Friday, September 14, 2007



CodePINK womyn are calling for a strategizing session this Friday, Sept 14th, 7:00p.m. to organize the action(s) we are going to take in conjunction with the Moratorium 9/21.

Between Gen Betray-us and Congress getting ready to vote on funding yet again, these few days and weeks are CRITICAL - and with so many courageous local womyn gone to DC, YOUR participation is crucial!

The strategizing session will take place at the CP Office, 1248 Solano Ave., Albany. Actions considered thus far: Oakland Fed Bldg to Docks; Chevron Refineries; and Media Outlet.

RSVP 510-524-2776 - space is limited


Hi friends, Please Forward Widely

You are invited to attend our

at PEOPLES PARK in BERKELEY (Telegraph & Dwight)

Speakers and Music will include:
Barbara Lee, Daniel Ellsberg
Funky Nixons, All My Pretty Ones
and many others

and at about 3:40 you can also participate in the


The 11 Circles planned so far are:

1. Organizing for demonstrations and actions
Iraq Moratorium (3rd Fridays, Sept 21) and others.

2. Research, Publicity and Media. Get together to prepare articles,
letters to the editors, talk radio and TV.

3. Outreach to Military and Veterans. Counter-Recruiting.
Support Returning Vets/

4. Campus Organizing. UC & elsewhere.

5. Congressional and Electoral Action, and Impeachment.
(Impeachment may want to be separate.)

6. Religious and Spiritual Contributions to the peace movement.
With churches and faith and spiritual groups.

7. Mediation & Non-Violent Conflict Resolution.

8. Neighborhood Food and Gardens. Permaculture. Neighborhood

9. Transportation & Sustainable Energy to End the War.

10. Homelessness and Poverty.

11. Supporting & Organizing in Diverse Communities.
And Peace Making Projects in our City Streets.
Hope to discuss such projects as"Oakland Parks for Peace,"
"Silence the Violence," and other community
organizing efforts.

Other Circles may be formed from the stage if three people
stand up for them.

At 12 noon, before the mikes come on, we will have a group meditation
and discussion, and at 5, after the mikes go off, we will have group
music, and perhaps a discussion of guerrilla music and theater.

Speakers at the rally will include:

Daniel Ellsberg (Pentagon Papers);
Congresswoman Barbara Lee
David Hilliard (Black Panthers);
Michael Lerner (Tikkun);
Barbara Lubin (Middle East Childrens Alliance);
Kriss Worthington & Dona Spring (Berkeley City Council);
and speakers from the "Iraq Moratorium";
"War & Katrina"; "Veterans for Peace";
"Impeach Bush Cheney;"; "Not in our Name;"
"Committee to Minimize Toxic Waste."

and music by the:

Funky Nixons; All My Pretty Ones;
Beatbeat Whisper; Steven Strauss; Will Scarlett

Active participation is the key. We can stop the Iraq slaughter, and the
next few wars they are planning; we can save a liveable planet; and
we can restore American democracy; but only if more and more of us
actively participate, each one in their own creative community. We can
start once again to build up our community democracy.

Yours in Peace and Solidarity
Laurence Schechtman 510-540-1975
for the People's Park Peace Rally

PS If you would like to talk about these Discussion and Action Circles
beforehand, or if you would like to help with planning or facilitation,
give me a call or a letter.

PPS We would be grateful if you could cut & paste this letter
(looks better than forwarding) to all your friends.


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

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


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:

Tuesday, September 18, 7:00 P.M. - Outreach Committee - 2489 Mission St., Rm. 28

Thursday, September 20, 6:30 P.M. - Media/Website Committee - 2489 Mission St., Rm. 28

Program Committee: Saturday, September 22, 10:00 A.M., 2489 Mission St., Rm. 28

The next meeting of the Oct. 27 Coalition Steering Committee will be:

Saturday, September 29, 12:00 NOON (Location TBA)

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
Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists Social Justice Committee
Cindy Sheehan
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
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma'at
Kabataang maka-Bayan (KmB - Pro-People Youth)
La Raza Centro Legal
Larry Everest, author
LEF Foundation
Libertarian Party of San Francisco
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
S.F. Green Party
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!

Here's what they're doing in Boston on Oct. 27:


Join thousands for the *New England Mobilization to End the War at 12:00 *on
*Saturday, October 27th in Boston*. People will be demonstrating in
regional sites around the country in a nationally coordinated day of protest
against the war in Iraq organized by United for Peace and Justice, the
nation's largest grassroots antiwar coalition.

The New England event will start with a rally at the Boston Commons
bandstand from noon to 2:00 PM, followed by a march from 2:00 to 3:00 PM.
The rally will include both speakers and cultural performances. Speakers
confirmed so far include:

*Felix Arroyo (Member, Boston City Council)*
*Gabriel Camacho (Immigrant Rights)*
*Gold Star Parents (speaker/s to be announced)*
*Shep Gurwitz (Veterans for Peace)*
*Liam Madden (Iraq Veterans Against the War)*
*Military Families Speak Out (several members will speak)*
*Merrie Najimy (American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee)*
*Rostam Pourzal (Iranian-American specialist on human rights) *
*Dahlia Wasfi (Iraqi-American MD)*
*Howard Zinn (historian)*

The central demands for the regional event in Boston, as approved by the New
England United membership at its meeting on September 8, are:






For more information, please visit the New England United regional website
at .


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) 2 Soldiers Who Wrote About Life in Iraq Are Killed
September 12, 2007
The War as We Saw It
Op-Ed Contributors
Baghdad, August 19, 2007

2) Estimate for Deporting Illegal Immigrants: $94 Billion
By Mike Nizza
September 13, 2007, 10:32 am

4) Stark warning of extinction list: 'Life on Earth is disappearing'
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
Published: 13 September 2007

5) UN General Assembly backs indigenous peoples' rights
1 hour ago, September 13, 2007

6) No Exit, No Strategy
September 14, 2007

7) A Surge, and Then a Stab
Op-Ed Columnist
September 14, 2007

8) British Mortgage Lender Is Offered Emergency Loan
September 14, 2007

9) San Francisco to Offer Care for Uninsured Adults
September 14, 2007

10) Experts Question Study on Youth Suicide Rates
September 14, 2007

11) U.A.W. Picks G.M. as ‘Strike Target’
September 14, 2007

12) At Least on Wall Street, Wages of Sin Beat Those of Virtue
September 14, 2007


1) 2 Soldiers Who Wrote About Life in Iraq Are Killed
September 12, 2007
The War as We Saw It
Op-Ed Contributors
August 19, 2007

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 — “Engaging in the banalties of life has become a death-defying act,” the seven soldiers wrote of the war they had seen in Iraq.

They were referring to the ordeals of Iraqi citizens, trying to go about their lives with death and suffering all around them. They did not know it at the time, but they might almost have been referring to themselves.

Two of the soldiers who wrote of their pessimism about the war, in an Op-Ed article that appeared in The New York Times on Aug. 19, were killed in Baghdad on Monday. They were not killed in combat, nor on a daring mission. They died when the five-ton cargo truck they were riding in overturned.

The victims, Staff Sgt. Yance T. Gray, 26, and Sgt. Omar Mora, 28, were among the authors of “The War as We Saw It,” in which they expressed doubts about reports of progress.

“As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day,” the soldiers wrote.

“My son was a soldier in his heart from the age of 5,” Sergeant Gray’s mother, Karen Gray, said by telephone today from Ismay, Mont., where Yance grew up. “He loved what he was doing.”

“But he wasn’t any mindless robot,” said the sergeant’s father, Richard Gray. Sergeant Gray leaves a wife, Jessica, and a daughter, Ava, born in April. He is also survived by a brother and sister.

Sergeant Mora’s mother, Olga Capetillo of Texas City, Tex., told The Daily News in Galveston that her son had grown increasingly gloomy about Iraq. “I told him God is going to take care of him and take him home,” she said.

A native of Ecuador, Sergeant Mora had recently become an American citizen. “He was proud of this country, and he wanted to go over and help,” his stepfather, Robert Capetillo, told The Houston Chronicle. Sergeant Mora leaves a wife, Christa, and a daughter, Jordan, who is 5. Survivors also include a brother and sister.

While the seven soldiers were composing their article, one of them, Staff Sgt. Jeremy A. Murphy, was shot in the head. He was flown to a military hospital in the United States and is expected to survive. The other authors were Buddhika Jayamaha, an Army specialist, and Sgts. Wesley D. Smith, Jeremy Roebuck and Edward Sandmeier.

