Saturday, February 17, 2007



Thursday Feb. 22, 4:30-5:30 pm San Francisco Federal Building
Students from 55 schools iin the Bay Area have collected thousands
of signatures on a petition to Speaker Pelosi demanding that she and
Congress cut the military funding for the illegal and immoral
occupation of Iraq.


Defend the Los Angeles Eight!


Lynne Stewart/Michael Ratner/Pam Africa/Jeff Mackler
Tour Bay Area for Civil Liberties

"Fighting Back" for civil liberties & democratic rights
Defending Mumia Abu-Jamal: One court decision from
execution or new trial and freedom

"Fighting Back: No one shall be tortured, falsely imprisoned, or denied
basic democratic rights" is the theme of the upcoming February 23-28,
2007 San Francisco Bay Area tour of Lynne Stewart/Michael Ratner/
Pam Africa/Jeff Mackler

Sponsored by and a benefit for the Lynne Stewart Defense
Committee and the Northern California-based Mobilization
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, the tour includes some eighteen
meetings, rallies, receptions and media events. (See tour
schedule below).

Michael Ratner, President of the New York-based Center for
Constitutional Rights, won an historic lawsuit against the Bush
Administration when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detainees, imprisoned and tortured by
U.S. government interrogators, must be afforded access to U.S.
federal courts, that is, granted the right to habeas corpus.
This victory was essentially nullified soon after when the U.S.
Congress approved legislation legitimizing torture, but under
a new name. The same legislation effectively denied detainees
access to federal courts.

Ratner is currently in another battle to use the German court
system to file war crimes/torture charges against Donald Rumsfeld,
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and some eight other
U.S. officials responsible Abu Ghraib atrocities.

Lynne Stewart, 67, free on bail pending appeal of her conviction
on charges of "conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism," was granted
permission to travel to California by presiding District Court
Judge John Koeltl.

Koeltl shocked more than one legal observer by sentencing Stewart,
a lifelong civil rights and political prisoner attorney, to 28 months
in prison in the face of Probation Department and prosecution
recommendations that she be sentenced to thirty years.

Stewart was the lead attorney defending the Egyptian cleric, Shiek
Omar Abdel Rachman, who was convicted of conspiracy charges
to blow up federal monuments. Former U.S. Attorney General
Ramsey Clark and American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
head Abdeen Jabarra, were Stewart's co-counsels.

The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal:

Pam Africa and Jeff Mackler will join the tour in defense of
Mumia-Abu-Jamal, the award-winning African-American journalist
on Pennsylvania's death row for the past 25 years. Jamal's case
is currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit,
with the State of Pennsylvania seeking its third order for Mumia's
execution by lethal injection. In 1982, in a trial that has been
condemned by groups ranging from Amnesty International
and the NAACP to the European Parliament and the presidents
of France and South Africa, Jamal was convicted of murdering
a Philadelphia policeman. His defense team, headed by attorney
Robert R. Bryan, awaits oral arguments before the court in
a major battle that could lead to a new trial and Mumia's freedom.

The tour is co-sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild, the
Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, Middle East Children's Alliance,
Vanguard Public Foundation, the Marin Peace and Justice Coalition,
and Pacifica Radio Station KPFA.


Lynne Stewart/Michael Ratner/Pam Africa/Jeff Mackler Tour
(For details on all events, admission costs, or requests for
additional meetings call 415-255-1085)

Friday, Feb. 23:
10:30 am Oakland Press Conference
12:45 - 1:45 pm, Boalt Law School at UC
3 pm Berkeley KPFA;
5:30 pm, San Francisco Reception
7:30 pm SF Mass Rally,
both at, Women's Bldg.,
3543 18th St.
(between Valencia & Guerrero (near 16th St. BART).

Saturday, Feb. 24:
10 am Prison Radio SF Reception 415-648-4505
2 pm Marin Rally, College of Marin, Student Services Center (Cafeteria)
835 College Ave., Kentfield 415-302-9440
5:30 pm Berkeley Reception, Middle East Children's Alliance,
901 Parker at 7th, Berkeley, 510-548-0542
7:30 pm Berkeley Mass Rally,
King Middle School,
1781 Rose (near North Berkeley BART).

Sunday, Feb. 25:
1:00 pm, Palo Alto Reception,
Fireside Room,
2:00 pm Mass Rally,
both at Unitarian Universalist Church,
505 E. Charleston Rd., near Middlefield,
Palo Alto, 650-326-8837,

Monday, Feb. 26:
10:30 am Gray Panther Reception 415-552-8800
12:30 pm, University of SF Law School,
Fulton at Stanyon, Kendrick Hall, 646-729-4303
5:30 pm Fresno Reception
7:00 pm Fresno Rally, 559-255-9492.

Tuesday, Feb 27:
5:30 pm Reception, Santa Rosa Peace and Justice Center, 707-569-9922

Wednesday, Feb. 28:
12:00 Noon, UC Davis School of Law,
Moot Courtroom, 734-972-1036
5:30 pm Sacramento Reception,
403 21st Street, Sacramento, 916-369-5510


Iraq War Veteran – Conscientious Objector
Imprisoned awaiting court martial for refusing to return to Iraq


6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
War Memorial Veterans Building , 2nd Floor
401 Van Ness Avenue (across from City Hall), San Francisco


Free Speech Victory! Permits Secured for Pentagon Demonstration

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




Another view of the war. A link from Amer Jubran


Petition: Halt the Blue Angels


A Girl Like Me
7:08 min
Youth Documentary
Kiri Davis, Director, Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, Producer
Winner of the Diversity Award
Sponsored by Third Millennium Foundation


Film/Song about Angola


"200 million children in the world sleep in the streets today.
Not one of them is Cuban."
(A sign in Havana)
View sign at bottom of page at:
[Thanks to Norma Harrison for sending]


Hudson Valley (NY) Activist Newsletter, Feb. 5, 2007
VIA Email from:

By Charles Jenks
January 31, 2007
See march photos at
See videos of Unified Youth and Student Contingent and march at

Student Operated Press Feburary 12, 2007

4) Bush Extends Stay for 3,200 Troops in Afghanistan
February 15, 2007

5) In Old Files, Fading Hopes of Anne Frank’s Family
"Ultimately, powerful connections and money were not enough
to enable the Franks, not to mention most other European Jews,
to break through the State Department’s tightening restrictions."
February 15, 2007

6) A Health Care Plan So Simple, Even Stephen Colbert Couldn’t Simplify It
February 15, 2007

7) Military Families Speak Out Letter to Senators
and Members of Congress
"...But if you vote to continue funding the war in Iraq,
it will no longer be President Bush’s war. It will
be yours. If you fund it, you’ve bought it and you
own it. And we will remember."
Contact: Ateqah Khaki, Riptide Communications, 212-260-5000
Nancy Lessin, Military Families Speak Out, 617-320-5301

8) CUBA Change from Fidel to Raúl is a-coming
Posted on Wed, Feb. 14, 2007

9) The Health Care Racket
Op-Ed Columnist
February 16, 2007

10) Judge Limits New York Police Taping
February 16, 2007

11) A Shameful Prosecution
February 14, 2007

12) Gold-plated Indifference
Paul Krugman
Sunday, January 21, 2007

13) Killers in the Classroom
By Dr. June Scorza Terpstra
"Their plan is to secure the oil, the diamonds, the gold, the water,
the guns, the drugs, and the bling for their masters, who they
hope will cut them in on the swag. They say that someone has
to be on top and they want to be on the side of the strong,
not the weak. Robbing Hoods, not Robin Hoods."
February 15, 2007

14) Labour, community and academics launch
May Day Global Solidarity School in Cuba
April 28 to May 12 2007
16 February 2007
Please redistribute and post widely
Press contacts below Email Web

15) Chavez calls on the working class
to put itself at the forefront of the revolution
By Euler Calzadilla and Jose Hernandez (CMR)
February 16, 2007

16) On to the Hard Part on Iraq
February 17, 2007


Hudson Valley (NY) Activist Newsletter, Feb. 5, 2007
VIA Email from:

The U.S. antiwar movement is gearing up for a major march on the Pentagon
demanding an immediate end to the war against Iraq — a war by now that has
completely blown apart Iraqi society, killing hundreds of thousands of
civilians and unleashing bitter sectarian and secessionist tendencies.

The March 17 demonstration will take place as the Bush Administration’s
latest increase in American troops is reaching its height. Simultaneously,
the Pentagon is preparing for a possible attack on Iran. The White House
initiated these moves after the antiwar vote in November but the new
majority Democratic Congress appears disinclined to take decisive action
against them.

In addition, the U.S. antiwar movement itself is split, which has weakened
the struggle for peace.

The Pentagon protest will be the second in Washington to take place this
winter, the first being the 150,000-strong march and rally Jan. 27 organized
by the United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ), focusing on influencing the new
Congress. Some demonstrators remained in the nation’s capital over the
weekend to take part in congressional lobbying.

The political reconfiguration of both legislative chambers as a result of
the peace vote is hardly leading to the outcome envisioned by many in the
antiwar movement. Some activists report that a number of peace candidates
elected in November do not appear inclined to risk going beyond the
Democratic Party leadership’s conservative, timid and opportunist approach
to the war.

Party leaders oppose cutting off future funding for continuing the war, or
initiating impeachment proceedings against one of the most dangerous
presidencies in American history, or even passing a binding resolution
calling for a swift ending to the unjust, illegal and immoral war.

The march and rally at the Pentagon is being organized by the ANSWER
Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), which represents the left
wing of the peace movement. Acting together, ANSWER and UFPJ brought some
300,000 demonstrators to Washington in September 2005, but UFPJ split the
movement a few weeks later by publicly declaring it would no longer
cooperate with ANSWER, the other nationwide antiwar coalition.

The main reason for the split, beyond the fog of obfuscation, was the matter
of orientation toward the Democratic Party, to which UFPJ is close, not that
such proximity is necessarily reciprocated by party leaders. ANSWER, which
pursues an openly anti-imperialist stance toward President George W. Bush’s
“pre-emptive” wars, is far more critical of the Democratic Party’s role in
supporting the war and unconvinced it will change.

In addition, ANSWER’s antiwar rallies always include some criticism of
Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people — a topic that was omitted
from UFPJ’s Jan. 27 event, much to the relief of a Democratic Party utterly
committed to the status quo in the region, including the occupation of
Palestinian lands after the 1967 war.

