Saturday, November 24, 2007



Attend a meeting:
Monday, November 26
7:00 P.M.
474 Valencia Street
(Near 16th Street, San Francisco)
For more info, call: 415-824-8730

Remember when SF made history a year ago when the Board of Education voted to phase out JROTC from our public schools? Well it seems like the military forces have succeeded in delaying, if not stopping, the phase out. Even previously anti-JROTC school board members are wavering.

In 2004, 63 percent of San Franciscans voted to withdraw all troops from Iraq. In 2005, 59 percent of San Franciscans voted to end military recruiting in our public schools. In 2006 the school board, the first in the country, voted to phase out JROTC. San Franciscans clearly do not support the military taking our children. We MUST muster enough support to hold the school board to its courageous vote last year.

In solidarity,

Medea Benjamin
Eric Blanc
Riva Enteen
Bob Forsberg
Vickie Leidner
Cristina Gutierrez
Tommi Avicoli Mecca
Millie Phillips
Carole Seligman
Bonnie Weinstein

Please sign this letter and pass it along to all those opposed to JROTC in our schools.




A ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on Mumia's case, based on the hearing in Philadelphia on May 17th 2007, is expected momentarily. Freeing Mumia immediately is what is needed, but that is not an option before this court. The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal calls on everyone who supports Mumia‚s case for freedom, to rally the day after a decision comes down. Here are Bay Area day-after details:


14th and Broadway, near the Federal Building
4:30 to 6:30 PM the day after a ruling is announced,
or on Monday if the ruling comes down on a Friday.

Oakland demonstration called by the Partisan Defense Committee and Labor Black Leagues, to be held if the Court upholds the death sentence, or denies Mumia's appeals for a new trial or a new hearing. info at (510) 839-0852 or


Federal Courthouse, 7th & Mission
5 PM the day after a ruling is announced,
or Monday if the decision comes down on a Friday

San Francisco demo called by the Mobilization To Free Mumia,
info at (415) 255-1085 or

Day-after demonstrations are also planned in:

Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver
and other cities internationally.

A National Demonstration is to be held in Philadelphia, 3rd Saturday after the decision

For more information, contact: International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal,;
Partisan Defense Committee,;
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC),;


World-renowned journalist, death-row inmate and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal is completely innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. Mountains of evidence--unheard or ignored by the courts--shows this. He is a victim, like thousands of others, of the racist, corrupt criminal justice system in the US; only in his case, there is an added measure of political persecution. Jamal is a former member of the Black Panther Party, and is still an outspoken and active critic of the on-going racism and imperialism of the US. They want to silence him more than they want to kill him.

Anyone who has ever been victimized by, protested or been concerned about the racist travesties of justice meted out to blacks in the US, as well as attacks on immigrants, workers and revolutionary critics of the system, needs to take a close look at the frame-up of Mumia. He is innocent, and he needs to be free.




In 1995, mass mobilizations helped save Mumia from death.

In 1999, longshore workers shut West Coast ports to free Mumia, and teachers in Oakland and Rio de Janeiro held teach-ins and stop-works.

Mumia needs powerful support again now. Come out to free Mumia!

- The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222, Oakland CA 94610

November 2007

ACTION ALERT: Ensure Fairness For Mumia Abu-Jamal on NBC’s The Today Show!

On Dec. 6, NBC’s The Today Show intends to air a show about Michael Smerconish and Maureen Faulkner’s new book “Murdered By Mumia.” According to the announcement on Michael Smerconish’s website, the show is planning to feature both Smerconish and Faulkner as guests.

The International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal (, Journalists for Mumia (, and Educators for Mumia ( have initiated a media-activist campaign urging people to write The Today Show at asking them to fairly present both sides of the Mumia Abu-Jamal / Daniel Faulkner case, by also featuring as guests, Linn Washington, Jr. (Philadelphia Tribune columnist and Associate Professor of Journalism at Temple University ) and Dr. Suzanne Ross (Clinical Psychologist and Co-Chair of the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition, NYC).

A sample letter (, accompanied by an extensive informational press pack ( has been created to use for contacting The Today Show. Please take a minute and contact them to ensure fair media coverage of this controversial and important case.


The International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal (

Journalists for Mumia Abu-Jamal (

Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal (


Dear Today Show,

In December 2007, the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal will be entering the 27th year. In the course of those years, much of the media coverage has contained pure speculation and falsehoods. Media watchdogs like FAIR.ORG have sharply criticized this coverage as being biased against Abu-Jamal.

We understand that on Dec. 6, the Today Show intends to air a show about Michael Smerconish and Maureen Faulkner’s book “Murdered By Mumia.” Interestingly, the scheduled interview regarding the new book focusing on Mrs. Faulkner comes at a time of many startling new developments in this historic case, generating international attention.

Reflecting the international interest in this case, in 2003, Abu-Jamal was named an honorary citizen of Paris , and in 2006, the city of St. Denis named a street after him. While this was largely motivated by opposition to the death penalty, they also cited strong evidence of both an unfair trial and Abu-Jamal’s innocence.

One of these developments centers on extraordinary photos of the 1981 crime scene taken by Philadelphia-based press photographer Pedro Polakoff (viewable at that reveal manipulation of evidence, and completely contradict the prosecution’s case, including Officer James Forbes’ testimony that he properly handled both Abu-Jamal’s and Faulkner’s guns (the photos show Forbes holding both guns in his bare hand). Also the photos reveal that there were no large bullet divots or destroyed chunks of cement where Faulkner was found, which should be visible in the pavement if the prosecution’s scenario was accurate, according to which Abu-Jamal shot down at Faulkner and allegedly missed several times while Faulkner was on his back. Of particular note, this photographer twice attempted to provide these photos to the District Attorney for both the 1982 trial and the 1995 PCRA hearings, and was ignored both times.

Since his incarceration, Abu-Jamal has published six books and countless articles, and has delivered hundreds of speeches, including keynote addresses for college graduations. As a prolific writer and tenacious journalist, he has earned the respect (and support) of such notable prize-winning authors as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, John Edgar Wideman, and Salman Rushdie. Just recently, he was accepted into the PEN American Center , one of the highest honors a writer can achieve. Additionally, at the time of his arrest, he was president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Association of Black Journalists, and was awarded the PEN Oakland award for outstanding journalism after the publication of his first book, Live from Death Row. Since Live, he has garnered a following of dedicated readers around the world, including scholars, college educators, and journalists. His work is, in part, testament to the dignity he has demonstrated for the past 25 years he has been on death row.

The ethical interests in balance and fairness in presenting “news” regarding the Abu-Jamal case, arguably requires providing Today Show viewers with information evidencing Mr. Abu-Jamal’s innocence and unfair trial. To represent this other side, and to provide perspectives addressing the informational needs of your viewers, I ask that you also feature experts Linn Washington, Jr. (Philadelphia Tribune columnist and Associate Professor of Journalism at Temple University ) and Dr. Suzanne Ross (Clinical Psychologist and Co-Chair of the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition, NYC) as guests on your Dec. 6 show (they can be contacted via Journalists for Mumia:

While Mrs. Faulkner certainly has a “story” and is entitled to her opinions, your viewers should be privy to other facts, such as the prosecution withholding key evidence, witness coercion, racist jury selection, and evidence that Judge Albert Sabo boasted about his desire to help the prosecution “fry the nigger,” as enclosed in the press packet provided here for you:

I also write to provide you with information (inclusive of material from Abu-Jamal’s lawyer) in the interests of journalistic balance, fairness and integrity. The press packet includes 1) A recent Black Commentator article by Philadelphia lawyer/journalist David A. Love describing the significance of the Polakoff photos, 2) An Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal press release about the Polakoff photos, written by Princeton University Professor Mark L. Taylor, 3) Criticism of the 1998 ABC 20/20 program about Abu-Jamal, 4) Background on the case, focusing on both the 1982 trial and 1995-97 PCRA hearings, with a focus on Abu-Jamal’s alleged “hospital confession,” ballistics evidence, and the testimony of Veronica Jones, 5) Recent police intimidation of Abu-Jamal’s supporters, including reported death threats against Sgt. DeLacy Davis, of Black Cops Against Police Brutality, and more.

Thank you for your consideration.

Your Name


Help end the war by supporting the troops who have refused to fight it.

Please sign the appeal online:


"I am writing from the United States to ask you to make a provision for sanctuary for the scores of U.S. military servicemembers currently in Canada, most of whom have traveled to your country in order to resist fighting in the Iraq War. Please let them stay in Canada..."

To sign the appeal or for more information:

Courage to Resist volunteers will send this letter on your behalf to three key Canadian officials--Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley, and Stéphane Dion, Liberal Party--via international first class mail.

In collaboration with War Resisters Support Campaign (Canada), this effort comes at a critical juncture in the international campaign for asylum for U.S. war resisters in Canada.


