Thursday, October 11, 2007


Extraordinary Rendition of the Truth




From: Logistics Committee

To: Members of the October 27th Coalition

Re: Volunteers on October 27th

There will be a need for hundreds of volunteers to provide the logistical infrastructure to make the October 27th activities function smoothly and successfully. The logistics committee is requesting that all members of the October 27th Coalition participate in this aspect of the march. The committee is asking member groups to provide as many volunteers to the logistics of the day as each member group can.

The committee is asking member groups to respond to the coalition email oct27sf@gmail. com with a commitment in numbers of people from your member organization, their names and contact phone/email or a point person and the specific tasks your member organization is fulfilling.

A day of volunteer form will be posted to website which people can fill out directly.

The logistics committee asks that member organizations respond before the next steering committee meeting on October 14th. At the Steering Committee, the logistics committee will report on the status of responses and get any oustanding committments as well.

For anyone participating in security there will be a planning meeting on Thursday, October 18th at 7pm at the ANSWER office at 2489 Mission St., #28 at 21st St.

Below are the specific tasks:

Civic Center

Setup at 8:00 am

Security/Monitors at 9:00 am till the end of the day

Takedown at 12:30 until 2:00. The people taking this assignment will march late after march leaves.

Collection: 9:00 am orientation. This task will be for on the march and at the closing rally

Medical at 9:00 am for all day

ASL signing at 10:30 am for opening and closing rally

Dolores Park:

Setup at 8:00 am

Security/Monitors at 9:00 am

Takedown after rally and convergence ends at 4:30

Collection at 2 pm

Medical at 12 noon

ASL signing at 1:00 pm

Program Committee Meeting
Sunday,Oct. 14, 1:00 P.M.
Steering Committee Meeting, 3:00 P.M.
474 Valencia Street, SF

South Bay Oct. 27 Organizing Committee
Thursday, Oct. 18, 7:00 P.M.
San Jose Peace Center
48 Seventh Street

Iraq Moratorium Day
Friday, Oct. 19, 12:00 A.M. - 11:30 P.M.
Pots and Pans rally at noon at the SF Federal Bldg.
Solemn vigil at Post & Market (Montgomery Street BART) at 5.
At Diablo Canyon College there will be an action, and Strawberry Creek Lodge there will be a demonstration at 2.
There will be bannering at the Golden Gate Bridge in the early morning.
The postal workers who had flyers and ribbons at 27 SF post offices on Sept 21, will cover the remaining 13 on October 19. New unions are being approached for participation as well.
More at


Hands Off Venezuela Campaign
PO Box 4244 St. Paul, MN 55104


What: Bay Area Premiere of "No Volveran!" A new film on the Venezuelan Revolution

When: Sunday, October 14, 7 PM

Where: Mission Cultural Center -- 2868 Mission Street (near 25th Street) San Francisco, 94110

The Hands Off Venezuela Campaign is proud to announce a new film on the Venezuelan Revolution. Filmed during an international delegation to Venezuela during last year's historic Presidential elections, the film makers take us on a journey through the fervor of those days in December 2006, traveling deep into the shanty towns (barrios), and to several factories under workers' control, to find out why there is a movement to overthrow capitalism, what Socialism of the 21st Century is, and how it is changing people's lives.

Also covering alternative community run media like CatiaTV, and Radio Negro Primero, and the social projects called misiones, the film helps explain why Venezuela has become a symbol of liberation for those in struggle around the world. With fantastic footage of the elections, demonstrations and the people and streets of Caracas, the revolution is brought to our screens in a rich tapestry of action and interview that gives us real insight into the process taking place, and the challenges that lie ahead. A must see!

Melanie McDonald, the film maker, will give a short presentation and answer questions. For more information visit

Admission: $5; For seniors and students: $3. Copies of the film and other materials will be available for purchase after the screening.

***Please distribute widely***

For more information, please call 415-821-1155 or write


Toxic West Virginia: Mountaintop Removal- Episode 1


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 effective 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


Domestic workers are one of the most invisible and exploited categories of workers in the United States. Many of them work for diplomats, who enjoy legal immunity and can exploit their domestic workers without any consequences. Employees of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank are the largest group of employers of domestic workers in the U.S. The institutions have some direct responsibility in this regard, since they sponsor visas for domestic workers for their employees, but do not monitor the work situations of the domestic workers to make sure that they are being treated fairly.

Please watch the video, share it, and spread it far and wide!

And come to Washington DC October 19-21 to protest the IMF and World Bank annual meetings!




1)Faster Army Expansion Plan Approved
October 10, 2007

2) Marines Press to Remove Their Forces From Iraq
October 11, 2007

3) Supreme Disgrace
October 11, 2007

4) 1929 Redux: Heading for a Crash?
By Robert Kuttner, AlterNet
Posted on October 8, 2007, Printed on October 11, 2007

5) Subject: [iraqmoratorium-sfbayarea] Berkeley Resolution ENDORSING IRAQ MORATORIUM
From: "Robert L. Meola"
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 02:50:19 -0700

6)Los Angeles to Permit Sleeping on Sidewalks
October 11, 2007

7) Report Recounts Horrors of Youth Boot Camps
October 11, 2007

8) Boom Times for Dentists, but Not for Teeth
October 11, 2007

9) Homeless Families in New York Lose a Loophole
October 11, 2007

10) Safety Agents Are Defended After 2 Arrests at City School
October 11, 2007


1)Faster Army Expansion Plan Approved
October 10, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has approved a plan to ease the strain of two wars on the military by increasing the size of the active-duty Army to 547,000 by 2010, two years sooner than planned, officials said Tuesday.

Mr. Gates approved the accelerated timetable in a Sept. 26 memo that also barred the Army from reaching the goal by lowering its recruiting standards or employing “stop loss,” a practice of prohibiting soldiers from retiring. The memo put the plan’s cost at $2.6 billion over the next five years.

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, announced the 2010 goal in a speech on Tuesday at the Association of the United States Army convention here. Army officials had previously said the timeline would be reduced by one year, to 2011.

Army officials said they could achieve the increase through retention and recruiting, but conceded that achieving the goal in three years, rather than five, was ambitious. “Meeting this target will not be easy,” General Casey said.

The planned increase would be from an authorized level of 512,000 last year.


2) Marines Press to Remove Their Forces From Iraq
October 11, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 — The Marine Corps is pressing to remove its forces from Iraq and to send marines instead to Afghanistan, to take over the leading role in combat there, according to senior military and Pentagon officials.

The idea by the Marine Corps commandant would effectively leave the Iraq war in the hands of the Army while giving the Marines a prominent new role in Afghanistan, under overall NATO command.

The suggestion was raised in a session last week convened by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and regional war-fighting commanders. While still under review, its supporters, including some in the Army, argue that a realignment could allow the Army and Marines each to operate more efficiently in sustaining troop levels for two wars that have put a strain on their forces.

As described by officials who had been briefed on the closed-door discussion, the idea represents the first tangible new thinking to emerge since the White House last month endorsed a plan to begin gradual troop withdrawals from Iraq, but also signals that American forces likely will be in Iraq for years to come.

At the moment, there are no major Marine units among the 26,000 or so American forces in Afghanistan. In Iraq there are about 25,000 marines among the 160,000 American troops there.

It is not clear exactly how many of the marines in Iraq would be moved over. But the plan would require a major reshuffling, and it would make marines the dominant American force in Afghanistan, in a war that has broader public support than the one in Iraq.

Mr. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have not spoken publicly about the Marine concept, and aides to both officials said no formal proposal had been presented by the Marines. But the idea has been the focus of intense discussions between senior Marine Corps officers and other officials within the Defense Department.

It is not clear whether the Army would support the idea. But some officials sympathetic to the Army said that such a realignment would help ease some pressure on the Army, by allowing it to shift forces from Afghanistan into Iraq, and by simplifying planning for future troop rotations.