“We need not talk about our morale,” they wrote in closing. “As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.”


The War as We Saw It
Op-Ed Contributors
August 19, 2007

VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)

The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.

A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.

Similarly, Sunnis, who have been underrepresented in the new Iraqi armed forces, now find themselves forming militias, sometimes with our tacit support. Sunnis recognize that the best guarantee they may have against Shiite militias and the Shiite-dominated government is to form their own armed bands. We arm them to aid in our fight against Al Qaeda.

However, while creating proxies is essential in winning a counterinsurgency, it requires that the proxies are loyal to the center that we claim to support. Armed Sunni tribes have indeed become effective surrogates, but the enduring question is where their loyalties would lie in our absence. The Iraqi government finds itself working at cross purposes with us on this issue because it is justifiably fearful that Sunni militias will turn on it should the Americans leave.

In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear. (In the course of writing this article, this fact became all too clear: one of us, Staff Sergeant Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head during a “time-sensitive target acquisition mission” on Aug. 12; he is expected to survive and is being flown to a military hospital in the United States.) While we have the will and the resources to fight in this context, we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse — namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force.

Given the situation, it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective. The ability of, say, American observers to safely walk down the streets of formerly violent towns is not a resounding indicator of security. What matters is the experience of the local citizenry and the future of our counterinsurgency. When we take this view, we see that a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side.

Coupling our military strategy to an insistence that the Iraqis meet political benchmarks for reconciliation is also unhelpful. The morass in the government has fueled impatience and confusion while providing no semblance of security to average Iraqis. Leaders are far from arriving at a lasting political settlement. This should not be surprising, since a lasting political solution will not be possible while the military situation remains in constant flux.

The Iraqi government is run by the main coalition partners of the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance, with Kurds as minority members. The Shiite clerical establishment formed the alliance to make sure its people did not succumb to the same mistake as in 1920: rebelling against the occupying Western force (then the British) and losing what they believed was their inherent right to rule Iraq as the majority. The qualified and reluctant welcome we received from the Shiites since the invasion has to be seen in that historical context. They saw in us something useful for the moment.

Now that moment is passing, as the Shiites have achieved what they believe is rightfully theirs. Their next task is to figure out how best to consolidate the gains, because reconciliation without consolidation risks losing it all. Washington’s insistence that the Iraqis correct the three gravest mistakes we made — de-Baathification, the dismantling of the Iraqi Army and the creation of a loose federalist system of government — places us at cross purposes with the government we have committed to support.

Political reconciliation in Iraq will occur, but not at our insistence or in ways that meet our benchmarks. It will happen on Iraqi terms when the reality on the battlefield is congruent with that in the political sphere. There will be no magnanimous solutions that please every party the way we expect, and there will be winners and losers. The choice we have left is to decide which side we will take. Trying to please every party in the conflict — as we do now — will only ensure we are hated by all in the long run.

At the same time, the most important front in the counterinsurgency, improving basic social and economic conditions, is the one on which we have failed most miserably. Two million Iraqis are in refugee camps in bordering countries. Close to two million more are internally displaced and now fill many urban slums. Cities lack regular electricity, telephone services and sanitation. “Lucky” Iraqis live in gated communities barricaded with concrete blast walls that provide them with a sense of communal claustrophobia rather than any sense of security we would consider normal.

In a lawless environment where men with guns rule the streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act. Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. When the primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care packages. As an Iraqi man told us a few days ago with deep resignation, “We need security, not free food.”

In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.

Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities.

We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.

Buddhika Jayamaha is an Army specialist. Wesley D. Smith is a sergeant. Jeremy Roebuck is a sergeant. Omar Mora is a sergeant. Edward Sandmeier is a sergeant. Yance T. Gray is a staff sergeant. Jeremy A. Murphy is a staff sergeant.


2) Estimate for Deporting Illegal Immigrants: $94 Billion
By Mike Nizza
September 13, 2007, 10:32 am

“Stop the madness! DEPORT,” one of many like-minded comments in a previous post on illegal immigration, is an opinion that has always lacked a price tag. Another figure — the estimated 12 million foreigners in the United States right now without permission — hinted that it would not be cheap. And others doubted whether it was even possible.

So it fell to Senator Susan M. Collins, Republican of Maine, to try popping the question on Thursday.

During a hearing with Julie L. Myers, chief of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, she asked, “Could you give us some idea of what the cost of trying to locate, detain and deport all of the 12 million people who are here illegally would be?”

Lo and behold, an answer shot back with ease: “Our agency has estimated that it would cost at least $94 billion.”

She emphasized that it was a “very rough” estimate, not taking into account the likely deterrent effects of a nationwide hunt for evey illegal immigrant. Many may choose to return home on their own and avoid the average month-long stay in a holding cell.

In fact, detaining the illegal immigrants would be one of the most significant costs of the round-up, according to a spokesman for the agency who did the math for CNN:

He said the amount was calculated by multiplying the estimated 12 million people by the average cost of detaining people for a day: $97. That was multiplied by the average length of detention: 32 days.

ICE officials also considered transportation costs, which average $1,000 per person.

But that amount can vary widely, the spokesman said. Some deportees are simply driven by bus across the border, while others must take charter planes to distant countries, he said.

Finally, the department looked at personnel costs, bringing the total to roughly $94 billion.

With the budget deficit standing at $205 billion for the fiscal year, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the $94 billion would require Congress to go deeper into the red or deeply cut the budgets of other programs.

In any event, pack this factoid away in the immigration debate folder of your brain. You’ll probably be hearing it again in the future.


3) Compromise on Oil Law in Iraq Seems to Be Collapsing
September 13, 2007

BAGHDAD, Sept. 12 — A carefully constructed compromise on a draft law governing Iraq’s rich oil fields, agreed to in February after months of arduous talks among Iraqi political groups, appears to have collapsed. The apparent breakdown comes just as Congress and the White House are struggling to find evidence that there is progress toward reconciliation and a functioning government here.

Senior Iraqi negotiators met in Baghdad on Wednesday in an attempt to salvage the original compromise, two participants said. But the meeting came against the backdrop of a public series of increasingly strident disagreements over the draft law that had broken out in recent days between Hussain al-Shahristani, the Iraqi oil minister, and officials of the provincial government in the Kurdish north, where some of the nation’s largest fields are located.

Mr. Shahristani, a senior member of the Arab Shiite coalition that controls the federal government, negotiated the compromise with leaders of the Kurdish and Arab Sunni parties. But since then, the Kurds have pressed forward with a regional version of the law that Mr. Shahristani says is illegal. Many of the Sunnis who supported the original deal have also pulled out in recent months.

The oil law — which would govern how oil fields are developed and managed — is one of several benchmarks that the Bush administration has been pressing the Iraqis to meet as a sign that they are making headway toward creating an effective government.

Again and again in the past year, agreement on the law has been fleetingly close before political and sectarian disagreements have arisen to stall the deal.

One of the participants in Wednesday’s meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, who has worked for much of the past year to push for the original compromise, said some progress had been made at the meeting, but that he could not guarantee success.

“This has been like a roller coaster,” said Mr. Salih, who is Kurdish. “There were occasions where we seemed to be there, where we seemed to have closure, only to fail at that.”

“Given the seriousness of the issue, I don’t want to create false expectations, but I can say there is serious effort to bring this to closure,” he said.

The legislation has already been presented to the Iraqi Parliament, which has been unable to take virtually any action on it for months. Contributing to the dispute is the decision by the Kurds to begin signing contracts with international oil companies before the federal law is passed. The most recent instance, announced last week on a Kurdish government Web site, was an oil exploration contract with the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas.

The Sunni Arabs who removed their support for the deal did so, in part, because of a contract the Kurdish government signed earlier with a company based in the United Arab Emirates, Dana Gas, to develop gas reserves.

The Kurds say their regional law is consistent with the Iraqi Constitution, which grants substantial powers to the provinces to govern their own affairs. But Mr. Shahristani believes that a sort of Kurdish declaration of independence can be read into the move. “This to us indicates very serious lack of cooperation that makes many people wonder if they are really going to be working within the framework of the federal law,” Mr. Shahristani said in a recent interview, before the Hunt deal was announced.

Kurdish officials dispute that contention, saying that they are doing their best to work within the Constitution while waiting for the Iraqi Parliament, which always seems to move at a glacial pace, to consider the legislation.

