Friday, September 07, 2007



Daily Show: 1994 Dick Cheney vs. Post-9/11 Dick Cheney


Saturday, September 8, 10:00 A.M. - Oct. 27 Coalition Mass Meeting
474 Valencia Street, Near 16th Street in San Francisco.
After this meeting we will spread out over the city -- to the Power to the Peaceful concert in Golden Gate Park--and all corners of the city to build the Oct. 27 March and Rally to End the War Now! Bring the Troops Home Now! Flyers and posters will be available for pick-up and distribution. Everyone welcome!



Join CodePINK: Women for Peace and our many fierce allies as we STRIKE this Tuesday, September 11th to demand that Congress vote NO MORE FUNDING WAR.

Congress will vote any day now to either CEASE funding war or INCREASE funding for war. Which will it be? It is up to US ˆ amplify our voices for Congress to end funding for war NOW.

Be at the Federal Building in Oakland from noon until night! Take the 12th St BART & walk 2 blocks west to 13th & Clay Streets. Look for the hot pink!

For more information, call 510-524-2776 or email info (at) bayareacodepink (dot) org

Dearest CodePINK Com Madres and allies:

CodePINK Women for Peace requests your fierce presence at our STRIKE Sept 11th, from NOON until night at the Oakland Federal Building, 13th & Clay Streets (12th St BART). We are striking in solidarity with youth around the country initiating 9/11 strikes.

In the next few days, Congress will once again vote to either CEASE funding the occupation of Iraq or to INCREASE funding for the occupation of Iraq.

We must NOT allow Congress to repeat their betrayal of the American people, our soldiers, Iraq people, and the people of the world by voting to continue funding this illegal, immoral occupation of Iraq.

Some say Congress is not listening to us: we say maybe WE ARE NOT TALKING LOUD ENOUGH! Come roar with us!

We need your voice! Demand NO MORE FUNDING WAR this Tuesday as we "Hold Hands across America for Peace", "Bewail the Dead", and confront the "Real Face of War".

Call 510-524-2776 or email info (at) bayareacodepink (dot) org for more information, to participate & endorse, to help spread the word.

Or choose your own location: gather your co-workers, neighbors, friends, families, allies, and STRIKE ˆ at work, school, school, downtown, a busy intersection, war profiteering corporations, Congressional Offices! Just be in the streets! (Email if you want your strike's details posted on the calendar!)

Together we WILL end war NOW!
Peace, SF Bay Area CodePINK East Bay


ANTIWAR FILM SHOWING: "War Made Easy: How Presidents &
Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death," Based upon the book by Norman Solomon
FROM: David Zupan
Institute for Public Accuracy
Media Education Foundation

Letter from Norman Solomon:

Dear Bay Area Activist:

You can help turn an antiwar movie into a nationwide success. I'm
writing about the new documentary, "War Made Easy: How Presidents &
Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." It's based on my book, is narrated by Sean
Penn, and is earning rave reviews: "Superb" (Howard Zinn); "Chilling and
persuasive" (The Nation); "Damning" (Variety); "A tour de force" (editor
of "An Inconvenient Truth ").

"War Made Easy" is now entering its third week of a theatrical run at the
Roxie in San Francisco. If the movie succeeds there and at the Elmwood in
Berkeley (as of Sept. 7), it will help our efforts to bring it to theaters
across the country. So please come see "War Made Easy," spread the word and
send this email to your Bay Area friends.

The movie uses stunning archival video to expose a 50-year pattern of
White House deception and media propaganda that has dragged our country
into one military intervention after another from Vietnam to Iraq. But
it's not just about villains - rare footage spotlights heroes who have
resisted the war barrage: people like Sen. Wayne Morse, Rep. Barbara
Lee and Phil Donahue.

Please send this email to friends and spread the word. Info on "War
Made Easy" and how to purchase it in DVD is
View the trailer:

Hope to see you at the Roxie or the Elmwood.


Norman Solomon

WAR MADE EASY: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death
See it! Tell your friends to see it! Let's get it shown throughout the U.S.

Here are more details about where and when WME is showing in the Bay

In San Francisco: THE ROXIE CINEMA . 3125 - 16th Street. at 3117 16th
Street (in the Mission District between Valencia & Guerrero).
(415)863-1087 for recorded information. Opened Friday, August 24:
Shows nightly at 6:30, 8:00 and 9:30 with additional matinees on Saturday and Sunday
at 2:00, 3:30 and 5:00. Website:

In Berkeley: Opening Friday, Sept 7th: The Elmwood Theater - 2966
College Ave at Ashby in Berkeley. (510)433-9730 for
recorded info. Showtimes to be
Call for more information!


Defend the ILWU Local 10 Brothers ---
Assaulted by Cops on the Sacramento Docks!
Emergency Executive Board Meeting Tuesday September 4!

On August 23, West Sacramento police and private security guards viciously
attacked, maced and arrested two Local 10 brothers, Jason Ruffin #101168 and
Aaron Harrison #101167, coming back to work on the SSA terminal after lunch.
When the guards insisted on searching their car, the longshoremen questioned
their authority to do so and called the Local 10 business agent. While one
was talking on the phone to the BA and without provocation, they were
assaulted, dragged from the car, handcuffed, jailed and charged with
"trespassing" and "obstructing a police officer". How the hell can
longshoremen be "trespassing", returning to work after lunch, having already
shown their PMA ID cards to guards at the terminal. Was it racial profiling
because the two longshoremen were black? Authorities citing a new maritime
security regulation that permits vehicle inspection doesn't mean maritime
workers can't question it. It doesn't take away a union member's right to
call his union business agent, And it certainly doesn't give authorities,
private or government, the right to assault and arrest you without
provocation. This is the ugly face of the "war on terror" on the docks. And
it'll get worse unless we come together and take action to defend these
brothers. Their court date is set for October 4 at 8:30AM in Yolo County
Superior Court; 213 Third St.; Woodland, CA.

An injury to two is an injury to all!

We, Executive Board and Local 10 members, called for an Emergency Executive
Board meeting Tuesday September 4 to resolve this urgent matter.

Melvin McKay #9268 Trent Willis #9182
Lonnie Francis #9274 Lawrence Thibeaux #7541
Jahn Overstreet #9189 Jack Heyman #8780
Erick Wright #8946

AUG. 31, 2007


September 15: A showdown march from the White House to Congress in Washington DC

North/Central California "End the War Now" March
Saturday, October 27, 2007, 11am, San Francisco Civic Center Plaza

Momentum is building for Oct. 27 and beyond.

Here is a schedule of coalition meetings coming up:

Saturday, September 8, 10:00 A.M. - Oct. 27 Coalition Mass Meeting
474 Valencia Street, Near 16th Street in San Francisco.

Tuesday, September 11, 6:30 P.M. - Oct. 27 Coalition Steering Committee
(Location to be announced.)

Wednesday, September 12, 7:00pm - Oct. 27 Coalition Youth and Student Organizing Meeting - 2489 Mission St., Rm. 28

Tuesday Sept. 18 at 7pm - Outreach committee meeting in the basement of the ANSWER office at 2489 Mission Street.

Help build for a massive, united march and rally in San Francisco Oct. 27 to End the War NOW.

This action is sponsored by a broad coalition of groups in the Bay Area. A list will be forthcoming—we are all united on this one and, hopefully in the future.

Funds are urgently needed for all the material—posters, flyers, stickers and buttons, etc.—to get the word out! Make your tax-deductible donation to:

Progress Unity Fund/Oct. 27

and mail to:

Oct. 27th Coalition
3288 21st Street, Number 249
San Francisco, CA 94110


In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein

To get more information call or drop into the ANSWER office:

Act Now to Stop War & End Racism

Here is a partial list of endorsers of the October 27 Coalition in alphabetical order--Check out our new website at:

Al Awda SF, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition
Alameda County Central Labor Council
Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines (AJLPP)
American Friends Service Committee
Arab American Union Members Council
Arab Resource and Organizing Center
Barrio Unidos por Amnestia
Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice
Bay Area United Against War
Coalicion Primero de Mayo, SFBA
Coalition to Free the Angola 3
CODE PINK Women for Peace
Common Ground Relief
Communications Workers of America Local 9415
Community Futures Collective
Contra Costa County Central Labor Council
East Bay Labor and Community Coalition
Ecumenical Peace Institute/Clergy and Laity Concerned
Episcopal Diocese of California
First Quarter Storm Network - USA
Free Palestine Alliance
Global Exchange
International Socialist Organization
Iraq Moratorium
Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma'at
Kabataang maka-Bayan (KmB - Pro-People Youth)
La Raza Centro Legal
Larry Everest, author
LEF Foundation
Monterey Bay Labor Council
National Committee to Free the Cuban Five
National Council of Arab Americans
Not In Our Name
Party for Socialism and Liberation
Peninsula Peace and Justice Center
Pride at Work
Renee Saucedo
Revolutionary Workers Group
Revolution Youth
Sacramento Area Black Caucus
San Francisco Bay View Newspaper
San FRancisco Day Labor Program
San Francisco Labor Council
San Jose Peace Center
San Mateo County Central Labor Council
Scientific Socialist Collective
Senior Action Network
SF Bay View Newspaper
Socialist Action
Socialist Viewpoint
South Bay Labor Council
South Bay Mobilization
State Central Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party
Stop Funding the War Coalition
U.S. Labor Against the War
United for Peace & Justice Bay Area
United for Peace and Justice
Vanguard Foundation
Veterans for Peace
West County Toxics Coalition
Workers International League
World Can't Wait - Drive Out the Bush Regime! SF Bay Area Chapter
Youth and Student A.N.S.W.E.R.

...a partial listing! we are gathering groups faster than we
can post them!


Bay Area United Against War Activists

Save 20% on George Bernard Shaw’s anti-war masterpiece: HEARTBREAK HOUSE
August 31—September 8

Artist, socialist, feminist, anti-war activist, vegetarian, freethinker, street-corner orator, and all-around raconteur, if there’s one man who belongs in Berkeley, it’s George Bernard Shaw. Heartbreak House—his hilarious portrayal of a civilization on the edge of decline—was his response to the actions of World War I. And Berkeley Rep is thrilled to kick off its 40th birthday celebration with a timely take on this comic masterwork.

We’re celebrating our 40th birthday all season long with reduced prices from just $27—and Supporters of Bay Area United Against War save 20% on tickets for available performances August 31—September 8. Plus, save even more when you purchase three or more plays!

Purchase tickets online and use promo code 2746.

Click to learn about “Free Speech” events at the Theatre before your show, more about the play, and details about your discount.


Labor Conference to Stop the War!

October 20, 2007

ILWU Local 10 400 North Point Street, San Francisco, California @ Fisherman's Wharf

As the war in Iraq and Afghanistan enters its seventh year, opposition to the war among working people in the United States and the world is massive and growing. The "surge" strategy of sending in more and more troops has become a -asco for the Pentagon generals, while thousands of Iraqis are killed every month. Before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, millions marched against the war in Britain, Italy and Spain as hundreds of thousands took to the streets in the U.S. to oppose it. But that didn't stop the invasion. In the U.S., this "war on terror" has meant wholesale assault on civil liberties and workers' rights, like the impending imposition of the hated TWIC card for port workers. And the war keeps going on and on, as Democrats and Republicans in Congress keep on voting for it.

As historian Isaac Deutscher said during the Vietnam War, a single strike would be more e-ective than all the peace marches. French dockworkers did strike in the port of Marseilles and helped bring an end to the war in Vietnam. To put a stop to this bloody colonial occupation, labor must use its power.

The International Warehouse and Longshore Union has opposed the war on Iraq since the beginning. In the Bay Area, ILWU Local 10 has repeatedly warned that the so-called "war on terror" is really a war on working people and democratic rights. Around the country, hundreds of unions and labor councils have passed motions condemning the war, but that has not stopped the war. We need to use labor's muscle to stop the war by mobilizing union power in the streets, at the plant gates and on the docks to force the immediate and total withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.

