Saturday, June 23, 2007



"The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make a criminal look like he's the victim and make the victim look like he's the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press. If you aren't careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing."

- Malcolm X, Audubon Ballroom, December 13, 1964
[This email was sent to you as a service, by Roland Sheppard. Visit my website at:]


AmirWise wants to share a video with you


From: kelly dougherty
Date: Jun 20, 2007 9:18 AM
Subject: [IVAW Members] Soldier in Iraq Resists the Occupation

Fellow IVAW Members,

Yesterday, June 19, 26 year old SPC Eli Israel put himself at great personal risk by making the courageous decision to refuse further participation in the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Eli told his commanding officer and sergeants that he will no longer be a combatant in this illegal, unjustified war. Eli believes that the U.S. government used the attacks of September 11, 2001 as a pretense to invade Iraq and that "we are now violating the people of this country (Iraq) in ways that we would never accept on our own soil." Eli is stationed at Camp Victory in Baghdad with JVB Bravo Company, 1-149 Infantry of the Kentucky Army National Guard. This soldier's decision to refuse orders puts him at great risk, especially because he is in Iraq, isolated from legal assistance and other support. The following is a message that Eli sent yesterday to a friend back home:

"I have told them that I will no longer play a 'combat role' in this conflict or 'protect corporate representatives,' and they have taken this as 'violating a direct order.' I may be in jail or worse in the next 24 hours.

Please rally whoever you can, call whoever you can, bring as much attention to this as you can. I have no doubt that the military will bury me and hide the whole situation if they can. I'm in big trouble. I'm in the middle of Iraq, surrounded by people who are not on my side. Please help me. Please contact whoever you can, and tell them who I am, so I don't 'disappear.'"

Eli is taking an incredible risk by refusing orders in Iraq and will most likely be court martialed. Please help him by contacting his Senator and requesting that he take any steps necessary to support and protect this soldier and ensure that the Army respects his rights and does not illegally retaliate against him.

Senator Mitch McConnell:
Washington Office
361-A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2541
Fax: (202) 224-2499

The resistance to the occupation of Iraq is building daily from within the military and we are at the forefront of this struggle. We are in this together.

In Peace,

Kelly Dougherty
Executive Director
Iraq Veterans Against the War
ph: (215)241-7123
fax: (215)241-7177


Interesting Argument About Global Warming


Close the School of the Americas

1. Complete the form with your information.
2. Personalize the message text on the right with your own words, if you wish.
3. Click the Send Your Message button to send your letter to these decision makers:


To Members of Congress and the Senate--both Democrats
and Republicans--and our President

At least wipe some of the blood off your guilty hands.
Show some remorse! Stop funding the outright training
of paid murderers!

End the "School of the Americas." Stop the War on Iraq
and Afghanistan! End all aid to Israel! Bring all the
troops home immediately!

Through corporate plunder of the world's natural resources
and outright war against any who stand up for themselves,
you, who sit in our government; who have been paid by
the corporations--your corporations--are wrecking
havoc bringing nothing but death and destruction across
this planet--anything to make a buck for yourselves!

Meanwhile, our children die from fever while private
HMOs battle over who is responsible for the antibiotics
necessary to save the child and our husbands must choose
which finger to save after an accident!

You are a bunch of sicko's! Do something to redeem
yourselves under your God because no God approves
of such ruthless behavior!

Most sincerely yours,

Bonnie Weinstein

Demanding an end to the war
through an escalating series of actions
on the
of every month
beginning Friday September 21st


Michael Moore's Sicko - he has outdone himself.


Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

"JR" interviewed William Singletary on Dennis Bernstein's KPFA Flashpoints program Thursday 7 June at 5 P.M. You can listen to the audio archive of the program on the url above. The Singletary interview is about 22 minutes into the program.

William Singletary insisted that he is the "only" witness to the events that night when police officer Daniel Faulkner was shot. He states that Mumia Abu-Jamal did not arrive on the scene until about 4 or 5 minutes after Faulkner was shot.



Check it out!"


Stop the poison, heal the people: Come to the town hall meetings every Thursday, 6pm, Grace Tabernacle Church, Oakdale & Ingalls, editorial by Willie Ratcliff,



Note: Because of the importance of this call, I am keeping
it on the list as number 1 for the next couple of

1) What Should the Anti-War Movement Do Now?
A Proposal from the ANSWER Coalition
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545

2) Politicide and the Failure of the
Two-State Solution
Keynote Speech at al-Awda’s Fifth Convention, Anaheim, California, June 25-27, 2007
Zahi Damuni

3) Canada: High strike rate now leading to factory occupations
By Julian Benson and Alex Grant in Toronto
Thursday, 21 June 2007

4) Afghans Say NATO Bombs Kill 25 Civilians
June 22, 2007

5) Open Wide and Say ‘Shame’
NYT Movie Review of 'SICKO'
June 22, 2007

6) 'Sicko' leaves top Democrats ill at ease
"Leading candidates are sidestepping direct comment on filmmaker Michael Moore's proposals for universal healthcare."
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
Times Staff Writer
June 22, 2007,0,5962985.story?coll=la-home-center

7) The Puppet Makers
By Mumia Abu-Jamal

8) Officials: Arrests Not Tied to Protests
Filed at 1:45 p.m. ET
June 23, 2007

9) Mass Arrest of Brooklyn Youths Spotlights Tactics
June 24, 2007

10) Skyrocketing Premiums and Drug Prices Going Right Through the Roof
June 23, 2007

11) Moore Not Worried About 'Sicko' Leak
Friday, June 22, 2007

Press Release:

13) The Purple Brain: America's New Reefer Madness
By Marsha Rosenbaum and Paul Armentano, AlterNet
Posted on June 23, 2007, Printed on June 23, 2007


1) What Should the Anti-War Movement Do Now?
A Proposal from the ANSWER Coalition
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545

[Please note: I endorse this call wholeheartedly and
encourage everyone to sign on! --Bonnie Weinstein,]

It is an absolute responsibility of the anti-war movement
to make an honest and straightforward assessment of the
current situation and to craft a strategy that can really
make a difference. Every serious organization, and especially
those with the greatest mobilizing reach, must be asked
to avoid posturing, make an assessment and develop an
action plan that will change the political landscape
in a decisive way.

This document does not seek to address or detail the
political differences between organizations and groups.
They exist and they have been detailed often. At this
moment, there needs to be an effort at clear perspective
that focuses on one simple question: What will end the
war and occupation of Iraq and what should the US anti-
war movement do?

It is clear that the anti-war movement is not sufficiently
strong at the moment to bring this criminal and despised
war to an end. Every organization must ask why is this
so and most importantly what can be done to change the
situation immediately.

The first question to ask and answer is: Can a people's
movement in the United States overcome the commitment
of the White House, Congress and the Pentagon to authorize,
extend and finance the war and occupation in Iraq?

If you or your organization answers the question negatively
then the rest doesn’t really matter. Perhaps, individuals
can bear witness and continue to protest, but it will
be little more than an individual statement.

If the answer to the question is yes, however, we must
assess various factors and craft a strategy that will be
fundamentally different from the current path of the
anti-war movement.

Historically, wars come to an end either because one side
wins and one side loses, or the people rise in revolution
(usually as a result of a military defeat or pending defeat),
or both sides exhaust each other over a protracted period.

What is the military situation in Iraq? The US cannot
achieve military victory in Iraq. Its multiple opponents
in Iraq are not militarily strong enough to decisively
defeat the US military in the short term. If the Iraqi
population, however, were able to overcome sectarian
divisions introduced with the US occupation it is possible
that Iraq could witness a repeat of a nationwide uprising
such as the 1958 Revolution that drove the British military
out of Iraq. But the flames of division are being whipped
up every day and function as a deterrent to such a spontaneous
national uprising against the occupiers. Finally, the
US military is stretched thin but is clearly able to
continue the occupation for some time, and the anti-U.S.
opponents in Iraq are not exhausted yet by the protracted
conflict. If anything they are gathering strength and
energy as the occupation forces cannot take the strategic
initiative away from guerrilla forces.

Given this complex reality, or realities, we believe that
the U.S. antiwar movement must take strategic and bold
initiatives that change the political climate in this
country. To succeed, these initiatives must be based
on a correct assessment of where we are.

The ANSWER Coalition wants to offer its own brief assessment
of the political equation in the United States. We are
also offering a proposal to all of the major anti-war
coalitions and groups and to all of those organizations
that function on a local level

Assessment of the political situation as it regards
the Iraq war

1) The people of the country have turned decisively against
the continuation of the war. Most recognize that the war was
based on lies and most no longer believe the president and
the generals when they assure them that victory is still

2) The military situation is worsening rather than improving
in light of the so-called surge. The number of US war dead
in May 2007 spiked to the third highest month since the
initial invasion in 2003. The numbers of Iraqi dead is about
3,000 each month. Two million Iraqis have fled the country
and another two million are internal refugees.

3) The US is unable to secure its political control over
the region as is evident by what is happening in Lebanon,
Iran and Syria and its intensified destabilization campaign
towards the Palestinian people.

4) The Bush administration is increasingly isolated, at home
and abroad, because of its failure in Iraq and its inability
to regain the military initiative even with tens of thousands
of more troops. The Pentagon anticipates occupying Iraq for
decades, as it has Korea and other countries.

5) More and more U.S. soldiers, marines, veterans and the
families of service members are either disillusioned or
completely opposed to the continuation of the war and

6) The Democratic-controlled Congress voted overwhelmingly
to extend and finance the war and occupation. The calculation
of the Democratic Party leadership and the vast majority
of its elected officials in Congress is based on avoiding
at all costs taking responsibility for a pullout from Iraq
which will be perceived as a defeat for the United States
in this strategic oil-rich region. They believe that they
can secure an electoral advantage in 2008 by having the war
drag on and have the public hold the Republicans responsible
for the war. Moreover, the Democratic Party is feeding from
the same corporate financing trough as the Republicans and
they share the Bush government’s broad objective of U.S.
domination in the Middle East. Congress, under the current
circumstances, is completely committed to not ending the war
in Iraq in the next two years and probably for much longer
than that.

Assessment of the weakness and strength of the antiwar

1) There have been a growing number of anti-war protests
on the national, regional and local level during the past
six months.

2) The antiwar protests are being joined and, in some
cases, initiated by the people who have not been involved
in past demonstrations.

3) A growing sentiment of opposition and disgust to the war,
occupation (and the politicians) is building among rank and
file service members and some officers.

4) A large amount of energy and activity was directed at
Congress with the hope that the Congress would heed their
constituents' desire to end the war. When the Congress
instead voted against its constituents and with Bush
to extend the war there was a huge wave of anger, frustration
and desperation but with few available or recognized channels
for effective action.

5) Although the antiwar sentiment is growing among the
general population, the size and intensity of the
demonstrations, protests and acts of resistance does
not at all measure up to the vast magnitude of feelings
against the Iraq war among the general population.

6) The single biggest reason for this dichotomy is the
fact that the anti-war movement is badly splintered rather
than working together or in a united fashion so as to marshal,
stimulate and mobilize a truly massive outpouring of the people.

Proposal to build a truly mass outpouring of the people

If every anti-war coalition and organization came together
on a particular day, and with enough advance notice, under
the simple demand End the War Now it would be easily possible
to mobilize one million people. The political mood in the
country exists to make this happen.