ANSWER brought a half-million people to the January 2003 rally in Washington
and over 100,000 to each of a half-dozen other protests in the capital in
recent years, but it is difficult to predict the size of the March 17 event.
UFPJ has now called for regional protests on March 17 to commemorate the
fourth anniversary of the war, as opposed to supporting the Pentagon action.
This probably will drain potential participants away from the Washington
action. ANSWER at least supported and promoted the Jan. 27 rally.

The split in the movement occurred just as U.S. public opinion began a
dramatic turn away from the war. But while antiwar sentiment put the
Democrats back in charge of Congress, its electoral attachment did not
result a significant increase in demonstrations or numbers of protestors in
the streets — precisely the factors required to push legislators into taking
real action.

In all probability, the Iraq war will continue for years as Bush escalates
and Congress equivocates with nonbinding resolutions, delayed and partial
“withdrawal” plans and the refusal on the part of the “opposition” party to
stand up to the warmakers.

The problem with Congress is that its political composition, despite the
antiwar vote, is center, center-right, and right, with a weak center-left
and no genuine left at all. Congress will act to end the war only in the
face of a swiftly impending military defeat combined with ever-growing mass
opposition in the streets putting forward demands for immediate withdrawal.

Vibrant peace movements and militant antiwar protests can and do contribute
toward ending wars; the Vietnam War proved that. And they can end the Iraq
War, and prevent an Iran War as well. But in addition to taking a harder
stance on the war, it is necessary for our movement to unite in action. UFPJ
has its critique of ANSWER, and ANSWER has its critique of UFPJ. But both
agree on the main political demand, “Bring the U.S. troops home now,” an
uncompromising polarity against which all other half-way proposals must be

Differences between these two organizations are not greater than their
essential agreement. Our movement — and thus the chances of finally ending
U.S. aggression in the Middle East — will be much stronger if UFPJ and
ANSWER worked together in terms of occasional mass actions, and not at

If UFPJ is not yet ready to join with ANSWER at the Pentagon March 17,
perhaps some of its coalition partners and members of groups within the UFPJ
coalition will act in unity in Washington on that day to tell the warmakers
in the White House, in the Congress and in the headquarters of the war
machine itself that they are united in the demand that this horrific war be
brought to an end now.


By Charles Jenks
January 31, 2007
See march photos at
See videos of Unified Youth and Student Contingent and march at

On January 27th, the people sent a clear message to Washington - “Get
U.S. Troops Out of Iraq Now!” Hundreds of thousands of people
marched, and they completely - for the first time in history it is
reported - surrounded the Capitol Building. When the first marchers
came to the end of the loop there were people still waiting to start

Unfortunately, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) - the primary
sponsor - didn’t live up to the standards set by the marchers. Its
continuing refusal to work with some other national coalitions, and
its focus on celebrities and politicians, was reflected in its
botching the start of the march and in the focus given by media.

The great news though, from my perspective, is that this march drew
such a broad range of people. Look at the people marching - has over 200 march photos - and you’ll see a
cross-section of America. This - as much as the numbers - is what
should worry the Bush Administration and Congress.

I saw the entire march, as I was assigned to photograph it for
Traprock Peace Center (which has covered every national march since
the historic gathering in Washington on October 26, 2002). This was
as large as any march that I have seen in D.C. The 500,000 estimate
given by organizers seems reasonable.

This was a huge outpouring of people, despite it being January, and
despite Weather Channel reports that there would be a wind-chill in
the 30’s with 15 mile per hour winds. As it turned out, it was almost
balmy, with little wind and temperatures in the 40’s. If the weather
forecast had been accurate, surely the march would have been even
larger. (No, I’m not blaming Bush for messing with the weather
report, though it did occur to me!)

This writer saw not one instance of violence. An eyewitness told me
that at one point about 80 people (AP said 150 people - funny what
the media exaggerates and what it downplays) rushed down a sidewalk
at the Capitol as though they were going to storm up the Capitol
steps. This sent the police scurrying to head them off, with police
running down the steps. The rush was obviously choreographed and done
in jest, as protestors came to a sudden halt, apparently acting
merely to tease the police and get a reaction. This kind of behavior
- juvenile in my opinion - was the marked exception on this day.

The mainstream media, of course, grossly under-reported the size of
the march (AP called it tens of thousands, and cited police sources
as saying it was less than 100,000). So what else is new? Organizers
obviously need to take media tendencies into account ahead of time.
Was that done here? It didn’t seem so.

So how did UFPJ manage to screw up the beginning of the march? Here’s
my eye-witness account of what happened.

As the speeches from the main stage were winding down, march marshals
patrolled a large taped-off square area on 3rd Street, directly
behind the stage, where celebrities were gathering in preparation for
stepping off. The march route was to go down to Constitution Avenue
and then take a right turn on Constitution toward Capitol Hill. The
squared-off area, marked by yellow plastic ribbon, was about 100 feet
along 3rd street on one side and the width of the street on the
other. This squared-off area was in the middle of throngs of people.

Marshals were inside and outside the square telling people to get up
on the sidewalks to keep the street clear to let the celebrities who
were supposed to head the march pass through and get in front of the
marchers. About 100 reporters, with march supporters mixed in,
gathered in a tight group jostling for good camera positions on the
side the squared-off area closest to Constitution Ave. Opposite this
gaggle of press were celebrities, liberal Democrat politicians and
organizers selected by UFPJ, taking up their positions behind the big
UFPJ banner.

More and more people gathered as organizing the march took more and
more time. There was a huge crush of people - very tightly formed -
behind the celebrity formation. And there was the crush of press
hugging onto the yellow ribbon opposite the celebs. People were now
surrounding the square, and people were ignoring marshals’ pleas to
clear the street along the beginning of the march route.

This unstable situation blew apart when media people - bristling with
their video and still cameras - noticed that some of their number had
managed to get up close and personal to the celebs and were getting
great shots. Photographers next to this writer (and including this
writer) yelled to one guy with a video camera to get out of the way
of the banner. (He was facing it, camera in hand.) We were trying to
get long-range shots.

Then, another photographer got in front of the banner. Enough was
enough for the crush of photographers behind the yellow ribbon. One
lifted the ribbon and sprinted for the banner to get her own great
shot of celebrities. This led to an avalanche of photographers,
trying to get close-ups (I got a few myself).

The celebrity formation was now confronted by a mass of photographers
acting like paparazzi. (And truly, they were just that, as many, if
not most, were there to take pics of the famous.) The celebs started
moving forward, taking baby steps, as the reporters inched backwards,
clicking away. Meanwhile, marshals were yelling to the now hundreds
of people in the street to get off the street and to “fall in behind”
the group of celebrities who were supposed to be heading the march
and who were still inching along.

There was no place to fall in behind the celebrity “head” as there
was a crush of people behind it and masses of people on the sides.

Finally, the police in front of the entire mass of people in the
street - where the head of the march should have been - started up
their motorcycles and started to move. The marshals were still
pleading with people to get off the street to allow the celebrities
to get in front of the marchers, but instead people already massed in
front of them began marching. One guy yelled out: “Hey, we’re
marching!” The celebs were now hundreds of people behind the real
head - the people.

Is there a lesson here? I think there are several.

First, where’s the A.N.S.W.E.R. organization when you need it? UFPJ
famously (notoriously) refused to work with A.N.S.W.E.R. after
refusing to endorse national actions by World Can’t Wait and refusing
to follow the global call for mass demonstrations last March.
A.N.S.W.E.R. surely wouldn’t have set up the march to begin in the
middle of masses of people. Stupid they’re not.

Second, with the focus of the “head” of the march so much on
celebrities and liberal politicians (where was Iraq Veterans Against
the War, for example?), it was inevitable that the crush of people
would be exacerbated, and that the media that came would largely be
there to photograph and quote the celebs. This was reflected in the
media coverage, as on CNN. I’ll be impressed with the celebrity who
gives up a movie career - as so many dedicated organizers have given
up or suspended their careers - at least until the U.S. is out of
Iraq. Until then, I see people who have bought their place at the
head of the march with their fame, their money or both. No wonder
that people did not obey orders to “fall in behind.”

Which brings us to a third point. The organizers were out of touch
with the people. How could they have thought that people would just
obey them and fall in behind when there was no place to fall in? Or
that the people would clear a path, like drops in the Red Sea, for
UFPJ’s hand-chosen “head” to pass?

This march was about the people who came to protest the war and
occupation. It wasn’t about the celebrities and politicians who gave
a glamorous face and allowed march organizers to rub elbows with
them. Please understand me - I am glad that celebrities and pols
participate. Yet media coverage would lead one to believe that it was
all about the celebrities leading “10’s of thousands.” The huge
masses of people were the real story, but these people weren’t in the

UFPJ needs to get off its high horse about being THE coalition of
antiwar forces in the U.S., as it represented itself before the
London International Peace Conference in December 2005. (In the next
breath, UFPJ told international organizers that it was not going to
participate in global mass demos in March 2006, preferring instead a
mass demo in April as a way to have influence on the November
elections.) If UFPJ wants to end this war and occupation now, it
needs to become a willing and cooperative partner with other national
groups - including A.N.S.W.E.R. - and get over its fixation on
celebrities and liberal politicians.

Bits and Pieces

Biggest and most energetic contingents: International Socialist
Organization, Campus Antiwar Network/SDS/WCW’s Unified Youth and
Student Contingent, Service Employees International Union (SEIU),
U.S. Labor Against the War and Iraq Veterans Against the War. (Why
does UFPJ keep competing with the real energies of the student
movement? It keeps promoting its NYSPC, whereas the most effective
organizational energy since early 2003 has come from other student
groups, such as CAN?)

Troops Out Now Coalition also took up a prime spot at 3rd and
Constitution to lead chants via their bullhorn. And people wearing
A.N.S.W.E.R. patches were all over the place. Though they’ve been
shunned by UFPJ, they showed up.

Worst sign?

The ubiquitous Move-On sign that read “Iraq Escalation? Wrong Way.”
Hey, Move-On, this was a protest against the war and occupation, not
merely against the escalation. This is the same Move-On that refused
pleas to take a stand against attacking Iran. Instead, its petition
merely calls for not nuking Iran. “President Bush and Congress should
rule out attacking Iran with nuclear weapons.” Is that helpful, Move-On?