The Marine proposal could also face resistance from the Air Force, whose current role in providing combat aircraft for Afghanistan could be squeezed if the overall mission was handed to the Marines. Unlike the Army, the Marines would bring a significant force of combat aircraft to that conflict.

Whether the Marine proposal takes hold, the most delicate counterterrorism missions in Afghanistan, including the hunt for forces of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, would remain the job of a military task force that draws on Army, Navy and Air Force Special Operations units.

Military officials say the Marine proposal is also an early indication of jockeying among the four armed services for a place in combat missions in years to come. “At the end of the day, this could be decided by parochialism, and making sure each service does not lose equity, as much as on how best to manage the risk of force levels for Iraq and Afghanistan,” said one Pentagon planner.

Tensions over how to divide future budgets have begun to resurface across the military because of apprehension that Congressional support for large increases in defense spending seen since the Sept. 11 attacks will diminish, leaving the services to compete for money.

Those traditional turf battles have subsided somewhat given the overwhelming demands of waging two simultaneous wars — and because Pentagon budgets reached new heights.

Last week, the Senate approved a $459 billion Pentagon spending bill, an increase of $43 billion, or more than 10 percent over the last budget. That bill did not include, as part of a separate bill, President Bush’s request for almost $190 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Senior officials briefed on the Marine Corps concept said the new idea went beyond simply drawing clearer lines about who was in charge of providing combat personnel, war-fighting equipment and supplies to the two war zones.

They said it would allow the Marines to carry out the Afghan mission in a way the Army cannot, by deploying as an integrated Marine Corps task force that included combat aircraft as well as infantry and armored vehicles, while the Army must rely on the Air Force.

The Marine Corps concept was raised last week during a Defense Senior Leadership Conference convened by Mr. Gates just hours after Admiral Mullen was sworn in as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

During that session, the idea of assigning the Afghan mission to the Marines was described by Gen. James T. Conway, the Marine Corps commandant. Details of the discussion were provided by military officers and Pentagon civilian officials briefed on the session and who requested anonymity to summarize portions of the private talks.

The Marine Corps has recently played the leading combat role in Anbar Province, the restive Sunni area west of Baghdad.

Gen. David H. Petraeus, the senior Army officer in Iraq, and his No. 2 commander, Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, also of the Army, have described Anbar Province as a significant success story, with local tribal leaders joining the fight against terrorists.

Both generals strongly hint that if the security situation in Anbar holds steady, then reductions of American forces can be expected in the province, which could free up Marine units to move elsewhere.

In recent years, the emphasis by the Pentagon has been on joint operations that blur the lines between the military services, but there is also considerable precedent for geographic divisions in their duties. For much of the Vietnam War, responsibility was divided region by region between the Army and the Marines. As described by military planners, the Marine proposal would allow Marine units moved to Afghanistan to take over the tasks now performed by an Army headquarters unit and two brigade combat teams operating in eastern Afghanistan.

That would ease the strain on the Army and allow it to focus on managing overall troop numbers for Iraq, as well as movements of forces inside the country as required by commanders to meet emerging threats.

The American military prides itself on the ability to go to war as a “joint force,” with all of the armed services intermixed on the battlefield — vastly different from past wars when more primitive communications required separate ground units to fight within narrowly defined lanes to make sure they did not cross into the fire of friendly forces.

The Marine Corps is designed to fight with other services — it is based overseas aboard Navy ships and is intertwined with the Army in Iraq. At the same time, the Marines also are designed to be an agile, “expeditionary” force on call for quick deployment, and thus can go to war with everything needed to carry out the mission — troops, armor, attack jets and supplies.

General Petraeus is due to report back to Congress by March on his troop requirements beyond the summer. His request for forces will be analyzed by the military’s Central Command, which oversees combat missions across the Middle East and Southwest Asia, and by the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. All troop deployment orders must be approved by Mr. Gates, with the separate armed services then assigned to supply specific numbers of troops and equipment.

Marines train to fight in what is called a Marine Air-Ground Task Force. That term refers to a Marine deployment that arrives in a combat zone complete with its own headquarters, infantry combat troops, armored and transport vehicles and attack jets for close-air support, as well as logistics and support personnel.

“This is not about trading one ground war for another,” said one Pentagon official briefed on the Marine concept. “It is about the nature of the fight in Afghanistan, and figuring out whether the Afghan mission lends itself more readily to the integrated MAGTF deployment than even Iraq.”


3) Supreme Disgrace
October 11, 2007

The Supreme Court exerts leadership over the nation’s justice system, not just through its rulings, but also by its choice of cases — the ones it agrees to hear and the ones it declines. On Tuesday, it led in exactly the wrong direction.

Somehow, the court could not muster the four votes needed to grant review in the case of an innocent German citizen of Lebanese descent who was kidnapped, detained and tortured in a secret overseas prison as part of the Bush administration’s morally, physically and legally abusive anti-terrorism program. The victim, Khaled el-Masri, was denied justice by lower federal courts, which dismissed his civil suit in a reflexive bow to a flimsy government claim that allowing the case to go forward would put national security secrets at risk.

Those rulings, Mr. Masri’s lawyers correctly argued, represented a major distortion of the state secrets doctrine, a rule created by the federal courts that was originally intended to shield specific evidence in a lawsuit filed against the government. It was never designed to dictate dismissal of an entire case before any evidence is produced.

It may well be that one or more justices sensitive to the breathtaking violation of Mr. Masri’s rights, and the evident breaking of American law, refrained from voting to accept his case as a matter of strategy. They may have feared a majority ruling by the Roberts court approving the dangerously expansive view of executive authority inherent in the Bush team’s habitual invocation of the state secrets privilege. In that case, the justices at least could have commented, or offered a dissent, as has happened when the court abdicated its responsibility to hear at least two other recent cases involving national security issues of this kind.

Mr. Masri says he was picked up while vacationing in Macedonia in late 2003 and flown to a squalid prison in Afghanistan. He says he was questioned there about ties to terrorist groups and was beaten by his captors, some of whom were Americans. At the end of May 2004, Mr. Masri was released in a remote part of Albania without having been charged with a crime. Investigations in Europe and news reports in this country have supported his version of events, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged privately to her that Mr. Masri’s abduction was a mistake, an admission that aides to Ms. Rice have denied. The Masri case, in other words, is being actively discussed all over the world. The only place it cannot be discussed, it seems, is in a United States courtroom.

In effect, the Supreme Court has granted the government immunity for subjecting Mr. Masri to “extraordinary rendition,” the morally and legally unsupportable United States practice of transporting foreign nationals to be interrogated in other countries known to use torture and lacking basic legal protections. It’s hard to imagine what, at this point, needs to be kept secret, other than the ways in which the administration behaved irresponsibly, and quite possibly illegally, in the Masri case. And Mr. Masri is not the only innocent man kidnapped by American agents and subjected to abuse and torture in a foreign country. He’s just the only one whose lawsuit got this far.

This unsatisfactory outcome gives rise to new worries about the current Supreme Court’s resolve to perform its crucial oversight role — particularly with other cases related to terrorism in the pipeline and last week’s disclosure of secret 2005 Justice Department memos authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods that just about everyone except the Bush White House thinks of as torture. Instead of a rejection, the Masri case should have occasioned a frank revisiting of the Supreme Court’s 1953 ruling in United States v. Reynolds. That case enshrined the state secrets doctrine that this administration has repeatedly relied upon to avoid judicial scrutiny of its lawless actions.

Indeed, the Reynolds case itself is an object lesson in why courts need to apply a healthy degree of skepticism to state secrets claims. The court denied the widows of three civilians, who had died in the crash of a military aircraft, access to the official accident report, blindly accepting the government’s assertion that sharing the report would hurt national security. When the documents finally became public just a few years ago, it became clear that the government had lied. The papers contained information embarrassing to the government but nothing to warrant top secret treatment or denying American citizens honest adjudication of their lawsuit.