So as to facilitate the greatest degree of coordination between
organizations to build a massive outpouring, the ANSWER Coalition
is not unilaterally setting a date for this potentially million-
strong march and rally. However, we recommend holding it sometime
in November of 2007, or on March 22, 2008--the fifth anniversary
of the war." In order to have such a huge demonstration, enough
time must be given to allow the organizations and coalitions
to come together and for intensive national outreach and

This period of time between now and the demonstration would
not be a period of quiet, it would be a time of intensifying
anti-war activity and education at the local and regional level
culminating in this mass action. Unfortunately, unless the
political relationship of forces changes inside the United
States or in Iraq, the war and occupation will continue
through November and beyond. We are proposing a specific
tactic that can contribute to shifting the equation.

The aim is not just one more demonstration but the largest
antiwar demonstration in US history.

A mobilization of one million people marching on Washington
DC would be the best possible trigger for an avalanche
of grassroots organizing throughout the country and among
service members and their families and veterans. It is time
for something bold and broad. Something that sends an
unmistakable message to the powers that be that the people
of the United States have entered the field of politics in
such a way as to become an irresistible force.

Each group and movement should maintain its political
independence. Each group can inscribe on its banners
a variety of slogans or ideas or demands but what will allow
us to unite for the largest mobilization of all the people
is the simple unifying demand. Whatever differences that
exist between groups, and there are many and they are important,
are not sufficient justification for preventing us from coming
together in a show of force that will change the direction
of this country. The lives of too many people, all victims
of a criminal war, are too precious for our movement to tolerate
anything that prevents us from reaching our potential
to end the war in Iraq. With determination, maturity and mutual
respect our diverse anti-war movement can unite.

We would like to hear from everyone in consideration of this
proposal. If you, your friends, or your organization support
the proposal for a unified mass demonstration aiming to bring
1 million people onto the streets of Washington DC, please
join with us and sign on, which you can do by clicking
this link or visiting
This movement has grown strong because of its grassroots
base. Let’s hear from everyone who supports this exciting

During the next week, people like you and thousands of others
can circulate this proposal, discuss it with your organization,
family and friends, and be part of the effort to make it
a reality. We look forward to hearing from you and working

Proposal by the A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism)
Coalition, May 31, 2007


2) Politicide and the Failure of the
Two-State Solution
Keynote Speech at al-Awda’s Fifth Convention, Anaheim, California, June 25-27, 2007
Zahi Damuni

We are in a season of anniversaries, the 59th of al-Nkbah (1948) and the 40th of “al-Naksah” (1967). Only the second one is commonly referred to as occupation, as if the first conquest is permanent and legitimate, despite the absence of a peace treaty. Nevertheless, for the victims of both conquests, the term occupation applies, and yet they are prolonged occupations far more related to geopolitics rather than to international law. In reality, both of them constitute a form of political genocide (politicide) rather than occupation. The late Israeli sociologist, Baruch Kimmerling who authored a book with that title, defined politicide as a “process that has as its ultimate goal the dissolution of the Palestinian people’s existence as a legitimate national, social, or economic entity, which may also include partial or total ethnic cleansing. The late Tanya Rinehart said the following in this regard five years ago:

“After thirty-five years of occupation, it is completely clear that the only two choices the Israeli political system has generated for the Palestinians are Apartheid or ethnic cleansing (‘transfer’). Apartheid is the ‘enlightened’ Labor party’s program (as in their Allon or Oslo plan), while the other pole is advocating slow suffocation of the Palestinians, until the eventual ‘transfer’ (mass expulsion) can be accomplished.”

Politicide, not occupation, is a process that covers a wide range of social, political, military and bureaucratic activities whose goal is to destroy the political and national existence of a whole community of people, and thus deny it the possibility of self-determination. This is what Israel has been doing since 1948-destroying the very fabric of the Palestinian nation. It has intensified the destruction in 1967 and the process is ongoing.

Using this definition it will be possible to understand Israel’s intentions, plans and policies in a realistic context-away from fantasy, wishful thinking and lies by those who call themselves moderates and fancy their role as a lobby trying to compete with AIPAC and other components of the pro-Israel lobby. There are no differences between the perspectives and intentions of the United States strategic establishment on the one hand, and those of the pro-Israel lobby and the Zionist movement on the other. No wonder, the so-called peace process, initiated and monopolized by Washington, has been a total failure for forty years-an intentional failure because neither Washington nor Tel Aviv has ever had any intention to terminate the occupation.

We must ask: After four decades of diplomatic pretense, is it realistic to speak about “Occupation,” or would politicide take us closer to reality? The term “occupation” is a phenomenon of international law, whereby the occupant and the occupied are entitled to different rights designed to enable the former to conduct the occupation until it comes to an end when the circumstances which had led to it have ceased to exist. The Israeli occupation by its very length-to say nothing of its land confiscation, settlement policy, and other methods of a permanent nature, makes it qualitatively different from other historical occupations.

There is a consensus in the Israeli body politic that self-determination in any area of pre-1948 Palestine is an exclusive Jewish right, which means that the two-state solution is not feasible and the politics of politicide have been directed toward ensuring that outcome. The great challenge facing the Palestinians is to understand the mechanics of politicide and how they have shaped the reality of the current Palestinian situation.

The occupation is a system which enables Israel to control the Palestinians through three dimensions: force, time and space. It is a form of power that is all-encompassing, overwhelming, as Professor Ady Ophir, of the Philosophy department at Tel Aviv University tells us. After Israel left Gaza in August 2005, it appeared to some that the occupation has ended at least in Gaza. Not so, Israel continued to control the sea, the skies, and the passage ways into and out of Gaza. It continued to control the economy. It invaded the whole area and imposed a siege lasting until the present.

Throughout the past forty years, Israel manipulated the domestic law, and international law, making occupation seem normal. For example, the Israeli Supreme Court made the illegal, legal. Richard Falk, among others, demonstrates the ways that international law was made irrelevant by the “occupation.”

Other issues, such as the 6 million refugees, the Bedouins, Israel’s 1.2 million Palestinian citizens, the two million Palestinians in the West Bank and 1.5 million in Gaza were kept as separate entities and consigned to different forms of politicide. The national unity of the Palestinians has thus been thwarted by the “occupation” not only by military means but also by political, bureaucratic and demographic policies all of which are regulated by this occupation. That is why it is more accurate to describe it as politicide rather than classical occupation.

The one area in which Israel managed the occupation/politicide throughout these past decades, which I want to emphasize, is the mechanism of diplomacy. Other mechanisms such as bureaucracy, force, economics, would have to be dealt with separately, therefore the balance of this presentation will be devoted to the question of how American diplomacy in recent years enabled Israel to achieve the goals of politicide by creating the illusion of a two state solution when that option has never been seriously entertained whatsoever.

In fact, the real function of the “peace process,” has been to shelter Israel from the threat of peace. The peace process has enabled Israel to escape its obligations to the Palestinian people under international law. Instead, such obligations have been effectively replaced by Israeli decrees presented as American peace initiatives. Not only has the United States succeeded in regularizing this 40 year occupation, but it also engaged in diplomatic outsourcing, thus consigning part of the diplomatic façade to the European community, the Russian Republic, and the United Nations-and so a new term is added to the diplomatic vocabulary-the quartet, which is Washington’s way to enlist others in support of the USRAELI positions. This new façade is then given the name, the international community. Thus the Zionist movement’s designs are Americanized and later internationalized. The international community which declared the 1967 occupation illegal has now become an accomplice of Washngton and Tel Aviv in supporting politicide.

All in all, ending the “occupation” will continue to be a formidable task due to the fact that combating politicide has produced an unequal conflict, in which the occupation has been sustained militarily, bureaucratically, propagandistically, politically, economically and diplomatically.

Do the Palestinians have options to deal with politicide? How did Washington manage to act as judge, jury and prosecutor in the service of politicide? And on top of that, how did it manage to enlist the international community? How did it manage to promote the Israeli agenda without being held to account?

During the past few decades, Israel and the United States have pursued policies, which dealt a crippling blow to the two-state solution, which would have created an independent Palestinian state and terminated the Israeli occupation. This derailment was accomplished through futile but focused diplomatic efforts invested by US presidents from Nixon to Bush ll.

Forty years have elapsed since the 1967 occupation; fourteen years since Oslo; seven years since the Mitchell Report; seven years after Taba; six years since the Zinni mission; and four years after the Road Map, peace has remained hopelessly illusive, but nevertheless focused.

Placed in that context (supporting politicide while pretending to be peace maker) I shall demonstrate how America’s most recent diplomatic accolades have helped accomplish Israel’s strategic goals and those of the Zionist movement.

First, between the signing of Oslo in 1993 and the present, the US and Israel managed to remove the Palestinians from the negotiating table. In 2004 ( April 14) George W. Bush declaring settlements as “facts on the ground,” thus rendering his much touted vision of a sovereign, contiguous Palestinian state a mere rhetorical exercise.

Tonight, I will argue that the Oslo process sealed the fate of Palestinian statehood, and that the subsequent “war on terror” made it possible for Bush to grant Sharon a new Balfour declaration in April 2004. Ironically that might have left the vision of a single state for two equal communities as the only dignified solution.


The Oslo accords have dealt a crippling blow to the foundations of the global consensus. As an agreement to reach agreement, Oslo had in reality enabled Israel to conquer territory, to oppress, to displace and to dispossess, without being held accountable.

Even if these agreements were to succeed, the maximum gain for the Palestinians that seemed possible would have been a fractured collection of some 120 small Bantustans, non-contiguous enclaves, on about 40-50 percent of the West Bank (11 % of pre-1948 Palestine). Under optimal conditions, something called the state of Palestine might have emerged, but would have been only nominally independent. Genuine independence had already been ruled out by the agreement between Labor and Likud in January 1997, which insists on but a single sovereignty (Israeli) in the area between the River and the Sea.

The Palestinians in the OT would be residents of enclaves “separated” from each other and from Israel, but functionally, part of a “greater Israel”. “Separation is the equivalent of Apartheid in the language of the Afrikaan. Ehud Barak emphasized it and Sharon and Olmert implemented it with the so-called separation fence and unilateralist policies.

Barak was able to convince Clinton to skip Israel’s obligation to conduct a third redeployment and pushed for moving directly into the final status negotiations, which brings us to Camp David July 2000). Clinton and Barak forced the PA to accede to a premature (as Arafat insisted) trilateral summit presided over by Clinton himself.[i] There were a number of problems with the way that summit was conducted:

First, UN Security Council Resolution 242, which stipulates the exchange of conquered land for peace, was simply ignored by the U.S. in the Camp David negotiations. Second, every proposal that was presented by the American mediators to the Palestinian side already had Israeli clearance. On practically every issue-especially on Jerusalem and the refugees-the American team simply adopted and argued for the Israeli position. This view is bluntly corroborated by Aaron David Miller, a senior negotiator on the Clinton team at Camp David and an Orthodox Jew. Miller publicly revealed that rather than serve as a true mediator in peace negotiations, successive U.S. administrations including Clinton’s have acted as “Israel’s attorney.”[ii] Writing on the Washington Post op-ed page in May 2005, Miller admitted that Clinton and his team followed Israel’s lead “without critically examining what that would mean for our own interests, for those on the Arab side and for the overall success of the negotiations.” The Clinton team’s practice of running everything past Israel first “stripped our policy of the independence and flexibility required for serious peacemaking. Far too often . . . our departure point was not what was needed to reach an agreement acceptable to both sides but what would pass with only one -- Israel. The result was utter failure.”