Post-March Disappointment?

Another profile in courage/integrity by Sen. John Kerry.

With his history of having refused many times to meet with his
antiwar constituents before he voted for the war resolution in
October, 2002, and his dismissing 500 faxed hand-written pleas to
call Scott Ritter as a witness for the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee hearings on that resolution, and his having locked his
constituents out of his office on the day he voted for war, one would
think that Senator Kerry might actually meet with the 70 constituents
who assembled in his D.C. office on January 28th. Not to disappoint
those who appreciate consistency, he again sent an aide. He was “out
of the country.” I’m sure he was, and I’m sure he could, if he
wished, arrange his schedule to meet with his constituents of peace.

See details on the above-cited history at

Post March Triumph?

The incredible program on ending the Iraq occupation held at Busboys
and Poets with speakers Kelly Dougherty, co-founder and Executive
Director of Iraq Veterans Against the War, and Anthony Arnove, author
of “Iraq: the Logic of Withdrawal”. Son of Nun, the hip-hop poet/
activist, performed three amazing pieces. See full coverage of this
event at


Charles Jenks, is Chair of the Advisory Board and Past President of
Traprock Peace Center, and he serves as its web manager. He writes
and consults for and the ExxonMobil War
Boycott. A licensed attorney since 1980, he has practiced human
rights law for over 20 years.

Charles Jenks
Chair of Advisory Board
Traprock Peace Center
103 Keets Road
Deerfield, MA 01342


Student Operated Press Feburary 12, 2007

USS RONALD REAGAN, At sea (NNS) -- The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Carrier
Strike Group (RRSG) entered the U.S. 7th Fleet's area of responsibility
(AOR) Feb. 9, as part of a surge deployment to promote peace, cooperation
and stability in the region.

Led by Rear Adm. Charles W. Martoglio, the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike
Group will be filling the role of USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), the Navy's only
permanently forward deployed aircraft carrier, which is undergoing scheduled
maintenance in Yokuska, Japan.

"Our friends and allies in the region can be assured of continued, robust
interaction with our Navy in the form of mutual training opportunities,
exchanges, and port visits," said Martoglio, commander, Carrier Strike Group
Seven (CCSG 7). "We are committed to the maintenance of peace and stability
in the Pacific region."

The RRSG completed its maiden combat deployment in July, 2006, following six
months of supporting Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, as well as
conducting maritime security operations.

"Our mission during this surge deployment is to support our nation's defense
and our cooperative security commitments overseas," said Capt. Terry B.
Kraft, Ronald Reagan's commanding officer. "We are ready and able to rapidly
respond to a range of situations on very short notice."

The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is comprised of CCSG 7, Carrier Air
Wing (CVW) 14, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, the nuclear-powered aircraft
carrier Ronald Reagan, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG
57), the guided-missile destroyers USS Russell (DDG 59) and USS Paul
Hamilton (DDG 60), and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 11, Det. 15. More
than 6,000 Sailors are currently assigned to RRSG.

The squadrons of CVW-14 include the "Redcocks" of Strike Fighter Squadron
(VFA) 22, the "Fist of the Fleet" of VFA-25, the "Stingers" of VFA-113, the
"Eagles" of VFA-115, the "Black Eagles" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron
(VAW) 113, the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron
(VAQ) 139, the "Providers" of Carrier Logistics Support (VRC) 30, and the
"Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4.

Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet is permanently embarked aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC
19), which is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. The 7th Fleet AOR
includes more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans
-- stretching from the international date line to the east coast of Africa,
and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.

More than half of the world's population lives within the 7th Fleet AOR. In
addition, more than 80 percent of that population lives within 500 miles of
the oceans, which means this is an inherently maritime region.

Ronald Reagan was commissioned in July 2003, making it the ninth and newest
Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carrier. The ship is named after the
40th U.S. president, and carries the motto of "Peace through Strength," a
recurrent theme.


4) Bush Extends Stay for 3,200 Troops in Afghanistan
February 15, 2007

President Bush said today he was extending the stay of 3,200
American troops in Afghanistan to help the NATO-commanded
force there combat an anticipated spring offensive by the Taliban.

Mr. Bush said the those troops would remain there for another four
months and then would be replaced by new force of comparable
size that would remain there for the “foreseeable future.” The increase
would boost American forces in the country to 27,000, the highest l
evel since 2001.

Those new troops would be in addition to those being sent
to Iraq or already deployed there.

He urged NATO countries participating in the Afghanistan effort
to meet their commitments to provide forces and equipment and
to lift restrictions on how they can be deployed.

Mr. Bush acknowledged that the Taliban had “struck back with
vengeance” in 2006, making it the most violent year in Afghanistan
since they were driven from power.

The level of conflict decreased over the winter, Mr. Bush said, but
warned that, “the snow is going to melt in the Hindu Kush Mountains,
and when it does we can expect fierce fighting to continue.”

But, he added, NATO was planning an offensive of its own. He said
Taliban forces have been hiding in remote parts of Pakistan since
being driven from control in Afghanistan. He described the border
area of Pakistan as “wilder than the Wild West.”

To address the threat, the president said the United States was
providing Pakistan with detectors, helicopters and other equipment
to help it secure its border with Afghanistan.

And he said the U.S. would help Afghanistan increase its police and
security forces from 61,000 to 82,000 by the end of next year and
its army from 32,000 to 70,000 troops in the same time period.

Speaking before the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative
think tank in Washington, Mr. Bush also announced a series of economic
development programs in Afghanistan , including an ambitious
program to build roads. He quoted an American commander
in the country as saying “where the roads end in Afghanistan,
the Taliban begin.”


5) In Old Files, Fading Hopes of Anne Frank’s Family
"Ultimately, powerful connections and money were not enough
to enable the Franks, not to mention most other European Jews,
to break through the State Department’s tightening restrictions."
February 15, 2007

On April 30, 1941, just days after a Gestapo courier may have threatened
to denounce Anne Frank’s father, Otto, to the Nazis, he wrote to his
close college friend Nathan Straus Jr. begging for help in getting his
family out of Amsterdam and into America.

“I would not ask if conditions here would not force me to do all I can
in time to be able to avoid worse,” he wrote in a letter that forms part
of a 78-page stack of newly uncovered documents released yesterday.
“Perhaps you remember that we have two girls. It is for the sake
of the children mainly that we have to care for. Our own fate is
of less importance.”

Frank needed a $5,000 deposit to obtain a visa and Straus, the
director of the federal Housing Authority, a friend of Eleanor
Roosevelt and the son of Macy’s co-owner, had money and
connections. “You are the only person I know that I can ask,”
he wrote. “Would it be possible for you to give a deposit
in my favor?”

That letter begins a series of personal correspondence and official
papers that reveal for the first time the Frank family’s increasingly
desperate efforts in 1941 to get to the United States or Cuba before
the Nazis got to them. The papers, owned by the YIVO Institute
for Jewish Research in New York, had lain undisturbed in a New
Jersey warehouse for nearly 30 years before a clerical error led
to their unexpected discovery. Given the thorough historical
research and extraordinary efforts to preserve Anne Frank’s legacy,
the appearance of this overlooked file is surprising.

The story seems to unfold in slow motion as the painstaking exchange
of letters journey across continents and from state to state, their
information often outdated by the time they arrive. Each page adds
a layer of sorrow as the tortuous process for gaining entry to the
United States — involving sponsors, large sums of money, affidavits
and proof of how their entry would benefit America — is laid out.
The moment the Franks and their American supporters overcame
one administrative or logistical obstacle, another arose.

Even the assistant secretary of state at the time, Adolf A. Berle Jr.,
despaired of the bewildering maze of regulations. As Richard Breitman,
a historian at American University, pointed out in a separate background
paper, Berle wrote in January 1941 that some consulates ask for
a trust fund. “Others ask for affidavits. One particularly shocking
case stated that nothing would be accepted save from a relative
in the United States under a legal obligation to support the applicant,”
he said. “It does seem to me that this Department could pull itself
together sufficiently to get out a general instruction which would
be complete enough and simple enough so that the procedure
could be standardized.”

Ultimately, powerful connections and money were not enough
to enable the Franks, not to mention most other European Jews,
to break through the State Department’s tightening restrictions.
By the summer of 1942, the Franks were forced into hiding. They
remained in the secret annex for two years before being turned in,
probably by the same courier who initially may have tried to
blackmail them. As schoolchildren around the world know, the
story ends with the death in concentration camps of 15-year-old
Anne, her sister Margot and her mother, Edith, and the publication
of Anne’s diary, now a literary and historical landmark that personalizes
the Holocaust’s immeasurable loss.

Mr. Breitman explained that after France fell to the Germans in June
1940, fears grew in the United States of a potential fifth column
of spies and saboteurs peopled by European refugees. By June
of 1941, no one with close relatives still in Germany was allowed
into the United States because of suspicions that the Nazis could
use them to blackmail refugees into clandestine cooperation. This
development closed off the possibility of getting the Frank girls
out through a children’s rescue agency or having Otto Frank
depart first in the hopes that the rest of his family would
quickly follow.

By July, Germany shut down American consulates throughout its
territories, retaliating for a similar action on the Americans’ part.
As the exchange of letters show, Otto Frank would have had to get
an exit permit out of the Netherlands, and transit visas for a series
of Nazi-occupied countries to one of the four neutral areas where
America still had consular offices. By the summer, an escape
to the United States appeared hopeless. “I am afraid, however,
the news is not good news,” Straus wrote to Otto Frank
on July 1, 1941.

In order to reach a neutral country, Frank then tried to obtain
a Cuban visa, a risky, expensive and often corrupt process. In
a Sept. 8 letter to Straus, he wrote, “I know that it will be impossible
for us all to leave even if most of the money is refundable, but Edith
urges me to leave alone or with the children.” On Oct. 12, 1941,
he wrote, “It is all much more difficult as one can imagine and
is getting more complicated every day.” Because of the uncertainty,
he decided first to try for a single visa for himself. It is granted and
forwarded to Otto Frank on Dec. 1. No one knows if it ever arrived;
10 days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States,
and Havana cancelled the visa.