The clock is ticking. It's time for labor action to bring the war machine to a grinding halt and end this slaughter. During longshore contract negotiations in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, Bush cited port security and imposed the slave-labor Taft-Hartley Law against the ILWU in collusion with the maritime employers group PMA and with the support of the Democrats. Yet, he did nothing when PMA shut down every port on the U.S. West Coast by locking out longshore workers just the week before!

In April 2003, when antiwar protesters picketed war cargo shippers, APL and SSA, in the Port of Oakland, police -red on picketers and longshoremen alike with their "less than lethal" ammo that left six ILWU members and many others seriously injured. We refused to let our rights be trampled on, sued the city and won. Democratic rights were reasserted a month later when antiwar protesters marched in the port and all shipping was stopped. This past May, when antiwar protesters and the Oakland Education Association again picketed war cargo shippers in Oakland, longshoremen honored the picket line. This is only the beginning.

Last year, Local 10 passed a resolution calling to "Strike Against the War ï¿∏ No Peace, No Work." The motion emphasized the ILWU's proud history in opposing wars for imperial domination, recalling how in 1978 Local 10 refused to load bombs for the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. In the 1980's, Bay Area dock workers highlighted opposition to South African apartheid slavery by boycotting ("hot cargoing") the Nedlloyd Kimberly, while South African workers waged militant strikes to bring down the white supremacist regime.

Now Locals 10 and 34 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have called for a "Labor Conference to Stop the War" to hammer out a program of action. We're saying: Enough! It's high time to use union power against the bosses' war, independent of the "bipartisan" war party. The ILWU can again take the lead, but action against the war should not be limited to the docks. We urge unions in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the country to attend the conference and plan workplace rallies, labor mobilizations in the streets and strike action against the war.

For further information contact: Jack Heyman


Stop Government Attacks
Against the Anti-War Movement!
Take Action to Defend Free Speech




1) A Challenge to New York City’s Homeless Policy
September 4, 2007

2) For U.A.W., a Year of Uncertainty
September 4, 2007

3) Children Starved of Childhood
Inter Press Service
By Ahmed Ali*
From: "Dahr Jamail's dispatches"

4) A Way Out of Debt by Way of Iraq
"His full monthly pay from the military, including hazardous duty bonuses, is $6,031.74. He pays Social Security and Medicare, leaving a take home amount of $5,695.76 a month."
September 3, 2007

5) Age of Riches
Big Gifts, Tax Breaks and a Debate on Charity
[How the rich donate to themselves and we foot the]
September 6, 2007

6) Cuba's Castro warns of coming global recession; complains of leftist critics
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:54 a.m. PT Sept 4, 2007

7) Samarra Under U.S. Attack
Inter Press Service
By Ali al-Fadhily*
Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches
September 6, 2007

8) Chrysler Hires a Top Toyota Executive
September 6, 2007

10) Some Food Additives Raise Hyperactivity, Study Finds
September 6, 2007

11) Marines Punish 3 Officers in Haditha Case
"Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter issued letters of censure to Maj. Gen. Richard A. Huck, the commander of the Second Marine Division at the time; Col. R. Gary Sokoloski, who was the division’s lawyer and the legal adviser to General Huck; and Col. Stephen W. Davis, the commander of a regimental combat team that was in charge of the infantry battalion involved in the Haditha episode, on Nov. 19, 2005."
September 6, 2007

12) Civil Rights Group Faults How Police Are Policed
September 6, 2007

13) 'Gonzo' Justice: Attorney General of Cronyism
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
August 28, 2007

14) Police break up anti-war meeting in Washington
Thu Sep 6, 5:35 PM ET

15) Report: Norway diplomats urge Oslo to criticize Israel over torture
By The Associated Press
September 6, 2007

16) Recruitment by Military in Schools Is Criticized
September 7, 2007

17) Thirty Years: Difference in Life Expectancy Between the World’s Rich and Poor Peoples
by Jeremy Laurance
Published on Friday, September 7, 2007 by The Independent/UK


1) A Challenge to New York City’s Homeless Policy
September 4, 2007

A score of families gather daily in the courtyard of a city office in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. The parents spend time chatting at the picnic tables while children play tag on a few patches of grass. The scene is gentle. But it poses a growing challenge to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s strategy for reducing homelessness.

Each of the families first came here to apply for a place in the city’s homeless shelters, a first step toward getting housing subsidies. They have all been evaluated and told they do not qualify because they have homes they can return to — most often the crowded apartments of relatives.

That was supposed to be the end of the story. But these families have not taken no for an answer. Instead, after the office stops taking shelter applications at 5 p.m., they stay and ask the after-hours staff for emergency shelter, which the city says is for families in a one-time crisis only.

Then sometime between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m., they and their children take all their belongings — shopping carts and strollers laden with televisions, toothpaste, fans — to board buses for a city shelter. Sometimes they are taken to a shelter in the Bronx; sometimes they go to Brooklyn or Queens. It is different every night.

They unpack, shower and sleep until 6 a.m., when they are awakened by the shelter staff. At 7 they are bused back to the city office in the Bronx, where they wait in the courtyard until the office closes at 5 p.m. and their nightly routine begins again.

It is a brutal existence.

Until recently the number of families willing to undergo such hardship was small. Officials say that families were given emergency late-night shelter, and did not reapply during office hours the next day, fewer than 75 times a month for most of 2006.

But the number erupted over the summer. In July, such families checked in for emergency overnight stays nearly 800 times. City officials and advocates for the homeless estimated that a core group of families, perhaps dozens, stayed in this cycle for weeks or longer.

Some much, much longer.

Liset DeJesus says that she and her husband and two daughters, with the Bronx center their base, have been moving from shelter to shelter every night since June. She says that the girls, who are 10 and 15, have been out of school for a year.

Victor Pellot, who says he gets a military pension for an injured shoulder, says he and his son, 14, have been living this way for seven months.

The families say they have no choice, nowhere else to go.

City officials view the tenacity of these families with alarm. They say these are largely families who do not want to return to overcrowded situations, like doubling up in relatives’ apartments, that are less than ideal, but adequate.

And they worry that the families are reinforcing one another’s behavior in defying the city’s rules, and undermining the reforms made in recent years to make the shelter assignment process faster and less subject to abuse.

So serious are these concerns that the officials are considering denying even a single overnight shelter stay to families who have been evaluated repeatedly and told to return to the homes of relatives or friends.

“We cannot allow this subculture of ineligible families to cast a shadow on the entire process,” said Robert V. Hess, the commissioner of homeless services. “We need to get to the point where ‘no’ really means no.”

The question of who is really homeless has been an issue since 1986, when a state court ruled that the city is required to provide free shelter to needy families.

For a while, the city essentially took in all people who sought lodging at homeless shelters. Then, under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, the city began a 10-day review of applicant families.

Although the city found that many families could return to their relatives, many of the rejected families were simply allowed to reapply and stay in a shelter for a 10-day grace period.

One-night-only placements existed, but usually only while families were in the application phase of the cycle, which could last two or three days.

The entire process was revised under Mayor Bloomberg. The city opened a new intake center at the end of 2004, with new procedures for applying.

Long processing times were reduced by three-fourths, and social services assistance for families found ineligible for shelter, including counseling and one-time rent aid, was offered.

Finally, in the fall of 2005, the city won the explicit right from the court and from the state to deny shelter to families who had been through the application process and found to have a suitable alternative.

The city has been tentative in exercising the new right, recognizing that it could cause a public relations debacle. But with record numbers of families filling the shelter system, more than 28,000 people at last count, city officials say they are forced to separate the miserably overcrowded from those in dire need.

“Overwhelmingly these are young moms who don’t like being doubled up,” Mr. Hess said. “They are using staff and other resources that are slowing the whole system down, and it could have a very detrimental effect on families truly in need. We can’t allow that to happen.”

Advocates for the homeless see it differently. They believe that the city’s evaluation process is still rife with errors. They point to the hundreds of families who have been found eligible for permanent shelter on second, third and fourth applications even in the last year.

The city says most of those cases involved changing family circumstances, but the advocates say the idea that a family would agree to such a crushing daily existence if they had options is ridiculous.

“The city is caught between publicly claiming everything is fine and the brutal realities of families and their children having nowhere else to go,” said Steven Banks, attorney in chief of the Legal Aid Society, who has filed a pending court complaint about the accuracy of the eligibility rulings. “It is a ticking time bomb.”

The families say they are willing to put up with the single-night stays without real hope that they will ever persuade the city to approve their applications.

Iatia Mabry, 19, says that she, her year-old daughter and her husband have been in the overnight cycle since the end of July. She had been living with a friend in Virginia, but when that woman’s boyfriend got out of prison and moved back in, living there became untenable. A high school dropout on public assistance, Ms. Mabry has not worked for a year. She says that she cannot work until she gets housing and that she cannot afford it on her own.

She says she was bused to a shelter as late as 3 a.m. Like most other families at the Mott Haven office, she has to carry basics like towels and toilet paper with her. Like most others, she says that in general the shelters are clean, but that a few are horrific — and full of mold, which has aggravated her daughter’s asthma.

Still, Ms. Mabry says she cannot return to her mother, with whom she has never gotten along. She ran away at 17. Neither will she live with her mother-in-law, who has an apartment just blocks away from the office in the Bronx and is holding some of their personal belongings. “I am the head of my own household,” Ms. Mabry explained, “and she doesn’t understand that.”

Besides, Ms. Mabry says, that apartment is already full, housing her mother-in-law, her mother-in-law’s husband, the woman’s daughter, and the wife and two children of another of the woman’s sons.

Although Ms. Mabry says she “cries every night,” she says she will not stop seeking the city’s help. The growing group of families at the Bronx office has become a source of comfort for her.

During the long days there, they use sheets from the shelters to make beds in nearby St. Mary’s Park. They take turns holding one another’s children. They share food. And they watch the others’ backs.

The group has “become like a family,” Ms. Mabry said, “and we are not giving up.”


2) For U.A.W., a Year of Uncertainty
September 4, 2007

DETROIT, Sept. 3 — Detroit’s traditional Labor Day parade took place on Woodward Avenue on Monday with the biggest questions in contract negotiations between the United Automobile Workers union and the Detroit automakers yet to be answered, less than two weeks before the pacts expire.

One question is whether the U.A.W. will agree to the health care overhaul sought by the carmakers — and its corollary is how much General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler will be willing to pay to make that happen.

Contracts expire at midnight on Sept. 14, so talks are expected to pick up this week and accelerate toward the deadline. For now, however, the ball is in the U.A.W.’s court, according to people with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

The union, they said, must signal that it is willing to discuss the creation of a giant health care trust, which it would administer and which would provide benefits for active and retired workers.

Creation of the trust, a voluntary employees’ beneficiary association, would take up to $100 billion in health care liabilities off the automakers’ books. In return, the companies would contribute tens of millions of dollars to create the trust.

Given the complexity of transferring responsibility for health care from company hands to the union’s, some analysts predict it will be handled in stages. That would give the U.A.W. time to get used to administering the trust and would allow the struggling carmakers to pay for it over the next few years rather than all at once.

The U.A.W. is being advised in the matter by a financial consultant, Lazard, which it has used in past negotiations on health care. It also is seeking help from consulting firms that specialize in health care matters, these people said.

If the union rejects the idea of creating a trust to shift the burden for health care, the companies are likely to ask for significant concessions in other aspects of the contract, including wages, benefits and work rules, said these people, who asked not to be identified because the talks were supposed to be private.

On Monday, the U.A.W.’s president, Ron Gettelfinger, marched with union members but did not address a rally held at the end of the parade. “This is an opportunity to come together as working men and women,” he said as he left the parade, according to The Associated Press. “Negotiations are best done if they’re handled at the bargaining table, not in the media.”

Union workers are awaiting the outcome with little guidance from their leaders. Mark and Dawn Lemerand, who both work at Chrysler’s truck plant in Warren, Mich., said they had spent as little money as possible in recent months, fearing that the new contract could lower wages, make health care more expensive and reduce job security.

