americans seem far ahead of the president. They understand that
what the country urgently needs is for Mr. Bush to chart a way out
of Iraq that also limits the chaos that will be left behind.

The president’s disconnect goes far to explain the harshly critical
reaction of Congress and the public to his plan to further bleed
America’s overstretched forces by sending some 20,000 additional
troops in an attempt to impose peace on Baghdad’s vengeful streets.
He proposes to do that without any enforceable commitments
from the Iraqi government that it will take the necessary political
steps that are the only hope for tamping down a spiraling civil war.

There are no really satisfying answers in Iraq, since all of the
remaining options are bad. Still, some are notably worse than others,
and Mr. Bush has come up with possibly the worst. He would mortgage
thousands more American lives and what remains of Washington’s
credibility in the region to a destructively sectarian Shiite government
that he seems unwilling or unable to influence or restrain.

Unlike Mr. Bush’s views on the American military presence in Iraq,
our views have evolved as the evident realities on the ground
have changed. At the outset, although we opposed Mr. Bush’s
invasion, we hoped the United States military could provide
enough security to allow an elected government to build the
foundations of national unity and eventual democracy.

As it became increasingly clear that Iraqi political leaders had
other, less noble intentions, we still hoped that a substantial
American military presence could be used to shield innocent
civilians from the growing violence, train reliable and professional
Iraqi security forces to take over that task, and exert leverage
on Iraqi leaders to follow a less divisive and destructive course.

Now, with Mr. Bush unwilling or unable to persuade Prime
Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to take the minimum steps
necessary to justify any deeper American commitment, we
recognize that even that has become unrealistic. Mr. Maliki
gave the latest White House plan an even chillier reception
than it received in the United States Congress, boycotting
a Thursday news conference in Baghdad announcing it. He
apparently would have preferred to see American forces sent
to fight Sunni insurgents in western Anbar Province, leaving
Baghdad as a free-fire zone for his Shiite militia partners.

But even knowing all that, America cannot simply wash its
hands of Iraq and go home. The region’s problems, many of
them made worse by this war, are unavoidably America’s
problems as well. For starters, Iraq is in imminent danger
of violently breaking apart, driving millions of refugees
across its borders — who will bring with them their ethnic
grievances, and in some cases their weapons — and potentially
unleashing a chain reaction of regional conflicts that could
draw in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and perhaps others as well.

Whatever else happens, Iran has already become more
formidable and dangerous. Where it once had a hostile
Saddam Hussein on its western border, it now has a friendly
Shiite fundamentalist government. Its other longtime enemy,
the United States, has had its diplomatic and military clout
severely diminished by this war.

The expanding power of a revolutionary, Shiite Iran is
profoundly unsettling to the conservative Sunni-led governments
in most of the Arab Middle East, which have been America’s
traditional allies in the region. If the United States is to recoup
any of its standing and influence there, it will have to find
a way to contain the chaos in Iraq. And it will have to do
a lot more to address other concerns of these governments
and their people, starting with a genuine and sustained
effort to mediate a peace agreement between Israel and
the Palestinians.

If Mr. Bush does persist in sending more American troops
to Baghdad, despite Congress’s amply justified opposition,
he will have to establish clear lines of command that assure
that those troops can enter the strongholds of the Shiite militias
responsible for much of the violence without militia leaders’
being tipped off by allies in the Iraqi government.

And so long as any American troops remain in Iraq, Mr. Bush
must put serious pressure on Mr. Maliki to support the troops’
efforts with a genuine program of national reconciliation. That
must include, at a minimum, ridding the police and other security
services of killers, torturers and criminals and disarming
all sectarian militias.

The government must also assure that Iraqi oil revenues are
fairly shared out among the entire Iraqi population. And it
must move quickly to offer an amnesty to Sunni insurgents
willing to put down their weapons, and narrow the legal
restrictions on former Baath Party members so that Sunni
professionals can once again fully participate in Iraqi national life.

These benchmarks should be accompanied by fixed timelines.
And they must be accompanied with a clear message that the
United States is prepared to withdraw its troops if the Iraqis
continue to refuse to take responsibility for their own future.
Mr. Bush and other American officials need to make clear that
as much as the United States will suffer from a complete collapse
in Iraq, Iraq’s leaders will suffer far worse from the loss of their
American protectors.

Mr. Bush should reinforce that message by convening a conference
of all of Iraq’s neighbors to discuss how they can help stabilize
Iraq — and what they can do to contain the wider chaos should
it come. With nearly two million Iraqis already seeking refuge,
mainly in Syria and Jordan, it is far past time for American
officials to begin their own planning and relief efforts.

If Mr. Bush refuses to deliver this ultimatum to Mr. Maliki,
Congress will have to do so in his stead. That’s not the usual
division of labor between the executive and legislative branches,
but it is one that Mr. Bush has made necessary by his refusal
to face realities. The potential consequences of his failed
leadership are so serious that neither the new Democratic
majorities in Congress, nor the public at large, can afford
the luxury of merely criticizing from the sidelines.

So far, Congress is off to an encouraging start, holding substantive
oversight hearings and asking probing questions of administration
officials for the first time in too many years. Similarly encouraging
has been the bipartisan character of this reinvigorated oversight.
The Congress should continue asking hard questions. And it must
insist on real answers before acting on any new requests for money
to support Mr. Bush’s plans to send more troops to Baghdad.
Congress has the authority to attach conditions to that money,
imposing benchmarks and timetables on Mr. Bush, who then
would be forced to impose them on the Iraqi government.

One immediate step could be a set of bipartisan resolutions
spelling out the broad policy directions Congress expects the
president to pursue on Iraq. That would send a useful message
to the American people that lawmakers are listening to their
concerns, if Mr. Bush is not, and also to Iraq’s leaders.

It’s now up to Congress to force the president to live up to his
constitutional responsibilities and rescue this country from the
consequences of one of its worst strategic blunders in modern

History will surely blame Mr. Bush for leading America into Iraq,
but it will blame Congress if it does not act to push him onto
a more realistic path.


2) Gunboat Diplomacy: The Watch on the Gulf
January 14, 2007
Gunboat Diplomacy: The Watch on the Gulf (map)

THE United States Central Command stretches across some of the
world’s most volatile real estate from Kenya in the southwest through
all of the Middle East to Kazakhstan in the northeast. It encompasses
two active combat theaters: Afghanistan, which is landlocked, and Iraq,
with a tiny uncontested shoreline.

In both, the main fighting is counterinsurgency, largely the task of light
infantry like the Marines and the Army’s 10th Mountain or 82nd
and 101st Airborne Divisions. CentCom, as it is known, has always
been run by a four-star general from the Army or Marines.

So why name a sailor — Adm. William J. Fallon — as CentCom’s new
commander, as President Bush did earlier this month?

One word: Iran.

Admiral Fallon’s appointment comes amid a series of indications
that the Bush administration is increasingly focused on putting
pressure on Iran and, perhaps, veering toward open confrontation.
They include the dispatching of a second Navy carrier battle group
to the Persian Gulf; a blunt singling out of Iran in Mr. Bush’s speech
Wednesday night, warning that America will “seek out and destroy
the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our
enemies in Iraq,” followed by a dawn raid Thursday on an Iranian
office in the Kurdish city of Erbil in which five Iranians were seized
along with files and computers.

The important thing is that Admiral Fallon is a naval aviator.

Now the ranking officer in the Pacific — the Navy’s traditional fief —
his résumé includes 24 years of flight assignments beginning with
combat in Vietnam and including commanding the air wing on the
carrier Theodore Roosevelt in the first Iraq war.

Iran thus far has been the principal beneficiary of the American
enterprise in Iraq, exerting influence over the Shiite parties it
nurtured in exile and expanding its own regional prestige. The
Iranians’ confidence and defiance have been bolstered by the
knowledge that American ground forces are stretched near the
breaking point in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But introducing more air and sea power, with their long reach,
in the gulf could change the military balance and options.

It is classic gunboat diplomacy.

The American naval presence in the gulf is the Fifth Fleet, based
in Manama, Bahrain. It usually numbers around 20 ships, capable
of putting 15,000 sailors and marines afloat. Its principal component
is a carrier battle group, so adding a second will, in effect, double
its air and sea power.

A carrier battle group typically consists of a Nimitz-class carrier
like the Eisenhower, a floating city so huge one can see the horizon
rise and fall without feeling the swell of the sea, and capable
of carrying as many as 85 aircraft, along with protective escorts.
These usually include two guided missile cruisers, two destroyers,
a frigate, two submarines and a supply ship. These smaller vessels
could be used for other tasks, like escorting tankers through the
narrow Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the world’s
oil passes, or enforcing sanctions or a blockade on Iran.

The Fifth Fleet also normally has a Marine landing force of 2,200,
roughly equally divided between ground troops and air support,
aboard three specialized ships that can be used in raids or other

Will this cow the Iranians? Ray Takeyh, an Iran expert at the Council
on Foreign Relations, thinks not. More likely, he said, is that “the
more radical militants will use this to berate the more moderate”
and “the notion of accommodating Western audiences will diminish.”


3) Nomadic Herdsmen Innocent Targets
of Bombing in Somalia, Says OXFAM
By Joe De Capua
12 January 2007

The relief organization OXFAM says nomadic herdsmen have been
innocent targets of bombing in the south of the country. Beatrice
Karanja, a spokesperson for OXFAM in Nairobi, tells VOA the
bombings have affected some of the agency’s humanitarian
water and sanitation programs.

“Oxfam has been receiving reports from our partner organizations
in Somalia that nomadic herdsmen have been targeted in recent
bombing raids. And what this has been is bombs have hit vital water
sources, as well as the nomads and their animals, who had been
gathering around large fires at night in order to ward off mosquitoes.
What OXFAM is concerned about is that under international law
there’s a duty to distinguish between military and civilian targets.
But this principle isn’t being adhered to and eventually, as we see,
innocent people are paying the price,” she says.

Karanja says OXFAM and other humanitarian organizations need
greater access in Somalia to help those who’ve been displaced
or affected in other ways by the recent fighting.


4) The Best We Can Hope For
January 14, 2007

NOBODY will quibble with President Bush’s line Wednesday night that
in Iraq, “Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers
achieved; there will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship.”

Of course, that calls to mind his victory landing on the deck of the
carrier Abraham Lincoln off the coast of California in May 2003,
which he followed with a speech declaring that, “in the battle of
Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”

But let’s not digress. Mr. Bush has now scaled back his strategy
for victory to a strategy for the best-we-can-hope-for. So, it must
be asked, what exactly is the best we can hope for?

“In the best-case scenario, we’ll be in Iraq for 15 or 20 years,” said
Stephen Biddle, author of “Military Power: Explaining Victory and
Defeat in Modern Battle.” He offers the example of the Balkans,
where everyone seems to have forgotten about the United States
troops who have been there for years, helping keep a peace
brokered in Dayton, Ohio, in 1995.

Under the best result Mr. Biddle said he could imagine, the
United States would cajole or force warring Shiites, Sunnis
and Kurds to agree to the standard-cookbook negotiated
ending to a civil war. There would be some kind of power-
sharing deal among the key combatants, yielding an uneasy
cease-fire that would have to be policed for a long time by
outside peacekeepers, since no warring side would trust another.

Sounds like paradise, doesn’t it? Except, Mr. Biddle said,
“If I had to bet my house mortgage on a scenario, it wouldn’t
be on that one.”

Before we get to the outcome on which Mr. Biddle is willing
to bet his piece of the American dream, we should, at least,
examine the second, optimistic resolution that Iraq experts
offer. This is the ending which, they said, President Bush
should embrace with both arms — if he can get it.

Remember the Spanish Civil War? The best America can hope
for, some experts said, would be for Iraq to turn into today’s
version of the Spanish Civil War.