Thirdly, in its “generous offer” with regard to land, borders and security, Israel effectively sought to consolidate and legitimize the gains it made in the 1967 war. This was a true example of committing politicide through diplomacy. However, the “greatest failure” of the Camp David summit was over the issue of the Palestinian refugees. With regard to the right of return, Israel offered to return only a few thousand refugees over a ten year period in the context of a family reunification plan. In return, the Israelis demanded an “end of the conflict.” This of course would release them of any and all further claims. It is interesting that this Israeli policy towards the Palestinian refugees has remained unaltered from 1948 until 2007.

Back in June 1948, Israeli Foreign Minister, Moshe Sharett, told the Knesset that repatriation of the Palestinian refugees was rejected on the assumption that “a wave of returning refugees might explode the state from inside.”[iii] He said:

“They will not return. This is our policy, they shall not return.”[iv] Fifty eight years later, this policy remains untouched. On 20 November 2006 the current Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, urged the world community, especially the Arab countries housing refugees, to annul the right of return. She issued her command in a lecture she was delivering at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. Remarkably, she used the flawed logic that the right of return, which is enshrined in international law, is not mentioned in the Road Map, as if the dilapidated plan superseded international law.

Livni’s abrogation of international law had been tried earlier by Madeleine Albright, the former US secretary of state, who issued an edict in 1993 directed to all UN member nations, asking them not to make reference to UN resolutions affirming the basic rights of the Palestinian people, chief among them was 194, which recognizes the right of the refugees to return and/or receive compensation. She described these resolutions as “irrelevant, contentious and obsolete.”

As for Jerusalem the PA was offered “custodial sovereignty” over the Holy Places, but sovereignty on the grounds of the Haram Al-Sharif was vested in Israel. The offer to return 94 % of the OT was not only hype, but was also a falsification. Let us not forget that Israel defines Jerusalem as that area which has 28 Palestinian villages all of which were occupied in 1967 but do not enter the calculation of OT since they are regarded part of greater Jerusalem. This manipulation of figures and ratios is yet another example of bolstering politicide.

To the credit of the Palestinian Authority, it refused to accept the so-called “generous peace offer.” After all, it was not only far below the minimum aspirations and the internationally-guaranteed rights of the Palestinian people, but it also contravened existing international law and United Nations resolutions. The occupation would have remained intact but reconfigured or repackaged.

Why has peace been such a threat to Israeli leaders? And what are the salient features of the post-Oslo period-that of Sharon and Bush?

For Israel, the danger of a permanent peace emanates from a perceived “demographic threat.” Sometime between 2005 and 2010, Palestinian Arabs living under Israeli control will become a majority between the Jordan and the Mediterranean for the first time since 1948. At present, the number of Palestinians living between the River and the Sea under Israeli control is approximately 5.2 million, compared to 5.1 Israelis. Short of giving the Palestinians equal rights in one state, Israel is left with three options: acquiescing in the establishment of a separate sovereign Palestinian state, expelling much of the Palestinian population, or keeping them confined in apartheid-style cantons, which in essence is Sharon’s plan of 1981, and which was effectively chosen by Bush in his meeting with Sharon on April 14, 2004. At that meeting, he released Israel of its legal and moral obligations to the Palestinian people and to the requirements of international law. He said the settlement blocs were “facts on the ground,” Thus; the occupation is here to stay. Bush has, in effect, recognized a permanent Israeli occupation of the remaining 22 percent of what Israel did not conquer in 1948.

Indeed, Bush did what has become accepted practice over the past few decades. Israel provides the framework, just as it did in 1978 (Camp David) and in 1993 (Oslo) and in 2000 (Camp David) while the US signs off on the plan. Sharon has sold Bush a recycled version of his1981 plan to keep at least 50% of the West Bank, relegating the Palestinians to three fragmented entities (Jenin and Nablus in the north, Ramallah in the centre, and Hebron/Bethlehem in the south).

In conceding final status issues, such as boundaries, refugees, settlements, Jerusalem, Bush seemed either unaware of or oblivious to what his predecessors had offered on the table of negotiations at Camp David I, Camp David II, Taba, or the Clinton January 7, 2001 speech in New York. Instead of adhering to previous American plans (which are essentially Israeli in any case) the peace maker/honest broker has become a messenger on top of having been a bankroller, arms supplier, and diplomatic backer.

America’s pretense for the role of honest broker is finished. It was conclusively finished in January 2006, and the reason was Hamas’s electoral victory. The US and Israel are determined to undo that victory, first by the embargo and attempts at starvation and now by abducting the top Hamas leadership and smashing its infrastructure while attempting to drive a wedge between the movement and that segment of the Palestinian population who gave Hamas their votes. The crux of the US- Israeli strategy is based on the faulty assumption that Hamas is part of the Middle East components of the bad guys engaged in global terror. So as long as Hamas is engaged in resistance, the diplomatic and economic embargos will continue and US military aid will be extended to anti-Hamas Palestinian factions exactly as the US sponsored the Contras in Central America during the 80s. In fact, America’s principal architect of the Contra project is presently the point man in the Bush II foreign policy in the Middle East. And what he is doing in Palestine today is the most recent example of supporting politicide.

Abbas, Olmert and Bush have colluded to bar Hamas from assuming actual power, thus causing a bloody war among certain sub faction of Fateh and Hamas. Despite the formation of a government of national unity in the Mecca agreement, neither the United States, nor Israel is now willing to revive a peace process and pursue negotiations in good faith. The US and Israel have effectively declared the so-called peace process as something that belongs to a by-gone era. The Palestinians should have called the process by its real name-a fraud. They should say no to a two state solution designed to create Bantustans. They should say no loud and clear.

At the end of March when 21 Arab heads of state convened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to re-launch their peace proposal which had already been ratified in Beirut in 2002, Condoleezza Rice asked them to “reach out” to Israel, but Israel wanted their peace offer amended, particularly on withdrawal, on Jerusalem, and the refugees. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Told the Jerusalem Post on March 30, 2007 that the return of any Palestinian refugee was “out of the question”.

“I’ll never accept a solution that is based on their return to Israel, any number.”

It was hardly a revival of a peace process. Neither Israel nor the US has presented a peace proposal. The only proposal on the table was the retread of the 21 Arab states.


And because diplomatic failure has been imbedded in the peace process, we began to witness the beginning of a new discourse about a single state based on the equal protection of the law. Some of the adherents on both sides include Ilan Pappe, the Late Edward Said, Knesset member Azmi Bishara, Professor Nadim Rouhana, and me, among many others.


Any honorable alternative to the now defunct Oslo, the Road Map, and Sharon’s so-called Disengagement Plan must guarantee the removal of incapacities inflicted on Palestinians in the three spheres (those living in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, those inside Israel, and those in the far-flung Diaspora). That would require a determined systematic and protracted struggle, combining the three segments of the Palestinian people, jointly with Israeli Jews who wish to be neither master of another people, nor privileged in an apartheid system, or colonial settlers denying the existence of the indigenous natives of the land, or wishing their disappearance.

This kind of struggle may sound unrealistic, and the goal idealistic or utopian, but it certainly has more prospects for success than the whole range of the “peace process,” which has already been rendered to the dust bin of history. The single state will not happen in the short term, but it is the only dignified alternative to apartheid.

[i] See H. Ashrawi, “Barak’s Political Exports: Used Goods to Arafat and a snub to Clinton,” Miftah, available at See also R. Malley, “Fictions About the Failure at Camp David,” New York Times, July 8, 2001.

[ii] See Kathleen Christison, “Anatomy of A Frame-Up: Camp David Redux, Counterpunch, August 15, 2005. On line at:

[iii] Simha Flapan, the Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities. New York: 1987, p. 223, citing Record of the Knesset, vol. 1, 1949, session 43

[iv] Michael Palumbo, The Palestinian Catastrophe: The 1948 Expulsion of a People from their Homeland. London/Boston: 1987, p. 145.


3) Canada: High strike rate now leading to factory occupations
By Julian Benson and Alex Grant in Toronto
Thursday, 21 June 2007

A recent report, compiled by the UK Office For National Statistics, compares the strike rates of EU and OECD countries. Surprisingly, traditional hotbeds of labour militancy such as France and Italy did not top the list. The major industrialized country with the highest proportion of working days not worked due to strikes or lockouts was Canada, the only OECD country with a higher rate was crisis-ridden Iceland. The high strike rate in Canada is now leading to further radicalisation as workers in the manufacturing sector begin factory occupations against plant closures.

Over the last decade an average of 208 working days a year were spent on a picket line for every 1000 workers in Canada. In the recent period, we have seen a mass general strike movement in British Columbia, a similar movement in Québec, the largest strike in Newfoundland's history, the CBC and Telus lockouts, the Toronto TTC wildcat and a cross-Canada strike of the Federal public service. This month there have been strikes of Greyound busworkers in the West, construction workers in Ontario, Montreal transit workers and Teamsters on CP Rail. These statistics show that in the last 10 years a significant portion of the Canadian working class has become personally acquainted with the class struggle. And yet, despite booming corporate profits, wages have remained stagnant or have fallen over the same period. Marx explained that social conditions determine social consciousness and the above contradiction inevitably leads workers to political conclusions.

There are some who write off the working class and say that the reduction in the number of industrial workers means that Marxism is no longer valid. It is true that there are now fewer industrial workers in the advanced capitalist countries (however, there is a rapidly increasing number in China and India). But to say that this reduction makes socialism impossible is to ignore the fact that the Paris Commune succeeded in overthrowing the capitalist state before industrial labour (Fordism/Taylorism) had been developed. In fact, when the first major industrial plants were built they were seen as anti-union bastions, with armed guards on the doors and impossible to organize. The Paris communards were largely workers from small craft enterprises of 5 or 10 workers who were prepared, in the words of Marx, to "storm heaven!" Let us not forget that in Russia in 1917 less than 10% of the population was working class and yet it was this class that was able to draw the peasantry behind it to lead the revolution.

A reduction in the number of industrial workers in no way reduces the importance of these workers for the smooth running capitalism. Marxists do not base themselves on the working class because of sentimental reasons. Petit-bourgeois anarchists and intellectuals criticize Marxists for orientating towards "privileged" workers, while the homeless or the peasantry are far more oppressed. They miss the point; the task is not to rank each individual in a huge line going from highest to lowest privilege. The task is to mobilize the exploited and oppressed to overthrow the capitalist system that creates exploitation and oppression - and in this fight it is the working class, especially the industrial workers, who have the most power. Just-in-time production means that a relatively small number of workers can block the supply chain of a huge industrial enterprise. The one-day wildcat of the Toronto TTC transit workers cost the bosses $40 million. The strike of a few thousand CN Rail workers, that blocked the port of Vancouver, led to millions in lost profit each day. The oppressed and the youth are frequently the first to move in opposition to capitalism, but it is when these sectors provoke the wider working class to struggle that the rule of capital is truly endangered.

