Wednesday, March 19, 2008



Mike Prysner (Part 1 and Part 2 -- please watch both parts. Wow! This is powerful testimony. Thank you, Mike Prysner!
Winter Soldier Testimonies

Tent Cities, USA

The Paris Commune Told in Pictures




Call us to find out how you can help at 415-821-6545.
In the East Bay, call 510-435-0844.


Join the JROTC MUST GO! contingent beginning at 4:30 P.M., near Grove Street, Civic Center--look for our banner and table.


"What are they recruiting for?
Murder, rape, torture, war!"

March with us to demand:
No Military in our Schools!
Wednesday, March 19, 5 P.M.
Civic Center, (Near Grove Street) San Francisco

Join with parents, teachers, students, and anti-war activists who demand that schools are for teaching about life skills, not military careers. Together we must demand that the San Francisco school board end JROTC at the end of this current school year, as they originally voted to do in 2006, but then, this year, caved in to Pentagon pressure and voted to extend JROTC for another year—reversing their original, well thought-out decision.

When in 2006, San Franciscans voted overwhelmingly to get the military out of our schools, the school board followed through with a strong resolution stating in part:

"The SFUSD (San Francisco Unified School District) has restricted the activities of military recruiters on our campuses...JROTC is a program wholly created and administrated by the United States Department of Defense, whose documents and memoranda clearly identify JROTC as an important recruiting arm; and...JROTC manifests the military's discrimination against LGBT people..."

It is legally and morally repugnant for the school district to continue to facilitate the military’s access to our students and become fixtures in our schools! As this illegal war in Iraq enters its 6th year, and a war with Iran looms ahead, JROTC must go NOW!

Contact JROTC Must Go!
(415) 575-5543

2017 Mission St (@ 16th), San Francisco
For more information on how you can become involved contact:
Bonnie Weinstein, (415) 824-8730
Nancy Macias, (415) 255-7296 ext. 229


California Assembly Bill Number 2429.
Bill Number 2429 was introduced by Assembly member Strickland on February 21, 2008 in the California Legislature. "This bill would require that a school district that prohibits JROTC programs from being established or conducting activities on its campus or campuses, or that prohibits or hinders its pupils from participating in an off-campus JROTC program, be prohibited from expending state funds on any extracurricular activity, as defined." For more information see

California legislature—2007–08 regular session
Introduced by Assembly Member Strickland
February 21, 2008
An act to add Article 5 (commencing with Section 52760) to Chapter
11 of Part 28 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Education Code, relating
to extracurricular activities.
Legislative counsel’s digest
AB 2429, as introduced, Strickland. Extracurricular activities: Junior
Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) programs.
Existing law establishes the public school system in this state, and,
among other things, provides for the establishment of school districts
throughout the state and for their provision of instruction at the public
elementary and secondary schools they operate and maintain. Existing
law establishes a public school funding system that includes, among
other elements, the provision of funding to local educational agencies
through state apportionments, the proceeds of property taxes collected
at the local level, and other sources. Existing law authorizes public
schools to sponsor various extracurricular activities for their pupils.
This bill would require that a school or school district that prohibits
Junior Reserve Officers’Training Corps (JROTC) programs from being
established or conducting activities on its campus or campuses, or that
prohibits or hinders its pupils from participating in an off-campus
JROTC program, be prohibited from expending state funds on any
extracurricular activity, as defined.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no.
State-mandated local program: no.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
SECTION 1. Article 5 (commencing with Section 52760) is
added to Chapter 11 of Part 28 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the
Education Code, to read:
Article 5. Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC)
52760. A school or school district that prohibits Junior Reserve
Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) programs from being
established or conducting activities on its campus or campuses, or
that prohibits or hinders its pupils from participating in an
off-campus JROTC program shall be prohibited from expending
state funds on any extracurricular activity. As used in this article,
“extracurricular activity” includes, but is not necessarily limited
to, cultural activities such as dramatic or musical performances,
field trips, and interscholastic sports events, and payments made
to school personnel who provide supervision for those activities.
— 2 — AB 2429


Send a letter to the Board of Education

Please expand upon or send the letter below to the members of the
San Francisco Board of Education declaring:

We/I demand that the San Francisco school board phase
out JROTC at the end of the current 2007-2008 school
year, as you voted to do in 2006.

The reasons for phasing out JROTC are laid out very
clearly in the 2006 resolution.
(see below)

"The SFUSD has restricted the activities of military
recruiters on our campuses...

"JROTC is a program wholly created and administrated
by the United States Department of Defense, whose
documents and memoranda clearly identify JROTC as an
important recruiting arm; and...

"JROTC manifests the military's discrimination against
LGBT people..."

Given the dangerous role that the U.S. military is
playing in the world today, and given the military's
ongoing discrimination against LGBT people, it would
be legally and morally repugnant for the school
district to continue to facilitate the military's
access to our students.

Send letters to: (please send copies to Bonnie Weinstein at giobon@comcast and Riva Enteen at

Mr. Norman Yee

Hydra Mendoza

Eric Mar, Esq.

Kim-Shree Maufas

Jane Kim

Mark Sanchez

Jill Wynn

Norman Yee

Substitute Motion , As Amended
Adopted by the Board of Education at its Regular Meeting of November 14, 2006.

Subject: Resolution No. 65-23A1


- Mark Sanchez and Dan Kelly

WHEREAS: The San Francisco Unified School District has banned educational partnerships with outside organizations that discriminate against any group based upon sexual orientation; and

WHEREAS: Civilian control of the military, and restriction of military involvement in civilian affairs is a fundamental characteristic of a healthy democracy; and

WHEREAS: The San Francisco Unified School District has restricted the activities of military recruiters on our campuses; and

WHEREAS: The San Francisco Unified School District has adopted violence prevention and conflict resolution strategies that promote non-violent behavior; and

WHEREAS: The San Francisco Unified School District requires that teachers of all academic courses be fully credentialed; and

WHEREAS: JROTC is a program wholly created and administrated by the United States Department of Defense, whose documents and memoranda clearly identify JROTC as an important recruiting arm; and

WHEREAS: No other potential employer or recruiter is given such a high profile, nor such extensive contact with students; and

WHEREAS: JROTC instructors are not certificated teachers, and may not even possess a college degree of any kind; and

WHEREAS: The San Francisco Unified School District share of JROTC salaries is provided from central budget, while regular PE teachers are charged against each school’s site-based budget; and

WHEREAS: JROTC manifests the military’s discrimination against LGBT people by offering non-LGBT students preferential enlistment options; and

WHEREAS: JROTC is one of the largest after school activities at some High Schools; and

WHEREAS: The Board of Education has received extensive testimony that JROTC promotes self-esteem, community service, and academic and leadership skills; and

WHEREAS: Many other student extra-curricular activities also develop self-esteem, academic and leadership skills, and a commitment to service; and

WHEREAS: The California Education Code permits, and some SFUSD schools allow, students to receive PE credit for sports participation, independent study, or other classes deemed equivalent.

Therefore Be It Resolved: The Board of Education finds that credentialing requirements for academic instructors and courses are not met by the JROTC, except where specifically allowable as a substitute for Physical Education; and

Be it Further Resolved: The Board of Education finds that JROTC programs on campus constitute a form of military recruitment and are in violation of our policy governing fair access for recruiters on campuses; and

Be it Further Resolved: The Board of Education finds that the JROTC program violates our anti discrimination policies with regard to LGBT students and adults; and

Be it Further Resolved: The Board of Education finds that the funding mechanism of the JROTC creates inequities between High Schools in SFUSD; and

Be it Further Resolved: The Board of Education finds that the JROTC is an inappropriate extension of the nation’s military into the civilian sphere; and

Be it Further Resolved: The Board of Education hereby begins a two-year phase out of all JROTC programs in the SFUSD resulting in no JROTC classes in the 2008-2009 school year and beyond; and

Be it Further Resolved: No new JROTC units or programs may be initiated at any SFUSD schools, effective immediately; and

Be it Further Resolved: That SFUSD staff shall not direct or require that students enroll in JROTC as an alternative to PE, or for any other reason; and

Be it Further Resolved: The Board of Education will grant PE credits for sports participation, independent study, and other courses deemed appropriate, and requests staff to provide guidelines for Board approval by the first meeting in January 2007; and

Be It Further Resolved: That the Board of Education calls for the creation of a special task force to develop alternative, creative, career driven programs with the elements of the existing JROTC program that students have indicated important to them, which then will provide students with a greater sense of purpose and respect for self and humankind; and

Be It Further Resolved: That any new programs being implemented beginning academic year 2007-08 are evaluated before the end of the school year to test student satisfaction.


Please Note:

Taken up by the Curriculum and Program Committee on August 23, 2006. Substitute motion accepted by general consent of the Committee. Substitute Motion forwarded to the Board with a positive recommendation from Committee, and to be taken up for action at the September 12, 2006 Regular Board Meeting by a vote of 2 ayes (Mar and Kelly), and 1 nay (Lipson).

Taken up by the Budget and Business Services Committee on 10/18/06. Substitute motion, as amended, forwarded to the Board with a positive recommendation (2 ayes, l nay (Wynns) ). The Budget and Business Services Committee recommends to the Board that the intention of the original motion to develop an alternative program be addressed.

Substitute motion amended and adopted on 11/14/06.


Call for an Open U.S. National Antiwar Conference
Stop the War in Iraq! Bring the Troops Home Now!
Join us in Cleveland on June 28-29 for the conference.
Crown Plaza Hotel
Sponsored by the National Assembly to End the Iraq War and Occupation
P.O. Box 21008; Cleveland, OH 44121; Voice Mail: 216-736-4704; Email:

List of Endorsers (below call):

Endorse the conference:


2008 has ushered in the fifth year of the war against Iraq and an occupation "without end" of that beleaguered country. Unfortunately, the tremendous opposition in the U.S. to the war and occupation has not yet been fully reflected in united mass action.

The anniversary of the invasion has been marked in the U.S. by Iraq Veterans Against the War's (IVAW's) Winter Soldier hearings March 13-16, in Washington, DC, providing a forum for those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan to expose the horrors perpetrated by the U.S. wars. A nonviolent civil disobedience action against the war in Iraq was also called for March 19 in Washington and local actions around the country were slated during that month as well.

These actions help to give voice and visibility to the deeply held antiwar sentiment of this country's majority. Yet what is also urgently needed is a massive national mobilization sponsored by a united antiwar movement capable of bringing hundreds of thousands into the streets to demand "Out Now!"

Such a mobilization, in our opinion, commemorating the fifth anniversary of the war -- and held on a day agreeable to the IVAW -- could have greatly enhanced all the other activities which were part of that commemoration in the U.S. Indeed, a call was issued in London by the World Against War Conference on December 1, 2007 where 1,200 delegates from 43 nations, including Iraq, voted unanimously to call on antiwar movements in every country to mobilize mass protests against the war during the week of March 15-22 to demand that foreign troops be withdrawn immediately.