For readers without immediate access to Wikipedia, the
Spanish Civil War lasted three years, from 1936 to 1939,
when the Nationalists, led by Francisco Franco, defeated the
Loyalists of the Second Spanish Republic. The death toll was
huge — estimates put it between 500,000 and one million.
People in just about every European country were passionate
about the fight: the Loyalists got weapons and volunteers
from the Soviet Union, while the Nationalists received help
from Italy, Germany and Portugal.

But, in the end, the Spanish Civil War stayed Spanish. The
Europeans sent money and arms and even volunteers, but
they didn’t let the war engulf the continent. (Probably because
the continent was busy getting engulfed in World War II, but
let’s not be too technical.)

The biggest worry in Iraq is not that Iraq will descend into
a civil war — most experts say that is a done deal — but
that an Iraqi civil war will not stay Iraqi. The fear is that
a civil war will engulf the entire region, with Saudi Arabia
and Jordan defending the Sunnis, Iran backing the Shiites,
and Iraqi Kurds declaring their independence, a move sure
to draw in Turkey, which has its own restive Kurdish population.

“There’s a difference between the Saudis providing help and
them actually sending in forces; there’s a difference between
everybody playing in the troubled waters of Iraq and actually
allowing it to spread beyond Iraq’s borders,” said Gideon Rose,
managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine. “Given the
alternative, the Spanish Civil War was better than World War I.”

The Spanish Civil War script doesn’t bode well for Iraq itself.
The death toll would be enormous, and Iraqi Sunnis, who make
up only about 20 percent of the population, would face particular
hardship. But such a war wouldn’t become World War III. The
United States would eventually pull its troops out, the Iranians
would finance the Shiites, and the Saudis would support the
Sunnis, but neither neighbor would engage militarily itself.

America’s image abroad would suffer a blow, but not a fatal one,
and in the end, the United States would still be the sole world
power. “That’s the best we can expect,” Mr. Rose said. “Disaster
in Iraq, problems in the Middle East and a several-year period
to recover the losses in American foreign policy.”

Critics have been unstinting in their disapproval of Mr. Bush’s
plan to send more than 20,000 additional American troops,
mostly to Baghdad, where they will embed with Iraqi brigades.

The idea is that the presence of the American troops will prevent
the Iraqi soldiers, who are mostly Shiite, from slaughtering the
minority Sunnis. Eventually, the thinking goes, the Sunni
population in Baghdad will come to trust the Iraqi soldiers,
and reconciliation will happen between Iraqi Sunnis, Shiites
and Kurds.

The problem with Mr. Bush’s plan, said Vali Nasr, a senior
fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is that it doesn’t
provide enough American troops to do much more than stay
the course, to use Mr. Bush’s now-abandoned lexicon. The
way Mr. Nasr sees it, 20,000 additional troops is too few to
change the dynamic on the ground, but enough to escalate
tensions further.

“The best we can hope for is pretty much the same thing
we’ve had for the last year,” said Mr. Nasr, author of “The
Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future.”
“More of the same for another two years, but keep in mind that
it could potentially get much worse.”

That worst-case scenario is pretty scary, Mr. Biddle said. In that
picture, the United States would pull its troops out of Iraq, the
civil war would accelerate, and the Shiites, financed by Iran,
would conquer one Sunni village after another, driving the
Sunnis over the borders and into refugee camps in Saudi
Arabia and Jordan.

There would be a huge refugee crisis in the Sunni Arab countries,
where a dispossessed, bitter and highly politicized refugee
population would appeal to Saudi and Jordanian rulers to
make a last stand for Sunnis in Iraq. But since it would have
taken about 5 to 10 years to get to this point, guess who,
by then, would have acquired a nuclear bomb?


“In the worst case, you could be looking at a couple of nuclear
weapons dropped on major cities — Baghdad, Riyadh, Tehran,”
Mr. Biddle said.

That possibility makes the one that Mr. Biddle views as most
likely seem almost palatable. Here it is:

“We get out, the civil war escalates,” Mr. Biddle said. “It’s funded
by all sides but they don’t send their own troops across the border.
The war just bumps along for 5 or 10 years and everybody eventually
gets so weary that diplomacy finally gets going, and there’s a cease-
fire, power-sharing deal. During that period, Iraqi oil output crashes,
there’s huge instability in the region and oil prices rise. And there’s
a humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq.

“That’s not a very happy scenario,” Mr. Biddle acknowledged. “But it
beats the heck out of nuclear war in the Mideast.”


5) Busywork for Nuclear Scientists
New York Times Editorial
January 15, 2007

The Bush administration is eager to start work on a new nuclear
warhead with all sorts of admirable qualities: sturdy, reliable and
secure from terrorists. To sweeten the deal, officials say that if they
can replace the current arsenal with Reliable Replacement Warheads
(what could sound more comforting?), they probably won’t have
to keep so many extra warheads to hedge against technical failure.
If you’re still not sold, the warhead comes with something of
a guarantee — that scientists can build the new bombs without
ever testing them.

Let the buyer beware. While the program has gotten very little
attention here, it is a public-relations disaster in the making
overseas. Suspicions that the United States is actually trying to
build up its nuclear capabilities are undercutting Washington’s
arguments for restraining the nuclear appetites of Iran and
North Korea.

Then there’s the tens of billions it is likely to cost. And the most
important question: Nearly two decades after the country stopped
building nuclear weapons, does it really need a new one? The
answer, emphatically, is no. This is a make-work program
championed by the weapons laboratories and belatedly
by the Pentagon, which hasn’t been able to get Congress
to pay for its other nuclear fantasies.

The Rumsfeld team’s first choice was for a nuclear “bunker
buster” to go after deeply buried targets. The Pentagon got
concerned about “aging” warheads only after it was clear that
even the Republican-led Congress, or at least one intrepid
House subcommittee chairman, considered the bunker buster
too Strangelovian to finance.

One crucial argument for the new program took a major hit
in November when the Jason — a prestigious panel of scientists
that advises the government on weapons — reported that most
of the plutonium triggers in the current arsenal can be expected
to last for 100 years. Since the oldest weapons are less than
50 years old, supporters of the new warhead have fallen back
on warnings that other bomb components are also aging,
and that the nuclear labs need the work to attract and train
the best scientists. But the labs are already spending billions
on studying and preserving the current arsenal.

Then there’s that guarantee that there will be no need for
testing — one of the few arms-control taboos President Bush
hasn’t broken yet. While experts debate whether the labs can
really build a weapon without testing it, the more important
question is whether any president would stake America’s
security on an untested arsenal.

America would be much safer if the president focused on
reducing the number of old nuclear weapons still deployed
by the United States and the other nuclear powers. The new
Congress should stop this program before any more dollars
are wasted, or more damage is done to America’s credibility.


6) Democrats Are Unified in Opposition to Troop Increase,
but Split Over What to Do About It
January 15, 2007

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 — The White House sought Sunday to head
off building pressure in Congress to cut off or limit financing
for sending more troops to Iraq.

But even as President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney made
it clear that they would proceed with their plan to increase the
United States military presence in Iraq in the face of opposition
from the House and Senate, Democrats exhibited splits within
their ranks over how aggressively to oppose the plan.

Speaking on “This Week” on ABC News, Representative
John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the subcommittee
on military appropriations in the House, said he expected
Congress to move to restrict financing for new troop deployments
— or at the very least tie approval to stringent conditions the White
House would have to meet first.

“If we have our way, there will be some substantial change and
tremendous pressure put on this administration to change
direction,” Mr. Murtha said.

But Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the new chairman of the
Senate Armed Services Committee, said on CNN on Sunday that
he did not believe Congress should “use the power of the purse”
to halt the president’s plan and that it should go no further than
approving nonbinding resolutions opposing it.

While most Democratic leaders have not endorsed taking steps
beyond seeking to pass nonbinding resolutions opposing the troop
increase, pressure has been mounting in the past week from
opponents of the war to take more direct and assertive action
to block Mr. Bush.

In an interview on “60 Minutes” that was broadcast Sunday night
Mr. Bush said: “Listen, we’ve got people criticizing this plan before
it’s had a chance to work. They’re saying, ‘We’re not even gonna
fund this thing.’ ”

“I will resist that,” he added.

On “Fox News Sunday” Mr. Cheney acknowledged that Congress
had fiscal oversight of the war but said, “You also cannot run
a war by committee.”

Mr. Cheney said the Democrats would be undercutting the troops
if they moved to block the president’s plan, adding, “I have yet
to hear a coherent policy out of the Democratic side with respect
to an alternative.”

Mr. Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, said on
“Meet the Press” on NBC News that the White House had sufficient
money in its control to deploy troops as planned, and he
suggested that once they were in place, Congress would be
reluctant to cut off financing.

“I think once they get in harm’s way, Congress’s tradition is
to support those troops,” Mr. Hadley said.

The growing pressure on Democrats to confront the White House
was highlighted by a speech delivered Sunday by John Edwards,
the former Democratic senator from North Carolina who is
seeking his party’s presidential nomination. Mr. Edwards, who
voted to authorize the war when he was in the Senate in 2002
but has since said that it was a mistake, said Congress had
a moral duty to cut off financing.

“If you’re in Congress and you know this war is going in the
wrong direction, it is no longer enough to study your options
and keep your own counsel,” Mr. Edwards said at Riverside Church
in Manhattan, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once gave
a speech denouncing the American campaign in Vietnam. “Speak
out, and stop this escalation now. You have the power to prohibit
the president from spending any money to escalate the war — use it.”

Mr. Edwards also called on fellow Democrats to support the
immediate withdrawal of 50,000 troops.

In making his speech, Mr. Edwards staked out antiwar turf in the
nascent Democratic presidential primary contest while challenging
others to do the same — most notably Senator Hillary Rodham
Clinton of New York, who also voted to authorize military action
in Iraq in 2002 but has yet to take a position on legislative options
like withholding money. She visited Iraq on Saturday to speak with
military commanders, and plans to explain her views in fuller detail
when she returns Tuesday.

Howard Wolfson, a senior adviser to Senator Clinton, criticized
Mr. Edwards’s remarks by taking aim at the former senator’s image,
promoted by aides during the last presidential election, as an optimistic
and unifying figure. “In 2004 John Edwards used to constantly brag
about running a positive campaign,” Mr. Wolfson said. “Today, he has
unfortunately chosen to open his campaign with political attacks
on Democrats who are fighting the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.”

Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, another likely Democratic candidate
and a longtime war critic, has stopped short of calling for a clamp
on financing for Mr. Bush’s plan.

While Congressional Democrats have been fairly unified in their
opposition to the president’s plan, the splits that have emerged
center on how to proceed against it. Some say that Democrats
won control of Congress with promises to force change and have
a responsibility to do so; others warn that the party could incite
accusations of undercutting the troops by limiting funds for them.

But with opinion polls showing overwhelming opposition to the
president’s plan — and support for some kind of intervention by
Congress — the trajectory over the past two weeks has moved
toward more aggressive Congressional action.

Two Democratic senators have backed away from earlier remarks
in which they expressed openness to a temporary increase in troops:
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, who is the majority leader of the Senate,
and Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, a declared candidate
for the 2008 presidential election.

Mr. Dodd said in a statement on Sunday that he planned to introduce
a bill requiring Congressional authorization for the troop increase that
would be similar — but not identical — to one that Senator Edward
M. Kennedy of Massachusetts introduced Wednesday.

Public frustration with the war, and political moves like Mr. Edwards’s
on Sunday, will only heighten the pressure, especially on Democrats
running for president, to put real limits or conditions on the White
House war plan.

Advisers to Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama — neither of whom is
a declared candidate — said in interviews that the senators had
yet to conclude that the financing issue was the best way to
fight Mr. Bush.