Next Antiwar Coalition meeting Sunday, January 6, 1:00 P.M.
474 Valencia St.

The OCT. 27 COALITION met Saturday, November 18. After a long discussion and evaluation of the Oct. 27 action, the group decided to meet again, Sunday, January 6, at 1:00 P.M. at CENTRO DEL PUEBLO, 474 Valencia Street, SF (Near 16th Street) to assess further action.

Everyone felt the demonstration was very successful and, in fact, that the San Francisco demonstration was the largest in the country and, got the most press coverage. Everyone felt the "die in" was extremely effective and the convergence added to the scope of the demonstration.

Please keep a note of the date of the next coalition meeting:
Sunday, January 6, 1:00 P.M.




1) Seizing Destiny for U.S. Capital
By Bonnie Weinstein
November/December 2007

2) Big Rise in Cost of Birth Control on Campuses
November 22, 2007

3) The Dictatorship of ‘Freedom’
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
November 4, 2007

4) Why Israel Has No ‘Right to Exist’ as a Jewish State
By Oren Ben-Dor
November 20, 2007

5) Banks Gone Wild
Op-Ed Columnist
November 23, 2007

6) Trying to Break Cycle of Prison at Street Level
November 23, 2007

7) Vote Is Postponed as Lebanese President Leaves
November 24, 2007

8) Barely Getting By and Facing a Cold Maine Winter
November 24, 2007

9) Congressman Sees Bias in Chicago Traffic Stop
November 24, 2007


1) Seizing Destiny for U.S. Capital
By Bonnie Weinstein
November/December 2007

An article appeared in The New York Times on September 13, 2007, entitled “Compromise on Oil Law in Iraq Seems to Be Collapsing,” by James Glanz. This piece could have been a chapter in the book Seizing Destiny: How America Grew from Sea to Shining Sea,by Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Kluger. It’s a painstaking historical breakdown of the wheeling and dealing between the commanders of capital in England, France, Spain, even Mexico, and the commanders of U.S. financial and business interests in their pursuit of the acquisition of the land that now makes up the United States of America. By any means necessary—through war, occupation, slavery, and extermination of the indigenous peoples of America—U.S. commanders of capital got most of what they wanted. But it is still not enough of what they need—an unending supply of capital.
U.S. big business wheeling and dealing

The Times article by Glanz details the financial machinations going on in the Iraqi oil fields. The pivotal thorn in the U.S. occupying paw is the Iraqi Oil Law, which includes, according to Glanz, “Article 111 of the Iraqi Constitution...oil and natural resources are properties of Iraqi people....” It is worth a closer look at this article.

“Contributing to the dispute is the decision by the Kurds to begin signing contracts with international oil companies before the federal law is passed. The most recent instance, announced last week on a Kurdish government Web site, was an oil exploration contract with the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas.

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

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

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

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

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

Of course, all of these negotiations are made under the giant umbrella of U.S. military occupation and constant bombardment, while it insists upon the Iraqi “people’s [read: competing Iraqi business interests’] right” to make business deals with American oil corporations for a cut of the profits for themselves—the Iraqi people be damned! In reading a September 20, 2007, Timesarticle entitled “Cholera Case Reported in Baghdad,” by Andrew E. Kramer, I couldn’t help thinking about the similarities between the treatment of the indigenous population of the Americas in the pursuit of U.S. territory (which I learned by reading Kluger’s book) and the current seizing of Iraq by the U.S. military for the benefit of U.S. business interests:

“Iraqi health officials confirmed the first cases of cholera in Baghdad today, in a sign that an epidemic that has infected approximately 7,000 people in northern Iraq is spreading south through the country’s decrepit and unsanitary water system.... ‘It is already endemic in some parts of Iraq, but when it is growing and moving, that’s when it becomes an epidemic,’ said Dr. Naeema al-Gasseer, the World Health Organization’s representative for Iraq. The organization said there was laboratory confirmation of the disease in a 25-year-old woman living in Baghdad.

“Cholera is fairly simple to treat under normal circumstances, but the war in Iraq makes it far more difficult to contain. The mass displacement of the population has pushed many people into unsanitary living conditions, where food and water can become tainted with sewage and spread the cholera bacteria.

“Kamar el-Jadi, head of the health department for the Red Crescent Society in Baghdad, said cholera was spreading because some people embraced unsanitary living conditions, and she criticized the government for not responding properly.

“‘They like to live and eat in the rubbish,’ she said. ‘I don’t know how they can eat in these bad conditions.’

“She added: ‘The government is doing nothing. They don’t have a program. They have done nothing against this disease.’

“Health officials at the Red Crescent had earlier predicted that cases would begin turning up in Baghdad in late September or early October, when temperatures are especially favorable for the bacteria, Vibrio cholerae, which infects the intestines. People contract cholera by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the bacteria, which comes from the feces of an infected person.”

In his book, Seizing Destiny,Richard Kluger describes the same kinds of wars of occupation that landed the Original Boundaries with the Treaty of Paris in 1783; the Louisiana Territory purchased from France in 1803; the purchase of Florida from Spain in 1819; the Republic of Texas annexed by Congress in 1845; acquisition of the Oregon Territory—a treaty with Britain in 1846; the Mexican cession—the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848; the Gasden Purchase—a treaty with Mexico that resulted in the acquisition of 29,670 square miles of Mexican territory; the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867; the annexation of Hawaii by Congress in 1898; the 1898 treaties with Spain for Puerto Rico and Guam; the annexation of American Samoa by Congress in 1900; the purchase of the Virgin Islands from Denmark in 1917; and the 1947 UN Trusteeship and the 1976 Covenant by Congress of Northern Marianas, bringing the total U.S. territory to 3,540,305 square miles.

All of this territory was acquired by wheeling and dealing with self-declared “Old World” rulers and “landowners” who themselves had no real right over the territory they ruled over by force of violence and for their own financial and business gains.

None of treaties that were negotiated with the native peoples were kept. The people were swept away, systematically exterminated. They were not human beings, just “nits” in the way of Manifest Destiny, i.e., nits in the hair of rich white men!

The modus operandi described in this book that was adopted by the “forefathers” of U.S. imperialism differs from the current situation in Iraq only to the extent that today, the imperialists are not sending “settlers,” with the U.S. Calvary to defend them. The government is sending its military outright, backed up by an equal or surpassing number of “private contractors” who are working to protect Iraqi oil directly. They are occupying the Iraqi oil fields and pipelines, trying to protect the U.S. military and corporate-owned machinery waiting to be put into operation, to fully exploit Iraqi oil reserves and secure their military might in the region.

While they have not distributed contaminated blankets to the Iraqis, the U.S. has created all the conditions for cholera and other such diseases to flourish and take hold among innocent Iraqi people struggling for survival under war, occupation, and the total destruction of their infrastructure and their way of life.

Kluger’s book does more than expose the brutal and violent truth behind the seizure—the outright theft—of U.S. territory. Along with this he exposes the imperial interests of the wealthiest nations with the mightiest fleets and most powerful weapons—no match for the simple life of the indigenous peoples who lived off the land gathering nuts and berries and hunting with spears, bows, and arrows.

The Iraqis are not hunters and gatherers. Iraq is a nation with more engineers per capita than the United States. But its people are up against the most powerful military force ever amassed on the earth, and they had no weapons of mass destruction! Its population has been reduced to hunting and gathering in the garbage dumps of the U.S. occupiers, drinking from contaminated water supplies and contracting preventable diseases, all at the hands of the historically despotic corporate rulers of the United States of America.

Kluger’s book only mentions a few “Indian massacres.” But what glares out from his book is the near absence of concern about the indigenous peoples in the minds and hearts of those in pursuit of the private ownership of the land. For this is what this country was founded upon: the right of the wealthy—originating in the Old World and continuing to today—to steal land and resources away from the inhabitants, human or otherwise, that stand in their way, whom they deem inferior to themselves.

Manifest Destiny was a racist-to-the-core justification for the extermination of millions upon millions of indigenous peoples in the North American continent and in every continent on the planet. It was the Old World’s license to kill! How familiar it sounds! Under the guise of “Operation Iraqi Freedom”—of saving the Iraqi people from themselves; of militarily occupying their land; of destroying their cities and towns and factories like they destroyed native villages, destroyed the crops, and slaughtered the buffalo.

In Iraq the U.S. destroyed modern cities, schools, hospitals, and access to electricity, clean water, and working sewage systems. U.S. occupation of and war against Iraq and Afghanistan has left masses of the indigenous population of those countries without any means of support or any way to make a living except around the dumping grounds of U.S. enclaves on their land.

In the book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Sitting Bull, while traveling with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the summer of 1885, was quoted as telling Annie Oakley, another one of the show’s “stars,” that he could not understand how white men could be so unmindful of their own poor. “The white man knows how to make everything,” he said, “but he does not know how to distribute it.”