The absence of a massive united mobilization during this period in the United States -- the nation whose weapons of terrifying mass destruction have rained death and devastation on the Iraqi people -- when the whole world will mobilize in the most massive protests possible to mark this fifth year of war, should be a cause of great concern to us all.

For Mass Action to Stop the War: The independent and united mobilization of the antiwar majority in massive peaceful demonstrations in the streets against the war in Iraq is a critical element in forcing the U.S. government to immediately withdraw all U.S. military forces from that country, close all military bases, and recognize the right of the Iraqi people to determine their own destiny.

Mass actions aimed at visibly and powerfully demonstrating the will of the majority to stop the war now would dramatically show the world that despite the staunch opposition to this demand by the U.S. government, the struggle by the American people to end the slaughter goes on. And that struggle will continue until the last of the troops are withdrawn. Such actions also help bring the people of the United States onto the stage of history as active players and as makers of history itself.

Indeed, the history of every successful U.S. social movement, whether it be the elementary fight to organize trade unions to defend workers' interests, or to bring down the Jim Crow system of racial segregation, or to end the war in Vietnam, is in great part the history of independent and united mass actions aimed at engaging the vast majority to collectively fight in its own interests and therefore in the interests of all humanity.

For an Open Democratic Antiwar Conference: The most effective way to initiate and prepare united antiwar mobilizations is through convening democratic and open conferences that function transparently, with all who attend the conferences having the right to vote. It is not reasonable to expect that closed or narrow meetings of a select few, or gatherings representing only one portion of the movement, can substitute for the full participation of the extremely broad array of forces which today stand opposed to the war.

We therefore invite everyone, every organization, every coalition, everywhere in the U.S. - all who oppose the war and the occupation -- to attend an open democratic U.S. national antiwar conference and join with us in advancing and promoting the coming together of an antiwar movement in this country with the power to make a mighty contribution toward ending the war and occupation of Iraq now.

Everyone is welcome. The objective is to place on the agenda of the entire U.S. antiwar movement a proposal for the largest possible united mass mobilization(s) in the future to stop the war and end the occupation.

Join us in Cleveland on June 28-29 for the conference.

List of Endorsers

Join us in Cleveland on June 28-29 for the conference.
Sponsored by the National Assembly to End the Iraq War and Occupation
P.O. Box 21008; Cleveland, OH 44121; Voice Mail: 216-736-4704; Email:


For Immediate Release
Embassy Suites Hotel Anaheim South, 11767 Harbor Boulevard,
Garden Grove, California, 92840
May 16-18, 2008

The 6th Annual International Al-Awda Convention will mark a devastating event in the long history of the Palestinian people. We call it our Nakba.

Confirmed speakers include Bishop Atallah Hanna, Supreme Justice Dr. Sheikh Taiseer Al Tamimi, Dr. Adel Samara, Dr. Salman Abu Sitta, Dr. Ghada Karmi, Dr. As'ad Abu Khalil, Dr. Saree Makdisi, and Ramzy Baroud. Former Prime Minister of Lebanon Salim El Hos and Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar have also been invited.

Host Organizations for the sixth international Al-Awda convention include Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Palestinian American Women Association, Free Palestine Alliance, National Council of Arab-Americans, Middle East Cultural and Information Center - San Diego, The Arab Community Center of the Inland Empire, Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid - Southern California, Palestine Aid Society, Palestinian American Congress, Bethlehem Association, Al-Mubadara - Southern California, Union of Palestinian American Women, Birzeit Society , El-Bireh Society, Arab American Friends of Nazareth, Ramallah Club, A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, International Action Center , Students for Justice in Palestine at CSUSB, Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA, Students for Justice in Palestine at UCR, Students for International Knowledge at CSUSB, Muslim Students Association at Palomar College, Muslim Students Association at UCSD, and Muslim Students Association at Mira Costa.


In May of 1948, with the support of the governments of the United States, Britain, and other European powers, Zionists declared the establishment of the "State of Israel" on stolen Palestinian Arab land and intensified their full-scale attack on Palestine. They occupied our land and forcibly expelled three quarters of a million of our people. This continues to be our great catastrophe, which we, as Palestinians with our supporters, have been struggling to overcome since.

The sixth international Al-Awda convention is taking place at a turning point in our struggle to return and reclaim our stolen homeland. Today, there are close to 10 million Palestinians of whom 7.5 million are living in forced exile from their homeland. While the Zionist "State of Israel" continues to besiege, sanction, deprive, isolate, discriminate against and murder our people, in addition to continually stealing more of our land, our resistance has grown. Along with our sisters and brothers at home and elsewhere in exile, Al-Awda has remained steadfast in demanding the implementation of the sacred, non-negotiable national, individual and collective right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands.

The sixth international Al-Awda convention will be a historic and unique event. The convention will aim to recapitulate Palestinian history with the help of those who have lived it, and to strengthen our ability to educate the US public about the importance and justness of implementing the unconditional right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands. With symposia and specialty workshops, the focus of the convention will be on education that lead to strategies and mechanisms for expanding the effectiveness of our advocacy for the return.


We invite all Al-Awda members, and groups and individuals who support the implementation of the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes of origin, and to reclaim their land, to join us in this landmark Sixth Annual International Convention on the 60th year of Al-Nakba.


The convention will culminate in a major demonstration to mark 60 years of Nakba and to call for The RETURN TO PALESTINE. The demonstration will be held in solidarity and coordination with our sisters and brothers who continue the struggle in our beloved homeland.


Organizational endorsements welcome. Please write to us at convention6@

For information on how to become part of the host committee, please write to convention6@

For more information, please go to http://al-awda. org/convention6 and keep revisiting that page as it is being updated regularly.

To submit speaker and panel/workshop proposals, write to
info@al-awda. org or convention6@

Until return,

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
PO Box 131352
Carlsbad, CA 92013, USA
Tel: 760-685-3243
Fax: 360-933-3568
E-mail: info@al-awda. org
WWW: http://al-awda. org

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC) is the largest network of grassroots activists and students dedicated to Palestinian human rights. We are a not for profit tax-exempt educational and charitable 501(c)(3) organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States of America. Under IRS guidelines, your donations to PRRC are tax-deductible.





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




1) Costs Surge for Stocking the Pantry
March 15, 2008

2) Through Bush-Colored Glasses
March 16, 2008

3) Obama's Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11
Obama's Pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Has a History of What Even Obama's Campaign Aides Say Is 'Inflammatory Rhetoric'
March 13, 2008—
Check out:

4) Measuring Wealth by the Foot
March 16, 2008

5) The B Word
Op-Ed Columnist
March 17, 2008

6) Please get this Peltier info out there
From: Keith []
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2008 6:30 PM

7) Chinook Salmon Vanish Without a Trace
March 17, 2008

8) The Case for Another Drug War, Against Pharmaceutical Marketers’ Dirty Tactics
March 17, 2008
Books of The Times
How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves Into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs
By Melody Petersen
432 pp. Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar Straus & Giroux. $26.

9) Examining the war in Iraq after 5 years
Carl Nolte, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, March 16, 2008

10) New Jersey to Consider Health Plan to Cover All
“Of grave concern is the proposal’s underlying policy that seeks to shift the cost of coverage away from a shared responsibility between employers and employees,” said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action. “Senator Vitale’s proposal would have insurance costs borne solely by consumers and taxpayers.”
March 18, 2008

11) Queenfish: A Cold War Tale
March 18, 2008

12) Guantanamo, NY--USA v Hashmi
Lynne Stewart

13) Estimates of Iraq War Cost Were Not Close to Ballpark
“Five years in, the Pentagon tags the cost of the Iraq war at roughly $600 billion and counting. Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and critic of the war, pegs the long-term cost at more than $4 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office and other analysts say that $1 trillion to $2 trillion is more realistic, depending on troop levels and on how long the American occupation continues.”
March 19, 2008


1) Costs Surge for Stocking the Pantry
March 15, 2008

The government announced Friday that the cost of food had gone up yet again. This came as no revelation to Bruce Newton, a single father of two children.

As he wheeled a cart full of groceries out of a Stop & Shop supermarket in Bloomfield, N.J., on Thursday night, Mr. Newton complained that the price of chicken had become “outrageous,” and eggs were so costly his mother sent him from store to store hunting for the cheapest ones. Essential breakfast items like milk, cereal and orange juice have become “so expensive, but what are you going to do?”

Mr. Newton’s pain is being felt in grocery checkout aisles across the country. Government figures released Friday showed that grocery costs had jumped 5.1 percent in 12 months, the latest in a string of increases. In fact, the nation is undergoing its worst grocery inflation since the early 1990s.

With a few exceptions, nearly every grocery category measured by the Labor Department, which compiles the official inflation numbers, has increased in the last year. Milk is up 17 percent, as are dried beans, peas and lentils. Cheese is up 15 percent, rice and pasta 13 percent, and bread 12 percent.

No food product has gone up as much as eggs, jumping 25 percent since February 2007 and 62 percent in the last two years.

“It’s a great time to be an egg farmer,” said Paul Sauder, a third-generation farmer in Lititz, Pa. His farm ships eggs to food service customers and grocery stores, including Stop & Shop. “We’ve never encountered this kind of run like we’ve had right now.”

While food costs increased, overall inflation held steady in February as the cost of gasoline declined that month, according to the latest Consumer Price Index, which the Labor Department updates monthly. That was an unexpected dose of good economic news that opens the door for more aggressive interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve, which is trying to head off a recession.

But many analysts do not expect the lower inflation rate to last. Gasoline prices turned around in March and are setting records every day, hitting a nationwide average of $3.28 a gallon in the most recent report by AAA, the automobile club. That puts more pressure on consumers’ pocketbooks as they muddle through an economic slowdown.

“It’s a temporary respite,” said John Lonski, chief economist at Moody’s Investors Service. “The renewed ascent of gasoline prices, if nothing else, promises a faster rate of inflation for March.”

Still, the flat reading on the Consumer Price Index was a welcome development after several months of steadily building price pressures. Consumer prices were unchanged in February, and the closely watched core index, which excludes the prices of volatile food and energy products, also stayed flat.

With the economy in a significant downturn, and possibly a recession, some had feared a repeat of 1970s-style stagflation. Inflation rose 0.4 percent in January and December, and economists had been bracing for another uptick last month.

Instead, the Labor Department report showed price declines across a broad range of consumer products, including clothing, personal computers and automobiles. The easing came despite a record-low dollar and a rise in the price of imports.

The March inflation report, due April 16, “will capture the extraordinary surge in oil, food and commodity prices that we’ve seen over the last few weeks,” said Joseph Brusuelas, chief United States economist at the research firm IdeaGlobal.

Lower inflation may encourage the Fed to lower interest rates more aggressively at its next scheduled meeting, on Tuesday. Rate cuts promote growth but can push prices higher, and the Fed has struggled to balance its attempts to stave off a recession with the brisk pace of inflation.

For the year, inflation is still running high. Compared with a year ago, consumer prices were up 4 percent in February, and the core index rose 2.3 percent, higher than the Fed’s comfort level.