“We reject what some parties say — that it is a step towards separation — because we have drafted the Kurdistan oil law depending on Article 111 of the Iraqi Constitution, which says oil and natural resources are properties of Iraqi people,” said Jamal Abdullah, a spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government. “Both Iraqi and Kurdish oil laws depend on that article,” Mr. Abdullah said.

The other crucial players are the Sunnis and Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. Some members of one of the main Sunni parties, Tawafiq, which insists on federal control of contracts and exclusive state ownership of the fields, bolted when it became convinced that the Kurds had no intention of following those guidelines.

But the prime minister’s office believes there is a simpler reason the Sunnis abandoned or at least held off on the deal: signing it would have given Mr. Maliki a political success that they did not want him to have. “I think there is a political reason behind that delay in order not to see the Iraqi government achieve the real agreement,” said Sadiq al-Rikabi, a political adviser to Mr. Maliki. Mr. Rikabi was at Wednesday’s meeting.

Ali Baban, who as a senior member of Tawafiq negotiated the compromise, said that allegation was untrue. “I have a good relationship” with Mr. Maliki, he said. “This is an issue of Iraqi unity. This could cause a split in this country.”

Mr. Maliki has suggested returning to the original language agreed to in February and trying once again to push the law through Parliament. Mr. Salih says there is basic agreement on returning to that language, but conceded that Sunni participants in Wednesday’s meeting might insist on a deal that includes changes to the Iraqi Constitution to safeguard their interests in the distribution of revenues. A law on how the revenue should be shared is being developed as a critical companion piece of legislation to the draft law.

The central element of the compromise was agreed to in February after months of difficult negotiations among Iraq’s political groups.

The main parties in those negotiations were Iraqi Kurds, who were eager to sign contracts with international oil companies to develop their northern fields; Arab Shiites, whose population is concentrated around the country’s southern fields; and Arab Sunnis, with fewer oil resources where they predominate.

Those facts meant that the compromise law had to satisfy both the Sunni insistence that the central government maintain strong control over the fields as well as the push by the Kurds and Shiites to give provincial governments substantial authority to write contracts and carry out their own development plans.

Somehow negotiators managed to strike that balance, but soon after, the agreement began to crumble. Many of the negotiations centered on a federal committee that would be set up to review the contracts signed with oil companies to carry out the development and exploitation of the fields. The Kurds objected to any requirement that the committee would have to approve contracts. So in a nuanced bit of language, the negotiators gave the committee the power only to reject contracts that did not meet precisely specified criteria.

But problems immediately cropped up after the cabinet approved the draft law and, in what seemed to be a perfunctory step, it went to a council that was supposed to hone the language to be sure it complied with Iraqi legal conventions.

When the draft emerged from that council, the members of some parties, particularly the Kurdish ones, thought that the careful balance struck in the draft had been upset, and they accused Mr. Shahristani of meddling. Then the law languished in Parliament and, said Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister, the Kurds decided to send a signal that they would not wait indefinitely and signed the contract with Dana Gas.

“It served as a reminder: ‘If you keep stalling, life goes on,’ ” said Mr. Zebari, who is Kurdish.

On Monday the Kurdistan Regional Government, or K.R.G., issued another rejoinder to the oil minister’s views that the Kurds’ moves were illegal. “His views are irrelevant to what the K.R.G. is doing legally and constitutionally in Kurdistan,” the regional government said.

Mr. Shahristani was apparently traveling and did not respond to e-mail messages sent Wednesday. But Saleem Abdullah al-Juburi, a Tawafiq member who participated in Wednesday’s meeting, gave his own assessment of the Kurdish agreements with Hunt and Dana Gas. “The contracts are not legal,” he said.

Reporting was contributed by Ahmad Fadam, Ali Hamdani and Khalid al-Ansary from Baghdad, and an Iraqi employee of The New York Times from northern Iraq.


4) Stark warning of extinction list: 'Life on Earth is disappearing'
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
Published: 13 September 2007

Gorillas, vultures, corals, Asian crocodiles and even seaweeds are joining thousands of other species on the slide towards extinction, according to the latest edition of the Red List, the international catalogue of threatened wildlife, published yesterday.

In the past 12 months there have been nearly 200 to the list, which is published by the Swiss-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), taking the number of threatened species worldwide from 16,118 to 16,306.

This means that one in four of the world's mammals, one in eight birds, one third of all amphibians and 70 per cent of the world's assessed plants on the current list are in now in jeopardy. "Life on Earth is disappearing fast and will continue to do so unless urgent action is taken," the IUCN said yesterday.

The Red List is recognised as the most reliable evaluation of the conservation status of the world's species. It classifies them according to their extinction risk, through the categories extinct, critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable. Once an organism is classified as critically endangered, extinction is very close.

A grim statistic contained in the latest list is that the western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) has moved from endangered to critically endangered, after the discovery that the main subspecies, the western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), has been severely depleted by the commercial bushmeat trade, and the Ebola virus.
Their population has declined by more than 60 per cent over the past 20 to 25 years, with about one third of the total population found in protected areas killed by the Ebola virus over the past 15 years.

The change has been revealed in a depressing reassessment of the status of the great apes, which shows the orang-utan, in particular, to be in desperate trouble. The Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) remains in the critically endangered category and the Bornean orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus) in the endangered category. Both are threatened by habitat loss due to illegal and legal logging and forest clearance for palm oil plantations. In Borneo, the Red List says, the area planted with oil palms increased from 2,000 sq km to 27,000 sq km between 1984 and 2003, leaving just 86,000 sq km of habitat available to the species throughout the island.

Another striking feature of the new list is that corals have been assessed and added to the list for the first time. Ten species from the Galapagos islands have entered the list, with two in the critically endangered category and one in the vulnerable category. Wellington's solitary coral (Rhizopsammia wellingtoni) has been listed as critically endangered (possibly extinct).

The main threats to these species are the effects of the El Niño warm water phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, and climate change. In addition, 74 seaweeds from the Galapagos have been added to the list, 10 of them listed as critically endangered, with six of those highlighted as possibly extinct. The coldwater species are threatened by climate change and the rise in sea temperature that characterises El Niño. The seaweeds are also indirectly affected by overfishing, which removes predators from the food chain, resulting in an increase of sea urchins, and other herbivores that overgraze the algae.

The Gharial crocodile (Gavialis gangeticus), found in India and Nepal, is also facing threats from habitat degradation, and it too has moved from endangered to critically endangered. Its population has declined by 58 per cent, from 436 breeding adults in 1997 to just 182 in 2006. Dams, irrigation projects, sand mining and artificial embankments have all encroached on its habitat, reducing its domain to just 2 per cent of its former range.

Asia faces a further wildlife crisis with enormous declines in its populations of vultures, which are important as scavengers. The declines have been driven by the use on cattle of the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac, which is fatal to the birds when they consume it in cattle carcasses. The red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus) has moved from near-threatened to critically endangered, while the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) has moved from least concern to endangered.

One of the saddest accounts of all concerns China's Yangtze river dolphin, or baiji, (Lipotes vexillifer), which was thought to be the world's rarest mammal, but may now have gone completely. After an intensive, but fruitless, search last November and December, it has been listed as critically endangered (possibly extinct).
The dolphin has not been placed in a higher category as further surveys are needed before it can be definitively classified as extinct. A possible sighting in late August 2007 is currently being investigated by Chinese scientists. The main threats to the species include fishing, river traffic, pollution and degradation of habitat.

Some good news...

There is one ray of hope in this year's Red List – the improving position of one of the world's rarest birds, the echo parakeet from Mauritius. Destruction of its forest habitat through farming and the spread of introduced species such as feral pigs, devastated its numbers, and by the end of the 1970s there were only 10 or so known individuals. But a captive breeding programme, run by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and the Government of Mauritius, with the support of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the World Parrot Trust, saw 139 captive birds returned to the wild between 1997 and 2005, and this has successfully re-established the population.


5) UN General Assembly backs indigenous peoples' rights
1 hour ago, September 13, 2007

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — The UN General Assembly on Thursday adopted a non-binding declaration protecting the human, land and resources rights of the world's 370 million indigenous people, despite opposition from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

The vote in the assembly was 143 in favor and four against. Eleven countries, including Russia and Colombia, abstained.

The declaration, capping more than 20 years of debate at the United Nations, also recognizes the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination and sets global human rights standards for them.

It states that native people have the right "to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties" concluded with states or their successors.