Richard Kluger’s, Seizing Destinyexposes the truth about what was really on the minds of the “forefathers” of U.S. imperialism from the instant they set foot on the North American continent. It was the white man’s burden and his destiny to rule this world, seize the land and resources for himself, use slaves whenever necessary and convenient, exterminate whenever convenient and expedient, and wage war and occupation and the spreading of disease whenever necessary for the betterment of his own private and selfish interests. As the imperialists so proudly claim, they are the best—the only ones worthy of the title, human being.

The massive accumulation of personal wealth justified by Manifest Destiny allowed and still allows these despots to buy the biggest and most deadly weapons and support a large military force to put muscle behind those weapons for the purpose of seizing even more for themselves.

They claim they have a right to all of this because white people from the Old World are not only smarter, more advanced, more civilized, but in fact, a higher level of human being. All the rest, even their own poor and ignorant white trash, are less than fully human and thereby need to be ruled by them, to live only at their discretion and only for as long as they are useful to them.

Manifest Destiny is still being carried out today by the same despotic government, with its very roots soaked in the blood of the multitudes of the innocent of centuries past—the indigenous peoples; the slaves; the indentured servants; and the multitudes working for subsistance wages—whose lives were and still are sacrificed to increase the profits, property, power, and status of the wealthiest U.S. capitalists and their allies.

I recommend Kluger’s book because it shows how this country came to be. I also recommend that people study further about how this country has treated its own indigenous people, because this helps to make sense out of the treatment of the Iraqi and Afghani people by the U.S. military today.
‘Nits Make Lice!’

In 1864, Governor Evans of Colorado Territory issued a general proclamation dispatched to the Indian camps by messengers, ordering all peaceful Indians to assemble at Fort Lyon. Those Indians who did not comply with the order would be killed. The order authorized the citizens of Colorado Territory to go in pursuit of all hostile Indians of the plains, to kill and destroy, as enemies of the country, wherever the Indians may be found. Colonel Chivington responded in kind. In a Denver speech, in August of 1864, Chivington is quoted as saying, “kill and scalp all, little and big... nits make lice.” He was applauded, and the phrase became the slogan among his fighting regiment. On the early morning of November 29, 1864, Chivington’s troops did just that, killing more than 600 Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, primarily women and children—scalping and dismembering them in what is now known as the Sand Creek Massacre.

In March 2006, U.S soldiers in Iraq participated in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and her family, then set her body on fire to hide the evidence. On November 19, 2005, a group of United States Marines killed 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children. To date, nearly one million Iraqi people have been murdered by the U.S. war and occupation. Millions more were murdered as a result of ten years of U.S. sanctions against Iraq that stopped the flow of medicines and life-saving food and equipment to the Iraqi people.

Once again it is the innocent who are sacrificed mercilessly to fill the coffers of the wealthy elite of U.S. capital and its Old World allies.

Neither the modus operandi of U.S. imperial conquest nor its distinctly unequal distribution of wealth has changed since its formation. In fact, its distribution of wealth has become more concentrated than ever before. And the massacres have gotten larger, more deadly, and more widespread.

How wise was Chief Sitting Bull?


2) Big Rise in Cost of Birth Control on Campuses
November 22, 2007

In health centers at hundreds of colleges and universities around the country, young women are paying sharply higher prices for prescription contraceptives because of a change in federal law.

The increases have meant that some students using popular birth control pills and other products are paying three and four times as much as they did several months ago. The higher prices have also affected about 400 community health centers nationwide used by poor women.

The change is due to a provision in a federal law that ended a practice by which drug manufacturers provided prescription contraception to the health centers at deeply discounted rates. The centers then passed along the savings to students and others.

Some Democratic lawmakers in Washington are pressing for new legislation by year’s end that would reverse the provision, which they say was inadvertently included in a law intended to reduce Medicaid abuse. In the meantime, health care and reproductive rights advocates are warning that some young women are no longer receiving the contraception they did in the past.

Some college clinics have reported sudden drops in the numbers of contraceptives sold; students have reported switching to less expensive contraceptives or considering alternatives like the so-called morning-after pill; and some clinics, including one at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Me., have stopped stocking some prescription contraceptives, saying they are too expensive.

“The potential is that women will stop taking it, and whether or not you can pay for it, that doesn’t mean that you’ll stop having sex,” said Katie Ryan, a senior at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, who said that the monthly cost of her Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, a popular birth control pill, recently jumped to nearly $50 from $12.

Ms. Ryan, 22, said she had considered switching to another contraceptive to save money, but was unsure which one to pick. She has ended up paying the higher price, but said she was concerned about her budget.

“I do less because of this — less shopping, less going out to eat,” said Ms. Ryan, who has helped organize efforts to educate others on campus about the price jump. “For students, this is very, very expensive.”

Not everyone is troubled by the price increases. Some people said they wondered why college students, many of whom manage to afford daily doses of coffee from Starbucks and downloads from iTunes, should have been given such discounted birth control to begin with, and why drug companies should be granted such a captive audience of students. Others said low-priced, easy-to-attain contraception might encourage a false sense of security about sex.

“From our perspective, this does bring to light a public health concern, but for a different reason,” said Kimberly Martinez, the executive director of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, which advocates abstinence from sex until marriage. “These young women are relying on this contraception to protect them. But contraception isn’t 100 percent — for pregnancy or for disease.”

The price change came as part of the tangled method by which drug manufacturers pay rebates to states for prescription drugs covered by Medicaid, the federal drug program for low-income people. Those rebates are set by calculations that take into account the lowest prices paid for certain drugs. Since 1990, the steeply discounted contraception given to university health centers and low-income clinics was considered exempt from those calculations.

The arrangement helped those who could least afford the contraceptives to receive them, but was also seen as potentially beneficial to drug companies, which might not make money on the college clinic sales but were able to market their products to young women who might grow accustomed to one brand over another.

More recently though, legislators, worried about abuse in the rebate calculations, set strict limits about which facilities would be exempt. Student health centers, among others, were left out — an unintended oversight, some lawmakers now say.

The new rules, part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, came into effect at the start of this year, prompting pharmaceutical manufacturers to tell college clinics that they could no longer afford the huge discounts. Knowing that the change was coming, many health clinics stocked up on the discounted prescriptions and were able to offer cheaper contraception for months, into the summer and even the fall.

Then prices began skyrocketing.

“What happened here is what happened everywhere: The price went up,” said Jeanne Galatzer-Levy of the University of Illinois at Chicago. “We are a state institution, so we’re not in a position to do something different.”

At the University of Montana, the price of a NuvaRing, another birth control method, rose to $36 from $18, said Allyson Hagen, the state director of Naral Pro-Choice America. “This is a state school where people are on Pell grants and don’t have huge amounts of spending money,” Ms. Hagen said. “For them this is like a choice — groceries or birth control.”

Some types of prescription birth control have generic alternatives, which can be significantly less expensive than their counterparts. But even some generics are not as inexpensive as the discounted contraceptives had been at student health centers, experts said. And other types of contraceptives have no generic option.

In a 2006 study, 39 percent of undergraduate women said they relied on oral contraceptives to prevent pregnancy, said Mary Hoban of the American College Health Association. But no one can be sure how many of the more than three million women on college campuses nationwide who are estimated to use such contraceptives have been affected by the price increases.

College health centers have handled the circumstances in a variety of ways. Some colleges, too, say they were mainly unaffected by the change because students were covered by their parents’ insurance plans or their own insurance policies.

In Washington, lawmakers have introduced a proposal that would reverse the price increase, allowing an exemption so that drug companies would once again not be required to include sharply discounted contraception for university clinics in their Medicaid rebate calculations.

“This is such a mainstream issue,” said Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “This is clearly an issue with wide bipartisan support.”

Still, there were signs that some lawmakers might not want to be seen as supporting the provision, leading to the possibility that it would be attached to some other legislation sometime before year’s end.

Representative Joseph Crowley, a Democrat from New York who introduced a bill on the matter, said the change would require no taxpayers’ money to subsidize contraception. The drug manufacturers would pay for any discounts, but would not be required to pay larger Medicaid rebates because of those discounts.

“We’re not promoting promiscuity, but we’re also cognizant that people live,” said Mr. Crowley, who is among the lawmakers who say the change that took discounts away from university clinics was inadvertent. “We’re talking about adults, responsible adults who want to do the responsible thing.”

In Boston, Nikki Bruce, a senior at Tufts, said the price of her NuvaRing, once an $8-a-month investment at the campus health clinic, had soared to more than $50. Ms. Bruce said she investigated and found that her health insurance policy would require a co-payment of $45 for the product.