If there is a silver lining in the food statistics it is that grocery prices did not increase as much in February (up 0.3 percent from the previous month) as they did in January (up 0.9 percent).

But Ephraim Leibtag, who tracks food prices for the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, said that with farm prices remaining near record levels, he was not optimistic that food prices would moderate in 2008. Instead, he predicted that food inflation would be at least as high as in 2007, perhaps higher.

Mr. Leibtag predicted that cereal and baking products would continue to increase because of steep prices for wheat; in fact, the price of cereal and bakery products increased 1.8 percent in February, the largest monthly gain since January 1975. Economists say higher food costs are being caused by rising energy prices, a weak dollar that encourages exports of American crops and food products, and soaring prices for farm commodities like milk, corn and wheat.

Whether eggs will continue to lead the way on prices remains uncertain. For the time being, farmers like Mr. Sauder are enjoying the high prices while they last.

“Two years ago, everyone was ready to give their farm away because they were all losing money,” Mr. Sauder said. “It goes in cycles.”

The sharp increase in egg prices was caused by a confluence of factors, among them a contraction of the industry because of the slump in 2005 and 2006 and a major increase in feed costs. About three-quarters of feed for laying hens is corn, and the price of corn has been driven up in part by government mandates for production of ethanol.

Gene Gregory, president and chief executive of the United Egg Producers, said feed costs have increased about $100 a ton in the last year, to $250. Because the cost of feed is so high and its future direction uncertain, many farmers have reduced the size of their flocks, he said.

“We are in uncharted waters,” Mr. Gregory said. “Egg producers are recognizing higher profits now than they have for many years. But we also realize these things change quickly.”

At the store in Bloomfield, shoppers complained the other night that food costs have left them reeling. “I’ve spent $300 in a matter of two weeks,” Roseann Fede said. “It used to be like $150. Milk, eggs, nonperishable things, everything has gone up in price.”

Jomarie and Rafaelito Ortiz emerged from Stop & Shop with a cart stuffed full of bags, mostly to feed their four teenage boys. Asked whether they have noticed a difference in their grocery bills, Ms. Ortiz said, “Are you kidding me?”

“Our food bills are $600, $700,” she said, explaining that they were closer to $400 a year or two ago. “The cereal was astronomical.”

Her husband agreed and suggested that they might be better off buying a few cows of their own. “The way food prices are going,” he said, “I’m going to buy a ranch.”


2) Through Bush-Colored Glasses
March 16, 2008

President Bush admitted on Friday that times are tough. So much for the straight talk.

Mr. Bush went on to paint a false picture of the economy. He dismissed virtually every proposal Congress is working on to alleviate the mortgage crisis, sticking to his administration’s inadequate ideas. And despite the rush of serious problems — frozen credit markets, millions of impending mortgage defaults, solvency issues at banks, a plunging dollar — he said that a major source of uncertainty today is whether his tax cuts, scheduled to expire in 2010, would be extended.

This was too far afield of reality to be dismissed as simple cheerleading. It points to the pressing need for a coherent plan to steer through what some economists are now predicting could be a severe downturn. Mr. Bush’s denial of the economic truth underscores the need for Congress to push forward with solutions to the mortgage crisis — especially bankruptcy reform to help defaulting homeowners. Lawmakers also must prepare to execute, in case it is needed, a government rescue of people whose homes are now worth less than they borrowed to buy them.

Mr. Bush said he was optimistic because the economy’s “foundation is solid” as measured by employment, wages, productivity, exports and the federal deficit. He was wrong on every count. On some, he has been wrong for quite a while.

Mr. Bush boasted about 52 consecutive months of job growth during his presidency. What matters is the magnitude of growth, not ticks on a calendar. The economic expansion under Mr. Bush — which it is safe to assume is now over — produced job growth of 4.2 percent. That is the worst performance over a business cycle since the government started keeping track in 1945.

Mr. Bush also talked approvingly of the recent unemployment rate of 4.8 percent. A low rate is good news when it indicates a robust job market. The unemployment rate ticked down last month because hundreds of thousands of people dropped out of the work force altogether. Worse, long-term unemployment, of six months or more, hit 17.5 percent. We’d expect that in the depths of a recession. It is unprecedented at the onset of one.

Mr. Bush was wrong to say wages are rising. On Friday morning, the day he spoke, the government reported that wages failed to outpace inflation in February, for the fifth straight month. Productivity growth has also weakened markedly in the past two years, a harbinger of a lower overall standard of living for Americans.

Exports have surged of late, but largely on the back of a falling dollar. The weaker dollar makes American exports cheaper, but it also pushes up oil prices. Potentially far more serious, a weakening dollar also reduces the Federal Reserve’s flexibility to steady the economy.

Finally, Mr. Bush’s focus on the size of the federal budget deficit ignores that annual government borrowing comes on top of existing debt. Publicly held federal debt will be up by a stunning 76 percent by the end of his presidency. Paying back the money means less to spend on everything else for a very long time.

The fiscal stimulus passed by Congress, and touted by Mr. Bush on Friday, could juice growth for a quarter or two later this year. But the economy’s fundamental weaknesses indicate that Americans are ill-prepared for hard times. That makes the need for clear-eyed policies all the more urgent. We need them from the president, Congress and the contenders for the White House.


3) Obama's Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11
Obama's Pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Has a History of What Even Obama's Campaign Aides Say Is 'Inflammatory Rhetoric'
March 13, 2008—
Check out:

Sen. Barack Obama's pastor says blacks should not sing "God Bless America" but "God damn America."

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor for the last 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's south side, has a long history of what even Obama's campaign aides concede is "inflammatory rhetoric," including the assertion that the United States brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own "terrorism."

In a campaign appearance earlier this month, Sen. Obama said, "I don't think my church is actually particularly controversial." He said Rev. Wright "is like an old uncle who says things I don't always agree with," telling a Jewish group that everyone has someone like that in their family.

Rev. Wright married Obama and his wife Michelle, baptized their two daughters and is credited by Obama for the title of his book, "The Audacity of Hope."

An ABC News review of dozens of Rev. Wright's sermons, offered for sale by the church, found repeated denunciations of the U.S. based on what he described as his reading of the Gospels and the treatment of black Americans.

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

In addition to damning America, he told his congregation on the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001 that the United States had brought on al Qaeda's attacks because of its own terrorism.

"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.

"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost," he told his congregation.

Sen. Obama told the New York Times he was not at the church on the day of Rev. Wright's 9/11 sermon. "The violence of 9/11 was inexcusable and without justification," Obama said in a recent interview. "It sounds like he was trying to be provocative," Obama told the paper.

Rev. Wright, who announced his retirement last month, has built a large and loyal following at his church with his mesmerizing sermons, mixing traditional spiritual content and his views on contemporary issues.

"I wouldn't call it radical. I call it being black in America," said one congregation member outside the church last Sunday.

"He has impacted the life of Barack Obama so much so that he wants to portray that feeling he got from Rev. Wright onto the country because we all need something positive," said another member of the congregation.

Rev. Wright, who declined to be interviewed by ABC News, is considered one of the country's 10 most influential black pastors, according to members of the Obama campaign.

Obama has praised at least one aspect of Rev. Wright's approach, referring to his "social gospel" and his focus on Africa, "and I agree with him on that."

Sen. Obama declined to comment on Rev. Wright's denunciations of the United States, but a campaign religious adviser, Shaun Casey, appearing on "Good Morning America" Thursday, said Obama "had repudiated" those comments.

In a statement to, Obama's press spokesman Bill Burton said, "Sen. Obama has said repeatedly that personal attacks such as this have no place in this campaign or our politics, whether they're offered from a platform at a rally or the pulpit of a church. Sen. Obama does not think of the pastor of his church in political terms. Like a member of his family, there are things he says with which Sen. Obama deeply disagrees. But now that he is retired, that doesn't detract from Sen. Obama's affection for Rev. Wright or his appreciation for the good works he has done."


4) Measuring Wealth by the Foot
March 16, 2008

IN a shipyard in Germany, Blohm & Voss workers are building a mammoth yacht called the Eclipse.

Like many things in the secretive world of superyachts, its exact length is hard to pin down. So is the name of its owner, and the cost of building it.

But according to the Web site of The Yacht Report, one of several publications that track yachting with the same intensity that gossip magazines cover Hollywood hunks, the Eclipse is 531.5 feet long.

That’s six and a half feet longer than the Dubai, an 11,600-ton behemoth that now holds the record as the world’s largest yacht. Its owner is the ruler of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

The extra length on the Eclipse isn’t an accident. Supersized yachts are the latest examples of one-upmanship among billionaires, many of whom already own a private jet, a Rolls-Royce or two, and multiple mansions.

Despite fear of an economic recession and unrelenting job pressures among those who remain yachtless, there’s still a lot of money floating around the world. And as the superrich get richer, the size of yachts grows bigger and bigger, too.

“When a yacht is over 328 feet, it’s so big that you lose the intimacy,” says Tork Buckley, editor of The Yacht Report. “On the other hand, you’ve got bragging rights. No question, that’s a very strong part of the motivation.”

Who will be the one to wrest bragging rights from the sheik? Blohm & Voss, a leading shipbuilder, isn’t saying. According to an executive at a different yacht company, who requested anonymity because he was concerned about losing clients, it is being built for Roman Abramovich, a Russian tycoon.

Mr. Abramovich already owns the 282-foot Ecstasea and the 377-foot Pelorus, and Web sites that track yachts speculate that he may be the owner of a new 394-foot yacht called Sigma that resembles a battleship. A spokesman for Mr. Abramovich declined to comment.

Just four years ago, when Lawrence J. Ellison, the chief executive of the Oracle Corporation, took possession of the 454-foot Rising Sun, he gained crowing rights over Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder. Mr. Allen’s yacht, the Octopus, is relatively minuscule at 417 feet. (Since then, David Geffen, the Hollywood mogul, has bought a 50 percent share of the Rising Sun from Mr. Ellison.)

Many yacht owners are entrepreneurs or industrialists, rather than royalty or bold-faced names from Silicon Valley, according to yacht designers and builders. “One of my clients is a woman who started her own business and ended up making cocktail-type quiches sold through Costco and Wal-Mart,” said Douglas Sharp, who owns a yacht design company in San Diego.

Like Mr. Abramovich, a growing number of yacht buyers are from emerging markets. “There’s an incredible amount of disposable money in the world at the moment, and a lot of money is coming out of new markets like Russia and Ukraine, as well as India,” says Jonathan Beckett, chief executive of Burgess, a company that helps owners build and charter yachts. “These people have made a lot of money very quickly and have an appetite.”

According to ShowBoats International, a luxury yacht magazine, 916 yachts measuring 80 feet or longer — the traditional definition of a superyacht — were on order or under construction as of last Sept. 1, four times the number in 1997. The biggest gains were among the biggest yachts: 47 yachts were 200 to 249 feet long, up 68 percent from a year earlier, while 23 were 250 feet or longer, an increase of 28 percent.