Indigenous peoples say their lands and territories are being threatened by such things as mineral extraction, logging, environmental contamination, privatization and development projects, classification of lands as protected areas or game reserves amd use of genetically modified seeds and technology.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon hailed the vote as "a historic moment when UN member states and indigenous peoples have reconciled with their painful histories and are resolved to move forward together on the path of human rights, justice and development for all".

But Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States, countries with sizable indigenous populations, expressed disappointment with the text.

They said they could not support it because of their concerns over provisions on self-determination, land and resources rights and giving indigenous peoples a right of veto over national legislation and state management of resources.

Among contentious issues was one article saying "states shall give legal recognition and protection" to lands, territories and resources traditionally "owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired" by indigenous peoples.

Another bone of contention was an article upholding native peoples' right to "redress by means that can include restitution or when not possible just, fair and equitable compensation, for their lands and resources "which have been confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior ad informed consent".

Opponents also objected to one provision requiring states "to consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources."

Indigenous advocates note that most of the world's remaining natural resources -- minerals, freshwater, potential energy sources -- are found within indigenous peoples' territories.

"Unfortunately, the provisions in the Declaration on lands, territories and resources are overly broad, unclear, and capable of a wide variety of interpretations, discounting the need to recognize a range of rights over land and possibly putting into question matters that have been settled by treaty," Canada's UN Ambassador John McNee told the assembly.

A leader of Canada's native community, Phil Fontaine, slammed his government's stance.

"We're very disappointed with Canada's opposition to the declaration on indigenous peoples," said Fontaine, leader of Assembly of First Nations, who came to New York to lobby for adoption of the text.

Canada's indigenous population totals some 1.3 million people, out of a total population in 32.7 million.

Adoption of the declaration by the assembly had been deferred late last year at the initiative of African countries led by Namibia which raised objections about language on self-determination and the definition of "indigenous" people.

African countries were won over after co-sponsors amended an article to read that "nothing in the declaration may be ...construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent states".

The declaration was endorsed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council last year.


6) No Exit, No Strategy
September 14, 2007

This was the week in which Americans hoped they would get straight talk and clear thinking on Iraq. What they got was two exhausting days of Congressional testimony by the American military commander, hours of news conferences and interviews, clouds of cut-to-order statistics and a speech from the Oval Office — and none of it either straight or clear.

The White House insisted that President Bush had consulted intensively with his generals and adapted to changing circumstances. But no amount of smoke could obscure the truth: Mr. Bush has no strategy to end his disastrous war and no strategy for containing the chaos he unleashed.

Last night’s speech could have been given any day in the last four years — and was delivered a half-dozen times already. Despite Mr. Bush’s claim that he was offering a way for all Americans to “come together” on Iraq, he offered the same divisive policies — repackaged this time with the Orwellian slogan “return on success.”

Mr. Bush’s claim that things were going so well in Iraq that he could “accept” his generals’ recommendation for a “drawdown” of forces was a carnival barker’s come-on. The Army cannot sustain the 30,000 extra troops Mr. Bush sent to Iraq beyond mid-2008 without serious damage to its fighting ability. From the start, the president said that the increase would be temporary. That’s why he called it a “surge.”

Before he spoke, Iraq’s brutal reality had debunked the claims of political and military success made by Gen. David Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the ambassador in Baghdad. First, The Times reported that the only sliver of political progress — a tortuous compromise on sharing oil revenues — was evaporating. Then came news of the assassination of the Anbar tribal leader whose decision to fight alongside the Americans was cited by Mr. Bush as proof that the war’s tide was turning — even though it had nothing to do with the increase in forces.

Mr. Bush’s claims last night about how well the war is going are believable only if you use Pentagon numbers so obviously cooked that they call to mind the way Americans were duped into first supporting this war.

There will be a lot said in coming days about Mr. Bush’s “new strategy,” just as there was after each of his previous major addresses on the war. If there was a new strategy, it would be easy to recognize. Mr. Bush would drop the meaningless talk of victory and stop trying to sell Americans the fiction that the war keeps them safe from terrorism. (To his credit, General Petraeus declined to adopt that bit of propaganda.) Instead, Mr. Bush would do what the vast majority of Americans want — plan an orderly withdrawal while doing what he can to mitigate the consequences of the war.

Mr. Bush was right when he said last night that the aftermath of withdrawal would be bloody and frightening, but that is a product of his invasion and his gross mismanagement of the aftermath. Mr. Bush’s endless insistence on staying the course will only make Iraq more bloody and frightening.

If Mr. Bush had a new strategy, he would have talked to the American people last night about what he would do to draw Iraq’s neighbors into a solution. Last January, when he announced the troop increase, Mr. Bush promised to “use America’s full diplomatic resources to rally support for Iraq from nations throughout the Middle East.” The world is still waiting.

A strategy for ending the war would include real efforts to hold Iraq’s government to verifiable measures of political conciliation — and make clear to Iraq’s leaders that they cannot count on America’s indefinite and unquestioning protection.

A real shift in strategy would have included an effort to deal with the massive problem of refugees. Nine months after the surge began, ever more Iraqis are being driven from their homes — and Mr. Bush never even mentioned them last night.

If Mr. Bush were serious about ending the war, rather than threatening Iran and Syria, he would make a serious effort to persuade them that they too have a lot to lose from a disintegrating Iraq. And he would enlist the help of the leaders of Britain, France and Germany for serious negotiations. Then, perhaps, Mr. Bush’s promise from January to stanch the flow of men and weapons into Iraq from Iran and Syria would not have sounded so hollow.

Once again, it is clear that Mr. Bush refuses to recognize the truth of his failure in Iraq and envisions a military commitment that has no end. Congress must use its powers to expose the truth and demand a real change in strategy. Democratic leaders, forever parsing polls, are backing away from proposals to impose a deadline for withdrawal and tinkering with small ideas that mostly sound like ways to enable the president’s strategy of delay.

The presidential candidates, as well, have a duty to take Iraq head-on. Some Democrats have started to talk in some detail about how they would end the war, but the burden is not just on the war critics. Republicans like Rudolph Giuliani and John McCain, who love to proclaim their support for the president and hide behind the troops, need to explain their vision as well. What do they think would constitute victory in Iraq, and how, precisely, do they intend to achieve it?

After all, it seems the burden of ending the war will fall to the next president. Mr. Bush was clear last night — as he was when he addressed the nation in January, September of last year, the December before that and in April 2004 — that his only real plan is to confuse enough Americans and cow enough members of Congress to let him muddle along and saddle his successor with this war that should never have been started.


7) A Surge, and Then a Stab
Op-Ed Columnist
September 14, 2007

To understand what’s really happening in Iraq, follow the oil money, which already knows that the surge has failed.

Back in January, announcing his plan to send more troops to Iraq, President Bush declared that “America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.”

Near the top of his list was the promise that “to give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country’s economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis.”

There was a reason he placed such importance on oil: oil is pretty much the only thing Iraq has going for it. Two-thirds of Iraq’s G.D.P. and almost all its government revenue come from the oil sector. Without an agreed system for sharing oil revenues, there is no Iraq, just a collection of armed gangs fighting for control of resources.

Well, the legislation Mr. Bush promised never materialized, and on Wednesday attempts to arrive at a compromise oil law collapsed.

What’s particularly revealing is the cause of the breakdown. Last month the provincial government in Kurdistan, defying the central government, passed its own oil law; last week a Kurdish Web site announced that the provincial government had signed a production-sharing deal with the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas, and that seems to have been the last straw.

Now here’s the thing: Ray L. Hunt, the chief executive and president of Hunt Oil, is a close political ally of Mr. Bush. More than that, Mr. Hunt is a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a key oversight body.

Some commentators have expressed surprise at the fact that a businessman with very close ties to the White House is undermining U.S. policy. But that isn’t all that surprising, given this administration’s history. Remember, Halliburton was still signing business deals with Iran years after Mr. Bush declared Iran a member of the “axis of evil.”

No, what’s interesting about this deal is the fact that Mr. Hunt, thanks to his policy position, is presumably as well-informed about the actual state of affairs in Iraq as anyone in the business world can be. By putting his money into a deal with the Kurds, despite Baghdad’s disapproval, he’s essentially betting that the Iraqi government — which hasn’t met a single one of the major benchmarks Mr. Bush laid out in January — won’t get its act together. Indeed, he’s effectively betting against the survival of Iraq as a nation in any meaningful sense of the term.