Ms. Bruce, who is also a member of a Tufts student group, Vox, that advocates for reproductive rights, said she thought about switching to another method of birth control, something less expensive. She talked to her mother, she said. In the end though, she worried that her body might have a difficult time adjusting to new hormones.

A search led her to a nearby Planned Parenthood Clinic — off campus — where she said she now buys her NuvaRing for $27.


3) The Dictatorship of ‘Freedom’
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
November 4, 2007

With shining boots, cadenced marches and loaded arms, the Pakistan Army entered the country’s Supreme Court and announced martial law.

America’s biggest ally in the so-called “War on Terror” has launched another war: one on democracy and the very notion of an independent judiciary.

The problem, it seems, is that the Pakistani judiciary was growing a tad too independent for President-General Pervez Musharraf.

The fig leaf of this pretend democracy has been discarded; it is a military dictatorship plain and simple.

So much for the American rhetorical exercise of bringing democracy to the benighted Islamic world.

Nor should we be surprised!

A month ago, when Pakistani opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif tried to return home, he was met by a wall of military resistance that wouldn’t allow him to enter the country that he once led as prime minister.

While en route to Pakistan, in London’s Heathrow Airport, Sharif described his imminent return thus: “It’s a final battle now between dictatorship and democracy.” Sharif added, “Civil society is there now struggling for the restoration of the rule of law. The judiciary is today independent. I think it is about time that we put an end to this menace of dictatorship because it has inflicted so much damage to my country.” (New York Times, September 11, 2007, Page A8.)

Denied his court ordered right of return, Sharif told reporters at the Pakistan airport, “Mr. Musharraf does not believe in the rule of law. He tries to bulldoze everything that comes in his way.” (New York Times, September 11, 2007)

Sound familiar?

And what’s the White House response? The Bush Regime has announced it still supports the military junta that suspended the constitution, removed objectionable judges from the Supreme Court—and placed the whole capital on lockdown.

Observers say Musharraf’s moves come just as the court was about to rule on his right to stand in a recent election.

As Nawaz Sharif noted a month ago, “President Bush is somehow supporting an individual who today has become a symbol of hatred in Pakistan, a man whom everybody in Pakistan wants to get rid of.” Added Sharif, “ I don’t know why Mr. Bush is still supporting this man. He must not equate Pakistan with Mr. Musharraf. He should have this friendship with the people of Pakistan, not with an individual who is becoming more and more unpopular in the country.”

As democracy dies in Pakistan, it casts a pall on the biggest supporter of this dictatorship—the United States of America.


4) Why Israel Has No ‘Right to Exist’ as a Jewish State
By Oren Ben-Dor
November 20, 2007

Yet again, the Annapolis meeting between Olmert and Abbas is preconditioned upon the recognition by the Palestinian side of the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Indeed the “road map” should lead to, and legitimate, once and for all, the right of such a Jewish state to exist in definitive borders and in peace with its neighbors. The vision of justice, both past and future, simply has to be that of two states, one Palestinian, one Jewish, which would coexist side by side in peace and stability. Finding a formula for a reasonably just partition and separation is still the essence of what is considered to be moderate, pragmatic and fair ethos.

Thus, the really deep issues—the “core”—are conceived as the status of Jerusalem, the fate and future of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories and the viability of the future Palestinian state beside the Jewish one. The fate of the descendants of those 750,000 Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed in 1948 from what is now, and would continue to be under a two-state solutions, the State of Israel, constitutes a “problem” but never an “issue” because, God forbid, to make it an issue on the table would be to threaten the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. The existence of Israel as a Jewish state must never become a core issue. That premise unites political opinion in the Jewish state, left and right and also persists as a pragmatic view of many Palestinians who would prefer some improvement to no improvement at all. Only “extremists” such as Hamas, anti-Semites, and Self-Hating Jews—terribly disturbed, misguided and detached lot—can make Israel’s existence into a core problem and in turn into a necessary issue to be debated and addressed.

The Jewish state, a supposedly potential haven for all the Jews in the world in the case a second Holocaust comes about, should be recognized as a fact on the ground blackmailed into the “never again” rhetoric. All considerations of pragmatism and reasonableness in envisioning a “peace process” to settle the “Israeli/Palestinian” conflict must never destabilize the sacred status of that premise that a Jewish state has a right to exist.

Notice, however, that Palestinians are not asked merely to recognize the perfectly true fact and with it, the absolutely feasible moral claim, that millions of Jewish people are now living in the State of Israel and that their physical existence, liberty and equality should be protected in any future settlement. They are not asked merely to recognize the assurance that any future arrangement would recognize historic Palestine as a home for the Jewish People. What Palestinians are asked to subscribe to is the recognition of the right of an ideology that informs the make-up of a state to exist as a Jewish one. They are asked to recognize that ethno-nationalistic premise of statehood.

The fallacy is clear: the recognition of the right of Jews who are there—however unjustly many of their Parents or Grandparents came to acquire what they own—to remain there under liberty and equality in a post-colonial political settlement, is perfectly compatible with the non-recognition of the state whose constitution gives those Jews a preferential stake in the polity.

It is an abuse of the notion of pragmatism to conceive its effort as putting the very notion of Jewish state beyond the possible and desirable implementation of egalitarian moral scrutiny. To so abuse pragmatism would be to put it at the service of the continuation of colonialism. A pragmatic and reasonable solution ought to centre on the problem of how to address past, present, and future injustices to non-Jew-Arabs without thereby causing other injustices to Jews. This would be a very complex pragmatic issue, which would call for much imagination and generosity. But reasonableness and pragmatism should not determine whether the cause for such injustices be included or excluded from debates or negotiations. To pragmatically exclude moral claims and to pragmatically protect immoral assertions by fiat must in fact hide some form of extremism. The causes of colonial injustice and the causes that constitutionally prevent their full articulation and address should not be excluded from the debate. Pragmatism cannot become the very tool that legitimate constitutional structures that hinder de-colonization and the establishment of egalitarian constitution.

So let us boldly ask: What exactly is entailed by the requirement to recognize Israel as a Jewish state? What do we recognize and support when we purchase a delightful avocado or a date from Israel or when we invite Israel to take part in an international football event? What does it mean to be a friend of Israel? What precisely is that Jewish state whose status as such would be once and for all legitimized by such a two-state solution?

A Jewish state is a state which exists more for the sake of whoever is considered Jewish according to various ethnic, tribal, religious, criteria, than for the sake of those who do not pass this test. What precisely are the criteria of the test for Jewishness is not important and at any rate the feeble consensus around them is constantly reinvented in Israel. Instigating violence provides them with the impetus for doing that. What is significant, thought is that a test of Jewishness is being used in order to constitutionally protect differential stakes in, that is, the differential ownership of, a polity. A recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is a recognition of the Jews special entitlement, as eternal victims, to have a Jewish state. Such a test of supreme stake for Jews is the supreme criterion not only for racist policy-making by the legislature but also for a racist constitutional interpretation by the Supreme Court. The idea of a state that is first and foremost for the sake of Jews trumps even that basic law of Human Freedom and Dignity to which the Israeli Supreme Court pays so much lip service. Such constitutional interpretation would have to make the egalitarian principle equality of citizenship compatible with, and thus subservient to, the need to maintain the Jewish majority and character of the state. This of course constitutes a serious compromise of equality, translated into many individual manifestations of oppression and domination of those victims of such compromise—non-Jews-Arabs citizens of Israel.

In our world, a world that resisted Apartheid South Africa so impressively, recognition of the right of the Jewish state to exist is a litmus test for moderation and pragmatism.

The demand is that Palestinians recognize Israel’s entitlement to constitutionally entrench a system of racist basic laws and policies, differential immigration criteria for Jews and non-Jews, differential ownership and settlements rights, differential capital investments, differential investment in education, formal rules and informal conventions that differentiate the potential stakes of political participation, lame-duck academic freedom and debate.

In the Jewish state of Israel non-Jews-Arabs citizens are just “bad luck” and are considered a ticking demographic bomb of “enemy within.” They can be given the right to vote—indeed one member one vote—but the potential of their political power, even their birth rate, should be kept at bay by visible and invisible, instrumental and symbolic, discrimination. But now they are asked to put up with their inferior stake and recognize the right of Israel to continue to legitimate the non-egalitarian premise of its statehood.

We must not forget that the two state “solution” would open a further possibility to non-Jew-Arabs citizens of Israel: “put up and shut up or go to a viable neighboring Palestinian state where you can have your full equality of stake.” Such an option, we must never forget, is just a part of a pragmatic and reasonable package.

The Jewish state could only come into being in May 1948 by ethnically cleansing most of the indigenous population—750,000 of them. The judaisation of the state could only be effectively implemented by constantly internally displacing the population of many villages within the Israel state.