Ontario Factory Occupations

Up until recently the Ontario working class has been relatively passive compared to the rest of Canada. A decade ago, the Ontario labour movement was on the move against the attacks of the Progressive-Conservative government of Mike Harris. The movement culminated in the Metro Days of Action, a series of demonstrations that looked set to result in a province-wide general strike. But it was not to be. The movement was sold out by its leaders, the union bosses agreed to concessions and the workers felt defeated and demoralized.

Despite the recent shift of Canada's economic growth to the West, Ontario is still the heart of the nation's economy. While Ontario has over a third of the population of the entire country, it also accounts for 60% of GDP. Ontario's many manufacturing centres, such as Windsor, Oshawa, Hamilton and Kitchener, have made the province Canada's industrial cornerstone for nearly half a century. However, as competition heats up between North America and their newly arrived Chinese and Indian counterparts, Canadian workers have been forced to bear the burden of the bosses' desire for profit.

Over the last four years, almost 300,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Ontario, with more layoffs coming every day. The federal and provincial governments, under the control of the Conservative and Liberal parties, have responded only by giving more tax cuts to the rich and removing what little social support remains for everybody else. In the face of theses attacks, after keeping its head down for nearly 10 years, the Ontario labour movement is now showing the first signs of a renewed struggle.

The Ontario business community was stopped in its tracks in late March when workers at Collins & Aikman auto parts plant in Scarborough, Ontario occupied their workplace. C&A had recently announced that it was shutting down production at the plant and laying off its workforce. In addition, management told the workers that they would be withholding severance packages and not honouring previous contracts. The movement was instantaneous to take over the plant. In less than 48 hours of occupation, solidarity strikes had occurred at two other parts plants across the province and postal workers were refusing to walk their routes. The company caved in very quickly to the workers' demands for their severance packages and this event gave a much-needed jolt to Canadian labour.

In the weeks following, a steel smelter in Hamilton, that had announced that it would be closing its doors and not honouring its severance agreements, met with a similar occupation. Within 24 hours the company backed down. Even more recently the Masonite Manufacturing plant in Mississauga, Ontario was occupied by its workers to protest its announced closing. During this occupation workers from factories as far away as Kitchener, upon hearing of the action, put down their tools and flooded to the occupation site. The resulting impromptu rally showed a great deal of both militancy and frustration amongst rank-and-file workers. Said Edwin Godinez, a worker at the nearby CFM Majestic barbeque plant, which has also announced it will be closing, "I had plans for my family and children but what can I do now?"

Unlike the previous occupations that were demanding the fulfilment of severance, the Masonite occupation, which nearly turned into a city-wide work stoppage, was directly aimed at protesting the loss of jobs in the first place.
Union Bureaucracy Under Pressure

The spontaneous actions of the workers are starting to build up pressure on the leadership of the industrial unions. The Scarborough C&A workers were represented by the Canadian Auto Workers and upon hearing of the occupation the union officials scrambled to the plant to do anything to restore normalcy. But the later occupations have been in plants organized by the Steelworkers International union and have received the support of the union leadership. In the recent past the CAW was seen to be on the left of the labour movement and split away from the UAW international union to supposedly protect Canadian militancy from American bureaucrats. The Steelworkers, which has retained its links with US workers, was seen as being on the right of the movement. At the time the Marxists advised against splitting workers as this just weakens the movement. There is nothing to say that a formerly "left" union cannot degenerate, or that the mass of workers in a bureaucratised union cannot transform their organization. What is necessary is to retain the historic links of workers' solidarity while fighting to transform the union from within. Now the Steelworkers, while far from perfect, are far more militant than the CAW on the issue of factory occupations.

In response to the pressure from below, the CAW leadership was forced to put itself at the head of the movement. The CAW, with support from the Ontario Federation of Labour, organized a rally on May 27th in the industrial city of Windsor. This rally attracted a huge turnout of nearly 40,000 workers calling for action to stop the job losses. This turnout was higher than that of the Windsor city-wide strike during the Metro Days of Action a decade previous. A similar rally was held in the city of Oshawa, once known as the centre of auto manufacturing in Ontario, now decimated by layoffs, that attracted another 2,000 workers. Eight other cities saw smaller rallies the same day. These movements just go to show the seething discontent present amongst the working class that is just looking for an outlet.

Three days later, a rally of several thousand was held outside the Parliament buildings in Ottawa. The workers constructed a mock graveyard on the lawn of the parliament, each headstone representing a plant closure and the number of jobs lost. The most telling event during this rally was the reception that Liberal leader Stephane Dion received when he attempted to address the crowd. Barely a sentence into his speech he was drown out by jeers and boos from the crowd. Chants of "Anti-scab! Anti-scab!" pummelled Dion, a reference to the anti-scab bill that the Liberal Party helped the government vote down during this session of parliament. This just over a year after CAW leader Buzz Hargrove ceremonially gave then Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin his very own union jacket and endorsed his party during the 2006 federal election. As the class-consciousness of the workers advances with the mass movement, they are stripping away the illusion that the Liberals are anything but a bosses' party. It is symbolic that an embarrassed Hargrove was standing next to Dion, while the predominant banner in the front row of the chanters was that of the Steelworkers.

All this points to the reactivation of the labour movement in Canada's industrial heartland. But following on from the experiences of the defeated Metro Days of Action and the strikes in the rest of Canada, the movement is at a much higher level. It is no longer a fight for pay and conditions, but a fight for the existence of good quality union jobs that the Canadian workers won in the post-war period. There is not much use striking when the plant is going to be closed anyway, and that is why plant occupations are starting to be seen. Trotsky, in the Transitional Program explained that:

"Sit-down strikes, the latest expression of this kind of initiative, go beyond the limits of "normal" capitalist procedure. Independently of the demands of the strikers, the temporary seizure of factories deals a blow to the idol, capitalist property. Every sit-down strike poses in a practical manner the question of who is boss of the factory: the capitalist or the workers?"

Any movement such as this amongst Canada's industrial workers is anathema to union leaders who have lost any perspective of the fight for socialism. In response, all Hargrove and co. can do is try to cosy up to the Federal and Provincial Liberals. However, the workers know full well who their enemies are and there is less and less support for class-collaboration.

The vital question is one of leadership. Ontario workers remember only too well the sellouts of the Bob Rea NDP government and the Metro Days of Action. Bureaucracy and conciliation amongst the leaders of the movement have time and again cost working people. But the criticality of the current struggle, the fight to maintain industry, the heart of the economy, and the growing breadth of the movement is both bringing experienced labour activists back from demoralization and radicalising a whole layer of younger workers whose futures depend on the manufacturing sector.

It is not surprising that this new wave of class struggle has been characterized by factory occupations. There is little doubt that this method of struggle, not seen in Ontario for nearly half a century, is influenced by Canadian workers learning from the experience of the Venezuelan Revolution. The experience of the Revolutionary Front of Occupied Factories (FRETECO) in Venezuela, for instance, shows the viability of workers' control as a solution to the un-viability of capitalism.

The leaders of the labour movement, in the NDP and the Unions, should likewise be learning this same lesson and raising the demand for the nationalization of all occupied factories under workers' control, combined with an active drive to take over shutdown and threatened factories. Currently, the platform of the labour leadership is a confused mix of protectionism, economic nationalism and corporate welfare. None of the "solutions" proposed goes beyond the bounds of capitalist property. All these solution are utopian when the cause is the fundamental dynamics of the international capitalist economy.

Working people are quickly relearning the lesson, as many generations of workers have before them, that capitalism means constantly economic instability and strife for the working class. The only way to guarantee a stable, sustainable and high quality life for workers and for future generations is the socialist economy. It is only when the organizations of the working class adopt a socialist perspective that workers' jobs and conditions will be protected.

We end by again quoting the apt words of the Transitional Program:

"Property owners and their lawyers will prove the "unrealizability" of these demands. Smaller, especially ruined capitalists, in addition will refer to their account ledgers. The workers categorically denounce such conclusions and references. The question is not one of a "normal" collision between opposing material interests. The question is one of guarding the proletariat from decay, demoralization and ruin. The question is one of life or death of the only creative and progressive class, and by that token of the future of mankind. If capitalism is incapable of satisfying the demands inevitably arising from the calamities generated by itself, then let it perish. "Realizability" or "unrealizability" is in the given instance a question of the relationship of forces, which can be decided only by the struggle. By means of this struggle, no matter what immediate practical successes may be, the workers will best come to understand the necessity of liquidating capitalist slavery."


4) Afghans Say NATO Bombs Kill 25 Civilians
June 22, 2007

KABUL, Afghanistan, June 22 — At least 25 civilians, including nine women, three babies and an elderly village mullah, were killed in an air strike early this morning when they were caught in a battle between Taliban and NATO forces in southern Afghanistan, said the police chief of Helmand province.

The scenario is a grimly familiar one: The Taliban launched an attack under the cover of darkness and then retreated into the village of Kunjakak in the Grishk district of Helmand. NATO commanders ordered air support. The result was devastating.

NATO spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Smith reported in a written statement that perhaps 30 Taliban insurgents were killed in the air strike, adding that while an unknown number of innocents may have lost their lives, the fault for that was entirely the enemy’s: “In choosing to conduct such attacks in this location at this time, the risk to civilians was probably deliberate. It is this irresponsible action that may have led to casualties.”

The statement itself was a preemptive strike. Afghans are not only angry with the Taliban, whose terrorizing tactics include suicide attacks and concealed roadside bombs. They are upset by what they see as the sometimes-indiscriminate death toll of allied bombs and rockets.

That concern has been echoed by foreign charities working in the country. Earlier this week, ACBAR — a coalition of Afghan and international relief agencies such as CARE, Save the Children and Mercy Corps — criticized the United States and its allies, saying that hasty military action has led to a minimum of 230 civilian deaths in 2007.

“Members of ACBAR recognize the challenges faced by soldiers in a battlefield environment but military forces must at all times respect international humanitarian and human rights law,” said the organization. “Notably, forces must distinguish between civilians and combatants and use force strictly in proportion with legitimate military objectives.”

ACBAR’s critique went beyond air strikes. It alleged 14 instances where civilians were “killed for simply driving or walking too closely” to foreign soldiers. It mentioned “abusive raids and searches of Afghan homes” that have sapped support for both international aid workers and the multinational military presence.

Little is yet known about the fighting in Kunjakak. Helmand Province’s police chief Muhammad Hussein Andiwal said the battle began Thursday night. The Taliban used at least two civilian compounds in their efforts to escape, he added.

These are brutal days in Afghanistan. The Taliban have launched several suicide attacks, including Sunday’s bombing of a police bus in Kabul that killed 24. On Monday, seven children were killed in a religious compound during an air strike by the U.S.-led coalition in the eastern province of Paktika. There are reports that dozens of civilians have died during days of fighting in the Chora district of Uruzgan in the south.

“This past week has been very tough,” said Christopher Alexander, deputy special representative in Afghanistan of the U.N. Secretary General. “I’ve seen the reports. In the Chora incident, the Taliban literally slit the throats of men, women and children and burned the bodies. But there was also close air support [by NATO] that killed civilians.”

Various groups here in Kabul keep a running tally of casualties; there is wide variation in numbers. According to Mr. Alexander, during the past two years the number of war-time dead has risen four-fold. So far this year, the U.N. has counted about 2,800 casualties, which is 20 to 30 percent above the pace of 2006. Roughly one quarter of the deaths are civilians, with the vast majority killed by the Taliban, he said.

Taimoor Shah contributed reporting from Kandahar.