Mr. Obama, on “Face the Nation” on CBS News, said: “The president
has already begun these additional deployments. We, unfortunately,
are not going to be voting on funding for several weeks, perhaps


7) U.S. and Iraqis Are Wrangling Over War Plans
January 15, 2007

This article was reported by John F. Burns, Sabrina Tavernise and
Marc Santora, and written by Mr. Burns.

BAGHDAD, Jan. 14 — Just days after President Bush unveiled a new
war plan calling for more than 20,000 additional American troops
in Iraq, the heart of the effort — a major push to secure the capital
— faces some of its fiercest resistance from the very people it
depends on for success: Iraqi government officials.

American military officials have spent days huddled in meetings
with Iraqi officers in a race to turn blueprints drawn up in Washington
into a plan that will work on the ground in Baghdad. With the first
American and Iraqi units dedicated to the plan due to be in place
within weeks, time is short for setting details of what American
officers view as the decisive battle of the war.

But the signs so far have unnerved some Americans working on
the plan, who have described a web of problems — ranging from
a contested chain of command to how to protect American troops
deployed in some of Baghdad’s most dangerous districts
— that some fear could hobble the effort before it begins.

First among the American concerns is a Shiite-led government
that has been so dogmatic in its attitude that the Americans
worry that they will be frustrated in their aim of cracking down
equally on Shiite and Sunni extremists, a strategy President
Bush has declared central to the plan.

“We are implementing a strategy to embolden a government that
is actually part of the problem,” said an American military official
in Baghdad involved in talks over the plan. “We are being played
like a pawn.”

The American military’s misgivings came as new details emerged
of the reconstruction portion of Mr. Bush’s plan, which calls for
more than doubling the number of American-led reconstruction
teams in Iraq to 22 and quintupling the number of American
civilian reconstruction specialists to 500. [Page A7.]

Compounding American doubts about the government’s
willingness to go after Shiite extremists has been a behind-the-
scenes struggle over the appointment of the Iraqi officer to
fill the key post of operational commander for the Baghdad
operation. In face of strong American skepticism, the Iraqi
prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, has selected an officer
from the Shiite heartland of southern Iraq who was virtually
unknown to the Americans, and whose hard-edged demands
for Iraqi primacy in the effort has deepened American anxieties.

The Iraqi commander, Lt. Gen. Aboud Qanbar, will be part of
what the Americans have described as a partnership between
the two armies, with an American general, Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr.,
commander of the First Cavalry Division, working with General
Aboud, and American and Iraqi officers twinned down the
operational chain.

For the Americans, accustomed to clear operational control, the
partnership concept is troublesome — full of potential, some
officers fear, for dispute with the Iraqis over tough issues like
applying an equal hand against Shiite and Sunni gunmen.

It remains unclear whether the prime minister will be in overall
charge of the new crackdown, a demand the Iraqis have pressed
since the plan was first discussed last month, American officials
said. They said days of argument had led to a compromise under
which General Qanbar would answer to a so-called crisis counsel,
made up of Mr. Maliki, the ministers of defense and interior, Iraqi
national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, and the top American
military commander in Iraq.

The Americans said that while they had reluctantly accepted General
Qanbar, they had won concessions from the Iraqis in the appointment
of two officers favored by the American command for the two deputy
Iraqi commanders, one for the areas of Baghdad west of the Tigris
River, the other for districts to the east.

Still, the new command structure seemed rife with potential for
conflict. An American military official said that the arrangements
appeared unwieldy, and at odds with military doctrine calling for
a clear chain of command. “There’s no military definition
for ‘partnered,’ ” he said.

Along with those problems, the Americans cite logistical issues
that must be solved before the new plan can begin to work. Intent
on using the large numbers of additional American and Iraqi troops
that have been pledged to the plan to get “boots on the ground”
across Baghdad, they are planning to establish perhaps 30 or
40 “joint security sites” spread across nine new military districts
in the capital, many in police stations that have been among the
most frequent targets in the war.

But in many areas, there are no police stations, at least none suitable
as operational centers, so the planners are seeking alternate locations,
including large houses, that will have to be fortified with 15-foot-high
concrete blast walls, rolls of barbed wire and machine-gun towers.

There are no solutions yet to longstanding problems like who — the
American forces, or the Iraqis’ own anemic logistics system — will
supply the fuel required to keep Iraqi Humvees and troop-carrying
trucks running, at a time when the American supply chain will face
new strains in supporting thousands of additional American troops.

The plan gives a central role to the National Police, viewed as widely
infiltrated by Shiite militias and, despite an intensive American retraining
program, still suspected of a strongly Shiite sectarian bias. One American
officer said that the National Police commanders have been “dragging
their feet” over their role in the new plan and that they could seriously
compromise the operation.

Against those concerns, American officers cite several factors they
believe will lend impetus to the new offensive. The five additional
brigades of American troops committed by President Bush —
approximately 21,500 American soldiers, about 80 percent of them
to be deployed in Baghdad — will roughly triple the numbers of American
soldiers available for ground operations, as a relatively small proportion
of the new troop strength will be needed for “force protection,” the
military term for troops who safeguard bases and ensure the safety
of other soldiers.

Since the resignation of former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
after the November elections, American commanders here have been
more candid in acknowledging something Mr. Rumsfeld often disputed:
that the commanders have had to play shell games with thinly stretched
troops, and that many crucial operations, including previous attempts
to secure Baghdad, have failed because troops have often been moved
on to other operations, allowing insurgents and militia groups to retake
areas vacated by the Americans. The new plan, the Americans say, will
go a long way toward redressing that problem, at least in Baghdad.

Another positive cited by American officers is the appointment by
President Bush of Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus as the new overall American
commander in Iraq, succeeding Gen. George W. Casey Jr., who will leave
next month after more 30 months in command of the war. General
Petraeus, who has already completed two 12-month tours in Iraq, has
a reputation among officers who have served under him as an imaginative
commander who enlists strong loyalties among his troops.

Many officers interviewed for this article said they still believed the
tide of the war here can be reversed, with the additional troops, the
focus on regaining control of Baghdad and the more consistent military
strategy they said they expected from General Petraeus. The 54-year-
old native of upstate New York, a marathon runner, will come to Baghdad
after overseeing the Army’s reworking of its counterinsurgency manual,
parts of which he redrafted himself.

American officials in Baghdad and Washington have said that they
have limited time — perhaps no more than six to nine months — to
show gains from the new American push before popular support erodes
still further and the onset of the 2008 presidential campaign leads
American politicians to push harder for a troop withdrawal. There are
also questions of how long the overstretched American military can
sustain the stepped-up presence here.

Together, those factors have thrust American military planners into
the equivalent of a two-minute drill, trying to develop a plan that
will yield rapid gains in regaining control of Baghdad neighborhoods
that have slipped into near-anarchy as Sunni insurgents and Shiite
death squads have run rampant. While American officers are confident
the additional troops will make a major impact, they worry about what
will happen when the American troop commitment is scaled down
again, and Iraqi troops are left facing the main burden of patrolling
the city.

That prospect raises the specter of repeating what has happened
on several other occasions in Baghdad: Americans clearing
neighborhoods house-by-house, only for insurgents and militiamen
to reappear when Iraqi security forces take over from the Americans
and prove incapable of holding the ground, or compliant with the
marauding gunmen. That was the pattern with Operation Together
Forward, the last effort to secure Baghdad, which began with an
additional 7,000 American troops over the summer, and effectively
abandoned within two months when Iraqi troops failed to hold
areas the Americans handed over to them.

Another concern is that the target of the new Baghdad plan —
Sunni and Shiite extremists — may replicate the pattern American
troops have seen before when they have embarked on major
offensives — of “melting away” only to return later. Some officers
report scattered indications that some Shiite militiamen may already
be heading for safer havens in southern Iraq, calculating that they
can wait the new offensive out before returning to the capital.

“This is an enemy that will trade space for time,” one officer said.

Shiite neighborhoods present special challenges. Tightly woven
networks of militias backed by the government, the areas have
been largely off-limits to American forces. An early test will be
Sadr City, the largest Shiite enclave in the capital, and the main
stronghold for the Mahdi Army militia, led by the renegade cleric,
Moktada al-Sadr. American officers say it is far from clear that the
Maliki government will permit American troops to operate freely
in the enclave.

The number of Americans to be based at the new joint security
centers is another matter under debate. At a minimum, according
to officers involved in the planning, there will be an American platoon,
about 30 to 40 troops, working from each new center, with another
platoon patrolling nearby, serving as both a quick reaction force to
quell any surge of violence in the area and also to protect the
Americans stationed with the Iraqis.

That places American soldiers directly in neighborhoods where, until
now, they have appeared only transiently on patrols and raids. Under
the new plan, they will work closely with the Iraqi Army and police in
an attempt to establish a trust that has been elusive. The approach
has been modeled on a successful American campaign effort
18 months ago in Tal Afar, a northern city that saw dramatic drops
in violence and is now regarded as one of the few success stories
of the American campaign.

The Tal Afar strategy was developed by Col. H. R. McMaster,
commander of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment at the time.
Colonel McMaster, who is widely regarded within the Army as one
of its most creative counterinsurgency thinker, as well as something
of a maverick, has been involved in Pentagon planning for the new
Baghdad operation. But unlike Tal Afar, Baghdad is at the heart
of the country, with nearly a quarter of Iraq’s population, and
American officers say that success here will be far more complex
than in the operation masterminded by Colonel McMaster.

Another senior officer involved in developing the new plan said that
the new crackdown would have been much easier to implement
if it had been adopted earlier. He said that when he returned to
Iraq for a second tour in the fall, he was shocked to see how far
the American war effort had regressed, something he attributed
to muddled strategy. “When I got back three months ago, the
hodge-podge called Baghdad was like a Rubik’s cube gone
awry,” he said.

In embattled West Baghdad, the plan is to place the new security
centers squarely where the sectarian fighting has been fiercest.
One of the first centers expected to begin operating is in Ghazaliya,
a Sunni enclave that has repeatedly come under assault from
Shiite militias.

That seems certain to pose early on the central question that
confronts American commanders as they start the plan: will
the Maliki government agree to operations aimed at Shiite
extremists, or resist them and push for the focus to be laid
on Sunni extremists attacking Shiite areas?

American officers say that only time will tell, but that they will
be surprised if Mr. Maliki and his top aides change colors,
despite the assurances the Iraqi leader is said to have offered
President Bush. As described by American commanders, the
pattern in the eight months since Mr. Maliki took office has
been for the Shiite leaders who dominate the new government
to press the Americans to concentrate on Sunni extremists.

The argument is that Shiite death squads, which have accounted
for an almost equal number of deaths, are engaged in retaliatory
attacks, and that those will cease when the Sunni groups
are rooted out.


8) Opening a New Front in the War, Against Iranians in Iraq
News Analysis
January 15, 2007

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 — For more than two years after Saddam
Hussein’s fall, the war in Iraq was about chasing down insurgents
and Al Qaeda in Iraq. Last year it expanded to tamping down
sectarian warfare.

Over the past three weeks, in two sets of raids and newly disclosed
orders issued by President Bush, a third front has opened —
against Iran.

Administration officials say the goal is limited to preventing
Iranians from aiding in attacks on American and Iraqi forces inside
Iraq. But in recent interviews and public statements, senior members
of the Bush administration have made it clear that their agenda
goes significantly further, toward foiling Iran’s dream of emerging
as the greatest power in the Middle East.

In an interview on Friday, before she left on her latest Middle East
trip, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described what she called
an “evolving” strategy to confront “destabilizing behavior” by Iran
across the region. Mr. Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen
J. Hadley, said Sunday on the NBC News program “Meet the Press”
that the United States was resisting an Iranian effort “to basically
establish hegemony” throughout the region.