It would be unbearable and unreasonable to demand Jews to allow for the Right of Return of those descendants of the expelled. Presumably, those descendants too could go to a viable Palestinian state rather than, for example, rebuild their ruined village in the Galilee. On the other hand, a Jewish young couple from Toronto who never set their foot in Palestine has a right to settle in the Galilee. Jews and their descendants hold this right in perpetuity. You see, that right “liberates” them as people. Jews must never be put under the pressure to live as a substantial minority in the Holy Land under egalitarian arrangement. Their past justifies their preferential stake and the preservation of their numerical majority in Palestine.

So the non-egalitarian hits us again. It is clear that part of the realization of that right of return would not only be just the actual return, but also the assurance of equal stake and citizenship of all, Jews and non-Jews-Arabs, after the return. A return would make the egalitarian claim by those who return even more difficult to conceal than currently with regard to Israel Arab second-class citizens. What unites Israelis and many world Jews behind the call for the recognition of the right of a Jewish state to exist is their aversion for the possibility of living, as a minority, under conditions of equality of stake to all. But if Jews enjoys this equality in Canada why cannot they support such equality in Palestine through giving full effect to the right of Return of Palestinians?

Let us look precisely at what the pragmatic challenge consists of: not pragmatism that entrenches inequality but pragmatism that responds to the challenge of equality.

The Right of Return of Palestinians means that Israel acknowledges and apologizes for what it did in 1948. It does mean that Palestinian memory of the 1948 catastrophe, the Nakbah, is publicly revived in the Geography and collective memory of the polity. It does mean that Palestinians descendants would be allowed to come back to their villages. If this is not possible because there is a Jewish settlement there, they should be given the choice to found an alternative settlement nearby. This may mean some painful compulsory state purchase of agricultural lands that should be handed back to those who return. In cases when this is impossible they ought to be allowed the choice to settle in another place in the larger area or if not possible in another area in Palestine. Compensation would be the last resort and would always be offered as a choice. This kind of moral claim of return would encompass all Palestine including Tel Aviv.

At no time, however, it would be on the cards to throw Israeli Jews from their land. An egalitarian and pragmatic realization of the Right of Return constitutes an egalitarian legal revolution. As such it would be paramount to address Jews’ worries about security and equality in any future arrangement in which they, or any other group, may become a minority. Jews national symbols and importance would be preserved. Equality of stake involves equality of symbolic ownership.

But it is important to emphasis that the Palestinian Right of Return would mean that what would cease to exist is the premise of a Jewish as well as indeed a Muslim state. A return without the removal of the constitutionally enshrined preferential stake is return to serfdom.

The upshot is that only by individuating cases of injustice, by extending claims for injustice to all historic Palestine, by fair address of them without creating another injustice for Jews and finally by ensuring the elimination of all racist laws that stems from the Jewish nature of the state including that nature itself, would justice be, and with it peace, possible. What we need is a spirit of generosity that is pragmatic but also morally uncompromising in terms of geographic ambit of the moral claims for repatriation and equality. This vision would propel the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. But for all this to happen we must start by ceasing to recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. No spirit of generosity would be established without an egalitarian call for jettisoning the ethno-nationalistic notion upon which the Jewish state is based.

The path of two states is the path of separation. Its realization would mean the entrenchment of exclusionary nationalism for many years. It would mean that the return of the dispossessed and the equality of those who return and those non-Jew-Arabs who are now there would have to be deferred—indefinitely consigned to the dusty shelves of historical injustices. Such a scenario is sure to provoke more violence, as it would establish the realization and legitimization of Zionist racism and imperialism.

Also, any bi-national arrangement ought to be subjected to a principle of equality of citizenship and not vice versa. The notion of separation and partition that can infect bi-nationalism, should be done away with and should not be tinkered with or rationalized in any way. Both spiritually and materially Jews and non-Jews can find national expression in a single egalitarian and non-sectarian state.

The non-recognition of the Jewish state is an egalitarian imperative that looks both at the past and to the future. It is the uncritical recognition of the right of Israel to exist at a Jewish state, which is the core hindrance for this egalitarian premise to shape the ethical challenge that Palestine poses. A recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state means the silencing that would breed more and more violence and bloodshed.

The same moral intuition that brought so many people to condemn and sanction Apartheid South Africa ought also to prompt them to stop seeing a threat to existence of the Jewish state as the effect caused by the refugee “problem” or by the “demographic threat” from the non-Jew-Arabs within it. It is rather the other way round. It is the non-egalitarian premise of a Jewish state and the lack of empathy and corruption of all those who make us uncritically accept the right of such a state to exist that is both the cause of the refugee problem and cause for the inability to implement their return and treating them as equals thereafter.

We must see that the uncritically accepted recognition of Israel’s right to exist is, as Joseph Massad so well puts it in Al-Ahram, to accept Israel’s claim to have the right to be racist or, to develop Massad’s brilliant formulation, Israel’s claim to have the right to occupy to dispossess and to discriminate. What is it, I wonder, that prevents Israelis and so many of world Jews to respond to the egalitarian challenge? What is it, I wonder, that oppresses the whole world to sing the song of a “peace process” that is destined to legitimize racism in Palestine?

To claim such a right to be racist must come from a being whose victims face must hide very dark primordial aggression and hatred of all others. How can we find a connective tissue to that mentality that claims the legitimate right to harm other human beings? How can this aggression that is embedded in victim mentality be perturbed?

The Annapolis meeting is a con. As an egalitarian argument we should say loud and clear that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state.

Oren Ben-Dor grew up in Israel. He teaches Legal and Political Philosophy at the School of Law, University of Southampton, UK. He can be reached at:>


5) Banks Gone Wild
Op-Ed Columnist
November 23, 2007

“What were they smoking?” asks the cover of the current issue of Fortune magazine. Underneath the headline are photos of recently deposed Wall Street titans, captioned with the staggering sums they managed to lose.

The answer, of course, is that they were high on the usual drug — greed. And they were encouraged to make socially destructive decisions by a system of executive compensation that should have been reformed after the Enron and WorldCom scandals, but wasn’t.

In a direct sense, the carnage on Wall Street is all about the great housing slump.

This slump was both predictable and predicted. “These days,” I wrote in August 2005, “Americans make a living selling each other houses, paid for with money borrowed from the Chinese. Somehow, that doesn’t seem like a sustainable lifestyle.” It wasn’t.

But even as the danger signs multiplied, Wall Street piled into bonds backed by dubious home mortgages. Most of the bad investments now shaking the financial world seem to have been made in the final frenzy of the housing bubble, or even after the bubble began to deflate.

In fact, according to Fortune, Merrill Lynch made its biggest purchases of bad debt in the first half of this year — after the subprime crisis had already become public knowledge.

Now the bill is coming due, and almost everyone — that is, almost everyone except the people responsible — is having to pay.

The losses suffered by shareholders in Merrill, Citigroup, Bear Stearns and so on are the least of it. Far more important in human terms are the hundreds of thousands if not millions of American families lured into mortgage deals they didn’t understand, who now face sharp increases in their payments — and, in many cases, the loss of their houses — as their interest rates reset.

And then there’s the collateral damage to the economy.

You still hear occasional claims that the subprime fiasco is no big deal. Even though the numbers keep getting bigger — some observers are now talking about $400 billion in losses — these losses are small compared with the total value of financial assets.

But bad housing investments are crippling financial institutions that play a crucial role in providing credit, by wiping out much of their capital. In a recent report, Goldman Sachs suggested that housing-related losses could force banks and other players to cut lending by as much as $2 trillion — enough to trigger a nasty recession, if it happens quickly.

Beyond that, there’s a pervasive loss of trust, which is like sand thrown in the gears of the financial system. The crisis of confidence is plainly visible in the market data: there’s an almost unprecedented spread between the very low interest rates investors are willing to accept on U.S. government debt — which is still considered safe — and the much higher interest rates at which banks are willing to lend to each other.

How did things go so wrong?

Part of the answer is that people who should have been alert to the dangers, and taken precautionary measures, instead blithely assured Americans that everything was fine, and even encouraged them to take out risky mortgages. Yes, Alan Greenspan, that means you.

But another part of the answer lies in what hasn’t happened to the men on that Fortune cover — namely, they haven’t been forced to give back any of the huge paychecks they received before the folly of their decisions became apparent.

Around 25 years ago, American business — and the American political system — bought into the idea that greed is good. Executives are lavishly rewarded if the companies they run seem successful: last year the chief executives of Merrill and Citigroup were paid $48 million and $25.6 million, respectively.

But if the success turns out to have been an illusion — well, they still get to keep the money. Heads they win, tails we lose.

Not only is this grossly unfair, it encourages bad risk-taking, and sometimes fraud. If an executive can create the appearance of success, even for a couple of years, he will walk away immensely wealthy. Meanwhile, the subsequent revelation that appearances were deceiving is someone else’s problem.