The file, originally in the hands of the National Refugee Service, was
turned over to YIVO in 1974 along with tens of thousands of other
files from private Jewish refugee agencies.

It wasn’t until 2005 that YIVO received a grant to organize and
index the 350 file cabinets worth of material it had warehoused
in an off-site storage center. In the summer of that year, Estelle
Guzik, a part-time volunteer, was sorting through files when
she saw that a file jacket was missing the subject’s date of birth,
said Carl J. Rheins, YIVO’s executive director. He said that she
opened it and saw that the children’s names were Anne and
Margot Frank, and said, “Oh my God, this is the Anne Frank file.”

YIVO kept the actual documents under wraps until yesterday
because it was figuring out the complicated legal questions
of confidentiality and copyright, Mr. Rheins said. The papers
are now available to scholars at YIVO on West 16th Street
in Manhattan.

The last items in the file date from June 1945 to mid-1946.
They include a letter from Otto Frank’s brother-in-law Julius
Hollander, who was trying to locate the Franks and arrange
for them to emigrate to the United States. There is also
a four-line notification that “Mrs. Edith Frank died; daughters
are still missing.”

What follows is a letter on Feb. 2, 1946, from Hollander saying
that “Otto Frank said he wants to stay in Amsterdam” and
no longer wants to come to the United States.


6) A Health Care Plan So Simple, Even Stephen Colbert Couldn’t Simplify It
February 15, 2007

In his State of the Union address, President Bush proposed tax cuts
to make health insurance more affordable for the uninsured. The
next day, Stephen Colbert had this to say on his show on Comedy
Central: “It’s so simple. Most people who can’t afford health insurance
also are too poor to owe taxes. But if you give them a deduction from
the taxes they don’t owe, they can use the money they’re not getting
back from what they haven’t given to buy the health care they
can’t afford.”

Just so. As health economists have long known, market incentives
induce private insurers to spend vast sums to avoid people who
may actually require health care. This problem is mitigated (though
not eliminated) by employer-provided group policies. Because
Mr. Bush’s proposal would steer people toward individual policies,
it would actually strengthen the incentive to shun unhealthy people.
Such people can now keep their insurance by not changing jobs.
But no private company would want them as individual policyholders
at a price anyone could afford.

That Mr. Bush’s proposal will not shrink the ranks of the uninsured
is not its most serious problem. Far more troubling is its embrace
of a system under which we spend more than twice as much
on health care, on average, as the 21 countries in which life
expectancy exceeds ours. American costs are so high in part
because the reliance on private insurance multiplies administrative
expenses, currently about 31 percent of total outlays.

Most health economists agree that government-financed
reimbursement is the only practical way to control these expenses,
many of them stemming from insurers’ efforts to identify and avoid
unhealthy people. Canada’s single-payer health system, which
covers everyone, spends less than 17 percent on administrative

Annual health spending in the United States currently exceeds
$2 trillion. A single-payer system that did nothing more than
reduce administrative expenses to the levels of other countries
would save roughly $300 billion annually.

Some critics worry that expensive but ineffective medical interventions
may proliferate if health care becomes a federal responsibility.
But Victor Fuchs, a respected health economist at Stanford University,
and Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, chairman of the department of clinical
bioethics at the National Institutes of Health, have outlined
a single-payer plan that would limit such interventions far more
effectively than the current system. (A copy of their plan is on the
links page of my Web site,

If the single-payer system embraced by virtually all other developed
countries is clearly the best solution, why doesn’t the United States
adopt it? Some analysts concede its merits, but characterize it
as either unaffordable or politically unrealistic. But why should
a policy that promises better results for less money be considered
a nonstarter?

There are two obstacles, which could both be overcome by intelligent
political leadership. One is that the single-payer system would require
additional tax revenue. In the current climate, that’s a tough political
hurdle, to be sure. Yet how complicated would it be to explain
to voters that because the single-payer plan would reduce costs
substantially, every additional tax dollar would be offset by
an even larger reduction in private insurance spending? Given
that such a system is so much cheaper over all, calling
it unaffordable makes no sense.

The second obstacle is opposition from private insurers, who would
be understandably reluctant to abandon multibillion-dollar annual
profit streams. Those who stand to lose from policy changes always
battle harder than those who stand to gain — an asymmetry that is
exaggerated when losses would be concentrated and gains diffuse.
So, yes, the insurance industry would bitterly resist.

But intelligent leadership could overcome that resistance. Whenever
a pie gets bigger, everyone can get a larger slice than before. Because
moving to a single-payer system would make the economic pie bigger,
it should be possible for everyone, including the insurance industry,
to come out ahead.

The first step is to acknowledge that insurance companies are not evil,
that they invested in good faith under tax laws that favored employer-
provided private health insurance. To put them out of business with
an overnight switch would be unjust.

Even so, they are not entitled to a permanent license to operate a system
that has become economically unsustainable. The move to a single-payer
plan would save far more than enough to compensate insurance
companies for lost profits. Compensation for losses could start
at 100 percent, then be gradually phased out as companies shifted
investments elsewhere.

Selling this argument in an era of 15-second sound bites would be
challenging, but hardly impossible. Indeed, forceful advocacy of the
single-payer approach offers a golden opportunity for any serious
presidential candidate. Voters are fed up with rising insurance costs
and dwindling coverage. On the merits, single-payer coverage is an
unassailable solution to both problems. Its rationale is simple enough
to articulate clearly during a long campaign. And if the proposal were
devised so that everyone stood to win, corporate interests would have
little reason to attack it.

Critics of the single-payer plan have long railed against the specter
of socialized medicine, suggesting that it means being treated
by government functionaries. Yet people who have experienced
single-payer coverage firsthand seem unconcerned. When one
of my sons needed surgery for a broken arm during a sabbatical
in Paris, for example, the medical system we encountered was
just as professional as the American one and far less bureaucratic.
And in France, which spends half as much on health care as the
United States and has more doctors and hospital beds per capita,
everyone is covered.

We live in challenging times. Does a candidate who couldn’t persuade
voters to embrace the single-payer approach deserve to be president?

Robert H. Frank, an economist at the Johnson School of Cornell
University, is the author of “The Economic Naturalist,” which will
be published this spring. Contact:


7) Military Families Speak Out Letter to Senators
and Members of Congress
"...But if you vote to continue funding the war in Iraq,
it will no longer be President Bush’s war. It will
be yours. If you fund it, you’ve bought it and you
own it. And we will remember."
Contact: Ateqah Khaki, Riptide Communications, 212-260-5000
Nancy Lessin, Military Families Speak Out, 617-320-5301

Dear Friends,

Today Military Families Speak Out faxed a letter to 535 Senators
and Members of Congress saying: Support our Troops and De-Fund
the War! It was signed by over 200 MFSO members with loved
ones currently serving in Iraq or about to deploy/re-deploy.
The letter and the press release can be found at the urls below
- they are also attached. Please forward to everyone you know!

In Peace and Solidarity,
Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson
Co-founders, Military Families Speak Out

Text of Letter:

Dear Senators and Members of Congress,
February 15, 2007

We are members of Military Families Speak Out,
whose loved ones are currently serving in Iraq, or
are soon to be deployed or re-deployed to Iraq.
No one is more concerned about the safety and well-
being of our troops than we are – they are our
sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters,
fiancés, grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews,
mothers and fathers.

You will soon be voting on President Bush’s
supplemental budget request that will allow the war in
Iraq to continue. Many of you are saying that
in order to support our troops, you must once again
fund the war. The President is not asking for
funding for our troops – he is looking for funding to
continue this war that is so damaging to our
loved ones and all of our troops. The most important
thing you can do to protect those who swore
an oath to protect us all is to vote against this
supplemental appropriations request.

We know that there are funds available to bring our
troops out quickly and safely. If more is needed,
funds from the Department of Defense budget could
be re-programmed for this purpose.

Senators and Members of Congress, you need
to know that by continuing to fund this war and
leaving our loved ones in Iraq, you are abandoning them.

Make no mistake about this, you can not both
oppose and fund this war.

You may be afraid for your political futures, and
afraid of being “swift-boated” if you were to vote to
de-fund the war. We are afraid for the lives of our
loved ones. Three U.S. servicemen and women are
dying each day, along with countless Iraqi children,
women and men. We are afraid that if we are
lucky enough to get our loved ones home, they will
return as hollow-eyed strangers suffering from
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The Constitution gave Congress the ‘power of the
purse’ for a reason. We urge you, we expect you,
to use this power now. And we will stand with all
who will now support our troops by voting against
the funds that allow this war to continue.

But if you vote to continue funding the war in Iraq,
it will no longer be President Bush’s war. It will
be yours. If you fund it, you’ve bought it and you
own it. And we will remember.

We are asking that you show the courage and
leadership that our loved ones have shown when they
signed up to defend the Constitution of the
United States. Ending this war is the right thing to do.
And you are the people who can make it happen.

Don’t abandon our troops – de-fund this war.

[See four signature pages at website listed above]

Text of PDF:

If You Don’t De-fund the War, You Are Abandoning Our Troops
Contact: Ateqah Khaki, Riptide Communications, 212-260-5000
Nancy Lessin, Military Families Speak Out, 617-320-5301

February 15, 2007, Washington DC – Today, as the
House debates a non-binding resolution on the President’s
proposed escalation of the war, Military Families
Speak Out (MFSO) delivered an open letter to all Senators and
Members of Congress challenging the prevailing
logic that de-funding the Iraq War means de-funding or
abandoning our troops in the field. The letter is signed
by over 200 members of MFSO with loved ones currently in
Iraq or soon to be deployed. Traditionally, military
families have honored an unwritten “code of silence” and kept
their views out of the public eye. These military families
are breaking that code of silence to support their loved
ones and all of our troops. They are calling on Congress
to support our troops by de-funding the war, bringing our
troops home now and taking care of them when they
get here. The letter reads in part:

“Senators and Members of Congress, you need to
know that by continuing to fund this war and leaving our
loved ones in Iraq, you are abandoning them. ...Make
no mistake about this, you can not both oppose and
fund this war. You may be afraid for your political futures...
We are afraid for the lives of our loved ones.
...The Constitution gave Congress the ‘power of the
purse’ for a reason. We urge you, we expect you, to use
this power now... [I]f you vote to continue funding
the war in Iraq, it will no longer be President Bush’s war.
It will be yours. If you fund it, you’ve bought it and
you own it. And we will remember.”