The smart money, then, knows that the surge has failed, that the war is lost, and that Iraq is going the way of Yugoslavia. And I suspect that most people in the Bush administration — maybe even Mr. Bush himself — know this, too.

After all, if the administration had any real hope of retrieving the situation in Iraq, officials would be making an all-out effort to get the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to start delivering on some of those benchmarks, perhaps using the threat that Congress would cut off funds otherwise. Instead, the Bushies are making excuses, minimizing Iraqi failures, moving goal posts and, in general, giving the Maliki government no incentive to do anything differently.

And for that matter, if the administration had any real intention of turning public opinion around, as opposed to merely shoring up the base enough to keep Republican members of Congress on board, it would have sent Gen. David Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, to as many news media outlets as possible — not granted an exclusive appearance to Fox News on Monday night.

All in all, Mr. Bush’s actions have not been those of a leader seriously trying to win a war. They have, however, been what you’d expect from a man whose plan is to keep up appearances for the next 16 months, never mind the cost in lives and money, then shift the blame for failure onto his successor.

In fact, that’s my interpretation of something that startled many people: Mr. Bush’s decision last month, after spending years denying that the Iraq war had anything in common with Vietnam, to suddenly embrace the parallel.

Here’s how I see it: At this point, Mr. Bush is looking forward to replaying the political aftermath of Vietnam, in which the right wing eventually achieved a rewriting of history that would have made George Orwell proud, convincing millions of Americans that our soldiers had victory in their grasp but were stabbed in the back by the peaceniks back home.

What all this means is that the next president, even as he or she tries to extricate us from Iraq — and prevent the country’s breakup from turning into a regional war — will have to deal with constant sniping from the people who lied us into an unnecessary war, then lost the war they started, but will never, ever, take responsibility for their failures.


8) British Mortgage Lender Is Offered Emergency Loan
September 14, 2007

LONDON, Sept. 14 —British financial authorities said today that they had extended an emergency loan to rescue a big mortgage bank, as the effects of a global credit crunch stemming from the crisis in the American subprime lending business spread to one of the world’s most buoyant housing markets.

The British government said it had authorized the Bank of England to provide a “liquidity support facility” of unspecified size to Northern Rock, a mortgage lender based in Newcastle, England, that has expanded aggressively in recent years.

The news prompted a sell-off in the shares of Northern Rock and other British bank stocks as investors worried about the possibility of similar problems at other institutions, as well as threats to the broader economy.

The FTSE 100 share index had fallen by more than 130 points by around noon in London today.

Northern Rock’s need for emergency financing represents a significant broadening of the effects of the crisis in global financial markets, analysts said, because until now problems at European banks have stemmed mostly from their direct exposure to United States subprime loans.

Northern Rock, by contrast, said it had only a small amount of subprime loans in its portfolio, and British regulators said it “has a good quality loan book.”

Instead, it ran into problems when the squeeze in capital markets undermined the bank’s business model. Northern Rock has relied heavily on raising money in the capital markets, rather than consumer bank deposits, to finance its mortgage lending.

With other banks increasingly reluctant to extend new credit, Northern Rock said it faced the possibility of being unable to meet existing obligations.

“The problems are potentially much wider now,” said Jonathan Loynes, an economist at Capital Economics, a consultancy in London. “This means we have to worry about a wider range of institutions that aren’t directly involved in this credit crisis, but are in a way innocent bystanders.”

The move came only two days after Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, warned that moves by other central banks, like the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, which pumped extra liquidity into the financial system in recent weeks, could encourage “excessive risk-taking” by rewarding bad behavior.

The Bank of England emphasized Friday that its lending to Northern Rock would be conducted at a premium to market interest rates.


9) San Francisco to Offer Care for Uninsured Adults
September 14, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO — Since contracting polio at age 2, Yan Ling Ho has lived with pain for most of her 52 years. After she immigrated here from Hong Kong last year, the soreness in her back and joints proved too debilitating for her to work.

That also meant she did not have health insurance. Not wanting to burden her daughter, who was already paying her living expenses, Ms. Ho delayed doctors’ visits and battled her misery with over-the-counter medications.

“Sometimes the pain was so bad, I would just cry,” she said. “I didn’t know what else to do.”

Last month, unable to bear her discomfort any longer, Ms. Ho went to North East Medical Services, a nonprofit community clinic on the edge of Chinatown, and discovered to her delight that she qualified for a new program that offers free or subsidized health care to all 82,000 San Francisco adults without insurance.

The initiative, known as Healthy San Francisco, is the first effort by a locality to guarantee care to all of its uninsured, and it represents the latest attempt by state and local governments to patch a inadequate federal system.

It is financed mostly by the city, which is gambling that it can provide universal and sensibly managed care to the uninsured for about the amount being spent on their treatment now, often in emergency rooms.

After a two-month trial at two clinics in Chinatown, the program is scheduled to expand citywide to 20 more locations on Sept. 17.

Whether such a program might be replicated elsewhere is difficult to assess. In addition to its unique political culture, San Francisco, with a population of about 750,000, has the advantages of compact geography, a unified city-county government, an extensive network of public and community clinics and a relatively small number of uninsured adults. Virtually all the city’s children are covered by private insurance or government plans.

At the bustling North East Medical Services clinic, where the staff and the signs are multilingual, doctors and nurses are trying to build trust with patients who may have last sought treatment from an herbalist. Families crowd the elevators, as teenagers help parents and grandparents navigate the system. Patients like Ms. Ho say they hope their access to the clinic’s services will bring them independence, and a chance to work.

Healthy San Francisco provides uninsured San Franciscans with access to 14 city health clinics and 8 affiliated community clinics, with an emphasis on prevention and managing chronic disease. It is, however, not the same as insurance because it does not cover residents once they leave the city.

After a phased start-up, the city plans to bring private medical networks into the program next year, expanding the choice of doctors. Until November, enrollment will be limited to those living below the federal poverty line ($10,210 for a single person; $20,650 for a family of four). Then it will open to any resident who has been uninsured for at least 90 days, regardless of income or immigration status.

Only then will city officials learn whether the program appeals to middle-class workers, who make up a growing share of the uninsured. And only then can they test whether San Francisco has the medical infrastructure to handle the desired increase in demand, and to do so without raising taxes.

So far, enrollment has exceeded expectations. The city projected that 600 to 1,000 people would sign up by the end of August. More than 1,300 did, even though officials have done little marketing. They hope to enroll about 45,000 people — more than half the city’s uninsured — in the first year. Some clinics are adding night hours and small numbers of workers.

“We really didn’t know what the interest level would be, so we’re very pleased,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “At the same time, we don’t want overexuberance yet because we don’t want to fall of our own weight.”

At the two pilot clinics, efforts are first made to qualify patients for Medicaid or other state and federal insurance programs. Those left over receive a Healthy San Francisco card that makes them eligible for primary care, dental exams, mental health and substance abuse services, hospitalization, radiology and prescription drugs.

Because the coverage is not portable, officials believe that people with private insurance will have little incentive to drop their policies to take advantage of the city’s cut-rate services.

Like Ms. Ho, many of those enrolling were already using the city’s health clinics — or the emergency room at San Francisco General Hospital — in times of acute need, like an asthma attack or stroke. About 57,000 of the 82,000 uninsured San Franciscans have used the city’s health system at some point.

But the new program hopes to persuade them to become regulars who regard their neighborhood clinic as a medical home. Once enrolled, patients are assigned a physician and encouraged to get blood pressure checks, mammograms and other screenings.

“We had a system that was not a system, and was based on episodic visits for chronic and acute care,” said Dr. Mitchell H. Katz, the city health director. “The idea that you should come get a cholesterol test, that didn’t happen.”

Nor was it uncommon for patients to ignore doctors’ orders because of cost. Before the program started in July, a clinic doctor had ordered X-rays and blood tests for Ms. Ho, but she never got them.

“Now I feel more comfortable coming in to get services and following the doctor’s instructions,” she said, speaking through an interpreter. She added that she recently had the recommended tests and is waiting for results.

The program was born of the city’s impatience with federal and state inaction, Dr. Katz said. In 1998, voters overwhelmingly endorsed universal access to health care in a citywide referendum. Over the years, city officials explored ways to provide universal insurance but, like other governments, could not figure out how to pay for it.

“What we did next was profound and simple,” said Mr. Newsom, who shepherded the program with Supervisor Tom Ammiano. “We asked a different question. We asked: How do we provide universal health care to all uninsured San Franciscans? And that one modest distinction allowed us to answer the question we hadn’t been able to answer for a decade.”