If all this sounds familiar, it should. The huge rewards executives receive if they can fake success are what led to the great corporate scandals of a few years back. There’s no indication that any laws were broken this time — but the public’s trust was nonetheless betrayed, once again.

The point is that the subprime crisis and the credit crunch are, in an important sense, the result of our failure to effectively reform corporate governance after the last set of scandals.

John Edwards recently came out with a corporate reform plan, but it didn’t receive a lot of attention. Corporate governance still isn’t regarded as a major political issue. But it should be.


6) Trying to Break Cycle of Prison at Street Level
November 23, 2007

HOUSTON — Corey Taylor, a convicted drug dealer, recently got out of prison and moved into his grandmother’s house in Sunnyside, a south central Houston neighborhood of small, tidy yards.

During his first days home, Mr. Taylor, 26, got a sharp reminder of the neighborhood’s chronic problems.

“Out of 10 of my partners, only one is doing anything different,” he said, referring to his former drug-dealing companions. “I have some friends I haven’t seen for 10 years because either I was locked up or they were locked up.”

Last year, 32,585 prisoners were released on state parole in Texas, and many of them returned to neighborhoods where they live among thousands of other parolees and probationers.

Sunnyside is one of 10 neighborhoods in Houston that together accounted for 15 percent of the city’s population, yet received half of the 6,283 prisoners released in Houston in 2005, according to the Justice Mapping Center, a criminal justice research group.

The group, which is based in Brooklyn, has done work for the Texas Legislature that helped lead to a $217 million expansion of rehabilitation services.

Neighborhoods like Sunnyside can be found in virtually every big city in the nation. Even as violent crime statistics trend downward, incarceration rates throughout the country remain at a historic high of 750 per 100,000 residents. Each year about 650,000 prisoners are released on parole, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Mapping studies in neighborhoods as distant as the Phoenix suburb of South Mountain and the Newhallville area of New Haven show incarceration rates far higher than the national rate.

The parolees are almost always coming back to areas where support systems, like schools and public assistance programs, receive less money and attention than incarceration does, the studies show. In an effort to break the cycle, Texas this fall began its expansion of services for former inmates, including job training classes, drug treatment programs and psychological counseling.

The approach, based in part on legislative presentations by the Justice Mapping Center, is a sharp departure from the state’s longtime criminal justice focus on retribution.

The shift is intended to save the state money by slowing the revolving door between state prisons and neighborhoods like Sunnyside. The parolees released last year cost the state $100 million over the course of their prison terms; the 85 who returned to Sunnyside, population 21,000, accounted for almost $8 million of that, according to data by the mapping group.

“It’s not uncommon for children of criminal justice system clients to themselves go into the criminal justice system,” said State Senator John H. Whitmire, a Houston Democrat and chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

“Certain lower socioeconomic areas produce clients for the criminal justice system in a way that is analogous to the way that the welfare system created a cycle of first- and second- and third-generation welfare recipients.”

Despite declining crime and lower arrest rates, Texas’s adult prison expenditures have grown to $2.8 billion a year, tripled since 1990. Decades of tough-on-crime legislation and low parole rates have quadrupled the state prison population since 1985.

The prisons are about 4,000 inmates beyond their legal capacity, according to prison officials.

A variety of groups, including the Council of State Governments and the Open Society Institute, are investigating the economic cost of communities with high rates of prison admissions and releases and the effectiveness of incarceration policies.

Eric Cadora, a founder of the Justice Mapping Center, said high incarceration rates hinder government efforts to turn around troubled neighborhoods by taking people out of the work force, compelling families to rely on government assistance and scaring away investment.

The Fifth Ward, an east Houston neighborhood, has one of the city’s highest concentrations of former prisoners. At least 125 state parolees resettled in the neighborhood in 2006, according to the mapping studies. Their prison terms cost Texas $9 million.

Mark Wright, 31, stood outside a house in the Fifth Ward recently selling drugs just weeks after completing a prison term for drug possession. Altogether, Mr. Wright said he had served 10 years for four drug-related convictions and one parole violation.

“I was bred into this life,” said Mr. Wright, who said he still made his living selling drugs. “It’s survival of the fittest out here.”

Mr. Wright said that “damn near 99 percent” of his friends had served prison terms, mostly for drug possession, including his younger brother, who is currently in prison.

“Half these dudes dropped out of junior high,” he said, pointing to several friends standing with him sipping from plastic foam cups of “Purple Drank,” a brain-battering draft of prescription-strength codeine cough syrup cut with soda. “Some of them dropped out of elementary school. All they got is this hustle. They got no backup.”

In east Houston, another of the city’s troubled neighborhoods, Marilyn Gambrell, the founder of No More Victims Inc., a support group for students at M. B. Smiley High School with incarcerated parents, said that more than half of the 1,250 students there have relatives in prison or who have done time in the past. Ms. Gambrell is a former parole officer who supervised many of the parents.

Each day, several dozen of the teenagers gather in a carpeted classroom with plush sofas and cushioned chairs to talk about what it is like to have a family member in jail or prison.

During a recent discussion, drugs, violence and poverty were running themes. One boy said he had accompanied his stepfather on drug runs, and most of the students said they themselves had already had run-ins with the police.

Tangenea Miller, 20, is considered a graduate of the support group. She works as a corrections officer at a Houston lock-up. “I see a lot of people there from my old neighborhood,” Ms. Miller said.

The situations described in the high school sessions were front and center one recent day in the Houston neighborhood of Kashmere Gardens. Weeds curled out of broken windows and open doorways in abandoned homes. Mounds of trash sat in empty lots flooded with stagnant water.

Young men, most of them unemployed, stood in front of shotgun houses sipping Purple Drank. Others dealt dope in front of strip-malls and on side streets in broad daylight. The Justice Mapping Center estimates that Texas taxpayers spent $10 million to incarcerate the 117 state prison inmates who were paroled to Kashmere Gardens last year.

Al Jarreau Davis, 26, was released back to Kashmere Gardens five months ago after serving less than a year in state jail for drug possession. It was his second jail term. Mr. Davis and his older brother, Bay Davis, also a recently released drug offender, support themselves by selling marijuana and crack cocaine.

A third Davis brother was shot to death a year ago during an argument after a traffic accident.

“There ain’t no jobs out here for someone like me,” said Al Jarreau Davis. Both brothers said they fully expected to be arrested again, or worse.

“I’m probably going to stay out on the street until somebody murders me,” said Bay Davis, matter-of-factly.

And new parolees keep coming. Every few weeks, several dozen inmates assemble in the chapel of the state prison in Huntsville on the eve of their release for a two-hour orientation program by Christian outreach workers. The prisoners are offered phone lists of clinics, churches, shelters and drug treatment programs. Then they file out of the chapel and back to their cells for one more night of restless confinement.

It is a shoestring program and most inmates do not participate, said the Rev. Emmett Solomon, a prison minister who leads the classes. “Most of what they get to prepare them for their release, they get right here,” Mr. Solomon said. “But it’s probably too little, too late.”

Mr. Taylor, the Sunnyside drug dealer, was in a recent class. He left for the bus station the next morning, with about 40 other men, wearing tattered, unfashionable donated clothes and carrying their possessions in mesh bags.

As Mr. Taylor got off the bus in Houston later in the afternoon, a passing stranger who called himself Ice welcomed him home.

“Hey man, I know how it is,” he told Mr. Taylor. “I just got out, too.”


7) Vote Is Postponed as Lebanese President Leaves
November 24, 2007

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Saturday, Nov. 24 — The departing Lebanese president, Émile Lahoud, asked the military to take charge of the nation’s security on Friday, a few hours after the speaker of Parliament prolonged the country’s political crisis by postponing for a week a vote to choose a new president.

But experts on Lebanese law said that the president’s declaration did not affect the relationship of the military to the caretaker government, which took charge of day-to-day operations at midnight on Friday, when Mr. Lahoud’s term ended.

“This doesn’t change anything,” said Mohammed Kabbani, a member of Parliament from the governing majority. “The army is already in charge of security.”

The caretaker government, composed of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and his cabinet, has final authority until a new president is chosen.

Lebanon’s presidential crisis intensified Friday night, when the parliamentary vote to replace Mr. Lahoud, already postponed four times, was delayed yet again by Nabih Berri, the speaker of Parliament. Mr. Berri set the vote for next Friday.

Mr. Berri said in a statement that Parliament could convene earlier if an agreement was reached.

The governing majority, backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia, has failed during two months of haggling to reach a deal with the opposition, backed by Syria and Iran. Mr. Lahoud is aligned with Syria. Mr. Siniora is considered an ally of the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Legislators said that with the presidential palace suddenly empty, negotiators might feel pressure to reach an agreement.

“It is dangerous,” said Ahmed Fatfat, a cabinet minister and an outspoken critic of Syria. “We do not want to go to a confrontation.”