Even some of Mr. Bush’s fiercest critics do not question that the
administration’s conviction that Iran’s ambitions are large is correct.
A few midlevel administration officials wondered even in 2003 whether
Iran was a far more potent threat than Mr. Hussein.

Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, administration officials argued
that deposing Mr. Hussein would send a powerful signal to Iran
and North Korea, the two countries that Mr. Bush identified along
with Iraq in his 2002 State of the Union address as part
of an “axis of evil.”

“You heard this argument in meetings all the time,” a senior
official on the National Security Council, who has since left the
administration, recalled recently. “Iraq would make the harder
problems of Iran and North Korea easier.”

But the opposite happened. North Korea tested a nuclear device
in October. And Iran has sped ahead with a uranium enrichment

Now, despite the urging of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group
to engage with Iran, Washington is moving in a more
confrontational direction. It is stationing more naval, air and
antimissile batteries off Iran’s coast; has persuaded many
international businesses to cut off dealings with Iran; and
it has interfered with Iranians inside Iraqi territory.

“The administration does have Iran on the brain, and I think they
are exaggerating the amount of Iranian activities in Iraq,” Kenneth
M. Pollack, the director of research at the Saban Center at the
Brookings Institution, said Sunday. “There’s a good chance that
this is going to be counterproductive — that this is a way to get
into a spiral with Iran that leads you into conflict. The likely
response from the Iranians is that they are going to want to
demonstrate to us that they are not going to be pushed around.”

Administration officials say ignoring Iran’s activities will only lead
to escalation with the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“There’s no question that everything that has gone wrong in Iraq has
made life easier for the Iranians,” one senior White House official
said recently. “The question is what you do about that.”

The answer, shaped in the National Security Council, is for the
American military to make targets of Iranians whom they believe
are fueling attacks, a decision that Mr. Bush made months ago
that was disclosed only last week.

At least twice in the last month, in raids in Iraq that have infuriated
officials there, American soldiers have detained Iranians. On Sunday,
Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, called for the release
of five Iranians taken in the most recent raid, which occurred
early on Thursday in Erbil. On CNN’s “Late Edition,” he said that
while the five were members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards,
the group “in fact is part of the Iranian political system.”

The potential strategic split with the Iraqi government over how
to handle the Iranians is only one of the questions raised by
Washington’s new approach. First among them is whether the
effort will stop at Iran’s borders. In Congressional testimony,
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates has said that he sees
no need to enter Iranian territory.

Yet American officials have been careful not to rule out the
possibility of American actions inside Iran. Pressed on the
ABC News program “This Week” on Sunday about excluding
the option of going after Iranians inside Iran, Mr. Hadley said
that for now, Iraq was “the best place” for the United States
to take on the Iranians.

“So, you don’t believe you have the authority to go into Iran?”
the host, George Stephanopoulos, asked.

“I didn’t say that,” Mr. Hadley responded. “This is another issue.
Any time you have questions about crossing international borders,
there are legal issues.”

A second question is whether Mr. Bush will step up covert as
well as overt efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear program. So far, the
evidence collected by the International Atomic Energy Agency
suggests that Iran’s nuclear efforts have run into technical
obstacles, but concerns remain that inspectors are missing
secret facilities. A third question is what Washington would
do if the Iranians looked for ways to strike back.

Escalating tensions are the fear of American allies in the region,
who worry about Iran, but worry more about provoking it.

On Sunday, Vice President Dick Cheney argued that America’s
actions were intended to protect allies in the Persian Gulf —
though it is far from clear that Iran’s Sunni Arab neighbors have
signed on to the strategy. “If you go and talk with the gulf states
or if you talk with the Saudis or if you talk about the Israelis
or the Jordanians, the entire region is worried,” Mr. Cheney
said on “Fox News Sunday.” He described how the Iranians
“sit astride the Straits of Hormuz” and its oil-shipping channels,
and how they support Hamas and Hezbollah.

“So the threat that Iran represents is growing,” he said, in words
reminiscent of how he once built a case against Mr. Hussein.
“It’s multidimensional, and it is, in fact, of concern to everybody
in the region.”


9) New York Rabbi Finds Friends in Iran and Enemies at Home
January 15, 2007

MONSEY, N.Y. — It was a bizarre sight: a cadre of Orthodox Jews,
with their distinctive hats, beards and sidelocks, standing alongside
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran last month at a conference
in Tehran debating the Holocaust.

Among them was Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, spokesman and assistant
director of a small anti-Zionist group with a foothold in this town
in Rockland County, home to one of the nation’s largest communities
of Hasidic Jews.

Unlike Mr. Ahmadinejad and most of the others present, including
the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, Rabbi Weiss does not
deny or question the Holocaust; his grandparents died at Auschwitz,
as did several of his aunts and uncles, he said. What he and the Iranian
president have in common, he explained, is their belief that the Holocaust
has been exploited to justify the existence of Israel.

“We went to Iran because we had to let the world know, especially the
Arab world and the Muslim world, that we are not their enemies,” he said
in an interview, a Palestinian flag with the phrase “A Jew Not a Zionist,”
written in Hebrew, English and Arabic pinned to the lapel of his coat.
Below the Palestinian flag was an Israeli flag with a red line across it.

Rabbi Weiss and four other members of his group, Neturei Karta, received
a warm reception in Iran, he said, dining with state officials and posing
for photographs with Mr. Ahmadinejad, whom Rabbi Weiss had met
at least twice before.

Back home, Rabbi Weiss and the others were met with anger and scorn.
Since their return, they have been ostracized by synagogues, denied
service at kosher stores and vilified in Jewish discussion boards
on the Web. Posters have surfaced in the Satmar Hasidic enclaves
of Brooklyn, calling the members of Neturei Karta “rebels” and
“outcasts” and asking Orthodox Jews to “totally cut off ties with
this gang.”

On Jan. 7, about 300 people, most of them Orthodox Jews, including
several Holocaust survivors, protested outside Neturei Karta’s base
on Saddle River Road here, chanting and holding signs that read,
“Neturei Crackpots, Leave Monsey.” A much smaller contingent of
Rabbi Weiss’s supporters held a counterprotest nearby.

“In some ways, I feel odd; this is about Jew against Jew, after all,” said
one of the protesters, Rabbi Herbert W. Bomzer, a professor of Talmudic
law at Yeshiva University and the president of the rabbinical board
of Flatbush, which represents about 200,000 Orthodox Jews who
live in Brooklyn. “But to join together and shake hands with the
mad leader of Iran is unacceptable.”

He added, “If you shake hands with a Holocaust denier, you’re
on his team.”

Mordechai Levy, the national director of the Jewish Defense
Organization, a militant group that helped organize the protest,
said other demonstrations were being planned, with the goal
of “running Neturei Karta out of town and out of America.”

Founded in the 1930s to counter the Zionist movement in what
was then Palestine, Neturei Karta, which translates to “guardians
of the city” in the ancient language Aramaic, has a few thousand
members — in New York, the United Kingdom, Canada and in Jewish
settlements in the West Bank, among other places. They believe that
according to the Torah, Jews were exiled from Israel because they
sinned and that God has forbidden the formation of a Jewish state
until the Messiah arrives.

Many Jews who back the state of Israel abhor the group, and even
ultra-Orthodox Jews who share its theological views have distanced
themselves from Neturei Karta because of its vocal support
of Middle Eastern leaders like Mr. Ahmadinejad, who has
expressed in numerous pronouncements his disdain for Jews.

“I think they’re crazy,” said Ed Devir, founder of the online newsletter and chief executive of, a nonprofit
group that finds technical jobs for United States citizens living in Israel.
Mr. Devir said he supports the state of Israel. “For too long, we tried
to ignore them, but that was a big mistake.

“Everyone knows that they’re a joke,” Mr. Devir added. “But the bottom
line is, they support groups that want to kill Jews.”

Rabbi Weiss, 54, grew up in the Orthodox neighborhood of Borough
Park, Brooklyn, the son of Hungarians who fled Eastern Europe before
Hitler’s troops closed its borders to Jews. He married 18 years ago
and has six children. The family moved to Monsey seven years ago,
solidifying Neturei Karta’s presence in the town.

During the group’s first trip to Tehran, last March, Rabbi Weiss released
a statement to Iran’s official IRIB radio in defense of Mr. Ahmadinejad,
saying that “it is dangerous deviation to pretend that the Iranian president
is anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic.” Rabbi Weiss also met with Mr. Ahmadinejad
when he visited New York last year to speak to the United Nations
General Assembly.

“He is extremely friendly and he understands the difference between
the Zionists and the Jews who do not embrace the state of Israel,”
Rabbi Weiss said in an interview last week.

“We don’t look at him as an enemy,” he said. “But is he a potential
enemy? Well, every person who continues to be incited is one, but even
when we’re dealing with an enemy, we’re supposed to approach
them with dialogue and try to placate them. Aggression is not
going to be successful.”

Rabbi Weiss and his group are no stranger to controversy. He traveled
to France in October 2004 to take flowers to the ailing Palestinian
leader Yasser Arafat, who died the next month. In the past, Neturei
Karta members have attended the annual Salute to Israel parade
in Manhattan, burning the Israeli flag and holding signs with messages
like “Authentic Jews will never recognize the state of Israel”
and “Israel is a cancer for Jews.”

About 200 people protested outside the Park House Hotel in
Borough Park late Saturday, demanding the departure of one
of its guests, Moshe Ayre Friedman, Neturei Karta’s leader in
Austria and one of the participants at the conference in Iran.
Mr. Friedman, who at the conference questioned the number
of deaths during the Holocaust, left the hotel under police escort.

“We’re constantly disparaged, belittled, but we’re the ones trying
to make peace with the Arabs,” Rabbi Weiss said. “But we don’t
look at the Zionists with animosity. We just wished they would
give us a chance.”


10) Endgame:
The Biggest Police Operation in U.S. History
by Richard D. Vogel
January 15, 2007
[A detailed map is also at this]

The recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids that
paralyzed Swift and Company across the heartland of America were
part of Endgame, a massive immigration enforcement operation launched
by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003. Ultimately,
it promises to be the biggest police operation in U.S. history. The
stated objective of Endgame is to "remove all removable aliens"
from the U.S. by the year 2012.

This DHS goal could eventually entail the arrest, detention, and
deportation of 12-15 million undocumented migrants, mostly
Mexicans and Central Americans, currently residing and working
in the U.S. Once Endgame is in full swing and receives mass media
coverage, the intimidation effect will likely spark substantial voluntary
repatriation and significantly reduce the number of police actions
required to execute the operation.

Though the stated objective of Endgame is clear enough, the hidden
agenda of the operation remains officially undeclared -- that agenda
is to capture the undocumented migrants working in the U.S. and
recruit serviceable individuals in a so-called "guest worker" program
that will reduce them to a condition of transient servitude and further
undercut the value of all labor in the U.S.

The historical precedent of Endgame is Operation Wetback, the forced
deportation campaign that was conducted by the U.S. Border Patrol
against Mexican migrants during the 1950s. Though the operations
are separated by over a half a century in time, the economic goals of
both are essentially the same -- to capture desirable workers in
servitude and deport the rest.

The scope of the current labor scheme, however, eclipses that of its
predecessor. In the 1950s, the bilateral Bracero Agreement was used
primarily to secure cheap Mexican labor to work in the fields of the
American Southwest; this time, the pending national guest worker
program will be used to recruit low-cost labor from south of the
border to serve all sectors of the U.S. economy.

The infrastructure that will be needed to execute Endgame is already
in place or under development.

The locations of the DROs at Miami, Guantanamo Bay, and Aquadilla
suggest that they will be used to process migrant workers from Central
America and the Caribbean.