In refusing to consider Mr. Masri’s appeal, the Supreme Court has left an innocent person without any remedy for his wrongful imprisonment and torture. It has damaged America’s standing in the world and established the nation as Supreme Enabler of the Bush administration’s efforts to avoid accountability for its actions. These are not accomplishments to be proud of.


4) 1929 Redux: Heading for a Crash?
By Robert Kuttner, AlterNet
Posted on October 8, 2007, Printed on October 11, 2007

The following is Robert Kuttner's testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on October 2.

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee:

Thank you for this opportunity. My name is Robert Kuttner. I am an economics and financial journalist, author of several books about the economy, co-editor of The American Prospect, and former investigator for the Senate Banking Committee. I have a book appearing in a few weeks that addresses the systemic risks of financial innovation coupled with deregulation and the moral hazard of periodic bailouts.

In researching the book, I devoted a lot of effort to reviewing the abuses of the 1920s, the effort in the 1930s to create a financial system that would prevent repetition of those abuses, and the steady dismantling of the safeguards over the last three decades in the name of free markets and financial innovation.

Your predecessors on the Senate Banking Committee, in the celebrated Pecora Hearings of 1933 and 1934, laid the groundwork for the modern edifice of financial regulation. I suspect that they would be appalled at the parallels between the systemic risks of the 1920s and many of the modern practices that have been permitted to seep back in to our financial markets.

Although the particulars are different, my reading of financial history suggests that the abuses and risks are all too similar and enduring. When you strip them down to their essence, they are variations on a few hardy perennials - excessive leveraging, misrepresentation, insider conflicts of interest, non-transparency, and the triumph of engineered euphoria over evidence.

The most basic and alarming parallel is the creation of asset bubbles, in which the purveyors of securities use very high leverage; the securities are sold to the public or to specialized funds with underlying collateral of uncertain value; and financial middlemen extract exorbitant returns at the expense of the real economy. This was the essence of the abuse of public utilities stock pyramids in the 1920s, where multi-layered holding companies allowed securities to be watered down, to the point where the real collateral was worth just a few cents on the dollar, and returns were diverted from operating companies and ratepayers. This only became exposed when the bubble burst. As Warren Buffett famously put it, you never know who is swimming naked until the tide goes out.

There is good evidence - and I will add to the record a paper on this subject by the Federal Reserve staff economists Dean Maki and Michael Palumbo - that even much of the boom of the late 1990s was built substantially on asset bubbles. ["Disentangling the Wealth Effect: a Cohort Analysis of Household Savings in the 1990s"]

A second parallel is what today we would call securitization of credit. Some people think this is a recent innovation, but in fact it was the core technique that made possible the dangerous practices of the 1920. Banks would originate and repackage highly speculative loans, market them as securities through their retail networks, using the prestigious brand name of the bank - e.g. Morgan or Chase - as a proxy for the soundness of the security. It was this practice, and the ensuing collapse when so much of the paper went bad, that led Congress to enact the Glass-Steagall Act, requiring bankers to decide either to be commercial banks - part of the monetary system, closely supervised and subject to reserve requirements, given deposit insurance, and access to the Fed's discount window; or investment banks that were not government guaranteed, but that were soon subjected to an extensive disclosure regime under the SEC.

Since repeal of Glass Steagall in 1999, after more than a decade of de facto inroads, super-banks have been able to re-enact the same kinds of structural conflicts of interest that were endemic in the 1920s - lending to speculators, packaging and securitizing credits and then selling them off, wholesale or retail, and extracting fees at every step along the way. And, much of this paper is even more opaque to bank examiners than its counterparts were in the 1920s. Much of it isn't paper at all, and the whole process is supercharged by computers and automated formulas. An independent source of instability is that while these credit derivatives are said to increase liquidity and serve as shock absorbers, in fact their bets are often in the same direction - assuming perpetually rising asset prices - so in a credit crisis they can act as net de-stabilizers.

A third parallel is the excessive use of leverage. In the 1920s, not only were there pervasive stock-watering schemes, but there was no limit on margin. If you thought the market was just going up forever, you could borrow most of the cost of your investment, via loans conveniently provided by your stockbroker. It worked well on the upside. When it didn't work so well on the downside, Congress subsequently imposed margin limits. But anybody who knows anything about derivatives or hedge funds knows that margin limits are for little people. High rollers, with credit derivatives, can use leverage at ratios of ten to one, or a hundred to one, limited only by their self confidence and taste for risk. Private equity, which might be better named private debt, gets its astronomically high rate of return on equity capital, through the use of borrowed money. The equity is fairly small. As in the 1920s, the game continues only as long as asset prices continue to inflate; and all the leverage contributes to the asset inflation, conveniently creating higher priced collateral against which to borrow even more money.

The fourth parallel is the corruption of the gatekeepers. In the 1920s, the corrupted insiders were brokers running stock pools and bankers as purveyors of watered stock. 1990s, it was accountants, auditors and stock analysts, who were supposedly agents of investors, but who turned out to be confederates of corporate executives. You can give this an antiseptic academic term and call it a failure of agency, but a better phrase is conflicts of interest. In this decade, it remains to be seen whether the bond rating agencies were corrupted by conflicts of interest, or merely incompetent. The core structural conflict is that the rating agencies are paid by the firms that issue the bonds. Who gets the business - the rating agencies with tough standards or generous ones? Are ratings for sale? And what, really, is the technical basis for their ratings? All of this is opaque, and unregulated, and only now being investigated by Congress and the SEC.

Yet another parallel is the failure of regulation to keep up with financial innovation that is either far too risky to justify the benefit to the real economy, or just plain corrupt, or both. In the 1920s, many of these securities were utterly opaque. Ferdinand Pecora, in his 1939 memoirs describing the pyramid schemes of public utility holding companies, the most notorious of which was controlled by the Insull family, opined that the pyramid structure was not even fully understood by Mr. Insull. The same could be said of many of today's derivatives on which technical traders make their fortunes.

By contrast, in the traditional banking system a bank examiner could look at a bank's loan portfolio, see that loans were backed by collateral and verify that they were performing. If they were not, the bank was made to increase its reserves. Today's examiner is not able to value a lot of the paper held by banks, and must rely on the banks' own models, which clearly failed to predict what happened in the case of sub-prime. The largest banking conglomerates are subjected to consolidated regulation, but the jurisdiction is fragmented, and at best the regulatory agencies can only make educated guesses about whether balance sheets are strong enough to withstand pressures when novel and exotic instruments create market conditions that cannot be anticipated by models.

A last parallel is ideological - the nearly universal conviction, 80 years ago and today, that markets are so perfectly self-regulating that government's main job is to protect property rights, and otherwise just get out of the way.

We all know the history. The regulatory reforms of the New Deal saved capitalism from its own self-cannibalizing instincts, and a reliable, transparent and regulated financial economy went on to anchor an unprecedented boom in the real economy. Financial markets were restored to their appropriate role as servants of the real economy, rather than masters. Financial regulation was pro-efficiency. I want to repeat that, because it is so utterly unfashionable, but it is well documented by economic history. Financial regulation was pro-efficiency. America's squeaky clean, transparent, reliable financial markets were the envy of the world. They undergirded the entrepreneurship and dynamism in the rest of the economy.

Beginning in the late 1970s, the beneficial effect of financial regulations has either been deliberately weakened by public policy, or has been overwhelmed by innovations not anticipated by the New Deal regulatory schema. New-Deal-era has become a term of abuse. Who needs New Deal protections in an Internet age?

Of course, there are some important differences between the economy of the 1920s, and the one that began in the deregulatory era that dates to the late 1970s. The economy did not crash in 1987 with the stock market, or in 2000-01. Among the reasons are the existence of federal breakwaters such as deposit insurance, and the stabilizing influence of public spending, now nearly one dollar in three counting federal, state, and local public outlay, which limits collapses of private demand.