“When I started in the early 1970s, a 60-foot boat was considered pretty large,” Mr. Sharp said. “A 150-foot boat was queen of the show in Monaco in 1982. In 2008, you wouldn’t be able to find that boat in the marina.”

Some new megayachts are so big that they have to dock in commercial ports. The growth in the number and size of yachts is also making it hard to find qualified crew members.

Still, many yacht owners trade in their boats every few years for bigger models.

“People want more toys to play with. That’s something that drives it,” says Wim Koersvelt, director of Icon Yachts in the Netherlands. “Gyms were unusual 20 years ago, and no yacht is being built now without a gym. They’re buying two- to four-person submarines, have four Jet Skis and little sailboats stored on board, as well as helicopter landing pads.”

It takes two to four years to build a yacht, and prices are rising so quickly that some owners are selling their boats before they’re even finished — for a tidy profit. Mr. Beckett of Burgess says prices have risen 10 percent to 20 percent in the past two years alone. He estimates that a yacht 328 feet long would cost about $230 million today, with prices rising to $650 million for a 500-foot yacht.

Some owners recoup part of their costs by chartering their yachts. Want to sail the Maltese Falcon, the innovative clipper ship built by Tom Perkins, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist? That will put you back around $539,000 to $555,000 a week, not counting expenses for fuel, food or crew. Or the Mirabella V, the elegant sloop owned by Joe Vittoria, the former chief executive of Avis Rent A Car System? That’s $325,000 to $375,000 a week, depending on the season.

There are no signs that demand will slacken. “There are 2,000 superyachts in the world today” over 120 feet long, “and nearly 200,000 people who could afford to buy them,” Mr. Beckett says.

The arms race in yachts echoes the competition among business titans in the last century to build the world’s tallest skyscraper. In his book “Mine’s Bigger,” David A. Kaplan describes the battle between Mr. Perkins and Jim Clark, the co-founder of three Silicon Valley companies, including Netscape, as they competed to build the world’s biggest sailing megayacht.

By the time Mr. Perkins completed his Maltese Falcon, measuring 288 feet, in 2006, it was substantially longer than Mr. Clark’s Athena if measured at the water line.

“Clark could console himself only with the fact that if you included his 33-foot stainless steel bowsprit as part of the length, then his was bigger than anybody else’s,” Mr. Kaplan writes.

Mr. Vittoria holds a different record. His 247-foot Mirabella V has a 292-foot mast — so tall that it can’t fit under the Golden Gate Bridge.


5) The B Word
Op-Ed Columnist
March 17, 2008

O.K., here it comes: The unthinkable is about to become the inevitable.

Last week, Robert Rubin, the former Treasury secretary, and John Lipsky, a top official at the International Monetary Fund, both suggested that public funds might be needed to rescue the U.S. financial system. Mr. Lipsky insisted that he wasn’t talking about a bailout. But he was.

It’s true that Henry Paulson, the current Treasury secretary, still says that any proposal to use taxpayers’ money to help resolve the crisis is a “non-starter.” But that’s about as credible as all of his previous pronouncements on the financial situation.

So here’s the question we really should be asking: When the feds do bail out the financial system, what will they do to ensure that they aren’t also bailing out the people who got us into this mess?

Let’s talk about why a bailout is inevitable.

Between 2002 and 2007, false beliefs in the private sector — the belief that home prices only go up, that financial innovation had made risk go away, that a triple-A rating really meant that an investment was safe — led to an epidemic of bad lending. Meanwhile, false beliefs in the political arena — the belief of Alan Greenspan and his friends in the Bush administration that the market is always right and regulation always a bad thing — led Washington to ignore the warning signs.

By the way, Mr. Greenspan is still at it: accepting no blame, he continues to insist that “market flexibility and open competition” are the “most reliable safeguards against cumulative economic failure.”

The result of all that bad lending was an unholy financial mess that will cause trillions of dollars in losses. A large chunk of these losses will fall on financial institutions: commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds and so on.

Many people say that the government should let the chips fall where they may — that those who made bad loans should simply be left to suffer the consequences. But it’s not going to happen. When push comes to shove, financial officials — rightly — aren’t willing to run the risk that losses on bad loans will cripple the financial system and take the real economy down with it.

Consider what happened last Friday, when the Federal Reserve rushed to the aid of Bear Stearns.

Nobody expects an investment bank to be a charitable institution, but Bear has a particularly nasty reputation. As Gretchen Morgenson of The New York Times reminds us, Bear “has often operated in the gray areas of Wall Street and with an aggressive, brass-knuckles approach.”

Bear was a major promoter of the most questionable subprime lenders. It lured customers into two of its own hedge funds that were among the first to go bust in the current crisis. And it’s a bad financial citizen: the last time the Fed tried to contain a financial crisis, after the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management in 1998, Bear refused to participate in the rescue operation.

Bear, in other words, deserved to be allowed to fail — both on the merits and to teach Wall Street not to expect someone else to clean up its messes.

But the Fed rode to Bear’s rescue anyway, fearing that the collapse of a major investment bank would cause panic in the markets and wreak havoc with the wider economy. Fed officials knew that they were doing a bad thing, but believed that the alternative would be even worse.

As Bear goes, so will go the rest of the financial system. And if history is any guide, the coming taxpayer-financed bailout will end up costing a lot of money.

The U.S. savings and loan crisis of the 1980s ended up costing taxpayers 3.2 percent of G.D.P., the equivalent of $450 billion today. Some estimates put the fiscal cost of Japan’s post-bubble cleanup at more than 20 percent of G.D.P. — the equivalent of $3 trillion for the United States.

If these numbers shock you, they should. But the big bailout is coming. The only question is how well it will be managed.

As I said, the important thing is to bail out the system, not the people who got us into this mess. That means cleaning out the shareholders in failed institutions, making bondholders take a haircut, and canceling the stock options of executives who got rich playing heads I win, tails you lose.

According to late reports on Sunday, JPMorgan Chase will buy Bear for a pittance. That’s an O.K. resolution for this case — but not a model for the much bigger bailout to come. Looking ahead, we probably need something similar to the Resolution Trust Corporation, which took over bankrupt savings and loan institutions and sold off their assets to reimburse taxpayers. And we need it quickly: things are falling apart as you read this.


6) Please get this Peltier info out there
From: Keith []
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2008 6:30 PM

KFAI's Indian Uprising for March 16, 2008 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. DST #257

Leonard Peltier vs. FBI, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Case
No. 07-1745MN, University of St. Thomas School of Law Frey Moot Courtroom,
Minneapolis, March 11, 2008.

Peltier was convicted of killing two FBI agents during a 1975 shootout on
the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. But his supporters, including
some human rights groups, believe that he is innocent and that he was
targeted because of his political activism.

About 3,500 pages were turned over for Peltier's original trial in 1977. But
his attorneys have discovered over the years that the actual number of
documents the FBI has on Peltier is 142,579, said attorney Michael Kuzma.

Peltier has tried for nearly seven years to use the federal Freedom of
Information Act to get the tens of thousands of pages still being withheld.
"I just think this thing stinks to high heaven," Kuzma said after the
hearing. He told the court, "We still don't know the truth about what
happened back then."

Judge Lavenski R. Smith asked Kuzma what the remedy would be for Peltier.
Kuzma said the court should conduct "a full in-camera review of the
documents." When Smith expressed some disbelief at that idea, Kuzma added
that, if that were too burdensome, the court could focus on the documents
from 1977, of which Peltier has received none.

Tom Byron, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington,
D.C., argued that "there's no support" for an in-camera inspection of the
records. - St. Paul Pioneer Press excerpt,
Court recording:
Tonight our Guests are:

Michael Kuzma, Arguing attorney for Leonard Peltier; Sr. Legislative Assistant to City Council President, Buffalo, New York and keith rabin producer/co play write of the Stage Production

"My Life Is My Sun Dance" "

To help sponsor or support or for additional information
contact keith @

* * * *
Indian Uprising a one-hour radio Public & Cultural Affairs program relevant
to Native Indigenous people, broadcast each Sunday at 7:00 p.m. CST over
KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul. Producer and host is
volunteer Chris Spotted Eagle. To receive or stop getting announcements:

For internet listening, visit, click Play under ON AIR NOW or
for listening later via their archives, click PROGRAMS & SCHEDULE > Indian
Uprising > STREAM. Programs are archived only for two weeks.


7) Chinook Salmon Vanish Without a Trace
March 17, 2008

SACRAMENTO — Where did they go?

The Chinook salmon that swim upstream to spawn in the fall, the most robust run in the Sacramento River, have disappeared. The almost complete collapse of the richest and most dependable source of Chinook salmon south of Alaska left gloomy fisheries experts struggling for reliable explanations — and coming up dry.

Whatever the cause, there was widespread agreement among those attending a five-day meeting of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council here last week that the regional $150 million fishery, which usually opens for the four-month season on May 1, is almost certain to remain closed this year from northern Oregon to the Mexican border. A final decision on salmon fishing in the area is expected next month.

As a result, Chinook, or king salmon, the most prized species of Pacific wild salmon, will be hard to come by until the Alaskan season opens in July. Even then, wild Chinook are likely to be very expensive in markets and restaurants nationwide.

“It’s unprecedented that this fishery is in this kind of shape,” said Donald McIsaac, executive director of the council, which is organized under the auspices of the Commerce Department.

Fishermen think the Sacramento River was mismanaged in 2005, when this year’s fish first migrated downriver. Perhaps, they say, federal and state water managers drained too much water or drained at the wrong time to serve the state’s powerful agricultural interests and cities in arid Southern California. The fishermen think the fish were left susceptible to disease, or to predators, or to being sucked into diversion pumps and left to die in irrigation canals.

But federal and state fishery managers and biologists point to the highly unusual ocean conditions in 2005, which may have left the fingerling salmon with little or none of the rich nourishment provided by the normal upwelling currents near the shore.

The life cycle of these fall run Chinook salmon takes them from their birth and early weeks in cold river waters through a downstream migration that deposits them in the San Francisco Bay when they are a few inches long, and then as their bodies adapt to saltwater through a migration out into the ocean, where they live until they return to spawn, usually three years later.

One species of Sacramento salmon, the winter run Chinook, is protected under the Endangered Species Act. But their meager numbers have held steady and appear to be unaffected by whatever ails the fall Chinook.

So what happened? As Dave Bitts, a fisherman based in Eureka in Northern California, sees it, the variables are simple. “To survive, there are two things a salmon needs,” he said. “To eat. And not to be eaten.”

Fragmentary evidence about salmon mortality in the Sacramento River in recent years, as well as more robust but still inconclusive data about ocean conditions in 2005, indicates that the fall Chinook smolts, or baby fish, of 2005 may have lost out on both counts. But biologists, fishermen and fishery managers all emphasize that no one yet knows anything for sure.

Bill Petersen, an oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s research center in Newport, Ore., said other stocks of anadromous Pacific fish — those that migrate from freshwater to saltwater and back — had been anemic this year, leading him to suspect ocean changes.