“Life’s been on hold. We’re saving every dime we can,” said Mrs. Lemerand, 38, who joined thousands of union workers at the parade. The crowd included not only automotive workers but also bus drivers and tuxedo-clad members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, who were at an impasse in their own contract talks.

Mrs. Lemerand and her colleagues at U.A.W. Local 140, who build the Dodge Ram and Dakota trucks, wore green T-shirts warning, “Will strike if provoked.” Late last month, a number of U.A.W. local chapters voted to authorize a strike if talks broke down, a common move aimed at giving union leaders more leverage. At her local, 98 percent voted in favor of authorizing a strike, she said.

But industry experts say there is almost no possibility of a strike, as the car companies are in such fragile financial shape that a shutdown could force at least one of them into bankruptcy.

“It would be really remarkable if there was a strike. You’d need a complete collapse of negotiations,” said David L. Gregory, a professor of labor law at St. John’s University in Queens. “A strike this time around could be absolutely lethal for the company being struck.”

But more than a month after negotiations opened in mid-July, U.A.W. members say they have heard almost nothing from their negotiators. Unlike in past contract talks, the union does not have a toll-free number for chapter presidents to call for updates to pass along to members, nor have negotiators faxed or sent by e-mail any material to print in local newsletters or post on Web sites.

“It’s been very quiet,” said Jim Stoufer, president of Local 249, which represents workers at the Ford assembly plant in Kansas City, Mo. “We seem to be a little more in the dark than normal, and I think it’s because of the tough times.”

The lack of news is not necessarily a sign that talks are at a standstill, though, said Professor Gregory: “If there was a meltdown, we’d have heard about it.”

Sean McAlinden, a labor economist with the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., said he expected the carmakers to offer workers one-time “signing bonuses” in exchange for long-term wage and benefit reductions to increase the likelihood of ratification.

A similar bonus was offered at the bankrupt Delphi, the country’s largest parts maker, whose workers approved cuts this year.

Officials from the carmakers declined to comment.

Mr. Stoufer said he had heard rumors about wage cuts of 20 to 30 percent for U.A.W. members, who earn about $29 an hour on average. But Ralph Mayer, president of U.A.W. Local 898 in Ypsilanti, Mich., said, “I’d put money on the fact that a huge pay cut is not going to happen.”

The proposal to create a union-run health care trust seems particularly unsettling to many workers. A U.A.W. faction that opposes concessions has distributed fliers that equate the voluntary employees’ beneficiary association proposal, known as V.E.B.A., with “Vandalizing Employee Benefits Again.”

Workers at G.M. and Ford agreed in 2005 to pay part of their medical costs. Workers at Chrysler did not make a similar deal, so analysts say the U.A.W. may have to grant the company’s request for similar cuts in medical costs as part of any overall package.

In past years, the U.A.W. has chosen one of the car companies as its negotiating target around Labor Day. The union’s pattern-bargaining philosophy involved reaching a deal with the target company, then persuading the other two carmakers to accept similar terms.

But in the 2003 talks, the union did not choose a target, instead conducting talks simultaneously with all three. There has been no word on which company may be chosen this year, although Mr. Gettelfinger has said he is striving for a pattern agreement.

If a target is chosen, experts say, G.M. stands the best chance, because it is healthier than Ford and the most intent on creating a V.E.B.A. fund, given that its future medical costs are estimated at about $55 billion. But Ford could be selected because Mr. Gettelfinger, who came up through the Ford ranks, has the longest-standing relationships there.

Chrysler, which was sold to Cerberus Capital Management last month, seems to be the least likely target, since it has new owners and must still resolve its health care situation, experts say.

Mary M. Chapman contributed reporting.


3) Children Starved of Childhood
Inter Press Service
By Ahmed Ali*
From: "Dahr Jamail's dispatches"

BAQUBA, Sep 2 (IPS) - The violence around the continuing U.S. military operations in this city has robbed children of their childhood.

Only two provincial schools and one private kindergarten school are functioning in this city of 280,000, located 50 km north of Baghdad. Most children know neither school nor play.

Or even the food they want. "We parents can hardly meet the basic requirements of food," Mahdi Hassan, a father of four, told IPS.

"Nobody even mentions chocolate or pastries or anything else because Iraqis know they are not important," Baquba resident Wissam Jafar told IPS. "Children eat what the other members of the family eat. Toys and games are offered only at festivals and on special occasions."

Baquba city, capital of Diyala province, has been at the centre of major U.S. military operations to fight al-Qaeda like forces. People have suffered from the violence from both sides.

By now Iraq has seen a generation of children pass with just survival a major issue. During the period of economic sanctions imposed on Iraq in the 1990s, more than half a million children died, according to the United Nations.

In 1996, former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright was asked by Lesley Stahl on the CBS ? Minutes' show if she thought the price of half a million dead children was worth it. She replied, "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it."

One in eight children in Iraq died during that period of malnutrition, disease, and lack of medicine.

The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq during March 2003 brought hope that things might change, but that change has only been for the worse.

"During the nineties, they were malnourished but they could find a place to play in the streets," Khalid Ali, a local economist, told IPS. "Nowadays, they cannot even get out of their home because of the violence. And a large number of children have been killed through the violence."

There is one park in Baquba with some basic swings for children; another was recently renovated by an Iraqi NGO. Both get overcrowded on festivals and holidays. Parents feel obliged to take their children out on these days, despite the risk.

On other days, no more than two or three families visit the parks.

Sajid Asim who earns 175 dollars a month from his job in the water department says the money is barely enough for food for the family. "Surely, there won't be any extra money to bring the children special food or clothes, or games, or even taking them to picnics." For those without work -- and there are many -- the situation is worse.

Schoolteachers and managers spoke to IPS of the problems facing children who do manage to go to school.

"Teaching has been hit by the political situation in Iraq," said Salma Majid, manager of a local primary school. "Children can often not get to the school, and we may have more than three days off in a week. The whole academic year may be delayed because the violence has been so extreme this year."

Schools can provide children a chance to play but sometimes it is not safe," she said. "A number of school buildings have been hit by mortar."

According to an Oxfam report on Iraq released Jul. 30, "92 percent of children had learning impediments that are largely attributable to the current climate of fear. Schools are regularly closed as teachers and pupils are too fearful to attend. Over 800,000 children may now be out of school, according to a recent estimate by Save the Children UK -- up from 600,000 in 2004."

The Oxfam report also said that child malnutrition rates in Iraq have risen from 19 percent before the invasion in 2003, to 28 percent. "More than 11 percent of newborn babies were born underweight in 2006, compared with 4 percent in 2003."

Scarcity has brought all sorts of difficulties for children. "I put a sandwich in the bag for my son to take to school," said a mother who declined to give her name. "When he got back home, he said he could not have it because his classmates do not bring their own sandwiches; their parents do not give them sandwiches."

A local primary school teacher, Ali Abbas, said it is common now for students to arrive at school without breakfast.

"One day, one of the children suddenly passed out," Abbas said. "We immediately took her to the administration room. When she regained consciousness, I asked her why she fainted. She told me that she did not have breakfast because there was no breakfast at home."

(*Ahmed, our correspondent in Iraq's Diyala province, works in close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who travels extensively in the region)


4) A Way Out of Debt by Way of Iraq
"His full monthly pay from the military, including hazardous duty bonuses, is $6,031.74. He pays Social Security and Medicare, leaving a take home amount of $5,695.76 a month."
September 3, 2007

Nick Sloan was $68,021.35 in debt earlier this year when he decided he needed a change. Mr. Sloan, 26, is a captain in the Air Force, and was stationed in Colorado Springs. Looking at his financial life, he saw only a series of bad decisions.

So he made what he calls a “radical” break: he volunteered to go to Iraq. In May he arrived for duty in Baghdad.

“I came to the realization that I was so far over my head, I had to do something drastic to increase my cash flow,” Captain Sloan said by telephone from the Green Zone, where he now receives extra pay and has minimal living expenses. “Iraq did that.”

In a nation swimming in debt — prime, subprime, adjustable, student, payday — debt reduction is coming to resemble dieting, a province of gimmicks, good sense, talk radio and endlessly resourceful scheming. Though there is as yet no South Beach Debt-Loss Plan, for Captain Sloan, there is Iraq.

“I hate to make it seem like I’m here just for money, because it’s not true,” he said. “There’s many worthy things about being here. But if I can use this to my advantage, I definitely should.”

Since arriving in Baghdad, he has gotten his debt below $4,000. He monitors his finances on the Internet, and started a blog ( to help his peers avoid his mistakes.

“I’ve met people who’ve gone on to one or more tours just to get out of debt, with jobs much more dangerous than mine,” Captain Sloan said. “One soldier in Afghanistan said, ‘That’s why I’m here, to get out of debt.’ ”

Financial counselors who work with military families say that this solution — volunteering for deployment to get out of debt — is rare, but that debt is a problem in the armed services, as it is in the country at large. In 2005, military charities for all branches of service provided $87,332,758 in emergency no-interest loans or grants to 100,808 service members in financial distress.

“The military reflects the society from which the people come, so right now that means carrying a lot of debt,” said Adm. Steve Abbot, who is retired from the Navy, the president of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, a military charity organization.

More commonly, Admiral Abbot said, deployment to war adds to families’ financial pressures.

A Defense Department survey of active-duty service members found that in 2006, 11 percent reported failing to make a minimum payment on a credit card or military credit account in the preceding year; 11 percent said they had been put under pressure to pay bills by a store, creditor or bill collector; and 7 percent had bounced two or more checks. (The percentages were all down from previous years.) In response, payday lenders concentrate around military bases, the researchers found.

Last year Congress passed legislation prohibiting payday lenders from charging service members more than 36 percent — effectively ending payday loans to military personnel — but the measure is not scheduled to take effect until October.

Captain Sloan’s debts began at the Air Force Academy, with a low-interest loan of $25,000.

“It was this awesome loan at 1 percent interest, and I just squandered it,” he said.

Captain Sloan borrowed another $35,000 last year to buy a 2005 Nissan 350Z, bringing his debt above $68,000. He was using one credit card to pay off another and considering a payday loan to meet his regular expenses.

“When I look back, I feel somewhat ashamed that I got myself in this position,” he said. “But at the same time it was necessary for me to learn to manage my finances. When you can’t pay your monthly bills, you need to make some changes.”

Like many of his peers, Captain Sloan entered the service with little financial knowledge. His father, who died when he was young, supported the family on a disability pension from the Army. His mother, Linda, said she had done little to teach her two sons about money.

“My training in finances was very poor,” she said. “I didn’t expect my sons to make better decisions, without finding out on their own. My training was, you don’t buy things you can’t pay for. But we’re trained by the media that you have to have things and you’re owed those things.”

Captain Sloan said he kept his debts hidden from most of his friends and relatives. His mother, who opposes the war, said she did not try to dissuade him.

“I think the defining moment for me was when he called and said: ‘I want you to know I’ve taken out life insurance. You have $100,000 if something should happen to me,’ ” she said. “It left such a sour feeling in me.”

Captain Sloan said the toughest sell was his fiancée.

“She took decision the hardest of anyone,” he said. “Initially she was against it. I think I won her over eventually. It was a matter of looking at the numbers. We could start our marriage in debt, or I could do this. The numbers were very telling. Drastic measures are required.”

In the Green Zone, where he works in intelligence, he has few opportunities to spend money.

All his income is tax-free under the Combat Zone Tax Exclusion and he gets an extra $225 a month imminent danger pay and $100 “safe” pay to improve his living conditions. “The real benefit is that it’s tax-free money,” he said. “I really don’t feel in imminent danger on a day-to-day basis, but there have been times my heart did skip a beat or two.”

Apart from an occasional haircut, or dried fruit, he said, “every paycheck I get goes straight toward my debt.” His full monthly pay from the military, including hazardous duty bonuses, is $6,031.74. He pays Social Security and Medicare, leaving a take home amount of $5,695.76 a month. He makes $100 a month from renting his house in Colorado Springs, after paying for the mortgage. He also sold things and simplified his life. He eats at the chow hall rather than Pizza Hut and uses a Sony Reader to scan free books on the Internet.