In addition to infrastructure development, ICE is currently recruiting
and training the substantial manpower that will be required for the
execution of Endgame at the various Federal Law Enforcement
Training Centers (FLETC) located primarily in the American South
and Southwest.

The current training and equipping of ICE reflect the increasing
militarization of U.S. immigration policy. While the U.S. Border
Patrol was reorganized along military lines and outfitted in smart
military style uniforms in preparation for Operation Wetback, ICE
conducts its operations as special forces units, dressed in black
uniforms and armed with state-of-the-art assault weapons.

The immigration reform proposals that embrace a guest worker
program pending in the U.S. Congress accommodate the expansion
of U.S. Border Patrol, ICE, and DRO facilities needed to enforce the
program. (For a full discussion of the pending U.S. guest worker
program and its ramifications see: Richard D. Vogel, "Transient
Servitude: The U.S. Guest Worker Program for Exploiting Mexican
and Central American Workers," Monthly Review, January 2007

The need for the militarization of U.S. society for security reasons
is a legitimate issue open to political debate. However, the exploitation
of the issue of homeland security as a cover to impose an unacceptable
guest worker program on the nation is a different matter.

The legitimization of mass transient servitude in the U.S. will degrade
the position of all working people in the U.S. vis-à-vis monopoly
capital and must be confronted before it becomes entrenched
in the national economy.

The future of free labor is jeopardized in any nation that embraces
transient servitude.


11) Worried about war, LI parents restrict access to recruiters
Newsday Staff Writer
January 15, 2007,0,7612715.story?coll=ny-top-headlines

At Lindenhurst High School, a military recruiter showed up at a faculty
meeting with refreshments in hand and an offer to help teachers
in their classrooms.

At Bellport High School, during homecoming, the Army tossed tiny
footballs emblazoned with the words "Go Army" into the crowd.

At Hauppauge High School, a Marine recruiter set up a table in the
cafeteria and chatted with students during lunch.

A high school is a military recruiter's dream, a centralized location
of hundreds of potential enlistees eager to find their paths in life.
But as the war in Iraq nears its fourth anniversary, some Long Island
parents have begun voicing concern over recruiter access to their
children, and schools have started to tighten their grip.

"A 15- or 16-year-old shouldn't be spoken to regarding their
future without their parents there," said Patchogue-Medford High
School principal Manuel Sanzone.

Sanzone said recruiters have never had unrestricted access to his
school, but that recent parental concern has led to a new, stricter
policy this year limiting recruiters to only two evenings on campus
a year, during college and career nights.

Marine school visits are not random. On the walls of the Smithtown
Marine Corps station hangs a giant map dotted with the locations
of high schools and colleges, along with a tally of male seniors.
Recruiters look for enlistees at football games and wrestling
matches. They stop by pizza parlors, arcades or any other popular
student hangouts. Recruiters also attend rock concerts or look
for new recruits at the beach, where they hold competitions
with free military-inscribed trinkets as prizes.

The Army offers a complete high school recruiting handbook with
a month-by-month guideline. Recruiters are encouraged to attend
school activities, eat lunch in the cafeteria often, deliver donuts
and coffee to faculty and assist coaches and summer school
teachers. "Be so helpful and so much a part of the school scene
that you are in constant demand," the 2004 handbook advises.
"Remember, first to contact, first to contract ... that doesn't
just mean seniors or grads. It means having the Army perceived
as a positive career choice as soon as young people begin
to think about the future. If you wait until they're seniors,
it's probably too late."

The 2002 No Child Left Behind Act requires high schools to provide
the military with contact information for seniors or risk losing
federal funding. A national opt-out form is available, but
participation varies among schools, and counter-recruiters have
begun asking districts to make the forms more readily available.
In a court settlement with the NYCLU last week, the Department
of Defense agreed to change some methods of recruiting --
such as collecting student Social Security numbers.

Recruiter access to high schools on Long Island varies widely
by district. Some high schools -- such as Bellport and South Side
High School in Rockville Centre -- limit their presence to college
fairs and career nights and scheduled one-on-one meetings with
interested students in the guidance office. Others give more access.
At Hauppauge, recruiters are allowed to set up a table in the
cafeteria once a month and talk with students during lunch

Limits on recruiting

At Brentwood High School, which has seen four former students
killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, recruiters can't eat lunch in the cafeteria,
pull students out of class or talk to students in the hallways, according
to Principal Thomas O'Brien, citing a longstanding policy.

"Why does it seem to be a more acceptable career option in
Brentwood than in Roslyn?" he asked. "In a working-class community
like Brentwood, [the salary and college money] is certainly something
that sweetens the deal."

Counter-recruiters have asked for equal time in the schools to give
presentations about the dangers of war and ways to obtain money
for college that doesn't involve the military. "We're not trying to
get recruiters out of the schools," said Moriches mom Karen
Sackett. "But we feel kids should join the military with knowledge
and understanding of what they're getting themselves into."

Sackett began her efforts two years ago, after she opened her
front door one day to find two Navy officers in their dress whites
asking to speak to her 14-year-old son, Richard. The next day,
her 16-year-old daughter, Sara, was at Smith Point Beach when
her mother said she was approached by recruiters who told her
she could have a singing career in the military.

The group, which includes members of the Long Island chapters
of Veterans for Peace and Pax Christi, the international Catholic
peace organization, is also trying to form a speakers' bureau.
The veterans said they want to talk to students about their
experiences in war and warn them they may not get all benefits
promised by recruiters.

"We want to come and inform them of what we perceive to be
the truth from our experiences," said Vietnam War veteran Mac
Bica, of Smithtown. "Then we say, 'OK, now you have all of this
material, you decide what you want to do.'"

New York State Council of School Superintendents chief Bob
Lowry said districts are reluctant to let anti-war groups on
campus to make presentations out of concerns over politics.
For some parents, even a JROTC program is considered a military
influence and a tool for recruitment, even though federal
guidelines forbid using the program for such goals.

Lindenhurst High School principal Dan Giordano said only
a handful of about 600 seniors enlist every year, and only
some come from their Marine JROTC program.

The good and the bad

Maj. James Sureau, instructor of the JROTC program, said
that when students approach him about enlisting, he tries
to show the benefits and dangers of military life. "For some
of these kids, it changes their entire life," he said. "But I don't
want to go to any funerals of my kids."

Lindenhurst faculty ate the donuts, but didn't accept the Army
recruiter's offer to help in the classroom. And Bellport principal
Lois Etzel got wind of some complaints over the Army's presence
at homecoming. She said they have always taken part, and like
other groups in the community, were invited. "There are commercials
on TV, too," Etzel said. "It's not like we're making students
sit at the table and sign recruitment papers."

Recruiters can only meet with students if the student arranges
the meeting, and it must be held in the guidance office, Etzel said.
About a dozen students enlist each year out of a senior class
of roughly 300.

Many school officials around Long Island said recruiters, while
persistent, are respectful of limitations. "They do a really good job
in pushing kids to go to class and graduate," said Ben Baglio, interim
chairman of guidance at Brentwood High School.
Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.


12) The Smithfield Strike Victory
By The Editors of Socialist Viewpoint Magazine

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the strike victory by
the more than 5,000 workers employed by Smithfield Corporation, at its
meatpacking plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina—the largest hog-slaughterhouse
and processing plant in the world.

The strike erupted on November 16 and ended on the morning of the 17th, when
the company asked for a meeting and made important concessions to strikers’
demands. The ramifications of this stunning victory go far beyond this one
plant, one company, one industry, or one small part of the American working

Highlighting the extraordinary importance of this walkout is the unusual
reason why they walked—to demand that Smithfield’s bosses reinstate over 75
allegedly undocumented workers. No less remarkably, 1,000 of the company’s
5,000 workers, 60 percent of whom are immigrants and 30 percent Black, along
with the white minority, stuck together and forced Smithfield bosses to
reinstate those fired—and to make further concessions as well. Here are the
most important:

• The Company agreed to reinstate those workers who had been fired.
• There is to be no more firing.
• No disciplinary actions of any kind will be taken against those employees
who participated in the walkout.

And to top off their acceptance of the first three demands of the strikers:

•Smithfield also agreed to meet with a 14-member committee, to be elected by
the workers on the basis of one from each of the 14 departments on both
shifts, to deal with “concerns” raised by the workers—a diplomat’s euphemism
for the 12-year-long struggle for better wages and working conditions, union
representation, and an end to the dangerously inhuman pace at which
employees are compelled to work.

Although these concessions testify to the intrinsic power of organized
workers to force their employers to come to terms, the big issues for which
these workers struck—wages, hours, safer working conditions, and their
longstanding demand for a union contract—have yet to be resolved.

Even so, striking workers have profoundly shifted the balance of power from
Smithfield bosses to these newly empowered workers. The latter had twice
filed petitions with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for union
certification elections, once in 1994 and again in 1997, and lost both
elections. But only because Smithfield fired, harassed, and beat up enough
union supporters to edge out a majority vote against the union.
But workers learned a valuable lesson from the first two attempts.
Consequently, on their third try, they decided to follow the old-fashioned,
direct-action route to union organization by marching and picketing outside
instead of working inside.

Moreover, they were able to keep secret their planned action long enough to
catch their bosses by surprise with the sudden appearance of 500 chanting
and marching militant pickets outside, and that many fewer workers inside to
begin the slaughtering and processing of more than 30,000 hogs in the next
24 hours. When the second shift arrived, another 500 workers joined the
marching pickets.

But this part of the strike scenario needs to be explained for the reader to
fully appreciate its impact on Smithfield’s bottom line.

Surprise, of course, is an important factor in wars between nations and
classes—and a strike is, indeed, class battle. In this case, because the
logistics of planning such a complex operation involving 30,000 pigs and
5,000 packinghouse workers, and the scores of trucks and drivers needed to
transport the finished product to their varied destinations around the
country, means that the surprise and impact of 1,000 missing workers caused
far more than a loss of only one-fifth of production on the first day. More
worrisome yet to Smithfield management is the uncertainty of how many
workers will show up on following days.

This is the equivalent of strikers throwing a legal “monkey wrench” into a
very complicated machine with thousands of moving parts.

Now, no matter how this battle turns out in the end, Smithfield strikers
learned two lessons that they are not likely to forget and that will greatly
improve their effectiveness in the months and years to come. They learned
that workers can only get what they’re strong enough to take.

But let’s take a closer look at why direct action by the workers themselves
is a far better road to follow than relying on an election organized and
controlled by the indisputably pro-capitalist, anti-worker government of the
United States.

What you can get from direct action that you can’t get from an NLRB election

Winning union recognition via direct action has two big advantages over a
government organized and controlled election. First, bosses can steal such
an election, but they can’t steal a victory over a strike—they have to
overpower and crush striking workers and their strike! The fact that the
company didn’t try to do this demonstrates that they had reason to believe
that the strike would continue snowballing when the time came for each
subsequent shift to come to work.

And second, if workers win a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election,
the employer is compelled only to go through the motions of negotiating a
final settlement. But it is under no compulsion to make anything more than
token concessions to prove that it is indeed negotiating.

But by winning the right to collectively bargain over wages, hours, and
working conditions by strike action, workers have also gone more than
halfway toward winning an acceptable labor contract. They have forced a
reluctant employer to recognize their union by hitting them hard where it
hurts most—in the pocketbook. The union also has sent a convincing message
that now, with the confidence gained by their first strike victory under
their belts, workers are sure to fight longer and harder for the kind of
contract they think they deserve and can get.