But I will focus on just one difference - the most important one. In the 1920s and early 1930s, the Federal Reserve had neither the tools, nor the experience, nor the self-confidence to act decisively in a credit crisis. But today, whenever the speculative excesses lead to a crash, the Fed races to the rescue. No, it doesn't bail our every single speculator (though it did a pretty good job in the two Mexican rescues) but it bails out the speculative system, so that the next round of excess can proceed. And somehow, this is scored as trusting free markets, overlooking the plain fact that the Fed is part of the U.S. government.

When big banks lost many tens of billions on third world loans in the 1980s, the Fed and the Treasury collaborated on workouts, and desisted from requiring that the loans be marked to market, lest several money center banks be declared insolvent. When Citibank was under water in 1990, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York personally undertook a secret mission to Riyadh to persuade a Saudi prince to pump in billions in capital and to agree to be a passive investor.

In 1998, the Fed convened a meeting of the big banks and all but ordered a bailout of Long Term Capital Management, an uninsured and unregulated hedge fund whose collapse was nonetheless putting the broad capital markets at risk. And even though Chairman Greenspan had expressed worry two years (and several thousand points) earlier that "irrational exuberance" was creating a stock market bubble, big losses in currency speculation in East Asia and Russia led Greenspan to keep cutting rates, despite his foreboding that cheaper money would just pump up markets and invite still more speculation.

And finally in the dot-com crash of 2000-01, the speculative abuses and insider conflicts of interest that fueled the stock bubble were very reminiscent of 1929. But a general depression was not triggered by the market collapse, because the Fed again came to the rescue with very cheap money.

So when things are booming, the financial engineers can advise government not to spoil the party. But when things go bust, they can count on the Fed to rescue them with emergency infusions of cash and cheaper interest rates.

I just read Chairman Greenspan's fascinating memoir, which confirms this rescue role. His memoir also confirms Mr. Greenspan's strong support for free markets and his deep antipathy to regulation. But I don't see how you can have it both ways. If you are a complete believer in the proposition that free markets are self-regulating and self- correcting, then you logically should let markets live with the consequences. On the other hand, if you are going to rescue markets from their excesses, on the very reasonable ground that a crash threatens the entire system, then you have an obligation to act pre-emptively, prophylactically, to head off highly risky speculative behavior. Otherwise, the Fed just invites moral hazards and more rounds of wildly irresponsible actions.

While the Fed and the European Central Bank were flooding markets with liquidity to prevent a deeper crash in August and September, the Bank of England decided on a sterner course. It would not reward speculators. The result was an old fashioned run on a large bank, and the Bank of England changed its tune.

So the point is not that the Fed should let the whole economy collapse in order to teach speculators a lesson. The point is that the Fed needs to remember its other role - as regulator.

One of the odd things about the press commentary about what the Fed should do is that it has been entirely along one dimension: a Hobson's choice: - either loosen money and invite more risky behavior, or refuse to enable asset bubbles and risk a more serious credit crunch - as if these were the only options and monetary policy were the only policy lever. But the other lever, one that has fallen into disrepair and disrepute, is preventive regulation.

Mr. Chairman, you have had a series of hearings on the sub-prime collapse, which has now been revealed as a textbook case of regulatory failure. About half of these loans were originated by non-federally regulated mortgage companies. However even those sub-prime loans should have had their underwriting standards policed by the Federal Reserve or its designee under the authority of the 1994 Home Equity and Ownership Protection Act. And by the same token, the SEC should have more closely monitored the so called counterparties - the investment and commercial banks - that were supplying the credit. However, the Fed and the SEC essentially concluded that since the paper was being sold off to investors who presumably were cognizant of the risks, they did not need to pay attention to the deplorable underwriting standards.

In the 1994 legislation, Congress not only gave the Fed the authority, but directed the Fed to clamp down on dangerous and predatory lending practices, including on otherwise unregulated entities such as sub-prime mortgage originators. However, for 13 years the Fed stonewalled and declined to use the authority that Congress gave it to police sub-prime lending. Even as recently as last spring, when you could not pick up a newspaper's financial pages without reading about the worsening sub-prime disaster, the Fed did not act - until this Committee made an issue of it.

Financial markets have responded to the 50 basis-point rate-cut, by bidding up stock prices, as if this crisis were over. Indeed, the financial pages have reported that as the softness in housing markets is expected to worsen, traders on Wall Street have inferred that the Fed will need to cut rates again, which has to be good for stock prices.

Mr. Chairman, we are living on borrowed time. And the vulnerability goes far beyond the spillover effects of the sub-prime debacle.

We need to step back and consider the purpose of regulation. Financial regulation is too often understood as merely protecting consumers and investors. The New Deal model is actually a relatively indirect one, since it relies more on mandated disclosures, and less on prohibited practices. The enormous loopholes in financial regulation - the hedge fund loophole, the private equity loophole, are justified on the premise that consenting adults of substantial means do not need the help of the nanny state, thank you very much. But of course investor protection is only one purpose of regulation. The other purpose is to protect the system from moral hazard and catastrophic risk of financial collapse. It is this latter function that has been seriously compromised.

HOEPA was understood mainly as consumer protection legislation, but it was also systemic risk legislation.

Sarbanes-Oxley has been attacked in some quarters as harmful to the efficiency of financial markets. One good thing about the sub-prime calamity is that we haven't heard a lot of that argument lately. Yet there is still a general bias in the administration and the financial community against regulation.

Mr. Chairman, I commend you and this committee for looking beyond the immediate problem of the sub-prime collapse. I would urge every member of the committee to spend some time reading the Pecora hearings, and you will be startled by the sense of déjà vu.

I'd like to close with an observation and a recommendation.

My perception as a financial journalist is that regulation is so out of fashion these days that it narrows the legislative imagination, since politics necessarily is the art of the possible and your immediate task is to find remedies that actually stand a chance of enactment. There is a vicious circle - a self-fulfilling prophecy - in which remedies that currently are legislatively unthinkable are not given serious thought. Mr. Chairman, you are performing an immense public service by broadening the scope of inquiry beyond the immediate crisis and immediate legislation.

Three decades ago, a group of economists inspired by the work of the late Milton Friedman created a shadow Federal Open Market Committee, to develop and recommend contrarian policies in the spirit of Professor Friedman's recommendation that monetary policy essentially be put on automatic pilot. The committee had great intellectual and political influence, and its very existence helped people think through dissenting ideas. In the same way, the national security agencies often create Team B exercises to challenge the dominant thinking on a defense issue.

In the coming months, I hope the committee hears from a wide circle of experts - academics, former state and federal regulators, financial historians, people who spent time on Wall Street - who are willing to look beyond today's intellectual premises and legislative limitations, and have ideas about what needs to be re-regulated. Here are some of the questions that require further exploration:

First, which kinds innovations of financial engineering actually enhance economic efficiency, and which ones mainly enrich middlemen, strip assets, appropriate wealth, and increase systemic risk? It no longer works to assert that all innovations, by definition, are good for markets or markets wouldn't invent them. We just tested that proposition in the sub-prime crisis, and it failed. But which forms of credit derivatives, for example, truly make markets more liquid and better able to withstand shocks, and which add to the system's vulnerability. We can't just settle that question by the all purpose assumption that market forces invariably enhance efficiency. We have to get down to cases.

The story of the economic growth in the 1990s and in this decade is mainly a story of technology, increased productivity growth, macro-economic stimulation, and occasionally of asset bubbles. There is little evidence that the growth rates of the past decade and a half - better than the 1970s and '80s, worse than the 40's, 50's and '60s - required or benefited from new techniques of financial engineering.

I once did some calculations on what benefits securitization of mortgage credit had actually had. By the time you net out the fee income taken out by all of the middlemen - the mortgage broker, the mortgage banker, the investment banker, the bond-rating agency - it's not clear that the borrower benefits at all. What does increase, however, are the fees and the systemic risks. More research on this question would be useful. What would be the result of the secondary mortgage market were far more tightly subjected to standards? It is telling that the mortgages that best survived the meltdown were those that met the underwriting criteria of the GSE's.