But even in the relative safety of the Green Zone, Captain Sloan said, he sees his fellow service members taking unnecessary risks — by not saving their combat pay.

“I see that a lot from guys here, especially the younger guys,” he said. “They’re not afraid to spend their money. I do my best to tell them: ‘You’re risking life for this money. It should go to something better than a new computer or junk.’ Some listen, some don’t. They don’t want to change. They’re used to buying what they want.”

One young airman told him: “My wife is already letting me buy a new Nissan Titan and a 60-inch TV when I get home. Now, I just have to decide between a hot tub or Jet Skis.”

Captain Sloan’s first question was, “Have you thought about maybe putting it into a retirement account?”

In his case, he said, he plans to leave the military in May 2008 with $50,000 to start a real estate business. “I’ll do whatever my country asks of me, but if there’s a way to benefit my life, I should definitely take it,” he said.


5) The Ad Campaign
Battle Over Iraq Strategy
September 5, 2007

As the nation awaits next week’s report on the status of the Iraq war from Gen. David H. Petraeus, the battle for the hearts and minds of Americans is escalating on the airwaves.

On one side is Freedom’s Watch, formed this summer by several wealthy conservatives who back President Bush’s strategy in Iraq. On the other is a coalition of organized labor and liberal antiwar groups, including, Americans United for Change and Americans Against Escalation in Iraq.

Freedom’s Watch is in the midst of a $15 million television campaign in about 20 states to encourage members of Congress who support the president’s strategy to continue to do so. The campaign also seeks to bolster members who may be wavering and defend those who have come under attack from the left.

The antiwar coalition, which is calling for a speedy drawdown of troops, has spent millions of dollars this summer on behalf of members who support a timetable for troop withdrawal and against those who do not. It is focusing on about four dozen members in about 15 states.


On Wednesday, Freedom’s Watch will start broadcasting a 30-second spot in support of Representative Brian Baird, a Democrat from Washington. Mr. Baird originally opposed President Bush’s efforts in Iraq but now says he sees progress on the ground and opposes setting a date for troop withdrawals.

The $30,000 buy is paying for the new ad to run in Mr. Baird’s district with four ads supporting America’s continued presence in Iraq that the group has broadcast nationally. This is the first time Freedom’s Watch has focused on an individual district, and it says it is doing so because MoveOn has attacked Mr. Baird.

The new spot opens by citing MoveOn by name, saying it is losing its battle, which the ad does not define, “because America and the forces of freedom’s are winning theirs.” It says, “More and more Democratic and Republican members agree: The surge in Iraq is working.” It adds, “To most Americans, that’s good news.” On screen is an image of young boys hoisting an American flag.

But, the ad goes on, MoveOn is shamefully attacking a Democratic congressman “for honestly stating the progress he sees.” It ends with the group’s tagline: “Victory is America’s only choice.”

The four other ads the group is running are personal stories of soldiers killed or gravely wounded and their families. The central theme is that if America abandons Iraq, the sacrifices of those soldiers will have been in vain. One mother of a dead soldier warns: “We’ve already had one 9/11. We don’t need another.”


Its most recent 30-second spot, which ran through last week, was broadcast in Mr. Baird’s district. The ad buy was $20,000.

The camera first shows a young soldier against a backdrop of burning buildings. In the rest of the ad, an Army sergeant speaks to the camera and describes a riot in 2003 in which Iraqis fired on Americans. “We were told that we were there to liberate these people,” he says of the Iraqis. “They were shooting at us. To keep American soldiers in Iraq for an indefinite period of time — being attacked by an unidentifiable enemy — is wrong, immoral and irresponsible.”

The final image on the screen says: “Tell Rep. Baird: Support our troops. Bring them home.”

The ad is similar to others the group has run criticizing members of Congress who have supported the administration’s policy and are considered vulnerable. The group’s goal has been to build on negative feelings toward the war that members have heard from their constituents over the summer as Congress returns to Washington this week.

Like Freedom’s Watch, the antiwar coalition does not expect to run any new ads in the next few weeks.



5) Age of Riches
Big Gifts, Tax Breaks and a Debate on Charity
September 6, 2007

Eli Broad, a billionaire businessman, has given away more than $650 million over the last five years, to Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to establish a medical research institute, to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and to programs to improve the administration of urban schools and public education.

The rich are giving more to charity than ever, but people like Mr. Broad are not the only ones footing the bill for such generosity. For every three dollars they give away, the federal government typically gives up a dollar or more in tax revenue, because of the charitable tax deduction and by not collecting estate taxes.

Mr. Broad (rhymes with road) says his gifts provide a greater public benefit than if the money goes to taxes for the government to spend. “I believe the public benefit is significantly greater than the tax benefit an individual receives,” Mr. Broad said. “I think there’s a multiplier effect. What smart, entrepreneurial philanthropists and their foundations do is get greater value for how they invest their money than if the government were doing it.”

It is an argument made by many of the nation’s richest people. But not all of them. Take the investor William H. Gross, also a billionaire. Mr. Gross vigorously dismisses the notion that the wealthy are helping society more effectively and efficiently than government.

“When millions of people are dying of AIDS and malaria in Africa, it is hard to justify the umpteenth society gala held for the benefit of a performing arts center or an art museum,” he wrote in his investment commentary this month. “A $30 million gift to a concert hall is not philanthropy, it is a Napoleonic coronation.”

Elaborating in an interview, Mr. Gross said he did not think the public benefits from philanthropy were commensurate with the tax breaks that givers receive. “I don’t think we’re getting the bang for the buck for gifts to build football stadiums and concert halls, with all due respect to Carnegie Hall and other institutions,” he said. “I don’t think the public would vote for spending tax dollars on those things.”

The billionaires’ differing views epitomize a growing debate over what philanthropy is achieving at a time when the wealthiest Americans control a rising share of the national income and, because of sharp cuts in personal taxes, give up less to government.

Familiar Recipients

A common perception of philanthropy is that one of its central purposes is to alleviate the suffering of society’s least fortunate and therefore promote greater equality, taking some of the burden off government. In exchange, the United States is one of a handful of countries to allow givers a tax deduction. In essence, the public is letting private individuals decide how to allocate money on their behalf.

What qualifies for that tax deduction has broadened over the 90 years since its creation to include everything from university golf teams to puppet theaters — even an organization established after Hurricane Katrina to help practitioners of sadomasochism obtain gear they had lost in the storm.

Roughly three-quarters of charitable gifts of $50 million and more from 2002 through March 31 went to universities, private foundations, hospitals and art museums, according to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Of the rest, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation accounted for half on the center’s list. That money went primarily to improve the lives of the poor in developing countries. Valuable as that may be, it also meant that the American public effectively underwrote several billion dollars worth of foreign aid by private individuals, even though poll after poll shows Americans are at best ambivalent about using tax dollars in such assistance.

In contrast, few gifts of that size are made to organizations like the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and America’s Second Harvest, whose main goals are to help the poor in this country. Research shows that less than 10 percent of the money Americans give to charity addresses basic human needs, like sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry and caring for the indigent sick, and that the wealthiest typically devote an even smaller portion of their giving to such causes than everyone else.

“Donors give to organizations they are close to,” said H. Art Taylor, president and chief executive of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. “So they give to their college or university, or maybe someone close to them died of a particular disease so they make a big gift to medical research aimed at that disease. How many of the superrich have that kind of a relationship with a soup kitchen? Or a homeless shelter?”

Philanthropists like Mr. Broad say that looking at philanthropy solely as a means of ameliorating need is too narrow. “If you look historically at what Carnegie did with creating a library system and the Rockefellers in creating Rockefeller University, I think it does a lot more for society than simply supporting those in need,” Mr. Broad said.

About 2 percent of the money Mr. Broad has given away through his two foundations over the last five years, or $15 million, went to support organizations like the United Way and the United Jewish Fund, which serve needy people as well as the middle class. The foundations also have given money to groups that help homeless children, and the International Rescue Committee.

Still, Mr. Broad dedicates his biggest gifts to areas he thinks lack government support, like the $25 million he gave to the University of Southern California last year to found an institute for integrative biology and stem cell research, or the tens of millions he dedicated to complete the new Disney concert hall in Los Angeles.

Like many major philanthropists, Mr. Broad said he considered such gifts an illustration of the Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” The argument is that simply taking care of the poor does nothing to eliminate poverty and that they will ultimately benefit more from efforts to, say, find cures for the diseases that afflict them or improve public education.

As for Mr. Gross, despite his uncharacteristically fiery criticism of what he calls “philanthropic ego gratification,” some of the large gifts he and his wife, Sue, have made are not so different from those made by other billionaires. He has given millions to a local hospital, for example, and for stem cell research.

And in 2005 the couple gave roughly $25 million to Duke, Mr. Gross’s alma mater.

But the Duke gift illustrates Mr. Gross’s priorities. The money is almost exclusively for scholarships.

“Universities have their own thing going — they want to build infrastructure and endowments and perpetuate their system, which isn’t necessarily in the social interest,” Mr. Gross said. “Scholarships get a little more down to the ground level.”

Taking Aim at the Tax Code

The investor Warren E. Buffett also voices strong feelings about how donations are used.

When Mr. Buffett pledged $30 billion to the Gates Foundation, he included a little-noted requirement that the foundation spend each increment of the gift he hands over, in addition to its own annual legally mandated spending. If Mr. Buffett transfers $1.3 billion of stock to it, it must spend every nickel within a year.

“I wanted to make sure,” he said, “that to the extent I was providing extra money to them, it didn’t just go to build up the foundation size further but that it was put to use.”

The Gates Foundation’s work is largely international, although a portion of its spending supports efforts to improve urban education and access to college, so Mr. Buffett’s money is unlikely to be used to address basic needs in this country.

“I think the government ought to make sure that all the people here who drew short straws have a decent minimum,” Mr. Buffett said. “We moved toward that with Social Security, but we could go a lot further now.”

He does not regard his gift as charitable and expects no tax benefit from it, in part because he has credit for past donations that he has not used.

Rather, he calls his sister, Doris Buffett, the “real philanthropist” in the family. Ms. Buffett runs an organization, the Sunshine Lady Foundation, that helps the needy pay for college, medical expenses, mortgages, glasses and cars.

Mr. Buffett recently has brought attention to himself as a critic of inequities in the nation’s tax system, which offers the wealthy better tax breaks for charitable giving than it does the average taxpayer. Deductions for charitable giving can be claimed only by the fewer than half of all taxpayers who itemize, and those falling in higher tax brackets get bigger deductions for cash gifts.

The charitable deduction cost the government $40 billion in lost tax revenue last year, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, more than the government spends altogether on managing public lands, protecting the environment and developing new energy sources.

Rob Reich, an assistant professor of political science and ethics in society at Stanford, goes so far as to say that the tax code promotes inequities through the breaks it provides for charitable giving.

Take schools. The Woodside Elementary School in Woodside, Calif., where the median family income is $196,505, raised $7,065 a pupil in 1998 from charitable contributions to a foundation it created, according to Professor Reich’s research. Across the San Francisco Bay, a similar foundation to support the Oakland Unified School District, where the median family income is $44,384, raised $138 a pupil that year.

In effect, the government is subsidizing a system that enhances inequities between poor and wealthy public schools, Professor Reich said.

Raising Questions

Legislators, regulators and others are asking more questions about exactly what charities do with the money they are given.

“When foundations, corporations and individuals give money to the opera,” said Xavier Becerra, a California Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee who represents a district in Los Angeles populated largely by young working-class immigrant families, “my folks are very unlikely to benefit from those forgone tax dollars that could have been used for health care, for after-school programs for kids, for help in getting access to college education.”

Yet Mr. Becerra himself is a beneficiary of one of the country’s wealthiest charities, Stanford, which has a $15.2 billion endowment and gave him a scholarship. “There is no way my parents could have afforded for me to go there without the generous financial aid the university gave me,” he said.

At the other end of the political spectrum, Grover G. Norquist, whose Americans for Tax Reform lobbies for lower taxes, suggests taxing nonprofit hospitals that cannot demonstrate that they provide significant care for the poor.