“Our loved ones showed their courage when they signed
up to put themselves in harm’s way to defend our
country and our Constitution; you who serve in
Congress should have the courage by use your
Constitutional authority to cut off funding for this
unjustifiable war and bring our troops home,” said
MFSO member Dena Ciferri of Fort Bliss, Texas,
a signer of the letter to Congress whose husband is a
platoon sergeant in the Army and currently serving in Iraq.

“My son, a Marine, is preparing for his third deployment,
his second to Iraq,” stated MFSO member Deborah
Coller from Pinckney, Michigan, one of the signers
of the letter to Congress. “Rest assured, voting ‘NO’ on any
additional funds for the war in Iraq is NOT abandoning
my son. Far from it. Why would I, a mother who raised her
son with love and support to do what is right, support
denying him and his fellow Marines, soldiers, airmen, and
sailors what they need? Find the courage to do what
is right. Bring the troops home by closing the checkbook

Military Families Speak Out is the largest organization
of military families opposing a war in the history of the
United States. The group currently has over 3,200
military families with loved ones currently serving in Iraq, loved
ones soon to deploy or redeploy, loved ones who have
returned physically and/or psychologically wounded, and
loved ones who died as a result of the war.

A copy of the letter sent to Congress by MFSO is available
upon request or can be viewed at Many
signers of the letter are available for interview.

For more information about Military Families Speak Out,
please visit:


8) CUBA Change from Fidel to Raúl is a-coming
Posted on Wed, Feb. 14, 2007

We are witnessing important changes in Havana and Washington. Small,
nuanced changes that may not mean much individually, but collectively
they point to the possibility of positive, if modest, improvements in
relations between the two countries. That's a siren song we have all
heard before, but the evidence is there. And it's not just based on
my impression of recent events, but those of Cuba experts whose
judgment I trust, hard-eyed realists not given to Pollyanna-ish

I'm talking about people like Brian Latell, former lead CIA analyst
on Cuba and now a research associate at the Institute for Cuban and
Cuban American Studies at the University of Miami; Teo Babun, a
Cuba-born business consultant who prepares for some of the Forbes 100
companies minutely detailed reports on Cuba's infrastructure and the
people who manage it; and Damian Fernandez, director of the Cuban
Research Institute at Florida International University.

''The real story out of Cuba is the lack of change over the last
seven months,'' says Fernandez, an internationally respected scholar
recently promoted to provost of FIU's North Campus. ``I have talked
to academics who've visited Cuba in the past few months, and they say
it's almost


9) The Health Care Racket
Op-Ed Columnist
February 16, 2007

Is the health insurance business a racket? Yes, literally — or so say
two New York hospitals, which have filed a racketeering lawsuit
against UnitedHealth Group and several of its affiliates.

I don’t know how the case will turn out. But whatever happens
in court, the lawsuit illustrates perfectly the dysfunctional nature
of our health insurance system, a system in which resources
that could have been used to pay for medical care are instead
wasted in a zero-sum struggle over who ends up with the bill.

The two hospitals accuse UnitedHealth of operating a “rogue
business plan” designed to avoid paying clients’ medical bills.
For example, the suit alleges that patients were falsely told
that Flushing Hospital was “not a network provider” so
UnitedHealth did not pay the full network rate. UnitedHealth
has already settled charges of misleading clients about
providers’ status brought by New York’s attorney general:
the company paid restitution to plan members, while
attributing the problem to computer errors.

The legal outcome will presumably turn on whether there
was deception as well as denial — on whether it can be
proved that UnitedHealth deliberately misled plan members.
But it’s a fact that insurers spend a lot of money looking
for ways to reject insurance claims. And health care providers,
in turn, spend billions on “denial management,” employing
specialist firms — including Ingenix, a subsidiary of, yes,
UnitedHealth — to fight the insurers.

So it’s an arms race between insurers, who deploy software
and manpower trying to find claims they can reject, and
doctors and hospitals, who deploy their own forces in an
effort to outsmart or challenge the insurers. And the cost
of this arms race ends up being borne by the public, in the
form of higher health care prices and higher insurance

Of course, rejecting claims is a clumsy way to deny coverage.
The best way for an insurer to avoid paying medical bills
is to avoid selling insurance to people who really need it.
An insurance company can accomplish this in two ways,
through marketing that targets the healthy, and through
underwriting: rejecting the sick or charging them higher

Like denial management, however, marketing and underwriting
cost a lot of money. McKinsey & Company, the consulting firm,
recently released an important report dissecting the reasons
America spends so much more on health care than other wealthy
nations. One major factor is that we spend $98 billion a year
in excess administrative costs, with more than half of the total
accounted for by marketing and underwriting — costs that don’t
exist in single-payer systems.

And this is just part of the story. McKinsey’s estimate of excess
administrative costs counts only the costs of insurers. It doesn’t,
as the report concedes, include other “important consequences
of the multipayor system,” like the extra costs imposed on
providers. The sums doctors pay to denial management
specialists are just one example.

Incidentally, while insurers are very good at saying no to doctors,
hospitals and patients, they’re not very good at saying
no to more powerful players. Drug companies, in particular, charge
much higher prices in the United States than they do in countries
like Canada, where the government health care system does the
bargaining. McKinsey estimates that the United States pays
$66 billion a year in excess drug costs, and overpays for medical
devices like knee and hip implants, too.

To put these numbers in perspective: McKinsey estimates the cost
of providing full medical care to all of America’s uninsured at
$77 billion a year. Either eliminating the excess administrative
costs of private health insurers, or paying what the rest of the
world pays for drugs and medical devices, would by itself more
or less pay the cost of covering all the uninsured. And that doesn’t
count the many other costs imposed by the fragmentation
of our health care system.

Which brings us back to the racketeering lawsuit. If UnitedHealth
can be shown to have broken the law — and let’s just say that this
company, which is America’s second-largest health insurer, has
a reputation for playing even rougher than its competitors —
by all means, let’s see justice done. But the larger problem isn’t
the behavior of any individual company. It’s the ugly incentives
provided by a system in which giving care is punished, while
denying it is rewarded.


10) Judge Limits New York Police Taping
February 16, 2007

In a rebuke of a surveillance practice greatly expanded by the
New York Police Department after the Sept. 11 attacks, a federal
judge ruled yesterday that the police must stop the routine
videotaping of people at public gatherings unless there is an
indication that unlawful activity may occur.

Four years ago, at the request of the city, the same judge,
Charles S. Haight Jr., gave the police greater authority
to investigate political, social and religious groups.

In yesterday’s ruling, Judge Haight, of United States District
Court in Manhattan, found that by videotaping people who
were exercising their right to free speech and breaking
no laws, the Police Department had ignored the milder
limits he had imposed on it in 2003.

Citing two events in 2005 — a march in Harlem and
a demonstration by homeless people in front of the home
of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg — the judge said the city
had offered scant justification for videotaping the people

“There was no reason to suspect or anticipate that unlawful
or terrorist activity might occur,” he wrote, “or that pertinent
information about or evidence of such activity might
be obtained by filming the earnest faces of those concerned
citizens and the signs by which they hoped to convey their
message to a public official.”

While he called the police conduct “egregious,” Judge Haight
also offered an unusual judicial mea culpa, taking responsibility
for his own words in a 2003 order that he conceded had
not been “a model of clarity.”

The restrictions on videotaping do not apply to bridges,
tunnels, airports, subways or street traffic, Judge Haight
noted, but are meant to control police surveillance at events
where people gather to exercise their rights under
the First Amendment.

“No reasonable person, and surely not this court, is unaware
of the perils the New York public faces and the crucial
importance of the N.Y.P.D.’s efforts to detect, prevent and
punish those who would cause others harm,” Judge Haight

Jethro M. Eisenstein, one of the lawyers who challenged
the videotaping practices, said that Judge Haight’s ruling
would make it possible to contest other surveillance tactics,
including the use of undercover officers at political gatherings.
In recent years, police officers have disguised themselves
as protesters, shouted feigned objections when uniformed
officers were making arrests, and pretended to be mourners
at a memorial event for bicycle riders killed in traffic accidents.

“This was a major push by the corporation counsel to say that
the guidelines are nice but they’re yesterday’s news, and that
the security establishment’s view of what is important trumps
civil liberties,” Mr. Eisenstein said. “Judge Haight is saying that’s
just not the way we’re doing things in New York City.”

A spokesman for Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly referred
questions about the ruling to the city’s lawyers, who noted that
Judge Haight did not set a deadline for destroying the tapes
it had already made, and that the judge did not find the city
had violated the First Amendment.

Nevertheless, Judge Haight — at times invoking the mythology
of the ancient Greeks and of Harold Ross, the founding editor
of The New Yorker — used blunt language to characterize the
Police Department’s activities.

“There is no discernible justification for the apparent disregard
of the guidelines” in his 2003 court order, he said. These spell
out the broad circumstances under which the police could
investigate political gatherings.

Under the guidelines, the police may conduct investigations
— including videotaping — at political events only if they have
indications that unlawful activity may occur, and only after
they have applied for permission to the deputy commissioner
in charge of the Intelligence Division.

Judge Haight noted that the Police Department had
not produced

evidence that any applications for permission to videotape
had ever been filed.

Near the end of his 51-page order, the judge warned that
the Police Department must change its practices or face penalties.

“Any future use by the N.Y.P.D. of video and photographic
equipment during the course of an investigation involving
political activity” that did not follow the guidelines could
result in contempt proceedings, he wrote.

At monthly group bicycle rides in Lower Manhattan known
as Critical Mass, some participants break traffic laws, and
the police routinely videotape those events, Judge Haight
noted. That would be an appropriate situation for taping,
he said, but police officials did not follow the guidelines
and apply for permission.

“This is a classic case of application of the guidelines: political
activity on the part of individuals, but legitimate law enforcement
purpose on the part of the police,” Judge Haight wrote.
“It is precisely the sort of situation where the guidelines
require adherence to certain protocols but ultimately give
the N.Y.P.D. the flexibility to pursue its law enforcement goals.”

Gideon Oliver, a lawyer who has represented many people
arrested during the monthly bicycle rides, said he was troubled
by the intensive scrutiny of political activities.