Second, what techniques and strategies of regulation are appropriate to damp down the systemic risks produced by the financial innovation? As I observed, when you strip it all down, at the heart of the recent financial crises are three basic abuses: lack of transparency; excessive leverage; and conflicts of interest. Those in turn suggest remedies: greater disclosure either to regulators or to the public. Requirement of increased reserves in direct proportion to how opaque and difficult to value are the assets held by banks. Some restoration of the walls against conflicts of interest once provided by Glass Steagall. Tax policies to discourage dangerously high leverage ratios, in whatever form.

Maybe we should just close the loophole in the 1940 Act and require of hedge funds and private equity firms the same kinds of disclosures required of others who sell shares to the public, which in effect is what hedge funds and private equity increasingly do. The industry will say that this kind of disclosure impinges on trade secrets. To the extent that this concern is valid, the disclosure of positions and strategies can be to the SEC. This is what is required of large hedge funds by the Financial Services Authority in the UK, not a nation noted for hostility to hedge funds. Indeed, Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, which might have chosen to operate as private equity, makes the same disclosures as any other publicly listed firm. It doesn't seem to hurt Buffett at all.

To the extent that some private equity firms and strategies strip assets, while others add capital and improve management, maybe we need a windfall profits tax on short term extraction of assets and on excess transaction fees. If private equity has a constructive role to play - and I think it can - we need public policies to reward good practices and discourage bad ones. Industry codes, of the sort being organized by the administration and the industry itself, are far too weak.

Why not have tighter regulation both of derivatives that are publicly traded and those that are currently regulated - rather weakly - by the CFTC: more disclosure, limits on leverage and on positions. And why not make OTC and special purpose derivatives that are not ordinarily traded (and that are black holes in terms of asset valuation), also subject to the CFTC?

A third big question to be addressed is the relationship of financial engineering to problems of corporate governance. Ever since the classic insight of A.A. Berle and Gardiner Means in 1933, it has been conventional to point out that corporate management is not adequately responsible to shareholders, and by extension to society, because of the separation of ownership from effective control. The problem, if anything, is more serious today than when Berle and Means wrote in 1933, because of the increased access of insiders to financial engineering. We have seen the fruits of that access in management buyouts, at the expense of both other shareholders, workers, and other stakeholders. This is pure conflict of interest.

Since the first leveraged buyout boom, advocates of hostile takeovers have proposed a radically libertarian solution to the Berle-Means problem. Let a market for corporate control hold managers accountable by buying, selling, and recombining entire companies via LBOs that tax deductible money collateralized by the target's own assets. It is astonishing that this is even legal, let alone rewarded by tax preferences, even more so when managers with a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders are on both sides of the bargain.

The first boom in hostile takeovers crashed and burned. The second boom ended with the stock market collapse of 2000-01. The latest one is rife with conflicts of interest, it depends heavily on the perception that stock prices are going to continue to rise at multiples that far outstrip the rate of economic growth, and on the borrowed money to finance these deals that puts banks increasingly at risk.

So we need a careful examination of better ways of holding managers accountable - through more power for shareholders and other stakeholders such as employees, proxy rules not tilted to incumbent management, and rules that reward mutual funds for serving as the agents of shareholders, and not just of the profit maximization of the fund sponsor. John Bogle, a pioneer in the modern mutual fund industry, has written eloquently on this.

Interestingly, the intellectual fathers of the leveraged buyout movement as a supposed source of better corporate governance, have lately been having serious second thoughts.

Michael Jensen, one of the original theorists of efficient market theory and the so called market for corporate control and an advocate of compensation incentives for corporate CEOs has now written a book calling for greater control of CEOs and less cronyism on corporate boards. That cronyism, however, is in part a reflection of Jensen's earlier conception of the ideal corporation.

I don't have all the answers on regulatory remedies, but people smarter than I need to systematically ask these questions, even if they are beyond the pale legislatively for now. And there are scholars of financial markets, former state and federal regulators, economic historians, and even people who did time on Wall Street, who all have the same concerns that I do as well as more technical expertise, and who I am sure would be happy to find company and to serve.

One last parallel: I am chilled, as I'm sure you are, every time I hear a high public official or a Wall Street eminence utter the reassuring words, "The economic fundamentals are sound." Those same words were used by President Hoover and the captains of finance, in the deepening chill of the winter of 1929-1930. They didn't restore confidence, or revive the asset bubbles.

The fact is that the economic fundamentals are sound - if you look at the real economy of factories and farms, and internet entrepreneurs, and retailing innovation and scientific research laboratories. It is the financial economy that is dangerously unsound. And as every student of economic history knows, depressions, ever since the South Sea bubble, originate in excesses in the financial economy, and go on to ruin the real economy.

It remains to be seen whether we have dodged the bullet for now. If markets do calm down, and lower interest bail out excesses once again, then we have bought precious time. The worst thing of all would be to conclude that markets self corrected once again, and let the bubble economy continue to fester. Congress has a window in which restore prudential regulation, and we should use that window before the next crisis turns out to be a mortal one.

Robert Kuttner is co-editor of The American Prospect.
© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
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5) Subject: [iraqmoratorium-sfbayarea] Berkeley Resolution ENDORSING IRAQ MORATORIUM
From: "Robert L. Meola"
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 02:50:19 -0700

I wrote a resolution during the summer and for reasons of bureaucracy and scheduling was not able to have it passed by the Peace and Justice Commission and the City Council before the September 21st Moratorium Day. It had to be rewritten. Just tonight, the Berkeley City Council unanimously adopted the resolution I wrote endorsing Iraq Moratorium. Council Member Kriss Worthington put it on the agenda or it would still be waiting for a future date to get onto it.

I also gave the original resolution to people in San Francisco. Did anyone customize it for S.F.? Did it get to a S.F. Supervisor?

Below is the resolution as it was adopted by the City of Berkeley tonight. It can be publicized that the City of Berkeley endorses Iraq Moratorium.

Peace and Justice,


WHEREAS, the Peace and Justice Commission advises the City Council on all matters relating to the City of Berkeley’s role in issues of peace and social justice (Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC) Chapter 369.070); and

WHEREAS, the United States launched an illegal and immoral war of aggression on the people and territory of Iraq on March 19, 2003 and the Bush Administration sold that war to Congress and the American people based on lies and has pursued it ever since on more lies; and

WHEREAS, recent estimates put the number of Iraqis killed in this war at approximately one million and this war has caused the destruction of Iraqi society and Iraqi infrastructure, and has produced catastrophic loss of human life, both civilian and military, both Iraqi and U.S., as well as physically maiming and deforming and psychologically destroying countless numbers of civilians and military personnel; and

WHEREAS, the Iraqi people are continuing to suffer and die from hunger, thirst, and disease as well as from weapons due to the infliction of this war upon them by the Bush Administration; and

WHEREAS, national polls have shown that for more than two years, approximately 70% of the American people have declared their desire to end this war, nearly 4,000 American troops have died in this war and a military victory is neither desirable nor possible in this war; and

WHEREAS, by all accounts, the 2006 election was a referendum on brining the troops home and ending the occupation of Iraq; and

WHEREAS, the Vietnam Moratorium days in 1969 had a positive effect on helping to bring an end to the war in Vietnam; and

WHEREAS, a grass roots local and national movement called IRAQ MORATORIUM is demanding that the United States end U.S. military involvement in Iraq and bring our troops home now and Iraq Moratorium asks American citizens to take the pledge, “On the 3rd Friday of every month, I will break my daily routine and take some action, by myself or with others, to end the war in Iraq.” and the first Iraq Moratorium Day was Friday, September 21, 2007; and

WHEREAS, people will participate in Iraq Moratorium in a variety of ways, including, wearing black ribbons, black arm bands, black clothing to symbolize mourning, vigils, marches, speak-outs, teach-ins, leafleting, bannering, demonstrations, music, poetry, performance art, talking to their friends, families, neighbors and co-workers, and more until there is an end to U.S. participation in the war in Iraq;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the City of Berkeley endorses the Iraq Moratorium on October 19, 2007, November 16, 2007 and December 21, 2007 and every subsequent third Friday of every month until there is an end to the United States war in Iraq, and urges all of the citizens of the City of Berkeley to take the Iraq Moratorium pledge and participate in some way in the Iraq Moratorium campaign until the United States war in Iraq is ended.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Berkeley endorses the regional anti-war mobilization marches in ten United State cities including San Francisco, to take place on October 27, 2007, sponsored by the October 27th Coalition, which is aimed at ending the military invasion and occupation of Iraq and preventing a war with Iran.