“I’m not aware of anything they do that a for-profit hospital doesn’t do in terms of providing free care,” Mr. Norquist said.

Like other billionaire philanthropists, Thomas M. Siebel, founder of Siebel Systems, has given his largest gifts to his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1999, he donated $32 million for a computer science center bearing his name, and he pledged $100 million this year to support basic research that he hopes will reduce dependency on carbon-based fuels.

But when the university suggested using some of that gift to put up another new building named for him and hire new professors, he said no.

“I told them to use the basement of an existing building and some of the really smart people they already have,” Mr. Siebel said.

Attracting philanthropic support to fight substance abuse is one of the biggest challenges in fund-raising, but Mr. Siebel has donated more than $15 million to the Meth Project, an organization he created. “I think we’ll save a lot of lives in the end,” Mr. Siebel said. “Isn’t that what philanthropy is supposed to be about?”

He has also given the Salvation Army more than $18 million over the last six years, mostly to support services for the homeless. He said he gives to the organization because of its low administrative costs and lack of frills.

“When I first started doing this, I made a contribution to some organization, Harvest something or other, I think, that was working on homelessness,” Mr. Siebel said. “The next thing I knew, I got a plaque in the mail and an invitation to an awards ceremony.”

He added: “I never gave them another nickel. What were they spending money on plaques for?”


6) Cuba's Castro warns of coming global recession; complains of leftist critics
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:54 a.m. PT Sept 4, 2007

HAVANA - Fidel Castro warned on Tuesday that the world could be headed for a crisis reminiscent of the Great Depression and accused the United States of exploiting natural resources and countries around the globe.

"The picture is increasingly uncertain as we face the fear of a prolonged recession like that of the 1930s," the 81-year-old leader wrote in an essay published in state newspapers.

Castro said Washington's coffers were depleted during the Vietnam War and that "since then the United States economy is sustained by natural resources and the savings of the rest of the world."

He also lashed out at people he called "super-revolutionaries," apparently referring to foreign Marxists who have recently suggested Cuba needs some political and economic reforms and criticized its increasing reliance on tourism revenue.

He accused them of being swayed by "neo-liberal" free-market ideology and suggested that communist Cuba buy into "pure poison."

Castro has not been seen in public for more than 13 months after undergoing emergency intestinal surgeries and ceding power to his younger brother Raul. During the last six months of his prolonged convalescence he has written a series of essays on international issues.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


7) Samarra Under U.S. Attack
Inter Press Service
By Ali al-Fadhily*
Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches
September 6, 2007

BAGHDAD, Sep 6 (IPS) - Residents are fleeing Samarra city in the face of fierce fighting between U.S. forces and resistance groups.

New defiance is rising against U.S. forces following military "crimes", fleeing residents say.

"On Sunday the 26th of August, there was fierce fighting between armed men and American forces in the Armooshiya district, and I saw Americans evacuate many of their soldiers by stretchers," a man who fled Samarra for Baghdad, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS. "As usual, Americans took revenge by bombing the district."

A woman who also fled Samarra for the capital in recent days, who gave her name as Iman, told IPS that the U.S. military had "committed another crime in the medicine factory residence area" when "they bombed a house there and killed a woman with her seven children."

The Sunni and anti-occupation Muslim Scholars Association issued a statement confirming these two assaults, and condemning the "ugly crimes" of occupation forces in Samarra. The Association accused the U.S. military of attempting to break the spirit of Iraqis who reject the U.S. occupation.

"They think their crimes would stop Iraqis from demanding their rights for liberty and prosperity, but the results are always different from what the American leaders hope," Sheikh Taha from the Muslim Scholars' Association told IPS in Baghdad.

"They are only pushing more Iraqis to be armed against them, and you can see that the facts on the ground are the opposite of what they tell their people. Their soldiers are getting killed every day and they (U.S. military) are losing in Iraq."

A young man spoke with IPS on condition of anonymity outside a Sunni mosque in Baghdad where refugees from Samarra were arriving.

"We will be the thorn that makes Bush's life more difficult," he told IPS. "I am only here to ensure the safety of my family, then I will go back to my city to defend it against all strangers."

Located 125 km north of Baghdad, Samarra has seen fierce fighting between the Iraqi resistance and U.S. military units since the beginning of the U.S. occupation of Iraq in 2003.

The Sunni dominated city of 200,000 has suffered continuing raids by U.S. and Iraqi forces that have hit civilian life hard.

The resistance seems to have grown as the attacks have continued.

"Four years of occupation have caused this city a great deal of damage," Thul-Faqar Ali, a lawyer and human rights activist who fled Samarra to Baghdad told IPS. "It is true that there was strong resistance to the occupation, but most of those who got killed, injured or detained were innocent civilians. The U.S. occupation forces in Samarra were so brutal that they conducted many executions on site."

One of the first instances of brutal U.S. military execution of Iraqis in Samarra came in 2004 when eyewitnesses told the press that U.S. soldiers threw two young men into the Tigris River and watched one of them drown.

Marwan Hassoun, the surviving Iraqi, later testified in a U.S. military court that he and his cousin were stopped on their return to Samarra and forced at gunpoint into the Tigris River as U.S. soldiers laughed. The cousin who died was named as 19-year-old Zaidoun Fadel Hassoun.

"I could hear them laughing," Marwan told a reporter of the Jan. 3, 2004 incident, recalling how U.S. soldiers pushed him and his cousin into the river. "They were behaving like they were watching a comedy on stage."

A U.S. Army sergeant involved in the incident, Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Perkins, 33, was later acquitted of involuntary manslaughter but convicted of assault. Many other such instances have been reported since.

(*Ali, our correspondent in Baghdad, works in close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who travels extensively in the region)


8) Chrysler Hires a Top Toyota Executive
September 6, 2007

DETROIT, Sept. 6 — Chrysler said today that it had lured away Toyota’s top executive in North America, James E. Press, to be a vice chairman and co-president as the automaker transforms itself as a private company.

The appointment comes about a month after Cerberus Capital Management completed its purchase of Chrysler and brought in Robert L. Nardelli, the former chief executive of Home Depot, to be its chairman and chief executive. Mr. Press is the second high-ranking executive that Chrysler has spirited away from Toyota in that time; Deborah Wahl Meyer, who had been a vice president in Toyota’s Lexus division, was named Chrysler’s chief marketing officer in August.

Mr. Press, 60, spent 37 years with Toyota, guiding its rapid growth in the United States as it overtook Chrysler and the Ford Motor Company to become the country’s second-largest seller of vehicles. He was the first non-Japanese president of Toyota’s American operations and joined the company’s board in June.

At Chrysler, Mr. Press will head sales and marketing efforts.

“I relish this new opportunity with the Chrysler team to be a part of the resurgence of a true American icon here and around the world,” Mr. Press said in a statement. “Part of my new responsibilities will be strengthening and energizing the dealer body. This is something I was passionate about at Toyota and will be passionate about at Chrysler.”

Toyota said Shigeru Hayakawa, a Japanese managing officer, would be its new president in North America.

Numerous executives have left Detroit automakers for their foreign-based rivals over the years, but Mr. Press, who left Ford for Toyota in 1970, is the highest-ranking executive to move in the opposite direction. “This was the most difficult decision I have made,” he said.

Mr. Press will share his titles at Chrysler with its former chief executive, Thomas W. LaSorda. The move is more evidence that Mr. LaSorda could leave Chrysler after contract negotiations with the United Automobile Workers union conclude, as many experts have speculated, although Chrysler has repeatedly insisted that Mr. LaSorda is committed to the company for the long run.

“Tom LaSorda and I are thrilled that one of the most successful executives in the history of the auto industry has joined our leadership team at the new Chrysler,” Mr. Nardelli said in a statement today. “Our top team now consists of a world-class ‘supply’ leader in Tom and an equally world-class ‘demand’ leader in Jim.”

In January, Mr. Press was named Automotive Industry Executive of the Year by the Automotive Industry Action Group. He took over as president of Toyota’s North American operations last year when his predecessor, a Japanese executive, resigned after being named in a sexual harassment lawsuit.

At Toyota, Mr. Press was known for working closely with dealers. He comes to Chrysler at a time when that company is mending its relationship with dealers who angry that Chrysler forced them to fill their lots with far more vehicles than they could sell last year.


9) Group Says ‘Indiscriminate’ Israeli Attacks Caused Most Civilian Deaths in Hezbollah War
September 7, 2007

JERUSALEM, Sept. 6 (AP) — In its harshest condemnation of Israel since last year’s war, Human Rights Watch charged that most of the Lebanese civilian casualties came from “indiscriminate Israeli airstrikes,” according to a report released today.

In a statement issued before the report’s release, Human Rights Watch said there was no basis to the Israeli claim that civilian casualties resulted from Hezbollah guerrillas using civilians as shields. Israel has said it attacked civilian areas because Hezbollah set up rocket launchers in villages and towns.

More than 1,000 Lebanese were killed in the 34-day conflict last summer, which began after Hezbollah staged a cross-border raid, killing three Israeli soldiers and capturing two others. They are still being held.

Israeli warplanes targeted Lebanese infrastructure, including bridges and the international airport at Beirut, and heavily damaged a neighborhood in Beirut known as a Hezbollah stronghold, as well as attacking Hezbollah centers in villages near the border. Hezbollah fired nearly 4,000 rockets at northern Israel, killing 119 soldiers. Forty Israeli civilians were killed in the fighting.

Presenting the group’s findings at a news conference, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, said there were only rare cases of Hezbollah operating in civilian villages.

“To the contrary, once the war started, most Hezbollah military officials and even many political officials left the villages,” Mr. Roth said. “And indeed what we found is that most Hezbollah military activity was conducted from prepared positions outside Lebanese villages in the hills and valleys around.”

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mark Regev, rejected the report’s findings.

“Hezbollah adopted a deliberate strategy of shielding itself behind the civilian population and turning the civilians in Lebanon into a human shield,” Mr. Regev said, charging that Hezbollah “broke the first fundamental rule of war in that they deliberately exploited the civilian population of Lebanon as a human shield.”

Human Rights Watch said it investigated 94 cases of Israeli air, artillery and ground attacks “to discern the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 510 civilians and 51 combatants,” about half the death toll in Lebanon in the conflict. The group said simple movement of vehicles or people, “such as attempting to buy bread or moving around private homes,” could cause a deadly Israeli attack.


10) Some Food Additives Raise Hyperactivity, Study Finds
September 6, 2007

Common food additives and colorings can increase hyperactive behavior in a broad range of children, a study being released today found.

It was the first time researchers conclusively and scientifically confirmed a link that had long been suspected by many parents. Numerous support groups for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have for years recommended removing such ingredients from diets, although experts have continued to debate the evidence.

But the new, carefully controlled study shows that some artificial additives increase hyperactivity and decrease attention span in a wide range of children, not just those for whom overactivity has been diagnosed as a learning problem.

The new research, which was financed by Britain’s Food Standards Agency and published online by the British medical journal The Lancet, presents regulators with a number of issues: Should foods containing preservatives and artificial colors carry warning labels? Should some additives be prohibited entirely? Should school cafeterias remove foods with additives?

After all, the researchers note that overactivity makes learning more difficult for children.

“A mix of additives commonly found in children’s foods increases the mean level of hyperactivity,” wrote the researchers, led by Jim Stevenson, a professor of psychology at the University of Southampton. “The finding lends strong support for the case that food additives exacerbate hyperactive behaviors (inattention, impulsivity and overactivity) at least into middle childhood.”

In response to the study, the Food Standards Agency advised parents to monitor their children’s activity and, if they noted a marked change with food containing additives, to adjust their diets accordingly, eliminating artificial colors and preservatives.

But Professor Stevenson said it was premature to go further. “We’ve set up an issue that needs more exploration,” he said in a telephone interview.

In response to the study, some pediatricians cautioned that a diet without artificial colors and preservatives might cause other problems for children.