Smithfield strikers are now in a stronger position than if they had filed
for and won an NLRB election. Nevertheless, they still have not yet achieved
their goal of improved wages, benefits, and significantly safer working
conditions. In other words, though they have convinced Smithfield bosses
that these seemingly powerless workers are a force to be feared and
respected, the final outcome of this struggle still hangs in the balance.
However, Smithfield Corporation and its workforce are not the only
combatants. Also intimately involved in this struggle is capitalist America
on one side, and working-class America on the other. Therefore, which way
the struggle in Smithfield’s Tar Heel plant goes, for or against its
rebellious workforce, depends to a great extent on how capitalist America
and its government on one side, and the U.S. working class and its unions on
the other, respond to the challenge.

The capitalist government counterattacks

Not quite a month had passed before the inevitable happened. As Smithfield
bosses had confidently expected, the U.S. government came to their rescue.
On December 12, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff retaliated
against Smithfield’s striking workers and the United Food and Commercial
Workers International Union (UFCW), whose organizers had helped them
coordinate their strike. Chertoff launched simultaneous dawn raids on six
Swift & Company meatpacking plants, in six states—all of which were under
contract with the UFCW.

The federal government’s Homeland Security cops swept across the six plants,
arresting nearly 1,300 UFCW members on the charge of illegally living and
working in the United States. To further demonize these workers in the eyes
of the public, he charged them with having stolen the identities of American
citizens. But nothing was stolen. Because undocumented workers are unable to
get real Social Security numbers, all they need to do when applying for work
is to simply put down a fictitious nine-digit number. Thus, some of these
fake numbers coincided with real Social Security numbers owned by real
people. But nothing is stolen. In fact, the Social Security and income taxes
deducted from the paychecks of undocumented workers are automatically
credited to the real owners of the Social Security numbers.

But all of this begs the question: How did 11 million undocumented
immigrants get to be living and working in the USA?

It all started in 1917 after the United States entered the First World War.
That’s when the so-called “guest worker” program was first introduced in a
treaty signed by the Mexican and American governments. Guest workers were a
brand-new kind of immigrant invited to come live and work in this country,
but only for a specified time and only for the lowest-paid jobs, mostly in

Its temporary nature was the beauty part of this scheme cooked up by your
typical money-hungry capitalists to create an ever-expanding army of
superexploited and doubly oppressed workers. This new category of
third-class workers is an updated version of colonial America’s indentured
servants. But unlike the originals in the 13 colonies, who gained the right
to be free workers after serving the required time bonded to their masters,
the latest version of de facto chattel slaves are obligated to pack up and
go home, and worse for these church-mouse-poor workers—under their own power
and at their own expense!

Just imagine

Now, picture this: Imagine that you are one of those desperately poor
workers who had earned minimum wages or below for one or two harvest seasons
as legal temps. Another employer offers you a job as a now illegalized
worker—but with no time limit. Remember, too, while you’re imagining, that
you probably have loved ones in your homeland that depend on you for
survival, so that a part of your meager wages must of necessity go to them.
Maybe you were ready to bum your way back home, but someone offers you a job
as an illegalized worker. Let’s also suppose you ask around to find out what
happens if you stay and work illegally and get caught. And you are told that
you might not get arrested for some time or maybe ever—depending on how
badly the farmers and other employers in the region need cheap and
trouble-free workers who don’t dare complain to the authorities if they are
cheated or otherwise mistreated.

So what would you do if you were in such a pickle? If you knew that if you
stayed and got caught by the immigration cops you’d be picked up and jailed
for an uncertain period, but eventually given a free ride home—albeit in
handcuffs? The odds heavily favor your grabbing the opportunity of a job
that let you feed yourself and your family for a little while…or even a
whole lot longer.

That in a nutshell is how the 11 million undocumented workers got here; and
it’s how another 11 million will probably get here too, if the present
rotten setup is allowed to continue.

Now put yourself in the shoes of one of the many indigenous American workers
who are competing for the same jobs doing the same kind of work as the 11
million illegalized workers. Well, if you know your way around trade-union
and socialist circles, you understand that the intensified competition means
that the wages of all those taking such jobs will tend to decline, according
to the capitalist economic law of supply and demand. But you also would know
that when the average wage of the lowest-paid workers declines, the wages of
all those higher up on the economic ladder will also fall!

Let’s now imagine that you find yourself in the shoes of such a worker, who
is also class conscious and militant—as are a very large number of workers
born and raised in Mexico or almost any other country south of the border.
If you were this kind of worker, you would know that workers in practically
all other countries are far more likely to be class conscious and familiar
with what the class struggle is all about. Well, in that case, you would
also know that if workers stick together they can win, and would have
learned a thing or two about the right and wrong way to organize and fight
for your rights. You’d probably follow the example set by at least those
1,000 Smithfield workers in Tar Heel, N.C. who walked and the other 4,000
who would probably have followed if the bosses hadn’t come to terms after
the first day.

Nationalism, class consciousness and the working class

Now we come to another lesson that can be learned from the recent events in
Smithfield’s Tar Heel plant. We refer to the Latino immigrant majority and
the second-largest grouping there, the African American workers—both of whom
are oppressed nationalities as well as being doubly exploited and oppressed
members of the working class.

Not all nationalisms are the same. In fact, the nationalism of the oppressed
and the nationalism of the oppressor are diametrically opposed. But like the
slave and the slave owner, the two are organically intertwined. An
understanding of the interaction between capitalist exploitation and
oppression is the high road to a deeper understanding of the laws of the
class struggle in America and the world that were played out in the struggle
in Tar Heel, N.C.

It can also be said, however, that there is a difference between how class
consciousness is perceived by the two oppressed national minorities, African
and Latin American. While African Americans see their superexploitation and
oppression as a product of white ideology, Latin American immigrants
perceive it as just an extreme expression of the class exploitation and
oppression they experienced in their homeland, where they could clearly see
it as class-based since they were a part of the ethnic majority and not a

But that’s not all that differentiates the perception of the source of their
problem by each of these nationalities. Immigrants from south of the border
could clearly see that they suffered social, economic, and political
injustices because they were exploited wage workers. Whereas, African
Americans, who have never been treated as equals by workers with a lighter
skin color, perceive their problem as racial primarily, and class

That’s why it was the Latino workers who initiated and led the workers’
rebellion in Smithfield’s Tar Heel plant in North Carolina. But it is to the
credit of black workers that they could empathize with the victimization of
another superexploited nationality and were among the first to walk out in
support of a strike to reinstate the 75 fired workers—with many
union-conscious white workers joining because of class, not nationalist

But all this is entirely in accord with the inexorable tendency of working
people toward class consciousness and class solidarity, irrespective of
race, religion, or national origin. It happens to be the most reasonable,
logical, and natural response to the divide-and-conquer strategy and tactics
of the capitalist class. What’s good for the working class is also in the
best interests of all the exploited and oppressed—who together constitute as
much as four-fifths or more of the human race.

We need to make one more clarification of where we stand on the question of
nationalism. There’s no qualitative difference between the nationalism of
the oppressed and the class consciousness of the workers. This is because
oppressed nationalities are mostly workers and their superexploitation and
double–oppression generates working-class consciousness. It can also be said
that the condition of the oppressed in capitalist society is an objective
force making them more class conscious than the rest of us.

The outcome of the Smithfield strike inspires an optimistic perspective on
the coming rise of mass class consciousness and a militant working class
fighting side by side with Latino, black, and all other victims of
capitalist social economic and political injustice. This takes us to our
final question: What needs to be done to maximize the possibilities opened
up by the Smithfield strike victory?

‘The art of politics is knowing what to do next’ 1

We saw a good example of what a high level of class consciousness and class
solidarity can produce in the Smithfield strike victory. But we also saw an
excellent example of capitalist class consciousness and solidarity on the
part of the “executive committee of the capitalist class,” the capitalist
owned and controlled United States government!

But what about the executive committee of the working class—the General
Executive Boards of both labor federations, the American Federation of
Labor, and Change to Win. How did they respond? Not at all like their
counterparts in the ruling class. The leaders of both federations pretty
much did what the UFCW leadership did when faced by this mortal attack on
their union. Unlike the leaders of American capitalism, who ordered their
army of Homeland Security cops into action against their class enemy, the
workers and their unions, the union officials saw ordering their lawyers to
seek injunctions from the courts as “what to do next.”

There’s nothing wrong with using the courts against the system when you can,
but if that’s all that the official leaders of the American working class
have done or will do, then they have failed the acid test of working-class

But it’s not too late. Far from it. The job of the left wing of the economic
and political institutions of the working class is to get the high and
mighty leaders of the unions off their hind ends, to do their duty by their
dues-paying members. That is exactly what United Mine Workers president and
founding president of the CIO told the official leaders of the AFL and CIO
when those bureaucrats failed to mobilize the 32 million members of the
labor movement at the time for mass action against what all agreed at the
time was the “slave-labor” Taft-Hartley Act.

To be sure, old John Lewis was a high-handed bureaucrat, but he strongly
believed in giving union members their money’s worth; and best of all, more
often than not, he practiced what he preached.

Who will start building a fire, as hot as possible, under these
far-too-comfortable and self-satisfied labor fakers who proudly assert their
partnership with corporate America? There is a force that is fully capable
of getting such a fire burning, and burning higher and hotter as we go

We refer to the tens of thousands of militant trade-union activists, the
more worker-friendly bureaucrats, and last but not least, the vanguard of
the working class. They must begin working overtime to establish
collaborative relations with the rank and file, with the leaders of the
Latino and black civil-rights movements, and most importantly, with the
already stirring rank and file that recently fought the good fight inside
the UAW for a program of class struggle against the ever-increasing
capitalist offensive.

1“The art of politics is knowing what to do next.”—James P. Cannon, a
working-class fighter and leader who had served his apprenticeship in the
Socialist Party of Eugene V. Debs, the Industrial Workers of the World of
Big Bill Haywood and Vincent St. John, and later became a founding leader of
the U.S. Communist Party and a founding leader of the Trotskyist, Socialist
Workers Party.


13) Community Work
By Bonnie Weinstein
Socialist Viewpoint Magazine

I came across an email from the Direct Action & Research Training (DART)
center—a self-described national network of 21 congregation-based community
organizations working toward social and economic justice—touting their good
community work. One paragraph stood out in their appeal in particular. It
brags about one of their trainees winning a sales-tax increase to fund
desperately needed healthcare for indigent patients:

“As a result of her work, the organization won the approval of a permanent
half-cent sales tax that will provide over $35 million annually to fund one
new health clinic a year for the next five years and increase indigent
patients seen from the current 2,000 to 45,000 patients per year.”

Punishing the victim

Sorry, but raising taxes on the poor (sales-tax increases) are not the
solution. In fact, it’s a major part of the problem. It’s the wealthy that
should be paying their fair share of the taxes. Increasing the sales tax is
not community service; it’s community shakedown. The poor are told, “You
must pay more out of your own pocket for all nonfood, necessary items to
support the meager and insufficient services that will become available!”
How is that economic justice?

Cigarettes: The hypocrisy of a regressive tax system

How is it justice to charge tobacco smokers extra taxes for the poison they
have been made addicted to? Smokers already are victims of the wholly
unscrupulous multi-trillion-dollar business of manufacturing, marketing, and
obscenely profiting off the slaughter and addiction of billions of people
across the globe.

During WWII and before, the cigarette companies had huge contracts with the
government to pack cigarettes into the rations of our troops, ensuring the
lifelong addiction of tens of millions of men and women. U.S. military bases
in France at the time were named after the different cigarette companies:
Camp Old Gold; Camp Chesterfield; Camp Phillip Morris; Camp Herbert
Tareyton; Camp Home Run; Camp Pall Mall; Camp Lucky Strike; Camp Twenty
Grand; Camp Wings.