The Hezbollah-led parliamentary opposition sought to calm fears of civil strife, promising not to send supporters into the street against the caretaker government as long as it refrains from issuing any major policies. “For us, there is no government now,” said Nawar Sahili, a Hezbollah member of Parliament. “But we want stability, so we will tell our followers to wait until next Friday.”

One of the opposition’s main demands is that Hezbollah be allowed to keep its militia under a new president and new cabinet.

Opposition members of Parliament said they hoped it would be easier to reach a deal on a new president after the Middle East peace conference scheduled to take place next week in Annapolis, Md.

Samir Franjieh, a lawmaker with the governing coalition, said that Syria was waiting to see if it would be asked to play a central role in the peace talks. If Damascus reached an understanding with Washington, he said, Syria might use its considerable influence in Lebanon to push for a settlement.

“The Syrians are taking their time,” Mr. Franjieh said.

Members of the governing coalition said that with the crisis coming to a climax, momentum at the negotiating table could shift in favor of the pro-Western bloc.

“We are for consensus and we will remain for consensus,” said Saad Hariri, who is the front-runner to take over as prime minister in a new government.

Both sides appeared to make concessions to draw the country back from the brink of a full showdown, which many here feared could set off widespread violence.

The governing coalition insists that it has the right to elect a new president with a simple parliamentary majority, even in the absence of a deal with the opposition. The majority coalition has not exercised that option to avoid worsening the crisis.

Hussein Hajj Hassan, a Hezbollah member of Parliament, said, “The crisis remains unresolved because the fake majority refuses to share power with the opposition.” He said that if the majority took “any unconstitutional measure,” it would be “tantamount to a coup and we will respond with a coup.”

In the end, the governing coalition refrained from making a power play, and the opposition said it would not challenge the caretaker government’s authority, even as it insisted the temporary government was unconstitutional, since all the Shiite opposition ministers in the government had resigned in protest.

Now leaders have a week to hammer out a consensus. The governing majority is eager to elect a head of state who is considered independent of Syrian influence, unlike Mr. Lahoud.

The president is elected by Parliament, not by popular vote, and must be a Maronite Christian under Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system.


8) Barely Getting By and Facing a Cold Maine Winter
November 24, 2007

MILBRIDGE, Me. — They have worked since their teens in backbreaking seasonal jobs, extracting resources from the sea and the forest. Their yards are filled with peeling boats and broken lobster traps.

In sagging wood homes and aged trailers scattered across Washington County, many of Maine’s poorest and oldest shiver too much in the winter, eat far more biscuits and beans than meat and cannot afford the weekly bingo game at the V.F.W. hall.

In this long-depressed “down east” region, where the wild blueberry patches have turned a brilliant crimson, thousands of elderly residents live on crushingly meager incomes. This winter promises to be especially chilling, with fuel oil prices rising and fuel assistance expected to decline. But many assume that others are worse off than themselves and are too proud to ask for assistance, according to groups that run meal programs and provide aid for heating and weatherizing.

“One of our biggest problems is convincing people to take help,” said Eleanor West, director of services for the Washington Hancock Community Agency, a federally chartered nonprofit group. “I tell them, ‘You worked hard all your life and paid taxes and are getting back a little of what you paid in.’”

Over the last half century, Social Security, Medicare and private pensions have lifted most of the nation’s elderly. In 1960, one in three lived below the poverty line; now fewer than one in 10 do. But in Washington County, the poverty rate among those 65 and older is nearly one in five and many more live only a little above the federal subsistence standard in 2007 of $10,200 for a single person and $13,690 for two.

For thousands on fixed incomes, fuel assistance may decline while Social Security checks are scarcely rising.

Viola Brooks, 81, worked in fish and blueberry factories while her husband worked in textile and logging jobs. Now widowed, she gets $588 a month from Social Security, supplemented by $112 in food stamps and one-time fuel aid of more than $500 for the winter.

But this year, that fuel aid will not fill a single tank. The average house cost $1,800 to heat last year, and minimal comfort this winter may require closer to $3,000; trailers will require somewhat less. Electricity and rent already take up most of Ms. Brooks’s income.

“I’m broke every month, and the trailer needs storm windows,” she said. “I cook a lot of pea soup and baked beans and buy flour to make biscuits.”

“Some day I’d like to go to a hairdresser,” Ms. Brooks said of a dream deferred. Still she says she enjoys her lovebirds and cats, and points out that “some people have it worse.”

Jobs for the elderly, a growing trend nationwide, are virtually nonexistent in these hamlets. Many people survive with help from a range of programs including food stamps, Medicaid, disability and energy assistance; others suffer silently, long used to hardship and fiercely independent.

In a pattern still common, older people here often held a series of seasonal jobs, usually without benefits. They worked on lobster boats and dug clams or bloodworms (to sell for bait) from spring to fall, raked wild blueberries in August, harvested potatoes and then made Christmas wreaths for mail-order companies to mid-December. Wives often worked in sardine canneries or in blueberry processing.

“By their 50s, their bodies start breaking down,” said Tim King, director of the community agency at its headquarters in Milbridge, adding that high rates of smoking, obesity and diabetes also contributed to early aging. The aid programs define those as 60 and over as elderly.

Because of their irregular careers and payments into the system, many people get Social Security benefits far below the national average of more than $1,000 a month.

Velma L. Harmon, a 79-year-old widow, receives only $220 a month from Social Security and has a grand total of $85 to live on each month after she pays her subsidized rent and utilities at her apartment complex in Machias, one of a growing number of such federally aided facilities for the elderly.

She is grateful for free lunches provided by the Eastern Agency on Aging, another government-financed group, but too proud to apply for food stamps that would give her a bit more spending money. “Trying to buy Christmas presents, that’s the hardest thing,” said Ms. Harmon, who has a mangled finger from her years of snipping sardine heads in a canning factory.

The preoccupation right now is soaring fuel prices: cheaper natural gas is unavailable in this region, and wood heat is often impractical or insufficient. But because of limited federal money, average fuel assistance for the 46,000 low-income Maine families expected to apply will probably decline to $579 this year, from $688 last year, said Jo-Ann Choate of the Maine State Housing Agency.

“Low-income people aren’t even going to be able to fill up a single tank of fuel oil,” Ms. Choate said. “They already wrap themselves up in blankets during the winter. This year they’ll be colder.”

The disabled, and there are many, may have it hardest. Dolly Jordan of Milbridge has a history of two bad marriages, a bone-crushing auto accident and poor health, and looks and feels older than 61. With osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes and obesity, she spends most of the day in a wheelchair and uses a combination of a gripper, a broom and a cane to make her bed or hang her laundry.

Come winter, she hangs a blanket over the front door of her little red wooden house, where she has lived alone the last 10 years and which sits on concrete blocks with no foundation. She turns the heat off at night to save fuel.

Her disability payment is $623 a month, plus she gets just $10 from the state and $74 in food stamps. After paying the housing tax and her utility bills, she said, she must watch every remaining penny. A daughter drives her to the distant town of Ellsworth for cheaper shopping.

Like many, she keeps a police scanner on as a diversion and, unable to afford cable, she watches the same videos over and over — her favorite is “On Golden Pond.”

“I wish for bedtime to come,” she said. “The days are so long.”

Easing down a ramp to her mailbox is a perilous 15-minute ordeal. Still, she said, “I wait for Fridays.”

“That’s junk-mail day, and I read all the ads. That’s my best day.”

She added, “There’s always older people out there who have it harder.”

Frederick and Kathleen Call, in Harrington, are in their 60s and live in a 1970s trailer with buckling walls. They live on his disability check — he has had six heart attacks — and food stamps and fuel assistance. Like many others in the region, they buy all their clothes at a church-run thrift shop. They spend their days playing board games and rummy and watching squirrels on their porch.

“We used to go to the food pantry for a free box,” Ms. Call said, “but I saw an old woman who looked like she really needed it. She was thin and cold. I gave her a blanket. We haven’t gone for free food for years.”

Some people here seem to have sunny outlooks no matter what. In the fishing village of Jonesport, Elizabeth Emerson, 87, is hard of hearing and has a titanium knee but is spry and irrepressively cheerful.

She lives in the tiny house her husband, a trucker, built in 1949, and has a view of the gravestone where her name is already etched next to his. Having a daughter nearby, and a total of 52 grand-, great-grand and great-great-grandchildren, whose pictures fill the walls and the refrigerator door, helps in ways practical and emotional.

Ms. Emerson said she “thoroughly enjoyed” the 25 years she spent working as an aide in a nursing home, and she demonstrated the yodeling she used to perform on command for one patient.

Each day she walks with her dog, Sabrina, down to the stony beach where her family once swam. “I saw moose tracks the other day,” she exulted. “Here is where I used to pick heather.”