5) Open Wide and Say ‘Shame’
NYT Movie Review of 'SICKO'
June 22, 2007

It has become a journalistic cliché and therefore an inevitable part of the prerelease discussion of “Sicko” to refer to Michael Moore as a controversial, polarizing figure. While that description is not necessarily wrong, it strikes me as self-fulfilling (since the controversy usually originates in media reports on how controversial Mr. Moore is) and trivial. Any filmmaker, politically outspoken or not, whose work is worth discussing will be argued about. But in Mr. Moore’s case the arguments are more often about him than about the subjects of his movies.

Some of this is undoubtedly his fault, or at least a byproduct of his style. His regular-guy, happy-warrior personality plays a large part in the movies and in their publicity campaigns, and he has no use for neutrality, balance or objectivity. More than that, his polemical, left-populist manner seems calculated to drive guardians of conventional wisdom bananas. That is because conventional wisdom seems to hold, against much available evidence, that liberalism is an elite ideology, and that the authentic vox populi always comes from the right. Mr. Moore, therefore, must be an oxymoron or a hypocrite of some kind.

So the table has been set for a big brouhaha over “Sicko,” which contends that the American system of private medical insurance is a disaster, and that a state-run system, such as exists nearly everywhere else in the industrialized world, would be better. This argument is illustrated with anecdotes and statistics — terrible stories about Americans denied medical care or forced into bankruptcy to pay for it; grim actuarial data about life expectancy and infant mortality; damning tallies of dollars donated to political campaigns — but it is grounded in a basic philosophical assumption about the proper relationship between a government and its citizens.

Mr. Moore has hardly been shy about sharing his political beliefs, but he has never before made a film that stated his bedrock ideological principles so clearly and accessibly. His earlier films have been morality tales, populated by victims and villains, with himself as the dogged go-between, nodding in sympathy with the downtrodden and then marching off to beard the bad guys in their dens of power and privilege. This method can pay off in prankish comedy or emotional intensity — like any showman, Mr. Moore wants you to laugh and cry — but it can also feel manipulative and simplistic.

In “Sicko,” however, he refrains from hunting down the C.E.O.’s of insurance companies, or from hinting at dark conspiracies against the sick. Concentrating on Americans who have insurance (after a witty, troubling acknowledgment of the millions who don’t), Mr. Moore talks to people who have been ensnared, sometimes fatally, in a for-profit bureaucracy and also to people who have made their livings within the system. The testimony is poignant and also infuriating, and none of it is likely to be surprising to anyone, Republican or Democrat, who has tried to see an out-of-plan specialist or dispute a payment.

If you listen to what the leaders of both political parties are saying, it seems unlikely that the diagnosis offered by “Sicko” will be contested. I haven’t heard many speeches lately boasting about how well our health care system works. In this sense “Sicko” is the least controversial and most broadly appealing of Mr. Moore’s movies. (It is also, perhaps improbably, the funniest and the most tightly edited.) The argument it inspires will mainly be about the nature of the cure, and it is here that Mr. Moore’s contribution will be most provocative and also, therefore, most useful.

“Sicko” is not a fine-grained analysis of policy alternatives. (You can find some of those in a recently published book called “Sick,” by Jonathan Cohn, and also in the wonkier precincts of the political blogosphere.) This film presents, instead, a simple compare-and-contrast exercise. Here is our way, and here is another way, variously applied in Canada, France, Britain and yes, Cuba. The salient difference is that, in those countries, where much of the second half of “Sicko” takes place, the state provides free medical care.

With evident glee (and a bit of theatrical faux-naïveté) Mr. Moore sets out to challenge some widely held American notions about socialized medicine. He finds that British doctors are happy and well paid, that Canadians don’t have to wait very long in emergency rooms, and that the French are not taxed into penury. “What’s your biggest expense after the house and the car?” he asks an upper-middle-class French couple. “Ze feesh,” replies the wife. “Also vegetables.”

Yes, the utopian picture of France in “Sicko” may be overstated, but show me the filmmaker — especially a two-time Cannes prizewinner — who isn’t a Francophile of one kind or another. Mr. Moore’s funny valentine to a country where the government will send someone to a new mother’s house to do laundry and make carrot soup turns out to be as central to his purpose as his chat with Tony Benn, an old lion of Old Labor in Britain. Mr. Benn reads from a pamphlet announcing the creation of the British National Health Service in 1948, and explains it not as an instance of state paternalism but as a triumph of democracy.

More precisely, of social democracy, a phrase that has long seemed foreign to the American political lexicon. Why this has been so is the subject of much scholarship and speculation, but Mr. Moore is less interested in tracing the history of American exceptionalism than in opposing it. He wants us to be more like everybody else. When he plaintively asks, “Who are we?,” he is not really wondering why our traditions of neighborliness and generosity have not found political expression in an expansive system of social welfare. He is insisting that such a system should exist, and also, rather ingeniously, daring his critics to explain why it shouldn’t.


Opens today in Manhattan.

Written and directed by Michael Moore; edited by Christopher Seward, Dan Sweitlik and Geoffrey Richman; produced by Mr. Moore and Meghan O’Hara; released by Lionsgate and the Weinstein Company. At the Lincoln Square, 1998 Broadway, at 68th Street. Running time: 123 minutes.


6) 'Sicko' leaves top Democrats ill at ease
"Leading candidates are sidestepping direct comment on filmmaker Michael Moore's proposals for universal healthcare."
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
Times Staff Writer
June 22, 2007,0,5962985.story?coll=la-home-center

WASHINGTON — With the release of Michael Moore's "Sicko," a movie once again is adding sizzle to an issue that's a high priority for liberal politicians — this time comprehensive health insurance for all. But unlike Al Gore's film on global warming, which helped rally support on an equally controversial problem, "Sicko" is creating an awkward situation for the leading Democratic presidential candidates.

Rejecting Moore's prescription on healthcare could alienate liberal activists, who will play a big role in choosing the party's next standard-bearer. However, his proposal — wiping out private health insurance and replacing it with a massive federal program — could be political poison with the larger electorate.

At a special screening in Washington this week, politicians, lobbyists, media pooh-bahs and policy junkies flocked to see Moore's film. And its slashing demand for action on an issue that voters care deeply about, and Democrats hope to capitalize on, generated plenty of buzz. Moore hopes that, after its general release June 29, "Sicko" will exert significant influence on the presidential campaign.

Instead of greeting the film with hosannas or challenging it head-on, however, the leading Democratic presidential candidates have sidestepped direct comment on Moore's proposals.

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois and former Sen. John Edwards of South Carolina all have staked out positions sharply at odds with Moore's approach. But none of them is eager to have that fact dragged into the spotlight.

If Moore's fire-breathing proposal catches on among party activists, who tend to be suspicious of the private sector and supportive of direct government action, the candidates' pragmatic, consensus-seeking ideas could look like weak-kneed temporizing — much the way their rejection of an immediate pullout from Iraq has drawn heated criticism from antiwar activists.

In "Sicko," the filmmaker calls for abolishing the insurance industry, putting a tight regulatory collar on pharmaceutical companies and embracing a Canadian-style government-run system.

Advocacy groups are already planning to use the film to pressure the Democratic hopefuls.

"The candidates haven't sensed the political fever in this country that fundamental change is called for in the healthcare system," said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Assn. "What we are going to do is call on the candidates to reconsider their positions."

Stoking the passions of rank-and-file Democrats for a government takeover of the healthcare system amounts to political folly, respond some liberal veterans of Washington's healthcare battles.

"To presume that the private sector is going to sit idly by to see the destruction of private coverage I think is a misreading of reality," said Ron Pollack of the advocacy group Families USA. "I think the presidential candidates understand that if healthcare reform is going to have a chance of success, it will require bipartisanship and a balance of public and private coverage. It cannot be the triumph of one ideology over the other."

Such a blending increasingly seems to be taking place in major federal and state programs, including Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicare. As employer-sponsored health insurance shrinks, insurance companies have reinvented themselves as managers and middlemen for government programs, said UC Berkeley health economist James Robinson.

For example, more than 60% of Americans enrolled in Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor, are now in some form of managed care, compared with fewer than 25% in the mid-1990s. In California, Medicaid is known as Medi-Cal.

"Whatever mix of private and public sources will increase the number of people with coverage, the insurance companies would like it to be managed by them," Robinson said in a recent interview. "They can work with Medicare, they can work with Medicaid, they can work with employers, they can work with whomever."

There's little room for such nuanced partnerships in "Sicko." If there's a villain in the movie, "the villain is called the health insurance industry of America," Moore told a Capitol Hill rally Wednesday. To laughter and applause, Moore said he hoped the film would turn into a "going-away present" for industry lobbyists.

"Sicko" uses the wrenching stories of individual Americans to compare some of the worst failings of this country's system with a rosy perspective on healthcare in Canada, Britain, France and even Cuba — a country that offers healthcare for all but also imprisoned a doctor in the late 1990s for speaking out against government failure to respond to an epidemic of a mosquito-borne virus.

Moore investigates the dumping of hospital patients on skid row in Los Angeles. He tells the story of a middle-class couple from Colorado who lost their home and had to move in with their adult children because of medical bills, even though they had insurance. A particularly sobering episode involves a Missouri family in which the father is denied a medical procedure that might have saved him from cancer.

Filmgoers also meet an uninsured American who accidentally sawed off two of his fingertips and had to choose which one to have reattached, because he couldn't afford to do both. Moore juxtaposes that story with that of a young man in Canada who lost five fingers in an accident and had them all reattached — without having to pay.

"It's quite effective, [but] it's not a documentary," Robert D. Reischauer, one of Washington's leading health policy experts and a supporter of coverage for all, said after viewing the movie.

"Policy propaganda," he called it.

For most Democratic presidential candidates (Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio advocates a government single-payer program), it's more like a headache.



7) The Puppet Makers
By Mumia Abu-Jamal

Wherever we look in this chaotic world, we see the U.S. trying to install a network of puppets who owe more to the U.S. than to the people of their own countries.

In simplistic terms, the corporate media pushes the idea of good guys and bad guys, silly symbols that take us back to the mythic cowboy movies.

In fact, any given leader can be a good guy and a bad guy, depending on when you’re talking about. The late Saddam Hussein, now derided almost universally as a dictator, was a prized American ally just a brief time before, receiving a bounty of U.S. arms and yes, weapons of mass destruction. As long as Saddam was using his weapons against Iran, all was well.

Today, an Iraqi puppet sits precariously on the National throne, a creation of U.S. power as surely as was the late Shah of Iran.

Afghanistan presents an almost identical snap-shot: a “leader” supported on a throne of U.S. bayonets; in a word, a puppet.

Why is it the business of the U.S. to appoint leaders for other nations?
What’s right about that? What’s democratic about it?

We don’t question it, because it’s so deep in National and International experience.

While many people know about the FBI’s harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., how many of us know that the government tried to replace him as a Black leader, and replace him with someone who was malleable?

During the 1975 Senate Select Committee Hearings on FBI crimes and misdemeanors against American citizens (otherwise known as COINTELPRO), Senator Walter Mondale (D-Minn.) summarized the January 1964 memo, which described this attempt:

“Senator Mondale: That was the memo in which it was proposed that King be destroyed as a civil rights leader, and that the FBI ought to sponsor his replacement by another person not in the civil rights movement?