But it didn’t stop there. At the very start of the TV age, one of the
tobacco companies—claiming that its cigarettes were “smoother” than
others-featured a doctor in its ads, wearing a white coat and a stethoscope
around his neck. And each manufacturer claimed its cigarettes were not
harmful at all! This wasn’t accidental; it was planned to get masses of
people puffing away.

It was during WWII that a big push was made to get more women to smoke. This
trend had already permeated Hollywood. Nick and Nora Charles of the famous
“Thin Man” series were never seen without either a cocktail or a cigarette
in their hands. How many Hollywood leading men had cigarettes as trademarks?
John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart immediately come to mind. And both died from
lung cancer, by the way. (And let me point out here that it’s much easier to
battle lung cancer surrounded by the most skilled medical professionals and
every luxury money can buy than in a cold tenement or out in the streets
burdened by years of poverty, receiving minimal healthcare or none at all!)

Cigarettes were embedded into every aspect of our lives through every form
of mass communication at the tobacco companies’ disposal—newspapers,
magazines, and billboards. In movie newsreels and in all the movies and TV
programs, cigarettes were incorporated as part of normal adult life and
something to strive for if you were a child. (Born in 1945 I began smoking
in 1954, when I was nine, and stealing cigarettes from my parents. My
younger sister set fire to the bathroom curtain when she was sneaking a
smoke at about the age of 11. When I set out looking for work as a young
woman of 17, I made sure there were ashtrays around and that I was permitted
to smoke on the job or I wouldn’t take it. I smoked until sometime in my

Tobacco industry subsidized by tax dollars

Today cigarette companies are still getting tax breaks and even in some
cases being subsidized by the government! A PBS “Online Forum” dated July
11, 1997, debated an agreement among the attorneys general of 40 states and
the tobacco companies to go before Congress to “put in place the first truly
comprehensive nationwide system designed to drive down the number of
children who become addicted to tobacco products each day, and help adults
who are already addicted to quit.” The forum described such subsidies and
how they work:

“The agreement calls on tobacco companies to: pay billions of dollars for a
host of public education and health programs; reimburse states for the cost
of treating tobacco-related illnesses; set aside a multi-billion-dollar fund
to compensate smokers who win individual lawsuits against the tobacco
companies; and severely curtail marketing and advertising cigarettes,
especially to teenagers.... The settlement took months of intensive
negotiation. The tobacco industry is rich, powerful, and until recently,
doggedly determined to fight any efforts to reform its marketing tactics. To
maintain its position, it has even allegedly lied under oath to Congress
that it was unaware that nicotine is addictive. So, sign the deal?

“‘Not so fast,’ says Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) whose committee leaders
of the tobacco industry allegedly were lied to during a 1994 House
investigation. ‘The agreement eliminates class action suits, the state
lawsuits, and the right of individuals to bring addiction claims; it caps
what individuals can recover annually,’ wrote Waxman in a recent Washington
Post article. ‘And it allows the industry to pay for judgments against
it—including judgments based on future wrongdoing—by reducing its payments
for child health insurance and other public health needs.’ ... On the
regulatory side, the settlement gives the industry ‘something equally
unprecedented: It effectively bars the FDA from regulating the nicotine
content of cigarettes.’

“One provision mandates that the industry pay for the settlement by raising
cigarette prices, not by reducing profits. Another makes all industry
payments (to states and education programs) tax deductible, in effect
forcing taxpayers to pick up 35 percent of the costs.”

Someone else wrote on the same site:

“‘The Federal government already provides price supports for tobacco. Under
this agreement, the government would also be obligated to provide 35 percent
of the healthcare expenses associated with this industry’s product. The
industry ends up getting two government subsidies, then, instead of one.’”

Do not punish the victims

My response to DART is, no—the worker’s movement should have nothing to do
with promoting regressive taxes that blame and charge the victims for the
crimes that have been committed against them for profit! The poor are not to
blame for their lack of healthcare. The poor should not be taxed because
they are in dire need of many forms of social services—for improved schools
and housing—for a bigger “piece of the pie.”

It’s the corporations that should be paying. In the case of the tobacco
industry, every penny these corporations earn should go to fund free
healthcare for all those they have addicted.

In general, corporations should be paying for all the environmental damage
their careless production practices have caused. They should pay for all the
land they have poisoned, all the water they have made unfit to drink, all
the air that is making people sicker, all the work-related accidents caused
by speed-up or disregard for health and safety practices, and all the
injuries due to faulty products and poor manufacturing craftsmanship. Most
of all, every penny the war profiteers make should go to the health and
welfare of those they illegally and immorally declared war against and those
they tricked into fighting the war for them.

Tax the rich!

You can’t solve the overwhelming problems of poverty and injustice by taxing
dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, toothpaste, shampoo, baby diapers and
toilet paper-all the things the poor people need just as much as the
wealthy! Just who ends up contributing the most tax dollars?

The wealthy make up one-tenth-of-one-percent of the population and they are
currently getting such huge tax breaks that not only are they not paying any
taxes but they are getting huge sums of money back from the government, from
the very pockets of the overwhelming majority of us who earn less that
$50,000 a year—and most who earn far less than that!

Any sales tax on such items has zero impact on the billionaires. But it has
a tremendous impact on a family of four trying to live on $15,000 a year!
This is food out of their children’s mouths!

Sales tax is one of the most fundamentally reactionary measures ever
invented. The same is true for such things as parking tickets and gasoline
tax. Capitalism creates a society dependent on these products and then socks
it to workers with regressive, punitive taxes that powerfully impacts
them—though the sum represents less than the small change that may drop onto
the floor of the Bentley.

For progressive income tax

The income tax is the king of all regressive taxes. Working people routinely
pay almost 30 percent of their income in federal and state income taxes
while the multibillionaires get huge tax breaks to “stimulate” the
economy—the old trickle-down theory—and pay a tiny fraction of their income
in taxes. To be fair, taxes should be charged on an income-contingent,
profit-contingent, proportional basis, with no tax on incomes below $100,000
per year and a progressively higher proportion of tax on incomes above
$100,000 per year.

As it is, the current tax structure is actually a massive subsidy for the
wealthy—to fund their wars, their acquisitions, their infrastructure, their
police, their army, their federal, state, and city governments. It is
dedicated to protecting them at the expense of the masses of the poor and
working poor worldwide, not just in this country. And you can rest assured
that any social services the working poor receive are paid for out of the
huge proportion of taxes they themselves have paid!

The gap between the rich and the poor has never been wider, and the chasm is
growing at an alarming rate. Community work such as that carried out by DART
may be well intentioned but it cannot solve the problems created by the
capitalist system. Our efforts are best expended demanding, organizing, and
fighting for an end to the wars being carried out in the names of, but
against the interests of, ourselves, the masses of American people—and
certainly against the interests of the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and
Palestine who are feeling the brunt of the brutal U.S. military might.

Taxing those who need services the most is not conducive to community
wellbeing by any stretch of the imagination. We need to make up for a long
history of wanton waste of lives and resources that benefits only the
wealthy elite and leaves the rest of us to fight over the crumbs they throw
down upon us—when they feel generous, of course.

We must organize to demand that the wealthy pay their fair share, and create
a tax structure in which those with the most money pay the most taxes; that
those taxes be used to elevate the masses of people out of poverty—to end
starvation, homelessness, and illiteracy. And finally, there must be an end
to wars fought with our taxes and at the expense of our lives, between
between the greedy despots who maintain their stupendously lavish lifestyles
safe from harm.



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Last Updated: Monday, January 8, 2007 | 12:29 PM ET
CBC News
The Iraqi government plans to introduce a law that will give Western
oil companies rights to the country's huge oil reserves,
a British newspaper says.

Service members to Congress: End Iraq war
By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Jan 16, 2007 16:37:16 EST
http://www.navytime 2007/01/tnsRedre ss070116/

Grumbling in the Ranks
Vocal opposition to President's Bush's strategy of sending more than 20,000
additional troops to help secure Iraq has grown to include some of the
troops themselves.
A group of more than 50 active-duty military officers will deliver a
petition to Congress on Tuesday signed by about 1,000 troops calling for an
end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. "Any troop increase over here will just
produce more sitting ducks, more targets," said Sergeant Ronn Cantu, who is
serving in Iraq.
Under the 1988 Military Whistleblower Protection Act, active duty military,
National Guard, and Reservists may communicate with any member of Congress
without fear of reprisal, even if copies of the communication are sent to
January 15, 2007, 1:30 pm

Anywhere the Eye Can See, It’s Likely to See an Ad
Add this to the endangered list: blank spaces.
January 15, 2007

Bush gets cool response from troops set for Iraq
By Joseph Curl
Published January 12, 2007

Brazil Gambles on Monitoring of Amazon Loggers
January 14, 2007

Pentagon Intensifies Pressure on Iran

Israeli forces confiscating hundreds of dunams of Hebron
land for settlement industry
"Official sources at the Hebron offices of the Land Defense Committee
in the West Bank are reporting that Israeli forces intend to confiscate
much of the town of Dahariya for settlement industry. More than
300 fertile dunams of Palestinian land is slated to be taken from
the southwestern area of the town."
http://english. php?option= com_content&task=view&id=1414

Hackensack: Lawsuit in Police Shooting
The family of a 45-year-old man who was fatally shot last year by
a New Jersey Park Police officer filed a wrongful-death suit yesterday
in State Superior Court. The suit names the officer and several
colleagues, the State of New Jersey and the Park Police. The man,
Emil Mann, a member of the Ramapough Mountain Indians, had
been at a barbecue in the woods of Mahwah on April 1 when the
officer, Chad Walder, shot him twice without justification, the
suit alleges. Officer Walder, who has said he fired in self-defense,
and two other officers also delayed getting medical help to Mr. Mann,
the suit says. A lawyer for Officer Walder, Robert Galantucci, said
the shooting was justified. No criminal charges have been filed
in the case, and the Bergen County prosecutor’s office has said
the investigation is still open. Mr. Mann, who grew up on the
mountain where he was shot, lived in Monroe, N.Y., and had
three children.
January 12, 2007

Texas: Judge Blocks Ordinance on Immigrants
A judge blocked an ordinance requiring landlords to verify the
citizenship of potential tenants, a day before it was to go into
effect in a Dallas suburb. The judge granted a temporary
restraining order after a claim that state open-meetings laws
had been violated when the ordinance was approved and
adopted by the City Council of Farmers Branch in November.
January 12, 2007

U.S. Preparing for Trials of Top Qaeda Detainees
WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 — The Bush administration has set up a secret
war room in a Virginia suburb where it is assembling evidence
to prosecute high-ranking detainees from Al Qaeda including
the man accused of being the mastermind of the September 2001
attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, government officials said this week.
January 12, 2007

Bush's tough tactics are a 'declaration of war' on Iran
By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor
Published: 12 January 2007

Democrats Risk Antiwar Wrath if They Waver on Iraq Exit

Soldiers Doubt an Influx of American Troops Will Benefit Iraqi Army

Bush to Face Street Protests over Iraq Escalation Plan

YouTube User Spurs Iraq War Dialogue

Robert Fisk: Bush's new strategy - the march of folly
So into the graveyard of Iraq, George Bush, commander-in-chief,
is to send another 21,000 of his soldiers. The march of folly
is to continue...
Published: 11 January 2007

Rights of Unions and Nonmembers Vie at Court
January 11, 2007

If you can stomach it:
Transcript of President Bush’s Address to Nation on U.S. Policy in Iraq
as recorded by The New York Times:
January 11, 2007

Israel’s Purging of Palestinian Christians
by Jonathan Cook in Nazareth
January 9, 2007

Democrats Beef Police State With 9/11 Commission Bill
Political "opposition" also helping Bush gain traction for Iran military strike
Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wage Increase Could Hinge on Tax Cuts
January 10, 2007