Tangerine M. Brigham, the program’s director, projects that it will cost $200 million the first year, and Mr. Newsom expects to finance it without a tax increase. The city already spends about that much on care for the uninsured, and that money will essentially be redirected to Healthy San Francisco.

The program was also selected by the state to receive a three-year federal grant worth $24 million a year for expanding access to care. And because enrollees are still uninsured, they remain eligible for state and federal benefits, like discounts on AIDS drugs.

Patients are asked to contribute nominal amounts through membership fees and co-payments that vary by income.

Those from families with incomes below the federal poverty line pay nothing. Those who earn more pay quarterly fees that range from $60 to $675, which is the rate for those with incomes above 500 percent of the poverty level ($51,050 for a single; $103,250 for a family of four). That is where the subsidy ends. The co-payments range from $10 to $20 for a clinic visit and from $200 to $350 for an inpatient stay.

A final financing mechanism has placed the program in legal jeopardy. To make sure the new safety net does not encourage businesses to drop their private insurance, the city in January will begin requiring employers with more than 20 workers to contribute a set amount to health care. The Healthy San Francisco program is one of several possible destinations for that money, with others being private insurance or health savings accounts.

Late last year, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association challenged that provision in federal court, arguing that it violates a law governing employer health benefits. A judge has scheduled a hearing for early November.

Mr. Newsom, a restaurateur and former member of the association, said the program would work only if accompanied by an employer mandate. But he said the city would have contingencies if it lost in court. “It may set us back,” he said, “but it’s not going to end this program.”


10) Experts Question Study on Youth Suicide Rates
September 14, 2007

Last week, leading psychiatric researchers linked a 2004 increase in the suicide rate for children and adolescents to a warning by the Food and Drug Administration about the use of antidepressants in minors. The F.D.A. warning, the researchers suggested, might have resulted in severely depressed teenagers going without needed treatment.

But the data in the study, which was published in The American Journal of Psychiatry and received widespread publicity, do not support that explanation, outside experts say.

While suicide rates for Americans ages 19 and under rose 14 percent in 2004, the number of prescriptions for antidepressants in that group was basically unchanged and did not drop substantially, according to data from the study. Prescription rates for minors did fall sharply a year later, but the suicide rates for 2005 are not yet available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of a statistically significant association between suicide rates and prescription rates provided in the paper” for the years after the F.D.A. warnings, said Thomas R. Ten Have, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania.

In the report published last week, the authors analyzed data on suicides and antidepressant use over several years in the United States and the Netherlands. They argued that drug regulators may have created a larger problem by requiring pharmaceutical companies to place warnings on antidepressants, scaring away patients and doctors. The F.D.A. warning label says that a potential side effect in young people is an increase in suicidal thoughts and behavior.

“The most plausible explanation is a cause and effect relationship: prescription rates change, therefore suicides change,” said Dr. J. John Mann, a psychiatrist at Columbia University and a co-author of the study.

But Dr. Ten Have and other experts, while noting that it may still turn out that a reduction in prescriptions is leading to increased suicides among young people, said that the new study neither proved nor disproved this. Instead, some experts say, the study illustrates why suicide trends are so difficult to understand — and why this debate has been so polarizing and confusing.

In an interview, Robert D. Gibbons, a professor of biostatistics and psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the lead author of the journal article, acknowledged that the data from the United States that he and his colleagues analyzed did not support a causal link between prescription rates and suicide in 2004. “We really need to see the 2005 numbers on suicide to see what happened,” he said.

But Dr. Gibbons defended the paper, saying that when taken in the context of previous studies that linked falling antidepressant use to increased suicide rates, “this study was suggestive, that’s what we’re saying.”

Other experts, however, said that the problem with such studies is precisely that they are suggestive rather than conclusive and are open to interpretation. Suicides are rare and uniquely personal events that can be driven by many factors: worsening depression or other mental illnesses, breakups or job loss, lack of drug or psychiatric treatment, even easy access to guns.

In calling for the labeling change on antidepressants, F.D.A. scientists based their decision on data from drug makers’ clinical trials, considered the gold standard in medical research. Those trials have shown that young patients who took antidepressants were about twice as likely than those on placebos to report suicidal thoughts or attempts, though the numbers in both groups were small.

Yet none of the youngsters in the trials, most of which ran for no more than a month or two, actually committed suicide. And most psychiatrists with long experience using antidepressants in children say the benefits far outweigh any risk.

In studies of data collected before 2004, Dr. Gibbons, Dr. Mann and others found clear associations between prescription patterns and suicide rates. For instance, prescription rates for patients from ages 10 to 24 rose steadily in the 1990s, while the suicide rate in that age group fell 28 percent from 1990 to 2003, according to a government report released last week.

In another study, researchers at Columbia University, analyzing data from 1990 to 2000, found that for every 20 percent increase in the use of antidepressants among adolescents, there were five fewer suicides per 100,000 people each year. Psychiatric researchers have found similar patterns among some age groups in other countries, including Sweden, Japan and Finland.

But many uncertainties remain. While the suicide rate for adolescents has fallen over the last decade, it has remained largely unchanged for the overall population, though prescriptions for psychiatric medicines have risen sharply in all age groups. Adjusted for the demographic changes, about 11 Americans per 100,000 killed themselves in 2004, the same as in 1994.

Demographics can play a role: White people kill themselves about twice as frequently as African-Americans and Hispanics, so as the population becomes more diverse, the suicide rate ought to drop, all else being equal. And suicide rates also appear to be negatively correlated with economic growth, which was exceptionally strong from 1994 to 2000. Advances in medicine also mean more lives can be saved now.

With so many potentially confounding factors at play, interpreting the relationship between prescription rates and suicides is difficult, said Andrew Leon, a professor of biostatistics at Weill Cornell Medical College who has served on F.D.A. panels studying suicide risk and antidepressants.

“These kinds of studies are very important in giving us a sense of the rates of disease and death in a population and how those may correspond to other things,” Dr. Leon said. “But what they don’t do is tell us whether the two trends are directly related.”


11) U.A.W. Picks G.M. as ‘Strike Target’
September 14, 2007

DETROIT, Sept. 14 — Negotiators for the United Automobile Workers union and General Motors met here today ahead of a midnight contract deadline as workers at local unions across the country prepared for a possible strike.

Contracts between the U.A.W. and the Detroit auto companies expire at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, but the negotiations are centered on G.M, which was selected by the union as its strike target on Thursday.

The talks are focused on the creation of a health care trust, the chief demand by G.M., the Ford Motor Company and Chrysler. G.M. has pushed the most heavily for such a trust because it faces a health care liability of about $55 billion for its workers, retirees and their families.

The choice of G.M. followed a meeting of the union’s executive board, which is made up of its top officials, including the U.A.W. president, Ron Gettelfinger.

In an e-mail message to local leaders Thursday, union leaders specifically used the phrase “strike target,” a tradition that Mr. Gettelfinger had previously shied away, instead using the term “lead company.”

The U.A.W. traditionally negotiates with all three companies, then selects a company where it focuses its efforts. That company is the one that would be the target of a strike.

Analysts have considered a strike to be unlikely this year, given the financial troubles at the Detroit companies.

Indeed, there has not been a strike by the U.A.W. since 1998, when two local walkouts at plants in Flint, Mich., crippled G.M.’s operations nationwide for seven weeks. And Mr. Gettelfinger has been viewed as working closely with the carmakers since taking office in 2003.

Nonetheless, local unions at G.M. began organizing picket line shifts today, with signs already printed. Leaders at several local unions said they expected to receive updates from the U.A.W. throughout the day.

If there is a walkout, the union is likely to give those leaders a few hours notice. Silence from Detroit, on the other hand, would signal that talks are still continuing. It is not unusual for talks to go on for hours or even days past the deadline if progress is being made.

Officials at G.M. and the U.A.W. had no comment Thursday on the choice of G.M. as the U.A.W.’s strike target, but Ford and Chrysler both announced that they had signed contract extensions with the U.A.W.

G.M. shares jumped Thursday on reports that the U.A.W. was ready to discuss the creation of a voluntary employee benefit association, or VEBA, that would shoulder the responsibility for nearly $100 billion in health care liabilities. They rose an additional 8 cents in midday trading, to $33.36.

The union would administer the trust, which would be financed by contributions of cash, stock and possibly real estate from the car companies, allowing them to take the obligation off their books.