Mr. Epstein: That is correct.

Senator Mondale: and Hoover personally appreciated that suggestion; is that correct?

Mr. Epstein: He OK’d it. [p.59]”

The Imperial instinct, of placing puppets over other people, didn’t begin abroad; it didn’t start when one crossed the border. It began in the U.S., in an attempt to control and channel a popular movement.

That’s because empires begin at home; in essence, they export the methods they use at home, abroad.


8) Officials: Arrests Not Tied to Protests
Filed at 1:45 p.m. ET
June 23, 2007

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) -- Neighbors of Elvira Carvajal sought refuge in her house so immigration agents wouldn't arrest them. Friends of Herman Martinez asked him to bring them milk for their children because they were afraid to step onto the streets.

In the weeks leading up to the huge pro-immigrant rallies in the spring of 2006, rumors swirled that authorities were on the streets rounding up illegal immigrants across the country. Fear of being caught and deported kept many illegal immigrants, and some legal ones, in their homes.

Non-worksite arrests did indeed jump in the first half of 2006, up 75 percent over the previous year, according to Homeland Security data released to The Associated Press.

However, Immigration and Customs Enforcement insists the increase did not come from random sweeps but from its standing policy of making specific arrests, and that more than two-thirds of those detained already had deportation orders.

''We've said over and over that we don't do random sweeps. We do targeted enforcement,'' agency spokeswoman Jamie Zuieback said.

ICE maintains that it targets people it considers fugitives, those who remain in the U.S. despite a deportation order. However, during a search for fugitives, agents can also detain individuals they suspect of being in the country illegally in so-called ''collateral arrests.''

Since the department was created in 2003, it has steadily arrested more people as its budget and resources have grown, Zuieback said. The spike in detentions is ''not in the least bit political,'' she said.

In the first three months of 2006, ICE's fugitive operations program arrested 3,222 people nationwide, according to information released last month, 10 months after the AP filed a Freedom of Information Act request. That compared to the 2,174 people arrested in the same period of 2005.

During the height of the 2006 immigration debate, from April through June, the number of arrests jumped to 4,516. That was more than double the 2,234 arrests for the same period of 2005.

ICE's numbers don't include worksite arrests, which more than tripled between fiscal year 2005 and fiscal year 2006, from 1,292 to 4,383. The agency refused to break down those numbers by quarter.

Zuieback rejected the notion that the arrests were a timed show of force. ''I think we've been very clear that our mandate is to enforce the law, and that's what we intend to do,'' she said.

Professor Alex Stepick, who heads Florida International University's Immigration & Ethnicity Institute, disagreed. He believes the Bush administration both stepped up arrests and allowed the rumors to build to assuage the president's conservative base as Congress considered whether to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.

''The residual concern on the part of immigrants is part of the Bush administration's policy,'' he said. ''They want to show they are doing something to control immigration.''

Last year's demonstrations began in response to legislation that would have redefined illegal immigrants as criminals.

In late March 2006, tens of thousands students walked out of classes. More than 500,000 people took to the streets in Los Angeles alone. On April 1, thousands formed a mile-long line across New York City's Brooklyn Bridge. And despite the rumors of arrests, on May 1 more than a million people demonstrated nationwide.

Even if the random sweeps weren't real, the fear they generated was, said Martinez, a community organizer in Homestead, a town about 30 miles south of Miami that is dominated by immigrants who come to work on South Florida farms.

Carvajal, an advocate with the farmworkers' association in Homestead, said many parents kept their children home from school.

Attendance in prenatal classes fell during the week before the May 1 protests, and even women with high-risk pregnancies refused to go to the clinic, said Natalia Coletti, who works at the Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade County.

''We are still afraid, but now we are more used to that fear,'' said Homestead resident Lucia de la Cruz, who fled violence in Guatemala more than a decade ago.


9) Mass Arrest of Brooklyn Youths Spotlights Tactics
June 24, 2007

The police officers hopped from their vans and cars with shouts of “Hands up,” “Don’t move,” and “Get on the ground.” Someone in the crowd of young people yelled, “Nobody run” — and nobody did, according to witnesses. The youths were frisked, forced up against a fence or a wall, or pushed to the asphalt, witnesses said.

Those watching said the mood was almost subdued as the handcuffs went on, the loudest sound the whir of a television news helicopter hovering above. “None of us understood what was going on,” said Dana Hollis, whose teenage daughter was arrested. ”Everything just happened so fast.”

Thirty-two young people, the youngest 13, were arrested the afternoon of May 21 in Bushwick, Brooklyn. They had been walking as a group to the subway, which they planned to take to Coney Island for the wake of Donnell McFarland, 18, who had been fatally shot a week earlier.

The police, already fearing retaliatory violence, say the youths were exchanging gang signs, wearing T-shirts with a gang name and bounding atop cars when they were arrested. Parents and teachers of the group and witnesses said that they were no more boisterous than any group of teenagers would be in similar circumstances, and that they did not see any youths atop cars.

The charges are misdemeanors: unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct. No drugs or weapons were found, and there were no injuries to those arrested or to the police. The officers did not draw their guns. Yet this roundup of teenagers and young people has gotten widespread attention.

Interviews with those arrested, their parents, witnesses who did not know the youths, as well as accounts provided by the Police Department and the Brooklyn district attorney, provided contradictory versions of events. But they correspond in one aspect: The arrests were part of a police operation that unfolded with precision.

Undercover officers circled in unmarked cars; a police captain monitored the youths gathering; and blue-and-white vans and buses cut off Putnam Avenue in both directions at a key moment, trapping the youths less than a block into their journey.

“Once the kids hit Irving, the police came from everywhere,” said Lisa Guerrero, 52, who lives nearby and saw the group gather and head up the block. “I was like: ‘What happened? Why is this happening?”

Paul J. Browne, the police department’s chief spokesman, said, “The police were being responsive to community leaders who warned that the group was poised for trouble after a week of murder, shootings and fistfights between two rival gang factions in Bushwick.”

On May 15, Mr. McFarland was shot in the head at Linden Street and Knickerbocker Avenue by James Kelly, 16, the police said. Mr. Kelly was soon arrested and charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon. Friends of both said the shooting was the climax in a string of violent events involving Mr. Kelly, a onetime friend of Mr. McFarland’s turned enemy.

The shot echoed for blocks.

“We were on the basketball court, and we all kind of froze,” said Asher Callender, 19. Someone ran into the park, crying, using Mr. McFarland’s nickname: “They killed Freshh.”

The police say the murdered teenager was the leader of the Pretty Boy Family, which they describe as a subdivision, or “set,” of the Bloods gang. But those who knew Mr. McFarland and are familiar with the Pretty Boy Family described it as a tight group of friends who like to dance and hang out, not a gang. The police say the Pretty Boy Family had been at odds with James Kelly’s gang, the Linden Street Bloods, another Bloods subdivision, for some time. Both sets frequent the Hope Gardens housing project.

Word spread of Mr. McFarland’s death from the neighborhood streets into neighborhood schools.

“I didn’t have a single class that whole week where I didn’t have two or three people in my class crying,” said Tabari Bomani, a social studies teacher and college counselor at Bushwick Community High School, where many students knew Mr. McFarland. Dozens of them met with grief counselors, school officials said.

Mr. McFarland’s wake was set for the following Monday at a funeral home in Coney Island. Officials at the Bushwick high school allowed students to sign out for the day if parents signed a permission slip.

Mr. Callender said that many students wanted to attend, but that he was one of the few who knew the way to the funeral home. So he spread the word: Meet at Putnam Park between noon and 12:30 the day of the wake, May 21. They would gather, walk up Putnam, and head for the subway station.

Meanwhile, police were connecting the dots in a yearlong investigation into the Pretty Boy Family and a recent rash of gang violence.

The police said a Pretty Boy Family member was shot in the foot two weeks before Mr. McFarland’s death. Later, they said, there was a confrontation between William Gonzalez, who had been feuding with Mr. McFarland, and a man they believed belongs to the Pretty Boy Family .

The same day, Jakai King, whom the police described as a member of the Linden Street Bloods, was attacked by members of the Pretty Boy Family, the police said. Two days later, they said, he was attacked again, this time stripped down to his underwear and sent running down the street.

It was in this atmosphere of attacks and revenge, Mr. Browne said, that the police received reports that a gang would be “mustering at the park” the day of the wake and that there would be violence. Community leaders warned the police in the 83rd Precinct in Bushwick and the 60th precinct in Coney Island that Mr. McFarland’s rivals had said that they would shoot anyone wearing a T-shirt memorializing him.

Ms. Hollis, 40, her 15-year-old daughter and two of her nieces joined Donna Seabury and her two daughters, 12 and 16, at the park. Mr. Callender said he went to the school that morning to retrieve the school permission slip he left with the assistant principal. He then headed to the park. He was early, one of the first students to arrive. His friends slowly trickled in.

The youths were to wear similar T-shirts, bearing Mr. McFarland’s picture and words like “R.I.P. Freshh,” to the wake.

Luis Pacheco, 18, said he went to the print shop that morning to pick up his $14 T-shirt. After meeting a friend, they went to the park. It was just about 12:30 p.m.

Others recounted similar stories: rushing to school to get slips, waiting for their parents to walk with them to the park, meeting friends to travel together.

Zezza Anderson, 18, said teenagers sat in small groups or off by themselves. “Everyone’s sad. We’re sad; we’re grieving,” Mr. Anderson said. “No one was being rowdy. Just chilling, waiting for everyone to show up. We’re trying to make sure we don’t leave anybody behind.”

Just after 1 p.m. the students walked from the handball courts to the macadam path that leads to the street.

Capt. Scott Henderson, of the 83rd Precinct, was one of the officers doing surveillance. In his report, he wrote that the youths greeted one another with gang hand signs, wore gang bandanas and shirts with a gang name on them, and gathered near a wall covered with gang slogans. Mr. Browne said last week that since they believed Mr. McFarland was in a gang, the police considered “Freshh” a gang name.

The police said the group then left the park and took over Putnam Avenue, stopping traffic, frightening pedestrians and hopping onto parked cars. “It’s when he sees that group grow in size and start walking on cars and forcing others to go into the street is when he called for the arrests,” Mr. Browne said of the captain. “It’s not like they had a plan where they were going to go to the park and arrest people.”

Some witnesses, including some parents, said the youths were behaving peacefully. The Brooklyn district attorney’s office said witnesses saw unruly behavior, including walking on cars, but Charles J. Hynes, the district attorney, would not provide specifics of those accounts.

Several owners of cars that were parked on the block said they did not notice any damage to their vehicles afterward.

Hector Polonia, 52, was sweeping the sidewalk in front of United Cleaners, where he works as manager, on Irving Avenue near Putnam, when he saw the group crossing Putnam. Then he saw the police move in. “They weren’t making any noise or anything,” Mr. Polonia said. “They were acting like a normal bunch of teenagers.”

Lisa Guerrero, 52, was sitting in Putnam Park. “They didn’t get on any cars,” she said of the youths.

Those under 16 were quickly released. The six female mourners in the group were given summonses for disorderly conduct. The remaining young men were run through the system, charged with disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly. Most remained in jail overnight, some as long as 36 hours.

“They seemed more interested in asking us questions about the murder than telling us why we were arrested,” Mr. Callender said. “They just kept asking us stuff like, ‘Who has the guns?’ and ‘Who is going to strike next?’ But they were giving me information about people that I didn’t even know. They knew more than we did.”