“Even if it shows some increase in hyperactivity, is it clinically significant and does it impact the child’s life?” said Dr. Thomas Spencer, a specialist in Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Is it powerful enough that you want to ostracize your kid? It is very socially impacting if children can’t eat the things that their friends do.”

Still, Dr. Spencer called the advice of the British food agency “sensible,” noting that some children may be “supersensitive to additives” just as some people are more sensitive to caffeine.

The Lancet study focused on a variety of food colorings and on sodium benzoate, a common preservative. The researchers note that removing this preservative from food could cause problems in itself by increasing spoilage. In the six-week trial, researchers gave a randomly selected group of several hundred 3-year-olds and of 8- and 9-year-olds drinks with additives — colors and sodium benzoate — that mimicked the mix in children’s drinks that are commercially available. The dose of additives consumed was equivalent to that in one or two servings of candy a day, the researchers said. Their diet was otherwise controlled to avoid other sources of the additives.

A control group was given an additive-free placebo drink that looked and tasted the same.

All of the children were evaluated for inattention and hyperactivity by parents, teachers (for school-age children) and through a computer test. Neither the researchers nor the subject knew which drink any of the children had consumed.

The researchers discovered that children in both age groups were significantly more hyperactive and that they had shorter attention spans if they had consumed the drink containing the additives. The study did not try to link specific consumption with specific behaviors. The study’s authors noted that other research suggested that the hyperactivity could increase in as little as an hour after artificial additives were consumed.

The Lancet study could not determine which of the additives caused the poor performances because all the children received a mix. “This was a very complicated study, and it will take an even more complicated study to figure out which components caused the effect,” Professor Stevenson said.


11) Marines Punish 3 Officers in Haditha Case
"Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter issued letters of censure to Maj. Gen. Richard A. Huck, the commander of the Second Marine Division at the time; Col. R. Gary Sokoloski, who was the division’s lawyer and the legal adviser to General Huck; and Col. Stephen W. Davis, the commander of a regimental combat team that was in charge of the infantry battalion involved in the Haditha episode, on Nov. 19, 2005."
September 6, 2007

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., Sept. 5 — The Marine Corps said Wednesday that it had formally reprimanded a two-star general and two colonels for their failure to thoroughly investigate why a group of enlisted men killed 24 Iraqis, including several women and children, in Haditha nearly two years ago.

Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter issued letters of censure to Maj. Gen. Richard A. Huck, the commander of the Second Marine Division at the time; Col. R. Gary Sokoloski, who was the division’s lawyer and the legal adviser to General Huck; and Col. Stephen W. Davis, the commander of a regimental combat team that was in charge of the infantry battalion involved in the Haditha episode, on Nov. 19, 2005.

The announcement of the punishment against the three officers came on the third day of a hearing here for Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, the last enlisted man to face murder charges in connection with the Haditha killings. Sergeant Wuterich, 27, is charged with killing 17 people, including a group of seven women and children hiding in a house, in the hours after a roadside bomb had killed one marine and wounded two others.

The letters of censure — administrative punishments that effectively rule out promotions to higher ranks — were issued after senior generals determined that the three officers had not intended to cover up evidence or acted in a manner that warranted criminal charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Marine Corps said.

Letters of censure are issued almost always confidentially. The Marine Corps’s decision to announce these censures reflects the enormous interest military leaders have in shaping the public perception that wrongdoing in Iraq, even by senior commanders, will be punished.

General Huck, who learned of the civilian deaths in Haditha the morning they occurred, was punished for not ensuring that his field commanders found out how and why infantrymen killed so many noncombatants, a development to which marine commanders were told to be especially sensitive. Colonel Sokoloski appeared to have been censured because he waited two weeks to tell General Huck, in early 2006, that a Time magazine reporter was asking questions about accusations that there had been a massacre in Haditha. Colonel Davis, a highly regarded combat commander in Iraq, was also censured for knowing about the civilian deaths but not seeking a detailed explanation from his battalion commander, who was charged last December with failing to investigate the killings.

Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, the commander of the Marine Corps Forces Central Command, determined that the three officers’ “actions, or inactions, demonstrated lack of due diligence on the part of senior commanders and staff.”

General Huck, now an assistant deputy commandant for plans, policies and operations at the Pentagon, is believed to be the highest ranking officer on active duty to be formally and publicly punished by the military since the beginning of the Iraq war. The Marine Corps delayed processing his retirement request after eight marines were charged with crimes stemming from the killings in Haditha.

Four infantrymen, including Sergeant Wuterich, were initially charged with murder in the case. Marine prosecutors dropped the charges against one of them. The cases against the two others were recommended for dismissal, and General Mattis — the convening authority in the Haditha matter — later dismissed charges against one of them.

Four officers at the battalion and company levels, including the commander of the First Marines, Third Battalion, who reported to Colonel Davis, were also charged with dereliction of duty for failing to investigate the episode thoroughly.

Another marine investigator who weighed evidence against the Third Battalion commander, Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, recommended that dereliction of duty charges against him proceed to court martial. Charges against another of the officers, a battalion lawyer, were dismissed. Charges against the other two officers, a company commander and an intelligence officer, will be heard in upcoming evidentiary hearings.

Meanwhile, in Sergeant Wuterich’s hearing here, lawyers and the presiding officer have been grappling with perhaps the most basic issue in his case: did the Marine Corps require him and his comrades to discern noncombatants concealed in a home that they were attacking, and to avoid harming them?

In a sworn statement he gave in Haditha in February 2006 to an Army colonel investigating the Haditha episode, Sergeant Wuterich said he told three marines under his command to “shoot first, ask questions later” as they prepared to attack a house that they thought was the source of enemy fire.

Testifying for the prosecution, Capt. Alphonso Capers, who supervised Sergeant Wuterich’s training of junior marines in tactical combat operations and the rules of engagement, said such a statement appeared to violate Marine Corps training and values.

But on cross-examination by Sergeant Wuterich’s lawyers, Captain Capers suggested that, in combat, many tactical and moral gray areas exist to which the Marine Corps is unable to give absolute answers during training; the training, he said, most often involved only “recommendations.”


12) Civil Rights Group Faults How Police Are Policed
September 6, 2007

A civil rights group yesterday criticized New York City’s system of investigating police misconduct, charging that a civilian agency responsible for the task had failed to pursue complaints aggressively, and that punishment was too lenient when misconduct was established.

The New York Civil Liberties Union, which has long been critical of the agency, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, said that the board dismissed more than half its cases before fully investigating them, and that only about 5 percent of the cases were ultimately substantiated.

“Our analysis concludes that the civilian oversight system has failed,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the civil rights group.

The report, which the civil liberties union said was based mainly on data made public by the board, says the board has failed to keep pace as the volume of civilian complaints about police misconduct, ranging from improper use of force to discourtesy, has risen by 86 percent since 2000.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly dismissed the findings yesterday, calling the analysis flawed. “They are going to bash us every chance they get,” he said of the civil rights group.

Mr. Kelly attributed the increase in citizen complaints to the city’s 311 hot line, which went into operation in 2003, providing a convenient way to express displeasure with the police.

Andrew Case, a spokesman for the board, which employs 147 investigators, said its most recent records showed that 60 percent of the civilian complaints were being dismissed before they were completely investigated — but only because those who made those complaints decided not to follow through. He said none of those cases would have been dropped if those who had complained, mainly through calls to 311, had been willing to appear and make formal statements at the board’s office in Lower Manhattan, as city rules dictate.

And Franklin H. Stone, the chairwoman of the board, which was established as an oversight agency outside the Police Department in 1992, said that the board had fulfilled its City Charter mission “extraordinarily well.”

The civil rights group said the system of police conduct review was rife with problems resulting from obfuscation by the police, and a failure by the board and its staff to challenge the authority of top police officials.

Among its recommendations were that the city appoint a new inspector general to monitor the conduct of the police and the performance of the Civilian Complaint Review Board. And it criticized the current system of prosecuting officers when the board substantiates civilian cases. A legal unit of the Police Department now handles the prosecutions; the civil rights group suggested having prosecutors outside the department take the cases.

“The commissioner blatantly disregards C.C.R.B. recommendations time and time again,” Ms. Lieberman said. “It is ironic that a Police Department that pursues zero tolerance on the streets does not pursue zero tolerance in its own ranks.”

The report said that investigators for the board were often handicapped by the police’s delays in turning over documents or evidence, and that officers named in complaints frequently failed to show up for interviews.

When discipline of officers is ordered by the department, it rarely fits the severity of their misconduct, the group said. “In recent years, there has been a radically more lenient policy,” said Robert A. Perry, an analyst for the civil rights group who was in charge of the study released yesterday. In most cases, the discipline involves having a description of the officer’s misconduct included in his or her personnel file, verbal reprimands from the precinct commanders, or, in more serious cases, suspensions or lost vacation days.

The report found that the proportion of cases in which officers received the lightest penalty — a note in the file — had risen to 74 percent in 2006 from less than 25 percent in 2000. In the same period, it said, the proportion of officers who were suspended or lost vacation days dropped to 5 percent from 34 percent.

Mr. Case said some of the criticisms raised in the report, including the one about lenient discipline, had been made by the board itself. The board “has reported publicly and often on the decreasing severity of the department’s discipline,” he said.

Questions about the board’s recommendations were referred by a spokeswoman for the mayor to Mr. Case. He said appointing a new inspector general might have little impact.

“At what point do you stop and say the people that are in place need to get the issues resolved,” he said.

Paul J. Browne, a police spokesman, said the report yesterday ignored the resources being committed to monitoring the conduct of officers in cooperation with the Civilian Complaint Review Board and through the police internal affairs unit.

“True to form, the N.Y.C.L.U. has distorted or ignored the facts to reach its predetermined conclusions,” Mr. Browne said. He said about 1,000 members of the department were assigned to internal investigations, roughly the same number assigned to counterterrorism and intelligence.


13) 'Gonzo' Justice: Attorney General of Cronyism
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
August 28, 2007

The fall of Attorney General, Alberto "Fredo" Gonzales, is but the latest evidence of rats fleeing a sinking ship.

Gonzales, George W. Bush's consigliore, was a man more loyal to his patron than to his country or the U.S. Constitution.

Years ago, before coming to Washington, Gonzales served his patron by adding the illusion of inclusion by performing as a Texas Supreme Court judge, his general counsel, and the Texas Secretary of State. In gratitude, or perhaps misplaced loyalty, Gonzales did his boss's will, first and foremost.

While loyalty is admirable, the question is, loyalty to what?

In performing his duties, he betrayed his oaths (both state and federal) to protect and defend the Constitution, from all enemies—foreign and domestic—for there is no greater foe of the Constitution in the United States, than George W. Bush.

His terms as president have been marked by an unprecedented hostility to the legislative and judicial branches. It has only been exceeded by his contempt for the American people.

Moreover, his damage will be long lasting. It matters little who is elected in November 2008, for they will inherit the powers and prerogatives of a prince.

Secret prisons, secret wiretaps; a dictatorship of one uber alles (German for "over all").

Gonzales was an Attorney General for Torture, not the "equal justice under law" claimed by the Department of Justice.

As Bush's counsel, he advised him that the Geneva Conventions against torture were "quaint," and no longer relevant. It took the nation's highest court to prove him wrong.

Can you imagine his performance on the Texas Supreme Court? In one of America's premier killing states, it is hard to imagine how judges such as he read briefs and pleadings from criminal appellants.

Perhaps they reasoned that ideas such as "due process" were also "quaint."

What Americans experienced during the Bush Regime has only been an echo of what people in Texas experienced under Bush as Governor.

While Gonzales, as an Hispanic appointee, allowed Bush to play "compassionate conservative", and a "uniter, not a divider", the record of cold, political decision-making, and more importantly, naked cronyism is quite abundant.

Gonzales was a crony, who brought Texas-style “good ole boy”-ism with him, to the White House, and to the Department of Justice.

Above his titles of prosecutor, or judge, was his duty to his boss—Bush.

And America is the poorer for it.