After studying changes in the once-predictable pattern of the Northern Pacific climate, Mr. Petersen found that in 2005 the currents that rise from the deeper ocean, bringing with them nutrients like phytoplankton and krill, were out of sync. “Upwelling usually starts in April and goes until September,” he said. “In 2005, it didn’t start until July.”

Mr. Petersen’s hypothesis about the salmon is that “the fish that went to sea in 2005 died a few weeks after getting to the ocean” because there was nothing to eat. A couple of years earlier, when the oceans were in a cold-weather cycle, the opposite happened — the upwelling was very rich. The smolts of that year were later part of the largest run of fall Chinook ever recorded.

But, Mr. Petersen added, many factors may have contributed to the loss of this season’s fish.

Bruce MacFarlane, another NOAA researcher who is based in Santa Cruz, has started a three-year experiment tagging young salmon — though not from the fall Chinook run — to determine how many of those released from the large Coleman hatchery, 335 miles from the Sacramento River’s mouth, make it to the Golden Gate Bridge. According to the first year’s data, only 4 of 200 reached the bridge.

Mr. MacFarlane said it was possible that a diversion dam on the upper part of the river, around Redding and Red Bluff, created calm and deep waters that are “a haven for predators,” particularly the pike minnow.

Farther downstream, he said, young salmon may fall prey to striped bass. There are also tens of thousands of pipes, large and small, attached to pumping stations that divert water.

Jeff McCracken, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Reclamation, which is among the major managers of water in the Sacramento River delta, said that in the last 18 years, significant precautions have been taken to keep fish from being taken out of the river through the pipes.

“We’ve got 90 percent of those diversions now screened,” Mr. McCracken said. He added that two upstream dams had been removed and that the removal of others was planned. At the diversion dam in Red Bluff, he said, “we’ve opened the gates eight months a year to allow unimpeded fish passage.”

Bureau of Reclamation records show that annual diversions of water in 2005 were about 8 percent above the 12-year average, while diversions in June, the month the young Chinook smolts would have headed downriver, were roughly on par with what they had been in the mid-1990s.

Peter Dygert, a NOAA representative on the fisheries council, said, “My opinion is that we won’t have a definitive answer that clearly indicates this or that is the cause of the decline.”

Carolyn Marshall contributed reporting.


8) The Case for Another Drug War, Against Pharmaceutical Marketers’ Dirty Tactics
March 17, 2008
Books of The Times
How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves Into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs
By Melody Petersen
432 pp. Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar Straus & Giroux. $26.

By the time Melody Petersen gets around to interviewing Iowa’s state nosologist near the end of “Our Daily Meds,” the facts that she cites don’t even sound that grim. The nosologist’s job is to catalog Iowa’s deceased according to cause of death. He processes about 27,000 death certificates a year. And by his reckoning there were only five deaths caused by adverse reactions to prescription drugs in 2002. That low figure is jarringly out of whack with Ms. Petersen’s investigative reporting in an angrily illuminating book on drug-related corporate malfeasance and patient peril.

“Could drugs be killing people but escaping all blame, leaving them to harm even more Americans until someone, finally, catches on?” Ms. Petersen asks. Given the information that her book uncovers, this a purely rhetorical question. Her study cites reckless and questionable behavior in all aspects of drug companies’ research and marketing ploys, even if much of this is familiar territory. It has been explored by earlier crusaders (notably Marcia Angell in “The Truth About the Drug Companies”) and in Ms. Petersen’s own journalism. She spent four years as a reporter covering the drug industry for The New York Times.

The newer and scarier material in “Our Daily Meds” concerns the increasingly serious consequences of Americans’ dependency on prescription drugs. Disagreeing with Iowa’s nosologist, Ms. Petersen says the lethal consequences of overprescribed or misprescribed drugs are too readily accepted as “natural” death. She cites the unwillingness of pathologists to question the wisdom with which doctors dispense medications. The reluctance of hospitals to perform autopsies, she says, has impeded medical research into what these interactions can do.

“Our Daily Meds” begins by illustrating the established drug-company practices that have led to this sorry juncture. There is the rigging of studies, so that to be deemed “effective” a drug need only perform better than a sugar pill. There are the promotional strategies that evade the need for F.D.A. warnings by, say, planting logos for the sexual enhancement drug Viagra and the antidepressant Wellbutrin on Nascar vehicles. There is the co-option of doctors and university researchers by aggressive, payola-dispensing drug company representatives.

Ms. Petersen, who has done much of her digging with the help of obscure but gratifying corporate documents, even finds feedback from doctors about the bribe-style amenities offered by drug company junkets. (“Hotel too cold inside,” one said, in an evaluation of a June 1998 drug company program, adding, “Resort places preferred.” From a different doctor, miffed at the lack of a chauffeur at another event: “Hired car would have been much preferable.”

But she moves to weightier matters in assessing the directions in which heavy drug dependence is leading Americans. First of all there are the business strategies that have created illnesses out of what used to be facts of life, labeled them as syndromes, and have hooked customers into long-term use of medication to cure them. (Detrol, the obnoxiously advertised cure for what its manufacturer calls “overactive bladder,” is a case in point, especially since it can cause hallucinations that resemble symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.) Second, there are the economics of creating chronic consumers for marginally necessary drugs.

Irate as she is that in a period (1980-2003) when Americans doubled what they spent on cars they increased their spending on prescription drugs by 17 times, Ms. Petersen steps back to consider the long-term consequences of this shift in consumption. She notes that the first generation of children raised in front of ubiquitous, sunny drug-company advertisements (which became legal in 1997) has acquired the notions that prescription pills fix everything, and that they are less dangerous than street drugs. Then, looking to the elderly, she points out that increasing numbers of drugs are accumulating in these patients, with little regard for the consequences.

“As older patients move through time, often from physician to physician,” one doctor tells her, “they are at increasing risk of accumulating layer upon layer of drug therapy, as a reef accumulates layer upon layer of coral.” And when the side effects of sleeping pills or antidepressants mean more elderly people fall down, the solution is not likely to be the scaling back of such prescriptions. “Instead,” she writes, “the companies have used the statistics on falls to create a new blockbuster pharmaceutical market for drugs they claim will reduce the chances of breaking a bone.” The market for just two of these drugs, Fosamax and Actonel, is expected to be worth $10 billion by 2011.

Ms. Petersen compiles this data in anecdotal style, even though they would have hit harder in more crystallized, succinct form. But although she rambles and repeats herself at times, this material remains tough, cogent and disturbing enough to have a serious impact. So do her recommendations at the end of this chilling investigation.

Among them: Look at the pens and tissue boxes in your doctor’s office. If they feature drug ads, then a drug company representative has been courting your doctor, trying to influence the ways in which that doctor issues prescriptions. Don’t trust paid celebrity drug endorsements. Be aware that your symptoms may be caused not by illness but by medication, especially when more than one medication is involved. Ms. Petersen urges more study of these interactions, particularly on the part of police officers who can assess drunk drivers but not overmedicated ones.

“Our Daily Meds” also advocates more supervision of doctors’ research articles, many of which are ghostwritten by drug company spokesmen. It calls for drug watchdog agencies that are not overseen by the government, since government officials can so easily be lobbied. Most drastically, she advocates prison time for executives implicated in pharmaceutical crimes. But those crimes are part of a time-honored tradition. As a federal investigator put it in 1937, after a barely tested elixir killed as many as 30 percent of the people who took it: “Apparently they just throw drugs together and if they don’t explode they are placed on sale.”


9) Examining the war in Iraq after 5 years
Carl Nolte, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, March 16, 2008

The war in Iraq has gone on for five years now, but there is almost no sign of it in the Bay Area, a region where 7 million people live.

There is a hillside full of crosses near the BART station in Lafayette, and the occasional war protest in Berkeley or San Francisco makes the papers and the television news. The only uniforms anybody sees on the streets are cops, or off-duty security guards.

People are worried about a recession, or gasoline prices. It is springtime and the hills are green. The war is far away and out of sight.

Michael Myatt, a retired Marine Corps general, remembers a sign he saw just outside the Camp Pendleton Marine base not long ago: "The Marines are at war. America is at the mall." Yet the war is a presence in the Bay Area, like an underground river, like a storm just off the coast, like a deadly illness that will not go away.

The Bay Area has a reputation for being a hotbed of anti-war sentiment, the legendary "Left Coast" where all the politicians are liberals and all the citizens are activists.

It is also the home of Travis Air Force Base, one of the country's largest with a direct role in Iraq, and a place where anti-war protesters plan to mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war with parades and demonstrations.

But mostly, Bay Area people seem to have put the war in the back of their minds. They are not indifferent about the war. They just don't want to think about it.

"I saw a young man in a cross between a gurney and a wheelchair the other day," said Nancy Fox, a Marin County consultant. "I thought maybe he was a casualty of the war. It was so painful to see him that I looked away.

"Have I marched against the war? Have I written the president? Yes. I don't know how to grapple with it. So I look away."

Nearly five years ago, March 20, 2003, on the day after American planes bombed Baghdad and American missiles mounted a failed "surgical strike" to kill Saddam Hussein, thousands and thousands of Bay Area people marched in protest against the war.

They came from all over; San Francisco's hotels were full. One of the protesters was Gen. Myatt's own daughter. Others brought small children so they could see history as it happened.

The protests got out of hand. Mobs surged up Fremont and Harrison streets in San Francisco, trying to shut down the Bay Bridge. Police read the riot act; 2,150 people were arrested in three days of protests in San Francisco.

They did not stop the war. It has gone on for five long years. In that time, the city has changed. Fremont and Harrison Streets, the top of Rincon Hill, where the protesters tried to stop the war, are now the site of a 64-story condo tower.

Richard Becker, national coordinator for the ANSWER coalition, which has organized many of the anti-war protests, has an office upstairs in an old building in San Francisco's Mission District, where he and his associates are planning a big demonstration in San Francisco on Wednesday, the fifth anniversary.

There are posters and signs all over his office. "End the War NOW!"

Becker's father served in World War II - and this war has lasted longer than his father's war.

Becker is no wild-eyed radical; he is bald, middle-aged, with glasses. He has studied the Middle East, and can cite the British experience in Iraq nearly 80 years ago.

He believes the war in Iraq and the projection of American power around the world are deeply wrong. American involvement in Iraq, he says, is "an enormous disaster."

Becker says people are hoping the presidential election will mean the end of the war, but he doesn't buy that. "Powerful forces who have influence on the election have no intention of leaving Iraq. They will not leave until they are forced out."

He believes one way to force change is to demonstrate. San Francisco "is absolutely against the war," he says, "No question about that."

He does not know, and won't speculate, as to how many will turn out Wednesday. "It will depend on the dynamic, when people get together and say, 'Hey, we have to do something.' "
Berkeley style

In Berkeley, meanwhile, the demonstrations have been going on for months, as Code Pink has been trying to close a downtown office aimed at recruiting Marine officer candidates.