Several of the youths said they were interrogated about the Pretty Boy Family. Some said the police pulled out a big black binder labeled “P.B.F.” with photos of people from the neighborhood.

“At first I thought they were going to question us, then let us go,” said Mr. Pacheco. “But then I could see the sun going down from my cell. I got upset. And people were crying. Some people were throwing up.”

The last members of the group were released on May 23. The next day, a news conference was held at the headquarters of Make The Road by Walking, a community rights organization in Bushwick.

More than 50 students, including many of those who were arrested, demanded an apology from the Police Department.

The district attorney has offered to give those arrested community service in return for guilty pleas. So far, none have accepted.

Al Baker, Michael Brick and Daryl Khan contributed reporting.


10) Skyrocketing Premiums and Drug Prices Going Right Through the Roof
June 23, 2007

Larry Little is among the nation’s early retirees who are barely clinging to their health insurance.

Mr. Little says he chose one of his company’s best health plans when he retired in 2004 at age 55 after 32 years as a tire factory worker in Charlotte, N.C. But now, the plan’s fees have soared and he is having a hard time paying his bills.

“The premiums skyrocketed,” he said, “and prescriptions, which had been really cheap, went to about $75 each.”

He says he feels especially vulnerable because he had triple bypass surgery shortly after he retired. Under his current coverage, he is required to pay an annual deductible of $500 for doctor visits and $1,000 for hospitalization.

In January, his former employer, Continental Tire North America overrode the objections of its main union, the United Steelworkers, and set an annual cap of $3,000 on the company’s contribution to health coverage for its retirees of all ages. The retirees must pay the rest of the annual premium, which typically exceeds $7,500 for an individual.

Mr. Little fears his premiums have no where to go but up, but says he has little hope of finding cheaper health coverage on his own. “There were a lot of insurance companies that won’t even touch me with heart disease.”

T. J. McKinney, a spokesman for Continental Tire North America, a unit of Continental A.G. of Germany, said the company understood that the rising premiums “may be difficult for certain retirees.”

“Unfortunately,” Mr. McKinney said, “given the current market environment where health care costs continue to rise with no end in sight, increased cost-sharing is unavoidable.”


11) Moore Not Worried About 'Sicko' Leak
Friday, June 22, 2007

HOLLYWOOD - Filmmaker Michael Moore insists he doesn't care his new
documentary, Sicko, has been leaked online--he's just glad people get
to watch his movie.

Video-sharing Web site was forced to pull links to
pirated versions of the healthcare expose last weekend after learning
as many as 600 people had seen the film illegally online.

A 124-minute version of Sicko, which is released on June 29, was
posted on YouTube by two users on Friday.

Distributor Weinstein Co. alerted YouTube bosses after they learned
of the leak, and the links to the footage were immediately removed.

But Moore thinks the leak may even help Sicko at the box office.

He tells MTV, "I'm just happy that people get to see my movies. I'm
not a big supporter of the copyright laws in this country. I thought
Napster was a good idea.

"I don't understand bands or filmmakers or whatever who oppose
sharing, having their work be shared with people, because I think it
only increases your fan base.

"You know, when I was a kid... I remember someone giving me a
cassette tape of an album called London Calling by a group called The
Clash. Suddenly I became a Clash fan. From that point on, I bought
their albums and I went to their concerts. And they ended up making
money off me--because somebody gave me a free tape of their music."


Press Release:


We need to ask ourselves. Do we need an international union to negotiate concessions for us? Can't we do that ourselves, without a union? Or do we need a union that will fight for us and our co-workers? We say vote NO to any concessions at Delphi. We have given enough and we have nothing left to lose. "We’ve done more for Delphi than we should have done," Gettelfinger said. He should know. We have an agreement with Delphi already, an agreement they did not and do not honor.

In exchange for the two-tier supplement Delphi management agreed to lead the way in pay cuts. They did not. In exchange for the two-tier supplement Delphi management agreed to make significant investment in US operations. They did not. In exchange for the two-tier supplement Delphi management agreed to not close any plants in the US. They did not.

The two-tier supplement did exactly what we warned it would do. It opened the door, betrayed a generation, and now all UAW members will be two-tiered. Everything that was promised by management for this anti-union supplement was a lie. They stole our legacy and our children's future while the UAW sung partnership all the way to bank.

Brother Paul Baxter said it best, "How can you expect us to be partners with liars, cheaters, and thieves?"

What happens to the Delphi pensions once the GM benefit guarantee expires in October 2007? What happens to "legacy" employees who have in to transfer but, too low on seniority for the transfer to go through? How many UAW International Representatives will be taking pay and benefit cuts?

Our servicing representative who is hosting a Q & A meeting on Monday June 25 at our union hall made over $100,000 last year from our union dues alone according to the federal LM-2 Forms. How much will he be taking in pay and benefit cuts? What about President Ron Gettelfinger and Region 3 Director Mo Davis? What sacrifice are they and their families planning to make?

What happens to all the retired members that are working as "contractors" and "weekend warriors" in our plants? What happens to the thousands of temporary employees who are paying UAW union dues while being abused, mistreated and unrepresented?

What happens to the UAW? At our 2007 UAW Bargaining Convention we tried to fight back. We the rank-n-file pleaded with our leaders to do something. You will see videos from the 2007 UAW Bargaining Convention at on the tool bar. Witness on video how quickly the union bosses shutdown a return to real unionism and our resistance to their cooperation of deceit.

If the International tries to rush ratification, There is something in the deal they do not want you to know. You have nothing to lose by turning the contract down. There is no good reason why UAW members should have to vote on any agreement at any time without full knowledge of how that contract will affect them for the rest of their lives.


For sure, that there are no more concessions in the Delphi contract. You deserve to know the truth. After all this time there is no excuse to rush ratification.


If the International tries to rush ratification,
There is soemthing in the deal they don’t want you to know.


You have nothing to lose by turning the contract down.


There’s no good reason why UAW members should have to vote
on any agreement at any time
without full knowledge of how that contract
will affect them for the rest of their lives.


"We've done more for Delphi than we should have done," Gettelfinger said.
He should know.


For sure, that there are no more concessions in the Delphi contract.
You deserve to know the truth.
After all this time there is no excuse to rush ratification.



13) The Purple Brain: America's New Reefer Madness
By Marsha Rosenbaum and Paul Armentano, AlterNet
Posted on June 23, 2007, Printed on June 23, 2007

More than 70 years in the making, the long-awaited sequel to the notorious 1936 film, Reefer Madness has arrived. It's called The Purple Brain, and just like its unintentionally campy predecessor, its purpose is to frighten Americans about marijuana.

The particular target audience for the Feds' new production is the millions of parents who may have, without incident, experimented with marijuana in the 1970s, when they were about the same age as their children are today.

The plot is as follows: Sure, the pot you and your 40-something peers once enjoyed may have been innocuous, but that's only because it bears no resemblance to the super-potent weed of today-- strains with such foreboding names as "Train wreck," "AK-47," and "The Purple." As proclaimed by Drug Czar John Walters recently, "[W]e are no longer talking about the drug of the 1960s and 1970s -- this is [in computer parlance] Pot 2.0."

To top off this frightening message, unsubstantiated claims of "brain damage" resulting from the use of this super-pot are new buzzwords in today's Prevention circles.

If ever there was an attention-getting script for scaring the hell out of parents, this is it.

Fortunately, while the headlines are grabbing, the story lacks credibility.

Growers in the business of selling marijuana have always attached pet names to selected strains of pot. In the 1970s, popular varieties included "Acapulco Gold" and "Maui Wowie." Today, as in the past, most of these labels are little more than clever marketing gimmicks devised by producers and sellers to distinguish their particular product in a highly competitive marketplace.

While a handful of potent strains may be available in limited quantities today, these varieties compose only a minute percentage of the overall marketplace -- at a price tag that is cost-prohibitive to anyone but the most wealthy of aficionados. For others, marijuana remains essentially the same plant it has always been, with its relatively mild rise in average potency akin to the difference between beer and wine.

Unlike alcohol -- or even aspirin, -- today's marijuana still poses no risk of fatal overdose, regardless of the strength of its primary psychoactive ingredient, THC. Moreover, cannabis consumers readily distinguish between low and high potency marijuana and moderate their use accordingly.

Finally, despite claims that marijuana alters the brain, it is important to note that THC -- regardless of its potency -- is surprisingly non-toxic to the adult as well as the teenage brain. Recently scientists at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research reported that they could find "no ... evidence of cerebral atrophy or loss of white matter integrity" attributable to cannabis use in the brains of frequent adolescent marijuana users (compared to non-using controls) after performing MRI scans and other advanced imaging technology. Separate studies assessing the cognitive skills of long-term marijuana smokers have also reported no demonstrable deficits.

Of course, marijuana is an intoxicant that should be avoided until and unless an individual has reached an age of mental and physical maturity, and this might be well into his or her twenties.

But as we urge adolescents to abstain or at least delay, let's not forget the lessons we've learned after two decades of drug education that has failed to convince students to "just say no." When teens ultimately learn the truth, exaggerated campaigns like "The Purple Brain" do little more than create skepticism about anything adults tell them about drugs, not to mention fueling their natural curiosity.

What's really frightening is that when teens realize they've been deceived about marijuana, they tend to disregard warnings about the very real dangers of hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. It's this latter scenario that ultimately trumps The Purple Brain as the real horror show.

Marsha Rosenbaum is the Director of the San Francisco office of the Drug Policy Alliance and the author of Safety First: A Reality-Based Approach to Teens and Drugs. Paul Armentano is the Senior Policy Analyst for NORML and the NORML Foundation in Washington, DC.


14) Dead Soldiers & Dead Dreams
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
June 14, 2007
Howard Keylor

If there is one lesson that soldiers don't need to be taught, it's that 'War is hell'.

Drawn into the military because of the shrinking pool of manufacturing jobs, a failing educational system, and the promise of money to pay for college, this so-called volunteer army is trapped in a prism of fear, hope, and fate.

For many, the military is trainer of last resort, the best chance for schooling, a way away from the sad, dismal reality of today's national life.

Fear, because many young men experienced deep, heart-felt fear in the face of the planes slamming into the twin towers on Manhattan; hope, because, given the hopelessness endemic in many rural and urban communities, there was considerable hope that military action would help restore that which Sept. 11th banished utterly the sense of safety, and fate, the blind force that governs the curved roads of life.

Unfortunately, those in power in Washington had other ideas.

Drunk on the wins of victory and executive power, a cadre of neo cons pushed their dreams of imperial domination as far as their imaginations could reach.

The result, of course, is over-reach. The result is a state of global disaster, the ends of which we all can only barely conceive.

Who are the soldiers who have been trained, taught to kill, and sent into the field? In "Operation Enduring Freedom" (or is it 'Enduring Occupation'?), there are 37,000 people in U.S. uniforms who are non citizens. They hope to live long enough to benefit from a program that allows them to get citizenship immediately, without waiting the usual 5 years.

Thirty-seven thousand non citizen soldiers!

This is a part of the immigration debate that we don't hear on the overheated floors of Congress.

The hottest US Army recruitment spot is Tijuana, Mexico.

When you hear the names of the newly dead, there is a good chance that among that number is more than a few who were a non citizen, their Spanish name denoting their Mexican heritage rather than Puerto Rican.