14) Police break up anti-war meeting in Washington
Thu Sep 6, 5:35 PM ET

Mounted police charged in to break up an outdoor press conference and demonstration against the Iraq war in Washington on Thursday, arresting three people, organizers and an AFP reporter said.

"The police suppressed the press conference. In the middle of the speeches, they grabbed the podium" erected in a park in front of the White House for the small gathering, Brian Becker, national organizer of the ANSWER anti-war coalition, told AFP.

"Then, mounted police charged the media present to disperse them," Becker said.

The charge caused a peaceful crowd of some 20 journalists and four or five protestors to scatter in terror, an AFP correspondent at the event in Lafayette Square said. No one appeared to have been hurt.

Three people -- Tina Richards, the mother of a marine who did two tours of duty in Iraq; Adam Kokesh, a leader of the Iraq Veterans Against the War group; and lawyer Ian Thompson, who is an organizer for ANSWER in Los Angeles -- were arrested, Becker said.

The ANSWER coalition is trying to rally support for an anti-war demonstration in Washington that is due to take place on September 15.

Last month, the movement was threatened with a fine of at least 10,000 dollars unless it removed posters in the city announcing the September 15 march.

Washington city authorities have said the posters had to come down because they were stuck on with adhesive that did not meet city regulations.

"At our demonstration today we were showing the media that the paste we use conforms to the rules," Becker said.

"One of our activists was making a speech when the police barged in and grabbed the podium. At that point, Tina Richards started to put up a poster, so they arrested her and two others."

"This strategy of suppression has not worked. We expect many tens of thousands of people" in Washington for the September 15 anti-war demonstration, he said.

The march has been timed to coincide with the release of a report by the US military commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and will be part of a week of protests led by veterans of the Iraq war.

A petition calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush, allegedly carrying one million signatures and endorsed by former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, will also be submitted to officials during the week's activities, ANSWER has told AFP.


15) Report: Norway diplomats urge Oslo to criticize Israel over torture
By The Associated Press
September 6, 2007

Norway's embassy in Tel Aviv has urged the government to criticize Israel for the alleged use of torture in prisons, the state radio network NRK reported Thursday.

The network said it had obtained a secret diplomatic document from the embassy urging action by expressing our concern that torture is still practiced in Israel.

According to Norway's NRK, the concern stemmed from a report by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, an Israeli human rights group, claiming that prisoners were sometimes beaten during interrogation, held in painfully tight handcuffs and suffered isolation, threats, humiliation and sleep deprivation.

Norway's Deputy Foreign Minister Raymond Johansen said he was aware of the document, but had not decided whether to act upon the recommendation.

"We have a number of difficult cases to raise with the Israeli authorities, not in the least in relation to the Israel-Palestinian conflict," Johansen said on NRK. "Every government must exercise good judgment in which matters to raise at any given time."

He said Norway does consider torture and abuse to be serious issues, but you always have to make a choice.

The Israeli Embassy in Oslo said it could not immediately comment on the report because the ambassador was in a meeting.

Norway has sought to be a peacemaker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, having secretly brokered the now-tattered 1993 Oslo Agreement Peace accords between the sides.

According to NRK, the secret diplomatic document says the interrogation methods are seen as legal by Israeli authorities.

NRK said the human rights group report was based on interviews with 82 former prisoners.


16) Recruitment by Military in Schools Is Criticized
September 7, 2007

Military recruiters are frequently given free reign in New York City public schools and allowed into classes in violation of the school system’s regulations, according to a report released yesterday by the Manhattan borough president and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The report, based on surveys of nearly 1,000 students at 45 high schools citywide last spring, said the city’s Department of Education exercised almost no oversight over how much access recruiters had to students at high schools.

“There were recruiters who were in the classroom not to talk to students about reading, writing and arithmetic, but to talk to them about how to get a one-way ticket to Iraq and all the benefits you will accrue by that process,” Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, said at a news conference. “This is something that must be stopped. It’s outrageous, and it gives recruiters a captive audience.”

Nearly all the speakers at the news conference, including Mr. Stringer, said they were opposed to the war in Iraq.

Federal law and city regulations require military recruiters to be given the same kind of access to speak to students as college and trade school recruiters who typically turn up for annual career nights.

In a memorandum sent to principals in January, city school officials reminded them that military recruiters should not be “given unfettered access to students in classrooms, cafeterias, gyms or other areas of the school building.”

Margie Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, said the department was reviewing the report. “We’re not aware of any recruitment during school hours,” she said.

The report focused primarily on schools with large numbers of black, Latino and low-income students where Mr. Stringer and officials from the New York Civil Liberties Union said they believed the recruiting had been particularly aggressive. The authors conceded that the report was not a scientific study.

Adana Austin, a senior at Lafayette High School in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, who was quoted in the report, said in an interview yesterday that she had seen military recruiters in class a few times a month, but had never seen a college recruiter.

“They’re the ones talking to us about our futures,” she said of the military recruiters.

Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said that the city needed to do more to regulate and monitor recruiters in the schools. She said schools should keep track of how often recruiters are allowed in and should make that information available to the public.

The Los Angeles and Seattle schools have each set up such a monitoring system, Ms. Lieberman said.

“If the Department of Education is so committed to evaluating everything at every turn, they have an obligation to protect our kids from military recruiters coming into our schools,” she said.

The federal education law also requires schools to submit student contact information to the military, though it also allows students to have their information withheld. Last year, just 25 percent of those city students surveyed remembered receiving such a form, according to the report.

In 2003, the first year of the federal requirement, roughly 54,000 of the city’s 300,000 students asked that their information be kept private. Ms. Feinberg said she could not provide any updated data because it is kept school by school and is not collated by the Education Department.


17) Thirty Years: Difference in Life Expectancy Between the World’s Rich and Poor Peoples
by Jeremy Laurance
Published on Friday, September 7, 2007 by The Independent/UK

Life expectancy in the richest countries of the world now exceeds the poorest by more than 30 years, figures show. The gap is widening across the world, with Western countries and the growing economies of Latin America and the Far East advancing more rapidly than Africa and the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Average life expectancy in Britain and similar countries of the OECD was 78.8 in 2000-05, an increase of more than seven years since 1970-75 and almost 30 years over the past century. In sub-Saharan Africa, life expectancy has increased by just four months since 1970, to 46.1 years.
Narrowing this “health gap” will involve going beyond the immediate causes of disease - poverty, poor sanitation and infection - to tackle the “causes of the causes” - the social hierarchies in which people live, the Global Commission on the Social Determinants of Health says in a report.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, chairman of the commission established by the World Health Organisation in 2005, who first coined the term “status syndrome”, said social status was the key to tackling health inequalities worldwide.

In the 1980s, in a series of ground-breaking studies among Whitehall civil servants, Professor Marmot showed that the risk of death among those on the lower rungs of the career ladder was four times higher than those at the top, and that the difference was linked with the degree of control the individuals had over their lives.

He said yesterday that the same rule applied in poorer countries. If people increased their status and gained more control over their lives they improved their health because they were less vulnerable to the economic and environmental threats.

“When people think about those in poor countries they tend to think about poverty, lack of housing, sanitation and exposure to infectious disease. But there is another issue, the social gradient in health which I called status syndrome. It is not just those at the bottom of the hierarchy who have worse health; it is all the way along the scale. Those second from the bottom have worse health than those above them but better health than those below.”

The interim report of the commission, in the online edition of The Lancet, says the effects of status syndrome extend from the bottom to the top of the hierarchy, with Swedish adults holding a PhD having a lower death rate than those with a master’s degree. The study says: “The gradient is a worldwide occurrence, seen in low-income, middle-income and high-income countries. It means we are all implicated.”

The result is that even within rich countries such as Britain there are striking inequalities in life expectancy. The poorest men in Glasgow have a life expectancy of 54, lower than the average in India. The answer, the report says, is empowerment, of individuals, communities and whole countries. “Technical and medical solutions such as medical care are without doubt necessary. But they are insufficient.”

Professor Marmot said: “We talk about three kinds of empowerment. If people don’t have the material necessities - food to eat, clothes for their children - they cannot be empowered. The second kind is psycho-social empowerment: more control over their lives. The third is political empowerment: having a voice.”

The commission’s final report, to be published next May, will identify the ill effects of low status and make recommendations for how they can be tackled.

In Britain a century ago, infant mortality among the rich was about 100 per 1,000 live births compared with 250 per 1,000 among the poor, a rate similar to that in Sierra Leone

Infant mortality is still twice as high among the poor in Britain, but the rates have come down dramatically to 7 per 1,000 among the poor and 3.5 among the rich. Professor Marmot said: “We have made dramatic progress, but this is not about abolishing the rankings - there will always be hierarchies - but by identifying the ill effects of hierarchies we can make huge improvements.”

A ray of hope from the street vendors of Ahmedabad

The women street vendors of Ahmedabad, India, have peddled their wares for generations, rising at dawn to buy flowers, fruit and vegetables from wholesalers in the markets before fanning out across the city. They frequently needed to borrow money, faced punitive rates of interest and were routinely harassed and evicted from their vending sites by local authorities.

They were a typical example of disempowered women, prey to the evils of debt, loss of livelihood and ill health, until they campaigned to improve their status.

With help from the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (Sewa), the vegetable sellers and growers set up their own wholesale vegetable shop, cutting out the middlemen who had exploited them. They also organised childcare, set up a bank for credit and petitioned for slum upgrading.

To overcome possible health crises, when poor women frequently had to sell their possessions to raise money for treatment, Sewa set up a health insurance scheme for them.

Emboldened by their links with Sewa, the vegetable sellers campaigned for the local authority to recognise them formally and strengthen their status by issuing street vending licences and identity cards, giving them security of employment. The campaign started in Gujarat and went all the way to the Supreme Court, attracting international attention.




Hartford: Precautions After Inmate Suicides
State prison officials are looking into whether more precautions are needed to protect inmates after the deaths of three prisoners within four days. One prisoner apparently committed suicide on Friday and another apparently did so on Monday. A third prisoner died Saturday of unknown causes. Theresa C. Lantz, the commissioner of the Department of Correction, met with the warden of the York Correctional Institution in Niantic, where two of the men died, about whether changes were needed. Brian Garnett, a Department of Correction spokesman, said the state took action to improve inmate safety in 2004 in response to the suicides of nine inmates that year.
September 5, 2007

Minnesota: Immigrants Mistreated in Raid, Suit Claims
A lawsuit filed by an immigrant rights group claims that federal agents who raided a meatpacking plant in Worthington last December detained Hispanic workers, hurled racial epithets at them and forced the women to take off their clothes. The federal lawsuit was filed by Centro Legal on behalf of 10 workers at the Swift & Company plant who are in the United States legally.
September 5, 2007

Suicide rate increases among U.S. soldiers
WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A new U.S. Army report reveals the suicide rate among soldiers is on the rise, CNN reported Thursday.
The study said failed relationships, legal woes, financial problems and occupational/operational issues are the main reasons why an increasing number of soldiers are taking their own lives.
While 79 soldiers committed suicide in 2003, 88 killed themselves in 2005 and 99 died at their own hands last year.
Another two suspected suicides from 2006 are under investigation.
The only year that saw a drop was 2004, in which 67 soldiers committed suicide.
Most of the dead were members of infantry units who killed themselves with firearms.
CNN said demographic differences and varying stress factors make it difficult to compare the military suicide rate to that of civilians.
In 2006, the overall suicide rate for the United States was 13.4 per 100,000 people. It was 21.1 per 100,000 people for all men aged 17 to 45, compared to a rate of 17.8 for men in the Army.
The overall rate was 5.46 per 100,000 for women, compared to an Army rate of 11.3 women soldiers per 100,000.
August 16, 2007

Illinois: Illegal Immigrant Leaving Sanctuary
An illegal immigrant who took refuge in a Chicago church a year ago to escape deportation said she planned to leave her sanctuary soon to lobby Congress for immigration changes, even if that means risking arrest. The immigrant, Elvira Arellano, 32, has said she feared being separated from her 8-year-old son, Saul, when she asked the Adalberto United Methodist Church for help, but she said she planned to leave on Sept. 12 to travel to Washington. Ms. Arellano came to the United States illegally from Mexico in 1997, was deported, but then returned. She moved to Illinois in 2000.
August 16, 2007