“I’m looking forward to a deeper and more serious exploration
of how and why this surveillance has been conducted,”
Mr. Oliver said.

In the past the Police Department has said that it needed
intelligence about the Critical Mass rides in order to protect
the streets from unruly riders.

Patrick Markee, an official with another group that was cited
in the ruling, the Coalition for the Homeless, said the judge’s
decision ratified their basic rights to free speech.

“We’re gratified that Judge Haight found that the police
shouldn’t engage in surveillance of homeless New Yorkers
and their supporters when they’re engaged in peaceful,
lawful political protest,” Mr. Markee said.

The Police Department’s approach to investigating political,
social and religious groups has been a contentious subject
for most of four decades, and a class action lawsuit brought
by political activists, including a lawyer named Barbara Handschu,
was settled in 1985. Judge Haight oversees the terms of that
settlement, which are known as the Handschu guidelines,
and which he modified in 2003.

At the time, Judge Haight said that the police could “attend
any event open to the public, on the same terms and conditions
of the public generally.”

But in yesterday’s ruling, he said that permission “cannot be
stretched to authorize police officers to videotape everyone
at a public gathering just because a visiting little old lady
from Dubuque (to borrow from The New Yorker) could do so.
There is a quantum difference between a police officer and
the little old lady (or other tourist or private citizen) videotaping
or photographing a public event.”

The judge said he bore some responsibility for misinterpretation
of the guidelines.

“I confess with some chagrin that while the text of this opinion
and its implementing order, read together, may not be as opaque
as the irritatingly baffling pronouncements of the Oracle”
at Delphi, “they do not constitute a model of clarity,” he wrote.


11) A Shameful Prosecution
February 14, 2007

An immigration court judge’s dismissal of 20-year-old deportation
proceedings against two Palestinian men — and his criticism
of the government’s abusive conduct in the case — ought to prick
the conscience of the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff.
Rather than reflexively pursuing an appeal, Mr. Chertoff, a former
federal judge, should see the wisdom of finally declaring an end
to this sorry legal tale, which has become a big source of distrust
in the Arab and Muslim community.

The two legal American residents at the center of the controversy,
Khader Musa Hamide and Michel Ibrahim Shehadeh, are the sole
remaining defendants in a Reagan-era cause célèbre known
as the L.A. 8 case. They were arrested in Los Angeles and marked
for deportation along with six others because of allegations
that they supported the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,
which is classified as a terrorist group.

The charges against the two have shifted repeatedly. Originally,
they were charged under the 1952 McCarran-Walter Act, a cold
war relic that allowed the deportation of noncitizens linked to any
group advocating “world communism.” A federal court declared
those provisions unconstitutional and Congress repealed them,
but the government’s obsession only seemed to grow. At least
twice, government lawyers pressed Congress for statutory changes,
then tried to apply them retroactively.

What makes this pursuit so bizarre is that the government long
ago conceded it had no evidence that the two men had ever been
involved in any terrorist act, or any criminal act. Had they been
United States citizens, they could not have been arrested.
The key allegation — that two decades ago the men distributed
a magazine published by the Popular Front and raised money
for lawful charitable institutions somehow connected to the
group — suggests that the government’s real motive all along
has been to punish the exercise of free speech.

In dismissing the case, an immigration judge, Bruce Einhorn,
cited the government’s “gross failure” to comply with his instructions
to produce potentially exculpatory and other relevant information.
He fittingly denounced the 20-year pursuit as “an embarrassment
to the rule of law.”

Mr. Chertoff has until Feb. 28 to file an appeal. The only decent
thing to do is to drop the case.


12) Gold-plated Indifference
Paul Krugman
Sunday, January 21, 2007

President Bush’s Saturday radio address was devoted to health care,
and officials have put out the word that the subject will be a major
theme in tomorrow’s State of the Union address. Mr. Bush’s proposal
won’t go anywhere. But it’s still worth looking at his remarks,
because of what they say about him and his advisers.

On the radio, Mr. Bush suggested that we should “treat health
insurance more like home ownership.” He went on to say that “the
current tax code encourages home ownership by allowing you to
deduct the interest on your mortgage from your taxes. We can
reform the tax code, so that it provides a similar incentive for
you to buy health insurance.”

Wow. Those are the words of someone with no sense of what
it’s like to be uninsured.

Going without health insurance isn’t like deciding to rent an
apartment instead of buying a house. It’s a terrifying experience,
which most people endure only if they have no alternative.
The uninsured don’t need an “incentive” to buy insurance; they
need something that makes getting insurance possible.

Most people without health insurance have low incomes, and just
can’t afford the premiums. And making premiums tax-deductible
is almost worthless to workers whose income puts them in a low
tax bracket.

Of those uninsured who aren’t low-income, many can’t get
coverage because of pre-existing conditions — everything
from diabetes to a long-ago case of jock itch. Again, tax
deductions won’t solve their problem.

The only people the Bush plan might move out of the ranks of
the uninsured are the people we’re least concerned about —
affluent, healthy Americans who choose voluntarily not to be
insured. At most, the Bush plan might induce some of those
people to buy insurance, while in the process — whaddya
know — giving many other high-income individuals yet
another tax break.

While proposing this high-end tax break, Mr. Bush is also
proposing a tax increase — not on the wealthy, but on workers
who, he thinks, have too much health insurance. The tax code,
he said, “unwisely encourages workers to choose overly expensive,
gold-plated plans. The result is that insurance premiums rise,
and many Americans cannot afford the coverage they need.”

Again, wow. No economic analysis I’m aware of says that when
Peter chooses a good health plan, he raises Paul’s premiums.
And look at the condescension. Will all those who think they
have “gold plated” health coverage please raise their hands?

According to press reports, the actual plan is to penalize
workers with relatively generous insurance coverage. Just
to be clear, we’re not talking about the wealthy; we’re talking
about ordinary workers who have managed to negotiate
better-than-average health plans.

What’s driving all this is the theory, popular in conservative
circles but utterly at odds with the evidence, that the big
problem with U.S. health care is that people have too much
insurance — that there would be large cost savings if people
were forced to pay more of their medical expenses out of pocket.

The administration also believes, for some reason, that people
should be pushed out of employment-based health insurance —
admittedly a deeply flawed system — into the individual insurance
market, which is a disaster on all fronts. Insurance companies
try to avoid selling policies to people who are likely to use them,
so a large fraction of premiums in the individual market goes
not to paying medical bills but to bureaucracies dedicated
to weeding out “high risk” applicants — and keeping them

I’m somewhat skeptical about health care plans, like that proposed
by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, that propose covering gaps
in the health insurance market with a series of patches, such
as requiring that insurers offer policies to everyone at the same
rate. But at least the authors of these plans are trying to help
those most in need, and recognize that the market needs fixing.

Mr. Bush, on the other hand, is still peddling the fantasy that the
free market, with a little help from tax cuts, solves all problems.

What’s really striking about Mr. Bush’s remarks, however, is the
tone. The stuff about providing “incentives” to buy insurance, the
sneering description of good coverage as “gold plated,” is right-
wing think-tank jargon. In the past Mr. Bush’s speechwriters might
have found less offensive language; now, they’re not even trying
to hide his fundamental indifference to the plight of less-
fortunate Americans.

posted by jurassicpork @ 11:07 PM 33 comments links to this post


13) Killers in the Classroom
By Dr. June Scorza Terpstra
"Their plan is to secure the oil, the diamonds, the gold, the water,
the guns, the drugs, and the bling for their masters, who they
hope will cut them in on the swag. They say that someone has
to be on top and they want to be on the side of the strong,
not the weak. Robbing Hoods, not Robin Hoods."
February 15, 2007

During a heated debate in a class I teach on social justice, several
US Marines who had done tours in Iraq told me that they had
"sacrificed" by “serving” in Iraq so that I could enjoy the freedom
to teach in the USA. Parroting their master’s slogan about
"fighting over there so we don’t have to fight over here”, these
students proudly proclaimed that they terrorized and killed
defenseless Iraqis. They intimated that their Arab victims are
nothing more to them than collateral damage, incidental
to their receipt of some money and an education.

A room full of students listened as a US Marine told of the
invasion of Baghdad and Falluja and how he killed innocent
Iraqis at a check point. He called them “collateral damage”
and said he had followed the “rules”. A Muslim-American
student in front of him said “I could slap you but then you
would kill me”. A young female Muslim student gasped
“I am a freshman; I never thought to hear of this in a class.
I feel sick, like I will pass out.”

I knew in that moment that this was what the future of teaching
about justice would include: teaching war criminals who sit
glaring at me with hatred for daring to speak the truth
of their atrocities and who, if paid to, would disappear,
torture and kill me. I wondered that night how long I really
have in this so called “free” country to teach my students
and to be with my children and grandchildren.

The American military and mercenary soldiers who “sacrificed”
their lives did not do so for the teacher’s freedom to teach the
truth about the so-called war on terror, or any of US history
for that matter. They sacrificed their lives, limbs and sanity
for money, some education and the thrills of the violence
for which they are socially bred. Sacrificing for the “bling
and booty” in Iraq or Afghanistan, The Philippines, Grenada,
Central America, Mexico, Somalia, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan,
or any of the other numerous wars and invasions spanning
US history as an entity and beginning with their foundational
practice of killing the Indians and stealing their land.

Many of the classes that I teach now include students who
“served” in the US military and security corporations. There
are also many students who intend to join the US military
upon completion of a degree because with the degree they
get a bigger “sign on” bonus of ten to fifty thousand dollars.
Their position is supported by many of the student body,
who, vegetating according to the American Plan, believe they
should “support their troops”. The excuses that they give
for joining or intending to join the US military terrorist training
camps are first and foremost motivated by a desire for money.
One student proudly said that he is willing to kill for money,
a better standard of living and an education. Another student,
who had done two tours of duty to the Empire in Iraq, justified
killing and torture, citing the importance of staying on top
as the world’s number one super power so that his family
could have the highest standard of living and unlimited
access to the world’s oil supplies.