With her Social Security payment of $683 a month, she refuses to feel impoverished.

“I was never a person to be extravagant,” Ms. Emerson said, adding, “I don’t play beano,” using the local term for bingo.

Besides, she said, she can still afford an indulgence here and there. “My greatest vice,” she added, “is Hershey bars.”


9) Congressman Sees Bias in Chicago Traffic Stop
November 24, 2007

CHICAGO, Nov. 23 — A black Congressman who was issued a ticket this week after being pulled over while driving with three black passengers has accused the Chicago police of racial profiling in the traffic stop.

The representative, Danny K. Davis, Democrat of Illinois, said he was driving his Mercury Grand Marquis just after midnight Monday on the city’s West Side when two police officers pulled him over and asked to see his driver’s license and proof of insurance.

When Mr. Davis asked why they had stopped him, he said, they accused him of weaving, and they ticketed him for driving left of the center line.

Mr. Davis says he did not commit any traffic violation.

“I just could not believe it,” he said Friday. “I had to conclude that race had to have entered the picture, and that the only reason we were stopped is that there were four African-Americans a little after midnight, in a car going down the street. And it really breaks my heart to have to arrive at that conclusion, but I can’t conclude anything else.”

The Chicago Police Department is investigating, said Monique Bond, a spokeswoman. “The Chicago Police Department does not tolerate, encourage or condone racial profiling on any level,” Ms. Bond said.

But Ms. Bond said it appeared that the officers had followed procedure, and she noted that because the officers approached the car from behind, they might not have been able to determine the race of its passengers. “Because we have two different sides of the story, the matter will be thoroughly investigated,” she said.

Mr. Davis’s accusation comes at a time when the Police Department is dealing with widespread accusations of misconduct. Earlier this month, a legal team at the University of Chicago reported that Chicago police officers were the subject of more brutality complaints per officer than the national average, and that the department was less likely than the national norm to pursue abuse cases seriously.

Two civil juries recently awarded multimillion-dollar settlements to men who said officers had abused them. And the city has been searching for a police superintendent since April when Philip J. Cline resigned after an outcry over the lack of swift discipline against officers accused of involvement in two beatings of civilians caught on videotape.

In 2005, James T. Meeks, a black state senator and a minister, accused the police of racial profiling and pointing a gun at him during a traffic stop.

In Mr. Davis’s case, he said he had just completed a segment of his weekly radio show and was driving home some participants. One of them, Lowry S. Taylor, who is president of the Digital Development Corporation and Oversight Committee, which runs the Danny K. Davis Job Training Program for ex-offenders, agreed with Mr. Davis’s version of events. “This was a blatant stop for no reason,” Mr. Taylor said.

Mr. Davis said he would fight the $75 ticket, though not for the money.

“It’s because the ticket that I received is symptomatic of what has been taking place with many people in the African-American community,” Mr. Davis said. “There’s too much of the feeling that people are criminalized in the minds of some law enforcement officers.”




Canada: Man Dies After Shock From Taser
World Briefing | Americas
November 23, 2007
A 45-year-old man who had been arrested on assault charges died, about a day after the police in Nova Scotia used a Taser to subdue him. The man was the third person to die in Canada in just over a month after being shocked by Tasers wielded by police officers. Justice Minister Cecil Clarke ordered a review of the use of the hand-held stun guns following the man’s death, the latest in a series of government inquiries into the use of Tasers by the police. Widespread outrage in Canada followed the broadcast of a video last month that showed another man being shocked at least twice with Tasers at a Vancouver airport by officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The man, a Polish immigrant who appeared extremely confused on the video, died. A Montreal man also died last month, three days after he was subdued by the police with a Taser while being arrested for drunken driving.

California: Cards for Immigrants
Lawmakers have given final approval to a law making San Francisco the nation’s largest city to issue identification cards to illegal immigrants. The Board of Supervisors voted 10 to 1 to create a municipal ID program to help residents without driver’s licenses obtain access to services and feel secure dealing with local law enforcement. The measure is modeled after a program that started last summer in New Haven, Conn. Supporters say that along with immigrants, elderly people who no longer drive and transgender individuals whose driver’s licenses no longer reflect their appearances also would benefit from having the cards. The measure goes into effect in August.
November 21, 2007

Manhattan: Teachers Criticize Review Unit
Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, called for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his schools chancellor to apologize to the city’s 80,000 teachers yesterday, a day after the chancellor sent principals an e-mail message announcing the formation of teams of lawyers and consultants meant to help principals remove poorly performing tenured teachers. Ms. Weingarten said that the message seemed timed to the release yesterday of national reading and math test scores showing little progress among New York City students. “The first speck of bad news, all of the sudden they go after teachers,” Ms. Weingarten said. The mayor said yesterday that removing tenured teachers was “a last alternative.”
November 16, 2007
New York

Waterboarding and U.S. History
by William Loren Katz
"U.S. officers in the Philippines routinely resorted to what they called ‘the water cure.'"
November 14, 2007

Writers Set to Strike, Threatening Hollywood
November 2, 2007

Raids Traumatized Children, Report Says
Hundreds of young American children suffered hardship and psychological trauma after immigration raids in the last year in which their parents were detained or deported, according to a report by the National Council of La Raza and the Urban Institute. Of 500 children directly affected in three factory raids examined in the report in which 900 adult immigrants were arrested, a large majority were United States citizens younger than 10. With one or both parents deported, the children had reduced economic support, and many remained in the care of relatives who feared contact with the authorities, the study said. Although the children were citizens, few families sought public assistance for them, the study found.
November 1, 2007

Newark: Recalled Meat Found in Store
New Jersey consumer safety officials said yesterday that state inspectors bought recalled frozen hamburgers at a store weeks after the meat was recalled because of fears of E. coli contamination. The 19 boxes were bought in Union City on Wednesday, nearly four weeks after the manufacturer, the Topps Meat Company, issued a nationwide recall of 21.7 million pounds of frozen patties. Officials would not name the store yesterday because of the investigation, and investigators have not determined when the store received the meat, said Jeff Lamm, a spokesman for the state’s Division of Consumer Affairs.
New Jersey
October 26, 2007

Florida: Sentence for Lionel Tate Is Upheld
An appeals court has upheld a 30-year probation violation sentence for Lionel Tate, who for a time was the youngest person to be sentenced to life in an American prison. The ruling Wednesday by the Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach sets the stage for Mr. Tate’s trial on robbery charges that could carry another life term. Mr. Tate, 20, had sought to have the sentence thrown out based on procedural mistakes. Mr. Tate was 12 at the time of the 1999 beating death of 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick. An appeals court overturned his murder conviction in 2004, and he was released but was on probation. In May 2005, the police said, Mr. Tate robbed a pizza delivery man, and he was found to be in possession of a gun even before that, a violation of his probation.
October 26, 2007

Submarine’s Commanding Officer Is Relieved of His Duties
The commanding officer of the nuclear-powered submarine Hampton was relieved of his duty because of a loss of confidence in his leadership, the Navy said. The officer, Cmdr. Michael B. Portland, was relieved of duty after an investigation found the ship had failed to do daily safety checks on its nuclear reactor for a month and falsified records to cover up the omission. Commander Portland will be reassigned, said Lt. Alli Myrick, a public affairs officer. [Aren't you glad they are out there making the world safe for democracy?]
October 26, 2007

Britain: New Claim for Sovereignty in Antarctica
World Briefing | Europe
Britain plans to submit a claim to the United Nations to extend its Antarctic territory by 386,000 square miles, the Foreign Office said. Argentina wants some of it, and its foreign minister said his country was working on its own presentation. May 13, 2009, is the deadline for countries to stake their claims in what some experts are describing as the last big carve-up of maritime territory in history.
October 18, 2007

California: Veto of 3 Criminal Justice Bills
Bucking a national trend toward stronger safeguards against wrongful convictions, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed bills that would have explored new eyewitness identification guidelines, required electronic recordings of police interrogations and mandated corroboration of jailhouse informant testimony. Mr. Schwarzenegger cited his concern that the three bills would hamper local law enforcement authorities, a contention shared by several state police and prosecutor associations. The proposals had been recommended by the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, a bipartisan body of police officials, prosecutors and defense lawyers charged by the State Senate to address the most common causes of wrongful convictions and recommend changes in criminal justice procedures.
October 16, 2007

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




Russell Means Speaking at the Transform Columbus Day Rally
"If voting could do anything it would be illegal!"


Stop the Termination or the Cherokee Nation


We Didn't Start the Fire

I Can't Take it No More

The Art of Mental Warfare

http://video. videoplay? docid=-905047436 2583451279




Port of Olympia Anti-Militarization Action Nov. 2007


"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


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


"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:


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


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,]




George Takai responds to Tim Hardaway's homophobic remarks




Another view of the war. A link from Amer Jubran


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])

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