They are not the cardboard cutout figure that the Pentagon tried to sell in the case of Pat Tillman.

A well-muscled former professional athlete, who joined in the glory days after September 11th, those who sent him to Arlington National Cemetery weren't Al Qaeda, the Taliban, nor the 'terrorists' who 'hate our freedoms.'

They were Americans, engaging in some unfriendly fire.

Tillman, like most of us, was far more complex than the papers or the newscasts suggested.

One of his favorite authors was the MIT linguist and war critic, Noam Chomsky. He also loathed what he saw and experienced in the Middle East.

If he were alive today, he would probably be in the forefront of antiwar demonstrations.

Rome, as it approached its latter years, promised a lesser kind of citizenship to barbarians on their borders, who promised to fight for the empire. To the average Roman, they promised bread and circuses.

Like Rome, the US Empire promises a lesser kind of citizenship to people on the border, as border wars rage around them, and as xenophobia reaches a fever pitch. It doesn't promise bread and circuses, but rather American Idol and a chance to appear on a reality TV show.




The Big Profits in Biowarfare Research
Corporate America's Deadliest Secret
June 22, 2007

How Could Blair Possibly Get This Job?
The Bumbling Envoy
Weekend Edition
June 23 / 24, 2007

Nationwide, Black children 4-6 times more likely to die of asthma .

Nigeria: Strike - 50 Labour Leaders Arrested
Daily Champion (Lagos)
22 June 2007
Posted to the web 22 June 2007
Chukwudi Achife, Ufomba Uzuegbu, Akor Sylvester

Climate change blamed as Lake Superior shrinks
By Leonard Doyle in Washington
Published: 20 June 2007

General Strike Over Rising Fuel Price Takes Hold in Nigerian Cities
June 21, 2007

At Least 12 U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq in 2 Days
June 21, 2007

The General's Report
By Seymour M. Hersh
The New Yorker
25 June 2007 Issue
"How Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties."

Medical Marijuana Measure Falls With Connecticut Governor’s Veto
June 20, 2007

AP Blog: Living on Cuba's Rationed Food
Filed at 12:18 p.m. ET
"AP Havana Bureau Chief Anita Snow is spending the month of June living on the ''libreta,'' a ration book for food consumption in Cuba. Here's her story."
June 19, 2007

The Earth today stands in imminent peril
" ...and nothing short of a planetary rescue will save it from the environmental cataclysm of dangerous climate change. Those are not the words of eco-warriors but the considered opinion of a group of eminent scientists writing in a peer-reviewed scientific journal."
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Published: 19 June 2007

With Rise in Radiation Exposure, Experts Urge Caution on Tests
June 19, 2007

Conservancy Buys Large Area of Adirondack Wilderness
June 19, 2007

Global: Hidden cancer epidemic kills hundreds of thousands each year
"A worldwide epidemic of occupational cancer is claiming at least one life every 52 seconds, but this tragedy is being ignored by both official regulators and employers. A new cancer prevention guide, reveals that over 600,000 deaths a year – one death every 52 seconds – are caused by occupational cancer, making up almost one-third of all work-related deaths."

Preventing occupational cancer
"A new cancer prevention guide, reveals that over 600,000 deaths a year – one death every 52 seconds – are caused by occupational cancer, making up almost one-third of all work-related deaths."
IMF / News article

A Harsh Lesson in Finances for After-School Students
June 18, 2007

Long Reviled, Merit Pay Gains Among Teachers
June 18, 2007

Meadow Birds in Precipitous Decline, Audubon Says
June 15, 2007

Strike in South Africa expands
By Geoff Hill
Published June 12, 2007

Oregon: More Than 165 Workers Are Detained After Raid
More than 165 workers were detained to be processed for possible deportation after federal agents raided the Fresh Del Monte Produce food-processing plant and two offices of a staffing company in Portland. Three people were indicted on immigration, illegal documents and identity theft charges. An official at Fresh Del Monte Produce Company headquarters in Coral Gables, Fla., said the company could not comment until federal investigators provided it with more information. Mayor Tom Potter of Portland criticized the raids. The three arrests were understandable, Mr. Potter said, but “to go after local workers who are here to support their families while filling the demands of local businesses for their labor is bad policy.”
June 13, 2007

Robert Fisk: Lies and outrages... would you believe it?
It was Israel which attacked Egypt after Nasser closed the straits of Tiran
Published: 09 June 2007

Judge Throws Out Sentence in Teen Sex Case
June 11, 2007

US Military Envisions "Post-Occupation" Force
"US military officials are increasingly envisioning a "post-occupation" troop presence in Iraq that neither maintains current levels nor leads to a complete pullout, but aims for a smaller, longer-term force that would remain in the country for years."

Lieberman Backs Limited U.S. Attacks on Iran
June 10, 2007

Biologists Make Skin Cells Work Like Stem Cells
June 7, 2007

Report Confirms CIA Secret Prisons in Europe

The Dirty Water Underground
May 31, 2007

A Hot-Selling Weapon, an Inviting Target
June 3, 2007

Surf’s Up, but the Water Is Brown
June 3, 2007
Los Angeles

When Should a Kid Start Kindergarten?
June 3, 2007

After Sanctions, Doctors Get Drug Company Pay
June 3, 2007

Somalia: The Other (Hidden) War for Oil
by Carl Bloice; Black Commentator
May 07, 2007




LAPD vs. Immigrants (Video)


Dr. Julia Hare at the SOBA 2007


"We are far from that stage today in our era of the absolute
lie; the complete and totalitarian lie, spread by the
monopolies of press and radio to imprison social
consciousness." December 1936, "In 'Socialist' Norway,"
by Leon Trotsky: “Leon Trotsky in Norway” was transcribed
for the Internet by Per I. Matheson [References from
original translation removed]


Wealth Inequality Charts


MALCOLM X: Oxford University Debate


Animated Video Preview
Narrated by Peter Coyote
Is now on YouTube and Google Video

We are planning on making the ADDICTED To WAR movie.
Can you let me know what you think about this animated preview?
Do you think it would work as a full length film?
Please send your response to:
Fdorrel@sbcglobal. net or Fdorrel@Addictedtow

In Peace,

Frank Dorrel
Addicted To War
P.O. Box 3261
Culver City, CA 90231-3261
fdorrel@sbcglobal. net
www.addictedtowar. com

For copies of the book:

Frank Dorrel
P.O. BOX 3261
CULVER CITY, CALIF. 90231-3261
$10.00 per copy (Spanish or English); special bulk rates
can be found at:


"There comes a times when silence is betrayal."
--Martin Luther King



The National Council of Arab Americans (NCA) demands the immediate
release of political prisoner, Dr. Sami Al-Arian. Although
Dr. Al-Arian is no longer on a hunger strike we must still demand
he be released by the US Department of Justice (DOJ). After an earlier
plea agreement that absolved Dr. Al-Arian from any further questioning,
he was sentenced up to 18 months in jail for refusing to testify before
a grand jury in Virginia. He has long sense served his time yet
Dr. Al-Arian is still being held. Release him now!



We ask all people of conscience to demand the immediate
release and end to Dr. Al- Arian's suffering.

Call, Email and Write:

1- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Fax Number: (202) 307-6777

2- The Honorable John Conyers, Jr
2426 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5126
(202) 225-0072 Fax

3- Senator Patrick Leahy
433 Russell Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

4- Honorable Judge Gerald Lee
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
401 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, VA 22314
March 22, 2007
[No email]

National Council of Arab Americans (NCA)

Criminalizing Solidarity: Sami Al-Arian and the War of
By Charlotte Kates, The Electronic Intifada, 4 April 2007


Robert Fisk: The true story of free speech in America
This systematic censorship of Middle East reality
continues even in schools
Published: 07 April 2007
http://news. independent. fisk/article2430 125.ece


[For some levity...Hans Groiner plays Monk]


Excerpt of interview between Barbara Walters and Hugo Chavez


Which country should we invade next?

My Favorite Mutiny, The Coup

Michael Moore- The Awful Truth

Morse v. Frederick Supreme Court arguments

Free Speech 4 Students Rally - Media Montage


'My son lived a worthwhile life'
In April 2003, 21-year old Tom Hurndall was shot in the head
in Gaza by an Israeli soldier as he tried to save the lives of three
small children. Nine months later, he died, having never
recovered consciousness. Emine Saner talks to his mother
Jocelyn about her grief, her fight to make the Israeli army
accountable for his death and the book she has written
in his memory.
Monday March 26, 2007
The Guardian,,2042968,00.html


Introducing...................the Apple iRack


"A War Budget Leaves Every Child Behind."
[A T-shirt worn by some teachers at Roosevelt High School
in L.A. as part of their campaign to rid the school of military
recruiters and JROTC--see Article in Full item number 4,]




Defend the Los Angeles Eight!


George Takai responds to Tim Hardaway's homophobic remarks




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]



"Cheyenne and Arapaho oral histories hammer history's account of the
Sand Creek Massacre"

CENTENNIAL, CO -- A new documentary film based on an award-winning
documentary short film, "The Sand Creek Massacre", and driven by
Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho people who tell their version about
what happened during the Sand Creek Massacre via their oral
histories, has been released by Olympus Films+, LLC, a Centennial,
Colorado film company.

"You have done an extraordinary job" said Margie Small, Tobient
Entertainment, " on the Colorado PBS episode, the library videos for
public schools and libraries, the trailer, etc...and getting the
story told and giving honor to those ancestors who had to witness
this tragic and brutal is one of the best ways."

"The images shown in the film were selected for native awareness
value" said Donald L. Vasicek, award-winning writer/filmmaker, "we
also focused on preserving American history on film because tribal
elders are dying and taking their oral histories with them. The film
shows a non-violent solution to problem-solving and 19th century
Colorado history, so it's multi-dimensional in that sense. "

Chief Eugene Blackbear, Sr., Cheyenne, who starred as Chief Black
Kettle in "The Last of the Dogmen" also starring Tom Berenger and
Barbara Hershey and "Dr. Colorado", Tom Noel, University of Colorado
history professor, are featured.

The trailer can be viewed and the film can be ordered for $24.95 plus
$4.95 for shipping and handling at

Vasicek's web site,, provides detailed
information about the Sand Creek Massacre including various still
images particularly on the Sand Creek Massacre home page and on the
proposal page.

Olympus Films+, LLC is dedicated to writing and producing quality
products that serve to educate others about the human condition.


Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC
7078 South Fairfax Street
Centennial, CO 80122,+Don


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


[The Scab
"After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad,
and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with
which he made a scab."
"A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul,
a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue.
Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten
principles." "When a scab comes down the street,
men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and
the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out."
"No man (or woman) has a right to scab so long as there
is a pool of water to drown his carcass in,
or a rope long enough to hang his body with.
Judas was a gentleman compared with a scab.
For betraying his master, he had character enough
to hang himself." A scab has not.
"Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.
Judas sold his Savior for thirty pieces of silver.
Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of
a commision in the british army."
The scab sells his birthright, country, his wife,
his children and his fellowmen for an unfulfilled
promise from his employer.
Esau was a traitor to himself; Judas was a traitor
to his God; Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country;
a scab is a traitor to his God, his country,
his family and his class."
Author --- Jack London (1876-1916)...Roland Sheppard]


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


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])