Yet another soldier-student said that there would always
be wars and someone had to do it. The”it” is killing, rape,
and plunder for profit. Some of the soldier-students agreed
that military terrorism was thrilling. Stopping and killing people
at checkpoints in order to maintain a comfortable lifestyle
in the USA was worth the risk of being killed or maimed.
Little did they know that the very education they would kill
for could include a course on social justice in which they
would be compelled to examine their motives, beliefs and
actions in an evil, illegal, immoral and unjust invasion and
occupation of a people who never hurt or harmed them
or any of their fellow citizens.

To be fair, in this week’s discussion in class there was some
mention that some of the student’s intentions had been
honorable at the time that they joined the military. They
wanted to “help other people”. A few woman students who
want to join the military commented that they would be
working to “free and defend” people here and abroad.
However, for the most part and by their own admission,
personal financial gain was their main focus in signing on.
Their bottom line was getting the money and their thrills
by joining and belonging to the biggest terrorist organization
in the world, the USA.

What appears to trouble the soldier student is that the rhetoric
of fighting for freedom and democracy is a lie that cannot
blanket the horror and guilt of their terrorism. They do
not want to hear that participation in invasion and occupation,
murder and pillaging, is logically inconsistent with any legitimate
concept of freedom or liberation. They know the greed
and programmed lust for violence that motivates them.
They expect that if they can make it out alive, they get some
money, a comfortable lifestyle and an education. Their plan
is to secure the oil, the diamonds, the gold, the water,
the guns, the drugs, and the bling for their masters, who
they hope will cut them in on the swag. They say that someone
has to be on top and they want to be on the side of the strong,
not the weak. Robbing Hoods, not Robin Hoods.

And now, here they sit in my course on social justice, terrorist
war criminals, wanting high paying “criminal justice” jobs
in a university Justice Studies program. They want approval,
appreciation and honors for terrorism, torture, and murder.
They want a university degree so they can get an even higher
salary terrorizing more people around the world with security
companies such as Blackwater or Halliburton. They want that
appropriately named “sheepskin” so they can join the CIA, FBI,
and other police and track down and terrorize US residents here.

These military and mercenary terrorist-students are trained
in terrorist training camps all under the USA, funded by American
taxpayers. In fact, people under the USA are “sacrificing” their
health care and their children’s educations while donating their
tax dollars to these terrorist training camps. These terrorist camps
train money hungry working class stiffs to murder, steal
and plunder for the power hungry US corporate war lords.

There is a saying that “if you do the crime, you do the time”.
My response is that “If you do the war crimes, you will do time
in hell, whether the hell of war trauma and shock, of diseases
such as those caused by depleted uranium, the old-fashioned
traditional hell, fire and brimstone assigned to malefactors…
or the hell of sitting in a social justice class and discovering
what the hell you are in hell for, or are about to be.

Please visit Dr Terpstras' website


14) Labour, community and academics launch
May Day Global Solidarity School in Cuba
April 28 to May 12 2007
16 February 2007
Please redistribute and post widely
Press contacts below Email Web

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

We extend a warm invitation to register for the historic first annual
Global Solidarity School taking place in Havana Cuba from April 28 to
May 12 2007. Please see our website for details.

In the tradition of the World Social Forums, union education schools
and community organizing, we are combining these elements to create a
school for building social change -- bringing together students seeking
to build a better world.

As a student at the Global Solidarity School, you will meet with
international counterparts who care about the well being of our planet and
who seek to create progressive social changes necessary to ensure social
and environmental sustainability. Our classes allow you to examine
global issues and strategies for change in a creative and friendly
environment. Recognized activist educators and academics together with the
University of Havana's top foreign language staff and cultural experts lead
Global Solidarity School classes. See our course offerings on our


This is an extraordinary opportunity to travel for learning and life.
We want you to join us. Here is how to make it happen.

Register for one or two weeks. The tuition is $1,600 per week, which
includes accommodation, and educational trips (but does not include
airfare, transport to and from the airport, exit fees or visas).

* Week One -- Saturday 28 April to Saturday 05 May
* Week Two -- Saturday 05 May to Saturday 12 May

With any option you'll have the opportunity to connect with the people
of Cuba who are engaged at every level with the crucial issues of
economic, social and environmental stewardship in the Americas. You'll also
be engaged with North Americans who share similar perspectives and are
active in their home communities.

Here's what's included:

* Be part of May Day in Cuba: Participate up front as a respected
international guest in the world's largest gathering of labour. Join with
one million Cubans in what they describe as the Celebration of the Free
Peoples in the American Hemisphere.

* Stay for 8 days and 7 nights, (or 15 days and 14 nights) at the
stunning five-star Hotel Habana Libre. Situated only blocks away from the
famed Malecon (oceanfront walkway), the University of Havana, and the
city's cultural center, the Habana Libre is within walking distance of all
the best that the city has to offer in entertainment and cultural
venues. As well, you'll feast at the hotel's fabulous breakfast and dinner
buffets, and lounge at one of the best swimming pools in Havana.

* Take Spanish and Cuban cultural courses taught by Cuban professors at
the University of Havana.

* Participate in our courses on global issues and strategies for
building solidarity and leadership led by expert educators and movement
leaders from Canada and elsewhere.

* Learn how to perform and dance to Salsa, Son, Rumba and other popular
Cuban rhythms.

* Participate in afternoon tours led by professional Cuban guides and
translators to visit Havana's most important historic sites, plus visits
to artist's studios, museums, Afrocuban enclaves, and contemporary
Cuban cultural centers.

* Choose optional evening cultural events and you'll enjoy visits to
some of Cuba's best jazz clubs, an Afrocuban dance performance, cabaret
performances and other activities.


* You'll meet and mix with everyday Cubans in ways tourists rarely

* You'll network and become lasting friends with progressive trade
unionists and community activists from across Canada, from around the
world, and in particular from Cuba.

* You'll collaborate with people who care about the planet and who work
to make it a better place for all.

Don't wait! Plan to participate. Book your vacation time now.

Register today in the first annual Global Solidarity School to
guarantee your participation in this historic event. Go to our website at: for all costs and details.

Welcoming you aboard!

In solidarity,
Bill Saunders
President Vancouver and District Labour Council

Global Solidarity School
Suite 140 - 111 Victoria Drive
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada V5L 4C4

877.687.3817 Toll free
604.874.9048 In Vancouver
604.254.0701 Facsimile Email Web

* CoDevelopment Canada
* Vancouver and District Labour Council
* Cuba Education Tours


15) Chavez calls on the working class
to put itself at the forefront of the revolution
By Euler Calzadilla and Jose Hernandez (CMR)
February 16, 2007

In a meeting on Wednesday, February 14 with the retired
workers of the IVSS (Instituto Venezolano de los Seguros Sociales
- Venezuelan Institute of Social Security), in the Venezuela room
of the Circulo Militar, the President of the Bolivarian Republic
of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez declared (quoting Marx) that "the
workers cannot be turned into the slaves of work, into the
slaves of capital. Capital must be subordinated to the workers."
Reflecting upon this Chavez ordered a review of the 8-hour day,
as well as saying that the working day should be reduced
to allow the workers time for education. "I ask for the full
support of the working class and of the genuinely revolutionary
trade unions... I call upon the working class to once and for
all play its rightful role in this revolution."

Once again the president reiterated his call to the workers
to take concrete action through the trade unions. He had
already done this in the past with a call to the workers using
the slogan "factory closed, factory occupied". However, the
leaders of the various currents of the UNT did not know how
to take advantage of this opportunity. Instead of focusing
the debate on the question of organising the workers for the
occupation of factories and enterprises and demanding their
nationalization under workers' control, they focusing their
attention on the question of the internal elections and the
struggle around which current would control the leadership.

Chavez recently made another call in one his speeches on
"Alo Presidente". With these words he is telling the leadership
of the workers' movement that now is the time to act.
The leaders of all the tendencies of the workers' movement
have a great responsibility.

From the point of view of the CMR this is perfectly possible.
The leadership of the UNT must call a national meeting of all
the sectors of the workers' movement to discuss Socialism
of the 21st Century and the role of the working class in the
Bolivarian Revolution. A national day of factory occupations
must be organised, and workers' councils established, the
soul of which will be the trade unions. These councils must
be linked on a local, regional and national level, and must
be coordinated with the peasant, youth, and communal

These elements in Chavez's speech add to the much talked-
about wave of nationalisations of strategic companies
in the country. The Bolivarian government, facing the
intensification of the class struggle and the capitalist
sabotage of the economy, and in an increasingly open debate
about how to build the socialist state, has launched the
nationalisation of the energy and telecommunications
sector, which has woken up and animated the masses
in creating enormous expectations, intensifying the
struggle between reform and revolution.

It is certainly the time for the working class to play its role
in the revolution. For the working class, these steps are seen
as a step forward. The nationalisation of the energy and
telecommunications sectors must be accompanied by the
establishment of workers' control in the nationalised industries,
in order that the state bureaucracy cannot transform these
progressive measures into their opposite.

These measures are a step forward for the revolution, but only
a step. Now the revolution finds itself under the pressure
of the imperialists who threaten to sabotage the economy
through their lackeys, the Venezuelan capitalists. The only
way to defend the conquests of the revolution is to rely
on the workers.

In the same way and due to the shortage of some basic products
and supplies caused by the capitalist clique, Chavez affirmed
in the above cited speech that there is no justification for any
shortages. Through decree he has regulated the process of
commercialisation and called upon the communities and the
workers to organise themselves to denounce those who create
this type of situation in order that they can be nationalised.
"If you dare not respect the sale of those regulated products
you will be nationalised, even if I have to nationalise the whole
set-up and put it in the hands of the communal councils,"
explained the President.

Inevitably the bureaucrats and both the national and foreign
capitalists will boycott the companies under workers' control.
However, the workers who control the nationalised companies,
under cogestión, occupied, in struggle, etc. must work together
in an organised way in order to influence the political and
economic transformation of society.

To that end FRETECO must be an example to follow and be
supported by the workers' movement, which today President
Chavez has asked to play its role. The board is set. The work
of the revolutionaries is to intensify the political education
of the workers as well as to set in motion a plan of united action
to concentrate the forces of the revolution on the key points
necessary to the unify the workers' movement. We still need
to facilitate in this way the meeting of the working class and
its ideology. Patria socialismo o muerte venceremos!
(Fatherland, socialism or death, we shall prevail!)