Automakers would not be required to cover their entire liability in the trust, but it would be in the union’s interest to get as big an investment as possible to ensure its soundness.

Publicly, U.A.W. leaders have been steadfastly silent on the subject, but the idea has prompted a rising debate among union dissidents.

These union members regard a benefit trust as another setback for the U.A.W., whose ranks have been thinned by the auto industry downturn, and as a threat to the main benefit, along with pensions, that workers hold dear.

One group, the Soldiers of Solidarity, passed out leaflets at last week’s Labor Day parade in Detroit, declaring that VEBA stands for “vandalizing employee benefits again.”

The group’s leader, Gregg Shotwell, led a grass-roots movement opposed to concessions to the Delphi Corporation, G.M.’s former parts subsidiary, which filed for Chapter 11 protection two years ago.

Another longtime dissident battling the idea is Jerry Tucker, a former union regional director and member of its governing executive board. He led a movement called New Directions, which fought union concessions during the 1990s.

Mr. Tucker predicted that the 200,000 workers at the Detroit companies would be asked to give up future raises to help finance a benefit trust, and that more than 400,000 retired workers would be required to pay a greater portion of health care expenses for themselves and their families.

“No one has confidence that a VEBA would support itself over a long period of time. Across the board there is concern about where the risk is going, because those risks will shift,” Mr. Tucker said.

Local U.A.W. leaders would have to approve any tentative settlement before it was presented to about 80,000 G.M. workers for a vote. Then the union would have to repeat the process at Ford and Chrysler, although contract terms are likely to be similar under the U.A.W.’s practice of pattern bargaining.

VEBAs are not new to the union. At G.M. and Ford, it agreed to small trusts that were set up two years ago in an effort to help the companies cut their medical expenses while they were suffering billions of dollars in losses. As a result, both active and retired workers pay a greater portion of their health care expenses.

Similar trusts have been set up at Caterpillar and most recently at the Dana Corporation as part of its effort to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

Analysts say the car companies must address their health care liabilities to rescue their sagging debt ratings, which have been cut deep into junk status. Agencies like Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services view benefit trusts as a reduction of companies’ debt.

“The automakers think that health care is too expensive right now, and that if they don’t lower those numbers they will go out of business,” said Ken Goldstein, an analyst with the Conference Board.

Indeed, the trusts could protect workers if the companies filed for bankruptcy protection, because they are protected in the event of bankruptcy, experts say. That sets them apart from pensions, which the carmakers could seek to terminate and replace with less expensive retirement plans.

But S.& P., in a report this summer, said that a trust would not automatically result in an upgrade for G.M. or Ford (Chrysler’s debt has been rated as part of DaimlerChrysler, which sold it on Aug. 3 to Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm). “The ratings on these companies have been driven down to their current levels by more than just health care liabilities,” the S.& P. report said. “These obligations are only one factor among many in our credit analysis.”

Still, individual workers remain concerned. “I’m not ready to retire yet, but when I do I’m afraid I’m going to be cut short when I need health care,” said Doug Hanscom, 51, who has spent 31 years at G.M.’s plant in Wilmington, Del. “I’m afraid the fund’s going to be underfunded and run out of money.”

Jonell Sayles, 55, of Mount Morris, Mich., retired from Delphi last May, but receives health care under the G.M. plan. She said she had put off seeking medical treatment for pneumonia because she could not afford the fees she now must pay for doctor visits.

“I’m at a total loss as to how to project this outcome,” Ms. Sayles said. “All I know is that any time the company wants to save money, it’ll be at my expense.”

Opponents frequently cite the experience at Caterpillar, which reached agreement with the U.A.W. on a health care trust in 1998.

By 2005, however, the trust’s assets were smaller than its obligations. The union subsequently agreed to a series of concessions, including a two-tier wage plan, to replenish the fund.

Larry G. Solomon, 65, a former local union official at Caterpillar, who is covered by its fund, said he would prefer that the company, not the U.A.W., administer health benefits.

“If I work for a company, and I give my life to that company, I expect the company to take care of me, not the union,” said Mr. Solomon, of Cerro Gordo, Ill. Of his fellow union members in Detroit, Mr. Solomon said, “When workers look back, I think they’ll be sorry they voted for it.”

There is no guarantee that even after months of work, the companies and the U.A.W. will agree to the plan. There has been talk of contract sweeteners, like a signing bonus of several thousand dollars for each worker, to persuade U.A.W. members to agree to the plan.

Even so, “the deal will be very bitter, if there is a deal,” Mr. Goldstein of the Conference Board said. “In a way, U.A.W. leaders are in three-way negotiations. They are negotiating with the automakers, and with their own members.”


12) At Least on Wall Street, Wages of Sin Beat Those of Virtue
September 14, 2007

To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, sin is good.

Or in this case, at least a little better than investing your conscience.

At a time when the volatility on Wall Street has many investors re-examining their investments and trying to understand strategies that involve quantitative analysis, strategic investment vehicles or mortgage-backed securities, several small mutual funds have relied on the Wall Street equivalent of the good and evil approach.

The Vice Fund, based in Dallas, has invested substantially in “sin stocks”: companies involved with drinking and gambling as well as military contractors and tobacco companies.

“We’re not advocating these behaviors at all. We’re just looking at this through the eyes of an investor,” said the portfolio manager, Charles L. Norton, who says he does not smoke, drinks “on occasion” and gambles a couple of times a year. The fund’s goal, he said, is simple: “to just make money.”

On the other hand, some mutual funds strive to be socially and morally responsible.

Funds like Domini Social Equity and Citizens Core Growth cherry-pick companies that meet their social and environmental objectives.

“It’s the mind-set of our investors,” said Jeff MacDonagh, portfolio manager at Domini Social Equity fund. He says the fund favors companies that promote “human dignity” and “environmental sustainability.”

The two funds also try to use their shareholder investments and proxies as a way to force change on issues like sweatshop labor and the environment.

Mr. MacDonagh said that his fund avoided companies that could be seen as preying on addictions to things like alcohol, gambling and tobacco and that it shied away from companies with poor records on human rights and global warming.

George Schwartz, the portfolio manager of the $282 million Ave Maria Catholic Values fund, said some investors liked to know they were not supporting pornography, abortion or birth control.

“We’re not going to be in companies that violate these core principles of the Catholic Church,” he said.

But in the end, at least on Wall Street, money talks. And so far this year, vice has trumped conscience.

The $124 million Vice Fund, which has been trading for five years, is up 14.1 percent this year, compared with 5.1 percent for Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, according to Morningstar, which tracks mutual funds. The fund has outperformed the S.& P. in each of its five years.

Thomas M. Galvin, portfolio manager of the Excelsior large-cap growth fund, said sin stocks tend to be insulated from swings in the economy.

The Ave Maria Values fund has also outperformed the S.& P. since its inception in 2001, Mr. Schwartz said. But it has not in 2007; so far this year, the fund is up 1.9 percent.

“When we first started this fund, we were hoping we would at least match the market, and we didn’t know how much penalty there would be for screening out certain companies,” he said. The other two socially conscious funds have underperformed the S.&P. in the last five years, according to Morningstar. So far in 2007, the Domini fund is still short of the S.&P., having risen 1.4 percent, but the Citizens fund is ahead, up 8.2 percent.

Mr. MacDonagh said avoiding big oil and coal stocks for environmental reasons had hurt his fund’s performance the most. In some quarters, not being invested in consumer staples like tobacco and alcohol has cost the fund, he said, “but over the long run, it’s neutral.”

The Vice Fund is the only portfolio today that defines its purview as “sin.” Dan S. Ahrens, a former Vice Fund portfolio manager who left in 2005, offers the next closest bet with the Ladenburg Thalmann Gaming and Casino Fund.

The Vice Fund is following in the footsteps of the first portfolio to capitalize on sin stocks. Morgan FunShares, set up by Burton Morgan in 1994, focused on such investments until it closed in 2003, shortly after the founder’s death.

The record of the Vice Fund has not been without blemishes. Its founder, Richard A. Sapio, and two other executives at the fund’s advisory firm,, were accused in 2003 of securities-related fraud and in 2004 of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud. The cases against Mr. Sapio have not yet been settled, and calls to his lawyer, Stephen G. Topetzes, were not returned.

The three executives resigned from the advisory firm in 2004, and the parent company, Mutual Capital Alliance, overhauled, bringing in new management and changing the name to Mutuals Advisors. Mr. Sapio, as chief executive of Mutual Capital, continues to collect management fees from the Vice Fund.