To mark the fifth anniversary of the war, they mounted a 24-hour vigil for five days last week.

"I have been protesting for five years," said Joi Zanne, who was out in front of the Marine office on a cloudy Tuesday afternoon. "Because of the people killed, raped or tortured in my name. I am tired of that.

"And people like you and you," she said, pointing at passers-by, "are coming out here and saying 'No!' "

"People come here (to demonstrate) because we can't do anything else to stop it," said Asher Wolfe.

The protest - and the Marine recruiting office - are in a downtown shopping district, with a French bistro and a Japanese restaurant across the street, and a bridal shop next door. The scene of the vigil is quiet, most of the time, as if it were a play staged too many times.

Many of the passers-by decline the pink handbills the protesters hand out. There is a sign that urges motorists to honk for peace, but few do.

Sometimes the pedestrians argue with the Code Pink protesters.

Brian Webb, who works in a nearby bank, says he thinks the demonstrations are counterproductive. He says to the protesters: "You're preaching to the choir."

In the window of the recruiting office, the Marines have a sign: "Serving our country at the tip of the spear."
Travis Air Force Base

But the tip of the spear, at least in the Bay Area, is really 40 or so miles up I-80, at Travis Air Force Base, just outside Fairfield.

There are 10,600 active duty and reserve personnel stationed at Travis. There is a $193 million hospital with 3,662 rooms and more than 2,000 personnel assigned. Travis Air Force base is the biggest employer in Solano County. The Air Force says it pumps $1.4 billion a year into the local economy.

It is a crisp, clean, efficient military base, very much involved with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is part of the air mobility command - "The Best of the Best," they call themselves. The planes based at Travis - tankers, cargo planes, provide the means to project American power far and wide.

"We can go anywhere in the world in 24 hours," said Col. Steven Arquiette, commander of the 60th Air Mobility Wing. "We have a direct impact" on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, he says.

Travis people - Arquiette calls them "folks" - have transported thousands of personnel and tons of equipment in 13,961 sorties in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, as the military calls the war.

Arquiette's planes are able to refuel warplanes in the air, keeping air support and pressure on the enemy. They can do airdrops to isolated units, provide personnel to help in combat operations.

Another unit - the 615th Contingency Response Wing - is one of three in the United States kept on alert to be able to build a complete airfield anywhere in the world. They require only 12 hours' notice.

Travis units also operate medical evacuation planes. "If they can get a casualty to a hospital or medical facility in two or three hours, they have a 98 percent chance of survival," Arquiette says. It is a record of survival of the wounded unmatched in any war.

While others talk in general about war and the wounded, Travis personnel have been there.

"I love this mission," said Lt. Col. Lenora Cook, a medevac nurse. "When you look into the eyes of that injured soldier or Marine and they look at you and thank you."

What are the wounded like? "They are very, very young," said Lt. Col. Nancy Mikulin, another flight nurse. "They don't say very much. If they are Marines, another Marine stays with them. They are very close.

"They don't say anything about wanting to go home. They want to go back. They are very committed, very, very committed."
Missing everything

A commitment is also necessary for those who stay behind. More than half of the personnel in the Air Force are married, and when one spouse is deployed overseas, the other stays behind.

Debra Carmody's husband, Ed, a chief master sergeant, is serving as a loadmaster on planes in an area she will only describe as "southwest Asia." He left in February, and, Debra says, "will be gone for five months or so." The couple have four children; the eldest is 24, the youngest is 9. The 9-year-old was only a baby the first time her father went overseas.

One of the Carmody girls, Elizabeth, is a junior in high school, looking forward to one of those special rites of passage - her first prom.

Her father won't be there to see his daughter on prom night. "It is one of those big moments. He'll hate to miss it," said Debra. "But that is the nature of the job."

Airman 1st Class Joshua Esparza and his wife, Ashley, brought their 18-month-old son, Gabriel, to the Airman and Family Readiness Center, which assists Travis families, the other day on an errand. They watched the little boy play in the hall, running around, talking, smiling. Esparza is in a unit that can be deployed anytime, on a few hours notice.

He is 23, she is 21. Esparza knows that watching his first son grow up is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. But he knows that one day soon, he will be deployed.

"When you are gone, especially when they are young like this, you miss seeing them grow. You miss everything," he said.

Fifty members of the military from the Bay Area have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. That is not a big number for a region of 7 million people; unless, of course, one of the dead is a member of your family.

Just off the elevator on one of the upper floors at the Marines Memorial Club in downtown San Francisco is a Tribute Memorial Wall; black marble with names engraved in gold. They are the names of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. There were about 2,400 when the wall was dedicated two years ago. Now there are just over 4,000 names.

Sometimes, family members come to the club to see the wall; they reach out to touch the names of the dead, as if to remember them in life. "One thing I have learned is that they lie when they say time heals," said Michael Myatt, the retired Marine major general who is chief executive of the club. "It never heals."

The wall of the dead is not open to the public; the Marines Memorial is a private club. Sometimes, when a nearby facility is rented out for a private party, the wall is sealed off by a curtain.

But the wall is always there, just out of sight, like the war.


The United Nations calls for Iraq and the United States to fix human rights problems. A9

Three hundred people march on the Chevron refinery in Richmond to protest the company they say is profiting from the Iraqi invasion. B1

Protest in S.F.

An anti-war demonstration begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the San Francisco Civic Center.

For information, call (415) 821-6545 or (510) 435-0844, or go to www

E-mail Carl Nolte at

This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle


10) New Jersey to Consider Health Plan to Cover All
“Of grave concern is the proposal’s underlying policy that seeks to shift the cost of coverage away from a shared responsibility between employers and employees,” said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action. “Senator Vitale’s proposal would have insurance costs borne solely by consumers and taxpayers.”
March 18, 2008

TRENTON — Thrusting New Jersey again into the vanguard of social change, a bipartisan group of legislators unveiled a proposal on Monday that would require all residents to have health care coverage within three years.

If adopted, New Jersey would become the fourth state to require universal health coverage, following Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont. But at a time when New Jersey is reeling from financial problems, and the country appears headed toward a recession, the plan would avoid adding to the budget and would instead try to redistribute federal and state dollars in a more efficient way.

About 1.4 million of New Jersey’s residents — or nearly 1 in 5 — do not have health insurance. To bridge that gap, State Senator Joseph F. Vitale, a Democrat from Middlesex County who is chairman of the health committee, recommended that the state focus first on enrolling more children in the existing NJ Family Care program for families who earn as much as 350 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $74,200 for a family of four.

Then, Mr. Vitale said, the state would focus on cutting costs while establishing a self-financed plan, run by the state, to provide individuals with health insurance at affordable rates on a sliding scale.

The insurance would be required, not an option: Residents would need to prove they have health insurance, similar to the way drivers must obtain auto insurance. It would be financed, Mr. Vitale said, by using small surpluses in NJ Family Care and Medicaid and revamping the costly and much-maligned system of Charity Care, under which the state reimburses hospitals for costs associated with caring for the poor, often in emergency rooms.

“Through these reforms, we will become better stewards of our limited health care dollars, by using those dollars to cover the uninsured, rather than by throwing those dollars away on inappropriate care in an inappropriate setting, like we do today,” said David L. Knowlton, president of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, a nonprofit foundation. Mr. Knowlton, a Republican, is a former deputy commissioner of health under former Gov. Thomas H. Kean.

The sponsors said that they hoped to introduce legislation formalizing the proposal in the next few days. They also said they would like to enact it before the July 1 budget deadline.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine, a Democrat, has said he favors universal health care. But given the state’s fiscal difficulties, he offered a guarded assessment of the legislators’ proposal.

“The public is well aware that there is nothing closer to my own agenda than providing universal health care,” Mr. Corzine, who traveled to Albany on Monday to attend Gov. David A. Paterson’s swearing-in ceremony, said in a statement. “But I’m a realist, and I understand that the current budget circumstances may inhibit our ability today to reach that common goal.”

New Jersey has long had a reputation of being one of the more aggressive states in trying to expand health care, said Sonya Schwartz, program manager for the National Academy for State Health Policy in Washington. In December, for instance, the state reached an agreement with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield allowing middle-income families to obtain health insurance for children at lower rates — at a loss of up to $1 million in the first year for Horizon.

But now, New Jersey will be trying to learn from — though not necessarily copy — the example set by, most prominently, Massachusetts.

New Jersey’s plan would be similar in that the responsibility for obtaining the insurance would rest with residents and would expand existing state and federal health insurance programs. But unlike Massachusetts, New Jersey would use a single plan administered by the state rather than requiring individuals to buy such a plan in the private market, which Mr. Knowlton said drove costs higher.

“The Massachusetts model is one we don’t want to follow,” said State Senator Robert W. Singer, a Republican from Ocean County. “We do not want a Band-Aid approach. We want a permanent solution.”

Initially, key interest groups representing employers and health care providers applauded the proposal as laying a solid foundation for reducing costs and moving the state closer to universal coverage.

“While most of our members provide health insurance, those that don’t have consistently said the cost is what is preventing them from purchasing insurance,” said Jim Leonard, a vice president with the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. “This initiative will make health insurance more affordable.”

But some unions and consumer groups reacted tepidly, saying it could prompt employers to drop health insurance plans.

“Of grave concern is the proposal’s underlying policy that seeks to shift the cost of coverage away from a shared responsibility between employers and employees,” said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action. “Senator Vitale’s proposal would have insurance costs borne solely by consumers and taxpayers.”


11) Queenfish: A Cold War Tale
March 18, 2008

Atop the globe, the icy surface of the Arctic Ocean has remained relatively peaceful. But its depths have boiled with intrigue, no more so than in the cold war.

Although the superpowers planned to turn those depths into an inferno of exploding torpedoes and rising missiles, the brotherhood of submariners — the silent service, both Russian and American — has worked hard over the decades to keep the particulars of those plans hush-hush.

Now, a few secrets are spilling through a crack in the wall of silence, revealing some of the science and spying that went into the doomsday preparations.

A new book, “Unknown Waters,” recounts the 1970 voyage of a submarine, the Queenfish, on a pioneering dive beneath the ice pack to map the Siberian continental shelf. The United States did so as part of a clandestine effort to prepare for Arctic submarine operations and to win any military showdown with the Soviet Union.

In great secrecy, moving as quietly as possible below treacherous ice, the Queenfish, under the command of Captain Alfred S. McLaren, mapped thousands of miles of previously uncharted seabed in search of safe submarine routes. It often had to maneuver between shallow bottoms and ice keels extending down from the surface more than 100 feet, threatening the sub and the crew of 117 men with ruin.

Another danger was that the sub might simply be frozen in place with no way out and no way to call for help as food and other supplies dwindled.

The Queenfish at one point became stuck in a dead end. The rescue took an hour and tense backtracking out of what had threatened to become an icy tomb.

“I still dream about it every other week,” Dr. McLaren, 75, the book’s author, recalled in an interview. “It was hairy.” The University of Alabama Press is publishing his recollections of the secret voyage.