16) On to the Hard Part on Iraq
February 17, 2007

President Bush lost touch long ago with Iraq’s political reality — not
to mention Americans’ anguish and disbelief at his mismanagement
of the war. So we welcome the House of Representatives’ long-overdue
attempt to shake some sense into Mr. Bush with a resolution opposing
his decision to send another 20,000 combat troops to fight this
disastrous war without any plan to end it.

Yet yesterday’s vote, in which 17 Republicans joined the Democrats
to produce a margin of 246 to 182, was the easy part. It takes
no great courage or creativity for a politician to express continuing
support for the troops and opposition to a vastly unpopular and
unpromising military escalation. Even if the Senate manages
to overcome its procedural self-hobbling and approve a similar
resolution, the war and the mismanagement will go on.

The next necessary steps will require harder thinking and harder
choices. Congress needs to do what Mr. Bush is refusing to do:
link further financing for the war to the performance of Iraq’s
Shiite-led government, which is making no serious effort
to rescue its country from civil war.

Congress needs to impose clear benchmarks and rigorous
timetables, insisting that the Iraqi government stop equivocating
and start disarming sectarian militias, adopt a formula to share
oil revenues equitably and end employment discrimination
against Sunni Arabs. Congress must be prepared to cut off
financing if the Iraqis refuse.

We fear that clever maneuvers like the one proposed by
Representative John Murtha, reportedly with the backing
of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to dress up a reduction in troop
strength as a “support the troops” measure won’t help contain
the war or make American troops safer. Mr. Murtha would link
this year’s war financing to the Pentagon’s adoption of new
deployment rules, including longer stretches from the battlefield
for returning troops, more specialized training and better
defensive equipment. That would let representatives cast
a politically safe vote for financing the war, while forcing
the Pentagon to gradually reduce the number of active duty
troops available to serve in Iraq.

This page has advocated many of the same reforms — but
not as a back-door way of forcing lower troop numbers in Iraq.
Congress’s overriding goal must be to find the most responsible
way to extricate American troops from what is becoming
an increasingly unwinnable war, while trying to contain
the suffering and minimizing the damage to American
interests in the region.

Instead of camouflaged troop squeezes, Congress needs
to grasp the problem straight on and do what the administration
won’t do. It must impose tough requirements and deadlines
on the Iraqi government, and link the future of all American
troops in Iraq to the timely achievement of these goals.



Radio Station Cries 'Enough' -- Won't Quote From Certain News Stories
Relying on Unnamed Officials
By Greg Mitchell
Published: February 13, 2007 10:55 PM ET

FOCUS | Murtha Is Democrats' Face in Iraq Debate
"By mid-March, Democratic Congressman John Murtha will offer
legislation that he says would set such stringent rules on combat
deployments that Bush would have no choice but to begin
bringing troops home."

FOCUS | The Forgotten Families
"Her daughter was killed by a bomb in Iraq. Eight months later,
Susan Jaenke is both grief-stricken and strapped - behind
on her mortgage, backed up on her bills and shut out of the
$100,000 government death benefit that her daughter thought
she had left her. The problem is that Jaenke is not a wife, not
a husband, but instead grandmother to the 9-year-old her
daughter left behind. For the Jaenkes and others like them,
the toll of war can be especially complex: They face not only
the anguish of losing a son or daughter but also the emotional,
legal and financial difficulties of putting the pieces back together
for a grandchild."

Space lasers detect big lakes under Antarctic ice
By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lasers beamed from space have detected
what researchers have long suspected: big sloshing lakes
of water underneath Antarctic ice."
February 16, 2007

Cable to expand Cuba‘s internet capacity
Ely Times, NV - February 16
Staff and agencies
By John RIce / Associated Press writer
HAVANA - A new undersea fiber-optic cable from Cuba to Venezuela
should be finished within two years, a Venezuelan communications
official said Thursday, dramatically expanding Cuba‘s internet
and telephone capacity.
That‘s well over 1,000 times the capacity of Cuba‘s current satellite-
based internet link, which was listed as 65 megabytes per second
on upload and 124 megabytes a second on download by Cuban
Communications Minister Ramiro Valdes.
"It‘s a very important project, not only for Venezuela and Cuba,
it‘s for all Latin American countries," Duran said during an interview
at an informatics convention.
Cuba has one of the region‘s lowest rates of internet usage.
Officials say that is because the current bandwidth restrictions
and U.S. threats against foreign suppliers of technology to Cuba
force them to give priority to schools, researchers and essential
businesses. Critics have accused the government of restricting
internet access to limit Cubans‘ exposure to criticism
or information from abroad.
[VIA Email from Howard Keylor]

Guest workers allege slavery locally
Published: Thursday, February 15, 2007 7:06 PM CST

1,000 Dogs and Cats Killed After Outbreak at Shelter
"Ms. Gale said her organization had been operating the shelter
like a rescue operation and had not been euthanizing enough
animals to keep the space safe and sanitary for the adoptable
ones. From now on, she said, unadoptable animals will be
euthanized after 72 hours at the shelter, as the Humane
Society recommends."
February 16, 2007

Democrats in State Capitols Push Antiwar Resolutions
February 16, 2007

Pressing Allies, President Warns of Afghan Battle
"WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 — President Bush warned on Thursday that
he expected “fierce fighting” to flare in Afghanistan this spring,
and he pressed NATO allies to provide a bigger and more aggressive
force to guard against a resurgence by the Taliban and Al Qaeda
that could threaten the fragile Afghan state."
February 16, 2007

Israel Begins Running Web Cameras at Contested Excavation Site
February 16, 2007

House Passes Iraq Resolution With 17 Votes From G.O.P.
"WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 — After four days of emotional debate over
the extent of presidential powers in wartime and the proper role
of Congress, the House of Representatives adopted a resolution
today denouncing President Bush’s plan to send more American
troops to Iraq.
The 246 to 182 vote in favor of the non-binding but nevertheless
important measure set the stage for a crucial Senate debate
on Saturday on how to debate the administration’s Iraq policy,
or indeed whether it should be debated at all."
February 16, 2007

Not in our name: campaign launched against Trident
Exclusive: Leading figures from politics, religion,
the arts and the military demand halt to replacement
By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor
"A powerful coalition of 100 scientists, lawyers, church leaders,
actors, writers and MPs is today demanding a halt to the rush
by Tony Blair towards a replacement for Britain's Trident
nuclear weapon system."
Published: 15 February 2007

Illinois: Mayor Added to Torture Suit
Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago was added as a defendant
to a federal civil lawsuit accusing city officials of covering up
torture of dozens of criminal suspects by police officers on the
South Side in the 1970s and 1980s. Mr. Daley, who is seeking
his sixth term as mayor in an election on Feb. 27, was Cook
County’s top prosecutor in the early 1980s when some of the
most serious incidents of brutality are alleged to have taken
place. The lawsuit is one of several filed in federal court in
recent years on behalf of men claiming that police officers
tortured them into giving false confessions.
February 15, 2007

Tennessee: Death Certificates in Abortions
A state representative introduced legislation that would
require death certificates for aborted fetuses, which would
be likely to create public records identifying women who
have abortions. The representative, Stacey Campfield,
a Republican, predicted the bill would pass in the Republican
-controlled Senate but would face difficulties in the Democratic
-controlled House. “At least we would see how many lives are
being ended out there by abortions,” Mr. Campfield said.
The number of abortions reported to the state Office of Vital
Records is already publicly available. Representative Rob Briley,
a Democrat and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee,
called Mr. Campfield’s proposal “the most preposterous
bill I’ve seen” in an eight-year legislative career.
February 15, 2007

Bush Declares Iran’s Arms Role in Iraq Is Certain
February 15, 2007

U.S., Britain fare poorly in children survey
UNICEF ranks the well-being of youngsters in 21 developed countries.
By Maggie Farley, Times Staff Writer
February 15, 2007,0,5374235.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Troops Sweep 3 Shiite Areas in Baghdad Push
"Thousands of American troops in armored Stryker vehicles swarmed
through three mostly Shiite neighborhoods of northeastern Baghdad
today, encountering little resistance, in what commanders described
as the first major sweep of the new security plan for the capital.
The push into Shaab, Bayda and Ur, on the northern edge of Sadr City,
comes one day after the top Iraqi general claimed broad powers
to search, detain and move residents from their homes. It was the
largest of several operations carried out today, as American and
Iraqi government forces step up their efforts to halt the bloody
violence in Baghdad."
February 14, 2007

Greatest Generation Learns About Great Safe Sex
"The sex educators had news for this class of 40 people in their 70s
and 80s, just in time for Valentine’s Day: Older folks are friskier
than ever, and it’s never too late to learn about safe sex."
February 14, 2007

Bush Says Iran Is Source of Deadly Bombs
"WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 -- President Bush said today he is certain
that elements of the Iranian government are supplying deadly
roadside bombs that kill American troops in Iraq, even if the
innermost circle of the government is not involved."
February 14, 2007

Chrysler to Cut 13,000 Jobs in Overhaul
February 15, 2007

Army Giving More Waivers in Recruiting
February 14, 2007

Chrysler to Cut 13,000 Jobs in North America

In Gaza, Circles of Hell
Jen Marlowe
February 12, 2007

How Gaza Offends Us All
By Jennifer Loewenstein
"What a terrible shame it is that Gazans have not yet attained the status of
human in the eyes of the Western powers, for the resistance there will
continue to be an enigma until this changes. For now, however, the slaughter will
continue unabated."

Just like life under Pinochet:
"The Palestinians' lives under the occupation are reminiscent of the lives
of Chile's citizens under the dictatorship," says Chilean Judge Juan Guzman,
who is visiting Israel, last week. "

Norman Finkelstein on the Tehran Holocaust Conference

Robert Fisk: Lebanon slides towards civil war as anniversary
of Hariri's murder looms
Published: 14 February 2007

Preserving perches for wild parrots
City would take responsibility for favored aging
cypresses under S.F. supervisor's plan
Charlie Goodyear, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Freedom Rider: Medical Apartheid
by Black Agenda Report Editor and Senior Columnist Margaret Kimberley

Public Housing Residents Take Back Their Homes
February 10 was a historic day in New Orleans. Residents of the
C.J. Pete public housing development moved back into their homes,
which the government had slated for demolition.
February 11, 2007




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
(scroll down when you get there])

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])