6)Los Angeles to Permit Sleeping on Sidewalks
October 11, 2007

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 10 — City officials agreed Wednesday not to enforce an ordinance used to bolster police sweeps of homeless people sleeping on sidewalks until 1,250 units of low-cost housing are built.

The police in recent years had used a 1968 law barring sleeping or lying in public spaces to arrest homeless people in and around Skid Row, a downtown district whose concentration of 10,000 to 12,000 homeless people is among the highest in the nation.

But a federal appeals court last year struck down convictions under the law, calling it one of the most restrictive in the country and cruel and unusual punishment, because of the area’s severe lack of housing for homeless people.

Under the settlement reached between the City Council and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, which had sued the city in 2003 on behalf of six homeless people, the city will allow sleeping on sidewalks from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. People will not be able to bed down within 10 feet of the entrance of a building, parking lot or loading dock.

The policy will remain in effect until Los Angeles builds 1,250 units of low-cost housing with services for homeless people, with half of the units in and around the downtown area.

The City Council president, Eric Garcetti, said he expected it would take at least three years to meet the target, at a cost of $125 million. Mr. Garcetti said he expected the city to finance at least half of that, with nonprofit organizations and developers footing the rest of the bill.

The city agreed to the settlement “because in doing so we can move the city forward toward our shared goal of ending homelessness,” Mr. Garcetti said. He said it would take effect immediately, though it would be nullified if the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected a joint motion to be filed soon by the city and lawyers for the homeless to end the case.

Mr. Garcetti said he doubted the city would allow the police to resume enforcing the law once the housing is built, though he suggested that by then the city would have adopted other laws intended to address the homeless problem.

Ramona Ripston, executive director of the A.C.L.U., called the settlement important and “satisfying.”

“We don’t believe people should have to sleep on the streets; we would like there to be a house or a shelter bed for everyone, but until that happens people have to sleep somewhere,” Mr. Ripston said. “What this does is permit people to sleep throughout the city, not only on Skid Row but anywhere in the city without the police disturbing them.”

Bob Erlenbusch, executive director of the Los Angeles Coalition to End Homelessness and Hunger, an advocacy group, said the amount of housing provided in the settlement was too little, and he fretted that the police would resume cracking down on the homeless once the housing is completed.

“It is incredibly disappointing that there would not be more vision on the part of the city to address our homeless crisis,” Mr. Erlenbusch said.


7) Report Recounts Horrors of Youth Boot Camps
October 11, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 — Reports of abuse of troubled young people in privately run boot camps and other residential treatment centers are widespread, with examples numbering in the thousands, according to a federal report released Wednesday.

The report also found that managers of these programs, which are largely unregulated, faced little or no punishment for their actions.

The report, by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, examined the cases of 10 teenagers who died while at programs in six states, finding “significant evidence of ineffective management” and “reckless or negligent operating practices.” The report detailed evidence that teenagers were starved, forced to eat their own vomit, and to wallow for hours in their own excrement.

In one instance, a boy was so dehydrated that he ate dirt to survive, according to witnesses and an autopsy.

Investigators also found that owners and employees were seldom sent to prison, even when teenagers died in their care. Five of these programs are still in operation, some under new names or in other states.

The report was released at an emotionally wrenching hearing of the House education committee, where lawmakers heard from the parents of three teenagers who died. Representative George Miller, the California Democrat who is head of the committee, said he planned to introduce legislation early next year to create a federal role in regulating the industry, a move that the ranking Republican, Representative Howard P. McKeon of California, said he would most likely support.

The report is a harsh rebuke to industry defenders, like the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, a trade group that has dismissed accusations of abuse and death as “the noisy complaints of a few individuals.” Its director, Jan Moss, told lawmakers Wednesday that the group did not police its members but that she would take the findings of the federal report to her board to “review them in depth.”

Residential treatment programs for troubled teenagers seek to straighten out these youths far from home by forcing them into wilderness settings and exposing them to harsh behavior modification techniques. About 10,000 to 20,000 young people are enrolled in these programs, which cost from $130 to $450 a day, the report said. Some receive federal money for special education and other services, but they face no federal oversight. While some states regulate them closely, others do not even require that they be licensed.

Mr. Miller compared conditions in these programs to torture. “If you walked into this room, you’d think we were talking about human rights abuses in third world countries,” he said.

Lawmakers heard from the parents of Aaron Bacon, who died at 16 while at the Northstar Expeditions in Escalante, Utah. Speaking before photographs of his emaciated son taken an hour before his death, his eyes dark pools of pain, Aaron’s father, Robert, said the boy had been starved, with his weight falling to 108 pounds from 130 in just three weeks. He was 5 feet 11 ½ inches tall, and wrote poetry. His parents said they saw Northstar as a place that would distance Aaron from negative influences at his high school, where he had begun dabbling in drugs.

But a “bloody and tattered journal” he was forced to keep as part of his therapy contained, instead of poetry, “an unbelievable account of torture, abuse and neglect,” Mr. Bacon said. Aaron had spent 14 of 20 days “without any food whatsoever,” while being forced to hike 8 to 10 miles a day. “On the days he did have food, it consisted of undercooked lentils, lizards, scorpions, trail mix and a celebrated canned peach on the 13th” day, Mr. Bacon said.

“I feel I sent my son to his death, to a program that now I know couldn’t have provided any of the services they promised,” he said, his voice cracking.

Gregory D. Kutz, managing director of forensic audits and special investigations at the accounting office, also testified. He said Aaron was beaten “from the top of his head to the tip of his toes” during his month in the program.

Northstar’s owner, William Henry, and four employees pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in 1994, but none served time in prison, with Mr. Henry receiving three years’ probation and community service. The program has since shut down.

Mr. Kutz said that because no agency or registry tracked the industry, it was impossible to say how many programs existed, how much money they collected or how frequently abuse occurred. But in 2005 alone, his report found, “33 states reported 1,619 staff members involved in incidents of abuse and neglect.”

The director of the trade group, Ms. Moss, came under blistering attack at the hearing. Three of the programs that federal investigators examined in the deaths of teenagers — where staff members dismissed dehydration, head trauma and other health crises as signs of manipulative behavior — remained members of the association, even after the deaths.

Representative Dale E. Kildee, Democrat of Michigan, said wilderness programs used membership in the association as a kind of “Good Housekeeping seal of approval,” luring parents with a false sense of security.

The group does not independently investigate accusations of abuse, Ms. Moss said. But by 2009, she said, it will require members to have a trained clinician on staff, and meet other professional standards.


8) Boom Times for Dentists, but Not for Teeth
October 11, 2007

For American dentists, times have never been better.

The same cannot be said for Americans’ teeth.

With dentists’ fees rising far faster than inflation and more than 100 million people lacking dental insurance, the percentage of Americans with untreated cavities began rising this decade, reversing a half-century trend of improvement in dental health.

Previously unreleased figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that in 2003 and 2004, the most recent years with data available, 27 percent of children and 29 percent of adults had cavities going untreated. The level of untreated decay was the highest since the late 1980s and significantly higher than that found in a survey from 1999 to 2002.