Sylvia A. Earle, an oceanographer and the former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said such feats in perilous waters made Dr. McLaren a genuine hero. “The sub could have disappeared, and nobody would have known anything about it,” she said. “But they came through. That’s exploration at its most exquisite.”

After Dr. McLaren’s mission, the Arctic became a theater of military operations in which the Soviets tried to hide their missile-carrying subs under the fringes of the ice pack while American attack subs tried relentlessly to track them. The goal was to destroy the Soviet subs if the cold war turned hot, doing so quickly enough to keep them from launching their missiles and nuclear warheads at the United States.

Norman Polmar, an author and analyst on Navy operations, called the polar environment “very very difficult” for subs. He said ice dangling from the surface in endless shapes and sizes made the sub’s main eyes — sonar beams that bounce sound off the bottom and surrounding objects — work poorly.

Mr. Polmar added that the submarine community nonetheless considered the Arctic “a big deal,” because it had a near monopoly on operations there.

Dr. McLaren commanded one of the Navy’s most advanced warships, a jet-black monster the length of a football field.

It was the first of a large class of submarines specially designed for year-round operations in polar regions. As such, it boasted an array of special acoustic gear meant to help it visualize the complex world beneath the pack ice.

For instance, the sub had a special sensor to detect icebergs jutting downward with threatening spikes. From bow to stern, it had a total of seven acoustic sensors pointing upward to help the crew judge the thickness of ice overhead.

As Dr. McLaren recounts in “Unknown Waters,” the Queenfish, in preparation for its Arctic voyage, was stripped of all identifying marks and picked up a full load of torpedoes.

It arrived at the North Pole on Aug. 5, 1970, rising through open water. On the ice, an impromptu Santa Claus in a red suit frolicked with crew members.

The submarine then sailed for the Siberian continental shelf, where it began its mission of secret reconnaissance.

Moscow claimed seas extending 230 miles from its shores, including most of the shelf, whose waters averaged a few hundred feet deep. But Washington recognized just a 12-mile territorial limit, and Dr. McLaren was instructed to play by those rules.

As the book recounts, the sub repeatedly ventured within periscope range of Soviet land. In the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago, its crew examined the October Revolution and Bolshevik Islands.

The Queenfish also spotted a convoy. “I was able to see and identify all six ships as Soviet,” Dr. McLaren writes. “They consisted of an icebreaker leading a tanker and four cargo ships on an easterly course that slowly weaved back and forth through the chaotic ice pack.”

The main mission was to map the seabed and collect oceanographic data in anticipation of the Arctic’s becoming a major theater of military operations. The sub did so by finding and following depth contours, for instance, by locating the areas of the Arctic Basin where the seabed was 600 feet below the surface. A result was a navigation chart that bore the kind of squiggly lines found on topographic maps.

The goal of mapping the bottom contour also sent the Queenfish into the dead end. The crew was watching a favorite Western movie, “Shane,” when a messenger touched Dr. McLaren on the shoulder and whispered that the sub had ground to a standstill.

“Heart in my mouth, I ran up to the after-port side of the control room,” he writes. “Saturating the iceberg detector scope was bright sea-ice-return in all directions.”

Dr. McLaren ordered all crew movement to cease as he and other watch standers worked the propeller, rudder and stern planes to move the Queenfish slowly backward. Finally, he writes, the boat entered deeper water, and the crew “gave out a huge collective sigh of relief.”

The two-month voyage ended in Nome, Alaska, where the sub and crew encountered a chilly reception. The mayor and other people on the town dock had mistaken the sinister-looking sub without markings as Soviet.

In 1972, Dr. McLaren won the Distinguished Service Medal, the military’s highest peacetime award.

Historians say cold war maneuvering in the Arctic picked up after his mission, with the two sides deploying more submarines beneath the ice. The United States built a total of 36 sister subs to the Queenfish, known as the Sturgeon class.

Little is known publicly of the polar exploits. But every so often the icy world erupted in a foretaste of war. In 1984, an American satellite observed a Soviet sub breaking through the ice of the Siberian sea to test fire missiles.

Military and legal experts said Dr. McLaren’s book, while providing a glimpse into a hidden world of cold war planning, might also make political waves today.

That is because of the sub’s repeated penetrations of what Moscow considered its territorial waters, defying boundaries that Washington refused to recognize. The disclosure of that boldness could bolster the case in international forums for American navigational rights, legal experts said in interviews.

Bernard H. Oxman, a specialist in maritime law at the University of Miami School of Law, called the 1970 voyage “an indication of state practice and a refusal to acquiesce in Russian claims over navigation.” Although Moscow has in recent years relaxed such claims, he added, the legal precedent remains.

So too, Dr. McLaren sees his spy mission as a milestone for freedom of navigation, whether in Russian waters or elsewhere in the contested wilds atop the globe.

Today the issue is hot, because melting polar ice is opening up new shipping lanes and exposing potentially vast deposits of natural resources, including oil. A modern gold rush is getting under way.

“It’s important to maintain freedom of the seas,” Dr. McLaren said in an interview. “That’s something our country has fought for literally from its inception.”

Global warming and the shrinking polar ice pack are creating new opportunities and responsibilities, he said, adding, “We’ve got to stand our ground.”


12) Guantanamo, NY--USA v Hashmi
Lynne Stewart

ALERT; I have just become aware of the latest assault on the 6th Amendment in the case of a young Pakistani Muslim American citizen extradited from Britain and held PRE-TRIAL incommunicado by the use of SAMS at the MCC in Lower Manhattan.

Syed Hashmi was brought to my attention through the Brooklyn Greens who were contacted by his former professor at U Mass Amherst who is mounting a campaign to arouse public officials and the public to the outrageous denigration of Fair Trial the case represents. I have attached the fact sheet and the sign on letter of concern.

Contact should be to Dan Clawson, 413 545 5974; 413 586 6235(home) To sign on the letter email This should be widely publicized. Please bring to the attention of your organization. Love Struggle Lynne

Lynne Stewart
EarthLink Revolves Around You.

A Statement of Concern

Syed Hashmi is a Muslim American citizen being held in a federal jail on two counts of providing material support – and two counts of making a contribution of goods or services – to Al Qaida. As his case goes to trial, we wish to register our concern about the conditions of his detention, constraints on his right to a fair trial, and the potential threat his case poses to the First Amendment rights of others.

The conditions of Hashmi’s detention are draconian. He is in solitary confinement and subject to a regime of severe deprivation. Under special administrative measures (SAMs) imposed by the Attorney General, his communication with other prisoners, attorneys, family, the media, and people outside the jail – as well as access to the news and other reading material – is either prohibited or highly restricted. He is subject to 24-hour electronic monitoring and 23-hour lockdown, has no access to fresh air, and must take his one hour of daily recreation – when it is given – inside a cage.

Hashmi’s right to a fair trial is in jeopardy. The prosecution may present new allegations against him up until the day before his trial begins. It may withhold evidence from him and/or his attorneys yet share that evidence with the judge. He may not communicate with the news media, either directly or through his attorneys. The conditions of his detention may impair his mental state and ability to testify on his own behalf.

The prosecution’s case against Hashmi, an activist within the Muslim community, threatens the First Amendment rights of others. While Hashmi’s political and religious beliefs, speech, and associations are constitutionally protected, the government may attempt to use them as evidence of his criminal intent. This could have a chilling effect on the First Amendment rights of others, particularly in activist and Muslim communities.

We call upon the United States government to review and alleviate the conditions of Hashmi’s detention, particularly his solitary confinement and the SAMs imposed upon him; to remove or revise the constraints on his right to a fair trial; and to guarantee that his actions – rather than his constitutionally protected statements, beliefs, and associations – constitute the basis of the government’s case against him, in court and in the public arena.

The Case of Syed Hashmi

Syed Hashmi is a 27-year-old Muslim American citizen. He is currently being held in solitary confinement in a federal jail on two counts of providing material support – and two counts of making a contribution of goods or services – to Al Qaida. His trial is set for July 2008. If convicted, he faces seventy years in prison. His case raises concerns about the conditions of his detention, his ability to receive a fair trial, and threats to the First Amendment rights of others.

Hashmi came to the United States from Pakistan with his family when he was three and grew up in Flushing, Queens. He attended Brooklyn College, majored in political science, and graduated in spring 2003. He then attended the London Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom; two members of the Brooklyn College political science faculty wrote him letters of recommendation. At London Metropolitan, Hashmi studied for an MA in international relations, which he received in October 2005.

In June 2006, he was arrested by the British police at Heathrow Airport (he was about to travel to Pakistan, where he has family) on a warrant issued by the US government. In May 2007, he was extradited to the United States, where he has since been held in solitary confinement at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.

Under special administrative measures (SAMs) imposed by the Attorney General, Hashmi must be held in solitary confinement and may not communicate with anyone inside the prison other than prison officials. Family visits are limited to one person every other week for one and a half hours and cannot involve physical contact. While his correspondence to members of Congress and other government officials is not restricted, he may write only one letter (of no more than three pieces of paper) per week to one family member. He may not communicate, either directly or through his attorneys, with the news media. He may read only designated portions of newspapers – and not until thirty days after their publication – and his access to other reading material is restricted. He may not listen to or watch news-oriented radio stations and television channels. He may not participate in group prayer. He is subject to 24-hour electronic monitoring and 23-hour lockdown, has no access to fresh air, and must take his one hour of daily recreation – when it is given – inside a cage. While the Attorney General claims that these measures are necessary because “there is substantial risk that [Hashmi’s] communications or contacts with persons could result in death or serious bodily injury to persons,” he was held with other prisoners in a British jail for eleven months without incident.

The US government alleges that during February or March 2004, a man by the name of Junaid Babar, also a Pakistani-born US citizen, stayed with Hashmi at his London apartment for two weeks. According to the government, Babar stored luggage containing raincoats, ponchos, and waterproof socks in Hashmi’s apartment and then delivered these materials to the third-ranking member of Al Qaida in South Waziristan, Pakistan. In addition, Hashmi allegedly allowed Babar to use his cell phone to call other conspirators in terrorist plots.

The government claims that Babar’s testimony is the “centerpiece” of its case. Babar, who has pleaded guilty to five counts of material support for Al Qaida, faces up to 70 years in prison. While awaiting sentence, he has agreed to serve as a government witness in terrorism trials in Britain and Canada as well as in Hashmi’s trial. Under a plea agreement reported in the media, Babar will receive a reduced sentence in return for his cooperation.

The events described above comprise the main allegation that the government has presented to the defense. According to the rules of discovery in federal criminal cases, however, the government may present additional allegations up until the day before the trial begins. Other factors compromise Hashmi’s right to a fair trial: the government may withhold evidence from his attorneys yet share that evidence with the judge; the government may share evidence with his attorneys but not allow Hashmi to see it; Hashmi may not communicate with the news media, either directly or through his attorneys; and the conditions of Hashmi’s detention may impair his mental state and ability to testify on his own behalf.