Britain: An Increase in Profit at the London Stock Exchange
The London Stock Exchange, seeking to fend off a hostile takeover
by the Nasdaq Stock Market, reported a 9.9 percent increase in
third-quarter profit and forecast a “strong performance” in fiscal
2008. Net income rose to £31 million ($59.8 million) in the three
months ended Dec. 31, up from £28.2 million a year earlier, the
exchange said. Revenue increased 11 percent, to £89.9 million
($173.5 million). The third-quarter results “support the board’s
rejection of Nasdaq’s offer, which significantly undervalues the
business and the exchange’s unique strategic position,” the
exchange’s chief executive, Clara Furse, said. “Our strong growth
prospects will continue to enhance the quality of our markets.”
The exchange, Europe’s biggest equity market, released its
earnings about three weeks ahead of schedule and two days
before Nasdaq’s offer to pay £12.43 a share expires.
January 10, 2007

Venezuelan Plan Shakes Investors
January 10, 2007

Mayor Finds Friendly Ears on Senate Homeland Security Panel
WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 — Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took his perennial
pitch for more security money to Congress on Tuesday, but this year,
for a change, lawmakers seemed poised to listen.
January 10, 2007

3 Relatives of Plotter Are Held by Officials
January 10, 2007

Gas-Like Odor Permeates Parts of New York City
January 8, 2007

The Second Declaration of Havana
Walter Lippmann, CubaNews Los Angeles, California
This is one of the great political documents of all time. It was
presented to the Cuban people on February 4, 1962, following Cuba's
expulsion from the Organization of American States. It is printed
here in its entirety. [editorial note from Fidel Castro Speaks,
edited by James Petras and Martin Kenner, Grove Press, 1969.]
It is now web-posted in English here:
Original Spanish:

The universe gives up its deepest secret
It is the invisible material that makes up most of the cosmos.
Now, scientists have created the first image of dark matter
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Published: 08 January 2007

Blood and oil: How the West will profit from Iraq's
most precious commodity
The Independent (UK)
January 7, 2007




FRIDAY, JANUARY 12, 2007, 4:00 - 7:00 P.M.


All human beings have basic, inalienable human rights to life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness. If your family is starving and you
can not find work, you have the right to find someplace where you can
feed, clothe and house your family.

If capital can go all over the world exploiting workers, then workers
have the right to move to find work for their family's basic survival.


From South America, Latin America, China, Africa, India--in countries
all over the world, not to speak of the war in Iraq--a war of blood
for oil--U.S. businesses are raking in huge profits off the backs of workers
who earn slave wages and work under the most dangerous working conditions
at best, and under a state of war at worse.

Meanwhile, here at home, they are laying off workers, closing factories,
away with benefits and working conditions won by worker's struggles
in the past--installing two, three, many-tiered pay scales--driving down
wages to below the scale parents are earning--leaving our children
with the heritage of a guaranteed life of poverty without union


And now they launch an all-out war against the most vulnerable workers
--who are driven to work in these meatpacking plants. Whether
documented or not, this is brutal, dangerous and difficult work.

And not so coincidentally, these same workers just happen
to be in the midst of a fight to win union recognition!


These mass arrests are terrorist tactics designed as a warning
to all workers that if they struggle for a better life and better
working conditions, they will be persecuted in every way

This is an all-out assault on every worker and it is being
executed by a terrorist government--the U.S. Government--
who uses pre-emptive war based upon outright lies to further
their oil profits; who will stop at nothing to increase their
rate of profit.

The ultimate goal of the U.S. Government is for American big
business to continue to accumulate unimaginable wealth
at the expense of the hardworking majority all over the
world--nothing is off-limits to them in this, their fundamental


An injury to one is an injury to all! We are only as strong as our
weakest link. If we allow these terrorists from ICE to continue
to carry out these assaults against the basic human rights
of any of us--no matter what our immigration status--they
will not hesitate one second to use these same tactics of mass
firings, arrest, etc. against all of us who dare to struggle
in our own defense and in our own, basic human interests and
for our own basic rights as workers and human beings!

It's up to us to organize and fight back! If we are united, we cannot loose!


For more information contact:

Barrio Unido por una Amnistia
General e Incondicional
Cristina Gutierrez,

Bonnie Weinstein,


7:00 PM Saturday, January 13
522 Valencia Street , 3rd Floor Auditorium
Hear about:
-Factories run by workers
-The election turnout for Hugo Chavez
-Occupied factories
-Socialism of the 21st Century
See: A short film on current developments
in Venezuela .
-John Peterson, National Secretary
of US Hands Off Venezuela (recently
returned from Venezuela )
-A speaker from Global Exchange
-A speaker from Global Women’s
Strike, San Francisco Bay Area
-An opportunity for discussion will follow
the presentations.
Sponsored by Hands Off Venezuela
Hands Off Venezuela is an international
organization dedicated to the principle
that the people of Venezuela have the
right to determine their own destiny
without interference from foreign
Contact info:
phone (415) 786-1680


Washington, D.C.
VOLUNTEER Live in NYC or DC? We need your help
before and during the protest. Call 212-868-5545
updated information and to sign up for our action alerts
DONATE Whether you can contribute $10, $100, or
$1000, we need your support to help end the war!
Call 212-866-5545 or visit
Join us for a massive
march on Washington
to tell the new Congress:
unitedforpeace&justice (212)868-5545
On Election Day the voters delivered a dramatic,
unmistakable mandate for peace. Now it's time for action.
On Jan. 27, 2007, help send a strong, clear message to
Congress and the Bush Administration:
Bring the troops home now!


From Iraq to New Orleans, Fund the People's Needs NOT THE
WAR MACHINE! End Colonial Occupation: Iraq, Palestine, Haiti and
everywhere! Shut Down Guantanamo


FEBRUARY 23-25 (Lynne and her husband Ralph will
stay on several more days. Stay tuned for complete
schedule of events.)
Dear Friends of Lynne Stewart,
I am pleased to announce that Lynne Stewart and Michael Ratner have
just accepted our invitation to tour the Bay Area. The confirmed
dates are February 23-25, 2007. Lynne, accompanied by her husband
Ralph Poynter, will stay on several more days for additional meetings.
In solidarity,
Jeff Mackler,
West Coast Coordinator, Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
Co-Coordinator, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
O: 415-255-1080
Cell: 510-387-7714
H: 510-268-9429


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



Join us in a campaign to expose and stop the use of these illegal weapons


You may enjoy watching these.
In struggle


FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein


Call for action to save Iraq's Academics
A little known aspect of the tragedy engulfing Iraq is the systematic
liquidation of the country's academics. Even according to conservative
estimates, over 250 educators have been assassinated, and many
hundreds more have disappeared. With thousands fleeing the country
in fear for their lives, not only is Iraq undergoing a major brain drain,
the secular middle class - which has refused to be co-opted by the
US occupation - is being decimated, with far-reaching consequences
for the future of Iraq.


Stop funding Israel's war against Palestine
Complete the form at the website listed below with your information.


March 17-18, 2007

Please circulate widely


Sand Creek Massacre
Hello, Everyone,
On November 29, 1864, 700 Colorado troops savagely slaughtered
over 450 Cheyenne children, disabled, elders, and women in the
southeastern Colorado Territory under its protection. This act
became known as the Sand Creek Massacre. This film project
("The Sand Creek Massacre" documentary film project) is an
examination of an open wound in the souls of the Cheyenne
people as told from their perspective. This project chronicles
that horrific 19th century event and its affect on the 21st century
struggle for respectful coexistence between white and native
plains cultures in the United States of America.

Listed below are links on which you can click to get the latest news,
products, and view, free, "THE SAND CREEK MASSACRE" award-
winning documentary short. In order to create more native
awareness, particularly to save the roots of America's history,
please read the following:

Some people in America are trying to save the world. Bless
them. In the meantime, the roots of America are dying.
What happens to a plant when the roots die? The plant dies
according to my biology teacher in high school. American's
roots are its native people. Many of America's native people
are dying from drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, hunger,
and disease, which was introduced to them by the Caucasian
male. Tribal elders are dying. When they die, their oral
histories go with them. Our native's oral histories are the
essence of the roots of America, what took place before
our ancestors came over to America, what is taking place,
and what will be taking place. It is time we replenish
America's roots with native awareness, else America
continues its decaying, and ultimately, its death.

READY FOR PURCHASE! (pass the word about this powerful
educational tool to friends, family, schools, parents, teachers,
and other related people and organizations to contact
me (, 303-903-2103) for information
about how they can purchase the DVD and have me come
to their children's school to show the film and to interact
in a questions and answers discussion about the Sand
Creek Massacre.

Happy Holidays!

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC,+Don

(scroll down when you get there])



NOW's Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa takes us inside the
world's largest pork processing plant, located in Tar Heel, North
Carolina. As the first TV journalist ever allowed to film inside the
plant, owned by The Smithfield Packing Company, Hinojosa gives
us an insider's view of what conditions are like in a plant that
slaughters over 33,000 hogs per day.


Rights activist held in Oaxaca prison
Three students arrested and held incommunicado in Oaxaca



The following quote is from the 1918 anti-war speech delivered
in Canton, Ohio, by Eugene Debs. The address, protesting World War I,
resulted in Debs being arrested and imprisoned on charges of espionage.
The speech remains one of the great expressions of the militancy and
internationalism of the US working class.

His appeal, before sentencing, included one of his best-known quotes:
"...while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal
element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

Read the complete speech at:


My Name is Roland Sheppard
This Is My `Blog'
I am is a retired Business Representative of Painters District
Council #8 in San Francisco. I have been a life long social activist
and socialist. Roland Sheppard is a retired Business Representative
of Painters District Council #8 in San Francisco. I have been
a life long social activist and socialist.
Prior to my being elected as a union official, I had worked
for 31 years as a house painter and have been a lifelong socialist.
I have led a unique life. In my retire age, I am interested in writing
about my experiences as a socialist, as a participant in the Black
Liberation Movement, the Union Movement, and almost all social
I became especially interested in the environment when I was
diagnosed with cancer due to my work environment. I learned
how to write essays, when I first got a computer in order to put
together all the medical legal arguments on my breakthrough
workers' compensation case in California, proving that my work
environment as a painter had caused my cancer. After a five-year
struggle, I won a $300,000 settlement on his case.
The following essays are based upon my involvement in the
struggle for freedom for all humanity. I hope the history
of my life's experiences will help future generations
of Freedom Fighters.
For this purpose, this website is dedicated.


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


Immigration video:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Visit the Traprock Peace Center Video Archive at:
Visit the Traprock Peace Center
Deerfield, MA

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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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"It is reasonable and honorable to abhor violence and preach
against it while there is a visible and rational means of obtaining,
without violence, the indispensable justice for the welfare of man.
But, if convinced by the inevitable differences of character, by the
irreconcilable and different interests, because of the deep diversity
in the sea of the political mind and aspirations, there is not a peaceful
way to obtain the minimum rights of a people (...) or it is the blind
who against the boiling truth sustain peaceful means, or it is those
who doesn't see and insist on proclaiming it that are untrue
to their people."[2]
[2] José Martí " Ciegos y desleales Obras Escogidas in III volumes;
Editorial Política 1981 Volume III p182

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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


"The International"
Lots of good information over at Wikipedia, as often the case:

What I've always found fascinating is the wide variety of translations (or
perhaps it would be better to call them "interpretations" or "variations")
that exist, even in English. It's also fascinating to read all the different
verses of the song.

One thing I learned at Wikipedia is that the original intention was that the
song would be sung to the tune of the Marseillaise, but that shortly
thereafter different music was written. Good thing, in my opinion, I'd hate
to see the identities of two stirring songs be confused. Each deserves their
own place in history.



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