Despite the rise in dental problems, state boards of dentists and the American Dental Association, the main lobbying group for dentists, have fought efforts to use dental hygienists and other non-dentists to provide basic care to people who do not have access to dentists.

For middle-class and wealthy Americans, straight white teeth are still a virtual birthright. And dentists say that a majority of people in this country receive high-quality care.

But many poor and lower-middle-class families do not receive adequate care, in part because most dentists want customers who can pay cash or have private insurance, and they do not accept Medicaid patients. As a result, publicly supported dental clinics have months-long waiting lists even for people who need major surgery for decayed teeth. At the pediatric clinic managed by the state-supported University of Florida dental school, for example, low-income children must wait six months for surgery.

In some cases, the results of poor dental care have been deadly. A child in Mississippi and another in Maryland died this year from infections caused by decayed teeth.

The dental profession’s critics — who include public health experts, some physicians and even some dental school professors — say that too many dentists are focused more on money than medicine.

“Most dentists consider themselves to be in the business of dentistry rather than the practice of dentistry,” said Dr. David A. Nash, a professor of pediatric dentistry at the University of Kentucky. “I’m a cynic about my profession, but the data are there. It’s embarrassing.”

A defender of the profession is Dr. Terry D. Dickinson, a practicing dentist who is also the executive director of the Virginia Dental Association. He says he believes that dentists are charitable and want to provide care to poor patients. But dentists are also in business; they must pay rent and employee salaries, and they deserve fair fees, he said.

“Charity is not a health care system,” Dr. Dickinson said.

Dentists, of course, are no more obligated to serve the poor than are lawyers or accountants. But the issue from a public health standpoint, the critics say, is that even as so many patients go untreated, business is booming for most dentists. They are making more money while working shorter hours, on average, even as the nation’s number of dentists, per person, has declined.

The lack of dental care is not restricted to the poor and their children, the data shows. Experts on oral health say about 100 million Americans — including many adults who work and have incomes well above the poverty line — are without access to care.

A federal survey shows that 27 percent of adults without insurance saw a dentist in 2004, down from 29 percent in 1996, when dental fees were significantly lower, even after adjusting for inflation. For adults with private insurance, the rate was virtually unchanged, at 57 percent, up from 56 percent. Since 1990, the number of dentists in the United States has been roughly flat, about 150,000 to 160,000, while the population has risen about 22 percent. In addition, more dentists are working part time.

Partly as a result, dental fees have risen much faster than inflation. In real dollars, the cost of the average dental procedure rose 25 percent from 1996 to 2004. The average American adult patient now spends roughly $600 annually on dental care, with insurance picking up about half the tab.

Dentists’ incomes have grown faster than that of the typical American and the incomes of medical doctors. Formerly poor relations to physicians, American dentists in general practice made an average salary of $185,000 in 2004, the most recent data available. That figure is similar to what non-specialist doctors make, but dentists work far fewer hours. Dental surgeons and orthodontists average more than $300,000 annually.

“Dentists make more than doctors,” said Morris M. Kleiner, a University of Minnesota economist. “If I had a kid going into the sciences, I’d tell them to become a dentist.”

But despite the allure of rising salaries, the shortage of dentists will almost certainly worsen, because the nation has fewer dental schools and fewer dentists in training than a generation ago. After peaking at 5,750 in 1982, the number of dental school graduates fell to 4,440 in 2003, as several big dental schools closed their doors. The average dentist is now 49 years old, according to the American Dental Association, and for at least the next decade retiring dentists will probably outnumber new ones.

Even if more students wanted to enter the profession, states are not moving aggressively to expand dental schools or open new ones. Training dentists is expensive, because dental schools must provide hands-on training — unlike medical schools, which send doctors to hospitals for training after they graduate. Hospitals receive federal subsidies for the training they provide to medical interns and residents, but the equivalent system does not really exist in dentistry.

Meanwhile, the A.D.A. does not support opening new dental schools or otherwise increasing the number of dentists. The association says it sees no nationwide shortage of dentists, though it acknowledges a shortage in rural areas. Dentists note that in the early 1980s, when schools were graduating nearly twice as many dentists relative to the overall size of the population as they are now, some dentists struggled to keep their practices afloat.

Dr. Kathleen Roth, president of the A.D.A., said that the association is working to increase Medicaid’s reimbursement rates to make it more cost-effective for dentists to treat low-income patients. While Medicaid is supposed to cover both basic care and emergency procedures for children, the program will pay only for emergency procedures — not basic care — for adults in most states.

“Access to dental care, especially for children, has been a growing problem for 10 years,” Dr. Roth said. “State and federal programs have decreased the amount of dollars available.”

Besides calling for higher Medicaid reimbursement, Dr. Roth said, the association supports putting health aides with basic dental training into public schools. The aides would help get appointments for children who need them and teach children basic habits like brushing teeth.

But critics say the association’s plans would do little to solve the basic problem of access to care. Moreover, even in states that have raised Medicaid payments, most dentists still do not accept Medicaid patients. Virginia, for example, overhauled its Medicaid program in 2005, raising rates 30 percent. But only about 25 percent of all Virginia dentists now accept Medicaid patients, compared with 15 percent before the changes.

Some dentists do not accept Medicaid patients because they frequently miss appointments, which means lost revenue, said Dr. L. Jackson Brown, the former managing vice president for health policy at the A.D.A.

With little dental care available for poor children, pediatricians are teaching themselves how to apply fluoride varnish on baby teeth, a simple procedure that can prevent cavities, said Dr. Amos S. Deinard, a pediatrician and associate professor at the University of Minnesota.

“The dentists don’t want to see these kids,” Dr. Deinard said.

Outside the United States, more than 50 countries, including some western European nations, now allow technicians called dental therapists to drill and fill cavities, usually in children.

Proponents of the therapists say their training is comparable to the practical training that dentists receive, but without the general medical training dentists get. Studies of the work performed by the therapists have concluded that it is comparable to, and in some cases better than, that of fully trained dentists.

Dr. Frank Catalanotto, a professor of community dentistry at the University of Florida, said dental therapists would be a cost-effective way to provide basic care to children and some adults who could not otherwise afford treatment.

But state boards of dentistry have blocked dental therapists from working, arguing that only dentists should be allowed to drill teeth, because it is an “irreversible surgical procedure” and can lead to serious complications like infections or nerve damage. Children of Alaska Natives in remote areas have high rates of cavities and essentially no access to dentists, so a coalition of tribes began a program in 2003 to use therapists to treat native children.

“There’s never been a dentist in these rural areas,” said Dr. Ron Nagel, a dentist who helped create the Alaska program.

But the American Dental Association fought the program almost as soon as it began, dropping its effort only in July, after a state judge ruled in favor of the program. Still, the group continues to oppose letting dental therapists practice anywhere in the continental United States.

“What we’re extremely uncomfortable with is that they need to drill teeth and sometimes extract teeth,” said Dr. Roth, the association’s president. Use of therapists would create a two-tier system where some people have access to dentists, while others must settle for less-qualified practitioners, she said.

Dr. Caswell A. Evans, a dentist and associate dean at the University of Illinois-Chicago, said dentists must stop fighting efforts to expand care to patients they are not currently treating. The system is failing many patients, he said.

“Right now we have a double standard of care,” Dr. Evans said. “Some people can get it and some people can’t.”


9) Homeless Families in New York Lose a Loophole
October 11, 2007

Beginning tomorrow night, the city will stop giving emergency shelter to families who are reapplying for a place to stay after being ruled ineligible, officials said yesterday.

The decision means that families who apply for benefits but are turned down — usually because the city believes they can stay with a friend or a relative — will find themselves without shelter as they reapply one or two more times.

The toughening of the policy, which follows a rise during the summer in the number of families given emergency shelter in free public apartments, was criticized as cruel by advocates for the homeless and by some of the people it will affect. But it was defended by officials as a necessary tightening of a munificent policy that was being repeatedly abused by a few families.