In addition to Babar’s testimony, much of the government’s case hinges upon evidence about Hashmi’s beliefs, associations, and speech. When Hashmi was a student at Brooklyn College, he was a member of Al Muhajiroun. This group takes and advocates positions well outside the mainstream of American public opinion. The US government, however, has not designated it a terrorist organization nor deemed membership in it illegal. While Hashmi’s beliefs, speech, and associations are constitutionally protected, the government may attempt to use them as evidence of his criminal intent. This could have a chilling effect on the constitutionally protected beliefs, speech, and associations of others, particularly in activist and Muslim communities. Unlike other high-profile post-9/11 cases, in which the defendants were not particularly political, Hashmi is an activist. The government’s increasing attention to this kind of political activity further raises the specter of a chilling effect on First Amendment rights throughout the country.

Hashmi’s case thus raises three concerns: first, the draconian conditions of his detention; second, the undermining of his Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial; third, the threats it poses to the First Amendment rights of others. Please help make these concerns heard by signing the attached statement.


13) Estimates of Iraq War Cost Were Not Close to Ballpark
“Five years in, the Pentagon tags the cost of the Iraq war at roughly $600 billion and counting. Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and critic of the war, pegs the long-term cost at more than $4 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office and other analysts say that $1 trillion to $2 trillion is more realistic, depending on troop levels and on how long the American occupation continues.”
March 19, 2008

WASHINGTON — At the outset of the Iraq war, the Bush administration predicted that it would cost $50 billion to $60 billion to oust Saddam Hussein, restore order and install a new government.

Five years in, the Pentagon tags the cost of the Iraq war at roughly $600 billion and counting. Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and critic of the war, pegs the long-term cost at more than $4 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office and other analysts say that $1 trillion to $2 trillion is more realistic, depending on troop levels and on how long the American occupation continues.

Among economists and policymakers, the question of how to tally the cost of the war is a matter of hot dispute. And the costs continue to climb.

Congressional Democrats fiercely criticize the White House over war expenditures. But it is virtually certain that the Democrats will provide tens of billions more in a military spending bill next month. Some Democrats are even arguing against attaching strings, like a deadline for withdrawal, saying the tactic will fail as it has in the past.

All of the war-price tallies include operations in the war zone, support for troops, repair or replacement of equipment, reservists’ salaries, special combat pay for regular forces and some care for wounded veterans — expenses that typically fall outside the regular Defense Department or Veterans Affairs budgets.

The highest estimates often include projections for future operations, long-term health care and disability costs for veterans, a portion of the regular, annual defense budget, and, in some cases, wider economic effects, including a percentage of higher oil prices and the impact of raising the national debt to cover increased war spending.

The debate raging on Capitol Hill, on the presidential campaign trail, in research institutes and in academia touches on such esoteric factors as the right inflation index for veterans’ health care costs; the monetary value of nearly 4,000 soldiers killed; and what role, if any, the war has had in higher oil prices.

Some economists who track the war expenses say they worry that politicians are making mistakes similar to those made in 2002, by failing to fully come to grips with the short- and long-term financial costs.

“The relevant question now is: what do we do now going forward? Because we can’t do anything about the costs that have already happened,” said Scott Wallsten, an economist and vice president of research with iGrowthGlobal, a Washington research institute. “We still don’t hear people talking about that.”

Congressional Democrats, led by Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, have sought to spotlight the rising costs and limited political progress in Iraq.

“This administration still has no clear exit strategy for our troops, no path to political reconciliation, and no accounting of the costs to our budget or economy,” Mr. Schumer said.

The White House press secretary, Dana M. Perino, acknowledged that costs had risen higher than predicted, but said the administration was committed to giving the military everything it needed for success.

“None of these calculations take into account the cost of failure in Iraq,” Ms. Perino said. “Should Al Qaeda have safe haven in Iraq, we are more likely to be attacked again on our homeland. We know the cost of that.”

On the campaign trail, the Democratic candidates, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, often say that money for the war would be better spent at home, as Mrs. Clinton did Tuesday when she pegged the war costs at “well over $1 trillion.”

“That is enough,” she continued, “to provide health care for all 47 million uninsured Americans and quality pre-kindergarten for every American child, solve the housing crisis once and for all, make college affordable for every American student and provide tax relief to tens of millions of middle-class families.”

But what the candidates often fail to note when making such points is that the full cost of the war has been added to the national debt, and that the money spent in Iraq would not necessarily be available for other programs. And, of course, anything short of an immediate withdrawal will entail billions more in continuing expenses.

Debate aside, there is general consensus that Congress will have allocated slightly more than $600 billion for Iraq operations through the 2008 fiscal year.

And some analysts say that may be half the final price.

“Under reasonable scenarios, assuming we don’t pull out rapidly, we may only be halfway through,” said Steven M. Koziak, of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment, a nonpartisan research group. “Even in direct budgetary costs, it’s quite easy to get up on the order of $1 trillion for Iraq alone.”

Meanwhile, the five-year anniversary of the war has focused a spotlight on the costs so far and on future projections.

In a new book, called “The Three Trillion War,” Mr. Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate, and a co-author, Linda J. Bilmes, a professor at Harvard, say the total economic impact may be a staggering $4 trillion or more. Even some economists who call themselves fans of Mr. Stiglitz say they think that number is exaggerated; the authors insist their projections are moderate.

Lawrence B. Lindsey, who was ousted as President Bush’s first economic adviser partly because he predicted the war might cost $100 billion to $200 billion, also has a new book that serves in part as an I-told-you-so.

“Five years after the fact, I believe that one of the reasons the administration’s efforts are so unpopular is that they chose not to engage in an open public discussion of what the consequences of the war might be, including its economic cost,” Mr. Lindsey wrote in an excerpt in Fortune magazine.

Mr. Lindsey insists that his projections were partly right. “My hypothetical estimate got the annual cost about right,” he wrote. “But I misjudged an important factor: how long we would be involved.”

He was not alone.

Congressional Democrats, for instance, predicted that the Iraq war would cost roughly $93 billion, not including reconstruction.

Virtually every forecast was off in this way. “It’s clear that operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have gone on longer and have been more expensive than the projections initially suggested,” Peter R. Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office, said in an interview.

Only one economist, William D. Nordhaus of Yale, seems to have come close. In a paper in December 2002, he offered a worst-case estimate of $1.9 trillion, “if the war drags on, occupation is lengthy, nation-building is costly.”

Getting at the true costs is difficult though. Expenses like an overall increase in troops were paid from the base defense budget, not the war bills.




North Carolina: Ministers Say Police Destroyed Records
National Briefing | South
Three ministers accused a Greensboro police officer of ordering officers to destroy about 50 boxes of police files related to the fatal shooting of five people at an anti-Ku Klux Klan rally in 1979. The Revs. Cardes Brown, Gregory Headen and Nelson Johnson said an active-duty officer told them he and at least three other officers were told to destroy the records in 2004 or 2005, shortly after a seven-member panel that had been convened to research the shootings requested police files related to them. The ministers did not identify the officer who provided the information. On Nov. 3, 1979, a heavily armed caravan of Klansman and Nazi Party members confronted the rally. Five marchers were killed and 10 were injured. Those charged were later acquitted in state and federal trials. The city and some Klan members were found liable for the deaths in civil litigation.
February 27, 2008

Gaza: Israeli Army Clears Itself in 21 Deaths
World Briefing | Middle East
The army said no legal action would be taken against military officials over an artillery strike in Beit Hanun in 2006 in which an errant shell hit residential buildings and killed 21 Palestinian civilians. An army investigation concluded that the shell was fired based on information that militants were intending to fire rockets from the area, an army statement said. The civilian deaths, it said, were “directly due to a rare and severe failure” in the artillery control system. The army’s military advocate general concluded that there was no need for further investigation.
February 27, 2008

World Briefing | Asia
Taiwan: Tons of Fish Wash Up on Beaches
About 45 tons of fish have washed up dead along 200 miles of beach on the outlying Penghu Islands after an unusual cold snap. News reports said 10 times as many dead fish were still in the water.
February 23, 2008

Zimbabwe: Inflation Breaks the Six-Figure Mark
World Briefing | Africa
The government’s statistics office said the inflation rate surged to a new record of 100,580 percent in January, up from 66,212 percent in December. Rangarirai Mberi, news editor of the independent Financial Gazette in Harare, said the state of the economy would feature prominently in next month’s presidential and parliamentary elections. “Numbers no longer shock people,” he said. Zimbabweans have learned to live in a hyperinflationary environment, he added, “but the question is, how long can this continue?”
February 21, 2008




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,]


"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]


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]


Sand Creek Massacre
(scroll down when you get there])

On November 29, 1864, 700 Colorado troops savagely slaughtered
over 450 Cheyenne children, disabled, elders, and women in the
southeastern Colorado Territory under its protection. This act
became known as the Sand Creek Massacre. This film project
("The Sand Creek Massacre" documentary film project) is an
examination of an open wound in the souls of the Cheyenne
people as told from their perspective. This project chronicles
that horrific 19th century event and its affect on the 21st century
struggle for respectful coexistence between white and native
plains cultures in the United States of America.

Listed below are links on which you can click to get the latest news,
products, and view, free, "THE SAND CREEK MASSACRE" award-
winning documentary short. In order to create more native
awareness, particularly to save the roots of America's history,
please read the following:

Some people in America are trying to save the world. Bless
them. In the meantime, the roots of America are dying.
What happens to a plant when the roots die? The plant dies
according to my biology teacher in high school. American's
roots are its native people. Many of America's native people
are dying from drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, hunger,
and disease, which was introduced to them by the Caucasian
male. Tribal elders are dying. When they die, their oral
histories go with them. Our native's oral histories are the
essence of the roots of America, what took place before
our ancestors came over to America, what is taking place,
and what will be taking place. It is time we replenish
America's roots with native awareness, else America
continues its decaying, and ultimately, its death.

READY FOR PURCHASE! (pass the word about this powerful
educational tool to friends, family, schools, parents, teachers,
and other related people and organizations to contact
me (, 303-903-2103) for information
about how they can purchase the DVD and have me come
to their children's school to show the film and to interact
in a questions and answers discussion about the Sand
Creek Massacre.

Happy Holidays!

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC,+Don

(scroll down when you get there])

SHOP: Articles at">


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مساحيق خاصة لأزالة بقايا الطعام من المطابخ وخاصة السيراميك فالمطبخ لابد من تنظيفه جيداً وعدم أهماله حتى لا تتراكم الدهون والشحوم، كما أن المطبخ لابد من تعقيمه وترتيبه بأستمرار حتى لا يراكم الحشرات الزاحفة والطائرة وتعمل على تلوث الطعام وإصابة الإنسان بالأمراض.
كما أن
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بعمل معاينة أولاً لمعرفة المكان الذي يأتي منه النمل ثم تستخدم الشركة المبيد الحشري المناسب لكي يعمل على طرد النمل نهائياَ من المنزل.

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