13) For Fed, a Question of Whom to Rescue, and When to Dive In
September 14, 2007

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 — When policy makers at the Federal Reserve meet to set interest rates on Tuesday, their debate is likely to be less about whether to reduce rates than about how much.

The meeting is also likely to be a defining moment for Ben S. Bernanke, who has not had to wrestle with a major economic upheaval since he took over as Fed chairman in February 2006. Wall Street, frightened by the turmoil in credit markets and in housing, is betting on the Fed to cut rates deeply. But Mr. Bernanke wants to know if the overall economy is on the brink of a recession, and the evidence on that is far from decisive.

Investors now assume that the central bank will reduce the overnight federal funds rate by at least a quarter of a percentage point, to 5 percent. Fed officials have not tried to dissuade anyone from that assumption. But there is a possibility that the central bank will go further, reducing its benchmark rate by half a percentage point and signaling further reductions later this year.

Mr. Bernanke and other Fed officials have said they do not want to be rescuers of investors or real estate speculators who made bad decisions.

Fed officials are also mindful of their experience in 1998, when a financial collapse in Russia led to a panic in credit markets but not a slowdown in the overall economy. The central bank reduced rates twice in response to market fears, but the panic subsided almost as quickly as it began.

“Monetary policy’s unswerving focus should be on pursuing the Fed’s mandated goals of price stability and full employment,” Janet L. Yellen, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, said in a speech Monday. “Past experience does show that financial turbulence can be resolved more quickly than seems likely when we’re in the middle of it.”

In practice, the line between rescuing financial markets and rescuing the overall economy is far from clear. Mr. Bernanke faces big risks, either by acting prematurely and giving investors the impression the Fed will shield them from risk or by acting too slowly and allowing a recession to set in.

Nearly a month after the Federal Reserve took its first steps to make money available for financial institutions rocked by problems with subprime mortgages, the panic in credit markets has relaxed slightly but conditions remain far from normal, according to industry executives.

New data on Thursday suggested that investors’ fears about buying commercial paper — securities backed by mortgages, credit card debt and business loans — might be easing, one of the reasons the stock market was rising Thursday.

The Fed reported that the volume of commercial paper declined by $8 billion for the week that ended Wednesday, a much smaller fall than in the four previous weeks, when investors first began to panic about subprime mortgages. Over the four weeks that ended Sept. 5, the volume of commercial paper shrank by an average of $74.6 billion each week.

But Steven Wieting, an economist at Citigroup, cautioned that recent signs of a recovery in the commercial paper market have been fleeting.

That bodes ill for the slumping housing market, which depends on the availability of capital for mortgages. Sales of new and existing homes remain weak, inventories of unsold homes are at their highest levels in years, and delinquencies are rising.

The overall economy, by contrast, has yet to show signs of serious damage.

The most disturbing sign of emerging trouble came in the Labor Department’s employment report for August, which estimated that the nation lost 4,000 jobs last month — the first monthly decline in four years. More worrisome, the Labor Department reduced its previous estimates for employment growth in June and July by a total of 81,000 jobs.

Kurt E. Karl, chief United States economist at Swiss Re Economic Research and Consulting, estimates the odds of a recession at “35 percent and rising,” but he predicted that the Fed would reduce its federal funds rate by only a quarter of a percentage point.

Yet, in a flurry of recent speeches, several Fed officials have made it clear they see a risk that the current housing problems and the credit squeeze could infect the rest of the economy.

Mr. Bernanke, who spent most of his career as a professor at Princeton and who favors a steady rules-based approach to monetary policy, has nonetheless carefully signaled that the Fed would not necessarily wait to act until it had irrefutable evidence of a looming downturn.


14) Jena 6 and "Managed Mayhem"
Pastors Against Injustice

The Jena 6 atrocity, on the US contemporary Plantation is a typical example of
Amerikkka's "Managed Mayhem"

What do we mean by
"Managed Mayhem"?

It is the carefully crafted deadly racist web choking to death the Poor, Black and Brown in the United States, land of the Rich and White Proud and Free, so Help Us God...

Here are the seven degrees of Managed Mayhem: "Serving and Protecting the rich white community, and corporate interests"

1 - Keep poor neighborhoods of color down by
depriving them of direct social services, medical facilities, high schools, affordable childcare. or training leading to decent paying jobs.

2- crack down on alleged gangs in palatable neighborhoods of Color targeted for redevelopment and gentrification.
(note that touristic areas, rebounding with white, asian, armenian. italian and russian gangs are never targeted by gang injunctions, nationwide)

3- Increase law enforcement siege through PD, CHP, Homeland Security in such Poor neighborhoods of Color: "Operation Impact", whose aim is to create crime stats in terms of DUI's, drig and weapons possessions. DO NOT conduct sich raids in touristic areas that would lead to embarrasing comparative stats.

4- Ensure lack of impartial coverage of such issues in the corporate press, supress the general public knowledge of racial/socioeconomic disparities, never engage liability for media network broadcasting racist views (Imus, Rhodes, Barbee, Savage, Limbaugh and the like, who increase they quotas through sensationalism)

5- Feed the Poor, Black and Brown into the Mega Booming Prison industry. Support Governors decreasing social services fundings to build Mega Jails. Slave "wages" in the US prisons, assembling products for corporations such as Target, Kmart, Wallmart. Toyota, Microsoft, range from 1 ct to 46 cts an hour, way cheaper than Guatemala, Mexico or Laos.
Prevent the Death Penalty Moratorium at all cost.

6 - Continue to depict Poor Youth of Color as volatile, violent, criminally inclined, amoral, and a deadly risk to society at large. Concentrate efforts on cracking down on the Youth, rather than increasing suitable alternatives to street illegal Youth activity as a mean of bare survival.

7- Depict Hip Hop as a subversive, negative force. Do not promote or advertize young artists with positive lyrics.

The horrible fate of the Jena 6, sadly reminiscent of Billy Holliday's song on the lynchings "Strange Fruits", the apathy, scorn and indifference of the corporate press and the carefully crafted silence by the authorities about nooses in white trees across the nation, in the 21rst century, not 400 years ago, not 40 years ago, today, is nothing but Managed Mayhem.

Make Noise ! Make Trouble ! Challenge your newspaper editors, your congregations, your local NAACP, your local City and State officials to close down the US Plantation, once and for all, NOW!

Silence Kills ! Let your voice be counted,

Do the right, responsible thing, White, Brown and Black People !

Help us End the war at Home and Abroad,
on the Poor, Black and Brown, NOW !





Manhattan: Slain Soldier to Receive Citizenship
A soldier from Washington Heights who was killed while serving with the Army’s Second Infantry Division in Iraq is to receive citizenship posthumously on Monday, immigration officials said in a statement yesterday. The soldier, Cpl. Juan Alcántara, 22, left, was one of four soldiers killed in an explosion as they searched a house in Baquba on Aug. 6. Representative Charles B. Rangel, a Harlem Democrat, will speak at a ceremony at the City University Great Hall in Manhattan and present a certificate to Corporal Alcántara’s family. The corporal was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up in Washington Heights, Mr. Rangel’s office said.
September 14, 2007

Texas: Man Is Spared After Evidence Turns Up
A judge spared a man who was to be executed today in a double murder, after the Dallas County prosecutor’s office discovered evidence they believe had been withheld from the man’s lawyers. A second polygraph given to a co-defendant of the man, Joseph Lave, came to light in the last few days and reflects on the credibility of the co-defendant, said Mike Ware, of the district attorney’s conviction integrity unit. Mr. Lave was one of three robbers involved in the 1992 deaths of two teenagers in Richardson. Prosecutors say lawyers no longer with the office misled the court by saying the evidence did not exist.
September 14, 2007

Pennsylvania: Police Chief Calls on Men to Patrol Streets
Philadelphia’s police chief, acknowledging that the police alone cannot quell a run of deadly violence, has called on 10,000 men to patrol the streets to reduce crime. The chief, Sylvester Johnson, says black men, in particular, have a duty to protect vulnerable residents. He wants volunteers to work three hours a day for at least 90 days. “We are definitely encouraging black men to be involved in it,” he said. But he said he would not turn away men of other races. “We have to put the tourniquet where we’re bleeding at this point,” he said. The men would not make arrests but would emphasize conflict resolution.
September 14, 2007

Fracas Erupts Over Book on Mideast by a Barnard Professor Seeking Tenure
September 10, 2007

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])