Bolivia: Coca Leaves Predict Castro Recovery
A consultation of coca leaves by Aymara Indian shamans presages the recovery of Fidel Castro, according to Cuba’s ambassador to Bolivia. “The Comandante is enjoying a recovery,” Rafael Dausá, the ambassador, told Bolivia’s state news agency after attending the ceremony in El Alto, the heavily indigenous city near the capital, La Paz. Pointing to Cuba’s warming ties to Bolivia, as the leftist president, Evo Morales, settles into his second year in power, Mr. Dausá said, “Being in Bolivia today means being in the leading trench in the anti-imperialist struggle in Latin America.” Bolivia and Cuba, together with Venezuela, have forged a political and economic alliance called the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas.
August 16, 2007

Long-Studied Giant Star Displays Huge Cometlike Tail
August 16, 2007

Storm Victims Sue Over Trailers
NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 8 (AP) — More than 500 hurricane survivors living in government-issued trailers and mobile homes are taking the manufacturers of the structures to court.
In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in New Orleans, the hurricane survivors accused the makers of using inferior materials in a profit-driven rush to build the temporary homes. The lawsuit asserts that thousands of Louisiana residents displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 were exposed to dangerous levels of formaldehyde by living in the government-issued trailers and mobile homes.
And, it accuses 14 manufacturers that supplied the Federal Emergency Management Agency with trailers of cutting corners in order to quickly fill the shortage after the storms.
Messages left with several of those companies were not immediately returned.
FEMA, which is not named as a defendant in this suit, has agreed to have the air quality tested in some of the trailers.
August 9, 2007

British Criticize U.S. Air Attacks in Afghan Region
August 9, 2007

Army Expected to Meet Recruiting Goal
After failing to meet its recruiting goal for two consecutive months, the Army is expected to announce that it met its target for July. Officials are offering a new $20,000 bonus to recruits who sign up by the end of September. A preliminary tally shows that the Army most likely met its goal of 9,750 recruits for last month, a military official said on the condition of anonymity because the numbers will not be announced for several more days. The Army expects to meet its recruiting goal of 80,000 for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, the official said.
August 8, 2007

Beach Closings and Advisories
The number of United States beaches declared unsafe for swimming reached a record last year, with more than 25,000 cases where shorelines were closed or health advisories issued, the Natural Resources Defense Council reported, using data from the Environmental Protection Agency. The group said the likely culprit was sewage and contaminated runoff from water treatment systems. “Aging and poorly designed sewage and storm water systems hold much of the blame for beach water pollution,” it said. The number of no-swim days at 3,500 beaches along the oceans, bays and Great Lakes doubled from 2005. The report is online at
August 8, 2007

Finland: 780-Year-Old Pine Tree Found
Scientists have discovered a 780-year-old Scots pine, the oldest living forest pine known in Finland, the Finnish Forest Research Institute said. The tree was found last year in Lapland during a study mission on forest fires, the institute said, and scientists analyzed a section of the trunk to determine its age. “The pine is living, but it is not in the best shape,” said Tuomo Wallenius, a researcher. “It’s quite difficult to say how long it will survive.” The tree is inside the strip of land on the eastern border with Russia where access is strictly prohibited.
August 8, 2007

The Bloody Failure of ‘The Surge’: A Special Report
by Patrick Cockburn

Sean Penn applauds as Venezuela's Chavez rails against Bush
The Associated Press
August 2, 2007

California: Gore’s Son Pleads Guilty to Drug Charges
Al Gore III, son of the former vice president, pleaded guilty to possessing marijuana and other drugs, but a judge said the plea could be withdrawn and the charges dropped if Mr. Gore, left, completed a drug program. The authorities have said they found drugs in Mr. Gore’s car after he was pulled over on July 4 for driving 100 miles an hour. He pleaded guilty to two felony counts of drug possession, two misdemeanor counts of drug possession without a prescription and one misdemeanor count of marijuana possession, the district attorney’s office said. Mr. Gore, 24, has been at a live-in treatment center since his arrest, said Allan Stokke, his lawyer.
July 31, 2007

United Parcel Service Agrees to Benefits in Civil Unions
July 31, 2007

John Stewart demands the Bay View retract the truth, Editorial by Willie Ratcliff,

Minister to Supervisors: Stop Lennar, assess the people’s health by Minister Christopher Muhammad,

OPD shoots unarmed 15-year-old in the back in East Oakland by Minister of Information JR,

California: Raids on Marijuana Clinics
Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided 10 medical marijuana clinics in Los Angles County just as Los Angeles city leaders backed a measure calling for an end to the federal government’s crackdown on the dispensaries. Federal officials made five arrests and seized large quantities of marijuana and cash after serving clinics with search warrants, said a spokeswoman, Sarah Pullen. Ms. Pullen refused to disclose other details. The raid, the agency’s second largest on marijuana dispensaries, came the same day the Los Angeles City Council introduced an interim ordinance calling on federal authorities to stop singling out marijuana clinics allowed under state law.
July 26, 2007




Stop the Termination or the Cherokee Nation


USLAW Endorses September 15 Antiwar Demonstration in Washington, DC
USLAW Leadership Urges Labor Turnout
to Demand End to Occupation in Iraq, Hands Off Iraqi Oil

By a referendum ballot of members of the Steering Committee of U.S. Labor Against the War, USLAW is now officially on record endorsing and encouraging participation in the antiwar demonstration called by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition in Washington, DC on September 15. The demonstration is timed to coincide with a Congressional vote scheduled in late September on a new Defense Department appropriation that will fund the Iraq War through the end of Bush's term in office.

U.S. Labor Against the War

Stop the Iraq Oil Law

2007 Iraq Labor Solidarity Tour



This is a modern day lynching"--Marcus Jones, father of Mychal Bell


P.O. BOX 1890
FAX: (318) 992-8701


Sign the NAACP's Online Petition to the Governor of Louisiana and Attorney General

TIME: 9:00AM
MONROE RESIDENTS: 318.801.0513
JENA RESIDENTS: 318.419.6441
Send Donations to the Jena 6 Defense Fund:
Jena 6 Defense Committee
P.O. Box 2798
Jena, Louisiana 71342


Young Black males the target of small-town racism
By Jesse Muhammad
Staff Writer
"JENA, La. ( - Marcus Jones, the father of 16-year-old Jena High School football star Mychal Bell, pulls out a box full of letters from countless major colleges and universities in America who are trying to recruit his son. Mr. Jones, with hurt in his voice, says, “He had so much going for him. My son is innocent and they have done him wrong.”

An all-White jury convicted Mr. Bell of two felonies—aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery—and faces up to 22 years in prison when he is sentenced on July 31. Five other young Black males are also awaiting their day in court for alleged attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder charges evolving from a school fight: Robert Bailey, 17; Theo Shaw, 17; Carwin Jones, 18; Bryant Purvis, 17; and Jesse Beard, 15. Together, this group has come to be known as the “Jena 6.”
Updated Jul 22, 2007

My Letter to Judge Mauffray:

P.O. BOX 1890


Dear Judge Mauffray,

I am appalled to learn of the conviction of 16-year-old Jena High School football star Mychal Bell and the arrest of five other young Black men who are awaiting their day in court for alleged attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder charges evolving from a school fight. These young men, Mychal Bell, 16; Robert Bailey, 17; Theo Shaw, 17; Carwin Jones, 18; Bryant Purvis, 17; and Jesse Beard, 15, who have come to be known as the “Jena 6” have the support of thousands of people around the country who want to see them free and back in school.

Clearly, two different standards are in place in Jena—one standard for white students who go free even though they did, indeed, make a death threat against Black students—the hanging of nooses from a tree that only white students are allowed to sit under—and another set of rules for those that defended themselves against these threats. The nooses were hung after Black students dared to sit in the shade of that “white only” tree!

If the court is sincerely interested in justice, it will drop the charges against all of these six students, reinstate them back into school and insist that the school teach the white students how wrong they were and still are for their racist attitudes and violent threats! It is the duty of the schools to uphold the constitution and the bill of rights. A hanging noose or burning cross is just like a punch in the face or worse so says the Supreme Court! Further, it is an act of vigilantism and has no place in a “democracy”.

The criminal here is white racism, not a few young men involved in a fistfight!
I am a 62-year-old white woman who grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Fistfights among teenagers—as you certainly must know yourself—are a right of passage. Please don’t tell me you have never gotten into one. Even I picked a few fights with a few girls outside of school for no good reason. (We soon, in fact, became fast friends.) Children are not just smaller sized adults. They are children and go through this. The fistfight is normal and expected behavior that adults can use to educate children about the negative effect of the use of violence to solve disputes. That is what adults are supposed to do.

Hanging nooses in a tree because you hate Black people is not normal at all! It is a deep sickness that our schools and courts are responsible for unless they educate and act against it. This means you must overturn the conviction of Mychal Bell and drop the cases against Robert Bailey, Theo Shaw, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, and Jesse Beard.

It also means you must take responsibility to educate white teachers, administrators, students and their families against racism and order them to refrain from their racist behavior from here on out—and make sure it is carried out!
You are supposed to defend the students who want to share the shade of a leafy green tree not persecute them—that is the real crime that has been committed here!


Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War


"They have a new gimmick every year. They're going to take one of their boys, black boys, and put him in the cabinet so he can walk around Washington with a cigar. Fire on one end and fool on the other end. And because his immediate personal problem will have been solved he will be the one to tell our people: 'Look how much progress we're making. I'm in Washington, D.C., I can have tea in the White House. I'm your spokesman, I'm your leader.' While our people are still living in Harlem in the slums. Still receiving the worst form of education.

"But how many sitting here right now feel that they could [laughs] truly identify with a struggle that was designed to eliminate the basic causes that create the conditions that exist? Not very many. They can jive, but when it comes to identifying yourself with a struggle that is not endorsed by the power structure, that is not acceptable, that the ground rules are not laid down by the society in which you live, in which you are struggling against, you can't identify with that, you step back.

"It's easy to become a satellite today without even realizing it. This country can seduce God. Yes, it has that seductive power of economic dollarism. You can cut out colonialism, imperialism and all other kind of ism, but it's hard for you to cut that dollarism. When they drop those dollars on you, you'll fold though."

—MALCOLM X, 1965


Youtube interview with the DuPage County Activists Who Were Arrested for Bannering
You can watch an interview with the two DuPage County antiwar activists
who arrested after bannering over the expressway online at:

Please help spread the word about this interview, and if you haven't
already done so, please contact the DuPage County State's attorney, Joe
Birkett, to demand that the charges against Jeff Zurawski and Sarah
Heartfield be dropped. The contact information for Birkett is:

Joseph E. Birkett, State's Attorney
503 N. County Farm Road
Wheaton, IL 60187
Phone: (630) 407-8000
Fax: (630) 407-8151
Please forward this information far and wide.

My Letter:

Joseph E. Birkett, State's Attorney
503 N. County Farm Road
Wheaton, IL 60187
Phone: (630) 407-8000
Fax: (630) 407-8151

Dear State's Attorney Birkett,

The news of the arrest of Jeff Zurawski and Sarah Heartfield is getting out far and wide. Their arrest is outrageous! Not only should all charges be dropped against Jeff and Sarah, but a clear directive should be given to Police Departments everywhere that this kind of harassment of those who wish to practice free speech will not be tolerated.

The arrest of Jeff and Sarah was the crime. The display of their message was an act of heroism!

We demand you drop all charges against Jeff Zurawski and Sarah Heartfield NOW!


Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War,, San Francisco, California


A little gem:
Michael Moore Faces Off With Stephen Colbert [VIDEO]


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


YouTube clip of Che before the UN in 1964


The Wealthiest Americans Ever
NYT Interactive chart
JULY 15, 2007


New Orleans After the Flood -- A Photo Gallery
This email was sent to you as a service, by Roland Sheppard.
Visit my website at:



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])