The city had allowed families who had been ruled ineligible to be given shelter for one night if they reapplied after 5 p.m. Some families using this emergency provision would keep their belongings with them and repeat the process, moving to a new shelter the next day, often late at night, the city said.

“Families began to realize if they came in after 5 they could evade that accountability,” said Linda I. Gibbs, the city’s deputy mayor for health and human services. “What we are doing now is closing the loophole.”

The number of families using emergency overnight shelter had remained small for a long time, most likely because moving from place to place at night entailed such a harsh existence. Families checked in for emergency overnight stays fewer than 75 times a month for most of 2006, but the number erupted this summer, climbing to nearly 800 stays in July. In August, that number increased slightly.

City officials and advocates for the homeless estimated that a core group of families, perhaps dozens, has stayed in this cycle for weeks or longer. Some families have been in the cycle for months.

“The actions of a few are threatening the culture for the many,” Ms. Gibbs said. “We have to stop it now.”

Officials said a vast majority of the families seeking shelter from the city accepted the outcome of their 10-day eligibility review. But the score or more families who remain in the system using emergency shelter night after night, they said, are setting a corrupting example for everyone else. (Entering shelter is thought to be desirable for those who are not necessarily homeless because it is a way to get subsidized housing.)

Some advocates for homeless families reacted strongly to news of the policy. Several said the city made too many errors in its reviews, and cited the hundreds of families that have been found eligible for shelter on second, third and even fourth applications.

“It is a system that is rife with errors, and children and their families will certainly be harmed,” said Steven Banks, attorney in chief of the Legal Aid Society, who filed a court complaint about the accuracy of the eligibility rulings. “Based on the past record, there is no doubt that children and families will again end up sleeping in public spaces and hospital waiting rooms and subways.”

For its part, the city says the error rate is less than 10 percent.

Several families waiting at the city’s main shelter intake center in the Bronx yesterday said that they had been in overnight placement for weeks, and that they were completely unprepared for the change in policy and had no idea what they would do next.

Grisel Rivera, 26, who says she has been using the emergency overnight system with her 6-year-old daughter, Jayda, since July, says the city has her case all wrong. The city says she can return to the one-bedroom apartment of a friend. She says the friend, who has a boyfriend and a child of her own, does not want her and has sent a notarized letter saying as much.

“Most of us can’t go to the last place we were,” she said. “If we could we’d be there already.” Asked what she would do tomorrow night, she said: “I’ll have nowhere to sleep. My daughter will have nowhere to sleep.”

The city’s decision is the latest turn in the Bloomberg administration’s long-running efforts to reduce homelessness in the city. In 2004, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg pledged to reduce homelessness by two-thirds. While the number of single homeless people has decreased, the number of homeless families is at a record high of more than 9,500.

As part of efforts to revamp policies and services for the homeless, the city opened a new family intake center in the Bronx at the end of 2004, with new procedures for applying. The new system, city officials say, is fair and more humane: Long processing times were reduced by three-fourths, and social services assistance was offered for families found ineligible for shelter, including counseling and one-time rent aid.

But the city says the fairer, swifter process comes with responsibilities for clients as well. That is why in 2005 it won the explicit right from a state appeals court and from the state to deny shelter to families who had been through the application process and found to have a suitable alternative. The city has been cautious in exercising the new right, recognizing that it might not sit well with the public if families were turned away with no place to go.

Colin Moynihan contributed reporting.


10) Safety Agents Are Defended After 2 Arrests at City School
October 11, 2007

Police and education officials fiercely defended school security officers yesterday, a day after a principal was arrested at a high school in the East Village for trying to intervene as officers arrested a student.

The school safety agents, as the officers are called, have helped reduce violence significantly in the last several years and are the best monitor of crime in the city schools, officials said during a City Council hearing about safety agents’ conduct.

“School safety agents are the backbone of school security,” said James Secreto, an assistant police chief and the commanding officer of the school safety division. “They take front-line responsibility for keeping schools safe.”

On Tuesday, Isamar Gonzales, a 17-year-old senior at East Side Community High School, tried to enter the school, at 12th Street and First Avenue, just before 8 a.m. Security officers asked her to return later, prompting an argument that resulted in Isamar’s punching the officer in the face, the police said. Mark Federman, the school’s principal, then tried to prevent the officers from taking Isamar out the front door, and began arguing with another officer.

The arrests spurred renewed complaints that school officers are often too aggressive and may foster a hostile atmosphere on campus, a complaint voiced for several years by civil liberties advocates. Nearly 5,000 officers are stationed at city schools.

At the hearing, both Mr. Secreto and Kathleen Grimm, the deputy chancellor for operations, declined to comment directly on Tuesday’s arrests, despite continued questioning from council members.

Still, much of the hearing focused on the line of authority between officers and principals. Peter F. Vallone Jr., the chairman of the Public Safety Committee, suggested that Tuesday’s arrests showed that arguments between school and the police were not unusual in the hallways of the schools.

Echoing the questions of several other council members, Mr. Vallone asked Assistant Chief Secreto who had the ability to determine if an arrest was needed.

“With fights between kids and no injuries, the principal can make that call,” he said. “Once you have an injury, you have a crime, and that is when we are going to make that call.”

The Police Department took control over school safety officers under a memorandum of understanding signed by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in 1998. Robert Jackson, the chairman of the Council Education Committee, said that it was not clear if the agreement had been reviewed or renewed since then.

Ms. Grimm said no formal agreement was necessary, since the Education Department was simply part of city government controlled by the mayor, like the Police or Fire Departments.

According to a police patrol guide, officers are supposed to notify principals before an arrest happens, but a principal has no authority to determine whether that arrest should occur.

“The principal is in charge of the building — she is in charge of making sure she creates a safe environment where children can learn,” Ms. Grimm said. “When a crime is committed, that is when law enforcement takes over. That happens in our schools, that happens in our hospitals, that happens in all our institutions.”

Mr. Vallone said he was considering introducing legislation to set clear protocols between the Police and Education Departments.

Outside the hearing, Gregory Floyd, president of Local 237 of the Teamsters union, which represents school safety agents, spoke on the steps of City Hall with the two officers who were injured in the dispute on Tuesday, Nadine Penniston and Mark Ruiz. Neither officer spoke, but Mr. Floyd held up a picture of Ms. Penniston’s hair, some of which was pulled out during the scuffle.

“Safety agents have been wrongfully accused of criminalizing the schools, but they are the ones being treated like criminals,” Mr. Floyd said. “They are the ones being assaulted and degraded.”

Hours later, several students showed up to testify about being arrested by school officers. One student said he was held for hours in a “holding room,” while another spoke of being screamed at by a 300-pound officer. A student from Aviation High School in Queens said his six-inch ruler was confiscated by an officer who called it a “hazard to society.”




Illinois: Chicagoans May Have to Dig Deeper
Chicagoans would have to spend 10 cents more on a bottle of water, pay higher property taxes and spend more for liquor under Mayor Richard M. Daley’s proposed budget for next year. Also financing Mr. Daley’s $5.4 billion budget are higher water and sewer fees and more expensive vehicle stickers for people driving large vehicles, $120 a vehicle sticker, up from $90. Mr. Daley announced his budget to aldermen, calling it a last resort to ask taxpayers for more money. His budget closes a $196 million deficit and avoids service cuts and layoffs. Budget hearings will be held, and a city spending plan will require a vote by aldermen.
October 11, 2007

Wisconsin Iraq vet returns medals to Rumsfeld
By David Solnit, Courage to Resist / Army of None Project.
"I swore an oath to protect the constitution ... not to become a pawn in your New American Century."
September 26, 2007

Madison, Wisconsin--Joshua Gaines, who served a year long tour in Iraq in 2004 to 2005 with the Army Reserve, returned his Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and National Defense Service Medal to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld today by mail as dozens of supporters look on.

Verizon Reverses Itself on Abortion Messages
September 27, 2007

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




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])

SHOP: Articles at">